Effective yet cheesy: A perfect microcosm of the Lucas oeuvre. This is from the Star Wars Celebration V convention over the weekend, at which Zeus himself (along with Mark Hamill) showed up to give the assembled dweeb faithful the thrill of their lives — 55 seconds of the alternate beginning of “Return of the Jedi.” The effective part? Vader and Luke doing the Jedi mindmeld while the latter perfects his lightsaber, foreshadowing the battle to come. The ambiguity of the cloak, which creates a sinister possibility for Luke, is a nice touch too. The cheesy part? “Luuuuuuuuke, Luuuuuuuuuke” is at least as lame as the infamous “Nooooooo!” scene in “Revenge of the Sith,” if not more so. But hey, it’s “Star Wars,” buddy. You’ve got to take the bitter with the sweet.
I’m going to leave you with this, because I think you deserve to be as depressed as I am:
“We had an outline and George changed everything in it,” Kurtz said. “Instead of bittersweet and poignant he wanted a euphoric ending with everybody happy. The original idea was that they would recover [the kidnapped] Han Solo in the early part of the story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base. George then decided he didn’t want any of the principals killed. By that time there were really big toy sales and that was a reason.”
The discussed ending of the film that Kurtz favored presented the rebel forces in tatters, Leia grappling with her new duties as queen and Luke walking off alone “like Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns,” as Kurtz put it.
Kurtz said that ending would have been a more emotionally nuanced finale to an epic adventure than the forest celebration of the Ewoks that essentially ended the trilogy with a teddy bear luau.