Star Wars Screenplay Daily Reading

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I was thinking it would be interesting to take a kind of "Bible Study" approach to the scripts for the movie: just excerpt a passage here every day chronologically and discuss it with as much or as little depth as I want. We'll see how long it takes to get through the whole script. And it's an exercise for me just to see if I can keep it up everyday.

So here we go with day one...

STAR WARS

Episode IV

A NEW HOPE

From the
JOURNAL OF THE WHILLS

by
George Lucas

Revised Fourth Draft
January 15, 1976

LUCASFILM LTD.


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away...

A vast sea of stars serves as the backdrop for the main title.
War drums echo through the heavens as a rollup slowly crawls
into infinity.

It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships,
striking from a hidden base, have won their first
victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal
secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the
Death Star, an armored space station with enough
power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess
Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of
the stolen plans that can save her people and
restore freedom to the galaxy...
So that's the start. It's interesting that there is no screen description of the now-iconic "A Long Time Ago.." title card. It's just simply the first line in the script.

I chuckle to read the line "war drums echo through the heavens..." doesn't quite match up with the symphonic splendor of the John Williams score.

The crawl is missing any of the COMPLETELY CAPITALIZED names and titles. Also the ellipsis at the end only has three periods.

As for the crawl itself, what can you say? It's a great intro, setting up the black-and-white universe we are about to enter. the Empire is "evil," Princess Leia is tasked with nothing less than "Saving her people (spoiler: she kinda won't) and restoring freedom to the galaxy (spoiler also: I guess if you take the timeline up through TLJ, she's still working on it.)

But there are also some shenanigans afoot. The script is dated January 1976, and yet it also includes "Episode IV A NEW HOPE" in the titling which weren't added until the '79 rerelease. This is clearly a later revision than the one dated.

Feel free to chime in. And we can discuss the next scene tomorrow!
 
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Day 1 had 101 views, not bad!

On to Day 2...

The awesome yellow planet of Tatooine emerges from a total
eclipse, her two moons glowing against the darkness. A tiny
silver spacecraft, a Rebel Blockade Runner firing lasers
from the back of the ship, races through space. It is pursed
by a giant Imperial Stardestroyer. Hundreds of deadly
laserbolts streak from the Imperial Stardestroyer, causing
the main solar fin of the Rebel craft to disintegrate.

INT. REBEL BLOCKADE RUNNER - MAIN PASSAGEWAY

An explosion rocks the ship as two robots, Artoo-Detoo (R2-
D2) and See-Threepio (C-3PO) struggle to make their way
through the shaking, bouncing passageway. Both robots are
old and battered. Artoo is a short, claw-armed tripod. His
face is a mass of computer lights surrounding a radar eye.
Threepio, on the other hand, is a tall, slender robot of
human proportions. He has a gleaming bronze-like metallic
surface of an Art Deco design.

Another blast shakes them as they struggle along their way.

THREEPIO
Did you hear that? They've shut down
the main reactor. We'll be destroyed
for sure. This is madness!

Rebel troopers rush past the robots and take up positions in
the main passageway. They aim their weapons toward the door.

THREEPIO
We're doomed!

The little R2 unit makes a series of electronic sounds that
only another robot could understand.

THREEPIO
There'll be no escape for the Princess
this time.
It is interseting to see Tatooine described as "awesome," I suppose it is more for the FX people/matte artists. It's also just interesting that Tatooine is named here at all, since we never learn the planet's name during the course of the movie (It isn't mentioned until the final scene of "Empire.")

The description is apt, pointing out the disparity in spaceship sizes that is the first visual cue in the movie that we are getting something new and special. The language is already extremely pulpy too--"hundreds of deadly laserbolts" indeed.

And we meet Artoo and Threepio. Lucas's template here is the Kirosawa film "The Hidden Fortress," where the first two characters we meet are a pair of bumbling slaves and we spend a good deal of time focused on their adventures and escapes before being linked up to the "main" characters. Droids are presented as slaves without the hand-wringing guilt.

Most importantly, they are specifically described as old and battered. This key phrase, right there in the opening descriptive paragraphs before a single line of dialogue has been written, comes to set the Star Wars universe apart from all the gleaming sci-fi that came before it. This is the lived-in look that makes everything that follows plausible.

Threepio's dialogue keeps the crawl in our head, and clues us in (as if the David and Goliath spaceships didn't already) to the droids' allegiance, servants of the Princess mentioned earlier.

More tomorrow...
 
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the interesting thing about this scene is the way it was shot.

look at it frame-by-frame: when the rebel ship first appears, it occupies ~1/3 of the frame, and it very quickly recedes away from the camera. the rebel ship 'shrinks' on the screen, as it moves far away from the camera's point of reference, until it becomes just a tiny speck on film -- then the imperial ship enters the frame, FIRST as a "tiny speck" at the very top of the screen (as the nose of the ship enters the frame) and then it spreads downwards-and-outwards, to slowly fill the ENTIRE frame.

the "composition" of this shot is telling a story: it is revealing information about the 2 factions -- the rebels are a small force in the galaxy, which is growing smaller, at the risk of disappearing altogether; the Empire is spreading across the galaxy, getting larger all the time. the rebels are a very-small force in the galaxy; the empire is HUGE -- we watch the large ship physically 'swallow' the small ship. etc. this all serves to create a visceral response in the audience.

through simple "visual storytelling" , GL is telling us all we need to know about the galactic civil war: we know who the underdog is; we are given a sense of scale (empire vs rebellion); we are given a sense of the Empire "spreading" across the galaxy (spreading to fill the screen), while the Rebels are "receding" into nothing. in the first 12 seconds, we KNOW who to root for. and why. (if only on a subconscious level).

on an artistic level, it's like studying a painting, or a still-photograph. the "composition" of this shot is telling a story, all by itself. you could write an entire essay/article, on JUST the first 12 seconds of this movie -- and it hasn't even gotten started yet. wow. good game.

https://starwarsscreencaps.com/star-wars-episode-iv-a-new-hope-1977/
 
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137 views, quite a fall off for the second day...

Great analysis of the scene, Cobalt. Though Lucas was writing directing and editing, he compartmentalized so much of it. It's entirely possible the visual plan was mapped out in his head when he wrote the script, but he didn't feel the need to spell everything out since he had enough to give the visual cues he needed for himself.

But here we are at Day 3...

Artoo continues making beeping sounds. Tension mounts as loud metallic latches clank and the scream of heavy equipment
are heard moving around the outside hull of the ship.

THREEPIO
What's that?

EXT. SPACECRAFT IN SPACE

The Imperial craft has easily overtaken the Rebel Blockade
Runner. The smaller Rebel ship is being drawn into the
underside dock of the giant Imperial starship.

INT. REBEL BLOCKADE RUNNER

The nervous Rebel troopers aim their weapons. Suddenly a
tremendous blast opens up a hole in the main passageway and
a score of fearsome armored spacesuited stormtroopers make
their way into the smoke-filled corridor.

In a few minutes the entire passageway is ablaze with
laserfire. The deadly bolts ricochet in wild random patterns
creating huge explosions. Stormtroopers scatter and duck
behind storage lockers. Laserbolts hit several Rebel soldiers
who scream and stagger through the smoke, holding shattered
arms and faces.

An explosion hits near the robots.

THREEPIO
I should have known better than to
trust the logic of a half-sized
thermocapsulary dehousing assister...

Artoo counters with an angry rebuttal as the battle rages
around the two hapless robots.
Reading through this scene is quite a different experience from watching it play out on the screen. You never really lose the droids in the scene here, whereas in the movie the entry battle removes them from the scene for a little while until we see them zip across the hall.

The intro of the stormtroopers calls out the fact that they are wearing spacesuits, which in my mind brings back the McQuarrie designs (especially for Vader, who was given the facemask because his first appearance was after crossing through space to board the Blockade Runner.)

If anything this scene highlights how the editing style of the film will create a different experience between it and reading the script. With all the quick-cutting it's just not possible to have a shot-for-shot plan ahead of time. There's too much spontaneous creation in the editing bay to allow that.

We end today with a deleted line by Threepio that tells us Artoo's job on the Corvette. The description here keeps us firmly in the land of Kirosawa's "Hidden Fortress" again, the slaves who are totally ignored by the warring factions around them.

See you tomorrow!
 
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thermocapsulary dehousing assister...

Wow, try saying that 3 times! I thought technobabble like that just came out of Star Trek. :)

Anyway, the old and battered descriptions were evidently ambient throughout the rest of the films as evident up to the final designs of the spacecraft (i.e. Falcon, X-wings, landspeeder, etc...) in constrast to the earlier pristine designs of Colin Cantwell as a visual medium to create conflict in assisting with the storytelling. But as GL has professed in his earlier days, attention to setting is so not as important as attention to plot (see my sig obviously).

With that, I could possibly site the potential 'overvisualization' (if I could coin the phrase) that has been integrated later in the films and has become the subject of many discussion since the days of advanced computer technology However, for the sake of amicability as well as nostalgia, we'll simply leave it to OUR OWN imagination for now on this reading subject of the universe that is Star Wars. :)
 
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177 views, so that leveled off.

Deak, when you mention "Overvisualization" I think of Lucas meeting with artists and designers while still coming up with the script for Episode I, getting them to draw stuff to stimulate his writing of the movie, rather than writing and coming up with designs based on that. What a luxury!

Anyways, on to day 4...

EXT. TATOOINE - DESERT WASTELAND - DAY
A death-white wasteland stretches from horizon to horizon.
The tremendous heat of two huge twin suns settle on a lone
figure, Luke Skywalker, a farm boy with heroic aspirations
who looks much younger than his eighteen years. His shaggy
hair and baggy tunic give him the air of a simple but lovable
lad with a prize-winning smile.

A light wind whips at him as he adjusts several valves on a
large battered moisture vaporator which sticks out of the
desert floor much like an oil pipe with valves. He is aided
by a beatup tread-robot with six claw arms. The little robot
appears to be barely functioning and moves with jerky motions.
A bright sparkle in the morning sky catches Luke's eye and
he instinctively grabs a pair of electrobinoculars from his
utility belt. He stands transfixed for a few moments studying
the heavens, then dashed toward his dented, crudely repaired
Landspeeder (an auto-like transport that travels a few feet
above the ground on a magnetic-field). He motions for the
tiny robot to follow him.

LUKE
Hurry up! Come with me! What are you
waiting for?! Get in gear!

The robot scoots around in a tight circle, stops short, and
smoke begins to pour out of every joint. Luke throws his
arms up in disgust. Exasperated, the young farm boy jumps
into his Landspeeder leaving the smoldering robot to hum
madly.
Our (cut-scene) introduction to Luke. Not much happens here, and obviously not much of consequence as it got dropped out of the film pretty early. The stories say these pre-escape pod Tatooine scenes were only added to the script on the criticism of early readers (Lucas's film school friends) commenting on how long the story took to get to the "hero."

As it is, we get a description calling Luke a farm boy with heroic aspirations. He is Jack minus the Beanstalk at this point.

The introduction of the Landspeeder continues to build the "used universe" concept. As a kid I remember thinking it looked like a car I would see around town. Obviously we were not in the nice neighborhood. But it seemed "real." Here it is described so aptly. Its apologetically sci-fi.

I do like meeting the Treadwell droid as a counterpoint to Artoo and Threepio. It helps sell the ubiquity of droids in the culture. (And I will never be able to get the Three Stooges-like "woop-woop-woop!" he does to close the filmed version of this cut-scene out of my head.)

More tomorrow...
 
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In the 'Hero's Journey' interpretation, Luke is situated in what is called 'The Ordinary World' in the future hero is shown of his/her (ordinary) life prior to the 'Call To Adventure'. In the Wizard Of Oz for example, Dorothy is depicted in a black/white setting in Kansas as a visual metaphor of her life prior to the journey to Oz. This (deleted) scene would have portrayed Luke in much the same way with his curiosity pertaining to the space battle considered a sort of precursor to the 'Call To Adventure'.
 
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214 views, but to be fair I am getting a late start today...

You know, Deak, I wonder how many copies of "The Hero With a Thousand Faces" were sold in the 90's based on Lucas's statements at the time. I know I had a copy I had to buy for a World Civ class in college that was one of the few books I didn't sell back at the end of the semester.

Okay, on to day 5...

INT. REBEL BLOCKADE RUNNER - MAIN HALLWAY
The awesome, seven-foot-tall Dark Lord of the Sith makes his
way into the blinding light of the main passageway. This is
Darth Vader, right hand of the Emperor. His face is obscured
by his flowing black robes and grotesque breath mask, which
stands out next to the fascist white armored suits of the
Imperial stormtroopers. Everyone instinctively backs away
from the imposing warrior and a deathly quiet sweeps through
the Rebel troops. Several of the Rebel troops break and run
in a frenzied panic.

INT. REBEL BLOCKADE RUNNER

A woman's hand puts a card into an opening in Artoo's dome.
Artoo makes beeping sounds.

INT. REBEL BLOCKADE RUNNER

Threepio stands in a hallway, somewhat bewildered. Artoo is
nowhere in sight. The pitiful screams of the doomed Rebel
soldiers can be heard in the distance.

THREEPIO
Artoo! Artoo-Detoo, where are you?

A familiar clanking sound attacks Threepio's attention and
he spots little Artoo at the end of the hallway in a smoke-
filled alcove. A beautiful young girl (about sixteen years
old) stands in front of Artoo. Surreal and out of place,
dreamlike and half hidden in the smoke, she finishes adjusting
something on Artoo's computer face, then watches as the little
robot joins his companion.

THREEPIO
At last! Where have you been?

Stormtroopers can be heard battling in the distance.

THREEPIO
They're heading in this direction.
What are we going to do? We'll be
sent to the spice mine of Kessel or
smashed into who knows what!

Artoo scoots past his bronze friend and races down the
subhallway. Threepio chases after him.

THREEPIO
Wait a minute, where are you going?

Artoo responds with electronic beeps.
Two iconic scenes today. Maybe that's all we've got here, iconic scenes and infamous cut scenes. Vader entering the Blockade Runner is described perfectly, and was shot incredibly faithfully. Of note, he is described as a Dark Lord of the Sith before even being named in the script. And the word "Sith" is absent from the filmed OT completely. Even crazier is in 1978 I knew Darth Vader was a "Dark Lord of the Sith" though I had know idea what it meant, and I wouldn't read the script until 1992.

We also have Rebel Fleet Troopers running from Vader in terror 40 years before "Rogue One" put it on screen.

And as soon as we meet the Dark Lord we meet the White Princess, described as ethereally as Lucas's pulpy style can muster. Also of note--Leia is said to be sixteen here while her twin brother Luke was 18 in yesterday's scene. And yet, if Alderaan takes a little longer to do a full orbit of its sun than Tatooine, these facts might be correct all the same. Let's not get bogged down in the details.

Threepio famously mentions the "Spice Mines of Kessel" here, which brought us some early 90's EU and the second act of the "Solo" movie.

More tomorrow...
 
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Reminder that Luke and Leia weren't planned on being twins at this point. That's something Lucas came up with later to the grimace of a certain kissed farm boy.

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Even hearing the word Sith can invoke a certain fear, particularly when its connected to other sounding words like 'slither', which can invoke an archetypical image like a snake, or perhaps even the biblical devil.

GL felt changing to a bloodline relation for Luke/Leia would provide the highest tension possible, particularly during Luke's darkside temptation and the thought of Vader swaying his attention to Leia to create an even higher elevated response from Luke as the storyline evolved.

On a subtle note, the change from Threepio's visage from bronze to gold could be considered a visual change to possibly fit his etiquette demeanor.
 
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On a subtle note, the change from Threepio's visage from bronze to gold could be considered a visual change to possibly fit his etiquette demeanor.
Likely a cinematic one. Gold looked better on film.

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Even hearing the word Sith can invoke a certain fear, particularly when its connected to other sounding words like 'slither', which can invoke an archetypical image like a snake, or perhaps even the biblical devil.
.
Agreed and I'm certain it's intentional on GL part as it was with other names like Darth Sideous.

I recall pre-Episode 1 interviews with GL were he said the Sith would be further explored in the Prequels and that Sith was not necessarily synonymous with the Dark Side. That a Sith was a cult-like group.





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GL felt changing to a bloodline relation for Luke/Leia would provide the highest tension possible, particularly during Luke's darkside temptation and the thought of Vader swaying his attention to Leia to create an even higher elevated response from Luke as the storyline evolved.
it's well documented that GL just wanted Han to "get the girl".
he rewrote Luke and Leia into siblings because "nobody buys 'Dead Han' dolls".

it goes back to Harrison's beef with the character.
Harison wanted Han to fulfil his character arc, from "selfless rogue" to "selfless hero".

((ie: in ANH, Han thought only about himself (like a sith) -- until the very end when he comes back to save Luke (his first 'selfless' act):
when you project this arc across a 'trilogy' then it naturally concludes when Han sacrifices himself to save his friends -- it's a no-brainer.
thus completing Han's character arc into a selfless hero (like a jedi) -- AND -- allowing Luke to "get the girl")).

Harrison said , he had this discussion with GL -- but GL wasn't having it -- GL's response was: "nobody buys Dead Han Dolls". period.
this was the moment when Harrison realized they were NOT making "Art" anymore -- they were only selling toys.
(this was the moment when Harrison Ford lost faith in Star Wars -- when GL allowed "toy sales" to take precedence over "The Story" -- when Luke and Leia were rewritten as "siblings"). :rolleyes:
 
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279 views today. That's a bump!

I didn't mean to cause a stir with the twins talk. If anything it put my fanfic brain into gear, devising a scene where Luke and Leia discuss their ages with him being two years older than her, only to later discover that Tatooine used "solar circuit" years as opposed to "galactic standard" years so he is not as old as he thinks he is. Maybe it all comes to a head on Hoth when he is celebrating a second birthday before Leia even has one...

But yes, it is well-established at this point that Luke and Leia were not being written as brother and sister in the first two movies.

On to day 6, shall we?

INT. REBEL BLOCKADE RUNNER - CORRIDOR
The evil Darth Vader stands amid the broken and twisted bodies
of his foes. He grabs a wounded Rebel Officer by the neck as
an Imperial Officer rushes up to the Dark Lord.

IMPERIAL OFFICER
The Death Star plans are not in the
main computer.

Vader squeezes the neck of the Rebel Officer, who struggles
in vain.

VADER
Where are those transmissions you
intercepted?

Vader lifts the Rebel off his feet by his throat.

VADER
What have you done with those plans?

REBEL OFFICER
We intercepted no transmissions.
Aaah... This is a consular ship.
Were on a diplomatic mission.

VADER
If this is a consular ship... where
is the Ambassador?

The Rebel refuses to speak but eventually cries out as the
Dark Lord begins to squeeze the officer's throat, creating a
gruesome snapping and choking, until the soldier goes limp.
Vader tosses the dead soldier against the wall and turns to
his troops.

VADER
Commander, tear this ship apart until
you've found those plans and bring
me the Ambassador. I want her alive!

The stormtroopers scurry into the subhallways.
Here we get some character-building for our Dark Lord of the Sith. He doesn't stand back and let his prisoners be tortured and interrogated, he does it all very personally. This is a guy who gets things done, and already he fully personifies the might and will of the Empire.

Instead of a stormtrooper telling Vader the Death Star plans are not in the main computer, here it is an Imperial Officer.

And the "Rebel Officer" is not identified as the ship's captain.

We will continue tomorrow...
 
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didn't mean to cause a stir with the twins talk.
Oh, not at all. The way I'm interpreting that would be like the 'sidekick' getting the 'prize' instead of the 'hero' at the end of the story. ;)
"From Star Wars To Jedi: The Making Of A Saga" documentary provides some insight regarding GL's decision to relate Luke and Leia biologically.
As a side note, Luke's sister...NOT Leia, was pitched back during Empire's first draft by screenplay writer Leigh Brackett, holding the name Nellith.
Lastly, it seems Vader's line 'Ambassador' was changed to 'passengers/them' along the way.


 
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427 views. Gaining momentum.

Day 7, we've made it a week!

INT. REBEL BLOCKADE RUNNER - SUBHALLWAY
The lovely young girl huddles in a small alcove as the
stormtroopers search through the ship. She is Princess Leia
Organa, a member of the Alderaan Senate. The fear in her
eyes slowly gives way to anger as the muted crushing sounds
of the approaching stormtroopers grow louder. One of the
troopers spots her.

TROOPER
There she is! Set for stun!

Leia steps from her hiding place and blasts a trooper with
her laser pistol. She starts to run but is felled by a
paralyzing ray. The troopers inspect her inert body.

TROOPER
She'll be all right. Inform Lord
Vader we have a prisoner.
A short scene today, not a lot to talk about...continuing the trend of scripted info that the film audience never gets but became common knowledge via the commercialization of the movie itself, here we get Leia's last name which is never spoken in the film but is displayed prominently on her action figure card.

Also it describes her as a member of the Alderaan Senate. I suppose I always though of her as a representative of Alderaan in the Galactic Senate, but perhaps this is not actually that. Maybe she is just a member of the world government, a Sio Bibble level if you will, as opposed to Senator Palpatine.

As an adult I have become a fan of the stormtrooper lines for what they contribute to the story from a "Greek chorus" angle. Here it's all about telling the audience what's going on: "We didn't kill her."

More tomorrow.
 
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The 'Princess' title itself for Leia is an obvious harkening to classic fairly tales, an indicator that her survival is of importance to someone and to the continuation of an institution. The fairy tale concept has been a mindset for GL even up til Jedi when he, Marquand and Hamill have that short 'fairly tale' discussion as shown the aforementioned "From Star Wars To Jedi" doc. Now while Leia's intro doesn't necessarily fall into orderly structure of the Hero's Journey steps, her upcoming peril this early on (i.e. Snow White, Aurora) from a fairy tale motif is a significant impetus for Luke's upcoming 'Call To Adventure'.
 
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547 views.

Here we go with Day 8...

INT. REBEL BLOCKADE RUNNER - SUBHALLWAY
Artoo stops before the small hatch of an emergency lifepod.
He snaps the seal on the main latch and a red warning light
begins to flash. The stubby astro-robot works his way into
the cramped four-man pod.

THREEPIO
Hey, you're not permitted in there.
It's restricted. You'll be deactivated
for sure..

Artoo beeps something to him.

THREEPIO
Don't call me a mindless philosopher,
you overweight glob of grease! Now
come out before somebody sees you.

Artoo whistles something at his reluctant friend regarding
the mission he is about to perform.

THREEPIO
Secret mission? What plans? What are
you talking about? I'm not getting
in there!

Artoo isn't happy with Threepio's stubbornness, and he beeps
and twangs angrily.

A new explosion, this time very close, sends dust and debris
through the narrow subhallway. Flames lick at Threepio and,
after a flurry of electronic swearing from Artoo, the lanky
robot jumps into the lifepod.

THREEPIO
I'm going to regret this.
I really like this little scene! We get character development on the droids, a little bit of danger, some world-building with the lifepod restriction information. It's very short and moves the story along without being clunky. Artoo and Threepio bicker convincingly, and I don't need to mention we never really hear what Artoo is saying so that is some accomplishment.

It's the first reading so far to put a genuine smile on my face!

Back next time...
 
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This is really where we start to see the droids' personifications come through. We see that we're not getting the treatment we were use to seeing in previous sci-fi depictions regarding robots. Artoo can be unpredictable, despite Threepio's objections, yet Threepio despite his demeanor is willing to look past the rules/regulations in those situations as well.
 
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Star Wars Daily Screenplay Reading -- DAY 9

645 views. That's nearly a hundred yesterday.

INT. IMPERIAL STARDESTROYER
On the main viewscreen, the lifepod carrying the two terrified
robots speeds away from the stricken Rebel spacecraft.

CHIEF PILOT
There goes another one.

CAPTAIN
Hold your fire. There are no life
forms. It must have been short-
circuited.

INT. LIFEPOD

Artoo and Threepio look out at the receding Imperial starship.
Stars circle as the pod rotates through the galaxy.

THREEPIO
That's funny, the damage doesn't
look as bad from out here.

Artoo beeps an assuring response.

THREEPIO
Are you sure this things safe?
Two quick scenes today...they were both so short I didn't mind leaving them together.

Reading the names of the Imperials in the Star Destroyer scene "Chief Pilot" and "Captain" you would almost have to visualize this taking place on the bridge. In my mind this has always been taking place in a gunnery station along the surface...this scene is clunky and convenient to the story, because there is no way the Imperials were conserving power or whatever excuse you want to think of to not just blow this pod up. The dialogue points out this isn't the first, we have to assume the others (with fleeing Rebel Fleet Troopers I assume) were blown up, why not just blast this one? Why does short-circuiting exempt it from being shot? This scene just points out the convenience of letting the droids escape because the story relies on it, and the reason offered doesn't ring true at all. I would argue the scene could be cut and not be missed, except in a few minutes the Imperials need to know this pod made it to the planet.

(And how easy it is to forget we have a Star Destroyer scene in Star Wars! Everyone remembers the iconic Bridge scenes from ESB, but here we are, right there at the beginning of the series getting an SD scene. I can't even recall the environment all that well...I will have to go back and look at it to see why it slips the mind so easily.)

The droids, meanwhile, have their escape scene. I chuckle when watching the film because the Blockade Runner is practically invisible, yet Threepio comments on how it doesn't look too damaged. Today I chuckled at the line "Are you sure this thing's safe" because it highlights Threepio's nervous demeanor. He has the audacity to wonder if a lifepod meant for the living is safe enough for a lowly droid.

And I agree with Deak's sentiment about the droids' strong personalities. Artoo was my favorite character as a 4-year old seeing this movie for the first time because he was brave and daring. Threepio, the counterpoint rule-follower, gained sympathy every time because he so often has to override the rules because of his much-stronger "self preservation" instinct. A droid ought not have that inversion of priorities, but from the overall perspective I can see how Threepio's <ahem> unorthodox creation could have led to the programming difference.

Until tomorrow...
 
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I tended to view the Imperial gunners as the first danger the droids had to overcome in their perilous journey. To me, that conversation between them was kind of like a suspense builder. It's kind of like GL teasing, "OMG, what would have SW turned out if the droids got shot down then and there?" (Hey, there's another Infinities idea, OK nevermind! :D)
 
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Star Wars Daily Screenplay Reading -- DAY 10

754 views...we are getting views for sure, where's the posts..? :p

EXT. TATOOINE - ANCHORHEAD SETTLEMENT - POWER STATION - DAY
Heat waves radiate from the dozen or so bleached white
buildings. Luke pilots his Landspeeder through the dusty
empty street of the tiny settlement. An old woman runs to
get out of the way of the speeding vehicle, shaking her fist
at Luke as he flies past.

WOMAN
I've told you kids to slow down!

INT. POWER STATION - DAY

Luke bursts into the power station, waking The Fixer, a rugged
mechanic and Camie, a ****, disheveled girl who has been
asleep in his lap. They grumbled as he races through the
office, yelling wildly.

FIXER
Did I hear a young noise blast through
here?

CAMIE
It was just wormie on another rampage.

Luke bounces into a small room behind the office where Deak
and Windy, two tough boys about the same age as Luke, are
playing a computer pool-like game with Biggs, a burly,
handsome boy a few years older than the rest. His flashy
city attire is a sharp contrast to the loose-fitting tunics
of the farm boys. A robot repairs some equipment in the
background.

LUKE
Shape it up you guys!... Biggs?

Luke's surprise at the appearance of Biggs gives way to great
joy and emotion. They give each other a great bear hug.

LUKE
I didn't know you were back! When
did you get in?

BIGGS
Just now. I wanted to surprise you,
hot shot. I thought you'd be here...
certainly didn't expect you to be
out working.
(he laughs)

LUKE
The Academy didn't change you
much...but you're back so soon? Hey,
what happened, didn't you get your
commission?

Biggs has an air of cool that seems slightly phony.

BIGGS
Of course I got it. Signed aboard
The Rand Ecliptic last week. First
mate Biggs Darklighter at your
service...
(he salutes)
...I just came to say good-bye to
all you unfortunate landlocked
simpletons.

Everyone laughs. The dazzling spectacle of his dashing friend
is almost too much for Luke, but suddenly he snaps out of
it.

LUKE
I almost forgot. There's a battle
going on! Right here in our system.
Come and look!

DEAK
Not again! Forget it.


I could write pages about my relationship with the "cut scenes" from Anchorhead. Suffice it to say I remember the above picture from the "Star Wars Storybook" I had before I could read, and I remember hearing it on the radio drama during the first broadcasts (with Adam Arkin's voice as Fixer), so to me it is a part of the film, albeit skipped over every time I watch it.

The scene is fine and gives some wrinkles to Luke's development as a character. In the filmic version, Luke starts as a lonely kid cut off from his friends by his oppressive Uncle, longing for adventure. In the scripted version, that changes slightly to a social outcast whose too optimistic outlook is ridiculed by his peers. You can almost see where Uncle Owen's reluctance to let Luke hang out with these people comes from: they really are of no worth to him as a social group, and in fact in the long run could eventually drag him right down with them.

More tomorrow...
 
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Star Wars Daily Screenplay Reading -- DAY 11

816 Views...and I even lost a Deak comment this time. Okay, so I'm talking to myself here...

Continuing on...

EXT. TATOOINE - ANCHORHEAD - SETTLEMENT - POWER STATION - DAY

The group stumbles out into the stifling desert sun. Camie
and The Fixer complain and are forced to shade their eyes.
Luke has his binoculars out scanning the heavens.

LUKE
There they are!

Biggs takes the binoculars from Luke as the others strain to
see something with the naked eye. Through the binoculars
Biggs sees two small silver specks.

BIGGS
That's no battle, hot shot... they're
just sitting there! Probably a
freighter-tanker refueling.

LUKE
But there was a lot of firing
earlier...

Camie grabs the binoculars away banging them against the
building in the process. Luke grabs them.

LUKE
Hey, easy with those...

CAMIE
Don't worry about it, Wormie.

The Fixer gives Luke a hard look and the young farm boy shrugs
his shoulders in resignation.

FIXER
I keep telling you, the Rebellion is
a long way from here. I doubt if the
Empire would even fight to keep this
system. Believe me Luke, this planet
is a big hunk of nothing...

Luke agrees, although it's obvious he isn't sure why. The
group stumbles back into the power station, grumbling about
Luke's ineptitude.
"Grumbling about Luke's ineptitude." It's no wonder once his Aunt and Uncle are gone Luke says "There's nothing for me here now" even though this world is all he's ever known. He has always been the outcast in his peer group, probably because he was above-average and the consensus hates the superior.

This scene contains a reference to spaceships refueling! Just yesterday I was arguing elsewhere about the absence of hyperfuel in Star Wars until The Last Jedi and Solo, yet here (albeit in a cut-scene) Biggs dissmisses the big ships in orbit as "probably refueling." It's funny how synchronicity works sometimes.

So all in all, I would say these last two scenes do help build the Luke character, but I also like the flow of the filmed version letting the droids bring us to the character. We get a lot of (unnamed in the dialogue) characters who immediately disappear from the story, Biggs who we are not quite done with yet.

See you tomorrow...
 
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Sorry, I guess I'm getting too wrapped up in Sequel Trilogy thread. :D (j/k) Anyways, the scenes for me also add a bit more reinforcement to Luke's desire to go to the Academy later on after what transpired earlier that day....he's lost the one true remaining friend (two if you also count Tank mentioned later) and the rest have pretty much turned to apathy. Even the SW storybook mentions Luke's feelings as well.

Now had the scenes (or perhaps a part of them) been kept by some chance, we would have seen more of Luke's 'ordinary life' which
coincidentally
would have paralleled TFA's storyflow depicting Rey's 'ordinary life' prior to their 'call to adventure'.
 
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no this is cool, I read it!! i just watch it so much in the deleted scenes, etc ain't much to say except I would've been on board if it was cleaned up, cut cleaner/streamlined and put back in the BD edition.
 
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Star Wars Daily Screenplay Reading -- DAY 12

867 Views...

I'd counter including the Anchorhead scene would require including the Treadwell scene from earlier, otherwise we run the risk of confusing the audience who may think the character they are about to follow through the movie is Biggs instead of Luke. You have to establish Luke first, and the Treadwell scene doesn't old up (I guess you could redo the 2nd unit stuff around the Luke footage and salvage it if you needed to.)

Onto today's scene, which actually made it in the movie...!

INT. REBEL BLOCKADE RUNNER - HALLWAY
Princess Leia is led down a low-ceilinged hallway by a squad
of armored stormtroopers. Her hands are bound and she is
brutally shoved when she is unable to keep up with the briskly
marching troops. They stop in a smoky hallway as Darth Vader
emerges from the shadows. The sinister Dark Lord stares hard
at the frail young senator, but she doesn't move.

LEIA
Lord Vader, I should have known.
Only you could be so bold. The
Imperial Senate will not sit for
this, when they hear you've attacked
a diplomatic...

VADER
Don't play games with me, Your
Highness. You weren't on any mercy
mission this time. You passed directly
through a restricted system. Several
transmissions were beamed to this
ship by Rebel spies. I want to know
what happened to the plans they sent
you.

LEIA
I don't know what you're talking
about. I'm a member of the Imperial
Senate on a diplomatic mission to
Alderaan...

VADER
You're a part of the Rebel Alliance...
and a traitor. Take her away!

Leia is marched away down the hallway and into the smoldering
hole blasted in the side of the ship. An Imperial Commander
turns to Vader.

COMMANDER
Holding her is dangerous. If word of
this gets out, it could generate
sympathy for the Rebellion in the
senate.

VADER
I have traced the Rebel spies to
her. Now she is my only link to find
their secret base!

COMMANDER
She'll die before she tells you
anything.

VADER
Leave that to me. Send a distress
signal and then inform the senate
that all aboard were killed!

Another Imperial Officer approaches Vader and the Commander.
They stop and snap to attention.

SECOND OFFICER
Lord Vader, the battle station plans
are not aboard this ship! And no
transmissions were made. An escape
pod was jettisoned during the
fighting, but no life forms were
aboard.

Vader turns to the Commander.

VADER
She must have hidden the plans in
the escape pod. Send a detachment
down to retrieve them. See to it
personally, Commander. There'll be
no one to stop us this time.

COMMANDER
Yes, sir.
Rising stakes. Good stuff. Against all expectations, Leia isn't frightened of Vader, instead she keeps control of herself and starts to spin her way out of his trap. But we already know Vader well enough to expect he won't get dragged into a debate about the semantics of her mission. Indeed, she is lucky to be alive at the end of the scene. And almost immediately Vader lets us know that is because he needs her, for now.

The rest exposits and cranks up the tension. The droids didn't make a clean getaway, they will be pursued.

We'll see about that tomorrow...
 
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Not to nitpick, I'm curious why Lt. Praji only reported one lifepod ejected when Lt. Hija implied more than one. I can only assume when Praji said 'during the fighting' that he may have meant the fight after the Imperials boarded. Could that mean the rest were ejected prior to that during the Tantive IV's pursuit as a reconciliation?

Anyway, the novelization states Praji's line as 'malfunctioning lifeboat pod', although in retrospect, Cpt. Bolvan seemed to have assumed that. The way I see it, not doing fact checks before reporting to Lord Vader may prove potentially fatal. :D :D :D For what it's worth, there's the short story, "The Sith Of Datawork" which goes into more detail about the incident.
 
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Star Wars Daily Screenplay Reading -- DAY FRIDAY THE 13th

959 views...I have no beef with the way the information is delivered to Vader. Seems the officers know the less said the better. And of course time is of the essence. At least Vader doesn't tell us he will be staying aboard the Avenger because he hates sand.

EXT. SPACE
The Imperial Stardestroyer comes over the surface of the
planet Tatooine.

EXT. TATOOINE - DESERT

Jundland, or "No Man's Land", where the rugged desert mesas
meet the foreboding dune sea. The two helpless astro-droids
kick up clouds of sand as they leave the lifepod and clumsily
work their way across the desert wasteland. The lifepod in
the distance rests half buried in the sand.

THREEPIO
How did I get into this mess? I really
don't know how. We seem to be made
to suffer. It's our lot in life.

Artoo answers with beeping sounds.

THREEPIO
I've got to rest before I fall apart.
My joints are almost frozen.

Artoo continues to respond with beeping sounds.

THREEPIO
What a desolate place this is.

Suddenly Artoo whistles, makes a sharp right turn and starts
off in the direction of the rocky desert mesas. Threepio
stops and yells at him.

THREEPIO
Where are you going?

A stream of electronic noises pours forth from the small
robot.

THREEPIO
Well, I'm not going that way. It's
much too rocky. This way is much
easier.

Artoo counters with a long whistle.

THREEPIO
What makes you think there are
settlements over there?

Artoo continues to make beeping sounds.

THREEPIO
Don't get technical with me.

Artoo continues to make beeping sounds.

THREEPIO
What mission? What are you talking
about? I've had just about enough of
you! Go that way! You'll be
malfunctioning within a day, you
nearsighted scrap pile!

Threepio gives the little robot a kick and starts off in the
direction of the vast dune sea.

THREEPIO
And don't let me catch you following
me begging for help, because you
won't get it.

Artoo's reply is a rather rude sound. He turns and trudges
off in the direction of the towering mesas.

THREEPIO
No more adventures. I'm not going
that way.

Artoo beeps to himself as he makes his way toward the distant
mountains.
To me this is a good scene for two reasons. Firstly, we have our two lowly droid heroes having a legitimate conversation in which the audience must participate because Artoo is speaking a foreign language and we have to figure out the gist of his side. It literally says "Artoo continues to make beeping sounds." twice in a row for his lines. Of course, Threepio is verbose to the extreme, so following along isn't too hard, but it makes the audience feel smart to keep up. Even me as a 4 year old kid. And the scene flows logically and is well-written. It's a cop-out when Threepio repeats what Artoo just said because he's incredulous, and when that happens its usually a sign of bad writing. But here, we get the polished version, "What makes you think there are settlements over there?" "Don't get technical with me!" It's all there, and yet they are realistic comebacks.

Secondly, the scene before this told us the Imperials are onto the escaped droids, and could be showing up any time: it's Hitchcock's "ticking bomb under the table." We know they have no time to lose, and it makes us twist and squirm to find the droids arguing amongst themselves rather than working together to get out of the area.

The scene ends with even more tension mounting. The droids go their separate ways. The imperials are on the way. The desert is big and scary and all looks pretty hopeless.

Let's find out what happens tomorrow...
 
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For a droid whose programmed for etiquette (not destruction), we have a good first view of Threepio's 'irritable' side, up to the point of triggered physical violence. Oh, did you mean to say ISD Devastator?
 
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Doop! Yes I did. Devastator was Vader's ISD in Rogue One/ANH, Avenger was Captain Needa's ISD in ESB! My bad. This round of drinks is on me!:$

And apparently droid etiquette only flows up, not down.
 
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The other thing I didn't mention is Threepio's 'made to suffer' line as an possible further indication of implied droid subservience sprinkled throughout the film, which he seems to acknowledge and apparently acquiesce to. Artoo's actions up to the point is apparently defiant in Threepio's eyes, but he still remains faithful as Threepio feels the need to keep Artoo in his place so to speak.
 
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Star Wars Daily Screenplay Reading -- DAY 14

1037 Views. We've cracked 1K!

EXT. TATOOINE - DUNE SEA
Threepio, hot and tired, struggles up over the ridge of a
dune; only to find more dunes, which seem to go on for endless
miles. He looks back in the direction of the now distant
rock mesas.

THREEPIO
That malfunctioning little twerp.
This is all his fault! He tricked me
into going this way, but he'll do no
better.

In a huff of anger and frustration, Threepio knocks the sand
from his joints. His plight seems hopeless, when a glint of
reflected light in the distance reveals an object moving
towards him.

THREEPIO
Wait, what's that? A transport! I'm
saved!

The bronze android waves frantically and yells at the
approaching transport.

THREEPIO
Over here! Help! Please, help!
Not a lot to note here. The most interesting thing from the scene isn't even mentioned: the desert sand worm skeleton.

Something else I've never thought about: the script mentions that Threepio "yells..." I wonder how loud he can jack up his volume?

More tomorrow...
 
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While the skeleton is pretty much signature now, I wonder how the first part of this passage would have played out cinematically if redone in a special edition-ish sort of way with Threepio reaching some high ground only to see the endless dunes ahead and then looking behind at Artoo's destination, albiet much, much further backnow. Who knows, it would have kind of captured that moment that played out similarly in movies like "Alive" for example.

BTW, I possibly wouldn't expect an (an)droid designed for etiquette to necessarily yell, like yelling across a room to get your master's attention (who whud!). That or either Cpt. Antilles wiped out a subroutine during his memory wipe. :D
 
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I'm telling you, Threepio does not carry the same program hierarchy as your standard protocol droid. Even before we knew of his "junkyard genius maker" origins, his self-preservation programming always overruns what ought to be his primary function, protocol. It happens constantly throughout the OT.
 
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I get 'ya, and he does see a lot of action (both he and Luke admit it). Wonder if that's learned behavior (a la CSM 101/T-800 microprocessor) on top of programming based on 'all they've been through' since it stands to reason it maybe 'polite' for some cultures to yell. Oh, and just to retcon, he also admits at not being good at telling stories, so now he's learning how to lie (to quote the Borg Queen). :D
 
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Star Wars Daily Screenplay Reading -- DAY 15

1127 views.

EXT. TATOOINE - ANCHORHEAD SETTLEMENT - POWER STATION - DAY
Luke and Biggs are walking and drinking a malt brew. Fixer
and the others can be heard working inside.

LUKE
(Very animated)
...so I cut off my power, shut down
the afterburners and came in low on
Deak's trail. I was so close I thought
I was going to fry my instruments.
As it was I busted up the Skyhopper
pretty bad. Uncle Owen was pretty
upset. He grounded me for the rest
of the season. You should have been
there... it was fantastic.

BIGGS
You ought to take it easy Luke. You
may be the hottest bushpilot this
side of Mos Eisley, but those little
Skyhoppers are dangerous. Keep it
up, and one day, whammo, you're going
to be nothing more than a dark spot
on the down side of a canyon wall.

LUKE
Look who's talking. Now that you've
been around those giant starships
you're beginning to sound like my
uncle. You've gotten soft in the
city...

BIGGS
I've missed you kid.

LUKE
Well, things haven't been the same
since you left, Biggs. It's been
so... quiet.

Biggs looks around then leans close to Luke.

BIGGS
Luke, I didn't come back just to say
good-bye... I shouldn't tell you
this, but you're the only one I can
trust... and if I don't come back, I
want somebody to know.

Luke's eyes are wide with Biggs' seriousness and loyalty.

LUKE
What are you talking about?

BIGGS
I made some friends at the Academy.
(he whispers)
...when our frigate goes to one of
the central systems, we're going to
jump ship and join the Alliance...

Luke, amazed and stunned, is almost speechless.

LUKE
Join the Rebellion?! Are you kidding!
How?

BIGGS
Quiet down will ya! You got a mouth
bigger than a meteor crater!

LUKE
I'm sorry. I'm quiet.
(he whispers)
Listen how quiet I am. You can barely
hear me...

Biggs shakes his head angrily and then continues.

BIGGS
My friend has a friend on Bestine
who might help us make contact.

LUKE
You're crazy! You could wander around
forever trying to find them.

BIGGS
I know it's a long shot, but if I
don't find them I'll do what I can
on my own... It's what we always
talked about. Luke, I'm not going to
wait for the Empire to draft me into
service. The Rebellion is spreading
and I want to be on the right side --
the side I believe in.

LUKE
And I'm stuck here...

BIGGS
I thought you were going to the
Academy next term. You'll get your
chance to get off this rock.

LUKE
Not likely! I had to cancel my
application. There has been a lot of
unrest among the Sandpeople since
you left... they've even raided the
outskirts of Anchorhead.

BIGGS
Your uncle could hold off a whole
colony of Sandpeople with one blaster.

LUKE
I know, but he's got enough vaporators
going to make the place pay off. He
needs me for just one more season. I
can't leave him now.

BIGGS
I feel for you, Luke, you're going
to have to learn what seems to be
important or what really is important.
What good is all your uncle's work
if it's taken over by the Empire?...
You know they're starting to
nationalize commerce in the central
systems... it won't be long before
your uncle is merely a tenant, slaving
for the greater glory of the Empire.

LUKE
It couldn't happen here. You said it
yourself. The Empire won't bother
with this rock.

BIGGS
Things always change.

LUKE
I wish I was going... Are you going
to be around long?

BIGGS
No, I'm leaving in the morning...

LUKE
Then I guess I won't see you.

BIGGS
Maybe someday... I'll keep a lookout.

LUKE
Well, I'll be at the Academy next
season... after that who knows. I
won't be drafted into the Imperial
Starfleet that's for sure... Take
care of yourself, you'll always be
the best friend I've got.

BIGGS
So long, Luke.

Biggs turns away from his old friend and heads towards the
power station.
This scene ties up the "Luke's daily routine" subplot nicely, and would have gone a long way towards making the return of Biggs in the third act more meaningful.

But it introduces continuity problems the series seems to always face: Biggs is leaving the next morning, to eventually make contact with the rebellion when his ship reaches central systems...it's a long shot that he can make contact at all...then Luke has an adventure that can't last more than two days, and suddenly Biggs is entrenched in the secret rebel stronghold. It's the same problem that pops up with Luke's Dagobah training vs. Han and Leia's trip to Bespin, just how much time is elapsing here?

In context of the movie, this was probably a good cut. The tension with the droids has been mounting, and this talky scene would let all the air out of the balloon. By skipping this, we continue to raise the stakes for the droids with no let-up.

Until the next unspecified time-period left to the audience's determination...
 
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This part of the dialogue to me is prelude to the 'call to adventure' that Luke is slowly getting drawn to. It's building to a point to where even his most trusted friend is now drawn to it. As far as the continuity issue, IDK if the radio drama sort of reconciles this if they recognize it as such, although this scene explains a bit Luke's ability to pick up a T-65 real quick (with some time in the simulator with Biggs IIRC in the radio drama). :)

BTW, is the grain for those malts locally grown or imported, still waiting on those round of drinks.... :D
 
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Star Wars Daily Screenplay Reading -- DAY 16

1169 Views.

I guess you finally figured out why the local hops and barley farmers needed all those moisture vaporators: Tatooine is a microbrew planet. Uncle Owen and his famous "Lars Lager."

Here's the drinks I promised...
BB-8, or...

Yoda, your choice.

EXT. TATOOINE - ROCK CANYON - SUNSET
The gargantuan rock formations are shrouded in a strange
foreboding mist and the onimous sounds of unearthly creatures
fill the air. Artoo moves cautiously through the creepy rock
canyon, inadvertently making a loud clicking noise as he
goes. He hears a distant, hard, metallic sound and stops for
a moment. Convinced he is alone, he continues on his way.

In the distance, a pebble tumbles down the steep canyon wall
and a small dark figure darts into the shadows. A little
further up the canyon a slight flicker of light reveals a
pair of eyes in the dark recesses only a few feet from the
narrow path.

The unsuspecting robot waddles along the rugged trail until
suddenly, out of nowhere, a powerful magnetic ray shoots out
of the rocks and engulfs him in an eerie glow. He manages
one short electronic squeak before he topples over onto his
back. His bright computer lights flicker off, then on, then
off again. Out of the rocks scurry three Jawas, no taller
than Artoo. They holster strange and complex weapons as they
cautiously approach the robot. They wear grubby cloaks and
their faces are shrouded so only their glowing eyes can be
seen. They hiss and make odd guttural sounds as they heave
the heavy robot onto their shoulders and carry him off down
the trail.
This is just about my favorite scene in the whole movie. Of course the scripted version does not do it justice at all, because Lucas was a visual/editorial thinker more than a writer. I'm sure he saw it in his mind the way he filmed it and assembled it, but translating it to the page lost something. As a kid seeing this in 1978 I was thrilled because Artoo was already my favorite character (I had the action figure before I saw the movie), and then I remember watching the "one last time" videotapes from 1995 when I was in college and realizing this was a dialogue-less scene ("utinnii" aside) and being even more impressed with it from a storytelling standpoint.

I love Jawas, too, and this introduction to them is great:the slow reveal of these glowing-eyed monsters into these cherubic hooded dirtbags. Clearly they are a menace, and at the same time they are not scary. The way they quickly take down Artoo and then struggle and really have to work together to get him out of the canyon is fantastic.

Not that much of that makes it into the script. Oh well, I still love it.

Til tomorrow...
 
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The 'eerie glow' engulfing Artoo seems noticeably replaced with the 'electricity bolts' we see in the final movie. Perhaps that is a more tangible visual that GL felt audiences could grasp, since we're use to seeing the detrimental effects of electricity, both in cinema and in real life on the person. The spying Jawas before Artoo's plight are also noticeably missing at the beginning at the passage, again, more dramatically effective on-screen.
 
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