Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by MidKnighT, Apr 12, 2022.
Just not the Gungans.....
Over the years, I’ve made my peace with most things I dislike with Star Wars - even finding many of those things to now be endearing - but ROTJ still falls under the heading of, “Anything else would have been better”. Myriad reasons no sense in itemizing. So I would love to see just a little 5 minute animated version of that original vision, similar to what someone created with Trevorrow’s Episode IX. It’s always interesting to see if the grass is truly greener in these instances.
As always, IMHO.
I’m glad Han Solo lived. His death would’ve been a bit too much and likely would overshadow Vader’s death.
Apart from that, I agree with all the original ideas as suggested by Kurtz, though it should be noted that he never (at least to my knowledge) said anything about Luke falling to the dark side. Also, in the original version, there weren’t even Wookiees. It was just the rebels raiding an Imperial base.
There are a couple of things that Kurtz said about Luke that I find especially interesting:
“Well, there were several possible story threads that we were looking to follow, one of them was Luke’s quest, his own process, he goes back to Yoda to finish his training and it deals with the whole spiritual side of being a Jedi Knight more. And therefore at the end of the story, he would go off on his own.
It was really Luke kind of riding off into the sunset, very much like (the) Clint Eastwood character in many of his westerns, and so it was a very bittersweet kind of story, but the spiritual dimension was there with Luke going back to Yoda and discussing a lot more and training a lot more with Yoda.”
“The one story thread that got totally tossed out the window, which was really pretty important I think, was the one of Vader trying to convince Luke to join him to overthrow the Emperor. That together they had enough power that they could do that, and it wasn’t him saying I want to take over the world and be the evil leader, it was that transition. It was Vader saying, “I’m looking again at what I’ve done and where my life has gone and who I’ve served and, very much in the Samurai tradition, and saying if I can join forces with my son, who is just as strong as I am, that maybe we can make some amends.” So there was all of that going on in Jedi as well, that was supposed to go on. So the story was quite a bit more poignant and the ending was the coronation of Leia as the queen of what was left of her people, to take over the royal symbol. That meant she was then isolated from all of the rest and Luke went off then by himself. It was basically a kind of bittersweet ending. She’s not his sister that dropped in to wrap up everything neatly. His sister was someone else way over on the other side of the galaxy and she wasn’t going to show up until the next episode.”
Some of the biggest problems with ROTJ are the repetition of another attack on another Death Star, and whole thing with the Ewoks. Both of these elements waste a lot of time that could have been spent focusing on Luke Skywalker and his character development and his development as a Jedi. As it stands, ROTJ just wraps that (and many other plot points) plot really abruptly without a satisfying conclusion. Carrying on from that, as much as I love Vader’s redemption, Luke’s motivation to redeem his Vader kinda comes out of nowhere. Had he returned to Dagobah, and discussed more about the Jedi with Yoda as suggested by Kurtz, it would lead to discussions about Anakin, allowing Luke to learn about his father’s past in detail. Have Luke be unsure about Vader’s revelation at the start of the film, similar to the version we got, then have him accepting the harsh truth after conversing with Yoda, but viewing himself as the son of a monster. As the film progresses and his training with Yoda continues, he would learn more about the Jedi and the good man Anakin was. Perhaps Vader could have attempted communication with Luke through the Force similar to the deleted scene at the start of the film. Or maybe Luke would have revisited the cave to see a vision of Anakin Skywalker, noticing the parallels between himself and his father, linking that with what he had been told by Yoda and Obi Wan, what he had learnt about the Jedi ways from Yoda and through this, gradually over the course of the film, he can come to the conclusion that his father can indeed be redeemed.
The idea of Vader wanting Luke to join him in order to make amends is a really neat idea and would’ve strengthened his redemption for me and would have made for a good follow up to that story thread from ESB, instead of just completely ignoring it as the film did. The big plus about the absence of a second Death Star and Ewoks would mean that the film would also have more time to focus on Darth Vader and develop his character and relationship with Luke.
I get the impression that the original ideas for Return of the Jedi would have made for more of a character driven, spiritual film and just a better story/film overall. Definitely a better follow up to Empire and would have paved the way for an awesome sequel trilogy with Luke searching for his sister, training her as a Jedi, and joining with her to take down the Emperor in episode 9. I also think it would be interesting to see how his relationship with Leia developed in the scenario that they weren’t siblings (which was always a bad retcon). I guess the closest we’ll get to this story as of now is Dark Empire (another reason Dark Empire is awesome!)
I would love to see a what if comic based on these ideas, both for ROTJ and the sequel trilogy that would have followed.
I don't think I'd change anything about it, 10 year old me in 1983 thought it was the best one of the trilogy and I think the vast majority of it works. I love the James Bond-esque unrelated opening in Jabbas palace. This film is groundreaking (not only technically but from a structure point of view too with many blockbusters since following the formula with a multi level battle at the end). We have tension and peril with stakes, the duel between Vader and Luke is emotional and the space battle was off the charts in its execution. I'm not sure Luke going to the dark side would have worked, maybe they could have teased it a bit in order for him to catch them off guard? Killing Han Solo would have been a massive no given his popularity and maybe too dark a moment at that time, what we got in TFA was much more emotional because it was his son. As I got older Empire overtook it as my favourite and nowadays I think that the Leia reveal doesn't land like they thought it would and maybe theres a case to be made for leaving in the idea of the Death Star about to destroy Endor. But overall this is still one of the best action adventure films ever made for a reason, its only crime is following the first 2 which set the bar so high. From a movie point of view they still haven't topped this despite having 8 attempts with films since 1999.
In the end we sort of did get it with the sequels:
Leia becomes leader of the New Republic (although in all their fear of prequels at the time, they kinda cut past that and started TFA a bit past that) but then we got he leading tattered rebel forces, so they kinda flipped that ordering.
We have the girl from back of beyond, farthest side of the universe with insane force powers to come in and help in the final put down of the Emperor, "the no there is another" girl (before they combined a lot of stuff and cut it into ROTJ and made Leia "the other"). At various times over many years the other be it in original 9 plans or ROTJ plans or somewhat later but still pre-Disney drafts, etc. the other was gonna be things like a girl being trained on the far side of the galaxy, either Luke's sister or some sort of Skywalker through the force or an unrelated girl with extreme force powers somewhere out in the farthest reaches. Basically Kira/Rey.
Anyway in sequels we get Ben go dark and Luke hide out.
Han gets killed even if in a much different way.
Some of the Luke going dark and Han getting killed I thought was tossed very early or kinda just floated out for fun (I think Lucas just kinda mentioned once the Luke going dark thing as a wild plot twist thing, but didn't think it lasted long and the Han thing I don't think Lucas ever wanted for various reasons and was just pushed a bit by others.)
Hitler did actually pick up a few ideas from things happening in the U.S.
I don't htink the Ewoks thing failed.
We all feel strongly on how the CT ended so I can see everyone's passion bleeding through.
I voted for a mix of the two as the film was the lesser of the other two for me. I still love it and when i was seven in '83, i was blown away by it. It definitely had the most marketing leading to huge anticipation, but the execution was down from the other films. This is mainly because of the direction GL wanted to go, which was outta sorts with Kurtz and rightfully so.
I don't mind the Vietnese reference as it makes sense. To answer the questions above about who the Empire is based off of, it combines the Nixon administration with the Nazi regime and what a dictatorship looks like for any country if they don't pay attention.
I would NOT want an ending with a darkside Luke and I understand choosing Ewoks over Wookies for the reasons stated. The Ewoks could have included a cute one or two, but be mostly small warriors and not so much cute and cuddly. Having Luke be Leia's brother is a little much. I'm glad they used the "other" for Leia but it makes sense they developed Rey as the possible "other" for the ST.
The beginning with the Han rescue was fantastic, a little rushed but good.
The in between with Luke on Dagobah could've been more drawn out to learn more about Anakin's past and Luke's plan to save him while combating Vader and the Emperor. (An 80s montage showing Luke learn how to block Sith lightning).
I also like what a member posted earlier about more Rebel soldiers and elite Stormtroopers at the Endor battle. This is the final land battle of them all to this point. The space battle was on point and looks fantastic even today. Best ever.
All in all ROTJ is still one of my all time favorites.
The ROTJ we got. I think as we age we want more "complex/mature" themes and moments in our movies. Yet, I like that Lucas always kept one eye on the original reason for Star Wars....to give kids a new fairly tale chock full of heroes, villains, monsters, and creatures.
ROTJ ticks all the boxes. Sure, he could have ended the OT with a semi cynical, bittersweet ending, and spent more time exploring more ethereal, spiritual, Jedi matters. Yet he gave the audience and the characters a happy ending.