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jjreason
03-25-2007, 11:01 AM
.... when he claimed to have had most of the "back story" to the Original Trilogy thought out way back when.

I know that when I heard these claims I was quite sure it was bunk. What has led me to reconsider, you ask? I'll tell you - it's the introduction to the novellization of Star Wars (ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster for Lucas and published way back in December of 1976).

The introduction is brief - about 1.5 pages long. I was very surprised to read it again after so many years! It actually talks about Senator Palpatine causing himself to be elected president then declaring himself Emperor!

I had no recollection that Palpatine as a name had ever been created before the Emperor figure from the POTF2 collection was released - and I'd always assumed (wrongfully, I guess) that this backstory (even in as basic a form as this) had been created long after the OT.

Sometimes it's nice to be wrong about stuff - this was definitely one of those times.

2-1B
03-25-2007, 11:13 AM
There is an article in the recent issue of Star Wars Insider that looks at the genesis of some of the stuff in the prequels...interesting read. :)

jjreason
03-25-2007, 11:19 AM
Caesar! Caesar! (Your replies reminded me of one of those OLD Little Caesar's ads - dang, they were funny weren't they?) :D

2-1B
03-25-2007, 11:48 AM
"Reason! Reason!"

Yeah, it sounds like George actually did have some of this stuff in his head all along, but of course much of it was also created late in the game to fill up three movie's worth of time (pod races, Gungans, midichlorians, Qui-Gonn, midwife droids, etc).

Actually, I think JT told me once that Alec Guinness was originally going to play Qui-Gonn Jinn in 1977 but then George changed it to Obi-Wan...so the prequels finally corrected that change by bringing Qui-Gonn back. :crazed:

Jargo
03-25-2007, 11:51 AM
There are drafts of scripts and story treatments dating back to 1973 with elements of the prequels. I used to refer quite regularly to a treatent that covered the origins of the empire and the birth of the rebel alliance. but most people were sceptical. it is all there in that early stuff though. even early scripts for the original movie. where it's even more obvious how much Frank Herbert's Dune influenced Lucas' writing. Personally I favour earlier drafts of ANH over the final draft. Unfortunately there were far too many compromises made due to time, money and technolgical limitations. In a way, i'd actually like to see the earlier drafts made into movies as they suffer less sentimentality and have less of the shoe-horned in 'humour'.
I'm not saying the earlier drafts are perfect by any means. Just better. to me.

El Chuxter
03-25-2007, 11:51 AM
There's also stuff in the old novelizations, based on Lucas' story, about Owen being Obi-Wan's brother and Boba Fett wearing the armor of a group of soldiers eliminated by the Jedi during the Clone Wars.

And let's not forget the first draft of ESB, where Luke goes into battle with Vader, aided by the ghosts of Obi-Wan and his own father.

Mr. JabbaJohnL
03-25-2007, 02:17 PM
There's also stuff in the old novelizations, based on Lucas' story, about Owen being Obi-Wan's brother and Boba Fett wearing the armor of a group of soldiers eliminated by the Jedi during the Clone Wars.
The Obi-Wan/Owen connection was even carried through to the Jedi Apprentice book series, when Obi-Wan had a flashback and could remember hanging out with Owen. Obviously that was completely wrong.

However, the Jedi DID eliminate the Mandalorians during the Clone Wars - Mace killed Jango right at the start of it, and Jango and Boba were the last Mandalorians. :D

I think, though, the early drafts (as some have said) contain more interesting pieces that turned up in the prequels. Mace Wind"y" was in there, and Luke having nightmares about Leia, and things like that. The article Caesar mentioned was REALLY interesting, I thought.

JediTricks
03-25-2007, 10:05 PM
Lucas speaks volumes about this issue in the ANH DVD commentary track, I covered a lot of it in this thread: http://forums.sirstevesguide.com/showthread.php?t=28846
but you'll have to wade through my verbose editorials. :p

The bottom line for this discussion is that he had a vague outline for some of the main plotpoints that he eventually fleshed out into the prequels, but that it's VERY vague.

bigbarada
04-12-2007, 11:04 AM
The Prequels are almost completely pieced together from rejected story ideas from the OT days. It's really no wonder the movies seem to fall short. If the ideas didn't really work in the 70s-80s, then why should they work in the 90s-00s?

stillakid
04-12-2007, 11:42 AM
The Prequels are almost completely pieced together from rejected story ideas from the OT days. It's really no wonder the movies seem to fall short. If the ideas didn't really work in the 70s-80s, then why should they work in the 90s-00s?


I don't know that I agree entirely with that. The ideas themselves aren't what make the movies bad. George's greatest strength has always been the ability to develop fun and interesting elements that can exist within a larger fabric.

The problem is that George is a terrible writer. It's one thing to conceive of great ideas, yet it is something else to know how to weave them together in a story that makes sense in a logical and entertaining way. A bunch of cool set pieces winds up offering no more than a first-person POV video game. The Pod Race, for example, offered very little in terms of story development, yet it took up a considerable amount of screentime. That element does look fun and interesting and makes for a great video game experience, but relative to the motion-picture story, it was a fairly large waste of effort.

It wouldn't take a lot of work for a qualified screenwriter to pull the best elements from the Prequels and rewrite the fundamental storyline with them included in some way. George would have his "cool" stuff and the audience would have a story worth watching. That's how he put together the OT and that's why those were so successful and full of quality. Some argue that the Prequels were also successful, however I argue that such success was just a byproduct of the popularity of the OT and had nothing to do with the Prequels themselves.

bigbarada
04-12-2007, 12:12 PM
I can understand what you're saying. Thinking of Lord of the Rings, if you were to keep everything the same and just replace Peter Jackson with George Lucas, we would have seen three VERY different movies on the big screen. And I don't think they would have been as good.

From my observations (and I have to admit that they are limited to footage provided by Lucasfilm) GL seems to only stay interested in making movies as long as he is having fun. As soon as it stops being "fun" and starts to resemble work, then he loses interest and tries to find the next fun thing to work on. That's why I believe all the "meat and bones" of the Prequel storyline seems to be so thin and poorly conceived.

Also, in my mind, there's just something very wrong with the Prequel design asthetic. It's hard to explain, but the OT vehicles just look like they were designed by engineers who lived and worked in the Star Wars universe. The PT vehicles look like they were designed by college Graphic Design students. They're technically good designs, because they follow all the rules of good designs; but they just don't feel right.

I think the Prequel designers failed in that they were consciously trying to make iconic vehicles. The iconic feel of the OT designs just seemed to come naturally. Plus, back then GL didn't feel it was necessary to show "transitional shapes" like he did in the Prequels. No one cared to see a transitional form between and X-Wing and an A-Wing. The A-Wing just showed up with no explanation as to where it came from and why it looked the way it did and the audience was fine with that.

Why did Jedi Starfighters have to look like miniature Star Destroyers? Did we really need an evolution of Boba Fett's helmet into a Stormtrooper helmet?

Looking back on the films, it's just frustrating that the unnecessary stuff (like vehicle/helmet evolutions) got so much time and effort put into it, but the essential stuff (like a coherent storyline) was almost completely ignored.

2-1B
04-12-2007, 07:02 PM
If GLu made Bored of the Rings, at least it wouldn't be longer than The Phantom Menace. lol

stillakid
04-12-2007, 07:44 PM
If GLu made Bored of the Rings, at least it wouldn't be longer than The Phantom Menace. lol

You're right there. Peter Jackson thinks that "Epic" automatically must = Long. He's also one with great elements to work with, but he gets caught up in showing off the "grandeur" of it all instead of concentrating on telling the most efficient and entertaining story possible.

There's an old quote from Lucas where he proudly separates his own movies (the OT) from sci-fi flicks of the past because he would never linger on a shot of a model just because it took so much time, money, and effort to build. In fact, if I remember correctly, he was referencing the Sail Barge and how they never really had a long establishing shot of it to "show off." Clearly he blew that philosophy off as the entire Podrace sequence is gratitious "riffing" on an element that is interesting, yet nearly pointless.

Jackson is also in love with trying to impress the audience with "epicness," both in shot choice and in lengths of his films. I was finished with Bored of the Rings halfway through number one and I went to get a sandwich in the middle of King Long. When I got back, the dinosaurs were STILL fighting.

2-1B
04-12-2007, 11:56 PM
At the same time though, the Hobbits would fit nicely in the Podracers.

Rocketboy
04-13-2007, 12:00 AM
And the would look even better dying in them when they crash.

Droid
04-13-2007, 12:28 PM
stillakid, I believe your Lucas quote is from the documentary "From Star Wars to Jedi". I think he said, "a special effect without a story is a very boring thing" or something to that effect.

Also, I agree the Lord of the Rings trilogy is very boring. See Randall in Clerks II.

bigbarada
04-14-2007, 01:00 AM
Yeah, and Kevin Smith is right on his way to getting an Academy Award with that low-grade, profanity filled garbage that he puts out. :rolleyes:

Well I still enjoy the LOTR films a lot and I think in many ways they surpass even the original Star Wars trilogy. I wasn't so crazy about King Kong, however.

jjreason
04-15-2007, 12:12 PM
And I'm the same. The LOTR "show off" shots were fantastic, I still enjoy watching them to see the "scenery". I don't think it was all about the money spent in these cases, showing off Minas Tirith, for example, in a slo-mo sort of fashion provides a sense of grandeur about the place - at least it did for me.

bigbarada
04-16-2007, 02:24 AM
And I'm the same. The LOTR "show off" shots were fantastic, I still enjoy watching them to see the "scenery". I don't think it was all about the money spent in these cases, showing off Minas Tirith, for example, in a slo-mo sort of fashion provides a sense of grandeur about the place - at least it did for me.

I agree 100%. Middle Earth is as much a "character" in LOTR as anything else, so the "show off" stuff was almost necessary. You have to see why the people of that land love their country and will die to protect it. In terms of grandeur, I think Lord of the Rings easily beats out all the Star Wars films for that very reason.

My only criticism of LOTR is the films are way too short (they need at least 2 extra hours per film) and the pace moves too fast in the first film. I preferred the slower pace of the novels; but I do understand why it was necessary to speed everything up to an almost lightning fast pace (compared to the books).

Droid
04-16-2007, 04:16 PM
My only criticism of LOTR is the films are way too short (they need at least 2 extra hours per film) and the pace moves too fast in the first film. I preferred the slower pace of the novels; but I do understand why it was necessary to speed everything up to an almost lightning fast pace (compared to the books).

Are you being sarcastic? You thought they were WAY too SHORT? The pace of the first movie was too FAST? The novels were SLOWER? I can't imagine.

bigbarada
04-17-2007, 02:11 AM
Are you being sarcastic? You thought they were WAY too SHORT? The pace of the first movie was too FAST? The novels were SLOWER? I can't imagine.

Not at all, I'm 100% serious. For example, in the movie, the time period between Gandalf discovering that Bilbo actually had the Ring and Frodo leaving for Mordor, seemed to take place over a few days at most. In the books, those events were spread out over 17 years! After Frodo destroys the Ring, the story continues on for what would probably take up another 3 hour film.

The books progress at a slow crawl, so the movies appear to be extremely action packed in comparison. I would say to read them for yourself, but we both know that's not going to happen. :p

I loved the books, but always felt that the movies were a more concise and effective revision of the story. Which explains their immense popularity.

Droid
04-17-2007, 11:34 AM
I read the Hobbit and thought it was pretty good (not crazy about the poems and songs).

I started Fellowship and just COULDN'T get through it. It was like having to hear about the history of Landspeeders before Luke could get in it to go look for R2. Or if I had to learn Huttese before Greedo confronted Han.

Mad Slanted Powers
04-18-2007, 12:06 PM
I read them for the first time in 1989 or 1990. They were kind of hard to get through, but I was on my dad's fishing boat in Alaska without much else to do, so I just plowed through. When I read them again shortly before the first movie was released, I hardly remembered any of it beyond the first half of FOTR. Beyond that, I only seem to recall the seemingly endless journey of Frodo and Sam. When I realized that "Ramble On" was influenced by LOTR, the image in my mind was of them wandering through Mordor.

I felt LOTR would have been better as a TV series. I thought the BBC radio drama of it was pretty good. It was much closer to the book and was able to include a lot more it seemed, even though the 13 hours wasn't much longer than the extended versions of the movies.

jjreason
04-25-2007, 10:24 PM
You should probably read them then. They're very good. :)

Mr. JabbaJohnL
04-26-2007, 09:52 PM
I read the novel (as it's really one novel, split into six books, usually sold in three volumes) a few years ago, after I saw the first and second films but before the third (IIRC). At the time I was always making comparisons to the films, which I found better (probably since I knew the films before the book). I think the movies fit in, more or less, all they needed to - the Harry Potter film adaptations, for instance, cut quite a bit of material, but it works overall. Tom Bombadil is about as important to LOTR as, say, SPEW was to Harry Potter 4. To me, at least. But I think the extended versions of LOTR do a good job at fan service, since they're truer to the books and have more footage that was obviously superfluous in the first place.

Jargo
05-05-2007, 11:06 PM
stillakid, I believe your Lucas quote is from the documentary "From Star Wars to Jedi". I think he said, "a special effect without a story is a very boring thing" or something to that effect.

actually Lucas said it way back when the hullabaloo over the original release of star wars was in full swing. I remember reading it in articles as a boy. it was one of the things that drew me into star wars, the fact that I wanted to see those sets and landscapes that he didn't dwell on. I wanted to see the details that he skimmed across so fast in the movie. Lucas was adamant that the sets and props were not important in advancing the story. that it was the greater narrative that was the star of the movie. the events rather than the elements of those events. his beef was really with 2001 a space odyssey which spent hours just staring at the environments rather than providing any story or entertainment. that's why he wanted to make his movie exciting and fast paced. constantly driving forward. that's why it re-invented sci-fi for everyone.