Idealistic Ending for Episode III
by forumer Indy500.
the release of the Star Wars Special Editions I have held a suspicion
that George Lucas may be planning to create an epilogue-style ending
for Episode 3, by finally utilizing the infamous cut Tatooine footage
of Luke Skywalker and his childhood friend, Biggs Darklighter.
it was filmed for the very opening sequences of the original Star
Wars, it just so happens that the content of this footage now serendipitously
forms the perfect bridge that would link the Prequel trilogy with
Episodes 4, 5, and 6. Could Lucas in fact be planning to make this
deft final stroke which would quite effectively bring the making
of the Prequel Trilogy (and indeed, the making of the entire six
part saga) full circle ?
will present the various
pieces of evidence (found in the existing Star Wars films, and other
official Star Wars related media) which seem to point towards the
possibility of seeing the cut Tatooine footage at the end of Episode
3. Before I get to these items, however, I feel it is important
to first clarify exactly why we never saw the missing footage in
the first place. Why was it not in the film back when Star Wars
was originally released in 1977, nor in its subsequent and slightly
modified video releases, or even still not included in the heavily
modified 1997 ANH Special Edition re-release?
die-hard Star Wars fans have seen, read, or at least heard of the
as-of-yet unused Tatooine scenes featuring Luke and his best friend
Biggs, and there are many who believe George cut the footage from
A New Hope because of "poor acting," or "bad dialogue." This is
not the case. His editing decision is explained in Laurent Bouzereau's
book, "Star Wars - The Annotated Screenplays" :
| When George
Lucas shared his ideas [for ANH] early on with friends and
colleagues, they kept telling him that it was a bad idea to
start the film with only the droids, that it was too much
like his first film, THX 1138 (1971), and that he should introduce
Luke, his leading character, at the beginning of the story:
LUCAS: "So I did it, and I shot it, and I looked at it.
It worked okay, but it wasn't great. I could not get out
of my mind that poetically speaking I really wanted to have
this clean line of the robots taking you to Luke, Luke taking
you to Ben, Ben taking you to Han, Han taking you to Princess
Leia. I wanted each character to take you to the next person.
I finally said, 'I don't care what people say, that they
don't like this movie about robots.' I thought they were
charming, interesting, and entertaining. They weren't cold
like the robots in my first film, THX 1138. So I just decided
to trust my heart, and I structured the story that way because
of the way I felt about it, not because it was logical."
right. I love the way ANH has the linear "droids > Luke > Ben >
Han > Leia > Rebels" progression to it. Introducing Luke immediately
after the opening shot of the Star destroyer rumbling overhead,
and then again showing him saying goodbye to Biggs right after the
droids land on Tatooine would have definitely muddied up that beautiful
"clean line" within the film's first half, just as George said.
Let me point out that when he says, "It worked okay, but it wasn't
great," he's not talking about the contents of the footage that
got dropped. Rather, the word "it" refers to the "poetic flow"/linear
progression of the film's overall beginning narrative, as it stood
in that particular ANH rough cut which introduced the hero too soon.
After all, that is the issue that George expounds upon and clarifies
for us, not some complaint about acting or dialogue. When you think
about it, such a complaint wouldn't make sense, really, since it
was Lucas himself who wrote the dialogue, and it was also Lucas
directing. It stands to reason then that he was able to get the
performance that he wanted from his actors.
further illustrate this point, consider the following. Many have
criticized the dialogue (particularly between Anakin and Padmé)
in Attack of the Clones, and have yet again accused George of "bad
directing," or being a "bad writer." In the following quote taken
from the book, "Star Wars - Mythmaking - Behind the Scenes of Attack
of the Clones," Lucas responds to the dialogue and acting issue
|"I was happy with the way it turned out in the script and
in the performances, but I knew people might not buy it."
The [firelight] scene typified the script's old-fashioned
style. "Let's face it, their dialogue in that scene is pretty
corny. It is presented very honestly, it isn't tongue-in-cheek
at all, and it's really played to the hilt. But it is consistent
not only with the rest of the movie, but with the overall
Star Wars style. Most people don't understand the style of
Star Wars. They don't get that there is an underlying motif
that is very much like a nineteen thirties western or Saturday
despite the ignorance of those critics who are all too eager to
accuse him of being "out of touch" as a writer/director, we see
that in actuality George Lucas is very deliberate concerning the
script dialogue he writes. He's totally aware of how he directs
his actors and how the resulting scenes play, and there's no reason
to think that things should have been any different for him back
in 1976 with the filming of the Anchorhead scenes. He undoubtedly
was satisfied with his script for those scenes, as well as the resulting
performances of Mark Hamill, Garrick Hagon, and the other actors
involved. The fact is, he simply had to make an objective editing
choice and did what was best for the pacing of his film's first
reel, despite the fact that it meant losing some great character
establishment between Luke and Biggs, as well as the foundation
of their story arc. One would think, then, that if George thought
it were possible to get those missing scenes back into the story
without disrupting the narrative flow of ANH's beginning, he would
seize the opportunity.
that opportunity presented itself in the mid-90's, when the believability
of ILM's cg Jurassic Park dinosaurs convinced George that the time
was right to go ahead with his long-awaited Star Wars Prequel trilogy.
The Star Wars ANH Special Edition became the "testing ground" for
this ambitious endeavor, and George approached the ANH SE project
fully aware that his original trilogy was about to become part of
a larger saga, ultimately comprised of six interwoven chapters.
How much did this awareness of the bigger vision factor into his
decision to re-insert Luke's reunion scene with Biggs back into
the story? Issue #35 of the SW Insider magazine contains a great
article by David West Reynolds entitled, "Anchorhead - The Lost
Scenes." I tend to agree with Reynolds in his assessment of the
cut footage when he says, "the scenes play extremely well." He also
|"...for the Special Edition, George Lucas and Rick McCallum
restored most [emphasis mine] of Biggs' Massassai flight-deck
reunion with Luke. But Anchorhead remained as distant as ever."
inclusion of Luke's reunion with Biggs into the ANH Special Edition
is the first and foremost clue that points towards eventually seeing
the missing Tatooine footage at the end of Episode III. I will examine
several facets of this curious piece of evidence in the next instalment.