BTS Reconstructing the Backstories

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. Arawn_Fenn Force Ghost

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    I don't claim to have a photographic memory of the Bantam EU, but I don't recall many specific references to the time placement of the Clone Wars. Other than Zahn and COTJ, I can't think of any offhand. Often a book got by just fine without addressing the subject.
  2. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Another Saga & CT Manager

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    Arawn:

    From other threads on this, I gather that some EU sources that used the 35 BSW4 date apparently include (some are implied):

    -Two-thirds of the Thrawn Trilogy (1992)
    -WEG's Adventure Journals (1994-1997)
    -A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, 2nd Edition (1994)
    -Rebel Assault II (1995)
    -WEG Gamemaster Screen Revised (1996)
    -WEG Second Edition Rulebook (1996)
    -The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels (implied through arithmetic based on Vicstar dates)
    -I, Jedi (1998) (implied through arithmetic based on character ages, with some help from Interlude at Darkknell)



    There are some sources, like COTJ, which date the Clone Wars later, but there are also some (Han Solo Trilogy, Dark Empire) which seem to imply that the CWs were a pretty long time ago (using words like 'relic' (Han Solo Trilogy) or placing Palpatine's political rise after the Clone Wars have ended (Farlander Papers)). While the date is not always stated outright, it's apparent that authors were using it to build background information - the Vicstar dates are a good example. A lot of 90s sources seem to do this.

    I get the sense that since the 35 date came directly from LFL and was then used in reference books through the Bantam Era, it became the official date from then on - before that, it doesn't seem like there was a set standard for EU authors (though I do think the 35 date is consistent with the cut Blue Leader scene from SW).

    Nub: I never thought of McCallum that way, but your point is well-seen. Though I'm not sure if I considered some of his prequel news stuff deliberate misinformation so much as just not accurate to what was in the final films... but somehow I never put that together with how I knew GL was constantly changing things throughout the process.
  3. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Another Saga & CT Manager

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    Okay, here's an interesting point someone brought up (I can't remember who, or on what thread... sorry).

    In the Making of SW bonus material, GL describes Vader as secretly working against the Jedi behind the scenes before he's finally revealed to all. The interesting thing is that this plot point evidently remained similar all the way through principal photography on Revenge of the Sith - with Anakin killing Dooku/starting to be influenced by the dark side early in the film, still kind of working with the Jedi, and later being at Palpatine's side in his office when Mace Windu and the others come.

    I think this might be the "when I left you" situation. Vader leaves Obi-Wan, then returns, seemingly the same, but starts to become more and more out-of-phase with the (frustrated, less-than-impressive) student Obi-Wan knew (I'm presuming 1977 Vader). Then comes his reveal as a dark side user.


    I just find the malleability of what would at first seem to be 'constant,' 'bedrock' ideas of GL's for the SW backstory fascinating.
  4. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    This has cropped up a fair bit, not sure if the only source is the 1977 quote included in Rinzler:

    "When the Jedi restored order, Darth Vader was still one of the Jedi. What he would do is catch the Jedi off-guard and, using his knowledge of the Force, he would kill the Jedi without them realising what was happening. They trusted him and they didn't realise he was the murderer who was decimating their ranks."

    Bear in mind, though, this applies to Darth Vader, not necessarily Anakin Skywalker. I'm pretty sure Luke's father was being referred to as a separate character in the same conversations, possibly as one of the Jedi victims.
  5. StampidHD280pro Jedi Master

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    And yet in Revenge of the Sith, Vader catches the Jedi in the temple off guard, and Anakin is said to be killed by Vader.[face_thinking]
  6. TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master

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    Fascinating indeed, Thrawn. You're probably right about the "when I left you" situation.





    You're right, Darth_Nub, but he was specified as being the last * victim of the Jedi Purge, at which point Obi-Wan was the only one left. And, being the last one killed in this story, makes it that much harder to mask it as a 'metaphorical' death, iow "he's turned to the dark side/become Darth Vader".....

    *possibly killed when he and Obi-Wan together resolved to 'take out' Vader...
  7. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Another Saga & CT Manager

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    True, though on this particular point Vader's original story and Anakin's eventual story overlap - both are students who learn the dark side apart from the Jedi and then come back to destroy them. The only thing that needed to be added to Vader's 77 story, in this case, was to make him slightly nobler, the way Annikin is spoken about.
  8. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    Is that actually a GL quote or is it from that Mark Hamill account which includes the Emperor landing & Obi-Wan fleeing into the forest? I know I tend to treat Hamill's recollections a bit harshly, but some of them are clearly tainted by hindsight & embellished for the audience's sake, however innocently.


    In which case, is it possible that GL decided to abandon the "secret assassination" storyline when he merged Vader & Luke's father, i.e. around 1977/1978, or did it remain relatively intact until it actually came time to write the PT properly, even as late as the writing of ROTS?
  9. TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master

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    Probably is from the Mark Hamill account. The Lucas one from Rinzler's book says (I think) that Obi-Wan maims/'destroys' Vader in battle after Annikin had already been killed. But, I was pointing out the fact that as far as the Rinzler TMOSW 'Carol Titleman' section* is concerned, Annikin was the very last of the Jedi to be killed by Vader/The Empire, which imo renders some difficulty in construing this as saying that 'Vader' killing the Jedi was actually Annikin having 'secretly' turned to evil and doing the deeds nominally attributed to 'Vader'. Basically, it 'resists' harmonization with the TESB/ROTJ (especially ROTJ) story-line of Father Vader. Iow, at the time of this scenario - July/August '77 - Lucas still had Vader and Annikin as two separate characters in the story.

    *which is the section that you, Thrawn, and myself have been quoting from


    Could be....
  10. Arawn_Fenn Force Ghost

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    Obi-wan didn't describe Anakin as noble.
  11. TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master

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    This isn't the Hayden vs. Shaw thread.
  12. Arawn_Fenn Force Ghost

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    It doesn't matter what thread it is. Obi-Wan's ANH dialogue doesn't change by thread. He never said anything about Anakin being noble.
  13. TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master

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    We're not going to go over this 'noble' bit like happened in the other thread. That's what I meant by "this isn't the Hayden/Shaw thread".
  14. Arawn_Fenn Force Ghost

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    In other words, you're going to continue insisting that Obi-Wan called Anakin noble, when in fact that never happened. Gotcha. If you have to rewrite history to make your case, maybe that's not a good sign.
  15. TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master

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    No "in other words", but what I actually said*. You're not going to derail this discussion, Arawn.


    * "We're not going to go over this 'noble' bit like happened in the other thread."


    Getting back to the discussion:


    Darth_Nub:

    Probably is from the Mark Hamill account. The Lucas one from Rinzler's book says (I think) that Obi-Wan maims/'destroys' Vader in battle after Annikin had already been killed. But, I was pointing out the fact that as far as the Rinzler TMOSW 'Carol Titleman' section* is concerned, Annikin was the very last of the Jedi to be killed by Vader/The Empire , which imo renders some difficulty in construing this as saying that 'Vader' killing the Jedi was actually Annikin having 'secretly' turned to evil and doing the deeds nominally attributed to 'Vader'. Basically, it 'resists' harmonization with the TESB/ROTJ (especially ROTJ) story-line of Father Vader. Iow, at the time of this scenario - July/August '77 - Lucas still had Vader and Annikin as two separate characters in the story.

    *which is the section that you, Thrawn, and myself have been quoting from


    Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn and Darth_Nub:

    as per the "secret assassination" bit remaining through to ROTS, it could very well be the case.

  16. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    As far as the July/August scenario not fitting with the later Father Vader storyline in terms of Annikin & Vader being separate characters, of course that's the case (if Luke's father is mentioned in it).

    However, there's nothing to say that after the Father Vader storyline was put in place that Anakin couldn't have turned to the Dark Side earlier & carried out these assassinations in secret, except, perhaps, the notion that it may have made him just that bit too unsympathetic & calculated to make his redemption work for the audience. Whether or not GL considered this in 1978, 1993 or 2002 is the question, although I'd say he might have abandoned it during the early 1990s development of the PT, rather than later, when he decided to follow the character of Anakin more closely, as opposed to Obi-Wan.
    Most of the character development of Anakin throughout the PT points towards him being seduced by the Dark Side on emotional level (tendency towards anger, refusal to let go), rather than through greed, lust for power & so on. Remnants of a power-hungry Anakin do exist in AOTC & ROTS with hints of his fascist tendencies, but they seem to take a back seat to him simply being unable to control his more selfish instincts.

    It's pure speculation, but it's my belief that Obi-Wan's investigation into the assassination attempt of Padme in AOTC had its genesis in the original storyline of Obi-Wan investigating the systematic murder of Jedi Knights, & basically replaced it. There's this July 1981 Starlog quote from GL about the PT:

    "The other ones are a little more Machiavellian ? it?s all plotting ? more of a mystery."

    While this seems to encompass the PT as a whole, and could easily cover the behind-the-scenes machinations of Darth Sidious we eventually saw, it also fits perfectly with the idea that the Darth Vader & his master were carrying out their extermination of the Jedi Order in secret, at least at first.
  17. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Another Saga & CT Manager

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    This is exactly what is said to have happened to Vader in those same conversations.

    Also, with regard to how much the storyline would be changed post-1977 to "make Vader's redemption work," in the early versions of ROTJ the redemption was subtle and hardly remarked-upon. Not even close to what it has become.

    Also, as far as the assassinations of senators, etc - this, too, is mentioned in the conversations if I recall. OR at least the concept of senators resisting the new order, being killed, the Jedi discovering the plot, rushing to their aid, and being massacred.
  18. ATMachine Jedi Master

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    Hey guys, thought I'd pop in on this thread...

    A couple of minor notes before I really get started.

    On the question of Vader drinking from a flask, he does so when talking to Leia early in the third draft of ANH. "Vader raises his arm and a flask on the table mysteriously jumps into his open hand. He casually drinks from the flask." Presumably Vader takes off his helmet to do this. Of course, in this draft Ben Kenobi was the cyborg character.

    In the fourth draft the Vader-and-flask scene comes later in the film, and he no longer drinks from the cup--rather he crushes it with the Force. "Vader stirs slightly and a cup mysteriously floats into his hand. [...] He raises his hand and crumples the metal cup before him without touching it." Now Vader doesn't need to take off his helmet. This, coupled with Lucas dropping at the same time the notion of Ben Kenobi's mechanical arm from the previous draft, is likely why Rinzler assumes Vader's transition to half-man, half-machine came with the fourth draft.

    Also, as noted earlier, the Sith Knights became scarred and deformed (from dark Force use) in Lucas' imagination only between the first and second drafts of ANH. Notably, however, the first draft implied that Sith Knights were not irredeemably evil. The character of Prince Valorum, a Sith Knight who ultimately joins the Jedi cause, laments to Jedi Annikin Starkiller that "This is a place for androids, no codes, no honor. Our ways are useless here." He's implying that the Jedi and the Sith are both honorable warrior castes, just fighting on different sides of a war. But from the second draft onward, when the Sith warriors' villainy is made physically manifest in their deformity, their evil is permanent and unchangeable.

    In regard to Lucas retaining certain descriptions from draft to draft: It appears he never changed a word of the script if he could help it, and indeed often retained phrases from earlier drafts, even when his ideas for the story had evolved. Thus, both Deak Starkiller in draft two and Leia Organa in draft three are said to be "bloody and mutilated" when found in an Imperial prison cell, but Deak's injuries (he was the one for whom the phrase was written) are serious enough that other characters comment on it, and he remains unconscious for the rest of the film; whereas Leia shows no sign of injury and is up and about within a few pages.

    Likewise, Chewbacca remains "an eight foot tall savage-looking creature resembling a huge gray bushbaby monkey with fierce "baboon-like" fangs" from the second draft until the shooting script, even after his appearance had been redesigned to look more friendly. For the same reason--namely, economy of writing--X-Wings and Y-Wings are described as Flash Gordon-style "silver starships" in the fourth draft and even in the shooting script, long after the more detailed, 2001-esque starship models had begun to be designed.

    Put simply, you can't always trust the descriptions in Lucas' SW scripts, simply because he preferred to communicate any new ideas verbally to his production crew, rather than labor to write good script text to describe new ideas in new drafts.

    ----

    Anyway, I want to discuss a bit the nature of the Empire as posited in the drafts of ANH.

    In the earliest notes for the Journal of the Whills version of ANH, the Galactic Empire is ruled by "Emperor Ford Xerxes XII" or "Alexander Xerxes XII." This is a clear homage to Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV Corrino from Frank Herbert's Dune. Presumably, like Shaddam IV, Ford/Alexander Xerxes XII was the heir to a long-standing dynasty of hereditary Galactic Emperors. (Worth noting is that it's rumored in the novel that Shaddam had his own father assassinated in order to succeed to the throne... perhaps the Galactic Emperor was to be similarly ruthless?)

    Besides the Galactic Empire, there was also to be an Alliance of Independent Systems, whose Chairman employed the Jedi-Bendu master Mace Windy. (The Jedi-Templers were trained at an
  19. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    Good example of this is Ralph McQuarrie's 'poster' concept, which was done in between drafts two & three, I think:

    [image=http://mystarwarsobsession.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/mcquarrie-posterdraft1.jpg]

    Main point of interest being the 'female Luke' at the front, a character which doesn't exist in any draft, but is well-known as an idea that GL was toying with.


    That's a great summary of the 'Journal Of The Whills' outline, I'd never realised how close it was to TPM. I've usually only read it in snippets, & GL's actual writing of it was quite confusing, anyway.
    Good to have you back around here, BTW.
  20. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    Regarding the presence of the Sith in the original drafts, & the Emperor's evolution towards being one of them (or a Dark Force user), which isn't really explicit until the film of ESB (Brackett's draft hints at it, but isn't 100% definite), there's this interesting little bit from the January 1, 1976 fourth draft of The Star Wars (as opposed to the revised fourth draft, which was effectively the shooting script):


    BEN
    So your uncle told your for your own good, but your father was one of the last of the Jedi Knights. For over a thousand generations Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic? that was before the Empire, before the dark times. That was when the great senate ruled the galaxy and all the solar systems were free? no taxes, no fear. There was order in the universe and the Jedi Knights were the most powerful, most respected force in the galaxy.
    LUKE
    What happened to them?
    BEN
    The same thing that happened to your father. They were betrayed. Betrayed by a young Jedi, Darth Vader, one of my disciples, one of my failures. The Emperor made him a Sith Lord and he became evil and powerful. One by one the Jedi were hunted down and destroyed by this Dark Lord of the Sith. Now the Jedi are all but extinct. I?m afraid I am the last. Vader has chased me across the galaxy but I?ve outsmarted him. He?s still looking for me, but I?m well hidden and The Force is strong with me.



    Given that the 'Master Of The Sith' mentioned in earlier drafts isn't referred to in this one, I'm inclined to think that this is, at least, an indication that GL was already considering merging this character with the Emperor. The revised fourth draft eliminates this reference, however, it's basically identical to the film.

    Alan Dean Foster's ghost-written novelisation makes a few more references, but again, there's nothing definite. I'm inclined to think that a couple of lines point to the existence of other Sith Lords existing in the galaxy as part of a larger organisation:

    Two meters tall. Bipedal. Flowing black robes trailing from the figure and a face forever masked by a functional if bizarre black metal breath screen - a Dark Lord of the Sith was an awesome, threatening shape as it strode through the corridors of the rebel ship.
    Fear followed the footsteps of all the Dark Lords. The cloud of evil which clung tight about this particular one was intense enough to cause hardened Imperial troops to back away, menacing enough to set them muttering nervously among themselves. Once-resolute rebel crew members ceased resisting, broke and ran in panic at the sight of the black armor - armor which, though black as it was, was not nearly as dark as the thoughts drifting through the mind within.


    Prior to the conference of Imperial officers:

    'I tell you, he's gone too far this time,' the General was insisting vehemently. 'This Sith Lord inflicted on us at the urging of the Emperor will be our undoing. Until the battle station is fully operational, we remain vulnerable.'

    Vader's thoughts before the destruction of Alderaan

    Despite his advances and intricate technological methods of annihilation, the actions of mankind remained unnoticeable to an uncaring, unimaginably vast universe. If Vader's grandest plans ever came to pass, all that would change.
    He was well aware that despite all their intelligence and drive, the vastness and wonder were lost on the two men who continued to chatter monkeylike behind him. Tarkin and Motti were talented and ambitious, but they saw things only on the scale of human pettiness. It was a pity, Vader thought, that they did not possess the scope to match their abilities.
    Still, neither man was a Dark Lord. As such, little more could be expected of them. These two were useful now. and dangerous, but someday they, like Alderaan, would have to be swept aside. For now he could not afford to ignore them. And while he would have preferred the company of equals, he had to admit reluctantly that at this point, he had no equals.
  21. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Another Saga & CT Manager

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    So I found something old-by-now but interesting on JW Rinzler's [link=http://twitpic.com/58pdcj]Twitter[/link]. He's currently researching for a Making of ROTJ book.

    It says: "Found some early Lucas script notes for ROTJ, which pre-date rough draft. Interesting to decipher."

    There's also a picture but it's too lo-res to read anything.

    What's most interesting to me is the possibility that somewhere in there (or in other notes he would have come across, hopefully) there might be a "first mention" of Leia becoming the Other, or other tangential thoughts regarding the Sequel films and how the whole narrative was being shifted.
  22. ATMachine Jedi Master

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    Most likely, if there is anything to that effect in the notes, it won't be mentioned at all in the book. Gotta maintain the fiction that "it's always been this way," after all.
  23. TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master

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    I get where you're coming from, ATMachine, but..isn't 'book three' (i.e. Making of ROTJ) a bit LATE for making the claim that "it's always been this way (since 1975 or so)"? Seems to me that the time for that charade/fiction would have been with the first book back in '07 - the Making of SW.
  24. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    I'm expecting the ROTJ book to have a heap of tantalising things in it, just as TMOESB did, but also for it to distort things in the same way. The real fascinating part of TMOESB was the early chapters regarding the writing, but about half way through I realised Rinzler wasn't being completely honest - he'd present story developments in the order it seemed LFL wanted them to be perceived as having happened (big picture, including 5 prequel chapters, then move on to hammering out the script of ESB) as opposed to the way they actually did. It's quite clear that the vague 'Saga' outlines date from after the early drafts of ESB, but the way Rinzler presents them, you'd think GL was working out the whole saga first, then developing the actual script of the next film (or even fine tuning the huge script from 1973:rolleyes: ).
    He doesn't actually say this, but you can see the manipulation going on, particularly as a great deal is undated and unreferenced. He's very vague & dismissive of the 12 and 9 episode saga plans, even though he does present a few new quotes.

    Of course I'll buy the next one, but as with all things LFL, take with a large helping of salt.
    TOSCHESTATION likes this.
  25. TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master

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    One could see the approach taken with TMOTESB as 'damage control' in regards to the first book (TMOSW). Think about it: the Lucas/A.D. Foster/Dykstra discussion of the nature of the SW sequels*, and the 'George Lucas Expands His Universe' section by itself pretty much dispels much of the 'it was always this way' mythos.

    *instead of confirming some of the OT 'saga' conceits (Vader as the father, Leia as sister), those conceits are actually DIS-confirmed: (1) the implication that the 'big reveal' for film number two would have been the identity of Annikin's murderer being none other than Vader..and (2) that Luke would finally 'get' Leia in the end ( after it appearing that Han would).