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Gary Kurtz Reveals Original Plans for Episodes 1-9

Posted By Paul on May 26, 1999

Gary Kurtz, the producer of ANH and ESB, spoke at the Sci-Fi Expo in Plano, TX this weekend along with his daughters Tiffany and Melissa (as children they played Jawas in ANH). He shared with the crowd about meeting Lucas, leaving the Star Wars films and the original plans for the entire saga.

Back in the early 70s, Kurtz was looking to use the new Technoscope technology in an upcoming film. Francis Ford Coppola hooked him up with George Lucas who had recently filmed TXH-1138 with Technoscope. Kurtz became interested in Lucas' planned American Graffiti and the partnership was born.

When the time came to produce ROTJ, Kurtz was unhappy with the story direction Lucas was taking. He felt that it was too much of a rehash of the first films with no real challenges. At the same time, Jim Henson was inviting him to produce his experimental film, Dark Crystal, which he chose instead.

Kurtz gave TPM a mixed review as he was clouded by plans made for Episode 1 back in the early 70s. As someone involved with Star Wars from the initial concepts, Kurtz revealed the original intentions for the nine films as they were laid out BEFORE 1980. Very interesting.

  • EPISODE 1: Was to focus on the origins of the Jedi Knights and how they are initiated and trained
  • EPISODE 2: Introduction and development of Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • EPISODE 3: Introduction and life of Vader
  • EPISODE 4: There were seven different drafts of the film. At one point, they pursued buying the rights to Hidden Fortress because of the strong similarities. At one point, Luke was a female, Han was Luke's brother, Luke's father was the one in prison (interesting point for some debates) and the film featured 40 wookies
  • EPISODE 5: Once written, the screenplay of Empire is almost exactly what is seen on screen. The only cut scenes were those involving wampas in the rebel base (cut because of time and unsolved technical glitches) and about two minutes of Luke/Yoda Jedi training with no real dialog.
  • EPISODE 6: Leia was to be elected "Queen of her people" leaving her isolated. Han was to die. Luke confronted Vader and went on with his life alone. Leia was not to be Luke's sister.
  • EPISODE 7: Third trilogy was to focus on Luke's life as a Jedi, with very few details planned out.
  • EPISODE 8: Luke's sister (not Leia) appears from another part of the galaxy.
  • EPISODE 9: First appearance of the Emperor.





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