BTS The Secret History of Star Wars

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by zombie, Mar 18, 2007.

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  1. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    By 'second film', I actually meant 'any further films'. The inclusion of Father Skywalker in Brackett's ESB obviously contradicts the end product, Father Vader couldn't crop up later in this storyline, which I think it's best to treat as a dead end.

    That's my position on it. While SW was being shot, Father Vader still didn't exist, even as a vague notion in the back of GL's mind (although it's possible to theorise about what led to him making the decision). The volcano duel storyline came about from the notion of Vader being a walking iron lung, which was developed in audio post-production with the breathing effect.

    It's my belief that Father Vader occurred to GL when he began picturing the volcano duel, which originally began with Father Skywalker being killed. GL then took one more step, and Father Vader was born as an alternative, although he was still committed to following the orthodox Father Skywalker storyline at that point, hence the existence of the incompatible Brackett draft (& whatever material GL developed for it).
  2. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    I presumed that you were referring to Lucas' statements in Laurent Bouzereau's 'Annotated Screenplays', where he says he had the idea, but didn't tell Leigh, as "he didn't know whether to reveal it in the second or third film." And, the way Lucas tells it, there was no 'alternate' storyline. Father-Vader was THE storyline.

    But given such material, the reality of the situation in all probability wasn't the way it's been presented by Lucas, that he was only weighing which film to put the Father Vader revelation in, and as such left Leigh out of the loop - that, and he "didn't want to confuse her" . (I think it's somewhat moot, anyway, in the sense that as far as the audience was concerned, it really was the third film - ROTJ - that confirmed the revelation, being that when TESB came out, only Lucas (and perhaps Kasdan) knew for sure that Vader wasn't lying to Luke. Prior to ROTJ, audiences could - and did - take Vader's claim in multiple ways).
  3. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Whether or not he mentioned Father Vader to Brackett doesn't really matter, because she was writing her draft based on the orthodox direction anyway.

    I'd be inclined to think that the twist only occurred to him after Brackett's draft, or as an idea he had & all but dismissed, except for these accounts that seem to indicate that others were aware of the Father Vader storyline before Brackett actually finished her draft. Rinzler's material is undated, but the Future Magazine 'leak' which reveals two alternate storylines is from April 1978, a mere two months after the Brackett draft was completed (Feb 1978), and from the language used, must have been written well before Brackett finished:

    "Author Leigh has been approached with the task of writing the screenplay for the big-budgeted sequel."

    Apart from sounding as if she was still hard at work on it, or just about to start, it makes no mention of the fact that she died in March.
  4. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    Well, that, and because the 'orthodox' direction was THE direction at that point - despite what Lucas has been claiming. Plus, Lucas* having Luke's dad making an appearance on the swamp planet, makes non-sense of his latter-day claim about mulling over what to tell Brackett and whether to leave off the revelation for the third film.

    *knowing what we do now, we can no longer attribute this subplot as a creation of Brackett, since it was based on Lucas' late '77 notes for the sequel.


    The only 'other' who seemed to be aware of it was David Prowse, and he was speculating (he made a lucky guess, though apparently he thought it meant that his character wouldn't be killed-off, or not after only two films, at any rate). LFL highlighting this fact NOW, of all times, seems suspect. LFL is obviously trying to imply that Father Vader was in place already in '77.

    Lawrence Kasdan, otoh, knew of it (because Lucas had told him), but only once he'd been hired on, which was like May/June of '78, by which point Lucas' Father Vader had made it into a script/draft - albeit only the hand-written version.


    If Prowse was the source of the 'leak', which he most likely was, then it wasn't really a 'leak', since it wasn't based on set-in stone 'canon' info from Lucas (quite unlike the back-story and other info that Lucas gave to Carol Titleman the previous summer), but rather speculation on the part of Prowse.
  5. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    I don't think Prowse was the source of this leak - the San Francisco Examiner article which covers him revealing it at a convention is from late 1978 (I seem to recall November being mentioned). I suspect he got his info from wherever Future Magazine got it, quite possibly the magazine itself.

    And no, Father Vader wasn't set in stone as the direction the story would take, quite the opposite, until after Brackett's draft was finished.

    Just how advanced the Father Vader storyline was in early 1978, & how seriously GL took it, is what I'm trying to establish. The date of the Future Magazine article does indicate that the idea existed before Brackett finished her draft, i.e. while the orthodox storyline was still THE storyline, & not just as a vague idea GL was keeping to himself, but something he was discussing with others as an alternative.
    There's material in Rinzler which supports this, but infuriatingly enough, it's undated, so can't be taken as proof.
  6. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    Interesting. LFL - or, at least the people who run Star Wars.com - are trying to pass of Prowse's statements as being from '77.


    But who are these 'others' he'd discussed it with? Have they come forward? It sounds like another one of these 'tropes' that are passed around in SW lore. When it comes to these things, one has to remember Francis Coppola's interesting reaction* when, in a BBC interview along with Lucas, Lucas said that he (Francis) had read an early draft of SW (from '75 no less) that had 'Father Vader' AND 'Sister Leia' in it. *Francis replied, "really?"


    One has to wonder why these particular ones are undated, given the many dated references Rinzler gave from the previous book, The Making of Star Wars.
  7. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    I just checked the SW.com blog - you're quite right, they've discovered a fanzine interview with Prowse from April 1978 which was supposedly based on material collected between October & December 1977. If it's true, it's quite possible that Prowse was the 'leak' to Future Magazine, assuming he wasn't merely speculating.

    Here's the three 'spoiler' articles:

    Oddly enough, in the SFE article (covering an appearance from the previous day, July 23), Prowse seems to think the revelation comes in the third Star Wars film, not ESB.

    I'm not sure what to think now.
  8. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    Fanzines, he-said-she-said-yearX, and UN-dated source notes just doesn't cut it for me, in terms of the proposition that Lucas created the Father Vader storyline right after or lot long after Star Wars '77 came out in theaters (a belief that I myself used to hold).

    Otoh, dated documents/notes and contemporary interviews with Lucas are imo enough circumstantial evidence showing the high degree of probability that Lucas hadn't changed the Father Skywalker/Darth Vader dynamic until early '78.
  9. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Basically, those three articles above are the only evidence that would indicate that the Father Vader storyline existed (albeit as an alternative) prior to or while the Brackett draft was being written.

    However, given that the source of the information is David Prowse in two cases, & the third is unknown, I suppose it can't be taken as solid proof. His quote about, "Father can't kill son, son can't kill father" reminds me of an interview with Peter Mayhew before he'd been signed for ROTS, where he said that Chewbacca 'had' to appear in Episode III, in order to show the origin of the Millennium Falcon. Although Chewie was in ROTS after all, he had nothing to do with the Falcon (yes, I know it's in one of the backgrounds). He got it right that Chewie would be in the film, but purely by luck. Prowse might have done the same.

    Or perhaps not. I'm still inclined to think that GL came up with Father Vader before Brackett finished her draft, but there's no solid proof. Possibly after he finished the outline he did for her.
  10. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    Well, at least he got the part about them both being in Episode IV right. :p
  11. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    Yeah. ;)

    On a semi-serious note, one wonders what exactly was Prowse's interpretation of the Father Vader thing...did he think, like some fans did and still do*, that it meant that Luke was Vader's son, and thus was NOT a Skywalker at all?

    *who then falsely attribute this story to G. Kurtz, and have Kurtz claiming that this version was "Lucas' original story"...:rolleyes:
  12. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    Wow, I'd never heard that before, but that would have been quite a twist... and made the whole "will Luke fall" thing even more dramatic. Cool.
  13. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    That sounds more like the sort of theory that some may have come up with after ESB, along with the ones about Vader being a clone of Luke's father.

    Like I said, I'm not sure where Prowse got the idea from in 1977/78. It's possible he guessed or speculated, but when you try to put aside the 20/20 hindsight, there's not a lot in The Film Formerly Known As Star Wars on its own that would suggest such a twist. Obi-Wan revealing to Luke that Vader "betrayed & murdered" his father sits on its own as a thoroughly solid plot point which would drive the story's hero to strive to both avenge his father & become a Jedi Knight himself. Why would Prowse decide to reveal such a dramatic twist to the public without hearing it suggested by someone who might actually know of various ways the story might turn out?
  14. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    Oh, no doubt. Still, one wonders....

    But it begs the question of why or how Prowse or ANY of the SW actors would have even heard about it in the first place ? I mean, considering the 'secrecy' aspect of it, what with Lucas going to such lengths as not even divulging the story point in question to the person he'd hired to do the screenplay for the sequel. Later on, he included it in his own draft, but only in the hand-written version. For the 'official' type-written version - meant for studio and production personnel consumption - he left out the revelation. In late '77, the sequel had hardly started pre-production; there wasn't even a story treatment. Yet we are to believe that some of the actors - which weren't needed at this point - were told about the story? Something doesn't ring true, there (though I have a theory as to why this '77 story is being pushed by LFL).
  15. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Well, there's another possibility - GL's comment in 1975 to Alan Dean Foster about how we find out in the third chapter who "Darth Vader really is" may have gotten out at some point. Of course, in 1975, the revelation was to have been that Vader was the murderer of Luke's father.
    However, this revelation was brought ahead for use in Star Wars - meaning that if Prowse heard the comment in or after 1977, he may have made his own interpretation of it, leading, purely by coincidence, to what would eventually become the truth. It would also explain why he thought it would be revealed in the third film, rather than ESB.

    I'm still not convinced that the Father Vader concept wasn't floating around before Brackett finished her draft - the Future Magazine article seems to indicate that it was being considered as an alternative to the version Brackett was working on.
    As for GL not revealing this plot point to Brackett - he may well have done so, but as she was working on the orthodox version of the storyline which contradicts it completely, there would be no evidence in the script itself that she was aware or unaware of such an alternative.

    I think we're arguing over minutiae here anyway - I don't think Father Vader existed even as a vague notion in GL's mind until after post-production of Star Wars (when the idea of Vader being encased in life-supporting armour was conceived), & the idea probably only started occurring to him as a legitimate possibility while he was finishing up whatever outline of ESB he prepared for Brackett.
  16. apollogreed Jedi Youngling

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    There is a history of SW but it's no secret: the prequels SUCK!
  17. Duragizer Jedi Grand Master

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    [image=http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/big-brother-poster.jpg]
  18. DarthPoppy Force Ghost

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    Following Zombie's idea that Lucas used the PT to flip the way we understand the OT on its head by creating "The Tragedy of Darth Vader", I here have finally discovered George Lucas's secret master plan for a twelve-part Star Wars "dodecaology": his true vision for the Saga was, is, and always will be The Epic of the Power Converters . The existing Saga is merely the middle (and the Live Action TV Series will be take place between the current Episode III and Episode IV and will be revealed below) and is indeed the Tragedy of Darth Vader, but its true importance in the overall saga is only alluded to in the original Star Wars or "A New Hope" as it is called by Lucas and fans. It is the seeminly throw-away line "I wanted to go to Tosche Station to get some power converters". What are these Power Converters, and why are they important you might ask. To answer this, we must go back to Lucas's original outline of February 12, 1961, sometime called the Journal of the Whills.

    This outline contains the Tragedy of Darth Vader as the middle sextology in the Twelve Part Star Wars Saga of Ur: The Epic of the Power Converters. It tells the story of how, in the early days of the First Galactic Republic, the Jedi Order was threatened by the growing evil of the Dark Side of the Force as used by the Evil Sith Warlords. The Master Sith Lord, Darth Philip Glass, using the Dark Side of the Force composed torturous minimalist music bringing about Koyaansquatisi--"Life out of balance". The Jedi, desparate to restore peace and order to the galaxy, secretly developed the "Power Converters of Ur ", which had the ability of converting Dark Side Force Power to Light Side Force Power and vice-versa. This was controlled by a sort of control on the converters that looked like a kind of graphic equalizer, by sliding levers balance could be restored to the Force. The first movie tells of how the Jedi and Sith struggled, while the second film reveals the building of the Power Converters and their use, bringing balance to the Force. In the third film, we see the defeat of the Sith, now robbed of their Dark Side powers by the Jedi with their Power Converters. All the Sith are destroyed, accept for Darth Plageous the Wise, who goes into hiding, plotting for three hundred years to steal back the power converters, now hidden in the Jedi Temple and largely forgotten. He manages to steel the converters by posing as a tourist on a tour of the temple, and sneaking off the tour and finding them. The Jedi don't even know they are missing. Later Plageous's Sith Apprentice learns of the converters and murders his master. He reverses the polarity of the Converters, converting Light Side Power into Dark Side Power, causing the Dark Side to cloud the light side and shift the Balance of the Force to the left speaker Dark Side.

    Following this the PT we know goes on. He and Plageous before him had already planted "the prophecy" within the Jedi archives, so the whole notion of "the chosen one" is merely a smokescreen for the real source of the new found power of the Sith. He uses the Power Converters to manipulate the midichlorians into making Anakin, etc.

    What we shall see in the live action TV show that takes place between Episode III and Episode IV is how, before duelling with Palpatine and being killed by him and Anakin, Mace Windu had discovered the Power Converters, and stuck them in his Jedi Robes. After having his hand chopped off and being thrown out the window, Mace is kept alive by the Power Converters, though he loses his mind in the process. He goes around the galaxy performing all sorts of strange and bizarre acts, generally making an ass of himself, until eventually annoying the hell out of Boba Fett who hunts him down and kills him on Tattoine, where he is meeting with his client Jabba the Hutt. All of Mace's possessions are discovered and pillaged by the Jawas who sell all of his electronics and other gadgets to the owners of Tosche Station at Anchorhead for their junkyard. Luke likes to go to the junkyard to find stuff to pimp out his lan
  19. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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  20. Duragizer Jedi Grand Master

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  21. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    We know Lucas had the volcano scenario at least by Aug'77, where it appeared in the Rolling Stone magazine interview. However, in THAT* iteration, Annikin is not present at that battle - perhaps he had been killed already? The version you refer to with all three Jedi seems to have Mark Hamill as it's only source, and Mark's quote is from '79 while they were making the sequel. So we can't confidentially date that version to back in '76, despite what Mark says, because he may be getting the details mixed-up about the volcano story.
    Actually, we can't even be sure that Lucas had the whole Vader-injury scenario at all prior to the movie's release in '77. Certain details that come to mind which argue against it's pre-77 existence are: the story rationale behind the design of Vader's apperance (it had nothing to do with an injury) as stated by design/conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie, and Vader's dialogue during the duel with Ben which give no indications of an earlier character-signifying event such as the eventual volcano/Mustafar one.

    *take note that the extensive back-story interview with Carol Titleman from July '77 (in the HC version of the MOSW book) also doesn't mention all three Jedi as present at the volcano duel, and furthermore seems to imply that Annikin had already been killed.


    In short, I don't think it was logistical story problems with the volcano duel, nor the Jedi meeting on Dagobah that prompted the change. My only alternative to those two theories is that perhaps it had something to do with problems with the ENDING of TESB (specifically Luke's escape from Vader on Cloud City). In general, though, I think it was just a way to simplify the back-s
  22. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    To put it really bluntly, that's what it all boils down to, even if it resulted in a far more complex & vast storyline. With GL claiming that Father Vader existed from the very start (ho ho), it's impossible to determine exactly when around 1977-1978 the idea first occurred to him, but I still see it as the result of a very gradual, step-by-step process that began when he decided that Luke's father would be dead in Draft 3 - not the bolt of lightning that zombie claims occurred in a very specific, short period after GL read Brackett's draft of ESB. The end of Brackett's ESB may well have been the final straw for the orthodox storyline, but it's not what created the new one.

    I think at this point we're basically just throwing different ideas at each other to see which hold water, rather than arguing very specific positions. As soon as you mentioned Mark Hamill I had to rethink my theory - he's responsible for more misinformation about the specifics of SW's development than George Lucas & he doesn't even mean it. Handing the lightsaber down to 'the next new hope' my butt...
  23. Jedsithor Force Ghost

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    You know I find Prowse's apparent knowledge or educated guess very intriguing if only for the fact that Prowse is always telling the story of seeing Empire for the first time and being shocked by the revelation, not to mention Kershner's story of only telling Hamill just before shooting the scene. If Prowse did know back in 77/78, I think it may simply have been a case where Lucas mentioned it to him as a possible path for his character in future films but it was dismissed when the film went in a different direction with Brackett's draft and by the time Prowse started shooting Empire which had different dialogue in the script for the pivotal scene, it had escaped his mind completely as some abstract idea that in the end didn't go anywhere as far as he knew.

    I can certainly see Lucas telling Prowse about the idea, even back in 76 while shooting or possibly during press junkets or something after the film came out. But if the idea existed back then it was just a vague notion. People talk about secrecy etc but let's not forget, back when Star Wars came out Lucas was talking to everyone who would listen about sagas and backstories and future events. Personally I believe that when Star Wars became a massive hit, Lucas lost the run of himself. Suddenly he could make sequels that weren't low budget, weren't novels etc and I think he got so excited that he started thinking and talking about sprawling sagas over 12 films, then a film every 2 years with different creative people behind each one, then backstories and future stories, none of it really being planned out. It was just Lucas' imagination firing as he thought about what he could potentially do given the massive success of Star Wars, rather than a master plan that went beyond three films and maybe a prequel.
  24. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    In fairness to zombie, I think that the 'bolt-of-lightning' hypothesis is the one that seems best supported by the evidence.

    Consider this: taking the 'step-by-step' approach leading up to Anakin=Vader/Vader=Anakin - is there not a 'step' missing? Vader goes from being the murderer of Annikin, Luke's father, to being the result of said character's transformation subsequent having been seduced by the dark side of the force. Could not there have been an intervening step, such as, "Vader killed Annikin, but Annikin was NOT Luke's father (either known or unknown to Ben), and in fact, VADER was the actual father"? Or, Vader makes the paternity claim, but "it's a lie". However, there's no evidence for either of those alternatives as having been actual considerations for the plot, but you and I could see them as possibilities . (On a side note, as far as 'complexity' goes, the 'Luke-is-NOT-a-Skywalker' option wouldn't have been any more complex with what we got, since under such a scenario, everything Ben told Luke in ANH would have still been factually true*, and not contradicted by later revelations in the sequels....).

    *iow, Obi-Wan and Annikin were BOTH Jedi during the Clone Wars (thus Anakin was not 'just' a pilot during that time, as ROTJ implies), and Obi-Wan did take on a man named Vader as an apprentice following the wars, your "father" wanted you to have this (though narrowly), etc.

    Other similar points of step-by-step or lightning-bolt conceptions:

    a. The Hero as a farmboy. Makes it's first appearance in the second draft, with little precedent from the previous material.
    b. The character of Obi-Wan/Ben. Third draft - built upon a pastiche of the 'Old General' from the treatment/rough draft, plus Luke's enigmatic father character from the second draft, with an 'anonymous desert hermit' from the intervening second/third draft story synopsis/outline. But, even there in the third draft, Ben Kenobi isn't quite the same as the one from the film, as he is part mechanical (or at least has a mechanical arm).
    c. The Volcano Duel/Vader's injuries - judging by the shooting script and his design brief, no hint of either. Possibly during the post-production sound looping stage. As far as injuries, half-cyborg Vader's earliest iteration may be Splinter of the Mind's Eye, but the back-story of Vader being a 'mutant' appears in Lucas' hand-written second draft for TESB.
    d. Boba Fett (somewhat pulled out of Vader's 'Jedi bounty-hunter' phase from draft two) and Yoda's (a surrogate for Ben/Obi-Wan) character creation.

    The difference of course, is Lucas' steadfast claim to have 'always' had the Annikin=Vader concept, whereas he doesn't make similar claims for the other concepts. But that may be due to the significant 'weight' attached to Vader-is-Anakin, as opposed to the others.


  25. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    Nub,

    Imagine if Rinzler did a research/making-of SW book using nothing but Mark Hamill David Prowse anecdotes? [face_whistling]
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