Return of the Jedi - Original Ending - Yoda/Obi-Wan/Luke vs Sidious
This is a a summary of the officially released rough draft of the ROTJ script. The un-script text is a fan's summary and analysis of it from The Secret History of Star Wars. The script is, obviously, the actual script.
After rescuing Han from Jabba the Hutt, Luke, Han, Lando and the droids travel to a spaceport to leave onboard the Falcon, a great sandstorm raging. In the confusion of the storm, Luke is ambushed and kidnapped. He awakens in a metallic cell onboard an Imperial transport, being brought to the Emperor. He begs out loud for Ben to help him but Yoda appears and reveals that Ben’s power is drained and that he will soon become one with the Force. Luke says he cannot kill his father, and Yoda reveals that if Luke fails, his twin sister will be the only hope—Leia! Luke is brought to Had Abbadon—however, Imperial officers loyal to Vader see Luke and realize that their Lord is being deceived. Luke meets the Emperor, who says Luke will soon turn to the darkside, but Luke defies him:
Meanwhile, Vader finds out that the Emperor has Luke. He becomes consumed with rage and confronts Jerjerrod. “What is the Emperor doing with my son?” he demands, but Jerjerrod instead states that Vader should stay away. Vader finally lifts Jerjerrod up by the throat and breaks his neck. He then storms towards the Imperial Palace to rescue Luke from the Emperor’s clutches.
As before, this is a revolutionary turn for Vader’s character. As the film progresses, he becomes a character of equal importance to Luke, and one much more interesting. In fact, in this scene, he becomes a bizarre sort of hero, killing the Emperor’s minions to save his son. Luke meanwhile is in the tombs. Here, the underground lava setting from the rough draft is reprised—Luke awakens on a small island on a lake of lava. Luke turns around to see Obi Wan— in the flesh! He says that he and Yoda will help him defeat the Emperor and Vader, but Luke protests that he still cannot kill his own father. Meanwhile, Vader marches on the Emperor’s palace to save Luke. He storms the fortress, killing Imperial guards who stand in his way and forces his way into the throne room, finally confronting the Emperor about his betrayal— but the Emperor begins choking Vader with the Force until he finally submits to him.
97. INT. THRONE ROOM - HAD ABBADON Vader storms into the throne room and marches right up to where the Emperor is sitting. The Emperor slowly raises his head to stare at the Dark Lord.
VADER Where is he?
EMPEROR Safe…There is no need for you to worry. I will take good care of him…
VADER It is for me to train my son…you must… The Emperor raises his hand, and Vader's breathing suddenly stops. The Dark Lord struggles at his controls, attempting to regain his air supply. He chokes.
EMPEROR You forget yourself…Lord Vader. I will tolerate no more discussion on the subject. The boy is mine to train. Your place is with the fleet. Vader collapses on the floor and the Emperor lowers his hand. Vader starts breathing again and rises to a kneeling position.
VADER Forgive me, master.
EMPEROR The Rebels will soon begin their attack. You must be ready for them. For now that I have all of them in one place, they will be crushed once and for all.
VADER Yes, my master.
EMPEROR Now take your leave, for I have your son to attend to.
Vader rises and exits the throne room, and the giant door slides closed behind him.
This scene is pivotal in Vader’s character development. We finally see the power of control the Emperor has over Vader—Vader’s servitude to him is finally revealed as not a partnership of evil, as the previous films had portrayed it as, but a rather tragic one of unwilling obedience. We finally learn the true pathos of his character.
Soon after this scene, the Emperor travels down the elevator to confront Luke in the tombs. Vader watches from the shadows, secretly following him down there. The Emperor arrives and sees Obi Wan with Luke. Yoda appears as a ghost, and the Emperor has a very curious reaction to him—“You!” he says in shock upon seeing the Jedi master. Lucas may have indeed have had in mind a previous confrontation between them, perhaps when the Emperor first seized power and destroyed the Jedi knights—a fact which we would not find out until 2005 (although Lucas would also later imply that the Emperor never even knew of Yoda’s existence533 and the novelisation implies that the Emperor only vaguely remembers him—apparently Lucas never really delved into Yoda’s history when writing the films. Frank Oz recalls, “I went through the scripts of Star Wars and Empire , writing down all the things that Yoda knew about Luke, what Luke knew about Yoda, what Yoda knew about Darth Vader, the Force and Obi Wan. I asked George Lucas at lunch one day for his thoughts on Yoda, and he said, ‘Just make it wonderful.’”534). The Emperor is also revealed to carry a lightsaber of his own!
Vader steps out of the shadows as the confrontation starts and joins his master. After the Emperor’s treatment of him previously, we now view his siding with him as a much more pitiful action. Vader must obey his master, though he remains torn between the loyalties to him and his son. The Emperor orders Vader to kill Luke and gives him a lightsaber, and the battle ensues. As father and son duel, the Emperor tells Obi Wan that the boy will soon fall to the darkside; Obi Wan says he has foreseen the Emperor’s death but the Emperor refuses to believe it. Luke fights his father across the lava rocks with all his strength and gives into his anger, finally forcing Vader to fall, his arm slipping into the lava. The Emperor goads Luke to finish him off, telling him it is the power of the darkside that he feels, but Luke refuses, tossing away his lightsaber and saying “if he is to be destroyed, you must do it.”
The Emperor turns and fires lightning at Obi Wan but Luke jumps in front of him, and Yoda shields Luke as in the previous draft. Luke soon begins to tire under the strain of the Emperor’s power, but as his strength is about to disappear Vader runs at the Emperor to save him, and both Vader and the Emperor tumble into the lava and are destroyed.
EMPEROR This is the power of the Dark Side that you deny. Your strength will never match it. Luke struggles to remain conscious against the superior power of the Emperor.
EMPEROR Obi-Wan foresaw my destruction at your hands, young Skywalker, but it seems his vision was clouded…Perhaps there is still another Skywalker. Why can I not see, could the netherworld have influenced my perception? Another Skywalker…your father!
The Emperor turns around to see Lord Vader flying at him. The lightning bolts around Luke disappear as Vader hits the Emperor, knocking them both into the fiery lake of lava. The hideous screams of the Emperor are soon muted. Luke struggles to his feet and stares at the spot where his enemy and his father disappeared into the cauldron of molten rock. Ben puts his hand on the young Jedi's shoulder.
BEN It is in Yoda's hands now.
LUKE He turned back to the good side.
BEN Yes, he did
Vader finally chooses to turn on his master once and for all when he sees his son in danger, and dies killing the Emperor. Once again, as in the rough draft, his final sacrifice is rather glazed over and not as poignant as in the final film, but his motivation leading up to it is developed enough that his action is still quite powerful.
As the Rebels celebrate, Luke talks to Ben, and Yoda appears as flesh and blood. His stay in the Netherworld has ended since Vader has turned to the good side and he has been able to save Vader’ sprit and allow him to retain his identity. Annikin appears, and they all join the celebration, except for Yoda, who watches them all from the side
Last edited by DarthAnt66 on Oct 27th, 2017 at 12:49 AM
My issue with this version is that the final script of ROTJ presents a story of Luke becoming a man and making his own decisions - saying "**** you" to his elders (Yoda, Obi-Wan) and deciding to follow his heart and setting out to redeem his father, which Yoda and Obi-Wan obviously did not think was possible (explicitly told Luke to kill him). In this version, Luke's comes off as more passive and the whole story of Luke atoning for the sins of - and redeeming - his father is lost. Vader's sacrifice is purely his own decision (and, as the writer pointed out, seemingly not as significant), not because Luke helps guide him along the way, which I think makes it more powerful.
Eh, the whole ghost dynamic seems so complex I imagine many fans and casuals finding it weird even modern-day.
I totally agree with 77, though. I need to see this as an Infinities comic.
Last edited by DarthAnt66 on Oct 27th, 2017 at 04:15 AM
Luke lies unconscious on a small island in the middle of a hot lava lake. A hot wind blows across his face and wakes him. He looks around at his hostile surroundings and suddenly becomes aware of another person sitting behind him. He turns on the intruder with Jedi speed. The shrouded figure doesn’t move or even look up.
Slowly, the hooded figure looks up, revealing his face. It is Ben Kenobi in the flesh.
I could no longer stay in the netherworld.
But Yoda said...
...that I would become one with the Force and choose not to return to the material world? That your anger prevented me from...
But I’m not angry... not anymore... I understand why you didn’t tell me about my father. I do.
I know. And I am here to help you destroy the Emperor, and... your father.
Suddenly Yoda appears beside Ben.
You can and you will... I in the netherworld, and Obi-Wan at your side. Help you we will.
Luke stands with a start and begins to look around. Ben slowly stands also.
Did you feel that?
Yes. It’s the Emperor. He’s moving this way...
...and so is my father.
He is following the Emperor. Yoda!
I am between them and the Force... cloud their minds, I will.
Luke, you must take them on one at a time. Together, they will destroy you...
The Emperor enters the cavern and looks across to the boiling lava lake. He sees Ben and is surprised.
So you are not dead after all, Obi-Wan. I thought I felt your presence in the netherworld. So, you have returned. But you have failed... the boy is mine, and will soon embrace the Dark Side.
It is you who have failed, my old friend1.
The Emperor turns around to see the shimmering image of Yoda standing before him.
Evil one, this will be the last day of your existence.
Your presence in the netherworld can do me no harm. And neither can this boy or this old man.
Your fear is strong... overestimate your abilities, you do.
Vader steps out of the shadows and stands next to the Emperor.
My Master, they must be destroyed. Now it is too late to turn the boy.
Luke looks at his father, then reaches out and Vader’s lasersword leaps off the Dark Lord’s belt and into the young Jedi’s hand. Luke ignites the lasersword as the Emperor pulls a sword out of his sleeve and tosses it to Vader.
Vader’s sword ignites and he starts to move toward his son. Luke backs away.
Vader brings his lasersword down hard on his son, but Luke is able to block his father’s blow. A quick sword exchange, and Luke forces Vader back. Another exchange, and the Dark Lord recovers, pushing the young Jedi onto a small rock surrounded by the bubbling pool of lava. Ben and the Emperor watch from the far side of the cavern2.
He is every inch his father.
He is stronger than you imagine, and has many allies.
Allies? If they are all as you, I have no concern. Once the boy has killed his father, I will have him destroy you...
Perhaps, but it will not save you. I have foreseen your death at the hands of Skywalker.
But I have not, therefore it cannot be.
Unless you can no longer see…
Luke fights back with all of his strength and drives his father back across the tiny rocks. A crashing blow by Luke causes Vader to lose his balance and fall onto one of the small rock islands, his sword hand landing in the molten lava. His sword and part of his metal are melting away. Vader backs away from his son, expecting the death blow at any moment. But Luke hesitates as Ben and the Emperor watch.
Finish it, boy! It is the power of the Dark Side that you feel...
Luke lowers his lasersword.
I cannot. I will not turn to the Dark Side. I only fight in self-defense, not to do your Emperor’s bidding.
With that, Luke extinguishes the lasersword and tosses it to Ben.
If he is to be destroyed, you must do it3.
Lord Vader struggles to stand as Ben prods the Emperor onto the same small island. Luke stands behind Ben and watches.
You have become old and weak, Lord Vader. I will take care of this.
The Emperor turns his back on Vader and faces the old Jedi, raising his hands in the air, which causes lightning to strike at Ben4.
Luke leaps in front of his mentor, and raises his hand in defense. The bolts are deflected by an invisible shield. Wherever a bolt hits, the image of Yoda momentarily appears at the point of impact.
Your Master in the netherworld cannot protect you for long. You will turn to me or die.
The lightning bolts become more intense, and Ben is knocked unconscious. Luke drops to his knees under the pressure.
This is the power of the Dark Side that you deny. Your strength will never match it.
Luke struggles to remain conscious against the superior power of the Emperor.
Obi-Wan foresaw my destruction at your hands, young Skywalker, but it seems his vision was clouded... Perhaps there is still another Skywalker. Why can I not see, could the netherworld have influenced my perception? Another Skywalker... your father!
The Emperor turns around to see Lord Vader flying at him. The lightning bolts around Luke disappear as Vader hits the Emperor, knocking them both into the fiery lake of lava. The hideous screams of the Emperor are soon muted. Luke struggles to his feet and stares at the spot where his enemy and his father disappeared into the cauldron of molten rock.
Ben puts his hand on the young Jedi’s shoulder.
It is in Yoda’s hands now.
[“In the rough draft... Ben explains that... if Vader becomes one with the dark side of the Force, he will lose all identity. If he turns to the good side, he will pass through the Netherworld and” in the revised rough draft, Yoda “will rescue him before he becomes one with the Force.” -L. Bouzerau, explanation from Star Wars The Annotated Screenplays page 300.]
He turned back to the good side.
Yes, he did.
The hallway is deserted as Luke and Ben wander, sadly thinking about what happened. The rumble of distant explosions is heard.
Honestly, this in conjunction with an epic battle over Coruscant (that was what the original Had Abbadon became right?) would have been ****ing dope. I'm not too keen on the Ben coming back from the grave though...then again it's not that terrible, it kind of has Gandalf vibes. Maybe if it was like a temporary thing.