Because I ended up talking with Hernalt about various details of the space battle of Endor somewhat off-topic in this parallel thread - http://boards.theforce.net/threads/luke-and-rogue-squadron.50040827/page-2 - I thought that a new thread devoted to the issue might be the appropriate approach, hopefully inviting some JCF specialists and historians to weigh-in with their knowledge. Have you ever heard of the Black Friday of November 22, 1982? That was the day ILM’s Ken Ralston, in charge of the space battle choreography in JEDI, learned that a lot of visual effects (VFX) material would not make it into the final cut from the film. "100 visual effects shots and many pages of action were changed, added or deleted from the various end battle sequences." (Rinzler’s Making of Return of the Jedi, 2013, page 259) Ken Ralston: “George made a drastic cut on the film - a horrible, horrible drastic cut - and threw out about 40 (36 according to his Cinefex interview) shots of mine and somewhere around 30 or 40 of Richard's [Edlund]. It all added up to about 250 ships we'd shot from scenes we’d been working on, all this stuff, all this material, was just tossed out and we couldn’t even use them on other shots. … and in some shots we're pulling stuff out because we were confusing the story point with overkill.” The story before In December 1981 the (original) screenplay for Revenge of the Jedi was finished. Examination of the genuine script (and not the transcript based on the finished film that re-incarnated everywhere ever since its first publication in the 1983 The Art of Return of the Jedi) reveals that a lot of space battle scenes didn’t exist in the original script but were actually added in the following months. The destruction of the super Star Destroyer’s bridge was already there, as it had been one of the first EMI studio sets built when live-action footage shooting began in the UK in January 1981. These bridge scenes were shot February 9th, followed by the briefing room scenes aboard Ackbar’s ship (John Philip Peacher’s Making of Return of the Jedi, 1983). Storyboards for the space battle were created at the same time principal shooting took place in the UK. In early March 1982 X-Wing cockpit footage was shot on Stage 9 with “Wedge and three other X-Wing pilots”. Because only George Lucas knew how the live-action footage would combine with the later VFX, he „will spent most of the week doing these shots" (Peacher, page 147) On March 5th, more dialogue was created for Billy Dee Williams, and all the Lando dialogue in the Falcon cockpit was shot in one session on March 19th (Rinzler, page 180). It stands to reason that the same type of dialogue recording technique and identical lines were used for all pilots and cockpit footage scenes, so that Lucas had plenty of options which pilots to assign which line in the upcoming combination with the VFX, yet we only saw the (unused) cockpit footage of the two female A-Wing and the two alien B-Wing pilots as a bonus feature of the 2011 Complete Saga Blu-ray disc set and the (last) part of the female X-Wing pilot at conventions. Pilot lines (A-Wing, Y-Wing, X-Wing) that made it into the final film are shown in bold, slight deviations to the actual dialogue in final film are probably owed to re-dubbing the UK actors with American voices: "Green Leader standing by." / "Three of them coming in 30 degrees." / "I'm on it, Red Leader." / "There's too many of them! / "You're taking a lot of fire! Back off!" / "Red Four, watch out!" / "I'm hit!" / "It's your left power supply!" / "Got it." / "If you pick one up, watch it." / "My scope's negative. Where is he?" / "Red Six, a squad of fighters have broken through." / "We're starting our attack run on the main power tree." / "I copy. Moving into position." / "Stay clear of their front batteries." 7 "It's a heavy fire zone down there." / "I'm in range." / "Right with you." / "I'm losing power." / "Get clear. She's gonna blow!" / "I'm on the leader." / "Stay away from those side guns." / "Heavy fire. I see it. Look out." / "Pull up! Pull up!" / "Stay close to the ground." / "Firing proton torpedoes." / "I've lost my main stabilizer. I can't pull out." Reconstructing the original space battle chronology Because the popular “screenplay” of “Return” of the Jedi is first and foremost a transcript that reflects the final film, the only original source remaining is the film’s novelization by James Kahn. Since he apparently embellished the depiction of the Rebel fleet on a grand scale, compared to the shorter screenplay depiction, there had been doubt about the accuracy of the narration in the novelization that exceeded what was shown in the final film. Yet, two original and additional screenplay pages reveal a word-for-word fidelity transcript, while the aforementioned dialogue recorded by the pilot actors and actresses reflects equally faithful, and he didn’t fix one obvious continuity error (i.e. Green Leader dies twice). Therefore Kahn’s depiction of the battle obviously illustrates the original chronology / screenplay, but must have missed a couple of last minute additions that are in the actual film but not the novelization. What follows is an attempt to reconstruct the original “chapters” of the space battle of Endor (and the order of scenes before final cut) and the actual pilots participating before George Lucas’ “slaughter” of the Black Friday of 1982. Actual dialogue from the finished film shows bold, extra dialogue from the novelization shows normal and further dialogue (other sources) in italic. Chapter One: Into the trap ACKBAR May the Force be with us. Lando looks worriedly at his alien copilot, Nien Nunb, who points to the control panel and talks to Lando. LANDO We've got to be able to get some kind of a reading on that shield, up or down. Well, how could they be jamming us if they don't know if we're coming. Lando shoots a concerned look out at the approaching Death Star as the implications of what he's just said sink in. He hits a switch on his comlink. LANDO Break off the attack! The shield is still up. RED LEADER (VO) I get no reading. Are you sure? LANDO Pull up! All craft pull up! The Falcon turns hard to the left. Out the window the stars and the Death Star move off right.The Falcon and the fighters of Red Squad veer off desperately to avoid the unseen wall. Alarms are screaming and lights flashing as the huge ship changes course abruptly. Other ships in the fleet shoot by outside as the armada tries to halt its forward momentum. ACKBAR Take evasive action! Green Group, stick close to holding sector MV-7. (original dialogue: Green Group steer course for Holding Sector. MG-7 Blue Group -) A Mon Calamari controller turns away from his screen and calls out to Ackbar, quite excited. The Admiral rushes over to the controller. CONTROLLER Admiral, we have enemy ships in sector 47. (original dialogue: enemy ships at Sector RT-23 and PB-4) On the screen can be seen the moon, Death Star, and the massive Imperial fleet. Ackbar moves to the comlink. ACKBAR It's a trap! Prepare for attack! LANDO (over comlink) Fighters coming in! Here we go!. There is much excitement on the bridge as the attack begins. ACKBAR Launch all interceptions. An Aide approaches Ackbar AIDE We’ve added power to the forward shield. ACKBAR Good! Double power on the main battery. An Aide points to the battle raging outside the window. AIDE Gold wing is hit hard! ACKBAR Give them cover! Order them back. We must have time! Ackbar turns towards the control room. ACKBAR Order all ships to stand their position. Wait for my command to return. (information from additional scene 101 A from February 15, 1982 in italic) According to the novelization the Squad(ron) leaders / “wings” reported in, after the operational Death Star protection shield had been discovered. The original report included a “Blue Leader” reporting “standing by” while Gray Leader was destroyed before he could report. According to the novelization three X-Wings crashed into the unseen deflector shield as storyboarded. It is unknown whether the VFX element was shot or abandoned at an early stage. Chapter Two coming up soon.