Star Wars – the lost version
Update: I originally posted this as Ultimate Puzzle #4 but after thinking about it for a few days I realized that it’s in the wrong spot. Although a puzzle for me I think that the majority of you wouldn’t agree. Therefor I feel it is right to move it under the regular blog section. I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog reading….
Today I was reading an article about the blu-ray release of the Star Wars saga. I am a fan of the Star Wars movies but I wouldn’t say I was obsessed with it or anything like that. I have yet to own a blu-ray player so news of this release didn’t fill me with any particular excitement. Especially since there is talk of some more changes that George Lucas has made that seems to have the Star Wars fans in an uproar. You can read more about that in this article.
There are 3 specific scenes that I clearly remember. I have talked with people about this in the past and have even posted questions on the Star Wars website and other fan pages and no one seems to know what I’m talking about. So the puzzle for me for all these years has been:
1. Did these scenes ever exist?
2. If so, why did I see them in the movie when no one else seems to have?
This is a puzzle I’ve been trying to solve for more than 30 years.
I’ve grown tired of no one believing me so with fresh determination I began scouring the web today looking for the proof I needed. And I believe I have found it. Through my reseach I found the website Blueharvest.net. There I discovered the original Star Wars script. I scanned through it and was excited about what I found. Let me explain the scenes I remember and then show you the proof that I found. These are not listed in the order they appear in the movie.
Location: In a hangar bay on the 4th moon of Yavin.
Point in storyline: As they are getting ready to leave to battle the Death Star.
What I remember seeing: Luke sees Biggs, shouts his name and runs over to him. They excitedly talk to each other although I don’t remember what the dialogue was.
Current status: CONFIRMED! This scene was restored in the 1997 special edition version so I already knew this one existed.. At the time it filled me with great joy and a sense of victory to suddenly realize that my memory of that scene was correct. The script I found also proves it:
Leia gives Luke a little kiss, turns, and goes off. As Luke heads for his ship, another pilot rushes up to him and grabs his arm.
BIGGS: Luke! I don’t believe it! How’d you get here…are you going out with us?!
LUKE: Biggs! Of course, I’ll be up there with you! Listen, have I got some stories to tell…
Red Leader, a rugged handsome man in his forties, comes up behind Luke and Biggs. He has the confident smile of a born leader.
RED LEADER: Are you…Luke Skywalker? Have you been checked out on the Incom T-sixty-five?
BIGGS: Sir, Luke is the best bushpilot in the outer rim territories.
Point in storyline: Right near the beginning of the movie
What I remember seeing: Before Vader’s troops board the Tantive IV and capture Princess Leia we see Luke on the surface of Tatooine. I don’t remember what he’s doing but at one point he looks up into the sky and sees the explosions from the battle taking place in space above him.
Current status: POSSIBLY CONFIRMED! I watched a video today that advertised the deleted scenes included in the blu-ray set. I got excited because I think this particular scene is one of them. I say that because at the 23 second mark of the video you see Luke looking up at the sky with his binoculars.
Now, I don’t know for sure if that’s the scene but unlike our Star Wars heroes I don’t have “a bad feeling about this”.
I found this scene in the script and it does seem to coincide with my memory (I’ve added my own emphasis on the specific part I’m referring to):
EXTERIOR: TATOOINE — DESERT WASTELAND — DAY.
A death-white wasteland stretches from horizon to horizon. The tremendous heat of two huge twin suns settle on a lone figure, Luke Skywalker, a farm boy with heroic aspirations who looks much younger than his eighteen years. His shaggy hair and baggy tunic give him the air of a simple but lovable lad with a prize-winning smile.
A light wind whips at him as he adjusts several valves on a large battered moisture vaporator which sticks out of the desert floor much like an oil pipe with valves. He is aided by a beatup tread-robot with six claw arms. The little robot appears to be barely functioning and moves with jerky motions. A bright sparkle in the morning sky catches Luke’s eye and he instinctively grabs a pair of electrobinoculars from his utility belt. He stands transfixed for a few moments studying the heavens, then dashed toward his dented, crudely repaired Landspeeder (an auto-like transport that travels a few feet above the ground on a magnetic-field). He motions for the tiny robot to follow him.
As further support of this I did some research on Youtube and found some additional deleted scenes from the movie. One in particular showed Luke talking with Biggs and other friends on Tatooine about seeing a battle going on above them. They look in his binoculars and tell him he’s mistaken and Biggs says “I tell you Luke, the rebellion’s a long way from here”. Although this scene wasn’t in the movie the fact that it was filmed lends credibility to my belief that a scene with Luke looking up at the sky does, or did, exist. I guess we won’t know for sure until September 16th when the blu-ray edition is scheduled to be released. I’ll have to find a friend that has a blu-ray player.
Update: I’m glad I found that video when I did because it has since been removed from Youtube due to claims of copyright infringement by 20th Century Fox.
Location: Luke’s X-wing fighter
Point in storyline: During the Death Star battle. Biggs’ ship has just been blown up.
What I remember seeing: Not so much what I remember seeing as what I remember hearing. When Luke sees his friend’s ship has been destroyed and Biggs killed he pauses for a moment, pain on his face, and he says, “We were a couple of shooting stars”.
Current status: UNCONFIRMED! In the past I have asked several Star Wars fans and even the Star Wars website if Luke ever spoke that line. No one recalls it. They invariably say the same thing, that either my memories are false or I am remembering scenes from other movies.
In the script I located a scene that contained the phrase “shooting stars” but apparently my memory may actually be wrong. I thought it was Luke but it was in fact Biggs that referred to the two of them as shooting stars and it was during their reunion in the hangar bay before the Death Star battle. The script shows this:
BIGGS: I’ve got to get aboard. Listen, you’ll tell me your stories when we come back. All right?
LUKE: I told you I’d make it someday, Biggs.
BIGGS: (going off) You did, all right. It’s going to be like old times, Luke. We’re a couple of shooting stars that’ll never be stopped!
Luke laughs and shakes his head in agreement. He heads for his ship.
So although I didn’t recall the exact phrasing, location in the movie, or speaker of the line I did remember that there was a shooting star reference to Luke and Biggs which is not in any version of the movie currently available.
I believe it can be conclusively stated that for the most part my memories of those scenes were accurate (although memory 3 is not exactly as I remembered it). Since today is the first time I ever saw the original script I think it’s safe to say that I did actually see those scenes in the movie in 1977.
So question # 1 has been answered. This leaves us with the question of how it was that I saw a different version of the movie? That is the puzzle that remains to be solved. Perhaps I saw a pre-release version or maybe I was part of a test screening audience or possibly I’m unknowingly part of some conspiracy. I don’t know. I asked my parents about it and they don’t recall. My hope is that one day it will be solved and I can finally put my mind at ease. I just hope it’s not a long, long time from now.