Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Opinion: The Best and Worst of the Star Wars Blu-ray Deleted Scenes

By: Dominic Jones 

Like most fans when I heard George Lucas announce during the Main Event that one of the focuses on the Blu-ray set (which he had just announced) would be deleted scenes, I cheered. Then when Mark Hamill came out on stage to introduce his alternate entrance into Return of the Jedi I could barely contain my excitement and then when Luke finally ignited his lightsaber in the scene they showed, I cried out, along with the other thousand people in that auditorium, in joy as loudly as I could. Since that time I could only imagine what we were going to see when that set finally came out. Then last Friday, September 16th, 2011, I was finally able to sit down and delve into the 40 hours of bonus material. Naturally the first thing I went to was the deleted scenes. Here is my opinion of the best and worst (with a couple of honourable mentions) of the scenes deleted from the Star Wars Saga.

The Phantom Menace  

The Best 

Extended Podrace Wager. What this scene really shows us is how much Watto cares for Anakin. He seems much more reluctant to give up his prized slave, though he is completely willing to separate Anakin and Shmi, as he is much more willing to give her up. It helps the viewer understand his anger at losing the roll of the chance cube. It shows how valuable Anakin is. In addition it shows the conditions the slaves of Tatooine are forced to live in. Being put up as a bet in game of chance, separating a 9 year old boy from his mother, it truly gives the viewer a better sense of what Anakin (and Shmi) had to live through. 

Honourable mention 

Extended duel in the desert. In this scene we see how much more difficult Qui-Gon’s escape from Darth Maul may have been. In the scene, as Qui-Gon jumps up on to the boarding ramp of the Naboo cruiser Darth Maul follows him and Qui-Gon has to push him of the ramp. This scene, to me, made the escape much more difficult and intense as Darth Maul came that much closer to ending the saga before it had barely begun. 

The Worst 

Trash Talking Droids. This is one of those scenes. The ones you know right away why it was cut. The scene features two droids dissing TC-14, the protocol droid sent to greet Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon as they arrived aboard the Trade Federation control ship. This scene may have been an attempt at humour but ultimately fell flat and was (fortunately) deleted. 

Attack of the Clones 

The Best 

The Lost Twenty. This was an interesting scene as it gave us more insight into the character of Count Dooku as well as that of Qui-Gon Jinn. It helped establish that Dooku and Qui-Gon shared many of the same qualities, such as displeasure with the way the council behaved. Also it gives more weight to the exchange between Dooku and Obi-Wan later in the film when Obi-Wan is quick to refute Dooku’s belief that Qui-Gon would join him as it would cause Obi-Wan to question how well he really knew his master. 

The Worst 

Extended Speeder Chase. When I first heard of this scene I was excited. More of the exciting speeder chase from the beginning of Episode 2, how could that be bad? Well, this scene turned out to be utterly laughable. The scene features a flag getting caught on one of the engines of the speeder Anakin and Obi-Wan take. This causes the speeder to begin to lose power and Obi-wan is forced to climb out on to the engine to retrieve the flag. This scene only detracted from the epic speeder chase that began Episode 2 as it turned out to be unintentionally funny. I’ll just say that I am really glad this scene was cut. 

Revenge of the Sith 

The Best 

Utapau Chase Animatic. While I was originally sceptical about anything called an animatic, this one really removed my scepticism. First off, the scene was overseen by Steven Spielberg, giving us a look at what a Star Wars film directed by Spielberg might look like. Secondly the scene goes on for much longer than in the movie and the chase becomes much more exciting. Some notable differences are: Ob-Wan doesn’t lose his lightsaber and he defeats General grievous by pulling out his internal organs and shooting them. This scene was quite exciting and I wish that we could have seen more of it in the movie. 

Honourable Mentions 

Kashyyyk Attack and Order 66 Animatic. This is another scene I wish they’d shown more of in the movie, particularly the Order 66 part. This scene showed the deaths of several more Jedi, such as Lumiara Unduli, Bariss Offee and Quinlan Vos. I hope they decide to shoot this scene and put in in the 3D release, as the drama of their deaths will be felt more so now than in 2005, because we have had the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars to get to know these characters. 

Senate Duel Animatic. I love the way the epic duel between Yoda and Darth Sidious plays out in the final film as it shows how powerful Sidious really is, but on a personal level I really wish the duel played out the way it did in this scene. During this scene things go the same way they do in the film with a few minor differences and one Major difference. First off the animatic includes the camera droids broadcasting the duel between Yoda and Sidious onto to giant screens in the Senate Chambers. Secondly, and this is the big one, it ends with Sidious running away and Yoda having to fight Clones in order to escape. The main reason I like this version, is that Yoda wins. I understand it was important to show just how powerful Sidious really was and unfortunately that meant Yoda had to lose, but on a personal level I want to believe that Yoda won that fight. 


Yoda Communes with Qui-Gon. First let me say this, I believe that this scene or a version of this scene should be in the film and I hope that they consider adding it to the 3D release in a few years. That being said I was really disappointed in this scene the way it played out on the Blu-ray. For one thing I always liked the way this scene played out in the adaptations of Revenge of the Sith (Comic, Novel, Junior Novel) and due to the similarity of those scenes I was expecting this scene to play out in a similar way in the movie. I wanted to see Yoda actually speak to Qui-Gon, whereas in this version we only saw Yoda listening to Qui-Gon. The other thing that disappointed me about this scene is that the voice of Qui-Gon was not Liam Neeson. Had the voice been Liam Neeson I honestly believe I would have liked the scene a lot better. All that being said I still support Fanboys director Kyle Newman in his campaign to have a completed version of this scene added to Revenge of the Sith. 

A New Hope 

The Best

Alternate Biggs and Luke Reunion. This is a very short version of the scene prior to the attack on the Death Star. In this version, when the rebel commander interrupts Luke and Biggs’ reunion he brings up the fact that he knew Luke’s father. While it may have been intended as a throwaway line, it gives us some insight into what the Star Wars saga could have been. 

The Worst 

Old Woman on Tatooine. This is another one of those scenes that is utterly laughable. This scene features an old woman yelling at Luke for speeding in his Landspeeder. The main problem with this scene is that there is no sound so that when the old woman yells at Luke, there is an angry old lady shaking her fists and opening her mouth but not saying anything. Also the landspeeder is missing from the shot so the old woman appears to be shaking her fist at nothing. 

The Empire Strikes Back 

The Best 

Han and Leia: Extended Echo Base Argument. This is fun look at the relationship between Han and Leia. It shows how much more sexual tension there really was between them and also shows how the two characters, and their relationship, mature over the trilogy. 

The Worst 

Yoda’s Test. This is the one scene in the entire set, where I am completely dumfounded as to why they would have even considered putting it in the movie. The scene features Yoda lifting a metal bar in the air for Luke to try and cut up. This was also poorly executed which probably one of the reasons it was deleted, which in the long run wasn’t a bad thing at all. 

Return of the Jedi 

The Best 

Vader Arrival and Reaching Out to Luke. This was the scene that was shown at Star Wars Celebration 5, during the Main Event with George Lucas and is probably the only deleted scene from the Original Trilogy I would seriously consider putting back into the movie. The scene starts with Vader arriving on the Death Star, going to his meditation chamber and reaching out to Luke in the Force. We then see Luke in a cave on Tatooine putting the finishing touches on his new Lightsaber, which he then tests before putting it inside R2-D2. R2 then leaves the cave and meets up with C-3PO who is waiting outside, then the two set off for Jabba’s palace. This is by far the most complete scene on the set as it features Darth Vader dialogue from James Earl Jones (the others only had the on-set dialogue from David Prowse), music and the lightsaber effect is completed. This scene also heightens the drama, since the way Luke is dressed in this scene, one might almost expect his lightsaber to be Red not Green. This is a strong reminder of how close came to turning to the dark side. 

Honourable Mentions 

Jerjerrod’s Conflict. What I like about this scene is that it shows that not everyone in the empire is a cold blooded killer. Jerjerrod gets the call from Emperor Palpatine to destroy the forest Moon of Endor should the Rebels destroy the shield generator. When this happens Jerjerrod tries to protest explaining that there are still many Imperial troops on the Moon. When the shield generator is destroyed Jerjerrod then has to give the order to destroy the moon. He spends a great deal of time deciding what to do, despite being under a lot of pressure from other Imperial officers, then reluctantly gives the order to attack, fortunately Wedge and Lando were there to save the day. This scene, to me, was great at showing that not everyone in the Empire agrees with Palpatine’s tactics, but Jerjerrod’s reluctant acceptance of the orders also showed just how evil Palpatine was, as Jerjerrod knew that if he did not comply Palpatine or Vader would kill him. 

Rebel Raid on the Bunker. This was just a fun scene. More of the battle on Endor that featured Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca leading the Rebel troops against Stormtroopers as they fight their way into the shield bunker. It also shows how risky a mission this was as several of the rebel troops went down during the attack (whereas in the movie we don’t see any official rebel soldiers losing their lives). Also in the scene extends to the point when Lt. Renz enters and his says famous line “You Rebel Scum!” to which, in the extended scene Han Solo replies “Scum?” This was an appropriate bit of humour suitable to Han’s character and made this scene that much more enjoyable. 

The Worst 

The Lost Rebels. This scene to me dragged on too long. All it was, was different actors reading the same lines of dialogue. It got repetitive fast. In addition to that, it was not great acting and I’m glad that what did get used was redubbed in post-production. 

Those are my thoughts on the deleted scenes included on the Blu-ray I was excited to see them all, even the ones I didn’t like. Having these deleted scenes are meant to be fun as they are simply a look in to the creators mind and often show how different our beloved saga may have been.


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