A City in the Clouds

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Looking back, not much good can be said about Cloud City. It may be beautiful, but it’s a city of betrayal, darkness, and loss. Luke almost lost more than a hand there. Leia and Chewie almost lost more than Han there. R2-D2 almost lost more than his counterpart there.  Not a fun place to visit.

LOBOT

982In the original script, Lobot didn’t have a name. He was “LANDO’S AIDE” or just “AIDE.” He originally had some dialogue as confirmed by actor John Hollis (who portrayed Lobot) in Star Wars Insider Issue #33, page13:

“Originally, Lobot had quite a lot of lines to read,” Hollis revealed. “But they had a discussion where they decided it would be better if he didn’t talk, because he had been lobotomized, and he was getting messages through the computer. The dialogue was very much just answering questions put to him by Billy Dee.”

Starwars.com explains it similarly:

His name is a corruption of “lobotomy,” a nod to a last minute change to the character. Originally, Lobot was to have a great deal of dialogue, but the filmmakers decided that he was in fact lobotomized to accommodate the installation of his cyborg implant. The procedure rendered Lobot a mute.

But Hollis said dialogue wasn’t the only thing Lobot had cut from Empire, according to the Insider:

“A lot of death scenes were filmed,” he remembered. “There was a scene of me being carted off by men in white masks. But they would say, ‘Oh, we might need you again.’ There were a lot of people getting arrested, but they were very wary about showing people die.”

The only dialogue I could find that’s attributed to Lobot (AIDE in the script) is found in almost every draft of Episode V right up to the 4th draft shooting script. Here’s the excerpt which contains some other dialogue changes as well:

371. INT. PRISON AREA – CLOUD CITY.
The door to another cell slides open and the muffled yells of Han Solo become sharp, piercing screams of agony and pain. Darth Vader exits the cell and is approached by Lando, Lando’s aide, and Boba Fett.

VADER
Bounty hunter, if you are waiting for your reward,
you will wait until I have Skywalker.

BOBA
(a very tough customer)
I am in no hurry, Lord Vader.
My concern is that Captain Solo not be damaged.
The reward from Jabba the Hutt pays double if he’s alive.

VADER
His pain is considerable, bounty hunter,
but he will not be harmed.

LANDO
What about Leia and the Wookiee?

VADER
You will find them well enough.
But they must never again leave this city.

LANDO
That was never mentioned.
Neither was this bounty hunter taking Han.
I hope you haven’t forgotten our bargain.

VADER
I forget nothing, Calrissian.
Perhaps you think you’re being treated unfairly.

LANDO
(glances at his aide)
No.

VADER
Good. It would be most unfortunate if
I had to leave a permanent garrison here.

Vader turns and sweeps into the elevator with Boba Fett. Lando turns with his aide and walks swiftly down another corridor.

LANDO
This deal’s getting worse
all the time.

AIDE
Maybe you should have
argued with him.

Lando gives his aide a look that speaks volumes, then walks a few steps in silence, thinking.

LANDO
(finally)
I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

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LUKE SKYWALKER VS. DARTH VADER

2941When filming a large-scale duel, there’s bound to be lots of lost footage. There were probably parts that didn’t work right, parts that didn’t flow well and little bits that were trimmed for pacing or other reasons. In an interview with Mark Hamill in Prevue magazine from October 1983, he spoke of one of these scenes. Here’s the excerpt:

PREVUE: Have you ever said to your stunt double, “Let me try this one, so my face will be on camera.”

HAMILL: Actually, my double did one stunt in EMPIRE – the flip out the Cloud City window through the shattered glass. He did a running jump and a flip in the air that was tremendous, but I think it was cut so that you couldn’t see the flip. Peter Diamond, the stuntman, told me that he thought I could do it, but the insurance company wouldn’t let me.

I was amazed that the sequence where I fall through the innards of the carbon freezing chamber was cut so much. My favorite scene was also missing, where I jumped off a ledge. The action required me to make a six-foot leap, and land on a small platform below. Of course, there were boxes and mattresses and stuntmen with their arms outstretched in case I blew it. I jumped out toward the camera – it was clearly me – grabbed onto a bar about waist level, stiff-armed it, and rotated 360 degrees, then dropped past the camera onto the mattresses – a real piece of Error Flynn-type derring-do. The stunt got applause on the set, but it’s not in the movie. The scene was condensed to emphasize the massive size of the carbon freezing chamber, and to shorten the film.

Much of the usual imagery we see from the duel with Vader looks familiar and at first glance might appear to be from the film, but if you go frame by frame and look closely, you’ll see that many images you’ve seen for years were not actually used. Take note the image of Luke inside that light tunnel.  In the finished film, we see Luke find it and walk in. Then it lights up and Luke takes one step inside before we cut away.
Also note the trading card labeled, “Where are you Skywalker?” Usually, when trading cards are created for a film, they’re in chronological order according to the events in the film. This particular card was grouped with cards from Luke’s duel with Vader. Someone clearly made a mistake because this image actually takes place when Vader is inspecting the freezing chamber before Luke arrives. If you look closely, you’ll see ugnaughts and stormtroopers hanging around.  This seems to be a trading card error.

I’d like to mention one other changed shot which happened while making the Special Edition. In the original version of the film, after Vader realizes his failure and prepares to depart Cloud City, he walks at the camera, clearly annoyed, and says, “Bring my shuttle!”

This was altered in the Special Edition. The line was changed to, “Alert my Star Destroyer to prepare for my arrival.”  George Lucas was adding was adding new shots of Vader taking a shuttle back to his to his ship, so this line helped reinforce things.

Ben Burtt spoke about this “new” line in an interview on Starwars.com. Here’s what he said:

“That was James Earl Jones. The line was recorded for A NEW HOPE but never used.”

Click to downloadIn an old trailer, there’s a very short clip of Darth Vader on the gantry after Luke has let himself fall. He has his arm extended out and you can see his head/body movements follow Luke as he falls.

The only reference I can find of this is from The Empire Strikes Back Storybook. I’m not sure they go together but it’s worth a mention. It reads:

…With the utmost calm, Luke stepped off the platform and let himself fall into the chasm.

Vader rushed forward and made Luke a witness to the Dark Lord’s power. He held out his hand and a great wind caught hold of Luke. It swept him back up the shaft. Then Vader gestured again, and as abruptly as it had started, the wind ceased. Vader let him go. Now Luke was falling again–faster and faster.

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AROUND THE CITY

1011Here’s some Cloud City imagery that doesn’t fit into any particular category consisting of deleted shots and alternate angles.

Starwars.com mentioned a quick deleted scene with Lando Calrissian leading his guests to their dinner surprise. There was a short sequence which was deleted from the tour which takes place along a “breezy walkway.” The official reason given as to why this scene was cut was visual effects limitations and pacing.

A check of the novelization reveals some potential dialogue:

“They stepped onto a veranda that overlooked the spiraled top of Cloud City. From here they saw several flying cloud cars gracefully swooping around the beautiful spired buildings of the city. It was a spectacular view, and the visitors were very impressed.

“It’s a lovely outpost,” Leia marvelled.

“Yes, we’re proud of it,” Lando replied. “You’ll find the air quite special here…very stimulating.” He smiled at Leia meaningfully. “You could grow to like it.”

Han didn’t miss Lando’s flirtatious glance-and he didn’t like it, either. “We don’t plan on staying that long,” he said brusquely.

Leia raised an eyebrow and glanced mischieviously at the now-fuming Han Solo. “I find it most relaxing.”

Lando chuckled, and led them from the veranda. They approached the dining hall with its massive closed doors and, as they paused in front of them, Chewbacca lifted his head and sniffed the air curiously. He turned and barked ugrently at Han.

“Not now, Chewie,” Han reproved, turning to Calrissian.

 

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Click to download Clips of Lando Calrissian comprised of two shots from an old trailer. First, you’ll see him coming up the top hatch of the Millennium Falcon looking around for Luke, then it cuts to him running towards a door and presumably trying to unlock it. Neither of these was in the original release, however for the Special Edition they added some new footage of Lando’s ascent/descent in the top hatch of the Falcon to make it look and work better.
Click to download Clip of the arrival at Platform 327 from an early trailer

 

 

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