How Star Wars was saved in the edit

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

I wasn’t aware of how Star Wars was saved in the edit:

I actually like the idea of Luke looking up through his macrobinoculars (or theodolite) at the battle above Tatooine.

(Hat tip to Morlock Publishing.)


  1. Ross says:

    Great find! Shocking difference!

  2. Candide III says:

    There is a documentary movie called “Star Wars: Empire of Dreams” (2004) which, among other things, shows some pieces of the first cut and how Lucas, Paul Hirsch and Richard Chew had recut it. The movie has lots of off-stage footage, early ILM preproduction footage, interviews with the principals and more. I recommend it to any fan of original Star Wars.

  3. Slovenian Guest says:

    Candide: It’s on YouTube, the full 2h30m thing!

  4. Kirk says:

    First time I saw Star Wars, I was 13 or so, and it was brand-new in the theaters. It made a hell of an impression on me, but the story was not what did it–The visuals were. The story, even then, seemed to me like it was derivative crap.

    Of course, I was a seriously annoying precocious little shit, who had been reading The Lord of the Rings, and who checked out every book in the local regional library that even looked vaguely science-fictional. So, I had a decent basis of comparison…

    I’ve never gotten past that initial impression: Great visuals, shitty storytelling. That’s George Lucas, in a nutshell. There are so many holes in the plots and storylines of the “Star Wars Universe ™” that it ain’t even funny–You could literally fly the Deathstar through them. And, ohmygawd… The names. Starkiller. Deathstar. Skywalker.

    Lemme tell you what–Lucas would have done a lot better to hire someone like Alan Dean Foster to do his writing, and then just concentrated on the cinematic visuals himself. The editing and directing… Same again: Subcontract that shit, because he ain’t no damn good at either.

    What the whole thing became with the prequels is just disturbing, because of the lost, never-realized potential. I gave the first one a try in the theater, about lost it with the “cute kid Darth Vader” and Jar-Jar Binks, waited for video on number two, and never wasted the time to watch the third. Same-same with the final three–I actually spent good money to go see the first one, haven’t bothered on number two, and don’t give a flying f**k on number three, at all. I’ve actually gotten more enjoyment out of the guys at Half in the Bag doing their critiques than I have watching the actual movies, which ain’t what I’d call a good sign.

    I think Lucas is going to be remembered for the imagery, and that’s going to be the primary thing people take away from his legacy. The screenwriting, the dialogue, and the rest…? We’re talking Edgar Bulwer Lytton territory, here. In a generation or two, you’re going to see that clunky Lucas dialogue being used in lieu of “It was a dark and stormy night…”.

    And, like Lucas, Lytton was a big-time commercial success at the time he was working. Now…? Barely remembered, and he’s primarily famous for the way they use his work to mock bad writing in an annual contest. I think Lucas is going to suffer a similar fate, but I may be wrong.

  5. DJohn1 says:

    The video misses a bit of what happened.

    The backroom genius who did the re-editing for Wars ’77 and Empire was Lucas’ wife at the time, Marcia. Marcia is the one who made Wars something that worked great for kids and okay for adults. Which is a rare combination.

    George and Marcia divorced between Empire and Jedi. The lack of her influence on “Christmas Marketing Plushy Bears R Us” really shows.

    Per reports, George paid Marcia a hefty premium to make sure that his cut of Wars ’77 never saw the light of day, and so that she would never protest too much that it was her genius that created Wars ’77, not his.

    With Marcia gone George went all-in on the idea that Wars was merchandise marketing to kids; thus the prequels.

  6. Kirk — I love Alan Dean Foster’s ghostwritten novelization of Wars ’77 for Lucas, but 40 years on I still recall my schoolteachers mocking the abysmal writing, thinking Lucas was responsible for lines like this: “Two meters tall. Bipedal. Flowing black robes trailing from the figure and a face forever masked by a functional if bizarre black metal breath screen—a Dark Lord of the Sith was an awesome, threatening shape as it strode through the corridors of the rebel ship.”

    Incidentally, my wife and I met working for Leigh Brackett’s brother. He spoke movingly of how Lucas giving Brackett the full screenplay credit for her first draft had meant a great deal to the family over the years (and not just in royalties).

  7. Kirk says:

    Y’know… I had forgotten that Alan Dean Foster had written the novelizations. I was thinking strictly of the now-overcome by events Splinter of the Mind’s Eye he wrote, which wasn’t too bad, all things considered.

    I don’t know how much of the actual novelization was Foster’s, though. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that while his name was on it, the actual product was based on a near-verbatim version of an early script.

    I dunno… Maybe Foster isn’t the guy who’d have been a better screenwriter for story and plot. However, I think they’d have done better to hire someone at random out of the screenwriters guild, and then kept Lucas busy doing the visuals. The dialogue… Oh, dear God, the dialogue. And, from what I’ve read, it was actually worse before the actors got ahold of it, and forced changes where they could.

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