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 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.
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 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?
David shakes their hands and pats George on the back.
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 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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, and there certainly weren’t any space cruisers before now.
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…
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.
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 new. He redid Macbeth, Dostoevsky, even John Ford. You know, he loved John Ford movies the way you love his. Nobody cares that he took the stories. Do you?
WALTER It wasn’t stealing, really, it was just…Kurosawa’s turn to tell them. Now people are redoing his movies!
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.
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.
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.
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 Thats what I’m trying to tell you, kid. It ain’t there. It’s been totally blown away.
ROBBY Destroyed…by the Empire!
CHRISTOPHER The entire starfleet 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?
ROBBY Luke Starkiller’s a pretty cool name, too.
CHRISTOPHER Yeah? Who’s that?
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.
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.
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, 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.
INT. CHINESE RESTAURANT – DAY
George, Carrie, Harrison and Mark 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.
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.
HARRISON (insisting) Because 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 opposite 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.
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’s, 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?
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, huh?
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!
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 the people involved have to be specialists, who aren’t free.
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.
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.
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. Is he 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?
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.
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 the 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 Hm. 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 if those sets we built we for the Death Star?
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.
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.
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.
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.