Over the Christmas holiday, I found myself watching much of the two Star Wars trilogies on Spike, and after watching some of the first act in Jabba's palace, I couldn't help but try to imagine what the planning sessions for that rescue mission must have been like. Rather than tell you what I mean, I think I'll just show you with this "lost" scene from Return of the Jedi:
INT. LUKE'S PLANNING ROOM
Luke shuts the door. Leia, Lando, Chewie and R2-D2 are all in attendance.
LUKE: Okay, I’ve got 3PO busy talking to the binary load lifters out back. Should be safe for us to meet.
LANDO: I don’t understand why he’s not allowed to see me and Chewie. This has been going on for months since we left Cloud City.
LUKE: Because it’s important that he think you and Chewbacca never returned from Jabba’s Palace.
LANDO: But why?
LUKE: It just is. Trust me. Anyway, Lando’s managed to pass himself off as one of Jabba’s guards, so we’ve got a man on the inside.
LANDO: So what’s the plan? Wait until Jabba’s asleep, I do a little voodoo on the security and then defrost Han and sneak him out of the palace before anyone’s the wiser?
LUKE: I don’t like it. It’s too risky. You need back-up – so I’m going to give R2 and 3PO to Jabba.
R2-D2 twitters angrily at that.
R2-D2: (subtitled) WTF? Not a chance!
As 3PO isn’t there to translate, no one knows what he says. Luke mistakes it for excitement.
LUKE: That’s right, R2! You’re going to help save Han!
R2-D2: (subtitled) Who put this guy in charge? Since when is the farmboy a master tactician?
LUKE: I know you’re excited, R2, but we need to work out the plan first.
LEIA: Do we really need to send the droids in? 3PO is useless in a rescue scenario and it’s better if we’re only risking one man. Possibly less than a complete man since it’s Lando.
LANDO: I said I was sorry about that whole betrayal thing! Look, if we need another man on the inside, I still say it’d be damn easy to sell Leia to Jabba as a new dancing girl. She’d have prime access to the throne room and might come in handy as distraction.
LEIA: I would rather be the daughter of Darth Vader than be forced to wear some kind of skimpy harem get-up as that slug’s personal slave!
R2-D2: (subtitled) Uh… about that first thing, Princess… Be careful what you wish for.
LEIA: It sounds like R2 agrees with me.
LUKE: For what it’s worth, Leia, I think you could pull the slave girl outfit off.
Leia musters a disgusted chuckle. R2 chirps.
R2-D2: (subtitled) Kid, I hope the Jedi medical insurance covers therapy... because you'll be seeing a shrink for years once you do your family tree.
LUKE: Okay, so once we have the droids inside then we’ll send Leia in disguised as a bounty hunter and she’ll give Chewie to Jabba!
CHEWIE: (Subtitled) Say what?
LEIA: I’m confused. How does giving the droids to Jabba make it easier for me to turn Chewie over to Jabba?
CHEWIE: (subtitled) Better question: why do I have to be taken prisoner?
LANDO: Why do we need Chewie locked up too? That’s just one more person to save.
LUKE: The last time we listened to you, everyone got captured. I’m running this show. Anyway, once Chewie’s locked up and everyone’s gone to bed, Leia will unfreeze Han and get him out of the palace.
LANDO: Should I help her?
LUKE: It’s too risky. Might blow your cover.
LANDO: How about I disable security? Make sure Jabba’s not anywhere nearby? Create a diversion?
LUKE: No, just sit back. No matter what happens, don’t help Leia.
LEIA: What if we get caught?
LUKE: You won’t get caught.
LANDO: Ah... I get it. Because while Leia’s doing that, you’ll have 3PO, R2 and Chewie doing something to make Leia and Han’s escape possible.
LUKE: No, they do nothing.
LANDO: But why send them in at all?
LUKE: We need Leia on the inside and the only way to give her credibility as a bounty hunter is to have her bring in Chewie.
LANDO: I’m already on the inside! Why do you need the droids there too?
LEIA: Yeah, I don’t quite see how Chewie and I really add anything to this. Or 3PO for that matter.
R2-D2: (subtitled) Especially 3PO.
LANDO: And what are you doing in all this, Luke?
LUKE: Easy, I go in, negotiate with Jabba for Chewie’s release and if things get dicey, R2 will have my lightsaber.
LANDO: But what if they search R2? And how do you know Jabba won’t put him somewhere other than the throne room. And if you don’t send Chewie in in the first place, then you won’t need to go in personally to get him out!
LUKE: Oh for crying outloud. (waves his hand across Lando and Leia’s eyes) This IS a great plan.
Lando and Leia falls under the spell of the Jedi mind trick.
LANDO and LEIA: This IS a great plan!
LUKE: Absolutely nothing can go wrong.
LANDO and LEIA: Absolutely nothing can go wrong.
LUKE: Now let’s get to work on my absurdly complicated rescue mission. R2, try not to get searched or have your memory erased by Jabba’s droid minders. Otherwise, we’re screwed!
Screenwriting links: Friday, June 14
4 days ago