Draft Variations for Return of the Jedi
by Jenn Dolari
Paraphrased From Star Wars: The Annotated Scripts (by Laurent Bouzereau).
Roll up mentions TWO Death Stars. After the roll up, the camera pans down to the planet of Had Abbadon, the Imperial capital planet. It is almost entirely urban, extremely overpopulated and polluted heavily.
Around the planet is the Green Moon which is being clear cut to be turned into a paradise for new citizens.
Vader senses a rebel presence on the moon, but Grand Moff Jerjerrod (Vader’s rival) refuses to beleive it, and actually takes it as an attack.
Leia and two pilots nearly hit Jerjerrod’s shuttle on their way to set-up for the Rebel Fleet’s arrival. Eventually they get clearance for the moon.
Vader and Jerjerrod arrive on Had Abbadon to meet with the Emperor. They go deep into the planet where the throne room is, overlooking a lake of fire. Vader and Jerjerrod kneel. the Emperor tells Vader that he’s been away too long, and his powers have gotten weak. Luke has become too powerful and must be destroyed. Vader tries to disagree, but is choked. Luke is the Emperor’s to destroy, and he dismisses Vader. Once gone, the Emperor tells Jerjerrod to look carefully at Vader. Luke will NOT be destroyed, but will be turned into a new Dark Lord. He also mantions that he knows of the Rebel Fleet coming.
Leia worries about Han’s rescue from Tatooine. Lando has told her he is alive but doesn’t know how easy it will be to get him out of Jabba’s lair.
Luke is asleep dreaming of Vader, Yoda, Ben and the Dark Side. Luke is upset that Ben never told him Vader was his father. Yoda fortells his own death, but says it will make him as powerful as Ben and help Luke defeat Vader.
Luke awakes in a hovel of two Del Andues when Chewie, R2D2, C3P0 and Lando enter. Lando says Han is alive and will be executed tomorrow. Luke records a message for Jabba via R2. Luke will trade Han for a phony Spice Extractor.
Bib Fortuna is is revealed as a “High Beeser of Hoth.”
R2 delivers the message, but Jabba refuses and instead takes the droids.
EV-9D9 is known as U-8D8.
Jabba is hearing a complaint from an old star captian who wants money. Jabba refuses to pay, and just as the captain reaches for a gun, a trap door opens and he falls. All that is heard is a growl and a scream. Next up are Lando and Chewie with the phony Spice Extractor. Jabba takes the gift, Land and Chewie so that he can take twice the ransom. Chewie and Lando are reunited with a bearded Han. Han attacks Lando, but Chewie explains they’re here to save him as soon as Luke comes along.
R2 comes to Han, Chewie and Lando and reveals two blasters. They hide them and are sent to Jabba. Jabba sentences them to being dumped into the “Sloth Pit.” Han is very upset and now they’re all going to die.
Guards find the blasters on Han and Lando. Luke reaches out and a blaster flies into his hands. Jabba orders the guards to shoot the prisoners. Chewie is hit and knocked unconscious. Luke and Han fall overboard. Lando throws them a rope just as the pit reaches for Han. R2 opens all the power connectors on the barge and jumps overboard with C3P0. The ship explodes, throwing jabba and Bib Fortuna into the Sloth Pit.
Luke, Han and Lando get into the Falcon and take off for the Rebel base on Sice. During the trip, Luke sleeps, dreaming of Vader and Yoda. Yoda tells luke he must destroy Vader. Ben appears and says he has a sister who is strong in the force, but untrained.
Leia and Captain Jode set up two cannons to be used to destroy the shield generator and communications station.
The War Room is on Sicemon, capital of Sice. Solo is upset that Leia is on the Green Moon alone. Luke demonstrates his power by handcuffing Han to a control panel. Later, Luke attempts to repair his lightsabre. C3P0 says it will be impossible to repair as the information on repairing lightsabres has long been lost. Luke manages to reapir it anyways and Yoda appears. He tells Luke that since he has mastered the repair of the lightsabre, his training is complete and he’s ready to fight Vader. He then has a vision of Leia in trouble. The attack on Had Abbadon will fail, so Luke must face Vader to tip the scales in the Rebel’s favor.
Ewoks are Ewaks, and have huge yellow eyes.
Wicket takes Leia to their villiage which is in a deep chasm. The villiage is in an outcropping of a huge cavern. Logray, the medicine man, chants and puts Leia into a hypnotic spell. Wicket and Teebo hold her down as Logray inspects her teeth, eyes and ears. A grey looking bowl of soup is handed to Leia, who drinks it. A celebration occurs, introducing Leia as a new member of the tribe.
The Falcon lands on the Moon to search for Leia, but are sighted by Captain Naffer, who reports the ship to Vader. On the moon, the group triggers a trap and all but Luke escape. Luke hides inside a tree, where ben appears and tells him that he must either fight or join the Dark Side. Luke comes out of hiding and surrenders.
Veers recieves orders to take Luke directly to Vader. The captain tells Veers that Luke must go to the Emperor, but Veers refuses to obey. The captain contacts Jerjerrod.
R2, C3P0 and Wicket go back to the Falcon to signal the rebel fleet to begin the attack. Teebo, Han and Leia ready the cannons.
Luke is confronted by Vader who asks him to join him. Luke refuses, saying he is too strong in the Force to change. Vader says Luke will never destroy the Emperor. Jerjerrod comes in furious. Vader kills Jerjerrod.
Leia and Han find out that one of the cannons has been captured by the Empire. Destroying the communcations dish will be no use if the shield genreator can’t be destroyed. Han leaves to attack the troopers.
The Falcon is heavily guarded, an Ewok grabs a speeder bike to divert the soldiers. R2 and C3P0 send the signal to the Lando, They’re caught on the way out, but R2 rams the soldier and they escape.
The communications dish is destroyed, sending up alarms all over the Death Stars and the Star Destroyers. The fleet comes in, and Vader orders all the destroyers to guard the Death Stars. He sends Veers reinforcements ont he moon as he takes Luke to the Emperor.
On the Green Moon and Space, the battle begins.
On the way to the throne room, Ben appears in Vader’s path. Vader ignites his sabre. Ben says that if Vader dies, he’ll be one with the Dark Side of the force and lose all his identity. If he turns to the good side, Ben will rescue him before he looses his identity. Vader refuses to listen and moves Luke along. Ben dissapears.
Vader tells Luke to kneel before the Emperor. Luke refuses. The Emperor smiles and tells Luke that while he can destroy Vader, he won’t destroy the Emperor.
Yoda and Ben appear in the throne room, which sends the Emperor into a panic. Vader is ordered to kill Luke, and the battle begins with them jumping from island to island.
Han attaches a cable from a walker to the front of the shield generator’s bunker. Instead of ripping off the door, he rips off half the walker.
Luke cuts off Vader’s arm. The Emperor tells Vader that he’s old and weak. If he had destroyed Luke, he’d have been given half the Empire to rule, now Luke will have that honor. Vader begs his son to kill him, and he refuses. The Emperor orders Vader to kill Luke.
The Emperor shoots lightning at Luke. Luke raises his hands in defense, but they are deflected by an invisible shield. Images of Ben and Yoda appear at the points of impact. Luke collapses under the strain. Vader grabs the Emperor and dives into the lava pit with him.
Luke tells Leia she is his sister during the final celebration. Han and Leia leave Luke, and Ben appears in the flesh, followed by Annikin Skywalker. Yoda watches them celebrate.
::REVISED ROUGH DRAFT::
Wedge’s stolen TIE fighter nearly hits Vader’s shuttle on their way to set-up for the Rebel Fleet’s arrival. Leia goes after him in their own shuttle. A comptroller sees this as very irregular and demands a clearance code. They give out the stolen code, and wait. Out of nowhere, Moff Jerjerrod’s shuttle flies at them at great speed, and pass them. Eventually they get clearance for the moon.
Vader demands to know why the Emperor has not responded to any of Vader’s transmissions.
Jerjerrod evades the question, but Vader insists on an answer and a reason for his orders to return home. Jerjerrod tells Vader the the Emperor is disturbed that Vader failed to bring Skywalker to the Emperor and has decided to take charge of the matter personally. Vader will now supervise the construction of the two Death Stars. Vader is furious, but Jerjerrod explains that the Emperor believe he still has feelings for his son that are getting into the way. The Emperor knows the fleet is on it’s way and that while Luke is currently on Tatooine, he will be on his way with the fleet.
Vader contacts Luke while Luke sleeps, which immediately wakes Luke up in a hovel of two Jawas (Atetu and Tweetu) when Chewie, R2D2, C3P0 and Lando enter. Lando says Han is alive and will be executed tomorrow.
EV-8D8 is known as U-8D8.
R2 comes to Han, Chewie and Lando and are sent to Jabba. Jabba sentences them to being dumped into the “Sloth Pit.” Luke tries to make light of the situation: The only reason he killed the Rancor was that it was a small one. Han will “believe (the rescue) when I see it, if you’ll excuse the expression.”
Luke, Han and Lando get into the Falcon and take off for the Rebel base on Sice. As the group boards, C3P0 runs in saying that R2 has been captures. Luke and Lando go to look for him, but Luke is captured – it’s an Imperial trap. Lando boards the falcon to rescue Luke.
Vader demands to know where Jerjerrod ahs gone to. Piett explains that Jerjerrod is in a private communications room, where all surveillance has been shut off and the message heavily scrambled. Vader is also informed that General Veers has arrived on the Green Moon to snuff out any rebels they find.
Int he communication chamber, Jerjerrod kneels before an image of the Emperor who demands that Skywalker be brought to him. Vader must not know anything of this conversation. Jerjerrod suggest that the upcoming Rebel battle will distract Vader from Luke long enough to bring Luke to the Emperor.
Luke begs Ben for help in escaping from his cell. Yoda appears in his place. Yoda says then Ben can’t help anymore…his power is spent and will soon be completely one with the force. Only Luke has the power to bring him back into the material world. Luke doesn’t know if he can do it, he’s still angry over Ben hiding his father from him. Yoda reveals Luke has a sister. If Luke fails, she will be the last hope.
The War Room is on a star-cruiser. Lando tells Captain New about Luke’s capture. General Madine tells the group that Leia has succeeded in setting up the two cannons. Han gets impatient and leaves to join Leia.
Vader kills Jerjerrod when he finds that Luke has been taken to the Emperor.
A guard escorts Luke to the Emperor. Luke says that the Emperor will not turn him to the Dark Side. The Emperor retorts that he didn’t change Vader, Vader did that himself. The Emperor orders a guard to take him “To the tombs.”
Luke lies unconscious on a small island on a lava lake, and he wakes up. Behind him is Ben, in the full flesh. Ben explains that he’s here to help Luke. Yoda’s spirit appears to help a well.
Vader goes to meet the Emperor. He is stopped by two guards, whom he kills. Vader demands to know wher eLuke is, and the Emperor chokes him. The Emperor says Vader’s place is with the fleet, and Luke is the Emperor’s to train. Vader asks for forgiveness and leaves.
Vader follows the Emperor to the Tombs, and sees Ben. He tells Ben that Luke is his to train. Yoda appears, threatening the Emperor as well. Vader tells the emperor that it’s too late to turn Luke and they must be destroyed. The fight begins.
Vader is knocked off balance and his fighting arm falls into the molten lava. Luke refuses to kill his father.
The Emperor shoots lightning at Ben. Luke leaps in front of Ben and raises his hands in defense, but they are deflected by an invisible shield. Images of Yoda appear at the points of impact. Luke collapses under the strain. Vader grabs the Emperor and dives into the lava pit with him.
Luke tells Leia and Han that he’s LEia’s brother. The couple leave him alone with Ben. Yoda appears in the flesh since Vader has gone to the good side. Yoda also prevented Vader from becoming one with the force. Luke’s father appears and they all celebrate.
Only one Death Star.
No Had Abbadon. All action takes place onthe Death Star.
The Green Moon is renamed Jus-Endor.
Death Star Commander has no name.
Chewie was tortured in front of C3P0.
Leia and Lando first arrive in disguise at Jabba’s palace. Leia appears with Chewie. When Jabba asks where she is from, she doesn’t answer as it’s none of his business. He likes this and invites Leia to join the party. Boba Fett looks on disapprovingly.
Han is freed from the carbon freeze, but he simply slumps onto the floor. Leia kisses Han, who then wakes up.
Luke appears and Jabba is unfazed. Jabba mentions he’s killed many Jedi in his years. Luke pulls a gun from another hunter’s holster, but before he can fire, the trapdoor opens into the rancor pit. Luke tries to to get out through the overhead grate, but two jawas smash their rifles onto his hands.
C3P0 is translating an argument between Ephant Mon (with Salacious Crumb on his shoulder) and Ree-Yees. Ree-Yees slugs Ephant Mon and C3P0 leaves, bumping into R2.
R2 zaps Salacious Crumb, and C3P0 is being sat upon by Hermi Odle.
Han and Lando get into the Falcon and take off for the Rebel fleet.
Owen Lars is mentioned as Ben’s brother. Owen hated Ben for forcing Luke to live with them, and Ben is now paying for that.
Luke wanders in the Swamp and Ben appears. Luke is furious about not being told that Vader is his father. Ben goes on in depth about his and Annakin’s friendship. Annakin has begun to betray the Jedi and Ben attempted to destroy him. He failed, and the Emperor was able to make him half man/half machine. Ben reveals he has a sister, adopted by the Governor of Alderaan, Ben’s friend. Luke guesses his sister is Leia. Ben explains that Yoda will soon die. Luke gets angrier and ignites his lightsabre to attack Ben. Instead, Luke tosss it into the swamp.
Admiral Ackbar is a “pale blue nonhuman.”
After assembling the command staff, Han declares, “Well, this is it, gang… we’ve all decided to die young.”
[Planned for this draft: Luke was to pick up Vader’s mask and put it on. The Emperor would have lead Luke to the controls of the Death Stars to help destroy the rebel fleet. Instead, Luke aimed at Had Abbadon and destroyed it.]
Yoda and Ben appear at the end of the film, with no Annikin.
::REVISED SECOND DRAFT::
Death Star Commander is named Jerjerrod.
Luke appears and Jabba is unfazed. C3P0 recognizes Lando and attempts to get Luke’s attention over to Lando. Luke raises his hands and C3P0’s voice crackles to static.
Yoda and Ben appear at the end of the film, with no Annikin.
Annakin is a horrible mutant, hardly recognizable as human.
The Millenium Falcon is destroyed escaping from the Death Star.
Reprinted with full permission