The Battle of Endor was the final fight in a long war of Rebellion against a tyrannical Empire. The Rebellion struck while the iron was hot and cast a fateful blow to the Emperor and his minions. In the end, good prevailed, but not without a really great space battle!
PREPARING FOR BATTLE
If you look at some of the included images closely, you’ll see a rebel transport that made an appearance in Episode V at Echo Base. It was apparently re-used in Episode VI. You can see it briefly in the film as Han and Lando are walking toward the stolen Imperial shuttle.
It also appears that when Lando and Han are saying their goodbyes, Chewbacca came to say goodbye as well, but this was edited out of the film. On The Star Wars Trilogy DVD, there’s a photo of Leia with Han and Lando too. Did she stop over to say goodbye also?
When watching the Endor battle scenes, you catch many glimpses of Mon Calamari officers rushing all around the bridge of the Home One flagship, where Admiral Ackbar leads the Rebel attack against the second Death Star. On a few occasions, someone referred to simply as an “aid” in the script has some dialogue with Ackbar about the battle.
Actor and puppeteer Gerald Home played one of those aides (as well as the Squid-Head, Tessek, in Jabba’s Palace.) He managed to keep a few call sheets and script pages from the shoot and dug them up some 20+ years later to share with the New Zealand site SWNZ. Three definitive articles about Gerald’s experiences working on the film written by Matt Glasgow have been published on SWNZ:
General Madine had his own command ship, just like Admiral Ackbar but we never got to see him command it. In an interview with Star Wars Insider (Issue #41), the actor who played Madine (Dermot Crowley) said he got to say, “May the Force be with us,” but all his Endor battle scenes were deleted.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview with Scott Chernoff:
By the end of his two-day stint in the Briefing Room, Crowley had gotten so used to his surroundings that he soon found General Madine recruited for a second mission. “At the end of the day, someone came up to me – I can’t remember if it was Richard Marquand – and said, ‘What are you doing next week? We’d like to shoot some more with you.’ So I spent a whole period of maybe five days being directed by George Lucas, who was directing a lot of the second unit.”
During that week, Crowley filmed scenes of Madine’s actions during the Endor Battle. “I had a whole sequence of flying through space in this special machine,” he said, “and I got to say, ‘May the Force be with us,’ and all sorts of exciting things – which of course never got in the movie, much to my disappointment. But of course, an enormous amount of the movie obviously ended up on the cutting room floor. That’s part of the actor’s portfolio.”
Despite the fact that his extra footage didn’t make it into the final cut, Crowley said that he was happy to film the scenes. “It became exciting,” he said. You had to pinch yourself now and again and say, ‘Hey, I’m being directed by George Lucas – this is fun!’ I got to play with some of the gadgets, and I remember being on this sort of rotor arm being whirled around and shouting whatever orders were to be shouted at the time. And because I was on the set for a little longer, I saw some of the other creatures, which were absolutely astonishing.”
Wedge Antilles shows up to the end celebration, shaking hands with Han Solo in some photos. You won’t see this gentlemanly exchange in the film, though. The video clip from an early trailer shows Wedge Antilles doing what he does best – piloting an X-Wing fighter. He’s on his way to the center of the second Death Star. I checked to see if this exact frame is in the film, and it definitely is not there.
In Issue #172 of the Starwars.com newsletter, The Homing Beacon, Mike Quinn (Nien Nunb) talks about his role in the film and quickly mentions some deleted scenes. Here’s an excerpt:
Nien Nunb was not the only Sullustan Quinn had a hand in; lesser known is Ten Numb, a fighter pilot who has recently been immortalized as an action figure. “We shot Ten Numb in a B-wing cockpit,” Quinn continues. “Those scenes were cut and are probably waiting to be discovered in the archives somewhere. I had to improvise the whole thing as there was no scripted dialogue and they were just generic cutaways for the space battle at the end. I said some pretty stupid things about not getting good reception of his favorite radio station out in space.”
Photos are always appearing of more pilots shot but not included in the final film. Some had their own ships, other were, for example, gunners in the Millennium Falcon’s turrets. According to Starwars.com and sites like Star Wars Aficionado, many of the deleted pilots were female.
ALL CRAFT PULL UP!
I’ve acquired a few sets of Star Wars storyboards over the years and I’m always on the lookout for more. While combing through a stack of Episode VI boards one day something jogged my memory. I remembered something about a scene where a ship (or ships) crashed into the Death Star’s shield when arriving at Endor. After doing some research, I found a corresponding paragraph in the novelization. The only discrepancy that stands out is that the novel says that three ships hit the shield (and are destroyed) while the storyboard dictates two (a Y-Wing and a B-Wing).
Here’s the excerpt from the novelization:
“Pull up!” Lando commanded. “All craft pull up!”
He banked hard to the left, the fighters of the Red Squad veering close on his tail.
Some didn’t make it. Three flanking X-wings nicked the invisible deflector shield, spinning out of control, exploding in flames along the shield surface. None of the others paused to look back.
The teasers and trailers for the films are a great place to find little snippets of deleted footage. Usually, trailers are made during editing when it is still not known what footage will end up in the finished product. In a snippet from the Revenge of the Jedi trailer, there’s an extra second or two of the Falcon spiraling around while inside the second Death Star.