You have to hand it to Palpatine. Organizing his own capture and rescue to reinforce his cover as a phantom menace to the galaxy was a stroke of pure evil genius. Poor Dooku probably thought so too until he had two lightsabers criss-crossing his neckline. I’m not sure that even Palpatine foresaw what a troublesome rescue it would be, however. What we saw in the finished film was a trimmed down version. Let’s take a look at some of the deleted/altered bits from the opening space battle to the big crash landing.
THE OPENING SPACE BATTLE
The first line of the finished film belongs to Anakin Skywalker when he tells R2-D2 to lock onto an enemy – but this wasn’t always the case. In fact, that line was originally spoken later in the battle.
Here’s an excerpt from an early version of the script that gives us the original opening of the film. Note the change in Obi-Wan’s droid’s name. R4-P17 from Episode II was replaced in the film with another R4 droid, R4-G8:
PAN DOWN to reveal a REPUBLIC ATTACK CRUISER. Continue to PAN with the Cruiser as TWO JEDI STARFIGHTERS enter and head toward an enemy Battle Cruiser. TRUCK with the Jedi Fighters as they maneuver in unison, dodging flack and enemy laser fire. R2-D2 is on Anakin’s ship. R4-P17 is on Obi-Wan’s ship. A giant space battle is revealed as the tiny Jedi ships continue their assault in a synchronous ballet.
2 INT. OBI-WAN’S STARFIGHTER COCKPIT-SPACE
OBI-WAN bounces through the flack with a frown. His ship rocks violently.
3 INT. ANAKIN’S STARFIGHTER COCKPIT-SPACE
ANAKIN smiles as he blasts a TRADE FEDERATION DROID DROP FIGHTER.
There isn’t a droid made that
can out fly you, Master, and no
other way to get to the
Look out, four droids inbound…
4 EXT. CORUSCANT-SPACE BATTLE
The TWO JEDI FIGHTERS swerve in unison as FOUR TRADE FEDERATION DROID DROP FIGHTERS attack. After several clever moves by the Jedi, two of the FEDERATION DROID DROP FIGHTERS collide with each other in a ball of flame.
5 INT. OBI-WAN’S STARFIGHTER COCKPIT-SPACE
OBI-WAN struggles to maintain control of his ship.
We’ve got to split them up.
Break left, fly through the
guns on that tower.
OBI-WAN flies to the left of a huge tower on a REPUBLIC CRUISER. The TWO DROID DROP FIGHTERS follow.
Easy for you to say…
why am I always the bait?
Don’t worry. I’m coming around
OBI-WAN deftly maneuvers around a large Starship’s superstructure, but the TWO DROID FIGHTERS stay on his tail, BLASTING him with intense laser fire.
Anakin, they’re all over me!
Dead ahead! Closing…
Lock onto him, Artoo…
ARTOO BEEPS his reply as ANAKIN swoops in for the kill. ANAKIN BLASTS one of the DROID DROP FIGHTERS. It EXPLODES.
We got him, Artoo!
ANAKIN BLASTS away at the second DROID DROP FIGHTER as ARTOO BEEPS an angry warning.
I copy, Artoo.
I’m going down on the deck.
Good idea… I need some room
OBI-WAN dives toward the surface of one of the larger TRADE FEDERATION BATTLESHIPS and is forced to fly through a maelstrom of laser flack. He skims the surface, followed by the DROID DROP FIGHTER, which is followed by ANAKIN.
Cut right. Do you hear me?! Cut right.
Don’t let him get a handle on you.
Come on, Artoo, lock on! Lock on!
ARTOO BEEPS. The crosshairs merge on the DROID DROP FIGHTER.
Hurry up! I don’t like this!
OBI-WAN flies through a narrow gap between two towers on a Battleship. The DROID DROP FIGHTER hits one of Obi-Wan’s wings with a laser blast, and parts of the ship go flying around Obi-Wan’s Astro Droid, ARFOUR.
R-4 BEEPS a blue streak.
Don’t even try to fix it, Arfour.
I’ve shut it down.
We’re locked on…
We’ve got him…
ANAKIN drops in behind the DROID DROP FIGHTER and blows him apart. ARTOO SQUEALS with delight.
Yeah! We got him…
good going, Artoo.
Next time you’re the bait…
Now let’s find the Command Ship
and get on with it…
R-4 BEEPS a blue streak.
Lock onto them, Artoo.
Master, General Grievous’s ship
is directly ahead.
So was this opening bait-and-switch maneuver actually shot? I can’t say for sure because there isn’t much information on this specific scene out there. If it was shot and deleted later, that would mean that George Lucas trimmed the opening and saved himself a few minutes of valuable screen time but sacrificed some cool action shots. Fortunately, the opening of the film contains so much action that we don’t even miss it, really.
I’m going to include some other excerpts from the opening space battle that contain lines of dialogue not included in the theatrical version. Most are minor changes with trims for flow or to speed things up but they are fun to note.
Come on, Master.
Not this time. There’s too much at stake.
We need help. Odd Ball, do you copy?
8 INT. ANAKIN’S FIGHTER COCKPIT-SPACE
This is where the fun begins.
Ten Vulture Droids straight ahead,
coming down the left side.
ARTOO BEEPS a worried message.
Add five Tri-fighters on the right…
I’m going head to head. See you.
Take it easy, Anakin.
Four Clone Fighters move into formation behind the Jedi.
I’m on your right, Red Leader.
ARTOO SQUEALS as five DROID TRI-FIGHTERS pass by at high speed on the right.
Five more on the right!
Four more VULTURE DROID FIGHTERS pass at high speed from the left. All hell breaks loose. OBI-WAN and ANAKIN continue to fly in unison, backing up each other. ARTOO SQUEALS.
Here we go.
The Jedi ships split up and make a quick loop around the DROID TRI-FIGHTERS, ending up behind them. BLASTING away. The DROID TRI-FIGHTERS EXPLODE.
I’m going high and right.
Hang on. There are four more of them.
Stay with me… swing back and right…
help me engage. Back off…
Let them pass between us.
I’m coming around.
I’m coming around on your tail.
All right, engage…and hurry.
These droids are all over me like a rash.
In one incredible move, ANAKIN swings in behind the DROID TRI-FIGHTERS, blowing them away one by one until there is only one left. ARTOO CHIRPS.
ARTOO lets out a HOWL as ANAKIN accelerates past the last DROID TRI-FIGHTER, slams on his brakes, flips the Fighter around, and BLASTS the Fighter from the front. ARTOO BEEPS frantically as they fly through the debris of the destroyed ships. ANAKIN looks behind him.
How many back there. Artoo? (Artoo beeps)
Four… that’s not good.
Anakin, you have four on your tail.
I know. I know!
Four more closing from your left.
I know. I know!
Break right and go high.
I’m going low and left.
Obi-Wan shakes his head.
He still has much to learn.
ANAKIN swoops low and skims across a TRADE FEDERATION BATTLESHIP, dodging flack as ARTOO bounces along, trying to get out a sentence.
Hang on, Artoo. Obi-Wan, do you copy?
I’m going to pull them through the needle…
First Jedi rule: “Survive.”
Sorry, no choice.
Come down here and thin them out a little.
OBI-WAN drops in behind the DROID VULTURE FIGHTERS chasing Anakin. ARFOUR BEEPS to OBI-WAN.
Just keep me steady… hold on…
not yet… now break left.
OBI-WAN fires as he swings across the back of the VULTURE DROIDS, BLASTING four of them away. ANAKIN heads for a trench along the surface of one of the Trade Federation Battleships. He flies into the trench, which ends in a conning tower with a small slit between two main struts.
You’ll never get through
there, Anakin. It’s too tight.
ARTOO BEEPS nervously.
we’ve done this before.
Use the Force, think yourself
through, the ship will follow.
ARTOO SQUEALS in a panic. On the view screen Artoo’s squeal reads out, “WE’RE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT.”
Wrong thought, Artoo.
ANAKIN slips through the narrow gap. The trailing VULTURE DROID FIGHTERS CRASH.
OBI-WAN continues to fire on the VULTURE DROID FIGHTERS, driving them into the EXPLOSION.
A CLONE fighter is hit and explodes, spewing debris. The CLONE PILOT spins off into space.
Finally, OBI-WAN peels off and swings around, pulling up alongside ANAKIN. CLONE FIGHT SQUAD SEVEN battles the DROIDS.
There are too many of them.
CLONE PILOT 2
I’m on your wing. Break left.
Break left. They’re all over me.
Get them off my…
I’m going to go help them out!
No, no! They are doing their job
so we can do ours. Head for
the Command Ship!
It’s interesting to note that there were originally supposed to be a few mentions of the Jedi named Shaak Ti who has an interesting history involving her deletions from this film. It seems that Lucas really tried his best to get her in there somehow but she only made it into one tiny Jedi Council hologram shot.
Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo was allowed to attend the shooting of the film for Starwars.com coverage. Pablo has seen not one but many versions of the script as well as the many additions/deletions made on the fly. On July 29, 2005, he posted a diary entry called “The Space Battle on Paper” which covered the many issues faced in filming the sequence.
The first thing I noticed in his report is that he mentions that the script pans LEFT after the crawl instead of down. The published script mentions a pan down so Pablo is hinting to a different opening altogether, perhaps one where the Jedi ships are making their way into battle.
Pablo also mentions that in the earlier scripts, Obi-Wan had the first line: “Flying is for droids!” which was moved to another location in the battle. He also goes on to mention the Droid Drop Fighters. Those droid fighters are actually the ones that ended up on Kashyyyk – nowhere to be seen in this opening battle, much like the Republic V-wings that accompany Palpatine’s shuttle near the end of the film which were also supposed to be part of the opening battle. Those were replaced by the more X-wing-like ARC-170 fighters.
Pablo talks a lot about the ships that were in and out of the battle. The tri-droids were in, out, then back in. He goes on about the various ships used by the Republic and the various Separatist groups plus talks about the buzz droid sequence. The set diaries, unfortunately, have since been deleted.
Some of the images I’m including here are ones I was made privy to long before the film came out. Some are slightly altered by the source for better viewing. Note that these are not the final versions of the ships in the film. The one that looks like a shark but has the star-filled background behind it is a composite sent in by Darth Darthy. One image featuring the Jedi ships clearly shows Utapau in the distance so I’m assuming this is some sort of composite for promotional use. I did find a similar shot with Coruscant in the background, however.
AN UNEXPECTED SWIM
This scene (which is included with the Episode III DVD) is one of the casualties of the beginning of the film being too long. After assembling all the footage together, George Lucas felt it was taking too much time to get to the imprisoned Chancellor so a lot of the rescue attempt hijinks were trimmed or deleted.
According to the DVD, this scene was to take place after Grievous kills Shaak Ti. The Jedi and Grievous exchange some dialogue, Grievous kills Shaak Ti, and they cut their way through the floor, landing in a fuel tank. They have to find a way out before the fuel rises. They can’t use their lightsabers. Super Battle Droids are swimming toward them and the room is filling up fast.
It appears that in rewrites, since Shaak Ti was removed from the beginning of the film, the Jedi meet up with two of Grievous’ bodyguards instead of Grievous himself.
Here is a script excerpt from the published version which differs quite a bit from the scene you’ll find on the Episode III DVD.
11 INT. HANGAR-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER
ANAKIN and OBI-WAN head for the elevator. A door opens in the hallway and two of GENERAL GRIEVOUS’s BODYGUARDS confront the JEDI.
General Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker.
We’ve been waiting for you.
We are here to relieve you of Chancellor
Palpatine, not join him.
As a dozen more droids join the group, the JEDI ignite their lightsabers and stand back-to-back.
ANAKIN and OBI-WAN use their lightsabers and cut a large circle in the floor.
12 INT. GENERATOR ROOM-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER
The TWO JEDI cut their way down several floors into a large generator room. Huge EXPLOSIONS outside the ship have caused several large pipes overhead to break, and fluid is spewing everywhere. The Jedi get up and turn off their light sabers. ANAKIN dips his hand into the fluid and sniffs it.
…fuel. The slightest charge from our
sabers will send this ship into oblivion.
That’s why they’ve stopped shooting.
Well then, we’re safe for the time being.
Your idea of safe is not the same as mine.
They run, EXPLOSIONS rattle the ship, and pipes continue to burst around them, spilling more fuel into the hallway. At the far end, SIX SUPER BATTLE DROIDS drop into the fuel. The SOUNDS OF SHIELD DOORS CLOSING AND LOCKING ECHO throughout the hallway. They pass several large power generators, which are topped with SPARKING excess power dischargers.
They’re sealing this section off.
Six droids coming our way!
The last of the DOORS CAN BE HEARD CLOSING in the distance.
Keep moving. There must be vents…
They move along a wall. ANAKIN climbs up the side to a small vent. The fuel gets closer to the SPARKING dischargers.
We’ll never get through that.
It’s too small!
They move toward a second vent. OBI-WAN is swimming in the fuel as it reaches to within a couple yards of the ceiling. ANAKIN feels along the ceiling and finds another smaller vent. He closes his eyes and tries to sense an opening, then he moves on. OBI-WAN is forced into hand-to-hand combat with one of the SUPER BATTLE DROIDS. It pulls the Jedi under the fuel. Just before he is about to drown, OBI-WAN disables the SUPER BATTLE DROID by pushing him into an exhaust pipe.
The fuel is up to the Jedi’s chins. ANAKIN finds a very, very small metal grate, then pounds on it until the tiny grate breaks loose.
I found our escape vent.
Anakin, this is no time for jokes.
We’re in serious trouble here.
Only in your mind, My Master.
Look, no structure…
ANAKIN grabs the side of the tiny hole and gives it a big yank, ripping a large panel loose revealing a “man-sized” work shaft. They scramble through it as the DROIDS swim closer.
13 INT. VENT SHAFT-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER
The TWO JEDI pull themselves through the narrow vent shaft until they reach a small hatch in the side of the tube.
Here’s a way out.
As the SUPER BATTLE DROIDS reach the opening in the ceiling and the fuel gets to within a few feet of the power generator sparks, the JEDI work the keyboard on the pressure lock, opening the latch.
14 INT. SMALL PASSAGEWAY-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER
The TWO JEDI climb into a small passageway and slam the hatch shut. They make their way through the ever-shrinking shaft until they reach the end.
15 INT. HALLWAY-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER
A hatch opens in one of the main hallways of the Trade Federation Cruiser, and the JEDI squeeze out, SLAMMING the hatch. Behind them, ANAKIN seals the hatch with his laser sword.
That won’t hold when the fuel
hits those power dischargers.
The blast will break the hull.
This side’s pressurized.
You still have much to
16 INT. VENT SHAFT-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER
The SUPER BATTLE DROIDS climb up the vent shaft. SUPER BATTLE DROID R77 and SEVERAL OTHER DROIDS wait in the generator room as the fuel continues to rise toward the power discharger.
SUPER BATTLE DROID R77
I have a bad feeling
17 INT. GENERATOR ROOM-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER
The fuel hits the SPARKING power discharger, and there is a HUGE EXPLOSION.
18 EXT. TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER-BATTLE
A GREAT EXPLOSION and a flaming gas cloud spray out of the side of the Federation Cruiser.
19 INT. HALLWAY-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER
A large bulge appears in the wall around the sealed hatch as the EXPLOSION hits. OBI-WAN jumps back, then stands amazed.
All right, you win.
I have much to learn.
ANAKIN grins at OBI-WAN, and they run down the hallway.
You have to enjoy the fact that a super battle droid would have said the famous line, “I have a bad feeling about this.”
On a side note, in the rough draft of the script, there are some organisms similar to jellyfish that live inside the fuel. They’re called Nitro Fobos and they were supposed to attack Obi-Wan and Anakin as the fuel began to rise.
The duel with Dooku remained very much as it was scripted outside of a few minor changes. I’ll include some bits of dialogue from the published script that didn’t survive:
Good. Twice the pride,
double the fall.
DOOKU lunges at the JEDI and they fall back…
COUNT DOOKU (continuing)
Your moves are clumsy, Kenobi…
too predictable. You’ll have to do better.
Good, Anakin, good.
I knew you could do it.
Kill him. Kill him now!
ANAKIN cuts off COUNT DOOKU’s head. A huge EXPLOSION somewhere deep in the ship rattles everything.
I couldn’t stop myself.
You did well, Anakin.
He was too dangerous to be kept alive.
ANAKIN drops COUNT DOOKU’s lightsaber, moving to PALPATINE.
Yes, but he was an unarmed prisoner.
ANAKIN raises his hands toward PALPATINE, who is strapped in the Admiral’s Chair. The Chancellor’s restraints pop loose.
I shouldn’t have done that, Chancellor.
It’s not the Jedi way.
PALPATINE stands up, rubbing his wrists.
He seems to be all right.
No broken bones,
breathing’s all right.
Leave him, or we’ll
never make it.
There’s another line of dialogue not included in the excerpts that I should mention, mostly because there’s existing footage. Right before the Jedi start to duel with Dooku, he says to them, “Just because there are two of you, don’t assume you have the advantage.” This was removed from the film, but you can see this extra bit of footage in the Episode III video game.
The Comic Adaptation features many of the subtle differences between the script, the comic, and the finished film. For example, in the comic Anakin only takes one of Dooku’s hands. The comic skips all the elevator antics and goes straight to the ray shields scene with Obi-Wan waking up right after Dooku dies saying it’s a pity that he’s dead. Did an early version of the script contain this dialogue? Did an earlier version have Obi-Wan waking up so soon? I talked to a friend at Dark Horse comics who told me that at one point those lines of Obi-Wan’s were in the script, since the comic was based entirely on an old version.
I’m including a great shot of Palpatine in his chair with two lightsabers crossed before him. This isn’t in the film but it mirrors a similar shot from Return of the Jedi when Vader and Luke clash sabers before a cackling Palpatine. This image was out long before the film was so I was a little surprised when it wasn’t in the final edit. I thought it was a nice opportunity to subtly connect the two trilogies, but so be it…Lucas.
NAVIGATING THE INVISIBLE HAND
From a perilous crash landing in the hangar bay to an even more perilous crash landing on the surface of Coruscant, Jedi Knights Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi had a rough time navigating General Grievous’ flagship: The Invisible Hand.
The scene with Obi-Wan and Anakin in the elevator was changed a bit from script to screen. Originally there was supposed to be a big blast hole in the door, but that was scrapped. The hole was supposed to have been the result of some battle droids that blasted their way into the elevator after Anakin cut a hole onto the roof. The shots of the Jedi exiting the elevator were reshot to depict them traditionally leaving the lift, instead of ducking through the blast hole.
There’s a photo included here of the Jedi in the elevator with their lightsabers ignited. Though this scene is in the film, this particular still most definitely is not. It’s actually one of the promotional stills from Lucasfilm but those are many times given out a long time before the film is edited into its final form.
During the opening hijinks, R2-D2’s role seemed to be endlessly changing. He was literally all over the place. Sometimes he was with the Jedi, sometimes he wasn’t. Sometimes he showed up to help, other times he stayed in the hangar. In the finished film, he mostly stays put but he did have a few more shots that didn’t make it into the film. For example, Pablo Hidalgo mentioned that R2-D2 was originally meant to be with the Jedi and the Chancellor when they are caught in the ray shields. He was later removed and the shot where he skids in was added down the line.
In another set diary, Pablo goes on to explain another confrontation between R2-D2 and a super battle droid:
The little droid places a “signal beacon” at the end of a beam balanced on a large fuel pipe. He rockets high overhead and activates the beacon. As a battle droid inspects it, Artoo slams hard on the other end of the beam, see-sawing the battle droid into the ceiling in a spectacular crash. The battle droid’s debris then falls and hits the beam hard, sending Artoo flying in turn. The little droid smashes into the battle droid, “causing the battle droid to squash to about one quarter of its former size.”
Once Palpatine was rescued and Obi-Wan awakened from his Sith-induced slumber, the Jedi had to navigate their way off of the Invisible Hand with the uncharacteristically athletic Chancellor Palpatine following behind.
Originally, there was to be a scene where the trio walked across some unsteady pipe work trying to get from point A to point B. R2-D2 was supposed to fly up and help out the Chancellor when he dangles from the pipe at one point. There are a few shots from this scene included at various points in the DVD bonus footage if you look carefully.
Obi-Wan wants to head to the hangar bay to find something flyable. In the finished film, we get the impression that when the ray shields are activated, they’re still on their way there but in the original script, they actually did get to the hangar bay, but found nothing useful.
Here are the relevant script passages:
56 INT. HALLWAY TO HANGAR BAY-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER
OBI-WAN and ANAKIN lead PALPATINE down a hallway toward the hangar bay.
57 INT. DOORWAY TO HANGAR BAY-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER
It is extremely windy as bits and pieces are continually sucked into space. The hangar bay doors are closed, but great stresses are being exerted as the ship twists, re-entering the atmosphere of Coruscant. They stop in a doorway leading into the hangar bay.
None of those ships
will get us anywhere.
What are we going to do?
I don’t know.
Don’t look at me.
I don’t know.
ANAKIN and PALPATINE both look to OBI-WAN. He shrugs his shoulders. Anakin’s Fighter has been sucked out of the hangar bay and is totaled. Suddenly, the ship turns on its side.
Here, Chancellor, lock this
around your waist, and hold on.
We’ll head toward the bridge
and see if we can find
an escape pod.
ANAKIN hands PALPATINE the end of a cable that is attached to his utility belt. PALPATINE attaches it around his waist. ANAKIN and OBI-WAN throw their utility cables to some pipes in the ceiling and swing to a second set of pipes.
58 INT. MAIN HANGAR-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER
OBI-WAN grabs onto the pipes that run along what was the ceiling and is now the wall. As he moves out into the hangar, TWO SUPER BATTLE DROIDS start firing at him. The Jedi ignites his lightsaber and deflects the bolts back at the DROIDS, blowing them up. ANAKIN and PALPATINE follow OBI-WAN along the pipes running along the ceiling of the hangar. PALPATINE struggles against the escaping air of the pressurized hangar. PALPATINE loses his grip as a pipe breaks, causing a rush of steam, but ANAKIN manages to maintain his grasp on the pipe as the CHANCELLOR dangles on the other end of the utility cable. They are surrounded by SPARKS and EXPLOSIONS as the ship twists and tries to break apart. ANAKIN moves out of the steam and struggles to pull PALPATINE back to safety. ANAKIN is almost pulled loose in the buffeting winds. The ceiling behind them buckles, causing pipes to break, creating geysers of steam. Some bits of pipe go hurling into the blast doors and out into space. They make it through a hangar doorway and close it behind them.
59 INT. HANGAR DOORWAY-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER
OBI-WAN, ANAKIN and PALPATINE are out of breath.
Well, that was close.
In the following excerpt, notice that Palpatine makes a suggestion about what to do once the ray shields are activated. Also note that the Super Battle Droid calls R2-D2 a dummy. In the finished film he just says, “Don’t move.”
In the days before the film’s release, the Star Wars Trivial Pursuit DVD Game was released and contained a video clip of this shot with the Battle Droid clearing calling him, “Stubby” instead.
61 INT. HALLWAY-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER
They run down the hallway. Suddenly, ray shields drop around them, putting them in an electronic box in the middle of the hallway.
OBI-WAN takes a deep breath to express his total disappointment.
Wait a minute, how’d
this happen! We’re smarter
Apparently not, Master.
This is the oldest trap in the book…
Well… I was distracted.
Oh, so all of a sudden
it’s my fault.
You’re the Master.
I’m just a hero.
I’m open to suggestions here.
Why don’t we let them take
us to General Grievous.
Perhaps with Count Dooku’s
demise, we can negotiate
The Jedi look at each other in disbelief.
Patience! That’s your plan, is it?
Yes, Artoo will be along in
a few moments and he’ll release
the ray shields…
ARTOO comes skidding across the hallway and bashes into the opposite wall. He takes a moment to compose himself.
See! No problem.
Suddenly several doorways open, revealing TWO DESTROYER DROIDS. SIXTEEN SUPER BATTLE DROIDS emerge from behind the DESTROYER DROIDS.
ARTOO turns and zaps one of the SUPER BATTLE DROIDS who then kicks ARTOO over.
SUPER BATTLE DROID
Don’t move, dummy.
Ouch! Zap this.
Do you have a plan B?
Originally, Anakin had a different plan than waiting on R2. He was going to wait for the battle droids to show up and release the shields. Then they could wipe out the droids and be on their way. Pablo Hidalgo mentions a line of dialogue that isn’t in the published script: “Security patrols are always those skinny useless battle droids,” says Anakin. Of course, droidekas and super battle droids show up instead.
Because the filmmakers knew somewhat early on that the death of Shaak Ti was not going to make it into the opening scenes, some of the scene’s dialogue was moved to the bridge scenes since this was now supposed to be the first real meeting between Grievous and the Jedi. Even with the rewrite, there were a few bits of dialogue that didn’t make it into the theatrical version.
Here’s part of the scripted scene:
62 EXT. BRIDGE-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER
OBI-WAN, ANAKIN PALPATINE, and ARTOO are captured by GENERAL GRIEVOUS. They stand before the ALIEN DROID GENERAL.
Oh yes. General Kenobi,
the Negotiator. We’ve been
waiting for you. That wasn’t
much of a rescue.
A BATTLE DROID walks to GENERAL GRIEVOUS and hands him the JEDI’S lightsabers.
That depends upon your
point of view. Hah!
And Anakin Skywalker…
I was expecting someone with
your reputation to be a little older.
General Grievous… Supreme
Commander of the Droid Armies.
You’re shorter than I expected.
Take a close look at the wide digital model image of the hangar bay on its side. If you look closely in the upper left hand corner, you’ll see two figures climbing along the piping. They look like Anakin and Palpatine to me, but where’s Obi-Wan? I remember reading that originally Anakin and Obi-Wan were to be separated once on the ship. Anakin went after Palpatine and Obi-Wan took on Grievous. In that context, this photo (which was probably created very early on) makes perfect sense.
ANOTHER HAPPY LANDING
“Another happy landing,” quips Obi-Wan as what’s left of the Invisible Hand comes to a rough stop somewhere on Coruscant. The scene then wipes to a shuttle carrying Palpatine and the Jedi to meet Mace Windu and more Senators than you can shake a lightsaber at. In the original drafts, however, everyone met at the crash site as evident in the Episode III Comic Adaptation.
The changes are not that drastic. There’s just a line here or there from certain characters that you won’t see in the final version plus some other antics.
It’s important to note that during the bridge fights, there were supposed to be moments where the ship started tumbling again. The droids would magnetize themselves to the floor forcing the Jedi to fight them upside-down, standing on the ceiling which was now the floor for them.
Here are some script excerpts from the “Crash” scenes and the landing/meeting on the surface:
Sir, we are falling out of orbit.
All aft control cells are dead.
Stay on course… Don’t bother
with them. Keep the ship in orbit.
OBI-WAN and ANAKIN destroy the remaining DROIDS. GENERAL GRIEVOUS retrieves one of the BODYGUARD’S staffs and faces OBI-WAN. ANAKIN leaps over a console and lands behind GENERAL GRIEVOUS.
You lose, General Kenobi.
One of the PILOTS stands next to the General.
The ship is breaking up!
We’ve run out of time.
INT. BRIDGE-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER
OBI-WAN continues to fight the BATTLE DROIDS. The DROIDS have backed him into a corner. OBI-WAN hides behind a control panel as the DROIDS blast away at him. He jumps up and over the DROIDS, cutting most of them down before he lands. He destroys the DROIDS and joins ANAKIN.
ANAKIN and OBI-WAN cut through the rest of the DROIDS as if they were made of butter. PALPATINE stands in shock as he watches the carnage. Droid parts are firing everywhere. OBI-WAN and ANAKIN stand back to back and cut down the last of the DROIDS just as there is a huge shudder, followed by more alarms. SPARKS begin to fly outside the windows.
The hull is burning up!
Pressure rising. We’ve got to
slow this wreck down. Open all hatches,
extend all flaps, and drag fins.
Temp steady. Hatches open,
flaps extended, drag fins…
A large part of the ship breaks away.
We lost something.
Not to worry, we’re still
flying half the ship.
Now we’re really picking up speed…
I’m going to shift a few degrees and
see if I can slow us down.
Careful… we’re heating up-twelve thousand
What’s our speed?
Eight plus sixty-forty.
Eight plus sixty-twenty.
Eight plus sixty. Temp ten
thousand, nine thousand…
we’re in the atmosphere…
ANAKIN points to one of the controls. ARTOO beeps madly.
Keep us level.
Easy, Artoo. Hang on, this may
get a little rough. We lost our heat shields.
Five thousand. Three thousand…
two thousand. Fireships on
the left and the right.
We’ll take you in.
Copy that. Landing strip’s
We’re coming in too hot.
The ship leaves a contrail as it streaks across the Coruscant skyline. PALPATINE and OBI-WAN hold on for dear life as the ship shakes and rattles toward an industrial landing platform.
68 EXT. CORUSCANT-INDUSTRIAL LANDING PLATFORM-AFTERNOON
A large landing platform in the industrial part of the city is surrounded by Emergency Fire Speeders. The smoking ship approaches as five Fireships spray it with foam. The ship finally makes a rather hard landing.
Another happy landing.
The part after the landing when Anakin and Obi-Wan bicker about who’s going to talk to the politicians was also slightly changed. In the original version, Mace takes a gunship out to the crash site and then takes it back with Obi-Wan to brief the Council. In fact, he was supposed to be flanking the crashing ship, watching closely, I assume.
The dialogue in this excerpt appears in the published script although it’s still a little different from what ended up in the film:
Hold on, this whole operation was
your idea. You planned it.
You led the rescue operation.
You have to be the one to
take the bows this time.
Sorry, old friend. Let us not forget
that you rescued me from the
Buzz Droids. And you killed Count
Dooku. And you rescued the
Chancellor, carrying me unconscious
on your back, and you managed to
land that bucket of bolts safely…
All because of your training, Master.
You deserve all those speeches of
…the endless speeches… Anakin,
let’s be fair. Today, you are the hero
and you deserve your glorious day
with the politicians.
In the following excerpts, you’ll find more small changes. There’s a slightly different line from Mace Windu plus some bits and pieces from Anakin and Bail Organa. Some of this dialogue is actually heard in the background while C-3PO and R2-D2 are talking but some of it isn’t there at all.
These passages are from the published screenplay:
Chancellor Palpatine, what a
welcome sight! Are you all right?
BAIL, ANAKIN, and the crowd walk away from the platform toward the Senate Building Grand Hallway.
Skywalker, the Republic
cannot praise you enough.
ANAKIN and BAIL ORGANA, walking in the hallway.
Thank you, Senator Organa.
The kidnapping was a bold move
by the Separatists, but it was a
mistake that Obi-Wan and I were
able to take advantage of.
ARTOO and THREEPIO follow behind the crowd.
It couldn’t possibly be as bad as all that.
Well, there, I agree with you.
In fact, I could do with
a tune-up myself.
70 INT. CORUSCANT-SENATE OFFICE BUILDING-MAIN HALLWAY-LATE AFTERNOON
ANAKIN is at the back of the crowd of SENATORS, talking with BAIL ORGANA. R2-D2 and C-3PO scoot along ahead of them.
The end of Count Dooku will surely
bring an end to this war, and an
end to the Chancellor’s draconian
I wish that were so, but the
fighting is going to continue
until General Grievous is
spare parts… The Chancellor
is very clear about that.
Behind a row of large columns, a SHADOWY FIGURE follows the JEDI and the SENATOR. ANAKIN senses the figure.
I’ll do everything I
can with the Senate.
Just to sum up (if my logic serves me well): It appears that originally Mace Windu was following the crashing ship and was to meet the Chancellor and two Jedi at the landing site. The trio would emerge from a shaft and they all share a few words. Then everyone was to take a gunship back to the site in the film where the senators are gathered. Mace and Obi-Wan take off together while Anakin stays behind.
In the finished film, we don’t see anyone exit the crashed ship and we jump right to a shuttle transport (instead of a gunship) landing to greet the senators, but this time Mace is there with them and he stays with the Chancellor while Obi-Wan goes off to brief the Council… without Windu.
I’m including an image from Starwars.com of a Fireship pilot’s gear mostly because of the caption that accompanied the image which read: A closer look at a Coruscant fire fighter’s kit — a prop that went unseen in the film since a scripted scene of emergency workers dousing the wreckage of Grievous’ flagship was never shot.