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Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

Well, by now, you’ve all read the news. Yes, the STAR WARS DVDs are coming. And, as I’ve been saying since we started the Jedi Council articles, they are going to be the SPECIAL EDITIONS from ’97, and not the original untouched films.

I know, I know... you don’t believe it. You’re convinced that George Lucas is going to change his mind and release the films the way you want them released. You’re sure of it. He couldn’t possibly have meant it when he said that he will never release the original theatrical versions of the films again, right?

Personally, I think only a stone cold sap still thinks they’re going to get the originals on DVD anytime soon. I sat in the Egyptian and watched Lucas when they screened clips from the original versions at a special ILM retrospective, and he looked like he wanted to crawl out of his skin. He hates those films. He hates watching those films. He is embarrassed by his own accomplishments, and he has gone around the bend. My advice? Accept it. You’re not going to get another commercial release of the movies. Not now. Not ever.

However... if it really chaps your ass to the degree that you just won’t be able to tolerate the next nine months without whining and crying in every available forum about Lucas and his long-since-announced policy, there is a way you can have a genuine impact. It’s not by signing petitions. It’s not by writing angry posts to message boards. There is one, and only one, absolutely guaranteed method by which you can affect Lucas and possibly force him to change his mind, and that is by organized financial boycott. If fandom decided that it was a big enough deal to them that they were not getting the original theatrical versions of the films, they could demonstrate their personal displeasure by not buying the box set.

And that’ll never happen.

So on September 21st, there will be a box set of STAR WARS movies on DVD. Already, there’s a lot of speculation about what versions of the movies they are. As I understand it, they are the 1997 theatrical versions of the SPECIAL EDITIONS, with no changes. Some people are sending me rumors of changes or potential changes, but I haven’t heard anything conclusive yet. Until we do, let’s assume that you’ll get what you’ve already seen. I know they’re cleaning them up in terms of the video mastering and the prints, so expect them to be the absolute prettiest versions of the SPECIAL EDITIONS ever produced.

There’s more big news for spoiler-freaks today, our first official glimpse of General Grievous. We were just discussing when this would happen in the latest Jedi Council meeting, which took place just over a week ago. Already, there are things we were debating here that have changed in the week that has passed. Obi-Swan and Mr. Beaks handled the transcription duties this time, and I think they did a hell of a job. The thing I want to say, as always, is that we are in no way trying to hold ourselves up as the ultimate STAR WARS fans or anything of the sort. We’re just excited about the final film in the trilogy, eager to see what develops, having fun by having these conversations. It’s a way to enjoy the countdown. We’re looking at just over a year until EPISODE III opens, and we’re trying to savor it.

This time out, we met at Frosty Skywalker’s house again, and we had Frosty, Obi-Swan, myself, The Hellboy, Carl Cunningham, Dr. Hfuhruhurr, SarahS, Frosty’s roommate Mxyzlptlk, Darth Tardy, the wee flmlvr, JedTheHutt, and the one and only Hercules The Strong, all together, all eager to talk about all the recent bits and pieces. From time to time, I’m going to interject to add something you may not know or some link that may help clarify something that’s being discussed.

”The Duel”

MORIARTY: Obviously, the biggest news this week in terms of STAR WARS fandom was the release of the stuff from the European marketing conference where the EPISODE III behind-the-scenes footage was re-edited to AC/DC’s “Back In Black.” It went everywhere. It’s been passed from website to website, from newsgroups to message boards. I assume everybody here has seen it. Let’s throw it up for discussion. What did everybody think?

CARL: I think Lucasfilm is glad it’s not the nine minute video.

MORIARTY: There’s a nine minute version?

CARL: Supposedly, yeah. There was one shown to the U.S. market. It actually had footage from the film.

FROSTY: I actually have to say that I am shocked, given the days we’re in, that more footage doesn’t become available on the Internet.

DARTH DARTH TARDY: I’m shocked that the nine minutes aren’t here right now.

Actually, according to one source, it’s much longer than just 9 minutes, and we managed to talk one exuberant spy into giving us a full account of the presentation, which we’ll share before we continue:

Hi Harry

As promised here are the spoilers of the info of the Lucusfilm Star Wars Presentation that was for 50 or so people at London Toy Fair. Basically they were the 50 biggest toy buyers and licensing companies in Europe and i work in one of the categories !!

So here are the Spoilers

Its all true so dont shoot the messanger !!

Star Wars Eps 3

Ok this is from memory

The presentation opened up with a 20 minute montage of what Star Wars has meant over the last 20 years or so and then it was announced that unlike other star wars movies they were giving us a synopsis of the movie and then bang we were into it. It was explained that what we were seeing was

A) Rough Early Footage

B) Animation

C) Storyboards

D) Blue Screen footage

It starts with the fact that the Senator Palpatine has been kidnapped by the renegades because of the continuing clonewars. Annakin and Obi-won are sent to rescue him. It is basically a pod race in space feel, with both of them in their own space craft, not seen in any of the previous movies. They are attacked while approaching star destroyers but and if memory serves Saw Droids (look a little similar to Matrix Sentinals but smaller) Obi-Won is attached by 5 or 6 of them and is going to die. Annakin comes to the rescue by bashing the ship with his ship and knocking them off. This was footage and looked rough but very cool

We are then told over black screen that the rescue was successful BUT

We next see them into the control room of the star destroyer with no bad guys around but the ship is out of control and approaching and going to crash in a planet. We see the ship starting to burn up in the atmosphere and half the ship gets blown away. Our heroes we are told escape. Again footage rough but good

The Film, we are next told is set on two planets (again the names escape me) one is the planet primarily of water and mountains but the mountains have dwellings on the side, and another is the wookie planet, where we are told we will meet chewbacca. Who becomes a great hero because of this film. Storyboards

We are then told that Amidala is pregnant by Annakin - no images just storyboards

We are then told that in the movie we will see how C3PO and R2D2 move from Eps 3 to A new Hope as it is hinted that they are passed to somebody's position

We next encounter Obi-Won who is investigating a matter for the Jedi on the Mountain planet, the only way of climbing a m,mountain is on a creature, similar to bantha but much much bigger and very speedy who runs up the mountains, bit like a taxi.

- This is animation

We are told that the clone wars are going the way of the separatists and that something is causing the Jedi to be wiped out - but we do not know why or by who.

We are then told there are two climactic battles

1. Yoda / Annakin / Obi-Won vs New Evil Guy, and Emperor , this is done in storyboards, but we are told that yoda and palpatine fight with every conceivable item

2. Annakin vs Obi-Won. We see this both in actual footage but also in animation. The footing is blue screen and is very intense and we see 5 minutes worth in tunnels and rooms and bit like the rooms where Han is frozen in EMPIRE. we do not see an outcome

then we move to animation and then pop - it smacks you in the face of how he becomes darth - VERY VERY VERY VERY BIG SPOILERS.

They are fighting on floating bays over a lava lake this is burning ferocious flames, they are crashing and falling over each other - and getting burnt. again we do not see an outcome but if its anything like the animation then wow !!! My thoughts are that Annakin is very burnt and is re-built by the Emperor as darth Vader

At no point are we told that Padme is killed but we are told that she bears two children, we are shows the planet tattoine and told that the children are split up and one LUKE is going to his uncle.

We are also show the last scene on tatoine where we see two suns in the distance to signify the two kids

This was hugely impressive although I may not have remembered it all, but I did most and think it look great.

Then we are told that this movie answers and ties up all the questions for the last 20 years.

We are told that they will be two very very bad guys in this movie, but interestingly we are not told about Count Dooku - where is he in all this !!

The hint was that one of the baddies may be female - which would be interesting !

Other than that if I remember more I will advise


The Highbury Spy

CARL: Whoever shot the video is going to be busted. The original file name said what it came from and the date and everything.

MR. BEAKS: Getting back to the point of how it looked. It’s tough to say...

MXYZLPTLK: It was very green.

MR. BEAKS: I think it looks like great fight choreography. They’re really into it. They’re going at it. It looks about as ferocious as I expected.

CARL: It’s the one sequence of the film that we should have no worries about.

MR. BEAKS: Yeah, well... the duels have always been good. The best thing about EPISODE I was the duel. The best thing about EPISODE II, I guess that duel was pretty good, too... but, yeah... that’s the thing they can’t fuck up.

FLMLVR: Don’t say that. They’re going to have all sorts of lava shit in the middle of that... jumping from stone to stone.

CARL: My biggest fear... the only thing that can mess up that scene... is Lucas putting his Super-Editor hat on in the editing room and saying “It’s not fast enough.” Right now it’s at twelve minutes, which would make it the longest fight scene in a film. My fear is that he’s going to cut it down to five or six minutes and intercut it.

DARTH TARDY: He’s gypped us on all the lightsaber battles in my opinion. He took out the second lightsaber from Dooku in ATTACK OF THE CLONES. He took out Darth Maul jumping onto the ramp going after Qui-Gon.

SARAH S: I actually like the idea of it being cut, though. That goes back to RETURN OF THE JEDI. That final duel between Vader and Luke is intercut with a lot of other tense scenes.

MORIARTY: I think that’s what would make it stand alone. I actually would like to see one interrupted fight because it’s not just a fight. This really is the whole reason these three films were made. Emotionally, I don’t want it cut with another action scene that’s just another action scene. It’s just an excuse to see another location.

FROSTY: Unless it’s cutting away to see Jedi being killed or seeing the destruction of everything we know in the universe.

DR HFUHRUHURR.: Like the end of The Godfather.

MORIARTY: It better be monumental. Emotionally it needs to be the equal of the duel.

MR. BEAKS: I expect it to be cut with something because Lucas... there are certain things he likes to do... he likes to break up and intercut action sequences.

CARL: I think the notion of Yoda and Sidious having a lightsaber duel is... I can’t think of anything more contrived that could be in this film… in my opinion. First of all, to me it was a stretch to see Yoda fight, although it did work. I mean, it wasn’t completely laughable. I could do without seeing either of these characters wield a lightsaber. Now we have to see them both wield one. It just seems far too convenient... too pandering.

FROSTY: Are we sure Sidious has a lightsaber? The entire Council responds with an overwhelming “yes.”

FROSTY: I guess my question is, how much lightsaber action will he have?

CARL: Yoda has an “epic duel.” It’s not with Dooku.

OBI-SWAN: It has to be with Sidious.

SARAH S: I don’t think so. I think his duel is going to be for his life as the last surviving...

CARL: No, he has a duel with another person who has a lightsaber.

FROSTY: This actually goes along with something I wanted to address. We’ve gone over this many times... what’s the actual premise of the film. We’ve done this so much that a lot of us feel familiar with the plot. But there have to be some people who are reading this who are not aware of what happens in the film. I think it would be beneficial for someone to go through right now and give a basic outline of the movie... what we know so far.

OBI-SWAN: Is there some place we can link to, maybe?

MR. BEAKS: I heard that Mickey Suttle has an excellent treatment on his site.

Everyone breaks out laughing.

MORIARTY: (genuinely excited) Supershadow! Supershadow’s got it!

FROSTY: Are we dignifying his bullshit by bringing it up?

MORIARTY: I visit his site five times a week.

OBI-SWAN: He’s Lucas’s friend, though. But also, y’know what..?

No one can stop laughing.

OBI-SWAN: I would actually like to see Darth Sidious use a lightsaber. I’m curious. How good he is?

DARTH TARDY: Why should he be good with a lightsaber? He’s the most powerful Sith there is. A lightsaber is beneath him.

CARL: His power is that he’s pulled all these strings.

MR. BEAKS: He’s bent the galaxy to his will.

MORIARTY: I guess the question then is, who taught Darth Maul? Who taught these apprentices of his? Wouldn’t the lightsaber have to be a part of his training? I’m not saying I need to see it in the movie, but at some point he must have...

CARL: If it grew from that notion, I wouldn’t have a problem, but I know for a fact... well, I don’t know it for a fact, but you just know, it’s common sense, Lucas is like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if..? The end of EPISODE II worked so well, let’s have Yoda and The Emperor...”

SARAH S: I don’t see that happening. From everything I’ve read, everything I’ve come across, nothing leads me to think that Yoda and Sidious are going to fight. Yoda’s gonna...

MORIARTY: Really?!

SARAH S: ... when it’s he and Chewbacca... the last ones on the planet... that’s when he’s gonna maybe reach his duel.

HERC: Moriarty’s question about who’s training these guys... Anakin has no training from Sidious at all and he went on, of course, to be a Darth.

MORIARTY: Right. But he had training through the Jedi. Somebody was training these guys who obviously didn’t come from the ranks of the Jedi.

HERC: Well, my thought was that Anakin, Maul and the others probably got their training from other sources. Some sort of intergalactic CIAs and FBIs.

SARAH S: Or Maybe Sidious has the first couple of strokes at Mace Windu and says, “See? If you really want to learn how to use a lightsaber, watch me.”

HERC: Dooku would be another good galactic CIA where they could have learned this stuff.

FLMLVR: Something’s got to send Yoda to Dagobah. It’s not just going to be that his people get wiped out on Kyk and he decides to go there. Something’s got to humble him and make him into the cranky old person we see in EMPIRE.

MORIARTY: Right now, I’m really curious. This is about the time in each film’s production schedule when we get the script. It’s right about now each time when it happens. And I’m very curious this time to see this come together and to see if we can verify some of the totally different story versions that I’m hearing. There are places where things don’t agree. I heard, on the one hand, with The Emperor, that his true face is revealed in this movie. And that it’s something that he’s been masking. But I’ve also heard, from other sources, that there is no true face. That after he and Yoda have their duel, and Yoda lays the smack-down on him, that he looks like The Emperor. That before then, he’s just regular Palpatine and it’s Yoda that leave him a little extra crispy. Those are totally divergent versions of...

CARL: I’ve heard a third one. I’ve heard that during the birth of Vader scene where Anakin does a freak-out. That makes him look like The Emperor. That’s probably the least likely of the three. But I’ve heard that one as well.

MORIARTY: I’m curious if Lucas has done any stuff he did on the set of JEDI or EMPIRE... where he shoots something on the set and has one version, and plans a different version.

CARL: I’m sure. There’s a lot of shooting left. There’s more shooting left than they’ve admitted. All the action scenes with Wookies haven’t even been shot yet.

DARTH TARDY: Is it true there’s a month of shooting left in November?

CARL: I’ve heard five weeks. They’re shooting in March as well.

SARAH S: March has always been on the schedule.

CARL: These are scheduled like entire sequences that weren’t filmed in principal, which I don’t believe they did the first two times.

HELLBOY: How done is the script?

CARL: The script was complete, but it was 100 to 110 pages. And it’s always in flux.

MR. BEAKS: Then, do we know now who has been writing with him?

MORIARTY: As I understand it, it’s Tom Stoppard. That’s the name I’ve heard more often than any. And I’ve heard it from enough sources that I’d say there’s an 80% chance it’s Stoppard.

SARAH S: He’s non-guild. He’s pretty.

MORIARTY: And he’s someone Lucas and Spielberg are fond of. Tom Stoppard was the guy who delivered the shooting draft of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. He took Marc Norman’s script and turned it into what people really fell for. You gotta love ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD. He co-wrote BRAZIL, adapted EMPIRE OF THE SUN…

MR. BEAKS: The guy is one of the best playwrights... one of the smartest guys...

MORIARTY: And, on top of that, he’s Hollywood-friendly. He’s not the kind of guy who’s above coming in and doing these re-writes. Because he’s non-guild, he was the perfect choice. Spielberg supposedly loved him... loved the EMPIRE OF THE SUN process... and I’m sure he would have highly recommended him.

HERC: EMPIRE OF THE SUN kinda sucked, didn’t it?

The entire room jumps on Herc, shouting “NO!”

MORIARTY: No, it’s great. It’s right up there.

FLMLVR: Does anyone know what Spielberg’s involvement was on this film? If any.

MORIARTY: I bet his only involvement was brokering the Stoppard thing... getting him hooked up with Lucas. Because he’s been busy working back-to-back-to-back. He hasn’t had time for anything else.

HELLBOY: TERMINAL has been difficult.

MORIARTY: And INDY IV is a bitch in pre-production. They’re still not sure if they’re shooting in June.

Keep in mind… this was last week… before the big announcements about how Lucas rejected the INDY 4 draft despite both Spielberg and Darabont feeling like they’d really nailed it. I’ll have an official statement on this from one of the key players in the days ahead, but for now, let’s see how we were feeling about the film just before the announcement...

OBI-SWAN: It’s February. If they’re shooting in June, there’s a problem. Have they built sets yet?

MORIARTY: I don’t think so.

OBI-SWAN: They’d have to do location shooting first while sets are constructed. That scares me. RAIDERS and TEMPLE OF DOOM are great soundstage movies. The sets were big and inventive. LAST CRUSADE was kind of a letdown. They just weren’t...

MORIARTY: They weren’t as interesting.

MR. BEAKS: I’ll bet my money right now that movie doesn’t get made.

MORIARTY: It’ll play a double-bill with Warner Bros.’ new SUPERMAN film.

MR. BEAKS: I mean, my god, have you see the photos of Harrison down in Mexico? READ PART II OF THE COUNCIL HERE!!

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