The Battle Above Endor


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!


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?

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1119When 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:

All of these little deleted pieces of dialogue are in the novelization.
(Special thanks to Gerald Home and SWNZ)

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1159General 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.”

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Click to downloadWedge 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.

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In Issue #172 of the 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 and sites like  Star Wars Aficionado, many of the deleted pilots were female.

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1121I’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.

Click to downloadThe 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.


5 thoughts to “The Battle Above Endor”

  1. “I remembered something about a scene where a ship (or ships) crashed into the Death Star’s shield when arriving at Endor.”

    This has been bugging me for years. At least it’s not me going nuts. I definitely saw this scene also, right at the point where the rebel ships come out of hyper-drive. “All craft pull up” is the point where this scene should be and it is noticable the way the film is cut that there something missing. I recently looked through the ROTJ deleted scenes and there are two or three parts that I remember in the version I saw although they were properly edited into the film. The part where the commander is told to destroy the moon should the Rebels breach the shield being the most notable as well as Vader projecting to Luke Skywalker. However, the fighter crashes are nowhere to be seen. Very strange why the raw stuff is being shown unedited when it must have been in the original release. I saw it with my own eyes.

    Back in 1996 when Independance Day came out, there is a scene where some of the aircraft scrambled to deal with an alien spacecraft end up crashing into the energy field protecting it. My intitial thoughts were “Oh, they pinched that off Star Wars.”

    These clips must be on the original rental copies that were put out during the 80’s or could perhaps be versions that were made for different countries.

    There are a few films from the 80’s that I have seen where I have memories of scenes that are now missing from the current editions but cant be found anywhere.

  2. I also have the memory of 2-3 ships crashing into the shield. I remember watching ROTJ about 10-15 years ago and thinking “why did they edit that out”

  3. THIS IS AN EDITED, clarified version of my above comment.
    PLEASE disregard and delete the above post.
    Thanks T-Bone.

    That’s interesting that those 3 scenes were originally in one of the theatrical versions given to a local
    market in the states.
    I have always wanted to see that scene of a rebel ship exploding into the energy field by Death Star II.
    I know it’s available as a storyboard here on T-Bones site. It should have been left in the film giving
    added danger to the situation the rebels (scum) were in.
    Here in Canada, i saw a 70mm presentation of TESB final scene with the rebel ship hospital cruising into space with variant “additional shots” of X-Wings flying about. I saw this movie 5 times there and when i
    saw it on tv or VHS the ending was “much much” shorter of ships flying around. It’s been mentioned in a
    web forum but not many seems to know about it.They should have kept it as it is because we got to appreciate the FX and reflect on all the sacrifice the Alliance has been put through.
    It was a very beautiful calm, somber ending to an otherwise unknown future for the rebels.
    To prove my point, only in part, i found a weblink in which the scene inside the rebel hospital was re-shot
    on advice of Anthony Daniels. There is no mention of deletion or of additional shots of rebel ships flying about.
    If T-Bone knows anything about this extended scene please let me know.

    So it’s safe to say that there were slightly different versions for each film similar to what happened to the Blade Runner film and it’s subsequent minor changes or big if you include the expunged voice-over narration and warm color scheme mood of the 1982 theatrical release. (The Final Cut, de-saturated the warmth with a digital blue scheme filter for a dark mood for which no one needs to be told that it’s a dark movie). This is ironic since many people thought the same for the voice over by Ford, (in the original 82′ release), was a retelling of what was happening on screen. This is arguably true but it also added additional important info.
    SW New Hope’s original release had at first a mono soundtrack which was somewhat different.
    Sometimes changing things around does not improve a film by much. In the case of Lucas there was too much tinkering.

    Here is the link for the re-shot hospital scene.
    Wait, i will post the link in my next post, since it is on another pc.

  4. Im pretty sure the older Female pilot was in a story line scene in the old PC game “Rebel Assault”

  5. I definitely remember ships crashing into the death star before the assault. I recall a Bwing or two.

    I had seen Jedi theatrically over a dozen times including the ’85 release – one of those times was opening weekend.

    For so many years, I was told it’s the Mandela Effect. It’s nice to see confirmation that this scene did exist at one time.

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