- The Cave, the Inn, the Dream, the Jawas...
- Luke Constructs His Lightsaber and Sends the Droids to Jabba
In Return of the Jedi there was originally a scene in the very beginning of the film where Luke, after constructing his new lightsaber, calls R2-D2 to him and moves to place the saber in R2's head for him to launch later in the film from atop the sail barge. There is no real dialogue in this scene as far as I know. Below you'll find a storyboard/painting from this deleted scene which still appears in the RETURN OF THE JEDI novelization.
There is some music on the RETURN OF THE JEDI Special Edition soundtrack that was to accompany this scene. Here's the description (minus the unrelated bits) from the soundtrack booklet:
The sequence begins with the brief telepathic exchange between Luke and Vader, which is broken by the appearance of droids Artoo-Detoo and See-Threepio, accompanied by Luke's theme and a playful bouncing wind melody as Luke places a newly constructed lightsaber inside Artoo's domed head.
Was this scene actually filmed? Yes, I believe it was. I conducted an interview with Anthony Daniels in May of 2000 and asked him about this scene. Here's how it went:
Q: Do you recall anything at all about a Cut Scene from ROTJ that involved Luke, R2, 3PO and possibly some jawas that was to take place BEFORE the droids go to Jabba's palace to deliver Luke'smessage? I think it involved Luke placing his lightsaber in R2's head.
A: I filmed the background to this in Death Valley just before the road to Jabba (the last scene filmed in ROTJ). It was a tiny crew and George and me. It was the best time I had in all four movies.
Take note that he does in fact verify that he "filmed" the scene just before the scene where R2 and 3PO are on their way to Jabba's Palace with a tiny crew. This would make sense since both scenes are in similar settings. That's proof enough for me that the scene was indeed filmed - right from Mr. Daniels himself who should know, since he was there.
One peculiar thing to note, however... Daniels doesn't mention Mark Hamill being involved at all. Now if you really think about it, this makes perfect sense. In both of the storyboards you see below, C-3PO is located outside the cave. He's never inside with Luke at all like R2-D2 is. What they probably did was shoot the scene inside the cave at a different time, if at all. You'll notice that the dates on the storyboards differ. The interior one is dated November 1982 and the one with both droids outside the cave is dated January 1983.
So I guess they didn't need Daniels on the day they shot Luke and R2-D2 because he was actually outside and filmed separately. You'll notice on the storyboard notes it has Luke and R2 on the "stage" and C-3PO on a "plate" which is actually other footage to be composited later on. So there was probably a big bluescreen where the cave's doorway is for the interior shot. This makes sense because they probably wanted the real desert background for the outside which Lucas shot with Daniels (the plate). So after filming that setup shot with C-3PO, they probably went and shot R2 and 3PO outside leaving the cave to be dropped into a matte painting (included below) to make the scene look like the storyboarded version. From there, they head to Jabba's palace and that's that.
Now, over at the Australian site HYPERSPACE, there's an interview with Anthony Daniels and part of it talks about this scene. Here's how it went:
Q: A cut scene that people often refer too is the opening scene in ROTJ where Luke constructs a new lightsaber and hides it in R2. Was this scene actually filmed and what do you remember about it?
A: Oh yes, we nearly filmed that. I helped write that scene. We were going to film it right at the very end. The first scene we did was an exterior shot as though you were in a cave looking out, so in the studio you'd have the outside with me as it were standing guard. Scary thought. Whilst on the inside Luke Skywalker was making a new lightsaber. So we actually shot the exterior of that, and then in the end there was no time. It was like "You get a lightsaber anyway" So we left it at that.
Now why he says "nearly filmed" I have no idea when he goes on to describe the shoot. Perhaps the transcription got messed up. Perhaps he just didn't know if Hamill shot his parts? Maybe he's referring to the whole scene in general and not just the filming of his particular part of it. Maybe Hamill never did his shots in November for this scene? Which leads us to the next question...
Was the Mark Hamill section ever filmed?
In the book The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi by John Phillip Peecher there's a small passage that reads:
Mark Hamill is coming back for one day of shooting later this month [November] to do the scene where he builds his new lasersword...
That scene was not the only reason he was returning for pickup shots. At this point in November 1982, it was decided that the entire Sanstorm sequence (a different cut scene) was going to be dropped and they needed Hamill to shoot a few scenes to tie up the loose ends in the dialogue. Namely, the shots in the X-wing when he's talking to the crew in the Falcon and putting on his black glove to cover his wounded hand. So here's your explanation for the November date on the one storyboard and the January date on the other even though they are from the same scene. Mark must have come back in November and then the outdoor shots with Daniels and the tiny crew must have been shot in January.
Let's return once again to the RETURN OF THE JEDI Special Edition soundtrack and check out the FULL description from the soundtrack booklet. Then let's listen once again to TATOOINE RENDEZVOUS. Here's the full description (no edits):
After a bold resolution of Vader's theme, the music continues with TATOOINE RENDEZVOUS, most of which accompanies a sequence eliminated from the film. In it, Vader uses the Force to contact his son, Luke Skywalker. The tone of the music changes with the appearance of a synthesizer and dissonant strings, which Williams uses to gracefully transform the setting to the desert planet Tatooine. The next thirty minutes of music are imbued with dark complexity as Luke and his companions embark on the rescue of Han Solo from the notorious gangster, Jabba the Hutt. Eerie tonalities of wailing woodwinds and abrasive brass seem to emerge directly from the dingy, cavernous environment as the heroes encounter a repulsive den of bizarre alien creatures. The sequence begins with the brief telepathic exchange between Luke and Vader, which is broken by the appearance of droids Artoo-Detoo and See-Threepio, accompanied by Luke's theme and a playful bouncing wind melody as Luke places a newly constructed lightsaber inside Artoo's domed head.
After you listen to the piece, you'll notice that the cues for the part with R2-D2 and Luke seem to be timed pretty well. You can almost envision the cuts from shot to shot. So if John Williams went ahead and scored the scene, and those cues in that brief segment of music sound like they are timed perfectly with some film edits, we can probably assume that the entire scene was filmed and remains somewhere on a Lucasfilm shelf. Hopefully, one day we will see this footage resurface.
Paul Harrison, master of Elstreeprops.com, alerted me to this page on his site where he has actual photos of the hero prop that was created for this scene. Interestingly enough, he claims that not only was this shot but it was cut from the film and then lost. Here's what he had to say and don't forget to click the link to head over there and see the photos of the lightsaber.
This is a very unique one-off for the scenes where Luke is in Obi-Wan's hut making his new lightsaber after losing his in the battle with Darth Vader. This is a close-up model built to show the detailing inside. Many parts unlock and slide open! The whole saber can be telescoped shut in one move, with a satisfying whoosh of compressed air rom the pistons inside! One twist and the whole saber locks solid to be hung from the belt.
These scenes were shot, but cut from the movie, and later lost! We hoped they would on the new DVD but they aren't. So this isn’t screen-used sadly. But in a way that’s better as we get to keep it!
We made Luke's hero saber and the brief we got was to make it look like Obi's as a Jedi apprentice would base his own saber on his masters. Luke lost his Vader one in ESB during the fight. We made six new sabers for Luke at the start of the production, then towards the end were asked to build a special one. This one had to have opening emitter, control panel and butt end, and telescope in the middle. It has to close in one movement and then lock in place so Luke could put it in R2's head. It also had to have a green crystal in the pommel, and make a pneumatic sound when closed.
We also have the saber that was fired from R2's head. Ours was too heavy so they made a lighweight resin version. The first time it went up it smashed into a rock on a landing. If you watch the firing scene you will see it had no emitter and a chipped end.
My good friend Adam Parr has a book called In A Galaxy Not So Far Away... The Star Wars Filming Locations of the United States. For all the info on that, head over to the official Facebook page.
He contacted me has given me full permission to reprint this piece of it here for you all to read and enjoy. Knowing I'm a deleted scene enthusiast, Adam wrote in to tell me that he found the cave from the deleted scene in Return of the Jedi where Luke constructs his lightsaber and sends C-3PO and R2-D2 to Jabba's palace. Enjoy the excerpt below and don't forget to pick up a copy of the book when it's released.
This was a discovery nearly thirty years in the making. In late 2011, the Saga was released for the first time in high-definition video via blu-ray disc. The last two discs of the set present a number of deleted scenes from all six of the films. One scene in particular had already been of great interest to us. Rumors had circulated for years regarding a “lost” scene in which Luke Skywalker completed the construction of his very own green-bladed lightsaber, but there had been no actual footage to support the story.
That all changed in early 2011 when the never-before-seen deleted scene was leaked onto the Internet. We finally caught a glimpse of a hooded & cloaked Luke tinkering with the lighstaber hilt within the dark cave. Also featured were R2 & 3PO, presumably on the Road to Jabba’s Palace. It was entertaining, to be sure, but it was not quite the new groundbreaking scene for which we had hoped. And sadly, there was no solid visual evidence to tie it specifically to Twenty-Mule Team Canyon. So, we simply assumed that the interior cave shots had been captured inside of an artificial environment on a soundstage somewhere in Elstree Studios. Those interior shots, we presumed, when combined with the existing footage of the two droids on the Road to Jabba’s Palace, had produced the footage finally leaked onto the web in early 2011. Fair enough.
What no one knew was that the leaked scene was woefully incomplete. Only a small portion of the finished footage had made its way onto the web, and it had been taken completely out of context. Enter the official blu-ray release of late 2011. For the first time, we were now able to see the famed deleted scene in its entirety.
It begins with Vader’s arrival at the second Death Star during the opening of “Return of the Jedi”. He makes his way out of the hangar bay, having spoken with one of his officers about the impending arrival of the Emperor, and the lack of construction progress on the giant space station. (This portion of the scene is very familiar; it made the final cut.) Vader then arrives at his private meditation chamber and reaches out through the Force to his son Luke, imploring him to join the dark side, to see that this is the only solution, the only way to unravel Palpatine’s Gordian knot. We then see Luke, in the darkness of the cave, silently receiving the telepathic message, working on the lightsaber. Finally, he hides the weapon inside of R2 for safe keeping, while 3PO waits outside. The conclusion of the scene is the visual lynchpin. It is an exterior shot of C-3PO standing beside the cave, with Luke & R2 unseen within.
We had discovered and documented this exact cave location in 2002, and had no idea. Having never seen any of the completed footage, we had absolutely no way of knowing. No one did.
We had heard the rumors over the years, and we had paid attention. We had listened to the talk of caves & lightsabers, and had discussed it upon our first arrival to Twenty-Mule Team Canyon in 2002. “How cool would it be if these were the caves they used?” We had some fun, poked around, wandered through a couple of them, and took some photos. We even recorded gps coordinates, though I am not sure exactly why. We certainly had no good reason for doing so at the time.
So now, in November of 2011, twenty-eight years after the release of the original film, we compare the exterior cave shot to our cave photos. One of them is a fingerprint-match - it is that exact. What were the odds? Nearly impossible. We had discovered, explored, documented and photographed another bona fide Death Valley shooting location, nine years earlier, and had no clue at the time how right we were. A once-in-a-lifetime find.
Description: Fan-made action figure movie of "The Dream" sequence by Mark Serratore.