BTS The Secret History of Star Wars

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

  1. Gundark31 Jedi Youngling

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    Apr 30, 2010
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    I haven't read the Rinzler books personally but I was under the impression that they offered the same kind of revisionist history of Star Wars that Lucas himself does with Kurtz and Marcia's roles being omitted.

    I vaguely remember something about Kurtz saying that Lucas kind of froze him out after ESB, Lucas wouldn't return his calls, wouldn't meet with him and told his secretary not to let Kurtz know he was there.Very passive aggressive stuff, Lucas never openly said to Kurtz he didn't want him working with them.Lucas just started to dodge Kurtz and not involve him in production during ROTJ, Kurtz got fed up and left.
  2. Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Master

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  3. Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Master

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    I didn't know until recently that Rinzler was working for Lucasfilm publishing department. I just thought he was an independant journalist/writer who had access to extensive Lucasfilm archives. Therefore it's not surprising that some issues are almost completely ignored, such as the conflict over the first cut of ESB between Lucas and the others (Hirsh, Kershner and Kurtz) and Lucas's outburst, or Kurtz and other people's actual contribution to the movies if so.

    Regarding Kurtz and Lucas parting, that's what's basically reported in Empire Building by Garry Jenkins, based on interviews with Kurtz and Alsup (Kurtz's secretary) : there was never any official dismissal by Lucas, it was really bitter and messy, and Kurtz felt it was time to move on, as he was sidelined by Lucas and would have no role in ROTJ's production.

  4. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Another Saga & CT Manager

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    Yeah, though it's slightly less confusing if you keep in mind that even though it's all jammed together it appears that that section on p 351 ("Apostles of Cinema") is actually many different quotes, which I'm pretty sure come from different sources at different times. Rinzler notes this but no details about the quotes are given.

    I'm really curious about the quote that talks about "six original" films with "one odd" film, which has become "three." It sounds like he's talking about the PT and OT plus the Tangential Trilogy, with no mention of the ST proper. I was under the impression that the TT had been dropped when the twelve film plan was done away with. But that reduction from 12 to 9 also had something to do with the creation of the "trilogy of trilogies" concept, which is when the Sequel Trilogy concept came into being. So this is a very strange quote.

    Not to mention that those Tangential movies got made (sort of - the Holiday Special with the bits on Kashyyyk, the Ewoks and Droids cartoons, the Clone Wars show that follows the Jedi as main characters...).

    There are two additional quotes from 1983 about the ST as it existed in Lucas's mind at that point:

    Also, here's another from 1980:

    Those are all from GL. So possibly the "Other" was to appear in SW3 (Jedi) as of 1980, and carry over into the Sequel Trilogy. Once ROTJ was made, it began to focus more on following older versions of the OT characters. But as the themes was discussed post-ROTJ, perhaps some of its original storyline still existed in Lucas's mind at that point.
  5. Arawn_Fenn Jedi Grand Master

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    Jul 2, 2004
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    San Hill?
  6. Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Master

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  7. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    Apr 26, 2009
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    What's there regarding the unmade films (the Sequel Trilogy & the 'Tangential Trilogy' if you want to call it that) is extremely confusing, because so much of the information about them dates from before the saga was even divided into trilogies as such (although it does seem that the first story arc would form a trilogy). The twelve film serial mentioned in 1978/79 was just that - a series of twelve films, some continuing what we'd seen, others set before, others somewhat tangential.

    The prequel films weren't going to form a 'Prequel Trilogy' at first - in 1975 GL mentioned one film dealing with what came before the trilogy he was making, he would bring this idea up again as one film - "about the young Ben Kenobi" etc - and there was also very vague talk around the time ESB was being made about a film set even further in the past about the formation of the Jedi & the Republic.

    The actual Prequel Trilogy, I believe, was something that came about when GL decided that Darth Vader was Luke's father, & the backstory that may have comprised one film could be an entire trilogy on the same scale as the one he was currently making. The story simply had the potential to be so much more interesting. At the same time, he decided that he would continue his saga with another trilogy set some time after ROTJ - and that would be it. The tangential stories could be dealt with some other way, if necessary, but the saga, as such, would be a trilogy of trilogies.

    Before this happened, however, all it seems we had for the grand plan, in no particular order, was:

    1. Star Wars
    2. The Empire Strikes Back
    3. Star Wars III/Revenge/Return Of the Jedi

    4. Young Days Of Ben Kenobi

    5. Droids film - the cartoon series may have come into existence because of this idea

    6. Wookiee film - basically made as, ugh, The Star Wars Holiday Special, plus the Ewok TV specials & the cartoons may have been spawned from this very basic idea

    7. Very early days of the Republic & the Jedi

    8-11. Probably further adventures of Luke, Leia & co., perhaps involving Luke's mysterious sister

    12. Final film, Rebel Alliance defeats the evil Empire - largely speculative that this is how the 12 film serial would have ended, some accounts suggest that the Emperor would not be revealed until the very final episode of the 12 or 9 film saga.

    Rinzler's Making Of ESB confuses matters with a five film prequel story structure, but there's nothing beyond a handwritten list with a 'Prologue', a 'Clone Wars Trilogy' & an 'Epilogue'. I don't believe this was anything other than random jottings that were never meant to fit into any sort of overall plan.

    (Mark Hamill's accounts are best taken with a large bag of salt, or just ignored. He seems to get his info from the same places we do, then in all innocence, confuses things by trying to fit his own personal recollections & interpretations to it)

    As I said, past the OT & until #12, these are in no particular order, but what you can see is that there's no trilogy structure past the first three, the 'prequel' ideas that exist don't form a story arc, let alone a trilogy, & there was never any mention of a sequel storyline set much beyond The Adventures Of Luke Skywalker - which is what this film series was specifically being called at the time. Other than the films dealing with the immediate storyline begun in Star Wars & climaxing with the Rebels defeating the Empire, every other film was 'tangential'.

    This is what was changed when Darth Vader's backstory took on a force of its own - 'The Adventures Of Luke Skywalker' were reduced to a mere three films from as many as eight.
  8. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Another Saga & CT Manager

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    During the 12 film plan, I wonder if SW II and III were even planned as such. The first versions of ESB don't suggest a trilogy format, if I remember. The story just continues.

    Yeah, that's a weird one. It would be nice to know what else was in that notebook and when it was written, but we may never find out. Rinzler has a blog; I wonder if he'd respond if we put some questions together in an email?

    Right, the trilogy of trilogies idea seems like it was born when the twelve film saga was abandoned. Maybe it was the reason it was dropped in the first place. How I see it:

    Lucas combines Annikin and Vader, and that whole backstory becomes more interesting. At the same time he knows the current actors won't stick around forever (I imagine it's taking longer to produce these movies than he anticipated). So he knows he'll have to resolve the OT after Empire, and the prequel story now seems like it can be fleshed out into three films instead of just one. Partially to keep the "saga" concept and partially because he did have some story ideas, he 'adds' a third trilogy. Probably the notion that this 'rhymes,' conceptually, was also a motivating factor; he seems to favor that sort of thematic echo.

    Perhaps that page with the prologue and epilogue is a remnant of him figuring this out, before he added the sequels (or maybe they were on the next page).

    What's your take on this quote? Think it comes from the same period of hashing out the structure, perhaps immediately before the page from MoESB - the "strange movies" having been abandoned between this quote and that plan, but the ST not yet added?
  9. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    Apr 26, 2009
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    From TMOTESB, it does seem that the first three films were being referred to & treated as a trilogy while ESB was being developed. Although it's somewhat convenient for Rinzler to be referring to them as such, it does also fit in with GL's 1975 plan ("Gone With The Wind" in outer space & so on) which was specifically three stories, plus maybe another one set beforehand.

    However, in the 12-part/indefinite Adventures Of Luke Skywalker, yes, the story would continue to follow Luke & co., but perhaps there would have been a break between SWIII & the next story involving Luke.

    This was perhaps the most confusing thing I found in TMOTESB (apart from the babblings of Mark Hamill, but I've already made my position on that quite clear). The 'six original stories' seem to refer to the OT & the PT, the 'odd film' perhaps the Wookiee story.

    Past that, however, it's difficult to tell what he's referring to - when he says, "another trilogy after this", does he mean one set after the OT (i.e. Eps VII-IX), or one he would make after he'd finished the current one, i.e. the Prequel Trilogy? The older version of the quote from Once Upon A Galaxy makes it quite clear that it's the Sequel Trilogy, this full version, however, muddles up the context.

    Then there's this - "Where before I had one odd story, which really didn't involve a lot of the characters, now I have three odd stories." Two more 'odd stories' - I'm not entirely sure why he suddenly has two more to deal with simply because of the success of Star Wars & the addition of another trilogy.

    About the only thing one can glean from this quote is that if the 'added trilogy' can be taken to mean the Sequel Trilogy, it's fair to assume that it wasn't part of the 12 part Adventures Of Luke Skywalker series, & yes, the three odd movies were abandoned/shelved after this quote was made (which a later quote confirms).

    Another thing that I think is worth mentioning about these tangential films (and also the ST) is that the language GL uses when referring to them confuses matters somewhat, & leads to the more extreme interpretations put forward by our good friend Mark Hamill & others. When GL uses terms like 'strange', 'odd', 'ethereal' & 'out there', I believe he simply means that they're not a part of the storyline we're currently watching, i.e. "odd ones out", or, in the case of 'ethereal' & 'out there', he means they're still just vague ideas yet to be hammered out as stories.
    He's not talking about whacked-out sci-fi concepts like cyberspace, mind control or advanced states of consciousness, he's just referring to the literal existence of these stories as actual stories, compared to the ones he's managed to flesh out.
  10. TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2003
    star 4
    (emphasis mine)

    And as such, seem to rule out the idea of the Luke vs. Vader/Rebels vs. Empire story going beyond just three films (contra Kurtz*).

    *if anything, the Kurtz version - the expansion of the Luke story to six episodes/movies was a later addition , and thus not "the original plan".
  11. -NaTaLie- Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 5, 2001
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    I don't want to derail the conversation, but this has to be the most hilarious thing I've come across on these boards.
  12. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    Yeah? To me, it comes across as half-baked ranting by someone attempting to criticise something he's never read. What a load of crap.

    Or maybe that's what you meant by 'hilarious'.

    Back to the topic at hand, I thought I'd dredge up the Uncle Owen situation. Just what prompted the brief idea that Owen Lars was Obi-Wan Kenobi's brother? It's in the novelisation, it was in the shooting script:

    BEN (continuing his narrative)
    When your father left, he didn't know your
    mother was pregnant. Your mother and I knew
    he would find out eventually, but we wanted
    to keep you both as safe as possible, for as
    long as possible. So I took you to live with
    my brother Owen on Tatooine
    ... and your mother
    took Leia to live as the daughter of Senator
    Organa, on Alderaan.


    However, this dialogue didn't end up in the film, & the PT established that Owen was Anakin's step-brother (which did make sense).

    Although I found it to be an interesting hint at what might happen in the PT when I came across it in the 1990s (not having read the novel back in the 80s), it came as a surprise. Then it was thrown out anyway.

    Does anyone believe that Owen was meant to be Obi-Wan's brother prior to ROTJ, or is this development a complete anomaly, a double-retcon if you like?
  13. oierem Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2009
    star 4
    Deffinately not during the making of the original movie. The characters are all archetypes and Owen is supposed to be Luke's natural uncle of course.

    Owen being Obi-Wan's brother doesn't make much sense, and it's probably an attempt to reconcile Luke's situation in ANH with Vader being his father. A lazy attempt, IMO.
  14. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    Apr 26, 2009
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    You think? Back in the day, when we were all stumbling around in the dark trying to figure out what was going to happen in the PT with nothing but tiny snippets like this to go on, it made a certain amount of sense to me. Owen was resentful of his brother dumping Luke on him, as well as Obi-Wan's involvement in the giant mess that created the Empire. Hence, the comments like, "That wizard's just a crazy old man".
    Although Owen's portrayal in ANH works best in the original context of Luke's father actually being a dead hero (thanks to Obi-Wan dragging him along to war), I think the idea that Obi-Wan was his brother works better in the Saga context than him being Anakin's step-brother.

    And yes, it was also a way of eliminating the loose end of galactic warlord Darth Vader having a brother eking out an existence as a moisture farmer on a dump like Tatooine.
  15. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Another Saga & CT Manager

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    If I recall correctly, TOSCHI and/or zombie took the position that only ever one half of the Obi-Wan/Anakin (Annikin) pair was to be from Tatooine, and whichever one it was obviously had to be the one who was related to Owen. Initially Annikin was from Tatooine and followed Ben offplanet in the Clone Wars (though I'm not sure Ben was to be foreign at this point, I'll buy it).

    I'm not sure why Annikin/Anakin becoming Darth Vader (behind the scenes, I mean) necessitates changing the genealogy around, but it looks to me like that was the impetus. (What could be the reasoning there?)

    Then it got changed back. Maybe GL forgot about it between 1983 and 1994-7, or wrote it into the script for ROTJ only to discard the whole concept before the film was even finished. Maybe it just caused too many weird, unnecessary problems.
  16. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    Apr 26, 2009
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    Actually, that was me - it struck me as a sort of coincidental indication of who came from where. Although I don't think it's set in stone - in both scenarios, I also thought it was quite possible that Owen & Beru were refugees or fugitives, which could work just as well.
  17. -NaTaLie- Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    I just happen to think it's a good parody of Zombie's style ;)

    quote]Does anyone believe that Owen was meant to be Obi-Wan's brother prior to ROTJ, or is this development a complete anomaly, a double-retcon if you like?[/quote]

    No way, or it would have been mentioned in ANH, when they were both still alive. I'm glad they cut it because it didn't make any sense.
  18. TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master

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    Jan 17, 2003
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    Not really...vox-populi 'parody' = FAIL



    Given that ROTJ established that Vader = Luke's father/Anakin, it made more sense to have Luke living with Ben's 'relatives' on his home-world, rather than having him live with Anakin/Vader's relatives. So, ROTJ and the PT's 'fix' i.e. switching the genealogy back to SW/ANH continuity actually screwed things up a bit more.
  19. -NaTaLie- Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 5, 2001
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    Whatever, it cracked me up. If people make fun of Star Wars and Lucas himself, I don't see why Zombie should be an exception.



    [/quote]

    But Anakin & Owen being stepbrother doesn't contradict ANH. Making Ben Owen's brother would make their Tatooine scenes even more weird than they already are. Besides, wouldn't Ben's homeworld be the first planet the Empire would check on?
  20. Bens_Dad Jedi Youngling

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    Sep 26, 2010
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    And yet Kurtz maintains that he didn't want to work on ROTJ after his experiences on ESB and that he chose to jump ship to make different kinds of films. I guess these stories change over the years, though, depending on which makes better press...
  21. TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master

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    Jan 17, 2003
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    Except Zombie is not "making fun" of Star Wars and "Lucas himself", so this reasoning fails.



    Not directly*, but Anakin and Owen as step-brothers "contradicting ANH " wasn't my point. My point was that the two being related and from Tatooine - or more to the point, Luke being sent to live with Anakin's family - complicates things (that's putting it mildly), given that - per ROTJ - Luke and Leia were supposed to have been "hidden from their father** when they were born" . Given that line by Ben from ROTJ, does it make sense to hide them from Anakin by having one of them live with Anakin's relatives?

    (edit: I would amend my previous post above yours to say that Anakin and Owen being related AND Luke being sent to live with the Lars on Tatooine doesn't conflict with Vader=Anakin, but it conflicts with Luke being 'hidden' from his father at birth.)

    *the relationship was most likely to have been one of blood-relation, or relationship by marriage (in-law) when SW/ANH was originally made. The STEP - part of the relationship only came into the equation because of the PT's introduction of Anakin being the 'Chosen One' and for supposedly not having had a human father.

    **iow, a father/Anakin who possibly still hadn't become Darth Vader yet at this point of the story - there's some implications for this line (see below - another thread covers this) but suffice it to say, it shows one more instance where the events that unfolded in the PT don't line-up with what Obi-Wan told Luke in ROTJ.

    "To protect you both from the Emperor (not the Emperor AND Vader) you were hidden from your father (not Vader necessarily) when you were born."

    'Check on' what , exactly? Especially if they believe that Obi-Wan/Ben was dead...? Besides, in this alternate ROTJ scenario, perhaps Anakin never knew about Obi-Wan's relatives/family anyhow.
  22. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    Apr 26, 2009
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    Actually, fair enough. zombie's not exactly Mr Plinkett, & a great deal of his work is about highlighting GL's underrated talents as a storyteller (as opposed to trashing him, as many believe), but he doesn't exactly mince his words, either. If you want to put your neck out there, be ready for it to be chopped at.

    I just thought vox-populi's 'parody' sounded like a spiteful, childish reaction to something he didn't agree with, simply because he didn't agree with it from the get-go. Too many of zombie's critics in this thread admit to barely getting through a few pages of TSHOSW, then feel they can attack the whole thing (I'm not having a go at you). Bogs down the thread & derails any serious discussion.
  23. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    Bit of a shameless bump, but zombie's posted a new article on his website about Yoda's speech:

    http://secrethistoryofstarwars.com/yodaspeak.html

    Pretty heavy going, but it's good to see that one of the forum's most controversial members hasn't turned his back on the galaxy far, far away. Interesting mention about Lawrence Kasdan - "Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan has claimed in Annotated Screenplays that he deliberately made Yoda sound medieval in the inversions".
  24. Gundark31 Jedi Youngling

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    Apr 30, 2010
    star 1
    Spreadsheets involving Yoda's speech pattern is a bit much for me, what I take away from it is that Lawrence Kasdan had a lot to do with the Yoda character we knew from the OT and Lucas's PT version was a bit off.

    Kasdan should have been brought in on AOTC instead of Hales but we don't really know if Lucas would have heeded any writing advice from Hales or Kasdan.
  25. Mange Jedi Master

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    Jan 11, 2003
    star 4
    Kasdan was offered to write the script to TPM by Lucas but declined. I doubt it would have been very likely that he would have accepted writing the other prequels.