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CT Saving Return of the Jedi just with editing.

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by starwarsfan54, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. starwarsfan54

    starwarsfan54 Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    May 29, 2017
    I think that the biggest problem with RotJ is the pacing, the movie can become very dull and dragged down by overly long scenes. George was always big on saying that a movie was made in the editing room and I've been thinking how you could rearrange or cut scenes to make RotJ stronger.

    The movie starts with a rather pointless scene of Darth Vader talking to a random Imperial, this should be replaced with the scene of the Emperor arriving that is later in the movie.

    The Jabba sequence goes on far too long and that's mainly because the same theme of someone showing up at Jabba's palace and getting captured happens three times, the entire Jabba sequence should begin with Luke coming through the door, everything prior to that was superfluous and should be cut.

    After the Leia/Luke speeder bike sequence we get another action scene of Leia and now Wicket fighting stormtroopers, that action scene should be cut, the speeder bike sequence was enough and all that scene needs is Leia meeting Wicket and communicating with him.

    The entire scene of Luke meeting ghost Obi Wan should be removed, it's just an exposition dump repeating what was said in the Yoda scene but more directly.

    Endor really drags but the only thing I can think of that really demands cutting is the pointless sequence of R2 trying to open the bunker and then getting shot.

    Any other editing ideas?
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
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  2. Oissan

    Oissan Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Mar 9, 2001
    I don't think that RotJ needs any saving, and I don't think your ideas improve the movie in any way either.

    The opening scene is (or was at that time) required to introduce the Emperor and how he is even more feared than Vader. It is also necessary to imply that the Death Star is not yet operational, to build up the surprise when it turns out that it is indeed ready for action.

    Starting the Jabba sequence with Luke's arrival doesn't work at all. You would leave out why 3PO and R2 are suddenly working for Jabba, why Leia is in that slave-costume, and how Han got freed from the carbonite. Those things are way too important to not show them in the movie. You also weaken the impact of Leia strangling Jabba later on.

    The Leia&Wicket action bit is something you could perhaps remove, but I wouldn't do it, because it is quite interesting in itself and dropping it doesn't really achieve much at all.

    Luke meeting Obi Wan is kind of important, seeing how it was Obi Wan who told Luke about the death of his father. The confrontation over this, and the chance for Obi Wan to explain himself is necessary, else you end up with Luke carrying that with him the entire time, even when Obi Wan, Yoda and Anakin appear together.

    If you remove R2 attempting to open the door, you need to have him somewhere else so that there is a reason why they didn't use him to open the door. He was by far the most obvious choice to open the door, so not using him would require some sort of explanation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  3. TheAvengerButton

    TheAvengerButton Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 11, 2011
    There is nothing pointless about ROTJ's opening scene.

    I think you're going to run into the opposite problem of what you want by combining the opening scene's reveal of the DSII with the Emperor's arrival--too much at once. It's an information overload.

    Really, I think you've picked the worst scenes to edit or cut, as they are all pretty essential to the plot of the film. The Jabba scenes are a slow crescendo to a fantastic action sequence where we get to see all of our favorite characters coming together once again since the start of the Empire Strikes Back to fight together. Everyone being introduced one at a time only heightens the suspense of when and how they are going to fight their way out of Jabba's Palace.

    The Obi-Wan scene needs to be dumped? What?

    EDIT: Ninja'd by Oissan.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  4. Sara_Kenobi

    Sara_Kenobi Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Registered:
    Sep 21, 2000
    I wouldn't change anything with Return of the Jedi.
     
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  5. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 6

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    Nov 12, 2012
    Not every reaction shot of Ewoks or Ewoks fighting is pure gold, probably could have taken a minute of the running time by trimming some Ewoks down. Like when Chief Chripa is jabbering and pointing, those shots are a hair too long. Ditto with the space battle, lose a few shots here and there. By contrast, the Luke/Vader/Emperor stuff in the 3rd act feels under served when they keep cutting away from it. Random Jabba henchmen shots at the start of the movie could have dropped a few there.

    There aren't any full scenes from ROTJ I think should be outright dropped but that third act ground/space battle seems to be a lot of lotness when the core of the movie is with Luke.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
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  6. JamieH

    JamieH Jedi Knight star 2

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    Dec 25, 2015
    You have to remember the 3rd act space battle was, in 1983, mind-blowingly unbelievable. I mean, look at how well it holds up to CGI stuff 30+ years later! So I give them a huge pass for leaving in as many extra shots of that stuff as they did, because they were mostly showing off how ILM was about 10 years ahead of everyone else in terms of special effects. That was a HUGE payoff for the end of the trilogy IMO.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
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  7. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 6

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    Nov 12, 2012
    I'm not saying it doesn't look great, it's just, like, a lot. But I'd think trimming some Ewok / jabba henchmen shots first would be the best thing if one wanted to shave a minute or two off the running time.
     
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  8. Rickleo123

    Rickleo123 Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    May 20, 2016
    Your cuts are wayyyyy too drastic, I could see a FEW minutes being cut from the Ewoks, Jabbas palace and Endor space battle but NO WAY can you cut out Force Obi-Wan or opening scenes of Vader from the movie, that makes no sense.
     
  9. starwarsfan54

    starwarsfan54 Jedi Padawan star 1

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    May 29, 2017
    The movie as is doesn't show Lando infiltrating Jabba's palace but the audience can easily infer it, the same would work with C3-PO and Leia.

    Editing would make it seem they were infiltrators which in my view works better than the hair brained scheme that leads to them all being captured one after the other.
     
  10. JamieH

    JamieH Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2015
    I love how one writer in a magazine writes an article and now everyone is parroting how it was some terrible scheme.

    I said this over in the sequel forum. The plan was not the best. Neither was the Death Star attack. Neither was the Rebel attack on Endor. Star Wars has never exactly been Oceans 11 in terms of strategy.

    But look, the plan wasn't terrible. Lando went in first as an embed. That was successful. The droids went in second to get Luke's lightsaber through security in case it was needed. That was also successful. Then Leia tried to get Han out without a fight. She almost succeeds. Yeah people are saying "But what about Chewie". Did you forget about Lando? Lando was probably embedded in there to get Chewie out once Leia escaped with Han.

    Ok, so Leia's plan failed. Luke was plan B with the Jedi mind-trick. I suspect Luke was surprised it failed so miserably with Jabba. Jabba is the first character we have seen just shrug the mind-trick off like that. So ok, now things have really gone south. So they have to fall back to the emergency plan, which is to get Luke his lightsaber from R2 and fight their way out.

    Sure, this thing has the obious plot hole that all movies have in that if the bad guys had just shot the good guys when they had the chance, the movie would be over. But in terms of a rescue plan, it isn't the worst in the world. Remember, the were working with limited people and resources. It isn't like they had an entire squad of soldiers to use or something. So, yeah, their somewhat not great plan really failed and they had to fight their way out. I guess I don't really have a giant problem with it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
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  11. Bob Effette

    Bob Effette Jedi Knight star 3

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    Dec 20, 2015
    We should drop the entire scene with Luke and Vader on the gantry on Endor, we don't need to be reminded that he was once Anakin, we know already. Plus, we can see that Luke has a new lightsaber from earlier on, we don't need Vader to tell us, that's just stupid.

    The whole Rancor scene. Get rid. Have Luke slide down the chute into the pit, look round in confusion and then cut to the scene where the henchmen are getting him out. We don't need to see the Rancor, it's pointless. (You would need to cut out the scene of the Rancor Keeper crying too)

    Cut the scene where the Emperor turns to his aides. We don't need to see that. Better to show the Emperor as having no friends anyway, enhances the character.

    Cut the entire Dagobah scene. Have Luke go straight to the fleet. When he enters the briefing room saying "I'm with you too!", that can be explained as Luke having just been to the bathroom.

    Restore Nyub Nyub.


    A shorter, neater, better film.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  12. Martoto77

    Martoto77 Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 6, 2016
    It's not overly long scenes as such. Just too long in one location.

    Some limp and sloppy looking coverage in a few places.

    And Vader being an almost totally passive character until the duel at the end was a mistake. The reaching out scene should have been kept in. It would have made the ambiguity of Luke's destiny much stronger and enhanced the film overall.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  13. starwarsfan54

    starwarsfan54 Jedi Padawan star 1

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    May 29, 2017
    You are probably unaware that originally the Degobah scene was not in RotJ, the Yoda scenes were added to the script because Richard Marquand wanted to work with the Yoda puppet.

    The Rancor scene is something that should have been removed at the script stage because it's just a trial run of the Sarlacc scene but as is it's too deeply entrenched in the movie to remove in editing.
     
  14. Martoto77

    Martoto77 Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 6, 2016

    The Rancor scene provides the reveal of a Luke Skywalker that's more familiar to the audience than the foreboding spectre that strode into the palace, choking guards and making threats. After discarding the Vader-like cape and hood, some hairy moments he hangs in there and cleverly slays the dragon but immediately gets recaptured. Making him once more the sympathetic, vulnerable hero we've been rooting for.

    (If R2's message hadn't already spoiled it! It's a pity that a "holograph" of black hooded Luke wouldn't register on screen properly.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  15. Oissan

    Oissan Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Mar 9, 2001
    No, the same wouldn't work at all. It is one thing for Lando to get in to become part of the crew, but you can't just ignore Leia suddenly being a slave, or Han suddenly not being frozen in carbonite anymore. it also works a whole lot better as a "grand plan" when the droids get send by Luke as a present, instead of them just suddenly being there. Not to mention that this scene is important to show that Luke first tried to negotiate a settlement and only took action when it was clear that Jabba wouldn't have it any other way.

    Mot sure where this is coming from, because Yoda was in every version of the script, even when it was still something completely different. The scenes as it happened in the movie wasn't in the rough draft - though Yoda still appeared in other form to talk to Luke - but it definately was in the 2nd and 3rd draft.
     
  16. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Honestly, this kind of simplifications don't help your argument at all. It is true that in the first drafts of the script written by Lucas, Luke didn't go to Dagobah (but communicated with Yoda through the Force). That was because the structure of the movie was different: the current "Act 1" of Jabba's palace was longer and happened simultaneously with other storylines, and Luke was transported directly from Tatooine to the Emperor at the end of the second act of the movie. When Lucas, Marquand and Kasdan sat down to re-write the script they changed the structure of the movie, with the whole Jabba sequence being used as an "independent" Act 1/Prologue, which allowed Luke to go to Dagobah.
    But to say that those scenes where created just because Marquand said "hey, I want to play with the Yoda puppet in my movie too!" is simplistic and naive.

    Personally, and even though the idea of making the first act of the movie a quasi-independent short film is rather unusual, I do like it. It allows us to just have fun with our heroes in an alien, grotesque environment, before dealing with the big issues of the story. It's unbashingly over-the-top, gross, nasty, and un-dramatic (and when we were kids, my sister would just close her eyes through the entire sequence).
    And Lucas obviously liked the structure of it because Revenge of the Sith does the same thing with its first act.
     
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  17. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

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    Dec 8, 2015
    When I read the thread title I was rather thinking of minuscule editing. Even by 1983 standards (IMHO) some scenes in ROJ are a few frames too long.

    Examples: Luke "waiting" for his lightsaber to land in his hands or how long he holds it up later on on Jabba's sailing barge.

    Some micro editing would have helped the flow of some scenes, but other than that I have little complaints (rather the contrary, I would have liked to see more of the space battle footage that got deleted... :_|)
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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  18. AndyLGR

    AndyLGR Jedi Master star 4

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    May 1, 2014
    Jedi doesn't need saving at all.

    I have to agree with the majority and say that the cuts proposed are too drastic, cut the Jabba scene down to it starting when Luke arrives and it becomes too short. As it stands I think that opening of 30 minutes or so is a decent running time for it, reintroduces the characters and for me is a nice addition to the SW universe with a separate adventure.

    Moff Jerjerod at the start is not a pointless scene either, it sets up the surprise that the Emperor is going to be in the film later. As it happens Jerjerod was intended to be in the film more, with some pivotal scenes towards the end as they turn the Death Star on Endor, unfortunately it all got cut.

    I'd agree with an earlier post about some of the additional Vader scenes, I like the call out to Luke (although I think Lukes mysterious entrance to the palace is a much better way to introduce him to the film) and also Vader having a showdown with an officer and the royal guards too.
     
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  19. Martoto77

    Martoto77 Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 6, 2016
    For many years I've dreamed about an SW movie opening with the familiar star field but the camera pulls back and back and back to reveal that we are looking out from the inside the giant hangar bay of a ship or battle station which is receiving a smaller ship (all rights reserved for @Martoto77.) I believe that it would have been a swifter opening scene of Vader's arrival done almost in one shot. That could have allowed time for the scenes of Vader calling Luke.

    The reveal of the half constructed DSII could have been withheld until the arrival of the Emperor, meaning that a lot of shots of the Death Star and shuttles needn't have been repeated the way they are in the movie.
     
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  20. JamieH

    JamieH Jedi Knight star 2

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    Dec 25, 2015
     
  21. Martoto77

    Martoto77 Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 6, 2016
    Do what I say or be destroyed is a choice that is not really consistent with Jedi dogma though.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  22. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2015
    But the prologue explicitly referred to the new Death Star so audiences expected to see it. And IMHO the best Star Wars matte painting ever done (maybe even the most elaborate in film history, quite a feat then ILM newbie Chris Evans accomplished here) was economically used.

    [​IMG]

    We saw it like this upon Vader's arrival, the Emperor's arrival made a close-up camera pan to reveal the emperor's shuttle parked in the main bay and upon Luke's departure we saw it illuminated with hundreds of explosions.

    I was rather annoyed with the obvious reuse of footage shot for ESB (Luke's X-Wing veering off to Dagobah, again) and ANH (pilots and stormtroopers running through Death Star I corridors).
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  23. Martoto77

    Martoto77 Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 6, 2016
    The crawl can be changed too. I'm not talking about making it a twist (otherwise they'd have to change the posters). But a gradual reveal of the massive, incomplete station at that stage, including the hangar matte painting, until we get a full shot of the Half Star dwarfing even the Central Command ship.

    (I've had this entire scene in my head for years)

    The matte painting is wonderful.

    I just think all the eggs could have been put in the one basket and enhanced the arrival of the, fabled Emperor. Like you said. They abbreviate his landing because the audience couldn't be subjected to a repeat of virtually the exact same sequence as the exhaustive opening one.
     
  24. Tython Awakening

    Tython Awakening Jedi Knight star 2

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    Oct 12, 2017
    As a six-year old, I remember being simply in rapt by ROTJ. This was by far my favorite film as a child. I just ate everything up. I convinced my parents to buy as many action figures as possible. I maintained a SW collection of Kenner action figures in an old backpack and collected books as well.

    As I got older, scenes after they land on the forest Moon of Endor started to seem drawn out. There is some lull towards the middle of the film when they land in the Ewok forest and get trapped in the net.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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  25. starwarsfan54

    starwarsfan54 Jedi Padawan star 1

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    May 29, 2017
    The Rancor scene is "Luke shows off his new found Jedi powers by fighting a monster in the ground" which is the same thing as the sarlacc scene, there doesn't need to be two similar scenes back to back. The original conception of the scene with Luke doing an incredible leap was even worse given how badly it would have undercut the Sarlacc scene.

    Luke getting shot in the hand by a random guard establishes Luke's vulnerability far better than anything in the Rancor scene.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018