|Star Wars : the Saga Redux
Creating a wider cohesive story out of the
Star Wars Saga
16th January 2010
|George Lucas has often - rightly - compared his Saga to a symphony, where themes are introduced, developed, and repeated ; it's what John Williams is famous for when it came to moulding wagnerian leitmotif melodies to describe a character and their evolution. If we follow this lead, then we might have free rein to explore many more existing characters and subplots over the course of the six episodes. Later heroes would have their upbringings revealed, older heroes would have their fates sealed. This may seem extraneous or clichéd, but from the point of view of a symphony of themes and stories, of repitions and mirrors, it makes sense to create a wider 'world view'. Lucas chose, particularly in his Prequel Trilogy, to focus on the story of Anakin and his descent to and rise from evil, and he did this in the face of valid production contraints.
|But if there were no time or pacing constrictions such as those Lucas has always maintained influenced his story and picture editing decisions, then what could be added that would create a fuller more rounded story ? Here we would have the opportunity to incorporate secondary characters and events, and expand upon smaller existing nuances, which might simply also be adding in deleted scenes that were contemporary to the films' productions. Some of the deleted scenes [DS] had very good reasons to dictate their fate, and so it shouldn't be regarded that every single cut scene should be included ; however, there is no harm in listing most of these and concurring why their absence is valid.
|This is also in the light of reading Michael Kaminski's book 'The Secret History of Star Wars', his comprehensive if accusatory chronology of the evolution of the Star Wars story, and in particular the promotion of Darth Vader from a "9 minute henchman" in 1977 to a major villain in 1980, to the pivotal crux of the Saga in 1999. Kaminski tends to rail against Lucas, which I feel is a little unfair considering the creator of a 30-40 year body of work cannot be reasonably expected to remember 'on the fly' all the minutae of a twisting and turning plot development ; likewise, I'd imagine a creator would prefer to focus his recall on the salient points of the finished article rather than the 'dead-ends' that he didn't ultimately pursue, often for very good (if also serendipitous !) reasons.
|I thought it might be interesting to see what I would ADD to the existing material to make it more cohesive. In no way am I a "Jar Jar hater" or "Ewok hater" or "Lucas raped my childhood", since the decisions made by George Lucas for his story were significant and important in their own right. For example, Jar Jar reflected a child's point of view - and the 9 year old Anakin's - and acted as a narrative guide ; the concept of the underling primitive Ewok rising against the technological might of the oppressive Empire was in existance from almost the very first Star Wars draft of Wookiees rallying to fight ; the stories have always been pitched for a youthful audience, and if that audience grows up and re-appraises the material with a more adult mind, then that is to the detriment of the spectator.
|In story sequence, I will review each episodes' deleted scenes, then propose additional changes that could be incorporated. For your information, the Wookieepedia has a great list of deleted scenes, as does T'Bone at his starwarz site. Those scenes I would amend or include I have colour-coded their section titles in green.
Episode I - The Phantom Menace
Watching this Episode recently for the first time in a fairly long time, I did notice how 'lumbering' the overall pace of the movie was. Now this could be down to Lucas solely as director and lead editor, and/or be due to any anxiety he may have felt in returning to these skills after many decades ; alternatively, this perception could arise from me the viewer, either tiredly watching the movie play out, or impatiently aware of where the story will progress.
[DS] Exotic Neimoudian birds fall victim to the toxic gas - this early scene was removed since it rightly affects the pacing of the ensuing action, as well as implying that the Jedi would need a visual clue to their impending predicament and cannot be informed by the Force.
[DS] Padme awakens Anakin - this scene was cut because the acting was deemed too poor. However, there is a nice reference to Anakin having dreamed about Padme, and this could have been retained (or amended) to prmote the idea that the slave boy was foreseeing his future.
[DS] Anakin fights Greedo - Lucas was keen to preserve the kind-hearted slave boy persona for as long as possible ; Anakin simply didn't have a 'bad bone' in his body, later events conspire to seduce him to evil. So although this scene could be utilised, perhaps with a hint of the Darth Vader music theme, it was probably right to lose this example of early temper.
[DS] Anakin bids Jira farewell - since this scene shows Anakin's humane and charitable nature in his gift of credits to the old stall-keeper, it could be incorporated to emphasise the good nature the boy inherently has.
[DS] Qui-Gon destroys Darth Maul's probe droid - this scene revealed why the Jedi and Ani were running towards the Nubian ship, and for pacing reasons it was felt it hindered the action. However, it does illustrate what a Jedi would do in the face of a suspicious probot, and prompts them to flee the scene.
[DS] Qui-Gon fights Darth Maul on the ship ramp - since there isn't much more to the duel than this brief aerial fight on the ramp, it was removed from the final cut, which implied Qui-Gon was able to leap to safety amid the buffeting winds kicked up by the ship's engines. However, it acts as another great example of lightsabre duelling, and allows Qui-Gon more of an upper hand in his one-on-one triumph over the Sith Lord, and so could probably be retained.
The Senate's vote - If the Chancelry candidate is renamed from Bail Antilles to Bail Organa then that would undo any confusion over the similar names, as well as begin to introduce Bail Organa as the significant player he will become.
Qui-Gon's proclamation - Qui-Gon could instead foresee Obi-Wan will become a great warrior, rather than a wise Jedi, since the ensuing episodes show Anakin's mentor as an ultimate failure, albeit a skilled fighter.
Music - 'Darth Vader's theme could be briefly played at key moments within the film (rather than over the closing end credits), or a cleverly subtle variation of it (such as the re-arrangmenet composed for the death scene in Episode VI), to hint at the destiny ahead. Furthermore, by presenting this character's personality musically, it allows Anakin in Episode I to remain essentially kind-hearted.
Episode II - Attack of the Clones
[DS] Padme addresses the Senate to dissuade them from voting in favour of army mobilisation - this dialogue-heavy scene was cut to ensure the momentum of the pace following the explosive assassination attempt led into the more important exposition surrounding Count Dooku's motives. However, from the wider story of the impact of the clone wars on the Republic and the Empire, as well as promoting the pacifist nature of Padme, it's an important scene to retain.
Mon Mothma - A young Mon Mothma could accompany the Loyalist Committee of senators, heralding her greater role in Episode III and beyond.
Camaraderie - More jovial banter and less criticism could occur between Obi-Wan and Anakin, to support Obi-Wan's lines in Episode VI that they were good friends, and a skilled team. Lucas found himself in a quandary with the limited screentime he had allowed these two characters to share in this episode, and he needed to telegraph not only their friendship and teamwork but also the start of Anakin's withdrawal from his mentor. Since Episode III changed its focus towards saving Padme's life over any greed for power, in hindsight and retrospective amendment, Episode II could promote a more positive relationship between these two Jedi in the brief time available.
Lando Calrissian - although less vital to include this secondary character's prelude (compared to Han Solo - see below), it's conceivable that a young teenage Lando could be either on the streets of Coruscant's entertainment district when Anakin and Zam crashland, or even be inside the Outlander Club. Taking this further, it's possible that the boy trying to sell 'deathsticks' to Obi-Wan could be a young Lando, who takes the Jedi's mind trick suggestion so seriously that he does indeed "change his life".
Threatening Zam - Anakin could briefly Force-choke Zam Wessell, his later 'trademark torture', to encourage her to speak the truth, moments before her assassination at the hands of Jango Fett.
[DS] Obi-Wan seeks insight from the analysis droids in the Jedi Temple - since the droids could not find an answer the scene is rather redundant - and paints Jedi technology in a poor light - until Dexter is able to draw on his experiences to inform the Jedi Knight, so it's probably wise to cut this brief sequence.
[DS] Jedi Librarian Jocasta Nu reveals to Obi-Wan information about Count Dooku and the 'Lost Twenty' - again this scene was cut to preserve the pacing and the exposition was felt to be surplus if not wholly unnecessary. Yet since it gives a rare insight into Jedi history, and preludes the introduction of Count Dooku with some backstory, it's a valuable scene to include.
[DS] Obi-Wan and Mace Windu discuss the Prophecy of the Chosen One - although much of the context of this scene is relayed to the hallway scene which includes Yoda, thus making this one redundant, it does reveal the concerns of both Obi-Wan and the Jedi Council regarding Anakin's destiny as their saviour ; and this would tie-in to the brief scene in Episode III aboard the gunship. By including the scene - or a variation of it - any repitition in dialogue emphasises the very real concerns that the Jedi hold, their fear that they are becoming blind to the paths of the future.
[DS] Extended arrival of Padme and Anakin on Naboo - this brief extension simply fills in the years since Episode I describing Padme's political progression. Although it is indeed very 'wordy', by including this scene it re-dresses the Padme-Anakin balance and showcases her talents and life.
[DS] Anakin and Padme visit the Naberrie family on Naboo - at the time of filming, some of the cast felt it was an odd set of scenes for a Star Wars movie, and they were probably right. However, it would be lovely to include them now if only to to reveal a little of the family that Anakin marries into, and the influences that formed the young Padme. We see the family at the end of Episode III, so it's a shame not to see them in context in Episode II.
"Damn fool idealistic crusade" - Owen Lars could be more vociferous in dissuading Anakin from joining a dangerous and idealistic adventure ; he could briefly join Anakin and Padme on the Nubian yacht and witness the holo-messages from Obi-Wan and Mace Windu. His withdrawn reaction to this would set him 'in his ways' to seek a quiet peaceful unobtrusive life as a moisture farmer on his Outer Rim homeworld.
[DS] Facing Count Dooku and Poggle the Lesser - both scenes lead to the same outcome, so it's not surprising that Lucas chose to cut straight to the arena sequence, and imply any 'judiciary' had taken place. However, the first scene with Dooku allows the character to - vacuously and fallaciously - promote his political agenda, thus hinting how he would have seduced the Separatists to accept his leadership.
[DS] A Jedi group attacks a droid-control ship - since the main focus of the action is on the gladiatorial arena, where the battle-droids relentlessly advance regardless, the scene becomes pretty redundant. However, including it not only presents further Jedi martial arts, but also allows the viewer to begin to build a sympathy towards the Jedi involved who we will later see become victims of Order 66.
Dodonna - A middle-aged Jan Dodonna could be shown as a military officer (one ranked human among many perhaps) directing a clone unit on Geonosis.
Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
[DS] General Grievous kills Shaak-Ti and Anakin and Obi-Wan flee through the warship - this is a complex scene, occuring early in one version of the story. It begins with the merciless killing of Shaak-Ti, then is followed by a brief and comic sign language code routine between Anakin and his master, and leads on to a daring slicing of the floor to escape their foes culminating in a chase in a liquid fuel tank. Elements of the scene work well - such as the General's cold-hearted murder promoting his fearsome reputation and the secret cipher between the two Jedi emphasising their experienced teamwork - while the slicing of the floor seems to be undertaken so slowly, it beggars belief that the pre-occupied Jedi aren't shot down ! Once Lucas juggled around the plotting of the opening battle sequence, these scenes were lost in favour of a different presentation, which meant it was difficult for their elements to be re-inserted elsewhere. It was probably wise to lose this version, though aspects of it could have been re-worked elsewhere.
Dodonna and Riekaan - A middle-aged Jan Dodonna or Carlist Riekaan could be shown as a human clone unit tactician leading soldiers either on a warship over Coruscant, or on one of the beseiged worlds at the eve of Order 66.
[DS] The Jedi fear a plot to undermine them - in this scene Yoda, Mace, and Obi-Wan discuss the rise of the Dark Side and the possibility that their Order and the Senate may be under threat. Much of the context of the dialogue is presented elsewhere, yet by including this scene, it emphasises their concerns and anxieties as their destiny rushes to meet them, but also, in a way, shows how blinded and fooled they had become to the Shroud of the Dark Side.
[DS] The birth of the Rebel Alliance by Mon Mothma - three scenes presenting the origins of the rebellion against Palpatine and what would become his Empire. Padme, Bail Organa, and Mon Mothma are the principal players as they secretly discuss the alarming chain of events, and vow to politically oppose the Chancellor. The final scene shows some of the Loyalists, including Padme, unwittingly presenting a petition of pacification to Palpatine. Since Anakin is now the Chancellor's bodyguard and aide, Palpatine uses their plea to sow the seed in the Jedi's mind that the senators, and Padme in particular, have a hidden agenda and plan to retaliate. Originally, Lucas framed Anakin's turn to the Dark Side around the fear of a Jedi-led coup and his desire for dictatorial power, but once he re-shaped it to focus primarily on saving the life of Padme, and Palpatine's seductive offer to help him do this, this latter scene became redundant ; in turn, its preceding scenes of political subplot distracted from the thrust of the Anakin story that Lucas was focusing upon. However, the first two scenes, if not the third, help promote the influences that will shape the story and characters in the second trilogy, as well as reveal more of the wider affairs of the Galaxy, so it would be good to include this subplot.
[DS] Obi-Wan duels the General's Magna-Guards - a brief scene, shown in the 'making of' documentaries, where the Master Jedi duels the well-equipped droids. Again, it adds nothing to the pacing of the current version and does not promote Anakin's story, yet it would be good to include it to show Obi-Wan's sword-fighting skills as well as present a little more of the droids' new weapons that can so effectively counter the near-invincible lightsabre !
Han Solo - early in production, it was proposed that a young Han Solo would be present on Kashyyyk and even have information regarding General Grievous that he would pass on to Master Yoda. Although subsequent story changes made this subplot redundant, there would be no harm in presenting Han living amongst the Wookiees, and even willingly aiding the clonetroopers before Order 66, and presumably joining them afterwards, so as to tie in with the character's accepted backstory that he spent time in the Imperial Academy.
[DS] 'Crazy Yoda' and the Wookiees - to avoid suspicion of and detection by the Imperial clonetroopers on Kashyyyk, a mud and twig encrusted Yoda pretends to be a mad lagoon critter, and thus buys enough time to escape the Wookiee world. Since we see Yoda climb on to Chewbacca's shoulder, Lucas rightly felt that it was simpler to cut straight to his escape in the one-man shuttle pod. However, in the final theatrical version, it's not clear if the pod is Wookiee-scaled, which of course it should be, as well as the fact that it seems incongruous that such a small ship would be able to not only break out of a planet's gravity and atmosphere, but also potentially travel in space, at least long enough to be picked up by the Tantive. The Saga has already shown us space-faring ships of varying sizes and capabilities, and the smallest one- or two- man ships seem severely limited in their scope. The implication is that Bail Organa's vessel is in the vicinity of Kashyyyk, and is able to retrieve Yoda's ship relatively quickly.
[DS] Extended Jedi Temple attack - When Darth Vader leads the attack against his former home, further carnage is shown, as well as Anakin Skywalker's murderous betrayal. He mortally duels several Jedi Knights, Masters (such as Cin Drallig, stuntman Nick Gillard's alter-ego), and Padawans, and is even seen entering a meditation chamber and stabbing Shaak-Ti in the back. Of course, this latter scene was an attempt to recycle her earlier death at the hands of Grievous, and once Lucas chose to cut this version too, her fate remains vague, at least as far as the canonical films are concerned. Lucas presumably felt that depicting Anakin's extended massacre would be too time-consuming, as well as emotionally heart-rending, but the gravitas of the event could warrant the fuller reveal. By presenting Anakin's deeds, it underscores Obi-Wan's later words to Luke in Episode IV. It could be argued that certain things could be left to the imagination, but if we are allowing ourselves the luxury of a grander Saga, then every opportunity should be explored and potentially shown.
[DS] Obi-Wan and the Nos Monster - After surviving his fall down an Utapaun sinkhole, Obi-Wan is faced with a fearsome water cave dweller, the nos monster. Luckily, the creature is distracted by two seeker droids sent down by the clone troopers, and eats them, allowing the Jedi to flee. Although it seems Lucas was keen to 'dunk' Ewan McGregor in each Prequel episode, he accepted that this scene on Utapau hindered the pacing of the overall sequence, and instead he relied on one clone trooper later announcing that "no-one could have survived the fall". Presumably, if the seekers' data abruptly ended when the nos monster ate them, the troopers would have investigated further ; likewise, it's fair to expect the same troopers to not rely on supposition that "no-one could have survived the fall", and they too would have investigated further. Since the scene is pretty redundant, and potentially required further cause-and-effect investigation by the troopers, it was probably wise to cut it.
[DS] Clonetroopers disguised as Jedi - Once the Jedi Temple was secured from its owners, squads of clone troopers were stationed to guard it. One such group was deliberately disguised in Jedi robes, and one version of Yoda and Obi-Wan's return to their Temple had them fighting these soldiers. Presumably Lucas, the visual editor, was anxious of the confusion that could arise in the viewer's mind if Jedi were briefly seen to be fighting Jedi. Furthermore, the current scene with the Jedi fighting standard clone troopers results in the same outcome, namely they gain entry to the Temple. Although it's conceivable that some disguised soldiers could also be seen in the melée, with suitable close-ups on their faces to confirm their clone identities, it's probably wise to leave this concept absent.
[DS] The communion between Yoda and Qui-Gon on Polis Massa - moments before Bail Organa interupts Yoda's meditation to announce Obi-Wan's arrival, we discover that the deceased Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn has been able to commune with Yoda. Qui-Gon reveals that his studies of the Whills had allowed him this ability, and that he would teach it to his former Youngling Master. Additionally, the spirit explains that unconditional love will ultimately vanquish the Dark Side. It's a pity that Lucas chose to cut this scene, and instead rely on the brief comment from Yoda to Obi-Wan where he announces he has new teachings for him passed on by Qui-Gon ; again, pacing, especially now so close to the closing montage, seemed to dictate Lucas' actions. But this would be a good scene to retain, not only to 'cement' and comprehend the spiritual appearances in the second trilogy, but also to afford Lucas to finally make reference to the exotic and intangible 'Whills' that have been associated with Star Wars since its genesis.
[DS] Yoda arrives on Dagobah - a lovely brief scene showing Yoda's world of exile. It was felt it unnecessarily extended the pacing of the final montage, but such a short scene would surely not have mattered, more so if one watches the episode sequence in numerical order, and Episode III leaves the viewer wondering what happens to the aged Master Jedi.
The Twins - The birth of Leia before Luke, allowing for a moment, albeit brief, for her to imprint on her mother and remember her years later ; alternatively, the medi-droids, Yoda, or Bail indicating that Padme is so heartbroken she only has "months to live", thus definitively sealing her fate after Episode III and ensuring Leia can imprint upon her mother on Alderaan.
The Jedi Temple ruins begin to be converted into the Imperial Palace - Other than tying in to our Sequel Trilogy, interestingly the extended Celebration at the end of Episode VI shows the Jedi Temple in the distance - at the behest of Lucas - so the Emperor had clearly retained the building of his sworn enemies, and it begs the question, did the usurper deliberately locate his throne here ? It would be nice to think this was indeed the case, and to therefore see at least the start of the building's conversion following the events of Order 66.
Episode IV - A New Hope
Since Star Wars '77 was designed as a stand-alone story, even with copious notes of backstory and possible sequels, Episode IV truly has little in the way of continuity to fit it into the rest of the Saga ; the other films are hung around this one. So more can be included here to widen the scope of the Saga.
[DS] Luke and his friends on Tatooine - Lucas originally conceived Star Wars to open with the droids, who would lead the viewer to Luke, and then on to Ben and Han, and finally to Leia. His film-making friends were anxious of this 'abstract' approach, and persuaded him to write and shoot scenes with Luke to introduce the hero character much earlier. We see Luke gazing up at what he rightly guesses is a space battle in orbit above Tatooine, and then rushing off to tells his lazy disbelieving friends the news ; at Toshe Station, Luke is overjoyed to be reunited with his childhood friend Biggs Darklighter, who has just returned from the Imperial Academy. However, Biggs secretly reveals to Luke that he plans to "jump ship" and join the rebellion against the Empire. This sequence should be included for many reasons : it shows Luke has a social life on Tatooine that he later relinquishes for a dream ; it reveals that the idealogy of the rebel alliance is permeating the Outer Rim ; we meet Biggs, and become emotionally invested in Luke's friend, only to lose him to Darth Vader in the Death Star's trench. In the light of the six-part Saga, we don't need to rely on the linear introduction to the characters of Episode IV as afforded by the droids.
The Emperor communicating with Vader and/or Tarkin - Episode IV is conspicuous by Palpatine's absence, and the brief hologram appearance in Episode V goes towards redressing this in the Original Trilogy. Although relevant dialogue for the Emperor was given to others - such as Tarkin confirming how the Death Star will ensure obedience - there could still be one or more scenes involving the Sith Master. The Death Star conference room scene could be preceded by Palpatine and Tarkin discussing the role of the battlestation and where it would be used against the rebellion. In addition, the Sith subplot could be re-introduced, with Palpatine or Vader sensing Obi-Wan's emergence on Tatooine, as well as the two of them making reference to their sole rule of the galaxy, and even reviewing the question of preserving life. This would also allow us a good opportunity to see the Emperor's control over Vader, thus informing his later line that he "must obey his master". Furthermore, if some of the Emperor's dialogue was presented from his point of view, we would be able to see his throneroom, and possibly its location (conceivably the Jedi Temple !).
Mon Mothma seen on Coruscant (or Chandrila, her homeworld) - with the last session of the Senate, we could see Mon Mothma either vehemently objecting to the Emperor's declaration, or leaving with a private triumphant smile knowing that the actions will only play into her rebellion's hands. We see the leader of the rebellion in Episode VI, and currently only briefly in Episode III, so it would a good opportunity to increase her role here, as well as re-incorporating the deleted scenes of Episode III.
Bail Organa seen on Alderaan - currently Alderaan's loss implies Bail Organa, whom we followed in Episodes II and III, also perished. So there is no harm in presenting a 'reaction' shot from his and his people's point of view on Alderaan as they look up at the Death Star in their sky. As a "million voices cry out and are suddenly silenced" we see what Obi-Wan senses.
Yoda sensing the events of Episode IV - when Alderaan is detroyed, Obi-Wan senses the trauma in the Force and is visibly affected by it. When Order 66 unfolded across the galaxy, Master Yoda reacts with shock and hurt. If Yoda is not seen reacting to Alderaan's demise in the same way we see Obi-Wan, to avoid repetition - though even this scene would show how great the destruction of a planet is within the Force as it ripples across the galaxy ; likewise, we could even see the Emperor reacting too - Yoda would surely react to Obi-Wan's death, and possibly also the destruction of the Death Star and even Luke's avowal earlier on to become a Jedi.
The duel between Obi-Wan and Vader - although it is accepted that the lightsabre duel in Episode IV is between an "old man and a cyborg", the prequel episodes have shown us an athletic Dooku, Sidious, and Yoda all drawing on the Force for strength and agility, as well as the fearsome and four-armed cyborg, General Grievous. In Episode V we even see Vader leap down a flight of steps. Thus, it would be a good opportunity to digitally enhance the Episode IV duel, to either improve the fencing skills, incorporate countering Force skills such as the Force-pushing we saw the two of them attempt on Mustafar, or even allow for high jumps and leaps.
[DS] Red Leader makes reference to Luke's father - When Luke and Biggs are reunited on Massassi, Red Leader accepts the newcomer on the reputation of his father. Lucas presumably cut this so as to preserve a clean line over who knew whom and when ; interestingly, though, he allows sections of this scene to remain (in the 1997 / 2004 Special Edition), using a clever optical wipe to hide the trimming. Thus, if he allows the head and tail of the original scene to be utilised, why should he not retain the main body of Red Leader's speech ? Assuming that there could have been many people who were aware of the heroic deeds and piloting of the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, yet be ignorant that he essentially survived Order 66, then someone like Red Leader - who would shortly be killed attacking the first Death Star - could very easily and justifiably comment on Luke Skywalker's father's prowess.
Vader to sense Luke's identity in the Trench pursuit - in order to cement Vader's recognition of the pilot who destroyed the Death Star and help inform the opening crawl to Episode V, where the Sith Lord is already aware of Luke's identity and potential, not only could he declare that "the Force is strong" with the pilot that he is pursuing in the Trench, but the Force could also identify him. This could either occur moments after Vader senses the presence of the Force, or, since this is prior to him firing upon the rebel ship, as Vader is spinning away from the Death Star, the identity of the pilot could then be revealed : this would ensure that Vader, far from wanting to kill the pilot, he would instead want to seek him out for his own agenda for power.
Music - The musical themes for the Imperial March, Vader, and the Emperor - these melodies seem intrinsic to the Saga now, but for Episode IV they had yet to be composed. Subtly introducing these themes, perhaps with the above scenes such as those between Vader and the Emperor, would allow the Saga to more fully embrace the grander scope that I am proposing here.
Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
[DS] Wampas attack and holding cell - scenes involving the fearsome wampas attacking the base, being fired upon by Luke manning an artillery gun, the creatures being herded into a holding cell, a warning sticker being affixed to the door, and C-3PO later tearing off the label as he flees the rebel base to fool pursuing stormtroopers to enter inside. The sequences allow us to see how inhospitable Hoth is, as well as how the rebels deal with the dangers and how 3PO can unwittingly and without congratulation aid the rebels' escape, but they do indeed detract from the overall pacing and threatening urgency of the opening segment of Episode V.
Mon Mothma and Admiral Ackbar - although these two characters were unlikely to have been found with the rebel cell on Hoth, there could be a scene presenting one or both in hologram discussing rebel strategy with Riekaan. Likewise, Dodonna and Madine could be seen too. Such cameos would help preserve the sense that the rebel alliance was a vast network of cells, and not just solely one being led by Luke and Leia.
[DS] Luke and Leia kiss - at the time of production, Lucas hadn't determined the familial relationship between these two characters, and merely wanted to set up the 'will they, won't they' dramatic tension between Leia and Luke and Han. Since the Saga unequivocably presents these two as siblings, then it's a wise decision to leave this scene absent !
[DS] Luke's Jedi training with the lightsabre - although Yoda focuses on the mental and physical training for Luke, and the in-lore sequences of the movie only take place over a matter of hours or days, we don't actually see Luke practice with his lightsabre : it's implied that the training he does receive will by definition extend to his fencing skills. A scene was filmed where Yoda throws a bar into the air, and when Luke feebly cuts it, the Master Jedi reveals that it could have been sliced seven times ; likewise, mechanical seeker remotes were considered as opponents, though the organic environment of Dagobah presumably decided their fate ! Such a brief scene with the bar however would be good to be re-incorporated and show that Luke did indeed receive some sword practice, as well as provide a 'measuring bar' against which we can later see how well he develops.
Vader and the Emperor discuss Luke - although Lucas tried to resolve the apparent inconsistency in continuity as well as link in to the history provided by the new prequel Trilogy, the expanded hologram scene doesn't fully resolve the confusion ! Further dialogue could be added whereby the Emperor reveals how he learned of Luke's identity, and how he regards Vader's feelings about his newfound son. Likewise, either Palpatine or Vader could make reference to Padme, and to the 'fact' that Vader killed her on Mustafar, which could be questioned by the younger Sith Lord. Additionally, the new scene could be 'broken up' with the Emperor's view from Coruscant, thus potentially showing his throneroom, and possibly its location.
[DS] Han and Leia's romance - a brief scene was filmed on Cloud City between these two, and it was presumably cut for pacing reasons. However, to aid the transition from spiky attraction / abrasion by Leia to heartfelt declarations of love, such a scene could be returned.
[DS] Luke's rescue from Cloud City - simply an extension of Lando's grappling for Luke as the young Jedi falls from the undervane. Luke initially rolls across the Falcon's hull, before Lando is able to grab him and haul him inside. Since the outcome is the same as the finished film, there's no benefit to re-incorporating the scene.
Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
[DS] Luke building his lightsabre - this was a great sequence, initially showing Luke having a nightmare about Vader and potentially communicating with him ; then sending the droids off to Jabba's palace ; and culminating in him building a lightsabre of his own. My understanding is that a telescoping lightsabre handle was indeed built for this construction scene. Since the building of a lightsabre seems like a Holy Grail in Star Wars - even Vader later remarks that Luke's skills are now complete - this would be a great opportunity to reveal the insides of a Jedi weapon and how one goes about creating one.
[DS] Luke and the others regroup at the Millennium Falcon - the dialogue for this scene was transferred to the following one where the ships are in orbit and leaving Tatooine. In production, it was decided that the regrouping would take place within a sandstorm, presumably to symbolise the changing circumstances, and allow Han to joke that he could still only see a blur ; there seems no other good reason to have this weather phenomenon ! It also caused havoc to the film equipment and the recorded sound was barely audible ! The current theatrical version is sufficient.
[DS] Vader chokes Moff Jerjerrod - to gain entry to the Emperor, Darth Vader briefly Force-chokes the Imperial commander. Although it's great to see another example of the Sith Lord's trademark torture, Lucas felt that yet another choking was redundant, all the more so that it had no real outcome. Since Vader gains the Emperor's audience as his right-hand man, such a scene can indeed be cut.
[DS] Ben describing in more detail his failure and guilt with Anakin - although additional dialogue was indeed filmed but cut, this would be a great opportunity to allow Obi-Wan to reveal more Prequel Trilogy history to Luke, and even pass along details about the mother he never knew.
[DS] Endor space battle - additional shots were filmed of General Madine manning a gun emplacement, either on the Millennium Falcon or on a Mon Cal warship. Also, greater inclusion of the B-Wing bombers were filmed, but never used. Presumably such scenes were cut to aid pacing, but I'm sure such brief scenes could be re-incorporated.
The Emperor or Vader refer to Yoda - interestingly, the film tie-in novel has Palpatine recall the elderly Jedi Master Yoda, and he realises that it was he who continued Luke's training after Obi-Wan's death. In the light of the Prequel Trilogy and the relationship between Palpatine and Yoda, this is indeed ironic and serendipitous ! Since Palpatine will meet his destiny by the end of the Episode, such dialogue could easily be re-incorporated to not only tie back to the earlier films, but also to increase the dramatic tension for Luke.
Qui-Gon as a ghost joining Yoda, Obi-Wan, and the young Anakin - when Lucas amended the ghost of Sebastian Shaw to that of Hayden Christensen, he could have also included the spirit of Qui-Gon Jinn, the Jedi Master who not only discovered Anakin Skywalker but who also re-discovered the Whills' ability to preserve life after death. He was thus instrumental in ensuring Yoda and Obi-Wan persist to supervise and guide Luke Skywalker. Seeing this Jedi Master from Episode I would also help 'round off' the Saga as a whole.
Music - although there is a brief composition of choral music at the climax of Luke and Vader's duel, it would be fitting to include new arrangements of John Williams' 'Duel of the Fates' or even 'Battle of the Heroes' melodies from the Prequel Trilogy. Again, this would not only emphasise the gravitas but also 'close' the Saga as a whole.
|Although the current Saga is what one could call a flawed masterpiece, a great body of work of amazing story-telling and universal themes of morality, yet not without technical and narrative weaknesses, if one allows the luxury of expanding the series to indulge in following more characters and events, I feel the result would provide a wider view of the galaxy as well as a greater overall scale befitting of a 'space opera'.
|Nathaniel Reed, 16th January 2010
Happy New Year & Happy New Decade !