Believe it or not, “Return of the Jedi” turns 30 this year. Now before you start to think about how old you are, why not enjoy this interesting little nugget? Author J.W. Rinzler’s book “The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” comes out later this year and The Huffington Post has gotten their hands on a little excerpt that will definitely perk the interest of any “Star Wars” fan.
The excerpt is from a “Revenge of the Jedi Story Conference” that was attended by George Lucas, writer Lawrence Kasdan, director Richard Marquand, and producer Howard Kazanjian. In discussion story details regarding the third film of the original trilogy, Lucas unearths the backstory of Darth Vader as well as Luke and Leia Skywalker and it’s pretty fascinating to see how much of the story winds up in the prequels. Even more fascinating, perhaps, is what didn’t wind up in the prequel.
For example, at the time of this 1981 conference, Lucas was pretty adamant that Yoda doesn’t fight and would lose in a fight with Darth Vader. He’s just a guru, a teacher. The exchange between Lucas and Kasdan is pretty entertaining; with Kasdan voicing his disproval in learning that Yoda does not fight. Of course, Yoda does eventually get to fight in “Star Wars: Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones” and we suppose we might see more of that in the rumored Yoda spinoff movie. Then there’s this part of Anakin’s downfall which shows that Lucas had much of the story already mapped out in his head.
Well, anyway, Luke’s father gets subverted by the Emperor. He gets a little weird at home and his wife begins to figure out that things are going wrong and she confides in Ben, who is his mentor. On his missions through the galaxies, Anakin has been going off doing his Jedi thing and a lot of Jedi have been getting killed—and it’s because they turn their back on him and he cuts them down. The president is turning into an Emperor and Luke’s mother suspects that something has happened to her husband. She is pregnant. Anakin gets worse and worse, and finally Ben has to fight him and he throws him down into a volcano and Vader is all beat up.
Now, when he falls into the pit, his other arm goes and his leg and there is hardly anything left of him by the time the Emperor’s troops fish him out of the drink. Then when Ben finds out that Vader has been fished out and is in the hands of the Empire, he is worried about it. He goes back to Vader’s wife and explains that Anakin is the bad guy, the one killing all the Jedi.
When he goes back his wife, Mrs. Skywalker has had the kids, the twins, so she has these two little babies who are six months old or so. So everybody has to go into hiding. The Skywalker line is very strong with the Force, so Ben says, “I think we should protect the kids, because they may be able to help us right the wrong that your husband has created in the universe.” And so Ben takes one and gives him to a couple out there on Tatooine and he gets his little hideout in the hills and he watches him grow. Ben can’t raise Luke himself, because he’s a wanted man. Leia and Luke’s mother go to Alderaan and are taken in by the king there, who is a friend of Ben’s. She dies shortly thereafter and Leia is brought up by her foster parents. She knows that her real mother died.
You will have to wait until October 1st to read the rest of Rinzler’s book, but the excerpt itself is pretty satisfying. We’re not allowed to re-post the transcript, but you can read the rest here. Rinzler has also written books for “A New Hope” and “Empire Strikes Back” which are already available and are a must-buy for any Star Wars fan.