Saga SW Saga In-Depth In-Depth Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by only one kenobi, Dec 23, 2013.

Moderators: Darth_Nub, Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn
  1. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    I'm not sure what this might do thematically ('more machine than man' = being controlled by the machine, perhaps), but that sounds cool.
  2. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Heads up, guys: according to this SW.com blog post, JW Rinzler has written another OT book, due for release on October 28, this time about the costumes of the OT. It's called (no prizes for guessing the title) Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy.

    It should include not just photographs of the surviving costumes in the Lucasfilm Archives, but pictures of the original costume concept art as well. And Rinzler has apparently interviewed all three of the principal costume designers for the OT: John Mollo, Aggie Guerard Rodgers, and Nilo Rodis-Jamero.

    There's another book added to my "must check out" list.
  3. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    I just finished watching Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. Outstanding film.

    You can very clearly see in that movie several characters whom Lucas basically borrowed wholesale for the rough-draft script of ANH:

    The leader of the samurai is Kambei Shimada, a grey-haired old warrior who is nonetheless extremely good at forming an effective strategy to hold off the bandits who are attacking the film's peasant village. Although this character was not played by Toshiro Mifune, he fits the role of General Luke Skywalker (the Ben Kenobi figure) from Lucas's original rough draft to a T. (However, Mifune did play a very similar character in Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress.) Like General Skywalker in the rough draft, Kambei survives to the end of the film.

    Kambei has a young apprentice, Katsushiro Okamada, who dresses in white, much like young Annikin Starkiller in the rough draft. Katsushiro is mild and gentle in temperament, but he desperately wants to become a famous samurai, much as Luke Skywalker dreams of leaving behind his farm-boy's existence.

    Out of all Kurosawa's samurai films, Seven Samurai is the one that most clearly portrays a one-on-one master-pupil relationship. It may well have been this movie that inspired Lucas to attempt the same with his Jedi mentor and "Padawan learner" in his early concepts for ANH.

    Another member of the Seven Samurai is Kambei's old comrade-in-arms, Shichiroji. This character actually seems to be the initial model for Kane Starkiller from the ANH rough draft. Although in the completed script Kane is Annikin's father, originally that seems not to have been the case: In the earliest notes for the "Journal of the Whills," he is noted instead as "Kane Highsinger," a "Jedi friend" of the protagonists. This suggests that Kane's character was originally an independent Jedi comrade of General Skywalker, like Shichiroji in Seven Samurai, until being changed in the actual script to introduce the idea of a father figure.

    (Kane Highsinger also suggests something of the early version of Qui-Gon in the TPM first draft: Obi-Wan's "mentor and good friend" who didn't actually show up until Obi-Wan arrived on Coruscant.)

    A fourth samurai is Kyuzo, an extremely competent and deadly swordsman, who is nonetheless polite and soft-spoken. Katsushiro admires him greatly, and is sorely grieved when he is killed. This may perhaps be reflected in the death of Ben Kenobi in the finished version of ANH.

    And then there's Kikuchiyo, played by Toshiro Mifune: a wild man and a comic figure, a shameless skirt-chaser, full of outspoken bravado, who nonetheless hides a tragic background. Unlike the other samurai, Kikuchiyo is not actually a samurai by birth: he was born a peasant and was orphaned when his village was attacked by bandits. He tries to keep this a secret, and the revelation of his past is a dramatic moment in the film. Kikuchiyo is clearly the Han Solo figure of the group, the cocksure braggart who nonetheless possesses remarkable reserves of both cunning and sensitivity.

    Ultimately, Kikuchiyo dies a samurai's death at the climax of the film, killing the last of the bandits and bringing peace to the village. One is reminded of the persistent desire of Harrison Ford, and perhaps also Lawrence Kasdan, to have Han meet a similar noble end, in order to let Luke and Leia get together. Unfortunately for them, Lucas imagined Han and Leia respectively as Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, and wanted them together instead.

    I suspect that Lucas's major issue with writing Annikin as a character in the ANH rough draft was that he wanted Annikin to be an eager young samurai-in-training, like Katsushiro--but he also wanted him to have the confidence and swagger of Toshiro Mifune in his various samurai roles (not least Yojimbo). Which would conflict with the idea of a young, inexperienced and mild-mannered warrior apprentice. In the final film Lucas responded to this by splitting off the cocksure braggart into Han Solo, and letting Luke Skywalker assume the role of the novice warrior--separate characters, just like in Seven Samurai.

    One other subplot in Kurosawa's film involves a romance between Katsushiro and Shino, a farmer's daughter. Much is made of the forbidden quality of their love affair. Because they come from different social classes (Katsushiro is noble and Shino is lowly) it is suggested that their relationship may be ultimately doomed. The idea of a forbidden love affair, prohibited by the protagonists' social classes, would of course show up in AOTC.

    Plus, on the night before the final battle, Shino entices Katsushiro into having sex with her in a barn. The discovery of this liaison causes her father to explode with rage, beating her and crying that she has become "damaged goods."

    One suspects that this latter scene is the source of Annikin Starkiller's dalliance in a closet with a pretty young female aide in the rough-draft script of ANH. Unlike Katsushiro's love affair with Shino, this is presented as merely a fling, because at the end of the script Annikin becomes the consort of Princess Leia Aquilae. (But of course Annikin introduces himself to Princess Leia by knocking her unconscious in order to rescue her--showing his roguish side in action. One naturally wonders what ideas young Lucas had regarding women.)

    Oh, and unlike the protagonists (usually played by Toshiro Mifune) in other Kurosawa films, Katsushiro (played by Isao Kimura) actually sports a form of chonmage, with the hair on the crown of his head shaved above a topknot, in traditional samurai fashion. The idea of a protagonist with a samurai tonsure would reoccur in Moebius's concept art of Madmartigan for Willow.

    (Katsushiro's mentor Kambei actually shaves his entire head--a dishonorable act for an ordinary samurai--in his first scene in the film, disguising himself as a monk in order to rescue a small child. Mifune's Kikuchiyo, on the other hand, has a much milder form of chonmage, with the hair on his crown merely kept at normal modern-day length, unlike the longer hair on the sides. Maybe this was Mifune's preference, since he's virtually never seen full-on bald.)
    Last edited by ATMachine, Jul 10, 2014
  4. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Good post, but I don't think The Seven Samurai can be parallelled quite so directly with the SW Saga - for a start, Mifune's character of Kikuchiyo is far too manic to be considered the equivalent of Han Solo, he doesn't have the smarts and genuine experience to back up his bravado. I have seen him better compared to another SW character, though - none other than Jar-Jar Binks!

    TSS seems to exist in the same 'universe' as The Hidden Fortress, which provided a sort of bedrock for 'The Star Wars', so it's inevitable that some similarities are present - the shot of the bandits approaching over the ridge prior to the final battle was directly referenced in the Trade Federation vehicles appearing on a hill in TPM (first shot in the second TPM trailer), much as the first shot of the Gungans emerging from the swamp in the first TPM trailer echoed the eerie haunted forest in Kurosawa's Throne of Blood.


    This, I completely agree with. From recently reading the Dark Horse adaptation of The Star Wars, you can see the PT character of Anakin Skywalker in Annikin Starkiller, but that's not what GL was trying to achieve - he was writing the character to be the young hero, not a flawed warrior with doom awaiting him. The success of Luke Skywalker/Starkiller's characterisation rested heavily on his naivete and inexperience, and it's what audiences responded to.

    I think Han evolved from multiple characters in the earlier drafts (including the Jedi General Luke Skywalker), but in terms of the 'team' the story follows, yes, he fills the cocky half of the role originally served by Annikin Starkiller as one persona.
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  5. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    I still do think Seven Samurai was a big influence on Lucas's rough draft in several ways--most notably in the one-on-one master/pupil relationship of the two principal Jedi characters, as well as Annikin's sexual escapades in a closet. However, I do agree that Kikuchiyo is much more buffoonish than the Han Solo of the final ANH.

    Talking of the rough draft, there seem to be some decidedly un-family-friendly aspects that got toned down in later drafts. Specifically, graphic violence and quite likely nudity.

    In that draft, when the main characters reach the planet Yavin, they descend from their damaged spacecraft in lifepods and are separated on the surface. Annikin Starkiller, who by this point is in love with Princess Leia, goes searching for her. He finds a party of slimy, deformed "trappers," who are celebrating their latest acquisitions of Wookee pelts and scavenged goods.

    At that point a shirtless trapper goes into his ship and brings out Leia, "unconscious and half naked," clearly with the intent to rape her. Now, "half-naked" is an ambiguous term, but Leia likely really is partially nude, because at the sight of her Annikin is immediately enraged beyond endurance. He leaps down into their midst and starts swinging his laser sword (not yet a "lightsaber"). He kills several of the trappers, but one of them escapes with the Princess.

    Then the Wookees join in the battle, and one of them "snaps [a trapper] in two like a stick of wood." That's quite a graphic image, the sort of thing which the final film could only allude to, with the dialogue during the holo-chess scene on the Millennium Falcon.

    Princess Leia is subsequently handed over to the Empire, and taken to the Imperial space station in orbit over Aquilae. No mention is made of whether her Imperial captors give her new clothes, so it's actually possible she remains semi-nude for the rest of the script, including the whole sequence where Annikin rescues her.

    The recent Dark Horse comics adaptation ducked this issue, as the comics' Leia shows much less flesh in these scenes than appears to have been the case in the original script.

    Of course, if we take at face value the script's description of Leia Aquilae as being only 14 years old, Lucas could hardly get away with having her naked if the film were to be actually made. He'd either have to age Leia up or keep her clothes on. Lucas seems to have been torn here between fidelity to his cinematic model, Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress--whose heroine Princess Yuki is likewise underage--and sheer titillation value.

    Mind you, Edgar Rice Burroughs got away with a bare-breasted heroine in his Barsoom series, but A) that was on the printed page, not on celluloid, and B) nobody on Burroughs's Mars wears clothing anyway, so it doesn't demean Dejah Thoris to walk around naked.

    Still, I can't help but suspect that the idea of Barsoomian nudity--as well as other similar influences, like Frank Frazetta's paintings--was in Lucas's mind when he wrote these scenes in the rough draft. In which case, presumably Leia would be dressed decently for the first two-thirds of the film, only to shift into full-on Dejah Thoris-style toplessness for the third act.

    Lucas would return to the idea of clothing damage for the heroine in AOTC, but by that point SW had become a much more family-friendly thing, so there Padme only exposes her midriff.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Jul 14, 2014
  6. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Even in the rough draft, Lucas imagined his heroes as wearing white clothing, so presumably Princess Leia's outfit there would be quite similar to what Carrie Fisher wears in the final film. And if I'm right in suggesting a Dejah Thoris/Frank Frazetta parallel for her clothing damage, then Leia Aquilae would presumably be reduced to wearing just a tattered white skirt, held up by a belt--the entire upper portion having gone.

    As far as Annikin Starkiller's appearance goes, when he rescues Leia late in the film, Annikin disguises himself as an Imperial pilot in order to sneak aboard the space station where Leia is being held. I suspect Lucas may have imagined that, as part of this disguise, Annikin would have cut off his Kessilian topknot of hair. This would be an homage to Seven Samurai, where Kambei cuts off his warrior's topknot as part of a disguise he wears to rescue a child from a bandit.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Jul 14, 2014
  7. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Also, if I'm right about the rough draft's Princess Leia suffering the indignity of literally losing her shirt, then she might easily have lost several inches of skirt as well. In that case, her boots would probably disappear too, leaving her barefoot.

    Which is an obvious anticipation of Marion Ravenwood and the Well of Souls scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Funny how clothing damage happening to heroines in white outfits seems to be a recurring motif in Lucas's work.

    The extreme clothing damage I'm positing here, much greater than in Raiders or AOTC, puts one in mind of the skimpy dress of Robert E. Howard's heroines--such as Belit from Queen of the Black Coast, who walks around wearing nothing but a silken skirt. Not to mention the connection to Burroughs' Dejah Thoris, who was often depicted by illustrators (particularly of the Frank Frazetta mold) as wearing just a loincloth.

    One also has to remember that THX 1138 had nudity in it. Presumably Lucas was still willing to show that sort of thing on film when he wrote the rough-draft ANH script back in 1974.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Jul 14, 2014
  8. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    As far as Leia's possible on-screen nudity goes, Lucas may also have had in mind Dune Messiah, which came out back in 1969. There's a scene in that book where Paul's sister Alia fights a combat-training robot while naked. She actually progresses to a higher danger level than anyone else has ever achieved, at which point Paul walks in on her. Frank Herbert deliberately plays up Alia's attractiveness; in fact, Paul's encounter with her while she's unclothed was engineered by the Bene Gesserit so as to encourage them to procreate.

    Plus, Alia in Dune Messiah has red hair, like the Leia Aquilae of Lucas's rough draft. (In the original Dune Alia had dark hair, like her brother Paul--a minor retcon on Herbert's part.) Not only that, in the second book Alia is just fifteen years old, going on 16--almost exactly the same age as the rough draft's Leia.

    As far as other parallels go, the scene with Leia having been stripped by the trappers on the jungle planet Yavin is very reminiscent of Fay Wray losing bits of clothing in King Kong. Only in Lucas's version, the closest parallel to King Kong himself is actually with the huge, furry, ape-like Wookees. I frankly suspect that's where the germ of the Wookee appearance comes from. In much the same vein, the rough draft's Han Solo is a green-skinned swamp creature--the Creature from the Black Lagoon recast as a hero.

    In King Kong, Fay Wray got to keep her bra on (apparently something she fought for, as the film's concept art frequently shows Ann Darrow topless). However, Lucas seems to have believed "there's no underwear in space," as he infamously told Carrie Fisher, so presumably Leia Aquilae would not have had that option.
  9. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    It's even possible Lucas had in mind here Leigh Brackett's short story Lorelei of the Red Mist (which was actually completed by Ray Bradbury). The heroine of that story, Beudag, wears only a white skirt and sandals. Like Leia and Alia, she has red hair and blue eyes.

    Also, at one point in the story the villain, a sorceress named Rann, attempts to mind-control Beudag into committing suicide. The hero, Hugh Starke, thinks quickly and punches Beudag, knocking her out and preventing her from carrying out Rann's mental command. Rather similar to Annikin knocking out Leia with one blow so he can bring her to safety over her objections.

    Plus, Hugh Starke (who has actually been transferred by Rann into a new body, that of a fellow named Conan) has long black hair. Given the concept art for Willow and TPM, I suspect Lucas may have toyed with the idea of giving Annikin Starkiller black hair, which would increase his connection to the image of a Japanese samurai.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Jul 15, 2014
  10. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Now that I think about it, the arena sequence in AOTC is quite clearly modeled on the escape of Starkiller, Valorum, and Princess Leia from the Imperial space fortress in the ANH rough draft. In both cases there are two Jedi warriors (or a reformed Sith, in Valorum's case), fighting alongside the younger Jedi's girlfriend, who is wearing a white outfit that suffers a wardrobe malfunction.

    Of course, given Leia Aquilae's presumably much greater state of undress, she'd basically have become an embodiment of Delacroix's famous painting Liberty Leading the People. Princess Leia represents the people of Aquilae, so to depict her fighting as a bare-breasted warrior, as in French depictions of the goddess Liberty, would not just be titillation in the style of the pulp magazines; it would also invoke a famous revolutionary image of liberation from tyranny.

    There are other points where Lucas attempts to recall 18th century revolutions in the rough draft script. Most notably, the Emperor has some lines that are taken directly from the diary of John Adams, which serve to indicate subtly that the Empire is modeled on Nixonian America: a society that (as Lucas saw it) has fallen from its once-noble ideals and embraced dictatorial control by a corrupt executive.

    Casting Leia as the incarnation of Liberty would fit quite nicely with Lucas's conception of her as a goddess figure who represents the struggle for freedom. In a similar vein, Ralph McQuarrie's notes on costume design reveal that Lucas intended Leia's white robes to resemble those of the Virgin Mary. Which is fitting, because French revolutionary iconography often imbued the goddess Liberty--mother of the people--with Marian attributes.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Jul 15, 2014
  11. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    In the rough draft the insignia of Aquilae is said to be the "circle and cross medallion," which is presumably the alchemical symbol for Venus. As such, this insignia connects Aquilae with the ideas of femininity, fertility, and love (as opposed to war, the domain of Mars--presumably represented by the Empire). It also bears a strong resemblance to the ancient Egyptian ankh, the symbol of life and rebirth.

    Meanwhile, the Imperials' quarters are said to be "white-on-white," i.e., symbolically sterile and devoid of human feeling. Very much reminiscent of THX 1138. Such set design makes an effective contrast as a background for a bare-breasted Leia Aquilae. Her nakedness represents life, liberty, and fertility--all the things that the Empire is trying to suppress.

    Leia virtually disappears as a character in the second draft. When she resurfaces in the third draft, she's no longer subject to a wardrobe malfunction. Instead she appears "bloody and mutilated" as a result of Imperial torture. Given Lucas's love of cinematic allusion, this probably means she has an eye swollen shut, like Toshiro Mifune in Yojimbo or Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars. Leia's injury would symbolically connect her to these two tough-as-nails characters, establishing on a filmic level that she is the most competent and self-assured of the three heroes escaping the Death Star. (For similar symbolic reasons, Mad Max gets an eye swollen shut midway through The Road Warrior.)

    As for the Imperials in the rough draft, the scene with the Emperor addressing troops on Alderaan (the city-planet, forerunner of Coruscant) is highly reminiscent of Triumph of the Will. We're even introduced to the Imperial capital via a squad of starfighters flying over the plaza where Imperial troops are massing. This parallels the opening of Leni Riefenstahl's film, which begins with Hitler descending to Nuremberg out of the clouds via airplane.
  12. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Not to mention Jake Gittes in Chinatown, who spent half the film with an ugly bandage over his nose:

    [IMG]

    Truth be told, though, I imagine that most of the imagery GL thought up with Leia half-naked and beaten was more for the purpose of the script than for any eventual intention of having her actually appear like that in the film.

    Incidentally, the recent Dark Horse adaptation of the rough draft did have her restrained with literally half her clothes ripped off in one panel - nothing pornographic or titillating, but it did reflect the descriptions mentioned above, as far as could realistically be allowed.
  13. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    You're right, Lucas was definitely putting things in his scripts that he knew he'd quite likely never get to film. I don't think it was really until the fourth draft that he started doubling down and excising things that weren't filmable or cost too much money, like the gaseous planet of Alderaan.

    Still, certain images which were "unfilmable" were nonetheless solidly stuck in his head--witness the scene, which recurs in the first three drafts, where a character bangs his left arm on a table and mechanical parts spill out.

    Given that this particular imagery recurs in Raiders and AOTC, I'm fairly certain Lucas did imagine the rough draft's Leia as wearing a white dress that got rather severely damaged. After all, a lot of other images from the rough draft recur repeatedly in Lucas's later work. And given the similarity of the Imperial imagery to THX 1138, it's quite likely Lucas thought about reusing the idea of symbolic nudity which appears in that film.

    Of course, since the rough draft was basically Lucas throwing everything he wanted in his space-fantasy film into the script, he surely wasn't worrying about what he could actually show on screen at that point. It's just like how the idea of Leia being 14-16 years old--stated in every script draft--went out the window when he needed to hire an actress who was of age so she could work full hours on set.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Jul 16, 2014
  14. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Come to think of it, even Leia's slave-girl outfit in ROTJ was probably a rehash of the imagery of the nearly-naked Princess Leia from the ANH rough draft. In that respect, it's kind of mind-boggling to realize that Leia's slave costume was likely toned down from Lucas's original conception of 1974, in order to remain family-friendly.

    Speaking of which, JW Rinzler makes a great observation in The Making of ROTJ: he points out that Lucas basically used that film to remake ANH, with a bigger budget and more of the elements he'd originally wanted in the rough draft. Thus the return of the Death Star, the jungle battle with the furry, primitive forest creatures, etc. He also suggests that this familiarity is precisely what turned a lot of people off--even those who were working on the production.
  15. MOC Yak Face Moderator, Classic Trilogy

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    I'm sure if Lucas had had the budget and the technology at his disposal ANH would've resembled ROTJ and the prequels more. It's a film which is to a certain extent a product of its limitations, and I mean that in the most positive way possible.
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  16. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    These recent musings about the ANH rough draft got me thinking further about Lucas's sources of inspiration.

    The Slave Leia outfit in ROTJ, with its metal breastplates and cloth skirt, was clearly borrowed from Robert E. Howard's descriptions of women in similar garb in his Conan stories (such as Muriela in The Servants of Bit-Yakin). Likewise, Leia's scanty garb in the third act of the ANH rough draft appears to derive from other Howard females--like Belit in Queen of the Black Coast--who wear a short skirt and sandals, but no top. And frequently in Howard's writing, even in stories where the heroine starts off fully clothed, she ends up naked for the action-packed finale, like Leia Aquilae during the climactic escape from the Imperial space fortress in Lucas's rough draft.

    And on top of that, we have the "Picts" in the early script of Willow, fierce barbarians who appear to derive from the fictionalized version of the Celtic tribe as presented in Howard's Kull stories.

    So can we draw any other links to Robert E. Howard's body of work in the rough drafts of SW? I think definitely so.

    In The Hour of the Dragon, Howard's only full-length Conan novel, the ancient evil sorcerer Xaltotun, dead for three thousand years, is brought back to life by the Heart of Ahriman, a magical glowing red crystal of unfathomable power. This crystal can restore life to those who are dead, and its nature is stated to be inherently benevolent. The Heart of Ahriman is the one thing that can prevent Xaltotun from re-establishing his fearful empire; with it in his possession, Xaltotun is unstoppable. The main plot of the story concerns Conan's quest to recover the Heart, which has been stolen from Xaltotun, for only when Conan's armies are in possession of the Heart can they hope to defeat the sorcerer.

    This is obviously reminiscent of the Kiber Crystal from the second draft of ANH. Like Lucas's Crystal, the Heart of Ahriman is an artifact (with a similarly "Eastern"-sounding name) that immensely magnifies one's magical power. Its seizure by the forces of evil would be catastrophic, but its possession by the champions of good will ensure their ultimate victory. And in the one overt display of the Kiber Crystal's power, Luke Starkiller uses it to heal his brother Deak, who has been grievously wounded by Imperial torture. In the novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye, the Kaiburr Crystal (so spelled) is even said to glow red, like the Heart of Ahriman in Howard's story.

    Of course, unlike Conan in The Hour of the Dragon, Luke has the Kiber Crystal in his possession all along; his quest is to deliver it to his father, much like Frodo Baggins taking the One Ring to Mount Doom. (In the third draft, the Kiber Crystal would become much more like the Lens of E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series, with each Jedi in the old days having had a Kiber Crystal of his own.)

    Another Howard-esque detail that recurs in Lucas's work shows up in his descriptions of the Wookiees, who were originally intended to have gray fur. Howard presents giant, gray-furred apes as monsters for Conan to battle in both The Hour of the Dragon and The Servants of Bit-Yakin. The Analog cover which provided the final design of Chewbacca didn't come out until July 1975, more than a year after the completion of Lucas's rough draft, so the detail of the gray fur must have come from another source--most likely Howard.

    Even Lucas's prose in the various scripts shows signs of having been influenced by Howard's stories. Witness his use of "near by" in the original 1973 treatment, phrased as two words just like Howard spelled it; or his frequent use of the adjective "weird," a favorite Howard descriptor, to describe odd-looking characters; or his spelling of "lazer bolts," possibly in the vein of Howard's use of "surprize" instead of the more usual spelling "surprise."

    I'm sure I could find more borrowings from Howard's work if I looked further, but this is a good start for the moment.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Jul 17, 2014
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  17. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    It also occurs to me that in the ANH rough draft, the character of Clieg Whitsun, described a "a tall, blond young man around twenty years old," may actually have been intended by Lucas to be a visual analogue for Flash Gordon. Like Flash, Whitsun is young and blond, heroic, skilled with a sword and a laser pistol. Even their names are extremely similar.

    In this early draft, Clieg Whitsun kind of acts as a prototype of the final film's Han Solo: a dashing, heroic young man who is nonetheless a foil to the Jedi protagonist. He and Annikin Starkiller participate in several battles together over the course of the script. Whitsun travels with the fleeing party of rebels until they have to bail out of a doomed spaceship over Yavin; then, he sacrifices his life heroically to save Princess Leia.

    In later drafts, the idea of a hero who looks like Flash Gordon would be transferred to the main protagonist himself, Luke Starkiller. In the rough draft, though, Annikin Starkiller probably had black hair and blue eyes, like Conan the Cimmerian--but the black hair, tied in a samurai topknot, also ties him visually to Toshiro Mifune.

    And in a similar vein, the rough draft's Creature from the Black Lagoon-inspired swamp-creature Han Solo resembles a version of the final film's Chewbacca who can speak English: a monstrous creature who is nonetheless definitely a hero, and who serves as sidekick and ally to the main characters.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Jul 17, 2014
  18. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    To round out the hair-color trifecta of the rough draft, Leia Aquilae is described as having long auburn (i.e., red) hair tied in braids--quite possibly already envisioned as the Flash Gordon-inspired hairdo of the final film. She also has blue eyes. Presumably her hair would come undone (along with the rest of her costume) in the film's third act.

    When the third draft came around and Leia re-emerged as a central character, Lucas seems no longer to have imagined her as a redhead. Instead the concept artists depicted her variously. For instance, storyboard artist Alex Tavoularis drew Leia with black hair, a choice modeled on Flash Gordon's Earthling girlfriend Dale Arden from the old Sunday strips.

    Ralph McQuarrie, on the other hand, imagined Leia as having short blonde hair--essentially a reprise of his concept for the female Luke of the second draft. However, this meant that his Leia looked exactly like Luke. (Maybe this put some ideas in Lucas's head?) To get around this problem, whenever McQuarrie drew Luke and Leia together, he seems to have given one or the other of them light brown hair instead of the usual blond.

    John Mollo appears to have pretty consistently drawn Luke with shaggy blond hair, and Leia with light brown hair. Mollo also remarks in The Making of SW that the costume for Leia was modeled on the wardrobe of Jean Harlow, the famous 1930s platinum blonde, which explains where Ralph McQuarrie's idea of a blonde Leia came from.

    Additionally, in the second draft, Han Solo (a name now assigned to a human character) sported a bushy beard, reminiscent of the beard sported by Lucas's mentor Francis Ford Coppola. It's worth noting that this was also the first draft in which the hero was named "Luke S." However, from the third draft onward, Lucas seems to have imagined Han as clean-shaven with brown hair, so that (as J.W. Rinzler points out) he looked like the brown-haired Buck Rogers.

    As well, while writing the third draft, Lucas toyed with the idea of casting Leia as a Japanese-American actress, along with Toshiro Mifune as Obi-Wan. In that scenario, he also planned to use a black actor as Han Solo (he actually singled out actor Glynn Turman for this purpose). That was an idea likely taken from Leigh Brackett's character Eric John Stark, the black protagonist featured in several of her planetary-romance short stories. Like Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan, Stark was orphaned as a boy and raised by the native species of Mercury, before being reunited with the human world. This idea would be revisited by Lucas in early brainstorming for ROTS, which imagined an adolescent Han Solo living as a wild orphan on Kashyyyk.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Jul 17, 2014
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  19. ATMachine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 3
    Something just struck me about the description of the appearance of the two droids in the ANH rough draft:


    In this draft Threepio is consistently described as "chrome" in color. This suggests that Lucas had in mind the look of the robot Maria in Metropolis, as it appears on black-and-white film. In later drafts Lucas would refer to Threepio as "bronze" in color, a reference to the color that the Maria robot was actually painted on the set of Metropolis during filming.

    But what about Artwo? Remember, Ralph McQuarrie basically designed R2-D2 from the ground up. He did so essentially by thinking about the little worker robots from Silent Running--rectangular in shape, like a Gonk droid--and designing something cylindrical instead, just to be different.

    However, unlike the non-speaking droids in Silent Running, which greatly influenced the R2-D2 of the final film, the first draft's Artwo-Detwo speaks perfect English. And of course, Ralph McQuarrie hadn't come along yet. So what's the influence here?

    Looking at the rough draft's description of Artwo, the most notable aspect is the depiction of him as a three-legged droid. The most famous three-legged machines in science fiction are of course the Martian tripods (the "Fighting Machines") from H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds.

    [IMG]

    Not only do the War of the Worlds tripods have three legs, they also have numerous flexible arms with which to grab objects, just as Artwo does.

    Consider also that Artwo is described as having a "radar eye." Artists depicting the Martian tripods frequently draw in such a feature on the tripods' "heads," which is actually a lens used to project Martian death rays that incinerate everything in their path.

    It seems Lucas may simply have scaled down Wells's gargantuan Martian tripods to diminutive size, in order to create a believable non-anthropomorphic construction robot. This would fit well alongside two other characters from the rough draft: the swamp creature Han Solo, modeled on the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Wookee prince Chewbacca, based on King Kong and Robert E. Howard's monstrous gray apes. In all three cases the analogy is the same: the monstrous creature of earlier SF is recast by Lucas as a hero.

    That insight also holds true for C-3PO, as the robot of Metropolis was actually a villain.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Jul 17, 2014
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  20. ATMachine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 3
    As far as the other Jedi characters in the rough draft go, this is likely the place where Lucas would look to inject some diversity into his film casting.

    Although Annikin and Kane Starkiller would be white, General Luke Skywalker was probably intended even at this stage to be Japanese. The rough draft script describes him thus: "His face, cracked and weathered by exotic climates, is set off by a close silver beard, and dark, penetrating eyes." The "penetrating dark eyes" would be carried over to Ben Kenobi in the third draft--a role Lucas thought about having Toshiro Mifune play.

    However, in the second draft, where the Starkiller (the Ben Kenobi figure) is Luke Starkiller's father, he has "penetrating gray-blue eyes" instead. The Jedi general character has for the moment become white, because he's the father of the protagonist, whom Lucas saw as white; and his eye color reflects that of Luke Starkiller's own eyes.

    As for Prince Valorum, I suspect Lucas quite possibly envisioned him as an African-American, a Mace Windu type. Both characters are honorable warriors, but are blinded by their insistence on duty and strict obedience to rules. Valorum wakes up from this delusion and redeems himself, but in the prequels Mace Windu fails to realize that his actions have hurt Anakin, a failure which ultimately leads to his death.

    The ending of the film would feature Leia and Annikin, General Skywalker, and Prince Valorum--characters from three distinct racial backgrounds who have worked together in harmony to defeat the Empire.

    While Mace Windu may be a recycling of Prince Valorum, Yoda is definitely a reworking of the heroic-swamp-creature idea from the rough draft. The only change is that he has become diminutive in size--just as the Ewoks in ROTJ are diminutive versions of the ANH rough draft's Wookees.
  21. ATMachine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 3
    Writing that in-depth thread about the rough draft of ANH got me thinking considerably about how the second draft differs from it.

    In the rough draft, the Jedi and Sith do not have telekinetic Force powers; they are merely skilled samurai-esque warriors who have trained their bodies and minds to the utmost limit of human ability. There is no such thing as a "light side" or "dark side" of the Force. The Force of Others itself is a concept which is referred to in the rough draft merely in the sense that one might refer to "fate," "luck," or "destiny"--i.e., the impersonal governing arbiter of people's lives.

    Also, Jedi are apparently discouraged from having relationships, as love is thought of as a distraction for a single-minded warrior. However, for Jedi to have relationships is not actually forbidden--witness Kane Starkiller siring Annikin and Bink, and Annikin's own romance with Princess Leia.

    However, in the second draft, the Jedi and Sith suddenly gain telekinetic abilities, calling upon the Light Side and the Dark Side, respectively also named the Ashla and Bogan halves of the Force. The Force itself becomes a thing that can be manipulated, as if by magic. Jedi are akin to white wizards, and Sith become akin to black sorcerers. It was at this point that Lucas decided that the Sith knights should "look like Linda Blair in The Exorcist." Put simply, their faces are deformed by their evil magic.

    Once the Sith became evil wizards, instead of merely samurai who served corrupt Imperial masters, redemption for them (for the moment, at least) became impossible. Thus there is nothing like the change of heart shown by the rough draft's Prince Valorum in the SW of 1977.

    The second draft actually takes the idea of Jedi as wizards further, making Force powers a genetically determined ability. In this draft Jedi powers are passed down in families, from a father to his sons. (It is implied in this script that most Jedi are male.) The Sith knights have been wiping out these Jedi clans, one by one. The Starkiller family is one of the few survivors.

    The idea of a bloodline of Jedi fathers and sons owes a lot to the matrilineal bloodlines of the Bene Gesserit breeding program seen in Frank Herbert's Dune. In Dune, the culmination of the Bene Gesserit matriarchs' program is the Kwisatz Haderach--a male figure, in this case Paul Atreides.

    Just as Paul is of the opposite gender from the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mothers, so too Lucas considered changing Luke Starkiller into a girl. Doing so would give the female Luke--fated to be the most powerful Jedi warrior of all--an appealing contrast with the other sons of the Starkiller clan, including Deak, Luke's older brother who must be rescued. (It also nicely reverses Frank Herbert's subtle misogyny.)

    In later drafts, Lucas played down the genetic component of Force powers, returning to the idea expressed in the rough draft that anyone could be a Jedi if they trained hard enough. The idea of genetics as the determining factor in Jedi abilities never entirely went away, though--for one thing, it shows up in Splinter of the Mind's Eye--and it would resurface with a vengeance in the prequels. (I might note, however, that when writing the original 1977 film, Lucas never used the competing ideas of "Jedi abilities are genetically transmitted" and "the Jedi code forbids relationships" at the same time.)

    Also, I mentioned earlier that the second draft's idea of the Kiber Crystal derives in part from Robert E. Howard's Conan story The Hour of the Dragon. In that story the dark wizard Xaltotun schemes to put his puppets on the thrones of two kingdoms, Aquilonia and Nemedia. Although these two men are nominally the all-powerful kings of their respective realms, in reality they answer to the sorcerer Xaltotun.

    This idea has an echo in the second draft of SW 1977, in the character of Prince Espaa Valorum, the Master of the Bogan. The second draft's Prince Valorum is the chief Sith leader and Darth Vader's immediate superior. Here Valorum is actually a separate character from the Galactic Emperor. The Emperor himself is apparently not a Sith wizard, but rather a corrupt Nixonian bureaucrat. Presumably their relationship is like that of Xaltotun and his puppet rulers in The Hour of the Dragon, with Prince Valorum being the real power behind the Emperor's throne.
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  22. darklordoftech Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 30, 2012
    star 5
    Why did the fourth draft change Alderaan from the name of the Imperial capital to the name of Leia's homeworld?

    Why did the fourth draft give Tarkin a lot of Vader's third draft role?

    Did Espaa Valorum still exist in GL's mind when writing the fourth draft or was Vader now masterless?
    Last edited by darklordoftech, Jul 21, 2014
  23. ATMachine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 3
    Well, in the third draft, we still got to see the cloud city of Alderaan--it was the location of Leia's prison cell. In the fourth draft the prison is merged with the Death Star, and the cloud city is dropped entirely. Presumably Lucas really wanted to hold onto this name when the location associated with it disappeared from the script.

    The third draft mentions the Sith Master (in one instance only), but the fourth draft doesn't at all. Presumably by that point Lucas had firmly decided that Vader reports directly to the Emperor himself.

    I don't know why exactly Tarkin took on aspects of Vader's earlier role in the fourth draft, but it may have to do with how Lucas re-conceived the character of Vader from draft to draft. In the third draft he's still relatively human--he takes off his mask to drink from a cup of water in front of Princess Leia. By the fourth draft, though, Lucas had decided that Vader should be a cyborg who never removed his helmet, which may have influenced his perception of the character's role in the script. (In the third draft the cyborg character is Ben Kenobi, who has a prosthetic left arm that looks outwardly normal.)

    EDIT: Now that I recall, there's a Lucas quote somewhere in The Making of SW that confirms that's exactly why he beefed up Tarkin's scenes: he wanted to show a villain with a human face, since Vader now never takes his helmet off.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Jul 21, 2014
  24. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4

    Hmm..

    'Prince Espaa Valorum, the Master of the Bogan' is referred to in dialogue by Vader in the Second Draft as his master, although he never actually appears. This is quite clearly someone other than the Emperor. There are additional un-named Sith Knights as well as Vader in this draft who appear.

    In the third draft, there are still multiple Sith Lords, however, their service to the Emperor as their master appears to be more concrete, and there is only a throwaway reference by Ben Kenobi to Vader's 'master', which isn't elaborated upon.

    By the fourth draft, no other Sith Lords appear, and one piece of dialogue implies that the Emperor himself is well and truly in charge of this dark cult:

    The revised fourth draft (essentially the shooting script) strips away virtually all reference to the Sith apart from a few descriptions of Vader, the only mention in actual dialogue is this, and it doesn't appear in the film:

    The novelisation of SW does make vague references to 'Sith Lords', implying that Vader isn't the only one out there - but nothing indicates that the Emperor is a Sith. The way I see it, by the time of the fourth draft(s), the Sith were an elite organisation separate to the Empire, but in the service of the Emperor. This obviously changed in relation to the SW Saga as a whole, but it still works - around the time of SW/ANH, Vader was in charge of forces separate to the military, much like the Gestapo. This changed by the time of ESB, when he was promoted and given full charge of the entire Imperial fleet. Vader and the Sith were basically the equivalent of the Gestapo or the SS, except that GL chose not to have any other Sith around by the time he made the film.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Jul 21, 2014
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  25. ATMachine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 3
    Well said.

    So we end up proceeding from "the Emperor controls an army of Sith warriors" in the rough draft, to "the Emperor is a puppet of the Sith Master, an evil sorcerer" in the second draft, to "the Emperor controls an army of Sith sorcerers, but is not a Sith himself" in the SW 1977 shooting script, to "the Emperor is a Sith sorcerer, and Vader is his sole disciple" in the later films of the OT.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Jul 21, 2014
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