Early drafts of Return of the Jedi

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I read years ago that an early version of RotJ did not feature the Emperor at all.

The final show down was intended to be just Luke & Vader. The Emperor was then going to be the Big Bad in the Sequel trilogy.

(Leia & the others would continue the fight but Luke would leave to find and train his twin sister Nelith. The third movie would have the final battle with the Empire with Luke & Nelith confronting Palpatine together.)

Was this just an idea or did it make it into a draft?

And does anyone here know how Vader's redemption would have happened if the Emperor was present?
 
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I could get behind that storyline. Would have definitely made for a better sequel trilogy in my opinion, but you wouldn't have been able to wait 22 years for Episode VII.

As for Vader's redemption - maybe that wasn't on the table. Maybe Luke straight-up defeats him and Vader is never redeemed. I would have been OK with that too.
 
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I read years ago that an early version of RotJ did not feature the Emperor at all.
I've been hoping someone would chime in with some information since this was posted. By all accounts, producer Gary Kurtz left during production of Return of the Jedi because it deviated from Lucas' original plan so drastically. But I don't know the specifics. It would seem that Lucas' work as producer on Raiders of the Lost Ark and the success of that film perhaps influenced his decision to make a film that relied more on action than storytelling. There are certainly remnants of more nuanced characters in the deleted scenes, such as Moff Jerjerod's dilemma which humanized an Imperial like we had never seen before up to that point. But the final product leaves a lot to be desired.
 
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