Take two of my favourite things, Star Wars and Adidas vintage trainers. Not counting the prequels of course.
It’s now impossible to imagine Star Wars without Ford, Hammill or Fisher in the leading roles but it might have very different. Thanks to the Review section of the Observer this week pointing out what a huge treasure trove YouTube can be if you take to time to dig about, you can get a glimpse of what might have happened if Kurt Russell had gotten the part of Han Solo or if Sissy Spacek or Cindy Williams had been picked for Leia.
It’s interesting hearing the scripts for the auditions too, I’m guessing they contained at least some of the early draft dialogue and it’s pure Lucas, much of which thankfully didn’t make to the final movie.
First up Kurt Russell.
Then Harrison Ford.
Then hear Ford again as he’s already part of the screen test for the others turning up to audition for Luke Skywalker. Andrew Stevens as it happens has appeared in more movies, he’s also produced a ton of them too, than the famous trio put together and just in case you’re still not convinced things turned out well for him in the end he also has been married to both Stella Stevens and Kate Jackson.
Robby Benson? Apparently he was a teen idol a long, long time ago. He still has great hair.
Then of course Mark Hammill. There’s still the hammy dialogue to wade through and Ford must have done this scene a hundred times, no wonder he’s a miserable so and so when he’s interviewed.
If the names Laverne and Shirley ring any bells then you’ll know who Cindy Williams is and why she would have been a bizarre choice for Leia.
Carrie Fisher. The metal bikini was yet to come.
I missed this first time round and I suspect a lot of other disappointed Star Wars fans did too but did you know there are ‘fan’ edits of The Phantom Menace’? Yep a couple of guys (I guess they were guys) took the pigs ear that was the first Star Wars prequel and removed as much dead weight as they could and in the one case over dubbed some of the appalling dialogue. On one hand I had to wonder how much of the original movie would be left behind after it had been chopped about and by all accounts they both rattle along at a cracking pace but as the ‘Lucas version’ is more pedestrian in places than a coach load of sight seeing OAPs that might not be a bad thing. Gone or at least changed beyond recognition is the indefensible Jar Jar Binks, the useless Trade Federation back plot and as mentioned some of the worse dialogue this side of a poorly dubbed Hong Kong action flick.
This does raise a couple of questions that might invite some discussion. Firstly is the legality of such an endeavour as it takes copyrighted material and mixes it up in a way that it’s creator never intended, or does the fact it was done without any intention of profiting from it matter? I can see armies (Clone Armies maybe) of IP Laywers arguing the letter with the spirit over this. The other question is why even bother? If like me the 1977 Star Wars movie was an integral and totemic part of your childhood then seeing George Lucas over 20 years later piss away the greatest movie franchise in history is the film making equivalent of finding out a close family member is a wrong ‘un so seeing someone trying to right some cinematic wrongs is intregeing to say the least.
But why stop there? Whilst remaking the prequels is an impossibilty, rewritting them wouldn’t be a creative no go and Lucas himself has taken the opportunity to be revisionist with the original trilogy. One idea I’ve seen is that that Episodes I, II and III should be Obi-Wan’s story not Anakin’s and I agree as he’s a far more interesting character at least before Master A Skywaker goes bad. Now just imagine the possibilities…
As a Star Wars geek concerning Lucas’ first three movies Wookiepedia is a godsend, no more will I get into arguments with mates over the name of the pilot who found Han and Luke at the beginning of ‘Empire’. The only down side of course is that it also covers the cinematic abominations he subsequently made but Star Wars is a bit like that for me nowadays, if I’m forced to look at the series of movies as a single piece of work it’s either half good or half shit.
But as it’s a Wiki I could edit out the nightmare that was Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. In fact Jar Jar Binks would be first and when I’m finally done with Mannequin Skywalker and all the other rubbish I could deal with the only flaw in the original trilogy….those bloody Ewoks.