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  1. In Memory of LAJ_FETT: Please share your remembrances and condolences HERE

BTS The Star Destroyer bridges of the Original Trilogy

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by Lt. Hija, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2015
    Following the article series attempting to reconstruct the lost scenes from the Endor space battle in ROJ and its original event chronology - http://boards.theforce.net/threads/...-space-battle-in-return-of-the-jedi.50041047/ - I decided to update a treatise I wrote in 2015 about the bridge of Vader's Super Star Destroyer Executor (because of some new discoveries) and also add the other 4 Star Destroyer bridges plus the one that didn't really make it into ESB (but is probably the one the Devastator would have featured as a front bridge).

    The article series will focus on the actual film sets and subsequently the conclusions we can draw for "in-universe" bridge designs and arrangements. Hope you may find this new article series informative and enjoyable. :)

    Part One - The Star Destroyer "cockpit" in Star Wars-A New Hope

    Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer Devastator made an impressive entry in the opening scenes chasing the consular ship Tantive IV, but we only got a short glimpse of what supposedly was its bridge or “cockpit”, a screenplay description that remained unchanged since the second Star Wars draft from January 28th, 1975 (when a “Stardestroyer” was only one fifth of a mile long):

    INT. IMPERIAL STARDESTROYER – COCKPIT

    An awesome array of lighted panels and computer monitors are reflected in the polished black helmets of six Imperial master-pilots. A fifth-ranked General of the Fleet sits in a rotating chair suspended from the cabin ceiling, watching the chief pilot maneuver the huge warship above the tiny rebel spacefighter.

    CHIEF PILOT - That’s as close as I dare take her.

    CAPTAIN (into intercom) - We are in position…stand by. Remember, Lord Vader wants as many of them taken alive as is possible. There will be no slaughter.

    [​IMG]

    INT. IMPERIAL STARDESTROYER – COCKPIT

    On the main viewscreen, the lifepod carrying the two terrified robots speeds away from the stricken rebel spacecraft. In the foreground a huge mechanical arm lifts a computer panel out of a cabinet,

    CHIEF PILOT - There goes another one. Look.

    CAPTAIN - Hold your fire. No lifeforms. It must have short-circuited. Don’t waste your power.

    The captain gets a message on his headset.

    CAPTAIN (CONT’D) - Yes…Yes…He’s on his way down now…No. Good, excellent. I’ll relay it. (he turns to the pilots) The ship is ours!

    The pilots cheer and an excited murmur rushes throughout the ship.

    The bold dialogue survived all the drafts and made it into the final screenplay, leftovers from previous sets were used or considered (like the Death Star corridor’s “blast door”), but until the release of J.W. Rinzler’s Star Wars-The Blueprints nobody outside the original production had an idea what the film set (its name was “Imperial Starship Cockpit”) really looked like:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    One particular thing sets this blueprint apart from all the others, i.e. the annotations clearly state that one part of the set is “ex(terior) starship” while the other one with the platform and the two actors is obviously the interior, which suggests that the crewmen “inside” the ship are watching its “exterior” on some kind of viewscreen and with good reason:

    [​IMG]

    No physical viewport with crew members sitting ‘horizontally’ could have possibly shown the escaping life pod (which should also travel from left to right), therefore the two Imperial crewmen must be looking at some kind of viewscreen which shows an underside aperture of the ship (illuminated by sunlight) with some kind of rotating gun on the inside, flanked on the interior by two flat mechanisms (i.e. only the mechanical arm could be in front of the standing crewman). The overhead flexible tube is perhaps some kind of finder and/or part of the ship’s intercom system.

    Although the standing crewman is supposedly the captain of the Devastator, his black TIE fighter jumpsuit with the Imperial insignia on his right upper arm rather suggests him to be an Imperial “master-pilot” (without the helmet) but not a “fifth-ranked general”, an impression that is enhanced by the TIE fighter cockpit display elements that have been reused for the console in front of the two actors.

    The actual viewscreen (its frame is apparently outside the visible image) would have presumably been similar to the pentagonal ones on both Death Stars, in the Emperor’s throne room and inside the Endor bunker, because these appear to be some kind of standard large Imperial viewscreen:

    [​IMG]

    Interestingly, the Emperor’s throne room featured elements originally envisioned for the early “Stardestroyer”, i.e. a “circular” viewport (early storyboard and Star Wars novelization) and a “rotating chair” (early preproduction paintings proposed the Emperor’s chair to be suspended from the ceiling, too). And two of these pentagonal viewscreens flank it (similar to the holo-windows in the port and starboard side alcoves of the Executor and Avenger bridge which undoubtedly can also be used as viewscreens), so it’s likely that the “main viewscreen” seen in A New Hope (it didn’t say “central” viewscreen) would have been either to the port or starboard side of the bridge, too

    However, it’s rather unlikely that the Devastator would or should have featured a circular viewport as the publicity still of the VFX model clearly reveals a rectangular aperture (with the same proportions as the Death Star corridor “blast door”), that would have either been the bridge viewport (little to no bridge illumination) or a mechanical blast shield system in front of it:

    [​IMG]

    Here is the scene that seems to have been lifted from the original Star Destroyer "open" gun port storyboard and converted into a Death star artillery emplacement:

    [​IMG]

    The Death Star corridor "blast door" (reused and 'doubled' as gunport) had an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, same as the rectangular aperture on Devastator's conning tower...
     
  2. Avnar

    Avnar Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Lt. Hija - Your threads are amazing. I breeze past what most people write but always find myself reading everything you have to say in any thread ...good job!

    p.s - Sorry about the man-crush :cool:
     
  3. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2015
    Avnar

    Thank you for the very kind words, I really appreciate these. And if someone has as much fun reading it just as I had writing it, I really couldn't ask for more.

    Just realized an error and regret I changed my original text prior to posting it: the way it's illuminated the "mechanical arm" isn't in front of the standing crewman but rather near the gun (i.e. "exterior"), apparently equally hovering above the lower crossbeam ("block"). :oops:
     
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  4. Slicer87

    Slicer87 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2013
    While the story boards originally intended the isd bridge personal to be master pilots, in the final film they appear to be low rank officers instead as they lack pilot helmets like in the storyboard. My own opinion is that scene isn't the bridge of the Devastator but a gunner station, at least after what the other films have shown. In ANH we see several low rank imp officers in black uniforms.

    There is quite a bit of prop recycling though out the films to save costs. Looking at the Death Star gun bay scene posted, you can see the tractor beam power control terminal Obi tampered with is recycled as a background filler for the DS surface gun room. The rebel trooper helmets were recycled into imp gunner helmets, etc.
     
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  5. Darth Basin

    Darth Basin Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 15, 2015
    Well if it was meant to be the "Bridge" back in 77 it's clearly a "gunnery port/station" now. Rouge One haves Devastator type ISDs at the Battle of Scarif &they show big wide bridges with crew "pits".
     
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  6. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2015
    Then why aren't the two crewmen wearing the leather uniform we've seen most gunners in ANH wearing? The screenplay clearly suggests them to be pilots of some kind that act as gunners because at that particular moment they are resting above Tatooine with little else to do. And why shouldn't that viewscreen not be on the bridge? Both in ESB and ROJ we have seen large Imperial vehicles capable of hyperdrive that have a physical viewport but viewscreens to the left and right.

    "Clearly"? I didn't see that much of the aft bridge area of the new Star Destroyer in Rogue One, but regardless, it's not the same kind of Star Destroyer as the one seen in ANH:
    • The superstructure of the ANH model (when viewed from the bow) is parallel to the slanted main body, but the RO Star Destroyer has added plenty of new 'horizontal' detail
    • The four big lateral guns on the starboard (and port) side are different
    • The lateral quad gun is missing
    • The bridge aperture on the ANH model is 7.2 m wide, the width of the balcony bridge in ESB (which seems to have been adopted in RO) is 12.8 m
    I'm first and foremost interested in the Star Destroyer we saw in ANH, and what we saw in Rogue One is not a faithful reproduction of it. However, it qualifies as the missing link we saw in the "first catch of the day" scene in ESB that started with the ANH model which then had 'changed' into the larger model created for ESB. If the RO model makers attempted to create that missing link, then I'd say great job.
     
  7. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord 26X Wacky Wednesday/23x Hangman Winner star 10 VIP - Game Winner

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    Sep 2, 2012
    I think that they wanted to compromise - not feeling completely beholden to ANH (they have computer graphics technology that can produce a more detailed Star Destroyer than the 3 ft long prop was), yet wanting at least some acknowledgement of the differences between the ANH prop and the TESB prop.

    Which is probably why the Star Destroyer Devastator as seen in Rogue One, still has different gun batteries, domes, and array between domes, to the Avenger, even if it has a similar bridge module to the Avenger.
     
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  8. Slicer87

    Slicer87 Jedi Master star 4

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    Mar 18, 2013
    Same can be said that if they are pilots, why are they not wearing helmets? Plus the screenplay says the one officer is a general despite wearing the wrong color uniform for a high rank. In ANH we do see officers like the detention block officer dressed identically to the two gunner officers. My guess why they do not wear helmets is because Lucas wanted the audience to see their facial expressions or cost cutting. Lucas was a rampant mind changer during the productions of all his films.

    Real life warships have fire control separated from the bridge, and usually have important functions separated and spread thought out the ship so no one direct hit can knock out all systems in most cases. Ie, if the bridge is hit, fire control may still be operable and vise versa. It is pretty stupid to have all vital functions in one sweet spot to target. In fact, on real flag ships, the admiral has a separate bridge from the captain so both can't be knocked out so easily.
     
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  9. Darth Basin

    Darth Basin Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 15, 2015
    Clearly a subtype. Like how I consider the tall tower SDs in Rebels a subtype/class.

    BTW Lt. Hija you have an excellent eye! Curtis Saxton will be proud of you!
     
  10. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord 26X Wacky Wednesday/23x Hangman Winner star 10 VIP - Game Winner

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    Sep 2, 2012
    I see any difference between the Devastator in Rogue One and the Devastator in ANH as due to the limitations of the 3 ft prop - it's not a case of the Devastator receiving a refit between Rogue One and ANH - it ends the movie in pursuit of Leia's ship after all.
     
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  11. Darth Basin

    Darth Basin Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 15, 2015
    Maybe we can consider the differences "battle damage"?
     
  12. Bazinga'd

    Bazinga'd Saga / WNU Manager - Knights of LAJ star 7 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2012

    Or perhaps there are different classes of Star Destroyers. :p
     
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  13. Darth Basin

    Darth Basin Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 15, 2015

    No. We're talking about the Devastator. 1 ship in 2 movies. Why it looks different despite it being the same week.
     
  14. Snax Rebo

    Snax Rebo Jedi Knight star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 1, 2017
    Great analysis. I always wondered about the position of the cockpit in ANH myself. I never figured it was a viewscreen.
     
  15. thejeditraitor

    thejeditraitor Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 19, 2003
    check this out from about 2:14 sec in... pablo visits the star destroyer set from r1 and it also shows pics of the sets for the originals. good stuff.

     
  16. Slicer87

    Slicer87 Jedi Master star 4

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    Mar 18, 2013
    Found another picture of the same low level officers from ROTJ.


    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2015
    I wouldn't be discounting the possibility that they are gunners without helmets, but (a) the lack of the ANH typical gunner vest ("leather uniform") and (b) the TIE cockpit panel elements in front of the two rather indicate pilots, add to this the last version of the screenplay (G-Canon) whích identifies at least one of the two as a pilot. The detention block officer in ANH wears a black uniform and not a jumpsuit. And we saw several black jumpsuits with imperial insignias around the crew pits of Executor and Avenger, i.e. where one would expect to see "pilots"

    I agree but apparently the Emperor felt somewhat differently as there are apparently no such redundancies even aboard Super Star Destroyers as witnessed in ROJ. It's also interesting to note that the studio set of the Death Star II main control room is actually just next to the hangar where Vader arrived. Who with a sane mind would do such things? But they do exist in the SW Universe.

    Thank you, but I doubt Curtis would be proud (I was debating too much of his findings back in our little internet group). On the other hand, if Dr. David West Reynolds would still be around and be proud, I would feel flattered.

    My thought exactly. Or we are looking at a continuity error introduced by Rogue One (that's one thing I haven't been able to figure out: Gareth Edwards said in one of the interviews that they paid special attention to the Devastator's interior in the cross-sections book - which perfetly shows the ship in its ANH appearance - so that when the Star Destroyer's collide it would match the interior structure, yet decided to change and pimp the exterior so it wouldn't match... :eek:). Where was the Devastator when Vader decided to go to Scarif? Was it orbiting Mustafar or put to some productive use elsewhere? I wouldn't discount the possibility that Vader was simply picked up by the nearest Star Destroyer, went to Scarif, boarded the Profundity and after that was picked up by the Devastator that had arrived in the meantime to continue his pursuit.

    It's either that or a continuity error. And I hate continuity errors (and stupid names. Who is the genius that came up with "Executrix" for Tarkin's Star Destroyer?). Now back to the topic and the evolution of the Star Destroyer bridge which provides me with my first opportunity to share a little original blueprint gem with anybody who might find it interesting:


    Part Two - Bridge considerations for Vader’s Star Destroyer in the sequel to Star Wars-A New Hope

    Leigh Brackett’s first draft from February 1978 for the Star Wars sequel didn’t suggest a spectacular change, as it would feature a bridge with a “forward port” of “Darth Vader’s ship” featuring only “pilot, navigator, communications officer” and a “high-ranking officer” (the captain?). There were only two scenes in the screenplay that required that location (other Vader scenes would take place on the Imperial city planet and in his castle), and there was no indication that Vader’s ship would be different from the Star Destroyer he had been aboard in ANH.
    Repainting the new and later Star Destroyer VFX model with a coat of a darker grey to pass it as Vader’s Star Destroyer and to distinguish it from others was considered as an option according to ILM model maker Lorne Peterson in Sculpting a Galaxy.

    That would change after Ralph McQuarrie had spent three days in July 1978 creating two preproduction paintings featuring a large balcony bridge with windows for Vader’s Star Destroyer. McQuarrie, like other Star Wars artists, had provided artwork for the Universal TV series Battlestar Galactica, one of these featuring a giant electronic viewscreen for the bridge of the title ship (that would nevertheless turn out to be a built as a physical viewport protected by a mechanical blast shield) but proposed a different approach for The Empire Strikes Back:

    "The nature of the bridge was something that was up in the air, and I decided why not have windows instead of just one of those blind bridges that so many spaceships have. I figured this could be a blue screen, and you could see planets going by and you could see the Millennium Falcon go roaring overhead. Plus, Vader can stride around this runway looking dramatic while he confers with his officers in the various action that takes place." (The Art of Ralph McQuarrie).

    [​IMG]

    And he wasn’t the only one feeling like that. Already in his storyboard depicting the cockpit aka bridge of the Devastator in ANH Joe Johnston had proposed physical windows and would continue to do so (with Rodis-Jamero) in storyboards for TESB, however, those windows were rectangular.
    It appears that with their combined input they ultimately persuaded George Lucas and Gary Kurtz: One month later Vader had gotten his own (i.e. unique) Star Destroyer with a personal chamber in the third TESB draft, and in September 1978 Rodis-Jamero had finished the first design sketches for “Vader’s Star Destroyer”, but essentially still just a standard Star Destroyer with a different, streamlined superstructure.

    By December the proposal for Vader’s personal Star Destroyer had become several times larger than any standard Star Destroyer, the final design dates June 1979 (the actual VFX model would additionally feature a miniature Star Destroyer conning tower to convey an accurate idea of scale next to the other VFX Star Destroyer models. According to the ILM display card at the Marin County Fair Lucasfilm Exhibit in 1988 the in-universe length would have been 11 miles).

    [​IMG]

    Lawrence Kasdan’s fourth draft from October 24, 1978 then featured five scenes aboard the bridge of Vader’s Star Destroyer, two aboard the bridge of “Star Destroyer No. 2” (Needa’s Vengeful that became the Avenger which Lucas changed into Executor but ended up being the Avenger) and one aboard the bridge of “Star Destroyer No. 1” (“First catch of the day”, the original Avenger).


    Part Three - The Empire Strikes Back Star Destroyer bridge film set at Elstree Studios (Shenley Road), UK

    Except for the bounty hunter reception (“back control area”), all scenes aboard Vader’s Star Destroyer were scheduled to be shot on the “control deck” of the bridge (illustrated by McQuarrie) while the other and standard Star Destroyer locations were simply referred to as “bridge”.

    What may have sounded like a compact and small set would actually turn out to become a rather complex set whose construction on Elstree’s Stage 5 was underway by March 27, 1979 with two particular but very noticeable oddities: Only the port side of the control deck and only the central forward window would be actually built, while the other windows would have to be simulated by a matte painting, and the starboard side of the control deck would have to be simulated by flopping / mirror-inverting footage shot on the port side.

    [​IMG]

    Thus the film set limited the director’s freedom of camera movement and added difficulties in post-production (the flopped footage had to be merged with normal footage plus the extra matte painting). Budget restrictions appear to be the most credible explanation, i.e. the costs of the new and complex set exceeded the costs of the original, smaller set, forcing the production team to cut costs and improvise - and perhaps also bend the complex set so that the missing control deck windows couldn’t be seen in the background from the “aft bridge area” camera location, yet that concern was somewhat unwarranted as we shall see.

    After the set had been constructed the original filming locations were slightly changed by the final screenplay, i.e. Piett’s message that the Emperor demanded to be contacted and Needa’s execution were moved from the “control deck” aka “main bridge area” to the “bridge” aka “aft bridge area”, while the bounty hunter reception scene would now be shot on the “control deck” (but still suggest an in-universe location other than the control deck). The scene with Ozzel, Veers, Piett and Vader was still scheduled to be shot on the control deck (originally with Ozzel and Veers “near the front”) but ultimately moved to the “aft bridge area”, too. Shooting began on April 24, 1979 (the bounty hunter reception scene was shot on April 26th) and lasted at least until Friday, April 27th.
     
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  18. Slicer87

    Slicer87 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2013

    In ROTJ there are officers in black jumpsuits and officers in black uniforms in the hanger when Vader arrives. So if they are pilots, they are likely not fighter pilots but transport pilots like the ones flying Vader's shuttle. They could also be some sort of techs like the officers in tan jumpsuits. Later when the emperor arrives, we see both TIE pilots in full gear and the officers in black jumpsuits in the hanger formation. There are also some gunners with helmets but no vests standing in the troop formation. So gunners may not always wear vests. Also in both ANH and ROTJ, the superlaser gunners do not wear gloves. The Hasbro imperial gunner figure has a removable vest so you can have either ANH or ROTJ version. However, this figure also has a removable helmet with a Jango clone head. Perhaps clone gunners wear full face helmets and placed in more dangerous positions than normal human gunners who lack full face helmets?

    With the SSD, the whole command tower was engulfed in fire. With all that superstructure the SSD has, it must have had separated and auxiliary stations, in can't be all empty space. Perhaps with the whole command tower gone was just too much damage?

    As for the Death Star control rooms. DS1 had a overbridge which was separate from the individual hanger control rooms. In ROTJ, it is likely the set pulled double duty as a hanger control room and as the overbridge. In the deleted ROTJ scenes, the DS2 overbridge was not next to a hanger. The DS1 sets were modular and were rearranged from scene to scene.
     
  19. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2015
    Slicer87 wrote

    In ROTJ there are officers in black jumpsuits and officers in black uniforms in the hanger when Vader arrives. So if they are pilots, they are likely not fighter pilots but transport pilots like the ones flying Vader's shuttle.

    ...or Star Destroyer pilots. The actor with the moustache in your hangar scene screencap can be seen again later walking behind Admiral Piett on the SSD bridge when the Tydirium shuttle arrives. When Vader arrived on the Executor in ESB (Special Edition) he is met by Jerjerrod (and the crewman with the moustache in the background), so it looks like Jerjerrod and some of the SSD personnel transferred to Death Star II.

    There are also some gunners with helmets but no vests standing in the troop formation. So gunners may not always wear vests.

    That's correct and I didn't say they always did. Yet, I'm still confident that the ANH scene featured "pilots" because of the screenplay designation and the reused TIE fighter cockpit displays.

    As for the Death Star control rooms. DS1 had a overbridge which was separate from the individual hanger control rooms.

    I'd also like to believe it was further to the interior.

    In ROTJ, it is likely the set pulled double duty as a hanger control room and as the overbridge. In the deleted ROTJ scenes, the DS2 overbridge was not next to a hanger.

    Just because the hangar viewport was to the back of the camera shooting the deleted scene, doesn't automatically imply it's not there. It was the exact same set, with the monitor console array with the Death Star troopers security controllers and the elevator shaft to the "West", the door to the main control room to the "North", the pentagonal viewscreen to the "East" and the hangar viewport to the "South".

    Of course it's possible and preferrable that the set ("control room" in the script) was supposed to represent two different locations (i.e. hangar and main "control room"). The security officer watching Vader's arrival (Jerjerrod's XO?) is present in both scenes / locations.

    P.S.
    I would help the readability of this thread if you just copied the passages you want to discuss. ;)
     
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  20. Slicer87

    Slicer87 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2013
    I mainly reply from a small tablet where I can't copy and paste lines too well.

    I guess the officers in black jumpsuits could be capital ship and transport pilots. The only thing we really see them fly is a shuttle. Perhaps they are some offshoot of technicians. A lot of imperials do weird forms of double duty, such as stormtroopers monitoring the power supply to the DS1 defense guns in your screencap. Also saw a still from ROTJ of stormtroopers welding on DS2. Then you have the DS security guards who also seem to act as technicians and superlaser gunners along with the full face helmet gunners. Then the full face helmet gunners have uniforms that change from scene to scene. Seems there can be quite a bit of overlap in various imperial positions.

    Maybe imperials are expected to perform several different roles regardless of their positions. Perhaps these large ship and transport pilots also serve double duty as gunners and or technicians. Also could be there are different positions that just use similar uniforms. More likely, the film crew was just slopy with how they dressed extras as they did not expect fans to examine these scenes so closely on a worldwide network of computers 40 years in the future.

    During the production of the OT, various props were recycled and reused several times. For example how the Greedo costume was reused several times in ANH and again in ROTJ, despite the title character being killed onscreen. Owen's landspeeder being reused in several shots. The ATAT driver helmets are just TIE pilot helmets from ANH that were repainted for TESB. Even the tractor beam control terminal Obi fiddles with is reused in the DS gunner station. So it is not surprising TIE cockpit set parts were recycled for a SD gunner station to save costs.

    I noticed the DS2 control room set in the deleted scene appears to be smaller than the DS1 control room, as well as more brightly lit. In the final ROTJ film, they try to make the DS2 control room look more like the DS1 version with the camera angle.

    Interesting that they only built half of the SD bridge set. I always knew much of it was matte painting blue screen, but didn't know they also did a mirror image effect.
     
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  21. Darth Basin

    Darth Basin Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 15, 2015
    Slicer87

    Imperials do in fact double duty. There are no dedicated AT-ACT drivers. That's why we saw Shore Troopers operating them.
     
  22. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2015
    Slicer87 wrote

    I guess the officers in black jumpsuits could be capital ship and transport pilots. The only thing we really see them fly is a shuttle.

    The pilots in Vader's shuttle wear the (security officers') black uniform, not jumpsuits.

    A lot of imperials do weird forms of double duty, such as stormtroopers monitoring the power supply to the DS1 defense guns in your screencap. Also saw a still from ROTJ of stormtroopers welding on DS2.

    50 miles away from the equatorial trench, I actually expect them to do double duty. They help the gunners repel attackers, while the gunners will probably help the stormtroopers to repel borders, if necessary.

    Then you have the DS security guards who also seem to act as technicians and superlaser gunners along with the full face helmet gunners.

    My impression had always been that the "black samurais" are security guards and security controllers. I wouldn't exclude the possibility that they supervise and watch over the gunners (perhaps to prevent sabotage, it's difficult to see who is wearing the gunner uniform ;))

    More likely, the film crew was just slopy with how they dressed extras as they did not expect fans to examine these scenes so closely on a worldwide network of computers 40 years in the future

    I think the command structure has been correctly visualized, i.e. starting with security guard / controller in jumpsuit followed by security guard / controller in uniform, followed by security officer with regulation cap. One glitch I noticed in our discussion was that the Death Star II main artillery operator in his "blossom´" tower is just wearing a jumpsuit (in contrast to those aboard Death Star I) but this may have been because they wanted one of the controllers in the DS II hangar control room to wear the uniform and outrank the other two in jumpsuits to his right (costume shortage?).

    So it is not surprising TIE cockpit set parts were recycled for a SD gunner station to save costs.

    Did they really save costs by doing that? As you can see in the film set blueprint in the first post the plan had apparently been to reuse the lower part of the red Bay 327 control room console. They could have also used the (smaller) "blossom leaf" panels from Detention Block AA23, but instead created new rectangular consoles (predecessors to the ones we would see in ESB) with TIE cockpit displays. The way it looks to me they created the consoles after the TIE cockpit footage had been shot and wanted to create a deliberate "pilot" allusion (add to this the screenplay information). Of ourse it doesn't really work too well in the final film, because we see the Devastator "cockpit" footage first and miss the significance of these easy to overlook panels, which are only later revealed to be a TIE fighter cockpit display elements.
    But if for some reason "gunner" works better for you than "pilot" that's fine. As a vocal supporter of George Lucas canon "pilot" works for me.
     
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  23. B99

    B99 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Nov 10, 2014
    great stuff bro!
     
  24. Slicer87

    Slicer87 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2013
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here at a superlaser control booth, which isn't a pedal style booth, there is a vestless and gloveless gunner with a gloveless guard and both are wearing jumbsuits. It seems like for some reason there are two styles of black officers, two styles of guards, and two styles of gunners. Their control panel does look similar to the one for the SD gun control scene. It is up on a raised platform or rostrum like the blueprints for the ANH SD "bridge" set. I wonder if both the superlaser tunnel and SD bridge scenes are just pickup scenes with extras and whatever Imperial wardrobe parts were handy. Here is a closeup of a vestless gunner from ROTJ who has gloves, a third type of gunner.

    [​IMG]

    I am a vocal supporter of Lucas' canon too. However, Lucas being a rampant mind changer, his canon was ever changing. The fact he went with a different SD bridge set design for his other films indicates he changed his mind and that the original SD bridge design is retconed into something else, likely a gunner station or fire control. The larger canopy, double pit design bridge is used in TESB, ROTJ, and for Republic SDs in ROTS so he now views the later set design as official SD bridge design from ROTS to ROTJ. As for the pilots, at least as far as the storyboard he intended them to be pilots, helmets and all. Again, he may have changed his mind during filming hence why officer caps instead of helmets as originally planed, as well as he may have changed his mind some point after filming which he has done.
     
  25. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2015
    Slicer87

    Yes, the gunner in the Death Star superweapon particle beam cannon was just wearing a jumpsuit, but IMHO that's not owed to a continuity error but to the fact that the cannon pedestal scene was shot in post production (with "spacetrooper" Joe Johnston performing here as a security controller) and that they probably didn't have all the costumes from the UK shooting sent over to the US.
    But it's interesting to notice that gunners appear to wear anti-flash gears under their helmets, perhaps as a means of heat (or radiation) protection similar to real navy personnel (and I still wonder if the protruding lower "jaw" of the gunner helmet might feature some kind of display, radiation level indicators or something like that).

    (When I started this thread I hadn't the faintest idea we'd be discussing one of my top five favorite Star Wars subjects, looks like this thread deserves the subtitle "...and the personnel populating these") :D