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Why was the Emperor's appearance in ROTJ?

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by DartJackson, Oct 9, 2020.

  1. DartJackson

    DartJackson Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Aug 26, 2020
    Why did Lucas and Marquand decide to change the face of the Emperor in ROTJ, rather than portray the actor in the makeup from original theatrical version TESB?
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
  2. christophero30

    christophero30 Chosen One star 8

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    May 18, 2017
    I have read that it had something to do with them wanting the same actor to do the voice. In ESB one guy was the face and another actor played the voice. Ian thought the voice should be more menacing, so they went with a different voice.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
  3. Princess_Tina

    Princess_Tina Chosen One star 7

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    May 10, 2001
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  4. christophero30

    christophero30 Chosen One star 8

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    May 18, 2017
    I did not know that.
     
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  5. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

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    Mar 18, 2009
    Because the makeup from Empire was actually a mask with a chimp's eyes composited over it. Something created artificially just to create an eerie unsettling impression, not something from which you can get an actual performance.
     
  6. christophero30

    christophero30 Chosen One star 8

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    May 18, 2017
    I did hear the Emperor liked bananas. [face_monkey]
     
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  7. Jedi_Prophet77

    Jedi_Prophet77 Jedi Knight star 2

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    Dec 14, 2017
    I'm not claiming to know for certain, but it seems like I read something about the original intent not to use Ian McDiarmid's voice ... until he started talking as the Emperor.
     
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  8. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2009
    It's not so much that the intention was not to use Ian's voice... it just wasn't a given. It's rather common to use other actors' voices for secondary characters in SW, especially when they are played by people with masks or heavy makeup (because they have to dub the voices anyway).
     
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  9. Bazinga'd

    Bazinga'd The Mandalorian / Manager of WNU/CT/Saga star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2012
    You mean, the Emperor went bananas on the galaxy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2020
  10. DARTHLINK

    DARTHLINK Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Because he didn’t factor in to the first two films —he was this shadowy ultra big bad. When he arrived, it was telling the audience he meant business (as obviously when the big bad gets off his butt to speak to his underlings, stakes have risen sharply.)
     
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  11. Jedi_Prophet77

    Jedi_Prophet77 Jedi Knight star 2

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    Dec 14, 2017
    I still remember feeling fear and confusion seeing Darth Vader kneel and react fearfully to the Emperor. Like, who could be so bad that VADER feared and subjected himself to him?
     
  12. Django Fett

    Django Fett Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Nov 7, 2012
    And the result of casting Ian McDiarmid has brought a perverse enjoyment to audiences ever since, how many characters can you really enjoy them being deviously evil?
     
  13. darklordoftech

    darklordoftech Force Ghost star 6

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    Sep 30, 2012
    If you look at behind-the-scenes pictures of the pre-DVD ESB Emperor, the makeup actually does look like what we see in ROTJ and in ROTS after the Windu duel. Also, the chimpanzee happened to have yellow eyes, and that was the beginning of “Sith eyes”.
     
  14. BlackRanger

    BlackRanger Jedi Knight star 3

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    Apr 14, 2018
    The Emperor in ESB was intentionally meant to have unnatural-looking eyes of some sort. The chimpanzee eyes were matted in (on Marjorie Eaton in unnatural-old-age makeup) specifically because they have yellow irises.

    Rinzler's Making Of ESB book also shows there were attempts at trying out a Siamese cat's blue eyes with vertical slitted pupils, and the eyes of a woman in accounting who had particularly striking yellowish-green irises.
     
  15. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

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    Mar 18, 2009
    You could say that it was not a good decision to go for such a complicated design, at least for continuity, considering that they knew that the Emperor would have a much more prominent role in the next film.
     
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  16. antitoxicgamer

    antitoxicgamer Jedi Padawan star 1

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    Sep 9, 2020
    I remember reading somewhere that originally the emperor wasn't supposed to appear in the OT. Luke was supposed to find his sister after ROTJ and then together they would have fought the emperor.
     
  17. Drac39

    Drac39 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 9, 2002
    I don't think the look is radically different from how the character appeared in ESB. It just seems like a matter of Star Wars fans being ultra sticklers for continuity. It isn't much of a suspension of disbelief to believe that the character in ESB is the same as Ian in ROTJ
     
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  18. BlackRanger

    BlackRanger Jedi Knight star 3

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    Apr 14, 2018
    Lucas' outline to Leigh Brackett suggested that the only Emperor's cowl should be seen, with his face entirely obscured by shadow. Brackett dutifully followed that in her script, which has the Emperor appear, wearing a golden hooded robe, on a 2D viewscreen. (Lucas was still complaining during the ROTJ story conferences about preferring to have kept the Emperor's face hidden in ESB.)

    But apparently Joe Johnston and ILM didn't think that was feasible for the hologram described in Larry Kasdan's script. Johnston's storyboards and sketches show the Emperor's wizened face within his hood, similar to what's in the movie. Complete with eerie eyes. They look kind of like the Siamese-cat-eyes idea, in fact.

    [​IMG]

    Ralph McQuarrie also drew sketches of the Emperor's face - showing him with golden eyes or even just one eye, the other being covered by a blob of strangely shaped flesh, like Lon Chaney's Hunchback of Notre Dame.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    However, Kasdan's first pass at the script (the third draft) may have treated the Emperor's appearance differently. There are some sketches by Johnston and Norman Reynolds for the Emperor making an "interdimensional door" magically appear in Vader's chamber, and him talking to Vader as a full-body robed and hooded figure, towering over the armored Sith Lord. In these sketches, intriguingly, Lucas' idea of not seeing the Emperor's face is followed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As for ROTJ - there was indeed a major change to the idea behind the makeup at this point, it appears.

    In ESB the Emperor's makeup (despite the more fantastic sketches of Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston) was basically meant to show an extremely old man - somebody kept alive for prolonged time via unnatural sorcery. This idea consisted into ROTJ, with Phil Tippett saying the Emperor "was intended to be a Methuselah figure kept alive and intact by some unknown magic," somebody who would appear "ancient, not old". (per Rinzler's Making Of ROTJ).

    But Tippett also points out that an element of body horror entered the makeup in ROTJ, something akin to the unnatural corruption of the flesh that had been in concept art in ESB but (aside from the chimpanzee eyes) hadn't made it off the drawing paper: "Our intention was to create through makeup an age-wrinkled face with a large split cranium that was beginning to grow apart."

    That is to say, the Emperor's skull is literally splitting in two under the weight of his sorcerous long life and the filters in his compartmented mind. Fitting perhaps for the mastermind of both sides of the Clone Wars as seen in the PT - but an idea informing the makeup that wasn't there in ESB.

    Tippett's quote continues: "We felt the Emperor should be ancient, not old, so the quality of the wrinkle was important. The enlarged skull was a foam latex appliance that carefully joined the actor’s face. Black and rotting teeth added an extra wild quality that we hoped would enhance the Emperor’s treacherous dialogue. We felt he should have both a detached look and a piercing stare. Eyes being the windows of the soul, we were required to use contact lenses."

    The latter sentences sound to me like a justification of the need to use inflexible contact lenses to recreate that strange yellow stare, but what do I know? ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2020
  19. Hernalt

    Hernalt Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2000
    That is some legit reporting. Very nice.
     
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  20. BlackRanger

    BlackRanger Jedi Knight star 3

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    Apr 14, 2018
    Update - it's quite likely I was wrong in my earlier assessment. These pictures of the makeup appliance used on Marjorie Eaton suggest that the idea of the Emperor having a cranium that was literally coming apart, due to unnaturally prolonging his life via Sith sorcery, was already there in ESB:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The difference lies in the shape of the design: the "quality of the wrinkle" as Phil Tippett put it. In the earlier version, sculpted by Rick Baker, the entire face is built out more, with deeper eye sockets (to be matted out later) and the cranial ridge is marked mainly by a thin indentation, rather than having broad ridges built up on either side.

    Also, the makeup for Orrimaarko (Prune Face) in the Rebel briefing room in ROTJ may have started out as a test for the Emperor makeup appliance in that film.

    [​IMG]
     
  21. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2009
    That's not accurate, and is just the interpretation made by fans of some inaccurate comments by Gary Kurtz.
    In the story conferences for TESB Lucas is very clear in presenting the Emperor as one of the key new characters of the movie, as a set up for the next movie.
     
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  22. BlackRanger

    BlackRanger Jedi Knight star 3

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    Apr 14, 2018
    Let's try those photos again.

    ESB Emperor makeup by Rick Baker - with splitting cranium:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    and Prune Face from ROTJ:

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. MrDarth0

    MrDarth0 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 3, 2015
    The first thing that came to my mind when I saw these pictures was Snoke.

    Bet they used these as an inspiration when they started designing Snoke. Especially considering that Kasdan worked on both the TESB and TFA scripts.
     
  24. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Knight star 3

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    May 19, 2020
    One thing I have come to appreciate with being able to see the OT in better quality (I grew up on VHS) is that the Emperor looks creepy. They put this aged makeup and appliances on a man who wasn't even forty yet and it just looks beyond creepy. He seems old and frail, but his movements still seem youthful. The Emperor doesn't seem to move slowly because he is frail. He moves slowly because he is methodical.
     
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  25. Captain_Cosmos

    Captain_Cosmos Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Jun 1, 2011
    From what I've read and heard, Lucas has a rather naive view of what "evil" is. Because McDiarmid gave a good over the top Dick Dastardly impression, Lucas decided he liked it and hired him for the part. His naivety in knowing what real evil is showed when he asked a designer to make Darth Maul look like something from his worst nightmare. Thinking that gave him free rein to make Maul look really nasty, he did something that looked like an undead creature from a horror movie. Upon seeing it, Lucas is said to have turned pale and asked him to create something from his second worst nightmare. :oops:But to be fair to Lucas, I've seen real evil, and it actually looks quite normal. Some real evil, like Ted Bundy, is even good looking. It's what's inside that makes someone good or evil, a fact that a lot of society doesn't seem to understand.

    Anyhow, to answer your question, I doubt the ESB Emperor would've worked if seen in first person, not with 80's SFX. If he made his first appearance in Ep. IX and that was made in the 90's with Jurassic Park style CGI, it could've. But as I said, Lucas is more into the twirly moustache and black cape "naughty man" bad guys, not in portraying villains as real evil.
     
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