Otoh Gunga doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, does it? Then again, perhaps that’s the whole point. Like Utapau and Naboo, the weirder the name in Star Wars, the better. Here are a few shots from the underwater city of Otoh Gunga that weren’t in the finished film.
GUNGAN CLEANUP CREW (AND MORE)
In June of 2000, there was an “Evening with Lucasfilm” in Australia with the Hyperspace SW Fan Club. They held a laid-back little panel with some of the Star Wars crew at the “Fox and Lion” on the Sydney Fox Studios lot just mere weeks before filming was to begin on Episode II. On this panel were Episode I alumni Michael Mooney – assistant to Trisha Biggar, Gavin Bocquet – Production Designer, Peter Walpole – Set Decorator, Peter Russell – Supervising Art Director, and Stuntmaster Nick Gillard. Matt Hatton over at the club wrote a great article on the evening and there was one very interesting bit that’s related to a possible cut scene that I’d like to quote. Here’s what Matt said:
“The guys showed some great video that to my knowledge hasn’t been seen before – at least not at the Denver celebration or at the ILM seminars I’ve attended. First up were some simple CGI mockups of Gungan city sets that Gavin and Peter used to ascertain how much set to actually build. They related a great story about a bit of back story George had, but didn’t use. Remember how Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Jar Jar walk through the wall into the bubble? An idea was that there were to be be Gungan ‘cleanup crews’ walking around who would mop up the fish that inadvertently came through the walls! There was also a rough CG model of Watto’s place showing spires that rose from the structure and weren’t revealed in the setup shot. Also some great podrace animatics showing how still storyboard elements, live stand-ins, puppets and preliminary CGI were all incorporated to create a ‘dry-run’ that was surprisingly close in some cases to the final edit. Also some hilarious animatics of the Gungan sub sequence (I think Silas Carson was standing in for Liam Neeson).”
I think the “cleanup crew” he mentions would have been a nice little touch. Now I’m not sure if it was filmed or CG-tested at all (probably not since he said it was just an idea) but the Hyperspace club was sure treated to something special that night. I bet they saw lots of great stuff.
RETURN TO OTOH GUNGA
According to the Episode I Illustrated Screenplay, there was a short scene where Jar Jar swam back down to Otoh Gunga in search of the Gungans after the trip back home from Coruscant. In the film, we only see him returning from this trip and coming out of the water to report that the city had been deserted, but in the original drafts he actually swam down and looked around.
Here’s the excerpt from the Illustrated Screenplay:
EXT. NABOO SWAMP – UNDERWATER – DAY (FX)
JAR JAR swims down into Bubble City.
INT. OTOH GUNGA – CITY SQUARE
JAR JAR enters the main square of the bubble city. He stands, stunned, in amazement and fear. He is nervous and shaking.
Ello! Where das everybody?
The plaza is empty. He notices that many of the buildings are shot up as if there had been a battle of some kind.