Friday, 9 September 2011

AFICIONADO EXCLUSIVE FIRST-LOOK: "THE COMPLETE SAGA" BLU-RAY DELETED SCENES.

On the Thursday morning of 1st September, I was lucky enough to be invited by FOX’s online publicity people to sample some of the new STAR WARS Blu-ray special features material. I felt like Indiana Jones unlocking the long lost treasures of mankind as I sat down to enjoy and absorb as much as I could in the allotted two hours available to me. I could have stayed in that room all day and never left it!

The majority of the material I saw was from the deleted scenes (though be aware that what was displayed was only two thirds of what is apparently on the actual discs in that area-and not all of the deleted scenes were on these samples) as well as some of each of the Classic Trilogy’s interview/overview pieces. They’ll be more on the latter when I do the eventual overall review of the entire Blu-ray set, but I thought fans in the meantime would be very interested to read (nay, devour!) my observations and analysis on the deleted scenes:

THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY

Note: neither the Classic Trilogy nor Prequel Trilogy deleted scenes come with any crew commentaries or on screen cast or crew introductions as far as I could determine, unlike the prior Prequel releases on DVD. There are, however, introductory picture captions/info instead.

EPISODE IV: “A NEW HOPE”


TOSCHE STATION

No longer the patchy black and white version seen in the BEHIND THE MAGIC CD-ROM of the nineties, this is a full colour version of this sequence showing a goggle hat wearing Luke Skywalker at the Vaporators, with minimal sound. The picture quality starts off full of dirt, specks and scratches but gets better as it goes along. Luke is fiddling with a white gadget box with some buttons on when he is distracted by a sight in the heavens above. There is an insert of a long rainbow lense flare and a brief flashing light in the skies above. An enthusiastic Luke leaves his breaking down Treadwell and gets in his Landspeeder.


Again, as once seen in the BTM, we see Luke arrive and go inside Tosche station and tells his friends, including the returned Biggs, about the space battle above them. The colour footage is much improved and cleaned up, as is the sound quality. Though I still couldn’t make out who played Windy in the background of that scene! As the sequence goes into the exterior scene filmed in Tunisia, and everyone ignores Luke’s witnessing of a space battle, Camie (Koo Stark) has one extra line not in the BTM: “Don’t worry about it, Wormie,” she says, after throwing Luke’s precious binoculars back to him...


The later scenes of Biggs outside telling Luke that he is joining the Rebellion, again seen in the BTM, are also present: cleaned up and much improved.

OLD WOMAN ON TATOOINE


This is the classic scene talked about by Dr. David West Reynolds in his years ago LOST CUT feature for STAR WARS INSIDER, where Luke’s speeder drives past an irate old woman/hermit, who apparently says something like “Haven’t I told you kids to slow down!” The scene is presented in good quality colour, but, for reasons unknown, the audio is silent and just shows the old woman in long shot looking angry and complaining about Luke and the Landspeeder off camera. Nice to see but ultimately adds nothing to the film. There’s no sign of any dog in the clip, as mentioned in Alan Dean Foster novelization of STAR WARS from 1976, but it does have in the far right distance, laying against a building wall, two Jawa’s either passed out from the sun or inebriated!

AUNT BERU’S BLUE MILK


A very brief scene where you can hear someone say “Action,” then Shelagh Fraser, within John Barry’s Homestead kitchen set, which you see in its full glory, goes from one side of it to the other, pours some blue milk and then heads out the entrance towards the dining area (seen on location filming). Then you hear “Cut”. The scenes in good quality, the on set production sound is okay, and that’s about it, really…

THE SEARCH FOR R2-D2


In the Landspeeder (where we see an outdoor full length shot of it speeding from left to right, I think from the January 1977 re-shoot footage at China Lake Acres or La Mirage, California, showing the reflecting mirrors in front of the tires), Luke and Threepio search the Jundland Wastes for the missing Artoo. Filmed against unsuccessful back projection (showing Tunisian backdrop footage) this is a proper full on scene and not like the partially seen version included in EMPIRE OF DREAMS, with the conversation between Luke and Threepio (not redubbed but presented in its raw state, with Anthony Daniels talking through the mask) is longer than anything seen before from the 2004 DVD documentary. The picture quality for this deleted scene is pretty crisp overall and the raw on-set sound quality is very good. Sadly, the scene fades out before the moment where they pick up Artoo on the scanner, so we don’t see any insert showing the unused Jay Teitzell created graphic on the speeder’s radar control panel.

CANTINA ROUGH CUT


The same as what was previously on BTM, but in much better sound and picture quality. This is the early extended B/W cut of the Cantina sequence where Luke and Ben meet Chewbacca, the droids stay outside, Ben kills the thug aliens and then they all meet Han Solo who finishes his little smooching about with Jenny. Then Greedo shows up and Han shoots first. Always did shoot first and always will in my philosophy!

STORMTROOPER SEARCH


A part of this colour footage was used in the infamous 1978 Holiday Special but this footage seemed longer in length to me, showing some of the Stuart Freeborn created aliens walking down a ELSTREE Studios Mos Eisley street, a blue Astro Droid going about its business and where the little person referred to as “Flash Gordon” (Marcus Powell) runs into a very tall, stilted legged alien and scurries off. There’s also a platoon of Stormtroopers in search of the droids, checking door locks and making a nuisance of themselves, different to what’s seen in the film. There’s sound but its pretty much on-set noise from the technicians: you hear “Action” and at the end then see the clapperboard man coming on to the set to finish.  A nice, if unimportant, scene but 501’ers will love it in particular!

DARTH VADER WIDENS THE SEARCH


Again, a classic scene used in the Holiday Special, but this is the original version with Dave Prowse’s un-dubbed voice as Darth Vader as he walks down a Death Star corridor with Chief Bast (Leslie Schofield). The dialogue here is pretty much as read in the comic books and novelization. It’s nice to have this scene, no matter how brief, as it’s the only deleted footage of Vader from this first film.


EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK


HAN AND LEIA: EXTENDED ECHO BASE ARGUMENT


This starts off with the scene as is from EMPIRE, in a colour print that’s got a “Lowry” time code at the bottom. As seen in the film, Han says “You could use a good kiss!” then storms off, whilst Leia looks embarrassed, but it continues into deleted scene territory as Han then comes back and the verbal sparring continues. The quality here looks completely different and has no blue colour scaling-it’s a lot darker and more shadowy, and I like it-nicely photographed. Some of the dialogue between Han and Leia in this new sequence can be found in the MARVEL comic and book novelization and the Fourth Draft shooting script. At the end of the sequence Han says to her: “We’ll meet again. Maybe by then you’ll have warmed up a little!”, whilst Leia prods him and says, “Good luck, Hotshot.” It’s really good to see the extra footage and Fisher and Ford are excellent, plus we get to look at a bit more of the Echo Base corridors, but it is too long and it was wise to it cut down to the bare essentials for the final movie. It’s great for the Blu-ray deleted scenes area, though.


LUKE’S RECOVERY


It starts off in bottom screen coded colour, with Han and the gang looking at the injured Luke in the Bacta tank, supervised by medical droids FX-7 and 2-1B, then it goes into pin sharp black and white, with sound, in a moody sequence combining interesting angles and close-ups of our main characters looking concerned as their friend is swaying about and being delirious in the tank. Luke is supposed to say things like “Dagobah” and “Yoda” in the tank but this is not heard on screen, to which Chewbacca worriedly growls to an equally concerned Han, who replies, “I don’t know what he’s talking about, either”. Threepio is concerned as to whether he will be “all there” if he recovers (a close-up of Threepio can be seen in an early EMPIRE trailer). The unlikely voice of Irvin Kershner stands in for FX-7 as the gang are told that Luke is recovering well to the treatment, and he’s then removed from the tank.

LUKE AND LEIA: MEDICAL CENTRE


Long before it was locked down that Luke and Leia were to be story convenient twins by RETURN OF THE JEDI, this deleted scene proves to be a nicely written and performed moment that I’m rather sad was cut – I suppose at the time more for pace reasons than anything else. It cements Luke and Leia’s friendship and, again I stress before the events of ROTJ, a possible love for each other. Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill are good here and very much in the kind of character role playing they showed in EPISODE IV. Leia shows rare tenderness and concern in this scene with Luke, who, now removed of his facial bandages (which isn’t shown in the deleted scenes I saw, if indeed it’s on there?) realizes that he could’ve died out on Hoth’s surface without telling her how much he feels about her. Luke comes across almost like the naive farm boy and it’s gently played. As the pair are about to kiss- a scene that looked like a different angle, and shorter, than what was seen in one of the early EMPIRE 1979/80 trailers- the droids come in.  A surprised and concerned Luke (almost the gosh and golly kid of EPISODE IV) then finds out about the Wampa attacks and Han’s planning to leave (Luke mentions Jabba the Hutt by name). He also tells Leia that he’s planning his departure as well-a revelation that makes the Princess very hostile when she hears the news, showing her toughness and bite once again, going so far as to wish she hadn’t met up with what she calls her two “moon jockeys’! Again, a bit of the dialogue can be read in the MARVEL comic /novelization, some of it looked like it came from the fourth draft shooting script, and some of it was new to me

Han then comes in followed by Chewbacca in a scene that either has Ford’s voice re-dubbed in the final film’s post production or is a different take, where he tells Luke he looks strong enough to pull ears off a Gundark…

DELETED WAMPA SCENES


A noble failure here, and a shame that the scenes-the majority of which are presented here without audio-couldn’t be properly realized. The Wampa looks too muck like a man in a suit and had its scenes mostly eliminated from the films early opening scenes. Please note: the sequence when I saw them was not presented in order. Firstly is a close up moment where it breaks out from an ice wall and doesn’t look very effective. Then there’s a medium wide shot showing the three legged Artoo standing stationery in front of an obviously fake collapsing wall as the Wampa breaks free of it. Then we see a long shot of the Rebel base cave as a trio of Rebel officers with pistols come running down the corridor from right to left towards the unseen creature. Sadly, we don’t see the sequence cut in any beginning to end way, nor some of the classic photographed scenes, like the famous still of the Rebels firing the bazooka (which does exist and was shot: confirmed to me by J.W. Rinzler in 2010) or a Wampa arm reaching out for one of the soldiers (at least not on this sample disc). Instead, we cut to the remains of the Wampa dead on the floor for several lingering shots, watched over by the Rebels and the three legged Artoo coming up close to looks at its remains then, scared it will come back to life, promptly retreating backwards at speed (so fast it unintentionally almost comes off its rollers!) and back to the far end of the corridor where it can be seen cowardly rearing its head out from a darkened stalactite area (a moment briefly seen in one of EMPIRE’s early trailers). There follows another part of the attack sequence, launched by an unseen Kershner, where we see the Wampa, its face slightly obscured, trashing the Rebel corridor, with Artoo running away from it at speed and turning towards a closing shield door (as seen in the recent LUCASFILM Blu-ray deleted scenes trailer). This scene actually looks a lot better than the others I’ve described as the Wampa is more partially obscured and augmented against white so it’s not as recognizable.

There’s also the later scene where Han and Leia, following the Rebel evacuation protocols, are rushing to the Falcon and Threepio stops to take the warning label off the Wampa pen door housing the captured creatures. He does this then runs off. The next cut shows three Snowtroopers stop by the door, as other troopers run past them down the corridor, and open it. From the darkness a large Wampa hand grabs one of the Snowtroopers and takes him away as the other two troopers watch amazed. Vader then arrives, stops for a moment, obviously says something, and the troopers depart with him. Again, sadly, there is no sound for any of this footage, and the earlier scene, prior to the Imperial attack, where Artoo and Threepio discuss the Wampa Pen room has seemingly not been included in these deleted scene sections (unless it’s somewhere else on the discs?).

Ending the Wampa section is another scene from earlier in the film where, as Han and Leia are heard off camera having their first argument in the base corridor, the camera shows us a small top portion of the right side wall breaking off and beneath that a solid transparent ice wall where a Wampa hand is at first scratching then trying to break through without success. This is an interesting moment that goes on for a while. In the comic book a Wampa arm actually broke through after Leia walks down the far corridor but this is not seen in the live action sequence. I don’t know how well this scene would have worked if it had been cut into the finished film-it might have jarred badly with the light and playful audience enjoyment of the Han/Leia quarrel.

THE FATE OF GENERAL VEERS


This is a sequence in and out of sound combining black and white animatics and footage. It starts with Veers and his AT-AT drivers in the Walker cockpit. Veers asks, “Distance to power generators?”, to which the pilot (the actor speaking his own voice and not dubbed over) replies: “Six point one.” Veers then looks through the periscope and sees a black and white animatic of the power generators. The Walker cockpit shakes from some kind of unseen tremor or explosion and then we cut to an animatic of a full speed towards the camera Rebel Snowspeeder, then live-action and silent black and white footage of Richard Oldfield as Hobbie (mentioned but unseen in any of the Walker battle scenes of the finished film)- though I can’t tell you if he’s injured, as stated in the novel, or not- then an animatic of the speeder coming closer, followed by a silent moment insert in the Walker cockpit directed from an angle behind Veers and the Walker pilots and looking at them as they face the screen. The screen then explodes in front of them with a real (to me anyway!) on-set pyrotechnic. Then comes an animatic showing the headless walker collapsing.

Actor Julian Glover, who played Veers, told me that he never filmed a death scene for the character, so this live action sequence showing his demise, which is in the novelization, is something that I think was completed in insert photography at some point later in the filming, and presumably not with Glover (either at ILM or ELSTREE) with stand-ins and stuntmen for the final live-action insert, especially as we don’t see Glover’s face in the sequence: there’s no way a film director would have an actor film in front of such a large pyrotechnic, for both safety and insurance reasons…

Though short, the scene is easily one of the best and most interesting of the EMPIRE batch.

YODA’S TEST


In silent colour footage comprising different angles, we see a backpacked Yoda (with lots of close in details of the two versions of the superb puppet used in that sequence) on Luke’s back hold a metal bar in his right hand, which Luke has to then cut up with his lightsaber. We see him attempt to do this in long shot but don’t really see the end results. It looks more like test footage than anything you would properly see in a film. Then follows a good quality black and white, again soundless, atmospheric moment in long shot, where Luke, again with Yoda on his back, is moving away from right to left and about to go off camera when he stops and swings his lightsaber at something which you don’t see. It doesn’t look like Yoda’s throwing the bar. I’m wondering if this actually wasn’t part of the bar cutting sequence, but a scene referred to in the novel and an early script idea (by Leigh Brackett) where Yoda sneakily throws a seeker ball into the air and Luke deflects its brief surprise attack? In the end, to save filming time and money, several of Luke’s training scenes were abandoned or cut from the script by Irvin Kershner and George Lucas.

EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI

VADER’S ARRIVAL AND REACHING OUT TO LUKE


As seen to a cheering audience at CELEBRATION V last year, it starts off with the end of Vader’s hangar bay conversation with Moff Jerjerrod, then the Dark Lord walking down a Death Star II corridor, entering a lift, then, in his mediation pod (an unused scene lifted from Empire. Producer Howard Kazanjian confirmed this to me last year), Vader, bowing his head (presented in eerie slow motion which I never noticed before), voiced by James Earl Jones, begins reaching out with the Force to Luke. A cloaked Luke, inside a Tatooine cave, and watched by Artoo, make some last minute fixes to his new lightsaber (of which his tinkering and adjustments seem a little bit longer in duration, with added sound effects, to what was previously seen at CV). He then turns the green lightsaber on and gives it a quick wave about. But that isn’t the end of the sequence. It then cuts to Threepio outside the cave talking to an emerging Artoo about what an unpleasant planet Tatooine is and how he’d prefer to be somewhere less hostile with Master Luke. The pair leave the cave (an outdoor scene filmed at Death Valley, California, with Anthony Daniels) then we see the famous background matte plate painting of the cave and valley hosing the Millennium Falcon and Luke’s X-wing, followed by us then seeing the droids on the road to Jabba’s Palace (again filmed at Death Valley).

In Death Valley, Lucas (in leather jacket) and cinematographer Hiro Narita film the scene where Artoo emerges from the cave and accompanies Threepio (Anthony Daniels)
The legendary "unused" matte painting finally appears in the deleted scene.
A classic scene, whether it was made with Hamill’s participation or not, and worthy of resurrection on Blu-ray.

Check out Howard Kazanjian’s observations to AFICIONADO on the restored scene here: http://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.com/2010/08/luke-and-lightsaber-restoration-of-jedi.html

TATOOINE SANDSTORM


The first scene filmed and the first scene cut for RETURN OF THE JEDI (when it started out as “REVENGE OF THE JEDI” in January 1982), this never had any voice over re-dubbing, so the sound we hear of the actors within this sequence is as it was when shot at ELSTREE (with howling fans almost drowning out their voices!). Having emerged victorious in their battle with Jabba, our heroes bravely make their way to their ships and get ready to leave Tatooine. Luke and Lando hold the injured Chewie, and Lando activates a remote control device that lights up the Falcon’s red exterior lights. As Lando and Chewie go up the ramp, Han and Leia converse with Luke, who, looking quite downbeat, solemnly tells them he has to go somewhere else-“a promise to keep, to an old friend.” As they part company, Leia goes up the ramp; Han follows Luke a little further away and thanks him for coming to rescue him. They depart, Luke goes to his X-wing, and Han, before entering his beloved ship, gives it a pat and says, “Hey, old girl. How you goin’?” (a touching little scene). Meanwhile, Luke, in long shot, gets into his X-wing cockpit and gets ready to leave, with Artoo in his trusty socket at the back of the ship.


It’s another great scene-long overdue to be watched by STAR WARS fans- but it’s a shame there was no sound re-dubbing. Mark Hamill, however, shines as Luke in this sequence. He’s a world removed from his acting as Luke in STAR WARS and continues the characters darker development from the terrible events of EMPIRE’s finale revelations. Here, Luke is melancholy, solemn and deadly serious, even when Han thanks him for all the trouble he and the gang have gone to (fortunately, when Luke meets Obi-Wan and hears about his sister his return to the Rebel fleet and his friends later in the film shows him in a much more positive state of mind, counterbalancing what we saw earlier). Sadly, we don’t see the moment were Han and Lando patch up their differences-it’s in the novelization, if I recall, but isn’t shown here, which is a bit of a shame (would it have even been filmed?).

REBEL RAID ON THE BUNKER


It wasn’t so easy for our Rebel heroes to get into the Imperial Bunker on Endor, as Han and his squad run into a squad of Stormtroopers and they fight their way into its command centre. The deleted action sequence, which has lots of on-set noise and behind the cameras shouting, is shown from the staircase scene onwards and doesn’t show the earlier part of the sequence where Han, Leia and the gang are moodily going through an earlier corridor before traversing the staircase (in scenes, which exist as photos, shot at ELSTREE that are not the same as the shots seen in the film). Three angles of the battle are shown, one followed by another and another: firstly from the Imperial side as our heroes come down the stairs and run into them, then one focusing on our heroes in tighter angles as they are firing at the Stormtroopers, and the final all in one take version from the Rebel sides as they run into the Stormtroopers, have their firefight and blow open the doors, as the cameras partially follows them into the command chamber. It’s a good sequence that, if intercut properly, would have been great, but I assume it was cut for time and pacing reasons, Notedly, amongst the Rebel commandos we also finally get to see the black soldier in the squad (actor/stuntman unknown. Possibly Julius LeFlore, who also doubled for Billy Dee Williams?) who stands guard at the door of the control room before he’s killed by Lt. Renz and the Stormtroopers (actor Barrie Holland confirmed to me in 2008 that this scene was filmed. We don’t see the actual death in the deleted scene as far as I recall).

Part of the bunker scene is shown from this angle.
Harrison plays the scenes with even more frantic urgency- the race against time- than he does in the finished film, as he quickly takes the Imperials by surprise (he even calls them “Twits” at one point!). The “give me the charges” scene is done from a totally different angle from what is eventually used in the film. Within seconds of throwing charges bags to his comrades-its all done in one take in this angle of filming- Lt. Renz turns up (Barrie Holland saying the classic words without any vocal changing or re-dubbing) and captures the group. Having been called “You Rebel Scum”, Han looks at Renz and then mockingly pulls a face on him, replying, “Scum?”

OTHER DELETED MATERIAL SEEN IN THE SUPPLEMENTAL INTERVIEWS

From EMPIRE, a black and white animatic of Han on his Tauntaun throwing sentry markers into the snowy wastes of Hoth, and some unseen b/w Battle of Hoth animatics, whilst from JEDI we see a colour clip of the filming of the aborted “Lightman” creature (played by Peter Diamond) climbing up the basement stairs of Jabba’s Throne Room.


THE PREQUEL TRILOGY

In comparison to the Classic Trilogy, this was a very mixed bag with regards to what was selected for Blu-ray release. Decisions made by LUCASFILM that will, I have no doubt, be controversial in certain fan quarters. Note: all the deleted scenes I watched, which were not the complete list, were a combination of colour footage mixed with animatics. Note: none of the previous Prequel Trilogy deleted scenes released on DVD seem to have been included on the Blu-ray discs that I saw…

EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE


TRASH TALKING DROIDS


As the cloaked figures of Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan are escorted out of the hangar bay and into the Trade Federation ship’s main corridor by protocol droid TC-14, two small worker droids (EG-9 and PK-4, as named in Lucas’s script book) talk about the mysterious arrivals in a scene similar to what is shown in the DARK HORSE comic adaptation of the film by Henry Gilroy. It’s a pointless scene, sloppily done and executed in animatic (though at least one model PK-4 droid was filmed against blue screen for this scene but none of this footage is shown) and would not have been a good dramatic start to the first all-important prequel movie-I’m glad it was cut.

THE BATTLE IS OVER

Having captured Nute Gunray in the Theed Royal Palace Throne Room, Amidala and Panaka are contacted via viewscreen by a Naboo Trooper (played by THE WIRE’s Dominic West, filmed on the outdoor Theed street set at LEAVESDEN), who tells them that the enemy Battle Droids have been de-activated and promptly lifts the inactive hand of a nearby Battle Droid (not sure if it was a real prop or rough animatic) in demonstration. The Queen then tells the Neimoidian prisoners that they’ll have a hard time explaining this invasion to the Senate. It’s an okay scene though it lacks excitement. The cut scene and its dialogue would be later replaced with Jar Jar and the Gungans discovering the droids are inactive in the Naboo plains once the control ship is knocked out, whilst some of the Queen’s dialogue is transplanted to Panaka in the newly filmed scene, done a year later, of Palpatine’s arrival with the Jedi Knights once Naboo has been liberated.

ANAKIN’S RETURN


A combination of full size fighter props against blue screen and filming in the Theed hangar set built at LEAVESDEN, this is the scene where, having destroyed the Trade Federation control ship, the Naboo pilots return to the Theed hangar. Once there the assembled pilots (including Ralph Brown as Ric Olie, Celia Imrie as Bravo 5 and Benedict Taylor as Bravo 2), they discover the newly arrived Anakin in the cockpit of his fighter, who says something along the lines of: “I’m…I’m not in any trouble, am I?” in front of the astonished pilots.

It’s a nice little scene though it was probably not included for pace reasons. Good that it’s included here, though…

BATTLE OF THE BOARDING RAMP


In his only deleted scene on the disc that we’re currently aware of, Darth Maul leaps up to follow Qui-Gon onto the ramp of the Naboo cruiser as it departs Naboo. Qui-Gon only just repels the Sith and sends him back to the planets surface after a brief lightsaber duel.

Presented against an animatic Tatooine desert backdrop, this fight scene is short and sweet but has a couple of good ‘saber moves- perhaps it was cut because Lucas wanted a smoother final departing transition between the two sparring partners?

EXTENDED POD RACE WAGER


Not a lot to talk about here but there’s more dialogue between Watto and Qui-Gon in the man hangar prior to the Pod Race, with the latter trying his best to win both Anakin and Shmi’s freedom, with Watto very reluctant to let them go, especially Anakin. This leads into to the “we’ll late fate decide “ scene with the dice…

It’s an okay scene, and Neeson and Andrew Secombe banter well, but the final on-screen shortened version was good enough…

EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES

Probably the most disappointing deleted scenes I saw from the Blu-rays were the collection from this particular film. Prequel fans deserved better as there are some very strange selection choices made here (nothing from Tatooine!?), especially as there’s so much more substantial and important cut material in the LUCASFILM vaults known to be in existence and waiting to be showcased…

EXTENDED SPEEDER CHASE


Nothing very exciting, really, as Anakin and Obi-Wan pursue Zam through a few more aerial animatic scenes and Obi-Wan gets up to remove a cloth/flag caught in their speeder’s engine.

THE LOST TWENTY


In the Jedi Library, Obi-Wan, just prior to continuing his unsuccessful search for the location of Kamino, looks at the face bust of Count Dooku. Jedi Librarian Jocasta Nu comes over and talks about Dooku and why he ultimately left the order and became leader of the Separatists. She tells Obi that Dooku was out of step with the decisions of the Jedi Order and, like Qui-Gon, didn’t agree with things that were going on. The performances of McGregor and McGrath (their voices not post production re-dubbed) are okay here, if hardly stellar. Sadly, despite the deleted scenes title, there is no actual mention of “The Lost Twenty” in any of the dialogue that I recall.

ANAKIN’S NIGHTMARE


On the refugee transport ship bound for Naboo, a sleeping Anakin has another grim nightmare about his mother, awakening to talk about Shmi with Padme and Artoo, the latter of which appears in the scenes as an animatic and live action version. This deleted scene is pretty good, and Hayden plays the scene well, however, it was probably removed because some of the dialogue is similar or feels repetitive to what the pair more importantly talks about on the veranda of the Naboo safe house.

ANAKIN AND RUWEE


The Jedi and Padme’s father walk on the gardens outside the latter’s home discussing Padme and how her life is in danger. Cut, I presume, because it doesn’t add anything to the story at all, though the performances of Hayden and Graeme Blundell are fine.

EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH

The EPISODE III deleted scenes material were the best and most substantial for the Prequels that I saw. Again, we only saw two thirds of the deleted scenes here. The all-important Kashyyyk/Mustafar deleted scene material/animatics were not on the disc that I saw. Note: the video picture quality of the deleted scene footage was of a very good standard.

ELEVATOR ANTICS


Just prior to their dark duel with Count Dooku, there are some fun moments where Obi-Wan and Anakin have a little bit more friendly banter and repartee together whilst facing Battle and Super Battle Droids. As they wait for the lift, Obi-Wan talks to Anakin about deciphering Artoo’s droid language. They then get into the lift after defecting blasts from Droidekas and find themselves in the company of unseen Battle Droids, which the pair imaginary cut up with their ‘sabers, ending with a nice little moment where the friends humorously say, “Roger, Roger” after so easily defeating them. The lift then makes a stop where, as the door opens, they are attacked by a legion of animatic battle droids-the Jedi deflect the blasts back and it proceeds on. It’s a nice scene, and the majority of it is not in the script presented in the ART OF EPISODE III book, but it’s ultimately too long, and presumably cut down for pace reasons more than anything else.

ESCAPE THE HANGAR


Before being caught in the Ray Shields, and inside the upturned hangar bay at its now highest peak, Anakin, Obi-Wan and Palpatine (attaching cords to themselves from their utility belts) traverse a set of pipes whilst being attacked by a group of Super Battle Droids on the opposite wall/ceiling. The two Jedi lightsaber deflect the blasts but Palpatine slips and falls, resulting in a flying animatic Artoo coming to his rescue. This is a fun scene (different to the way its scripted in the ART OF EPISODE III book-in that version Anakin rescues Palpatine, not Artoo) and has some cool action moments. But, again, it’s not necessary to the plot and the scenes on the Invisible Hand rescuing Palpy are lengthy enough as it is. Still, it’s another great addition to the Blu-ray.

CHANGES TO THE CONSTITUTION


Though the second half of this scene (where Palpatine makes Anakin his representative on the Jedi Council) is in the finished film, the first part of the sequence was lost, where Palpatine talks about the upcoming changes to Republic governing and their reigning in of the Jedi, as well as critically sowing the seeds of doubt into the Jedi’s actions concerning Anakin and his future as a Jedi. This scene, which is in the script of the ART OF EPISODE III book, is well written and played, and the performances by Christensen and a subtly menacing and conniving McDiarmid are spot on. I’m assuming this early part was cut because the reshoot material put together for later on in the film, amongst the scene where Anakin tells Palpatine (in his office) that Obi-Wan has engaged General Grievous, contains very similar dialogue to what was shown here, which was probably more important at that middle stage to play out in the film’s plot rather than straight at the beginning.

UTAPAU CHASE ANIMATIC


This is a very lengthy but fascinating animatic sequence showing the original conception ideas, by Lucas and “Guest Director” Steven Spielberg, for the General Grievous/Obi-Wan chase through the depths of the sink city. Its certainly very RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK in places, as Obi-Wan, loosed away from his Boga hangs on for dear life on a tether at the back of Grievous’s wheel bike (similar to Indy at the back of the truck from RAIDERS). Meanwhile as the carnage chase continues and picks up speed, lots of Clone Troopers get knocked down and the antagonists get caught inside the interior of a fast speeding train, and through a dangerous windmill precipice. There’s more of Boga, and Obi-Wan uses three weapons on and off against the Cyborg: a double ended electro-staff, a blaster and a lightsaber (which he doesn’t briefly lose like he did in the finished film).

Finally, when the pair have their hand-to-hand combat its much more personal-punches, grappling bodies and throws. Finally, Obi-Wan manages to rip open Grievous’s chest cavity, grabs his heart, pulls it out, throws it across the room and destroys it with a blaster. As this happens, the eyes and life behind Grievous’s face mask wither and die. That latter scene, even in animatics form, is both exciting and pretty gruesome, adding a harder edge to the sequence if it had been realized.


STAR WARS: THE COMPLETE SAGA is officially released on Blu-ray in the UK from 12th September, from LUCASFILM/FOX.

With thanks to Lou Tambone and his STARWARZ.COM site for selected deleted scene images.

With thanks to Adam Thompson and the SUBSTANCE team for all their assistance.

3 comments:

Lynn said...

Great write up. Thank you for posting this!

Anonymous said...

Lotta detail and effort, way to go.

gscoulson said...

I appreciate the work to help those of us without bluray players to get in on the geekery.

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