At the Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando, Florida this past weekend, George Lucas and friends (including Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher) introduced a never-before-seen deleted scene from Return of the Jedi, the third installment in the original trilogy. (You can watch the scene – or at least a portion of it – below.) Apparently, Luke Skywalker originally had a different introduction in the film. Instead of waiting to bring the young, mechanically-handy jedi into the story after Princess Leia’s failed attempt to rescue Han Solo from Jabba’s palace, Lucas and his collaborators conceived a scene in which Luke, his face partially obscured by his dark hoody-cloak, finished work on his new lightsaber and placed it inside R2-D2’s domed head, setting up some plot points for later in the movie. What struck me most were the moments preceding the Luke stuff, in which Darth Vader retires to his meditation chamber and tries to psychically summon his son. “Luke, join me on the dark side of The Force. It is the only way. Luuuuuuuke… Luuuuuuuuke…” Kinda corny in retrospect, but at the same time, the whole sequence would have made for an ominous and creepy opening sequence – one at odds with the relatively light adventure that follows, which could be one reason why they cut it. The deleted scene will be available on the Return of the Jedi Blu-ray disc, which will be released next year as part of the Blu-ray release of the entire franchise.
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