The Boonta Eve Podrace from Episode I is definitely a highlight of the film, especially after George Lucas decided to extend and improve it in the subsequent video releases. No matter how much he expands it, however, deleted shots remain. This page will cover any deleted/alternate scenes that take place directly before, during, and after the Podrace.
THE PROBLEMS OF THE UNIVERSE
One important thing to remember about Episode I is that in the early drafts of the script, Obi-Wan was the “main” Jedi. Qui-Gon, his mentor, only showed up later when everyone landed on Coruscant. It was Obi-Wan who was to be involved in all the important scenes in the first half of the film, including the discovery of Anakin Skywalker. With that in mind, here’s a passage from the Episode I Insider’s Guide CD-ROM from the morning of the pod race:
Before she exits the hovel in the revised rough draft, Padmé notices Obi-Wan staring out a window. She tells him, “You look like you’re trying to solve the problems of the universe…” To this he replies, “Only our own, but maybe they will become the problems of the universe. I don’t know…” Again, it seems as if Obi-Wan can sense that the difficulties facing the Naboo may have larger, and darker, ramifications for the galaxy as a whole.
There was a line in the Return of the Jedi novelization where Obi-Wan says, “My pride had terrible consequences for the galaxy.” Obi-Wan could sense this way back in beginning, but he could not stop it. Little did he know that his actions would trigger a lot of those “problems of the universe.”
In Episode I, there’s a scene where Anakin, Padmé, Kitster and Shmi arrive at the Pod Race Arena Hangar on camel-like Eopies. R2-D2 and C-3PO are following behind dragging Anakin’s Pod. What we don’t see in the film is what took place previously where Kitster brings the Eopies to Anakin’s backyard and Artoo is busy painting the Pod. Anakin is sleeping and has another of his prophetic dreams. The scene takes place at dawn, after Darth Maul arrives on Tatooine.
Here is the Illustrated Screenplay version of the scene:
EXT. MOS ESPA – SLAVE QUARTERS – PORCH – SUNRISE
Padmé exits the hovel.
EXT. MOS ESPA – SLAVE QUARTERS – BACK YARD – SUNRISE
As the twin suns rise, ARTOO is busy painting the racing Pod. Anakin is asleep. PADMÉ passes ARTOO.
I hope you’re about finished.
ARTOO whistles a positive reply. PADMÉ sees KITSTER riding toward them on an EOPIE, a strange camel-like creature. He is leading a second EOPIE behind him. PADMÉ goes over to ANAKIN. He looks very vulnerable as he sleeps. She watches him, then touches him on the cheek. ANAKIN wakes up, yawns, and looks at her a little puzzled.
You were in my dream…
you were leading a huge army into battle.
I hope not; I hate fighting.
Your mother wants you
to come in and clean up.
We have to leave soon.
ANAKIN stands up and stretches just as KITSTER arrives.
Hook ’em up, Kitster.
(to Padmé) I won’t be long.
He and Jar Jar left already.
They’re with Watto at the arena.
This scene is included on the Episode I DVD in the Deleted Scenes section but take note that it has been edited to remove all the dialogue between Anakin and Padmé about the dream, though I’m not sure why.
|Dawn Before the Race. Episode I Deleted Scene from the DVD|
BEFORE THE RACE
Most of them are small things like pod race introductions and encouraging words to Anakin.
One thing I would have liked to have seen is the shot where all the racers bow to Jabba as described in the Episode I Illustrated Screenplay:
All the PILOTS bow from the waist as JABBA THE HUTT enters the box and waves to the crowd.
The “bowing to Jabba” rumor was one of the earliest rumors to appear on the Internet while Episode I was in production. It would have been nice to see. As it turns out, Jabba had some more lines too.
Here’s the excerpt:
EXT. MOS ESPA – ARENA – STARTING GRID – DAY
SEBULBA, who is right next to ANAKIN, stands and waves to his fans. A small pep band plays as his fans wave and cheer. KITSTER attaches the giant engines to Anakin’s Pod with a long cable. SHMI gives ANAKIN a big hug and kiss. She looks him right in the eye.
I will, Mom. I promise.
She leaves as ANAKIN checks the cable hitches.
…Mawhonic tuta Hok,
Teemto Pagalies tuta Moonus Mandel,
Anakin Skywalker tuta Tatooine…
The CROWD YELLS. ANAKIN waves to the crowd, as JABBA continues with his introductions. SEBULBA moves over to one of Anakin’s engines. KITSTER and JAR JAR unhitch the EOPIES, and KITSTER leads them away. ARTOO beeps that everything is OK. JAR JAR pats ANAKIN on the back.
Dis berry loony, Annie.
May da guds be kind, mesa palo.
PADMÉ comes up and gives ANAKIN a little kiss on the cheek. SEBULBA bangs on a part protruding from Anakin’s engine. He looks around to see if anyone has noticed.
You carry all our hopes.
I won’t let you down.
NOTE: The small bit with Shmi and Anakin was reinserted into the Episode I DVD cut of the film. However, the parts with Padmé, Jar Jar, Jabba, etc. still remain on the cutting room floor.
LETTING FATE DECIDE
There was some extra dialogue removed form the scene where Watto throws the chance cube to “let fate decide” if Anakin or Shmi would be the slave to be freed if Anakin won the Pod Race. It’s only a few lines but it does show that Qui-Gon had to try a little harder than we thought.
Here’s how the conversation went according to the Episode I Illustrated Screenplay:
I’ll wager my new racing Pod against
…say…the boy and his mother.
A Pod for slaves. I don’t think so…
well, perhaps. Just one…the mother, maybe
…the boy isn’t for sale.
The boy is small,
he can’t be worth much.
WATTO shakes his head.
For the fastest Pod ever built?
WATTO shakes his head again.
Both, or no bet.
No Pod’s worth two slaves…
not by a long shot…one slave or nothing.
The boy, then…
WATTO pulls out a small cube from his pocket.
THE POD RACE
In a small homage to Episode IV, there was supposed to be a Bith band playing music in the crowd. They are definitely seen in the DVD version which included some extra footage, so look for them there.
The Episode I DVD has some great deleted footage on it. If you watch the two Pod Race scenes (Extended Lap 2 & The Grid Sequence) included on the DVD, you’ll be treated to many great shots you didn’t see in the theatrical version, some of which were simply reinserted right back into the film in the appropriate places. Many more Pod Racers were introduced and Lap 2 was greatly extended.
|Complete Podrace Grid Sequence. Episode I Deleted Scene from the DVD|
|Extended Podrace: Lap 2. Episode I Deleted Scene from the DVD|
An alien named Fanta was supposed to be another spectator watching the Pod Race. He had the distinct pleasure of sitting next to Jar Jar Binks, who constantly annoyed him while trying to peek at his viewscreen.
The Neimoidians in Episode I were orignally supposed to be long-snouted, skinny aliens very similar to the sketches included here. The idea was that the Trade Federation had the Battle Droids created in their image, hence the elongated heads of the Battle Droids. Some time later, George Lucas decided to use the green-skinned Duros from the Episode IV cantina scenes as the inspiration for the Neimoidians instead.
It seems that instead of trashing the design altogether, they took the discarded Neimoidian design and used it to create Fanta, for whom they needed a likeness since he was in the script. In fact, if you look at a few of the sketches, you’ll see that some of them actually say “Neimoidian” right on them (or some variation of the word). They removed the “Neimoidian” label on future sketches and just called him Fanta with no specific species. One also has “PHANTA” written on it, giving us another addition to the character’s development.
Here are some quick bits and pieces from the Episode I Illustrated Screenplay that have to do with Fanta and Jar Jar’s antics on the Viewing Platform:
JABBA THE HUTT and the crowd watch the progress of the race on small, hand-held view screens. JAR JAR is looking over the shoulder off a strange alien named FANTA.
FANTA moves the view screen outof JAR JAR’s view. PADMÉ, SHMI, and QUI-GON watch another screen and look worried.
QUI-GON sits quietly, meditating. PADMÉ and SHMI ssearch the landscape for any sign of the racers. JAR JAR is still annoying FANTA for information.
QUI-GON, PADMÉ, SHMI, and JAR JAR yell for joy as ANAKIN passes. JAR JAR is very nervous and pounds on the back of his alien neighbor, FANTA.
During the Pod Race in Episode I, there were supposed to be some shots of maintenance or salvage droids who are deployed during the race to clean up debris from the various crashes.
The Art of Episode I, page 143 reads:
The flying clean-up droids hover about, waiting for a crash, then swoop down and clear away the wreckage. Like Podracer droids, they can be identified by their mushroom-shaped caps.
I believe that by “Podracer Droids” they mean Pit Droids. The salvage droids can be seen on the Episode I DVD in the cut scenes section. You’ll have to watch the EXTENDED POD RACE: LAP TWO scene and look for them.
|Extended Podrace: Lap 2. Episode I Deleted Scene from the DVD|
AFTER THE RACE
Remember, Anakin does not know he is free until Qui-Gon returns for him. So for now, this is goodbye until Qui-Gon returns the Eopies.
Here’s the excerpt from the Episode I Illustrated Screenplay:
EXT. MOS ESPA – ARENA – MAIN HANGAR – DAY
JAR JAR gives ANAKIN a great hug, then PADMÉ gives him a hug, then SHMI.
Ah, gee…enough of this…
It’s so wonderful, Annie.
You have brought hope to those
who have none. I’m so very proud of you…
We owe you everything.
Just feeling this good was worth it.
In the background, QUI-GON has harnessed the EOPIES to containers full of parts.
Padmé, Jar Jar, let’s go,
we’ve got to get these parts back to the ship.
The group walks over to QUI-GON and the EOPIES. PADMÉ climbs on behind QUI-GON. JAR JAR swings up onto the second EOPIE, only to slowly slide off the other side. ARTOO whistles. ANAKIN and SHMI wave as they ride off.
I’ll return the eopies by midday.