The Light Side - The Mostly True Story of the Making of Star Wars

Updated on December 3, 2019
Arin Kambitsis profile image

A 43-year-old writer and musician from Pittsburgh. He really wants to move away and be from somewhere else.

This is a script I wrote a long time ago about the making of Star Wars. Meant to be a comedy It's a third of it. I lost the rest of it. But what's here gives you a pretty good idea of what it was like.

Cannes Film Festival - 1971
Cannes Film Festival - 1971

INT. MOVIE THEATER – DAY


The rows are PACKED, the theater is SMOKY. The film “THX-1138″ is playing on the screen. People are DISTRACTED, CHATTING AND JOKING. In the back row, an aisle seat, is GEORGE LUCAS, 27, looking mildly frustrated.


SUPERIMPOSE: CANNES FILM FESTIVAL – 1971


George LEANS FORWARD and listens to two people speaking in French right in front of him. Someone TAPS George on the shoulder. George TURNS to see WALTER MURCH, 28.


WALTER

George, we should go now. The usher let me in to come find you.


GEORGE

Okay. Hey, what does ‘Ennuyeux’ mean?


Walter PUSHES open the door, the theater’s hallway is extremely CROWDED and LOUD.


EXT. STREET – DAY


Walter and George exit the theater.


WALTER

What did you say in there?


GEORGE

I asked you what ‘Ennuyeux’ meant?


WALTER

Umm…boring.


GEORGE

Hmm. I thought so.


WALTER

Listen, George, you know what you’re gonna say to Picker?


GEORGE

Uh…I’m not too worried.


WALTER

This is a real movie guy, okay? We’ve got to come across like we know what we’re

talking about. We don’t wanna go in there and look like a couple of film school jerks.


GEORGE

How do we pull that off?


WALTER

This guy produced “A HARD DAY’S NIGHT”. He’s no lightweight.


GEORGE

I know, I know.


WALTER

Has he seen “THX-1138″?


GEORGE

I don’t know. I hope not.


Walter Murch and George Lucas
Walter Murch and George Lucas

INT. CARLTON HOTEL – LOBBY – DAY


Walter and George are walking through the hotel lobby.


WALTER

Maybe we should have a drink first.


GEORGE

No, we should go in there clearheaded.


They come to an elevator, Walter IMPATIENTLY PRESSES the button for the top floor.


WALTER

(sarcastic)

All right. George, we’re going ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP!


George laughs politely.


WALTER (CONT’D)

He’s staying in a suite. Wonder how much it is a night up there?


GEORGE

More than we’ve got.


WALTER

I just hope he’s got food. I’ve lost fifteen pounds in the last week.


GEORGE

(sarcastic)

Is it the fine European cuisine?


WALTER

Yeah. I can’t afford to eat it. You know, I thought I was being smart, riding my bike across England. See the countryside, meet the people, eat simply. Actually thought I’d save money. Here I am broke and starved.


GEORGE

I’m not doing any better, Walt. I couldn’t afford a ticket to see my own movie.


WALTER

That’s the sort of thing we wanna play down, George.


GEORGE

Don’t worry. I’ve got a good feeling about this.


INT. CARLTON HOTEL – SUITE – DAY


A KNOCK at the door of the LUXURIOUS suite, the door OPENS to Walter and George. DAVID PICKER, 40, wealthy but conservative, greets them.


DAVID

Welcome! George, Walter, how do you do?


GEORGE

Hi.


WALTER

Hi.


David shakes their hands and pats George on the back.

THX-1138 - I don't get it
THX-1138 - I don't get it

DAVID

You know, I just saw your movie, this afternoon. “THX-1138″.


GEORGE

Oh good. I was hoping.


INT. CARLTON HOTEL – SUITE – BALCONY


The three of them are having cocktails.


DAVID

You know, boys, a flop isn’t always a failure. I’ve made movies that I knew would never turn a profit. I didn’t make a dime off “Lenny”, and I never thought I would. But the Impact of a film is not always at the box office. Someday, it will pay off, I believe, in its own way. It will find its place, it will reach somebody. In the meantime, I get to make movies.


George and Walter think this over.


DAVID (CONT’D)

Of course, Dustin Hoffman got his paycheck.


David sips his drink and takes a DEEP BREATH, GAZING off into the distance. He turns back to them and


RAISES HIS GLASS. They all do.


DAVID (CONT’D)

To “American Graffiti”.


They CLINK glasses and drink.


DAVID

(CONT’D)

So, George, what do you have planned after Graffiti? I heard something, somewhere, about you trying to buy the rights to “Flash Gordon”.


George nods.


GEORGE

I looked into it. I decided to go another way, though. Do something original.


DAVID

Good for you.


GEORGE

But it is going to be space movie. A space opera. Like those old serials that used to play back in the fifties. You know…


DAVID

(melodramatically)

“Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe!”


GEORGE

Something like that.


DAVID

Well, good luck, George. And don’t worry if it doesn’t make you any money. Just get it made, and it’ll find its place.


INT. CARLTON HOTEL – HALLWAY – DAY


George and Walter exit David’s suite and walk to the elevator. Walter waits until the suite’s door is shut and then he turns to George.


WALTER

I don’t get it, George, why did you tell him you were gonna make the space movie? What about “Apocalypse Now”? You’ve been working on that for years.


GEORGE

No one is gonna finance a movie about Vietnam. Not my movie, anyway. Not after “THX.”


WALTER

So that’s it?


They run to catch the elevator, which is closing, and they just make it.


GEORGE

No, that’s not it. I’ll still shop it around. When “Graffiti’s” a hit, I’ll be able to do whatever I want.


WALTER

That’s a big if.


GEORGE

It’ll be fine.


WALTER

I don’t know. I mean, you don’t even have a script.


The elevator doors close.


EXT. PETALUMA – STREET – NIGHT


Two classic cars are riding side-by-side down the street. Driving the car are on the left is HARRISON FORD, 33, wearing a cowboy hat. The driver on the right is PAUL LE MAT, 28.


HARRISON

(to Paul)

Hey, I’ve been lookin’ for ya! Didn’t you hear I was lookin’ for ya?


PAUL

(to Harrison)

Naw! But you can bet if I had I woulda slowed down so’s you could find me!


Harrison laughs.


HARRISON

That’s good! Oh, hey, is that your car? Shoot, I thought I saw a roller skate running loose down the street! My sister lost one, ’bout the same size as that!


Harrison Ford - Thank god he's not really driving
Harrison Ford - Thank god he's not really driving

PAUL

Really? Judging by your car, I guess most race cars look like roller skates to you, seeing as they’re usually so far ahead o’ ya!


HARRISON

Well, we must be on a hill, ’cause I never saw a dogcart movin’ without a horse! You must be a magician!


PAUL

Well, I don’t know no magic, but you must be using some kinda voodoo to keep that heap runnin’.


HARRISON

I keep her runnin’ with…darn it!


Harrison’s hat falls off his head and in between the two cars. He reaches for it.


GEORGE

Cut!


The cars are revealed to be on the back of a moving trailer with fixed cameras pointed at each. George is sitting just ahead of them, looking on.


HARRISON

Oughta staple this hat to my head. Hey, are we gonna actually do a second take?


PAUL

First time for everything. How was it, George? Until the hat malfunction, I mean.


GEORGE

(distracted)

It was great! Terrific!


Paul and Harrison look at each, frustrated.


HARRISON

That’s what he always says.


PAUL

Maybe we’re that good.


HARRISON

Aw hell, I’m just doing this movie thing to support my carpentry habit.


PAUL

Yeah, I was gonna tell you, you should keep your day job.


HARRISON

Well, acting with you is a lot like working with wood, anyway.


PAUL

How drunk are you, Ford?


HARRISON

Depends on how good your booze is, Paul.


PAUL

It’s gone, is what it is.


George CLIMBS DOWN from the truck. HASKELL WEXLER, 50, walks up to him.


HASKELL

I think that’s it for the night, George. We could give it one more pass, but it’ll be getting light pretty soon.


George LOOKS at his watch and YAWNS, EXHAUSTED.


GEORGE

I’m heading back to the office, Wex.


HASKELL

You need to sleep, George.


GEORGE

I’m waiting to hear from Francis.


INT. OFFICE – NIGHT


George walks into his office, waiting there is GARY KURTZ, 33.


GEORGE

Gary, did you talk to Francis?


GARY

Yeah, George. I’ve got an idea of the offer he’s gonna make on “Apocalypse Now”. I doubt you’re gonna like it, though.


GEORGE

Well, what is it?


GARY

(reluctant)

Coppola wants twenty-five percent of the profits.


George SHAKES his head and COLLAPSES in an office chair.


GEORGE

(disbelief)

He’s a millionaire. A millionaire. But I don’t think he’s truly happy unless I’m broke.


GARY

You may be right. He sounded pretty happy.


GEORGE

He’s got to do better than that. He owes me.


GARY

I don’t think he sees it that way. He’s not the same guy, George. He’s the director of “The Godfather” for chrissake. You’re the director of…


GEORGE

A piece of arty-fartsy trash?


GARY

No one’s saying “THX” is trash, George. People are still talking about how amazing it was that a first time director pulled that off. But you don’t have a lot of clout, right now. Francis has got a lot of pull. He’s a gross player.


GEORGE

“Apocalypse” is not his movie. It’s John’s and mine. I think he’s gonna try and take it over, and I don’t think I can work like that.


Gary shrugs. George is SILENT for a moment, PENSIVE.

Apocalypse Now - An Artsy Fartsy piece of awesome
Apocalypse Now - An Artsy Fartsy piece of awesome

GEORGE (CONT’D)

If I give in, I think Francis is just gonna want more. He’s becoming a dictator.


GARY

That’s just the way he is. He’s pushy, he’s unreasonable, that’s just Francis. We wouldn’t be here today if he wasn’t.


GEORGE

I’m not sure I can trust him.


GARY

He’s still your friend.


GEORGE

I know that, but that doesn’t mean we ought to be making movies together.


GARY

So?


GEORGE

So nothing. I’m just not gonna do it. That’s that. I don’t think I can work with him. I love the guy, I admire him, but I think we’re just too different. I think I’m just gonna go ahead and work on the space movie.


GARY

(nodding)

You’re gonna go ahead with “The Star Wars”.


George nods, too.


GARY (CONT’D)

Good. I’m glad.


GEORGE

Yeah, and it’ll be my movie. That’s the most important thing.


INT. THE LUCAS HOME – OFFICE – DAY


George is sitting at his desk STARING BLANKLY at a notebook. He picks up a pencil and writes something, then LOOKS it over.


CLOSE UP – NOTEBOOK at the top of the page is written “Journal of the Whills.” George LEANS FAR BACK in his chair and is QUIET. The clock on the wall TICKS LOUDER AND LOUDER.


CUT TO:


INT. EDITING ROOM – DAY


George is LEANING BACK in a chair, his notebook on his lap, while Walter is SITTING in front of a tape reel machine used for sound editing. He’s TRYING to talk to George while working.


WALTER

So, where were we? Um, you’ve got this guy named Chewie Two Thorpe…


GEORGE

Chewie, for short. He’s the son of a famous pilot named Han Dardell Thorpe.


WALTER

Right. So, Chewie…I kind of like that, makes me wanna eat some caramels. So, Chewie’s 16 and going off to school to become a knight templar of the future, which are called Jedis, then...?


GEORGE

Jedi-Templer.


WALTER

Templer. That’s interesting. You change it just enough so that’s it familiar, yet different. Words change over time, anyway.


GEORGE

Right. You know, I’m kind of moving away from this being in the future, though.


WALTER

Well, when’s it happening, George? It can’t be happening now, we haven't got any space cruisers.


GEORGE

Yeah, I know. I just haven’t decided exactly what or where this whole thing takes place. I’m leaving that open, for now.


WALTER

Okay. Well, anyway, you said this guy has some big adventure, right? Goes on a quest of some kind. What’s that all about? Is he searching for something, like in “The Lord of the Rings”? Some sort of macguffin?


GEORGE

No. It hasn’t got a macguffin. He leaves the academy because his teacher, Mace Windy, is expelled. It’s thought that he’s become too strong, too powerful. The other Jedi fear him.


WALTER

What happens after that?


GEORGE

They sort of wander aimlessly. Eventually, they get work guarding a shipment of fusion portables to Yavin.


Walter PAUSES, LOOKS OVER at George, a bit perplexed. George is LOST IN THOUGHT.


WALTER

I don’t know, George. Something’s definitely there, but…


GEORGE

What?


WALTER

There’s just no…story, you know.


GEORGE

Well, I’m doing something completely original, Walt. It takes time to come up with something completely new.

Journal of the Whills - A handwriting expert looked at this and said it sounds more like a movie for kids than adults, but adults could like it, too.
Journal of the Whills - A handwriting expert looked at this and said it sounds more like a movie for kids than adults, but adults could like it, too.

WALTER

Yeah, I get that, but…what’s new, George? To a guy who knows movies, nothing is new. I mean, if a guy wants to do a romance film, he’s got to remember that Shakespeare already did Romeo and Juliet. If he forgets that, he might end up just remaking it. You know what I mean? Someone’s already done it, no matter what you come up with.


GEORGE

What are you saying? That you can’t be original? I don’t believe that.


WALTER

Yeah, you can have new ideas, but…


Walter TURNS to George.


WALTER (CONT’D)

It’s like Kurosawa. You love Kurosawa, right? He didn’t do anything totally new. He redid Macbeth, Dostoevsky, even John Ford. You know, he loved John Ford movies the way you love his. Nobody cares that he reused the stories. Do you?


GEORGE

Hmm.


WALTER

It wasn’t stealing, really, it was just…Kurosawa’s turn to tell them. Now people are redoing his movies!


George nods.


GEORGE

That’s interesting.


WALTER

Seems to me, you’ve got to go with your gut. I mean, what do you really wanna see up there on the screen, George? The kind of story that just forces you to tell it, that won’t leave you alone until you do. That’s the story you’ve got to tell.


Walter YAWNS, RUBS his eyes, and POINTS to a shelf of reels near George.


WALTER (CONT’D)

Do me a favor, George. I need Reel two, Dialogue two. It’s labeled “R2-D2.”


George is PIQUED.


GEORGE

What did you say?


WALTER

I said “R2-D2.”


George picks up his NOTEBOOK.


CLOSE UP – NOTEBOOK


George JOTS down R2-D2 and UNDERLINES it.


INT. DAVID PICKER’S OFFICE – DAY


Picker’s secretary GAYLE, 20s, OPENS his door and WALKS in, she HANDS David

a package.


GAYLE

Mr. Picker, a package from “Lucasfilm.”


DAVID

Oh good! Thank you, Gayle.


David OPENS the package and finds a bundle of TYPE-WRITTEN PAGES and PICTURES. He FLIPS through them suspiciously, as if not knowing what to make of it. He STOPS on a page, READS a little, and POINTS to something.


DAVID (CONT’D)

Um, Gayle, do you know this word? Is this a misspelling?


Gayle, who was leaving, TURNS BACK.


GAYLE

Let me see.


Gayle BENDS OVER and reads.


GAYLE (CONT’D)

(pleasantly)

Opuchi.


DAVID

Oh-poo-chee?


GAYLE

Mm-hmm. Opuchi.


David FLIPS through the package again. Mixed in are PHOTOGRAPHS from NASA missions and professional DRAWINGS of sci-fi CREATURES and SPACESHIPS.


DAVID

(shocked)

My god. This movie would cost a hundred million dollars. There’s not enough money in Hollywood to shoot this picture.


GAYLE

Wow. What is that thing?


DAVID

I don’t know. It’s all a bunch of spaceships and monsters.


INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – AUDITION ROOM – DAY


POV – CAMERA


Sitting across from one another are SYLVESTER STALLONE, 20s, and an unidentified Japanese ACTOR, 50s. George is standing in front of them with a clapper.

Why doesn't NASA let these guys design real space suits?
Why doesn't NASA let these guys design real space suits?

GEORGE

Action!


SYLVESTER

Han Solo. I’m captain of the Millennium Falcon. Chewie here tells me you’re looking for passage to the Alderaan system.


JAPANESE ACTOR

(thick Japanese accent)

Yes, indeed. If it’s a fast ship.


SYLVESTER

Fast ship? You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon?


JAPANESE ACTOR

Should I have?


SYLVESTER

It’s the ship that made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs! I’ve outrun Imperial starships, not the local bulk cruisers, mind you. I’m talking about the big Corellian ships now. She’s fast enough for you, old man. What’s the cargo?


GEORGE

Cut! I wanna try the dialogue between Han and Luke. I’m gonna bring in someone to read for Luke.


The Japanese Actor NODS and gets up.


SYLVESTER

I’ve got a couple of questions about Han.


GEORGE

I think what you’re doing is pretty good.


The actor reading for Luke sits down.


SYLVESTER

Okay. It’s just that I’m thinking I could play him more like a thug, you know, a criminal. Not a bad guy, exactly, but someone who’ll do what needs to be done to survive. You know, he can be cold, calculating, but underneath it all is some kind of…light, you know?


GEORGE

(disinterested)

Uh, yeah, okay. That’ll work.


Sylvester frowns.


INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – AUDITION ROOM – DAY


POV – CAMERA


Now, reading for Han and Luke, respectively, are CHRISTOPHER WALKEN, 30s and ROBBY BENSON, 19.


CHRISTOPHER

What the…? Aw, we’ve come out of hyperspace into a meteor shower. Some kind of asteroid collision. It’s not on any of the charts.


ROBBY

What’s going on?


CHRISTOPHER

Our position is correct, except…no, Alderaan!


ROBBY

What do you mean? Where is it?


CHRISTOPHER

That's what I’m trying to tell you, kid. It ain’t there. It’s been totally blown away.


ROBBY

Destroyed…by the Empire!


CHRISTOPHER

Their entire star fleet couldn’t destroy the whole planet. It’d take a thousand ships with more fire power than I’ve ever seen! There’s another ship coming in.


ROBBY

Maybe they know what happened.


CHRISTOPHER

It’s an Imperial fighter.


ROBBY

It followed us!


CHRISTOPHER

There aren’t any bases around here. Where did it come from?


ROBBY

It sure is leaving in a big hurry. If they identify us, we’re in big trouble.


CHRISTOPHER

Not if I can help it. Chewie…jam it’s transmissions.


GEORGE

Cut! Good.


CHRISTOPHER

(pleasantly)

Yeah? I’ll have to take your word for it. I’m utterly confused.


ROBBY

I think you nailed it.


CHRISTOPHER

Yeah? To be honest, I’m not certain what’s going on in this picture. I haven’t read the script, yet. I like this guy, Han, though. I like his name. Solo. Sooolooooo. How SO low can you SO go?


Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher

ROBBY

Luke Starkiller’s a pretty cool name, too.


CHRISTOPHER

Yeah? Never met the guy.


INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – AUDITION ROOM – DAY


POV – CAMERA


Reading for Han and Luke, respectively, are NICK NOLTE and WILLIAM KATT.


NICK

Well, it checks out again, there’s no mistake.


WILLIAM

You mean, you can’t find Organa Major?


NICK

Oh, I’ve found it, it’s just not there!


WILLIAM

Organa Major’s been destroyed?


NICK

What’s left’s been contaminated. That’s it right there. Look at those radiation readouts. It’s impossible, I’ve never seen anything like it!


WILLIAM

The empire must have gotten here first.


NICK

The planet’s been completely blown away. Why, this would have taken a thousand ships with more fire power than I’ve ever seen! If the Empire had some new kind of weapon that could do this, I’d have heard something, I would have known about it.


GEORGE

Cut!


Nick Nolte takes a DEEP BREATH and LEANS OVER, his FACE in his HANDS. He’s hungover.


NICK

(to William)

I tell ya, Luke, I feel like the empire blew up my brain.


Everyone laughs, all around.


WILLIAM

(laughing)

Don’t know what hit ya?


NICK

Hell, yeah, I know!


INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – DAY


George and FRED ROOS, 40s, are discussing the auditions while walking through the hall. CARPENTERS are at work, sounds of HAMMERING and SAWING surround them.


GEORGE

(exhausted)

My god, Fred, I’m glad to be getting a break from this.


FRED

What did you think of Walken?


GEORGE

Hmm. Yeah. Yeah, I can see him as Han. He’s got a coldness about him. Kind of feline, Predatory.


FRED

What about Glynn Turman?


GEORGE

(disapproving)

I did like him, but I’m second-guessing the idea of Han Solo as possibly being black.


FRED

Yeah?


GEORGE

I think people will think it’s too deliberate. Han’s too important a character, I don’t want people talking about Han just because they haven’t seen a black actor in a sci-fi flick before. I think that would weaken the impact of the film. Maybe in the sequel.


FRED

Okay. When we start up again on the twelfth, let’s have Harrison Ford read the part of Han. I think it would be good to concentrate on Luke and Leia, and it would be less confusing if Han just stayed put.


George stops just before passing through a doorway being built and TURNS to Fred. There’s a carpenter in a mask working down on his knees, DRILLING the inside of the frame.


GEORGE

(reluctant)

I don’t know, Fred. That might get him thinking he’s a shoo-in for the part. I’m willing to let him read, but I still don’t think I want anyone who was in “Graffiti” in this. I don’t want the audience thinking about cars and pop songs when they see Star Wars.


FRED

Reconsider that George. Still, I’ll let him know that he’s not up for the part, that we just need to him to read.


GEORGE

Okay, then. Are you sure he’s available? I mean, it’s just a couple days from now.


The carpenter working at their feet STANDS UP and PULLS OFF his mask. It’s a TIRED, SWEATY Harrison Ford.


HARRISON

I can make it.

Rumor has it that he gave Carrie the wood, too
Rumor has it that he gave Carrie the wood, too

INT. CHINESE RESTAURANT – DAY


George, Carrie Fisher(19), Harrison and Mark Hamill (26)are all SITTING QUIETLY, waiting for their dinner to arrive. No one is speaking. The actors are all STARING at George, waiting for him to say something, ANYTHING. He seems thoroughly NONPLUSSED, COMFORTABLE. George PUSHES back his chair and STANDS.


GEORGE

Excuse me, I’ll be right back.


CARRIE/MARK/HARRISON

Okay.


George WALKS off, the three actors LOOSEN UP immediately.


MARK

God, I hope the food comes before he gets back.


CARRIE

This feels just like the audition!


HARRISON

(teasing)

Don’t worry, you’ve got the part.


CARRIE

(laughs)

Are you sure?


HARRISON

He flew you to England, didn’t he?


MARK

I don’t think he likes me. Actually, I’m sure he doesn’t.


HARRISON

He likes us. He likes all of us. Believe me, when he doesn’t like you, you know it.


MARK

How?


HARRISON

(insisting)

He’s a different kind of quiet when he doesn’t like you.


MARK

You know, I think he based Luke Starkiller on himself. I’m trying to incorporate some George into the character, but I don’t think it’s gonna be easy acting passive-aggressive to an alien.


HARRISON

George IS an alien. Haven’t you figured that out yet? This movie’s his life story.


CARRIE

Why did he bring us out here, though? He seems a sweet guy, but…isn’t this dinner about him getting to know us? How do you do that without speaking?


HARRISON

He’s reading our minds.


MARK

Then I’ve got some apologizing to do.


Carrie LAUGHS.


HARRISON

Don’t worry about it, though. Shooting Graffiti was a breeze. He lets you do what you want. In fact, he pays more attention to the lights than he does his actors.


CARRIE

He’s probably calling the lights right now, telling them he misses them.


LAUGHS all around.


HARRISON

It’s real simple: He says action, you say your lines the way you want to say’em, and unless your nose starts spewing blood, he yells cut and tells you you’re great!


Mark RAISES a glass of water.


MARK

To “Star Wars.”


Carries RAISES her glass, too.


CARRIE

To “Star Wars.”


Harrison DISMISSES them.


HARRISON

I don’t drink water.


INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – STUDIO – DAY


George, Gary, and JOHN DYKSTRA, 30s, are going through HUNDREDS of color storyboards depicting SPACESHIP BATTLES, SQUADRON FORMATIONS, etc. Joe is SHAKING his head, both IMPRESSED and DAUNTED.


JOHN

Wow. I don’t know what to say. It’s incredible on so many levels. It’s so far beyond what anyone has done before. Cramming some three-hundred fifty plus special effects shots in one film, it’s just…that’s five or six times more than any movie I’ve ever heard of.


GEORGE

But not impossible, right?


JOHN

Yes, it is. It is impossible. This is impossible.


GEORGE

Why do you say that?


There was a time in history that steel sticks with buttons on the end seemed cool enough to be hand controls for a spaceship.
There was a time in history that steel sticks with buttons on the end seemed cool enough to be hand controls for a spaceship.

JOHN

You want to shoot dogfights with spaceships, like in those old world war two films, but the old fixed camera approach won’t work. You’ll never get those fluid movements with a stationary camera. Add to it the complicated optical effects and…I can’t give you what you want. No one can.


GEORGE

No one?


JOHN

Truth is, the technology doesn’t exist that can give you what you want. This is new territory, to say the least. We’re gonna have to rewrite the manual to make “Star Wars”. It’s gonna take new technology, technology designed specifically for this film. A monumental task. The cost will be…phew!


GEORGE

Hypothetically?


JOHN

(shaking his head)

I don’t even know where to start. Giving a cost estimate is practically impossible. It’s gonna take a lot of money, a lot of people, and a lot of time. And seriously, money, people and time are virtually the same commodity when many of the people involved have to be specialists, who aren’t free.


GEORGE

Hmm.


JOHN

We’re talking about creating a new Los Alamos here. A company with several different branches.


GARY

What is the basic premise of this new technology?


JOHN

The cameras are going to have to be computer-guided. That way we can program the camera directions and save it to cassette tape, that way we can duplicate shots exactly. It’ll also save loads of time because it will eliminate the need to keep sets hot. But it adds a whole new element to this, one that will be, possibly, more costly than everything else involved, combined. Models,lights, mattes, everything. It's not a new concept, but it's never been implemented.


George PONDERS this quietly.


GEORGE

How long do you think it will take to put together an estimate?


JOHN

I’ll get to work on it, immediately. Although, it’s unlikely, it’s possible that on a budget of eight and a half million, this could cost…half.


GARY

Half a million?


JOHN

Half your budget.


INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – STUDIO – DAY


Gary and George are BROODING after John’s departure.


GEORGE

(frustrated)

50 to 100 people.


GARY

(shrugs)

It’s gonna take what it’s gonna take, George. And there will be lots of students willing to work for free.


GEORGE

Well, we need to get started. We can’t wait around for Fox’s green light, it might take months longer.


GARY

Careful, George. That old adage about investing your own money exists for a reason. It’s so you don’t find yourself a million dollars in the red on a movie that’s not gonna get made.


GEORGE

I’m just going to go forward, as if it’s a go. If I just stand back and wait to see what happens next I’ll be behind when things start up. After all this, do you think they could still pull the plug?


GARY

It’s possible, but I think we’ve got a friend or two among the suits.


George EXHALES, his mind BURDENED.


GEORGE

I just wish I felt good about the script.


GARY

George, I can’t imagine you feeling good about anything.


INT. LONDON OFFICE – DAY


George and Gary are PORING over two copies of the movie script. They are FRUSTRATED and EXHAUSTED.


GARY

George, you’re just going to have to face the fact that we can’t keep nipping off little pieces here and there and eliminate $600,000! It’s not gonna work like this.


GEORGE

We’ve already made fundamental changes to the film. A big cut now, on top of it all…


GARY

It’s not as if they’re giving us a choice. There’s no green light until we do this. So let’s do this.


George takes a DEEP BREATH and SITS DOWN.


Did it ever occur to you that 40 years later people would be asking what the large gap on the front of the ship was for?
Did it ever occur to you that 40 years later people would be asking what the large gap on the front of the ship was for?

GEORGE

So…draft number four.


GARY

You’ve been wanting to tighten it up.


GEORGE

While it’s true I’m not totally satisfied with it, I don’t know where to begin. I’ve been wracking my brain.


GARY

Well, let’s start with what you don’t like. Where are you most dissatisfied? What’s the real problem area?


GEORGE

Hm. The first thing that comes to mind, is the Kyber Crystal.


GARY

Cutting that out won’t really save us much money.


GEORGE

No, but it’s a problem.


GARY

You don’t like the design, or you don’t like the very idea of it?


GEORGE

Well, Luke Starkiller is supposed to be strong with the force, so why does he need a crystal to connect with it?


GARY

He’s new to it. He’s young.


GEORGE

Yeah, but it also seems kind of convenient that the crystal and the princess are both in the same installation on Alderaan.


GARY

We already discussed that, didn’t we? You said since it was so precious it’s sensible that it would be kept in the most well guarded fortress, the same place they would keep the most important political prisoners.


GEORGE

I was thinking along those lines, before, but I’m not so sure now.


GARY

Well, we can’t afford to have them sneak into two different fortresses. We can barely afford the one. You know how expensive the interior Alderaan sets were. And John’s not looking forward to shooting the ground scenery, either. He says it’s the hardest, most expensive thing he’s got left to do.


GEORGE

All I know is that I think the Force is more internal for Luke. He shouldn’t need an artifact.


GARY

Okay, let’s say he doesn’t need it, he still has to tangle with Darth Vader in the dogfight scene. He's so powerful that he can defeat Vader without any sort of help? I mean, he’s just starting to learn about it.


GEORGE

Maybe Obi-Wan is there with him somehow, guiding him when he’s in the cockpit. Not literally in the ship, but there in spirit form?


GARY

Like they have some kind of telepathic connection?


GEORGE

Maybe.


GARY

We should try to establish that earlier, though. Maybe Obi-Wan feels Luke’s presence in the desert when he saves him from the Sand People. He hears him in the same way Luke hears him in the X-wing.


GEORGE

Hm. I don’t know.


GARY

It makes sense.


GEORGE

Yeah.


GARY

But? Sounds like there’s a ‘but’ there.


GEORGE

It’s just…maybe when Obi-Wan guides Luke in the dogfight, he’s more of a spirit. It’s not telepathic, maybe he’s dead and contacting Luke from beyond. Maybe when he dies he joins the Force, in a way. Becomes part of it.


GARY

I don’t know. Alec’s not gonna like you killing him off.


GEORGE

(getting excited)

But it’s better this way. He’ll understand that. Another thing I don’t like is how they have to drag Ben with them when they escape Alderaan. Ben’s really just slowing them down. Maybe he dies on Alderaan. Maybe Vader kills him during the sword fight. I think it would definitely strengthen the dramatic aspect of the whole rescue episode.


GARY

Hmm. I’m still not seeing how this is going to save us over half a million dollars.


GEORGE

You said Alderaan’s going to be expensive right?


GARY

Yes. Very expensive.


GEORGE

What about those sets we built for the Death Star?


Death Star in the day, disco palace at night.
Death Star in the day, disco palace at night.

GARY

Okay. I guess so. So…what? We cut Alderaan altogether?


GEORGE

Yeah. The princess is on the Death Star, not Alderaan. It makes more sense this way.


GARY

We have spent some money on Alderaan, though. We have a model of the planet. It would be a waste of money if we don’t use it.


GEORGE

We blow it up. Alderaan’s the planet that they blow up. Before, all we did was suggest the power of the Death Star, but we never show it. They head to Organa Major, but it’s gone. We make it Alderaan. We have the model already.


GARY

I suppose rigging up an explosion will be a small expense compared to what we were planning to do.


GEORGE

Exactly.


GARY

But, George, this doesn’t solve our problem. There’s still a lot we have to cut.


GEORGE

It’s a good start. I have to talk to Dykstra, right away.


A pause.


GARY

Still, Alec’s not gonna like his part being reduced.


GEORGE

I know, but he’s a professional. He’s been through this sort of thing before.


CUT TO:


INT. SIR ALEC GUINNESS’ HOME – DAY


Sir Alec has a PHONE RECEIVER to his ear. His face SCREWS UP with anger.


ALEC

Bloody hell!


He SLAMS the PHONE down in its cradle. His wife MERULA, 60s, is STARTLED.


MERULA

Alec! What is it?


ALEC

(livid)

Cut my role in half, will he? Putting my career on the line for this bloody George Lucas and his bloody rubbish Martian film! No, sir! I’m through with him! Through!


INT. ELSTREE STUDIOS – REBEL BLOCKADE RUNNER SET – DAY


SINISTER MUSIC RUMBLES, but the hallway of the blockade runner, where Darth Vader makes his first appearance, is empty.


The MUSIC CUTS OUT and George enters the hallway rather than Vader, STROKING his beard and looking PENSIVE.


GEORGE

Mm-hmm.



There must be something interesting going on to their left.
There must be something interesting going on to their left.

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