Wednesday, April 11, 2012

George Lucas Scrapped ROTJ Effects Shots

By: Chris Perry
As you probably know, the original title of Return of the Jedi was Revenge of the Jedi but the public outcry by rabid Star Wars fans, who pointed out that a true Jedi would never seek revenge, caused George Lucas to rethink the title and change it. Unfortunately, posters for the film had already started their print run and all of them were recalled and at no small expense. So it is clear that Lucas takes great pride in his work and has always been quite the perfectionist. In a recent interview on the Shadowlocked podcast, Lucas’ official Star Wars archivist, Jonathan Rinzler, revealed that during the post-production on ROTJ, good ol’ George took his penchant for perfection to another level:

"I discovered this thing called 'Black Friday'...where George [Lucas] just cut out a lot of effects shots, at pretty much the eleventh hour, causing [VFX supervisor] Ken Ralston to go out and get drunk! ...It wasn't a self-inflicted disaster, but I think they considered it at that time to be...not a disaster, but a big setback - for the good of the film, obviously...It was a big deal."

The visual effects team at ILM had already been working around the clock to complete the film and the decision to scrap months of finished work had to be a crushing blow. Then again, the final product looks spectacular so who can really argue that Lucas made a bad decision? Rinzler did not disclose what scenes were thrown out but more information will be revealed in his book, The Making of Return of the Jedi, which will be released next year. Something tells me the shots in question involved a certain Death Star under construction and an epic space battle occurring around it but we’ll all have to wait for the book to know for sure…


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