BTS The Secret History of Star Wars

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

  1. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    I know that the Brackett draft of ESB & subsequent drafts are completely incompatible, it's not even possible to say that the Father Vader revelation could have occurred in a later episode, had the Brackett storyline been followed. My point is that it's possible that the idea could have occurred to GL before the Brackett draft was done as a completely alternative storyline - the 1978 Future Magazine article which was written while Brackett was still writing her draft even suggests that there were two potential storylines in the air for the next SW film:

    Yes, Leigh Brackett was dead by the time this article was printed (she died on March 18, 1978), but I think it's fair to say that it was written while she was still alive, as it refers to her in the present tense. It could have been written months earlier, and almost definitely was.

    It's possible that Future Magazine's 'source' was the speculation of David Prowse, as mentioned earlier in this thread, but even then we don't know for sure what his source was, either. Point being that these strange 1977/78 spoilers that went virtually unnoticed at the time can't be easily dismissed, and do point to the idea that the Father Vader storyline existed as a concept while the 'orthodox' Father Skywalker storyline of ESB was being officially written by Leigh Brackett.

    I'm not saying that it definitely was the case, just that it's possible. It's getting into unfalsifiable territory, although these spoilers could be considered dubious evidence, as opposed to none.

    Of course not. My point is that 'Father Vader' is a character who came to be as the result of years of writing & re-writing - the evidence of which exists in these characters as pieces of a greater whole - & I don't think the massive transformation from one-dimensional villain to complex, tragic figure necessarily occurred in the neat, linear fashion zombie would have you believe, i.e. after GL simply decided Brackett's draft wasn't what he wanted, then had to come up with something completely and utterly new. I don't think he simply stopped thinking about his story after she started writing, nor do I believe that alternatives didn't occur to him while said writing was being done, or even before.

    However, as I pointed out in a recent post, we're really only quibbling over a period of a couple of months, I'm not trying to argue that the Darth Vader we saw in Star Wars/ANH was ever meant to be anything more than the villain he was presented as, or that Ben Kenobi's words to Luke were meant to be taken at anything other than face value.
  2. ATMachine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 3
    Here are some quickly dashed-off notes on a rather old topic--Luke's severed hand--as regards insights provided in The Making of ESB:

    The idea of a cyborg character has been around for just about all of SW history. In the 1974 The Star Wars first draft it's Kane Starkiller (a great Jedi hero now hunted by the Empire, and the father of protagonist Annikin Starkiller) who is mostly mechanical.

    Kane has lost everything of his old body except his head and right arm (much like the later, extensively-injured Darth Vader, who eventually became the father of hero Luke Skywalker). The depth of his loss is revealed when a frustrated Kane explains to his Jedi comrade General Luke Skywalker (the prototype of Obi-Wan Kenobi) that he will not live long enough to complete his son's Jedi training.

    Note that it is Kane's left arm which is revealed as a prosthesis, even though it seems outwardly like a real flesh-and-blood arm.

    Kane dies midway through the film, when he rips out the batteries from his cybernetics in order to power a cryopod, which is needed to smuggle a fugitive Princess Leia Aquilae's little brothers past Imperial spaceport inspectors. Beyond that, his character is almost superfluous to the narrative. But from this starting point in the very first draft developed the cybernetics of both Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.

    In the second draft, Adventures of the Starkiller: Episode One -- The Star Wars, the renamed protagonist Luke Starkiller's aged, heroic Jedi father (known simply as the Starkiller) is not introduced until very late in the film. So in an attempt to salvage the cyborg idea, Lucas gave Han Solo a navigator named Montross, who much like Kane retained only an organic head and right arm.

    The scene of Kane purposefully damaging his cybernetic arm to reveal his own weakness is retained, though now being acted out by Montross for Han's benefit.

    However, Montross is of no real importance in regards to the plot (even less so than Kane Starkiller was), so it's not surprising he didn't make it beyond this draft.

    The third draft is where the script really begins to resemble the ANH we know. Here Ben Kenobi--the former "Commander of the White Legions"--is introduced for the first time, and Luke's father has died before the start of the film (though Luke knows he was a Jedi who died in the Battle of Condawn, when Darth Vader betrayed the Jedi cause).

    The twice-recycled revelation of the aged warrior's artificial left arm now comes when Luke, talking with Kenobi in the Jedi master's house, proves reluctant to go on an adventure with old Ben:

  3. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    The name Montross was eventually used for a character who appeared in Jango Fett: Open Seasons and the Star Wars: Bounty Hunter video game.
  4. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Montross was also in the fourth draft of SW, pre-revisions, he was an Imperial officer hassling Han prior to Luke & co boarding the Falcon (basically his scene was replaced by Jabba's). The character was actually cast, too, with actor Bill Bailey (not the comedian):

    [image=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a2/Big_Bill_Bailey.jpeg/471px-Big_Bill_Bailey.jpeg]

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0047153/
  5. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    Not the rock star either. :p
  6. GreenGreatWarrior Force Ghost

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    Apr 16, 2003
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    I'm currently reading David Prowse's autobiography, 'Straight From The Force's Mouth' and I have noticed a little inconsistency which is pretty interesting. The second chapter consists of supposedly unedited diary entries. But look at these two entries:

    16 April
    Apart from a call of Tuesday for wardrobe and make-up tests (for the unmasking of the top of Vader's head) and laser sword rehearsals with Mark Hamill, Peter Diamond and my stuntman - the British fencing coach - Bob Anderson, precious little else happened. The stills man took some interesting pics of Mark and myself rehearsing during the afternoon. Clearly, he had been briefed on the father/son confrontation at the end of Empire and the studio wanted to be prepared with photos of the two of us for future publicity opportunities.

    Later on comes his entry for the gantry scene and he makes no mention of the 'I am your father line'. However, this entry is followed by a few paragraphs from Prowse in the present, in which he says he did not know about the father/son thing until the premiere.

    [image=http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/6731/prowse1.jpg]

    [image=http://img851.imageshack.us/img851/1118/prowse2.jpg]

    Sorry about the image quality, they were taken on my phone.

  7. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Good find. That just looks like he's gone back & edited the entry (or done it well after the fact). The wording 'father/son confrontation' definitely couldn't match what his dialogue supposedly was on set, which was either "Obi-Wan killed your father" or "Obi-Wan is your father" (accounts differ).
  8. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    Jan 17, 2003
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    And thus casting doubt upon the accuracy of Prowse's claim(s), perhaps(?)...[face_thinking]
  9. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Or perhaps even lending credence to them? Did he guess in advance, based on whatever he'd heard in 1977?

    It's a murky situation, & I think some of us (myself definitely) are guilty of disregarding certain evidence partly based on who it comes from, i.e. David Prowse, Mark Hamill, even GL. Just because any of them can be shown to have embellished, confused or muddied some facts doesn't mean everything they say is necessarily false or inaccurate. It goes the other way - Gary Kurtz's rather confused claims about the 'original' vision of the Saga have been given more credibility than they perhaps deserve.

    In this case, however, I think Prowse simply did go back & edited the entry, as he later claims he was surprised at the revelation when he saw ESB for the first time. It doesn't actually impact on the credibility of his 1977/78 'spoiler' claims, either positively or negatively.
  10. Mond Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 21, 2009
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    BTW, I've been meaning to ask but kept forgetting (I have a job, you see)... was this odd little comment from this thread ever explained? I looked for some kind of rationale for this elsewhere in thread but came up empty-handed.
  11. CuppaJoe Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2002
    star 4
    I always thought it was pretty much through The Force. Not so difficult an explanation in Star Wars terms.

    Overreaction? I guess loving the film is overreacting. Then again I seem to remember zombie giving it a near perfect rating upon release but I guess that's just the buzz of a SW film being released, huh.
  12. CuppaJoe Force Ghost

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  13. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    YES!!!! In the "Montrose" version of SW, we hear "Bad Motor Scooter" playing when the Millenium Falcon blasts out of Mos Eisley spaceport.....
  14. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    I was thinking of a different rock star...
  15. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    Jan 17, 2003
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    Oh.....:oops:
  16. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    This thread always deserves to be bumped, but it's been a while since there's been some good old poisonous debate to raise the hackles of the usual suspects. So following on from this 'Montross' issue...

    Declan Mulholland played Jabba in Star Wars, and in 1976 the scene was shot as intended to be used. There were no plans to replace the actor with a special effect making him any sort of alien, let alone a giant slug. Discuss.

    [image=http://images.wikia.com/starwars/images/c/c9/DeclanMulholland_as_Jabba.jpg]
  17. Obi-Ewan Force Ghost

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    Actually, according to Lucas the plan was to replace him with a stop-motion creature, and it was the inability to decide on a design, and maybe lack of money, that caused the scene to be cut from the film in the first place. Of course, in that case it would make little sense for him to call Jabba "a wonderful human being."

    In the original comic based on the film, I believe that scene is included, but Jabba looks quite different.
  18. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    That's what he says now, but:

    1. There are no designs for Jabba as we know him, for ANH.
    2. The design (as a slug) has a very specific provenance of design, which appears to have been done for ROTJ.
    3. There are storyboards for a suit/go-motion replacement Jabba for the scene, but these too seem to date form around ROTJ
    4. The actor in the scene is wearing a fully designed costume.
    5. The technology to convincingly composite a stop-motion character into live action footage and interact smoothly with actors (the way Han and Jabba touch each other, etc) was extremely rudimentary at the time. It seems doubtful they'd have shot the scene the way they did if they intended at the time to replace Jabba with a creature.
  19. YodaDooDahDay Jedi Master

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    Jul 20, 2010
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    Okay, Nub, I'll bite. 8-} What this scene shows me is that Star Wars evolved. I know, shocking. Like almost everything else that ends up on screen, it was a product of an original idea, the technology at the time, editorial decisions, financial success, new technology and the ability to revise. Lucas wrote the scene in '74-75, shot the scene intending to use it as is, dropped it because it wasn't needed and/or fell short of what he had in his mind, later thought about whether the footage could be reused, he thought Jabba could be made more interesting, had Johnston draw up some boards and proposals (since renderings were included in "From Star Wars to Jedi, The Making of a Saga" that means they were talking about revisions to the scene prior to developing the slug Jabba seen in Jedi), and then had the technology to pull it off in the early 90's once CG and digital compositing became practical.

    So it's likely true Lucas shot the scene intending to use it (thus the full costume), dropped it early in the editing process (over Maria Lucas' objection, BTW. She championed the scene), Lucas thought about re-inserting the scene in the late 70s early 80s but didn't have the technology to pull it off, redesigned Jabba for Jedi, then finally had the tools available to do it in the 90s.

    Unless I'm missing something, it's just the creative process in action. Is there a controversy?
  20. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

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    This is interesting although not particularly relevant. I, for one, am glad they went for the slug. Jabba was one of the few great things about ROTJ.
  21. thejeditraitor Chosen One

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  22. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    No 'controversy', YodaDooDahDay.....Nub and Thrawn are simply stating that Lucas' claim that Jabba was "always"* going to be a slimy alien (*or more specifically, "always" meaning, "when the original '76 scene was shot") is highly improbable/most likely not factual.
  23. Mond Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 21, 2009
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    So do you know what the heck he's alluding to here? Did a bunch of critics who gave RotS good reviews later retract it or something? Help me out here.

    Most of the positive reviews were of the "very good movie, but a bit flawed" sort. Hardly overreacting. The guy in The New York Times said it was better than ANH, but that's about it as far as things that could have offended the Zombster.
  24. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

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    I know some venues (ex: Empire) has retracted positive reviews of TPM and AOTC, but I haven't heard this about ROTS.
  25. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    As TOSCHISTATION pointed out, the only controversy is the claim that it was shot all along with the intention of the actor being replaced by an effect, which simply isn't true. Otherwise, you've summed it all up pretty much completely.

    However, just so no one gets the wrong idea, these discussions aren't about pointing out that George Lucas is a big fat liar, it's about finding out where the official story isn't true, then figuring out what did happen. So, what I'm curious about is just when Jabba became an alien and why.

    Here's how Jabba appears in the shooting script:

    His description is virtually identical in drafts two & three:
    Draft Two - "The larger and mangiest of the two slavering hulks, JABBA THE HUTT by name, throws his dice at Chewbacca."
    Draft Three - "The grossest of the slavering hulks is JABBA THE HUTT. His scarred face is a grim testimonial to his prowess as a vicious killer."

    (He doesn't appear in the original version of the fourth draft, his scene is replaced completely by the one with Montross.)

    OK, so they went ahead and shot the scene as it appeared in the revised fourth draft with Declan Mulholland playing Jabba, the scene got cut out and didn't appear in the movie. Greedo's dialogue was re-written to accommodate Jabba's absence and was shot in the cantina pickups.
    Jabba's scene in Docking Bay 94 does appear in the novelisation of the film, in which he is described as "great mobile tub of muscle and suet topped by a shaggy scarred skull". Still a human.

    However, when the Marvel comic book adaptation came out a couple of months after the film, Jabba appeared like this:

    [image=http://cdn.hometheaterforum.com/6/63/63b0efaf_5.jpeg] [image=http://denimsblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/star-wars-2-2.jpg]

    The design was based on another alien glimpsed around Mos Eisley.
    [image=http://www.whatthefett.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/marveljabba5.jpg] [image=http://i44.tinypic.com/if8pbk.jpg]

    Obviously he's not human, but even putting that aside, he doesn't match the previous descriptions in any way at all. Rather than have the comic book artists use pictures or footage of Declan Mulholland for reference, GL (or someone at LFL) told them to go with an alien. Why this one in particular, I don't know, but it's worth mentioning that this 'Jabba' would appear twice again in the Marvel series, in issues #28 (1979) and #37 (1980).

    [image=http://borgdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/jabba-from-star-wars-adaptation-marvel.jpg] [image=http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-IEFAs2f2vM8/TffVtD7rn-I/AAAAAAAAADM/LiOWKfza5F8/s1600/jabba.jpg]

    In 1979, Ballantine Books published 'The Art Of Star Wars', which included the script of the film. Among other little tweaks, Jabba's description was fundamentally changed from what appeared in the actual shooting script: