When I think back to 1977 and seeing Star Wars for the first time, I remember that the Cantina scenes were some of the most memorable. It had all those crazy aliens, Han Solo and Chewbacca, Greedo, that great music, the swinging band, Ben cutting off an arm, and so much more. All the TV shows and news programs showed clips from it all the time. Even the most memorable scenes in a film fall prey to the mighty editors, though.
PULLING UP TO THE CANTINA
George Lucas wasn’t initially happy with the way Mos Eisley was introduced in Episode IV. The biggest piece of evidence to support this is the fact that he refined many of the establishing shots of the city using computer graphics for the Special Edition release of the film. The scene was slightly extended and the initial journey through the city is longer than in the original cut.
After Ben’s Jedi mind trick in the Lost Cut, Luke’s landspeeder makes its way from where the stormtroopers are standing to the front door of the cantina in one long shot. In the final version, however, there were other shots intercut with the existing single take to create the illusion of more distance from Point A to Point B. The Special Edition took the concept to another level.
|Clip of Mos Eisley Spaceport from an old documentary
(sent in by Dylan McDermond)
INSIDE THE CANTINA
In the Lost Cut of Episode IV and on the Behind the Magic CD-ROM there’s a whole different edit of the cantina scene. George Lucas was unhappy with many aspects of the first cantina shoot and eventually had some new creatures made, rebuilt the set and reshot much of it a second time.
One of the big surprises from that lost footage is that Han (stud that he is) hangs out with and makes out with a girl known as “Jenny” while the whole confrontation with Luke & Ben is happening at the bar.
While we’re on the subject, after Obi-Wan has his confrontation with Ponda Baba and Dr. Evazan, there is a different severed arm on the ground and if you keep up on your trivia, you’ll notice that this arm is the real arm of Ponda Baba (AKA Walrus-man) and not that hairy one we saw in the final film. Ponda Baba had those cup-like hands which you can see clearly in other photos.
After Ben’s saber demonstration, Luke and Ben follow Chewie over to the booth where Han and Jenny are sitting. At this point, according to David West Reynolds’ Lost Cut report, there’s a man who leaves the cantina in order to flag down some local authorities. David West Reynolds states that the scene with the man is inside is directly followed by the scene where he runs outside. In the final film, we never see the guy leaving the cantina but we do see him flag down the stormtroopers. For you trivia buffs, the snitch in this scene was played by Stunt Coordinator Peter Diamond, who played quite a few bit parts throughout the original trilogy.
Some of the Greedo shots were filmed again with actress Maria DeAragon, especially the ones with Greedo sitting at the table with Han Solo. These Lost Cut and CD ROM versions also contain many of the original voices, like the bartender among others.
Lastly, I just want to make a quick mention of something I read over at Starwars.com about the little rodent-looking guy named Kabe:
The original screenplay for A New Hope describes a trio of assailants that accost Luke at the bar. In addition to Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba, there was to have been “an even smaller rodent-like beast.” When the confrontation turns violent, the script says “the rodent is cut in two.” The finished film only shows Evazan and Baba in the altercation, but careful examination of the sequence shows that Evazan is talking to Kabe before the scuffle. This indicates the idea of them being allies lasted up until shooting.