Daily Archives: December 4, 2015

“By the Immortal Gods of the Sith!”

starwars-banner 13 Scenes and Details From Marvel’s Adaptation of Star Wars That Didn’t Appear in the Original 1977 Film 

1. “A bright sparkle in the morning sky catches a watchful eye.”
Star Wars came out in theatres May 25, 1977, a few months after Marvel’s official Star Wars adaptation hit spinner racks across the country. And when you take into account the time it takes to write, edit, print and distribute a comic book, that means the people working on the first issue were working from a version of the Star Wars script months before the film hit theatres. Which is good news for us, because it means the comic contains a few extra scenes and bits of dialogue that didn’t make it into the film’s final cut. Take this scene early in the film, which finds Luke Skywalker observing the opening scene’s space battle from the ground with his macrobinoculars. If the scene had stayed in the movie, it would have been our introduction to Luke, but George Lucas took it out when he decided it was getting in the way of the action at the start of the film.

2. “I’ve set mine to kill!”
When Leia is captured by Stormtroopers at the start of the film, she fires at them before they knock her out with a stun blast. In the comic, Leia shouts “I’ve set mine to kill!” in response to one Stormtrooper’s order to set weapons to stun. I don’t have any source material confirming whether that line was ever in Lucas’s original script, but if it did I can see how someone decided to take it out of the final cut. Star Wars is a black-and-white tale of good vs. evil, and having Leia say a line like that this early in the film — before we see the destruction of Alderaan, or any of the other reasons why we should hate the Empire — doesn’t quite work with Leia’s character.

3. “You’ll always be the best friend I’ve got.”
Biggs Darklighter earns a hero’s death near the end of the film during the climactic battle against the Death Star, but earlier versions of the script saw him play a bigger role in the story. As seen here, Biggs left Tatooine to go to the academy (taking a path in life that Luke feels he’s being denied by his aunt and uncle), and while on shore leave he tells Luke he plans to jump ship and join the rebellion because “I want to be on the side I believe in.” It’s a touching moment between two old friends and helps explain why Luke reacts so angrily to his uncle’s “one more season” remark later in the film — but I think Lucas made the right call cutting these scenes, for pacing if nothing else.

4. “It’s just a matter of time before we find the droids.”
Speaking of pacing. In this deleted scene that made it into the comic, Darth Vader and Chief Bast are talking about the missing droids; Vader observes that Leia is resisting interrogation because she holds out hope the data she stuffed in R2-D2 will still find its way into the hands of her fellow rebels. There’s not much to this scene and it doesn’t add anything to the plot, so it’s no surprise it was taken out.

5. “This small piece of metal I found in the sand–!”
Ever wonder how the Stormtroopers who were sent planetside to retrieve the data from the escape pod figured out they were looking for droids? This short sequence, absent from the original final cut of the film, explains it. Actually… no, it doesn’t. How does a “small piece of metal” cause the Stormtroopers to leap to the conclusion that droids were involved? Couldn’t that piece of metal have flown off the escape pod when it crashed? Are there special metals in the Star Wars universe that can be identified on sight and are only used in constructing droids? Also, the guy is holding up one piece of metal; why does he say “droids” plural?  A regular Columbo, this guy is.

6. “We will discuss the location of the hidden rebel base.”
This isn’t so much a deleted scene as a slightly altered one; Vader is pressing Leia for the location of the rebel base and brings in an interrogation droid to loosen her tongue. Either Lucas wasn’t sure what that droid would look like at the time the comic people were putting together their material or he wasn’t willing to share the design; either way, it’s a shame we didn’t get to see a depiction of the “floating ball of hypodermic torture” that appears in Leia’s cell, instead of this generic droid that looks slightly less threatening. Maybe it’s the big green eyes. It’s hard to look dangerous with eyes like that.

7. “I’ve been waiting for you, Jabba.”
Filmgoers first saw Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi, but the original Star Wars script had “Jabba the Hut” (with one “t”) show up in Mos Eisley shortly before Solo takes off with his passengers in the Millennium Falcon. From Wookiiepedia: “Lucas intended for him to be a furry, Chewbacca-esque character, and had actor Declan Mulholland play the role wearing a shaggy coat. Mulholland would have been replaced with a stop-motion creature during post-production had the scene not ended up on the cutting room floor.” Obviously, Marvel had no idea what Jabba was supposed to look like when they were putting together their adaptation, and decided to go with a generic bipedal alien look, as seen here.  I think we can all agree the Jabba from Jedi looked much better.

8. “Doesn’t that thing ever give up?”
This is a minor change from the film, but one that I thought was worth mentioning. After our heroes escape from the trash compactor, there’s a sound made off-screen by the creature that pulled Luke underwater. Han blasts into the darkness behind them and Leia scolds him for making a noise that might reveal their position. In the comic, we see one of the creature’s tentacles reaching out into the hallway, probably in one last-ditch effort to grab an escaping snack. It’s a small change, but I think the film version of the scene better, if only because it’s hard to imagine a persnickety outfit like the Empire allowing dirty trash creatures the chance to flop around on its squeaky-clean decks.

9. “You!”
No, Obi-Wan does not cry out “YOU!” when he first confronts Vader. After all, why would he be so surprised to see Vader? He’s on Vader’s turf. And for that matter, wouldn’t the Force have told Owi-Wan that The Artist Formerly Known as Anakin was waiting around the corner? Then again, Vader couldn’t sense a hiding Kenobi on the Millennium Falcon earlier, so… yeah, what up, George?

10. “ZZRAKK!”
It’s one of the greatest scenes in film history: Darth Vader and Obi-Wan are locked in mortal combat, Luke sees them dueling, Obi-Wan glances over at Luke, stops fighting, and Darth Vader delivers the killing blow. But Obi-Wan’s body completely disappears into the Force the second Vader’s lightsaber slices through his cloak, which is all that remains of the Jedi knight when the battle is over. The comic’s interpretation of that scene is a little more… ah, dramatic.  And not in a good way. And I love Vader’s stance in the second panel: “(poke poke) Uh… you in there, Obi-Wan? Hello?”

11. “I met your father once, when I was just a boy!”
More banter with Biggs here, along with another pilot who tells Luke he met Luke’s father when he was just a boy. Again, there’s nothing lost in the film by leaving out this scene; there was already plenty of “getting ready for action” dialogue just prior to the final battle with the Death Star, and given how Biggs’s earlier scenes were taken out of the film, there was no real need for Luke to reconnect with his childhood buddy here. Plus that “shooting stars that’ll never be stopped” line kind of makes it a little too obvious Biggs is about to bite the big one, no? You don’t say things like that in a movie and expect to live long enough to see the end credits.

12. “They’re mad, that’s what they are!”
One thing you notice re-watching Star Wars is how much attention isn’t paid to the foot soldiers on the either side of the war. The higher-up Imperial officers are all prissy and smug about their superior firepower, but aside from that we don’t get a lot of insights into what makes any of the Imperial guys tick. But here, on the eve of battle with a ragtag squadron of X-wing pilots, we get a few bits of dialogue from Imperial soldiers who can’t believe the rebels are challenging the “ultimate power in the universe.” I don’t know if any of these lines appeared in Lucas’s scripts, but I kind of doubt it since this kind of background character chatter doesn’t show up anywhere else in the film.

Near the end of one of the greatest battle scenes in movie history, Darth Vader is closing in on Luke’s X-wing fighter and about to push the button to fire when one of the TIE fighters next to him is blown to bits by the Millennium Falcon. As any Star Wars fan knows, James Earl Jones’s immortal line in that scene sounds more like “Wha–?” and not the “By the immortal gods of the Sith!” quote seen here. Also, the film doesn’t have a TIE fighter pilot say anything about where the “energy-bolt” came from, just Han and Chewie swooping in after taking out Vader’s escorts. Point: movie.