Welcome to the Ask the Lucasfilm Jedi Council Archives. A feature of Star Wars. Com, no longer active. This is not a complete archive but have salvaged what I can.
Q : Why were prints of the “Forbidden Love” trailer labelled “Black Eyes”?
Rick McCallum: You’re very lucky. You must have gone up to the projection room.
It’s very simple. It’s a code-name based on a television program I did in 1990 that was so obscure that no one ever saw it. I figured it would be a way to ship film under the radar. While we try to avoid it, there’s a lot of theft and a lot of crime going on these days no matter what we do.
Q : Now that everything is digital, why do you still talk about editing and completing specific reels of the movie?
Ben Burtt: It is hard to let go of some traditions.
However, for organization reasons, we still break the movie into segments, or reels, because most storage systems, even digital ones, would be sorely taxed by having to hold all the picture and sound data for a two hour movie at one time and still run quickly and smoothly.
In addition, the film will still be printed in the lab in reels and shipped to the theater in reels. Film rolls, or reels, cannot be made spliceless in sizes much greater than 20 minutes in running time. The theater recieves the individual reels and the projectionist still splices them together into one big platter.
Q : Will there be any appearances in Episode III by classic trilogy characters like Chewbacca or Tarkin or Mon Mothma?
Rick McCallum: No, I don’t think we’ll see any beyond the characters in Episode II, like Artoo and Threepio.
Q : What kinds of things are the art department still working on for Episode II?
Doug Chiang: The emphases of the work is now mostly on creating new or modifying existing designs that arise from changes in the edit. On occasion this includes new set designs for newly written scenes. Primarily though, the art department is currently focused on providing ILM with all the necessary art support needed to complete the film. This work ranges from providing detailed painted storyboards to model color reference to matte painting designs.
Q : If it is forbidden for the Jedi to marry, then how does one explain Nomi Sunrider?
Jocasta Nu: Nomi Sunrider is a Jedi of old, predating the current Jedi Code. Back then, thousands of years ago, one can find examples of Jedi behavior that would be forbidden in modern times. The great Master Arca Jeth trained no less than three Padawans – Ulic Qel-Droma, Cay Qel-Droma and Tott Doneeta. The current Code did away with multiple apprentices to better guide a young Padawan’s path in the Force.
The Code has again changed to adapt to necessity. The new Jedi order started up by Luke Skywalker has done away with certain restrictions of previous generations.
Q : Will we hear Australian accents in Episode II?
Ben Burtt: Yes, unless George [Lucas] changes his mind about dialog during the final mix.
Nothing is really certain until we hear all the dialog, music, and effects together during the final mix. Several supporting characters have what I would describe as mild accents. The intention right now is to keep them… but I know from experience that we might replace some voices once we hear the soundtrack in its final phases.
Q : Is Obi-Wan Kenobi the brother of Owen Lars?
Jocasta Nu: No. The two are from separate families with no connection through blood. Although a number of spin-off materials were published in 1983 and in subsequent years stating that the two characters were related, those materials were based on outdated and eventually discarded information.
Owen Lars is the son of Cliegg Lars. Obi-Wan’s parents are unknown, and he has little to no connection to them having grown up in the Jedi Temple. He is aware of having a brother, but very little information about that sibling has ever been published.
Q : Does Mr. Lucas prefer his concepts be done by hand or on computer?
Doug Chiang: There is no preference. Our main objective is the idea and concept and the technique we use to draw them is secondary. While most of the artists in the art department use traditional techniques, about 30% use strictly digital. All the artists are equally deft in using both digital and traditional techniques and it’s really a matter of personal preference.
Furthermore, different stages of the production sometimes dictates the techniques we use. For example, digital work is most effective during post production since we can digitally alter photographed plates into highly accurate paintings.
Q : Will there be Podracing in Episode II?
Jocasta Nu: Yes.
Q : My wife is due with our first baby on the Episode II release date. What should I do?
Rick McCallum: I used dill pickles with my wife – she hated them, but they stopped her from going into labor. For the birth of my second daughter, I was going to be on location when she was due and there was only one flight out a week and I had to be there to film. Finally she ate a gallon of chocolate ice cream and boom – she gave birth.
So, you’ve got to time it… dill pickles to delay and chocolate ice cream to speed it up.
Make sure she sees the movie at midnight, then at 2:30 she can break water and you’ll both have a doubly good day.
Q : How is working on Star Wars production design different than any other movie? How different is Episode II than the other Star Wars movies?
Gavin Bocquet: The move from Episode I to Episode II was a very smooth move from one environment to another. If you took out the year and a half gap in between them, for me, it would have just melted together very easily. From that point of view, it’s been a sort of a straightforward move.
The difference between Star Wars and other films is immense, if only for the sheer volume of visualizations that need to come out and be produced for the backgrounds. I don’t think any other film probably would demand that much creativity coming from different people in different departments — set design, Art Department, costumes etc. The more creative people you can get in the process, the better.
It would be very arrogant for one person to think that you could create five worlds of architecture, of furnishings, of spacecraft, of whatever, by yourself. It needs to come from as many different people, channeled through the department heads and through George Lucas.
Q : Han claims that the Falcon made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs — but a parsec is a unit of distance, not time. What’s the deal?
Jocasta Nu: While Captain Solo is known to make boastful claims that seem to defy the basic laws of space-time physics, in this particular case, an understanding of the mechanics of the Kessel Run illuminates this statistic.
The Kessel Run is a contest of speed and endurance for smugglers. Those who undertake it must deliver specified cargos (usually illicit in nature) to a series of divergently moving transport vessels. The smuggler must deliver the cargo before the transports wander out of the free trade lanes into restricted Imperial space.
Solo’s record is impressive, since the transport vessels covered less than 12 parsecs of distance during his hurried run between them, a testament to his piloting and the speed of the Millennium Falcon.
There is more than one way to smuggle spice out of Kessel. According to one tale, Solo left out the middleman and ferried the stolen goods himself, skirting dangerously close to the Maw Cluster, a baffling congregation of black holes. In doing so, he shortened the distance for the run, achieving an impressive record of under 12 parsecs.
Using either methodology allows Solo’s claim to stand, but there are many, including the Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, who felt that the Corellian captain was just blowing hot air.
Q : Is anything happening right now on concept work for Episode III?
Doug Chiang: No work is currently being done in the art department for Episode III. Although during the concept phase of Episode II we designed some environments that may be used for Episode III.
Q : What is that thing around Yoda’s neck?
Jocasta Nu: Yoda wears a blissl around his neck, which is similar to a pan flute.
Q : I loved your Star Wars language book. Do you think that you’d like to pursue writing in the future?
Ben Burtt: I love to write. If I was able to earn a steady income as a writer (I have two children in college) I would do it. I have several script and novel ideas I would love to pursue. I would really like to write a book on the history of sound effects in motion pictures, with the emphasis on the aesthetics and language of film sound, and a detailed account of my adventures in sound design over the past 25 years.
Q : What is the symbol on the Jedi Starfighter, you know, the one that looks strikingly similar to the Galactic Empire’s symbol?
Doug Chiang: I’m glad you noticed! The symbol on the Jedi fighter is derived from the Galactic Empire symbol. The reason why will be revealed later.
Q : Have the tasks of Sound and Editing enabled you to overlap skills and concepts?
Ben Burtt: Filmmaking is the blend of many skills and processes. I started out with an interest in writing, directing, music, special effects, sound, and editing. All of these tasks overlap and interrelate. I learned over many years of sound how to enhance drama with layers of sound. Now as a picture editor, I am asked to enhance drama with layers of images. The process of building up a complete dramatic sensation with sound is the same one I apply to picture editing. The key element in filmmaking is the juxtaposition of sound and picture elements to produce a desired emotional response in the audience.
I am really fortunate that Star Wars offers me the chance to straddle both disciplines. It is not the norm.
Q : Is there any difficulty in translating something the Art Department has drawn into what your department actually builds? Where does their work end and your work begin?
Gavin Bocquet: Obviously on something like Star Wars it’s a huge collaboration with Doug Chiang and the concept team back at the Ranch. Over the two films, we’ve made that work very smoothly.
It’s been fairly straightforward right from the start, and there’s a slight separation in what they provide there and what we take and use here on set.
I think looking back on the first film, we sort of felt that 30% of the environments were maybe created purely by our side: the Art Department in the UK. Another 30% was mainly things that we’d interpret directly from the concept group’s work. Then the other 40% was sort of a complete mixture between the two of us passing things back and forth.
Q : Darth Sidious’ holograms have different distortion sounds from the rest. Do holograms have personality, just like different Podracers? How was this created?
Ben Burtt: I tried to make the hologram sounds relate to the character they depicted.
The Sith hologram tonality is partly made on an electronic synthesizer. Two low frequency sine waves of nearly the same frequency are played at the same time. The slight difference in frequency produces a phenomena called beats (you learn about this in Physics class). The result is a wavering up and down in pitch of the sound. I also mixed in some short wave radio sounds that you can hear between broadcasting stations. This is one of my favorite sources of sound. Finally I added a very very slowed down sound of a jet plane firing a Vulcan Cannon, an electronically driven machine gun that fires 100 bullets per second.
Q : You said Episode II would have Podracing. Definitely no complaint about the movie, but it did not have Podracing. How were you mistaken?
Jocasta Nu: Our archives are complete and our information correct, young Padawan. Take a closer look the next time you see it. To the left of a nunaball game and odupiendo-racing, you’ll find your missing sport.
Q : According to the databank Adi Gallia does not appear in Episode II, but I swear I saw her, when Mace Windu said he would take the remaining Jedi. Was she in it?
Jocasta Nu: That was not Adi Gallia, but rather Stass Allie. However, Adi Gallia is present during the Jedi Council scenes, and the databanks have recently and quietly been updated to reflect that.
Q : In Episode II there appears to be troopers with a color-coding on their armor. Does this indicate rank and if so what color equates to what rank?
Jocasta Nu: It is indeed an indication of rank. Yellow markings indicate a commander. Red clone troopers are captains, blue are lieutenants and green are sergeants.
Q : What are parsecs?
Jocasta Nu: A parsec is a unit of measurement, approximately 3.26 light years in length
Q : If Owen Lars in Episode II is Anakin’s half-brother, surely he should be about 10 years old, right?
Jocasta Nu: Owen is Anakin’s stepbrother. He is not Shmi’s child. He is Cliegg’s child from a previous union.
Q : Why was Obi-Wan always referred to as ‘Master Kenobi’ in Episode II? Doesn’t he have only Jedi Knight status?
Jocasta Nu: The term “Master” is occasionally used as an honorific to a teaching Knight — especially by non-Jedi — even if he has not yet achieved the status of Jedi Master. As of the start of the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi had not yet achieved the formal rank of Jedi Master.
Q : In the databank, the Character and Starship sections, the insignia is often wrong. I see Admiral Ackbar with the Galactic Empire icon, and Admiral Daala with Rebel icon, and the B-wing is seen with an Imperial one. Is something wrong?
Jocasta Nu: The symbols found in the databank entries denote the era of influence of the particular subject matter, and not allegiance. The circular sigil of the ancient Sith, found on entries for Yavin 4 and the Massassi temples, for example, indicate an era thousands of years before the birth of Luke Skywalker.
The Republic crest, found on the Supreme Chancellor’s podium, denotes elements from the final days of the Republic (see the Galactic Senate entry, for example). The Galactic Empire sigil denotes the timeframe dominated by the Galactic Civil War (see Luke Skywalker). The symbol on Admiral Daala’s denotes her prominence in the New Republic era, while elements from The New Jedi Order-era are denoted with their own particular symbol (see the Yuuzhan Vong entry).
Q : Does George Lucas make a cameo in the Senate scene in Episode II? I’m sure I saw him.
Rick McCallum: No. Absolutely not.
However, one of my body parts is in the film somewhere.
Q : The sound produced by the seismic charges were simply awesome. How did you get that “twang” sound?
Ben Burtt: I prefer not to discuss in detail this sound at this time. After all, can’t I keep a few secrets?
I will say that this is something I’ve wanted to do since A New Hope, we just never had a sequence which allowed the explosion to be featured in a way that I could exploit the idea of delayed sound in space… what I call an “audio black hole”, an explosion so cosmic that the energy of the sound is unable to escape at the time of ignition, but is released a moment later.
I originally made a variety of similar noises for what I called “Space Ether Explosions” for A New Hope. I used them as experiments, especially for exploding TIE fighters in the scene when Han and Luke are in the gun turrets. They were mixed into a scratch mix for the sequence, but George Lucas did not like them so I halted research.
Now, many years later I revived the idea using some new material and it seems to have found its place.
Q : I am not certain if this was intentional, but I noticed in the digital version Anakin’s metal hand reaches and holds Padmé’s hand. In the 35mm version, Anakin’s metal hand is just shown hanging at his side which then cuts to them kissing. If this was an error, I would just like to know. I feel like I’m the only one around here who caught the difference.
Rick McCallum: Yes, you’ve noticed a difference between the film print version of Episode II and the version that is being shown digitally. (We call it D-cinema.)
Naturally, the process of making the thousands of physical film prints of the movie takes time, so we had to lock down that version in April. However, we had some extra time for the D-cinema distribution, so George [Lucas] had a few more days to make some final tweaks to the finished product.
At the last minute, George felt the wedding scene needed the affection of Padmé taking Anakin’s mechanical hand, so just a few days before Celebration II in Indianapolis we shot it and inserted it in time for the D-cinema version.
That addition is by far the most noticeable change, but we actually made over 70 enhancements for D-cinema. Most involved sharpening, tweaking wipes and color adjustments. However, there are a handful that are definite visual effects changes. I’d be curious to hear if any fans have found any of the other changes.
Q : The clone air transport reminded me of the Warhammer 40K Thunderhawk Gunships. What were the influences on this design?
Doug Chiang: The Republic gunships were influenced by helicopter gunships. The script called for highly maneuverable vehicles that could hover and carry troops. The obvious analogy was helicopters so we used that as the foundation to base the design. The twin cockpit is in tribute to the Hind 24 Soviet attack helicopter.
Q : Any chance the two Ewok movies or the Ewoks and Droids cartoon series will be released on DVD?
Rick McCallum: I hope so. Definitely.
At some point after we’re finished with Episode III, we’d really like to make all of that material available to our fans on DVD.
Unfortunately, we won’t be even thinking of making any firm plans until we’re finished with this trilogy.
Q : Do I hear the voice of Qui-Gon Jinn shouting, “Anakin, Anakin… No!”, in Yoda’s apartment after Anakin attacks the Tusken Raiders?
Ben Burtt: Yes indeed, the voice that Yoda hears is that of Qui-Gon Jinn.
Q : I was disappointed that Clones didn’t answer the question why some Jedi disappear when they die and some don’t. Will this ever be answered?
Rick McCallum: That’s a good question. A really good question.
Only George [Lucas] knows that answer for real. Hopefully it will be illuminated in Episode III. I’ve asked him a dozen times and he always looks at me like, “What? Are you a fan?”
Q : Any chance we’ll see a grand, epic, three-hour-plus Episode III?
Rick McCallum: Right now George is thinking it will be the traditional Star Wars length of two hours.
Q : There was 10 years between Episodes I and II. How much time will pass between Episodes II and III?
Rick McCallum: Right now, it looks like around 2 to 3 years.
Q : What is the significance of Count Dooku’s curved lightsaber handle?
Doug Chiang: We wanted to create something unique for Dooku and thought that a curved lightsaber would reflect an earlier time, as if Count Dooku was from the “old school” of training and thought. The curved handle reflected that sensibility and also set him apart from the other Jedi.
Q : I’m just graduating high school. What should I do if I want to become a movie producer?
Rick McCallum: Make movies.
Go out and buy an Apple iMac. Get Final Cut Pro and a video camera. Get every friend who’s ever written… or learn how to write. Try to make your own movies to learn how bad you really are. The more you learn about how bad you are, the more you’ll be able to help a director. And just get your friends and start your own little company and start making movies.
Don’t fall in to the trap of working on a film, because that’s not going to help you become a better producer. Making films makes you a better producer.
Q : Why was Plo Koon and Ki-Adi-Mundi’s commando raid on the Droid Control Ship cut from the final edit of Attack of the Clones?
Ben Burtt: The attack on the Droid Control Ship was filmed and edited together, but never completed with final special effects. A Jedi attack force battled its way up the ship’s ramp, through doorways, down halls, and into the bridge of the ship. The scene was filled with much swordplay and stunts.
The sequence was dropped from the cut because it added another story to be intercut with what already was becoming too complicated and time consuming for the climax of the movie. Including the sequence also meant time needed to set it up and resolve it while the arena battle and the Clone War land battle proceeded simultaneously.
There was lots and lots of material in each one of these sequences that needed to be trimmed. There was lots of Jedi action in the arena fight dropped, more Jango and Mace, and even at one point a battle in space with the Droid Control Ships.
All of these would have been great to see, but choices have to be made for the priorities of the storyline.
Q : Any chance we will see some familiar planets in Episode III like Alderaan or Corellia or Kessel?
Rick McCallum: One of those, we may see.
Q : Will Hugh Jackman be in Episode III?
Rick McCallum: No, we haven’t spoken to him.
I’ve heard the recordings on the net of a fan asking me that question at Celebration II in Indianapolis. What happened was that I couldn’t hear the question, even when he repeated it, and the moderator said to me, “I think he’s asking about Sio Bibble (Oliver Ford Davies),” so I replied, “Yes, as of now” or something like that.
I didn’t realize he was asking about Hugh Jackman. That’s a question I misunderstood.
Q : One of Yoda’s younglings is clearly a Noghri. What is his name?
Jocasta Nu: Your definition of “clearly” needs reexamination, young one. The non-human members of the mighty Bear Clan include a young Togruta girl named Ashla, a Nikto boy named Chian, and a Whiphid boy named Jempa.
Q : What is the purpose of the large sails on Count Dooku’s ship? There’s no wind in space.
Doug Chiang: They are solar sails. NASA has been experimenting with this idea for decades. It’s a concept based on real science. The idea is that the solar wind energy from a star could be caught by large sails to push spacecraft through interstellar space
.Q : When you’re editing and things are cut and moved around, is it difficult to get the pre-recorded music to sync up?
Ben Burtt: The picture cut of the movie is always changing sync until the very last moment before release. Most often, the music is written and recorded for an earlier version of a scene than what appears in the final cut. Ken Wannberg, John Williams’ music editor, has the difficult task of recutting the music to refit the new sync. This can be an extremely difficult job. He is the one solely responsible for making it fit after the fact.
Q : Why didn’t Jango Fett’s head fall out of the helmet when young Boba picked it up?
Jocasta Nu: If you look closer, you’ll see that the head falls out of the helmet before the helmet even hits the ground. An examination of the shadows shows two separate objects fly from Jango’s corpse.
Q : Has Steven Spielberg ever helped on the Star Wars movies?
Rick McCallum: No, he’s a friend of George Lucas and he always sees the film. He’s the first one we show the films to. We bring him up to give us some notes, but on Episode I and II he didn’t give us any!
Q : The Kamino remind me of some other famous movie aliens. Was this an homage?
Doug Chiang: The Kamino were the synthesis of all the “classical” UFO aliens from the 1950’s. We wanted to create the ultimate “UFO” alien.
Q : Would George Lucas ever consider doing a Star Wars TV series, kind of like he did with Young Indiana Jones?
Rick McCallum: Well, George won’t share all of his future plans with me. I’ve learned never to say never.
Q : Which Jedi are seen surrounded by the battle droids at the end of the arena battle in Episode II?
Jocasta Nu: The following Jedi are in the ring of survivors by battle’s end:
No. There would be no reason to do that unless maybe we could find that metal bikini! 😉
Q : Does Barriss Offee survive the arena battle?
Jocasta Nu: Yes, Barriss Offee did indeed survive, though she is not part of the circle of survivors seen at the end.
Q : Will Yoda be computer generated again in Episode III, or will you go back to the puppet? Will we see him fight again?
Rick McCallum: I can’t tell you about the fight scene, yet. He’ll definitely be CG. We’re not sure if he’ll fight, but we’ll do anything to challenge Rob Coleman (Animation Supervisor, ILM) and his team to go to the next level.
Q : I’ve heard that THX-1138 is in every Star Wars movie, but I can’t find it in Return of the Jedi. Is it there?
Steve Sansweet: Well, we assumed so. But frankly, we can’t find it. And we’ve asked some of the crew on Jedi, who should know. It might be written small on some model, but as far as an obvious reference, we’re stumped. That goes for Episode II too… unless someone is holding back on us for the ultimate Easter egg!
Q : Will there be any Episode III teasers on the Clones DVD?
Rick McCallum: I would give anything to have something on there, but we just didn’t have anything for you yet. I believe George [Lucas] drops a few hints about the rest of the story during the audio commentary.
Q : Are there any clone trooper helmets I can buy?
Steve Sansweet: Absolutely. Rubie’s, Lucasfilm’s costume licensee worldwide, has a spiffy new clone trooper helmet that should fit the bill. Kellogg’s Canada also came out with an inexpensive two-piece helmet joined by Velcro strips as part of a send-away and in-pack promotion when Episode II first launched. There are lots of them still available from sellers on eBay at very reasonable prices.
It was one of the Kellogg’s helmets that an eBay seller claimed was an “authentic prop” used in the making of Attack of the Clones. Only one problem: every single clone trooper was digital!
Q : When Zam Wesell falls prey to Jango’s dart, she utters words in her native language which sound suspiciously like Sebulba’s word for “slimeball”. Do my ears deceive me?Ben Burtt: Zam speaks Huttese at this point and the word “Slimeball” is indeed correct. For a full translation of the line see my book Star Wars Galactic Phrase Book and Travel Guide.
Q : Is the pilot of the air taxi in The Phantom Menace a Bothan?
Jocasta Nu: No. Bothans do not have horns.
Q : I noticed that Mr. Lucas is credited as “Executive Producer” of the Star Wars movies. What’s the difference between an executive producer and a regular producer?
Rick McCallum: Unfortunately right now, there isn’t a uniform standard of how producers are credited in the film industry.
For Star Wars, George Lucas is the Executive Producer because he finances the movie and is also the overall architect of the picture. He’s the one we work for. Whereas I’m in the traditional producer role of coordinating the thousands of tiny details that need to come together to get a picture made.
That’s the way it should be. On other movies, however, those titles may mean other things.
One reason why a lot of movies are bad is that they have 8-12 producers. Sometimes it will be as arbitrary as an agent of one of the actors, who then wants some level of control because he doesn’t want to be known just as the agent anymore. The Producers’ Guild is being run by Kathleen Kennedy now and she’s doing a great job to try to stop that kind of crediting because it devalues the contributions of the actual producers.
Q : Where did Star Wars open on May 25, 1977?
Steve Sansweet: Although it was quick to become a worldwide phenomenon, Star Wars only opened in 32 theaters on Wednesday, May 25, 1977. It wasn’t until a month later that it crossed the 100-theater mark. And unlike today’s theater business where multiplexes might play a hit movie on four or five screens at once, in 1977 one theater almost always meant one screen. No wonder Star Wars was still playing at some theaters on May 25, 1978.
Here’s a list of those original theaters. We wonder how many have survived.
New York, NY: Astor Plaza
New York, NY: Orpheum
Hicksville, NY: Twin
Paramus, NJ: RKO
Pennsauken, NJ: Eric I
Lawrenceville, NJ: Eric II
Boston, MA: Charles
Philadelphia, PA: Eric’s Place
Fairless Hills, PA: Eric II
Pittsburgh, PA: Showcase
Claymont, DE: Eric I
Washington DC: Uptown
Menlo Park, CA: Cinema
Hollywood, CA: Chinese
Los Angeles, CA: Avco I
Greater Orange County, CA: City Center I
San Diego, CA: Valley Circle
San Francisco, CA: Coronet
Sacramento, CA: Century 25
San Jose, CA: Century 22A
Seattle, WA: UA 150
Portland, OR: Westgate I
St. Paul, MN: Roseville 4
Minneapolis, MN: St. Louis Park
Detroit, MI: Americana
Rock Island-Milan, IL: Cinema 3
Indianapolis, IN: Eastwood
Cincinnati, OH: Showcase Cin I
Louisville, KY: Cinema I
Denver, CO: Cooper
Phoenix, AZ: Cine Capri
Salt Lake City, UT: Centre
Q : The new Endor Rebel Soldier action figure looks a lot like John Knoll. Did Hasbro base this figure on his likeness?
Steve Sansweet: No, but there’s a long-time Kenner and now Hasbro toy designer who bears an amazingly resemblance to the bearded Endor soldier. However, the likeable and highly talented Mark Boudreaux says, “Who me?”
Q : When can we expect to see the first trailer for Episode III?
Rick McCallum: Trailer? I don’t have a script yet!
Timing from the last two films would suggest maybe around Thanksgiving of 2004, with the movie coming in the summer of 2005.
Q : A friend and I have had a long-standing argument over when the opening crawl of the first Star Wars movie was changed to add “Episode IV: A New Hope.” He says it was 1978, but I think it was a couple of years later.
Steve Sansweet: You win. But the mind does play tricks, and this wasn’t as easy to answer as you might think. Soon after the unexpected huge success of Star Wars, George Lucas announced that it was only one part in a multi-chapter saga, and almost immediately started production on the next part, The Empire Strikes Back. But there was also a pre-story that might get made someday, he said. The first movie really started “in the middle” of the story.
Star Wars was still playing in numerous theaters a year after its opening on May 25, 1977. It was re-released in 1979, 1981 and 1982. But when was the change made? For the indisputable answer, we went to Lucasfilm’s film archivist, Sterling Hedgpeth. Here’s what he says:
“I found a box with all the positive elements for the ‘revised’ opening crawl, and the assorted trim boxes are dated from October through December 1980. This, then, is consistent with the view that Episode IV: A New Hope was added for the first time to the opening crawl for the April 10, 1981 re-release.”
Q : You fail to mention the frog-like creature outside of Jabba’s palace in Episode VI. He isn’t in your creature database! What is he? I hope not an ordinary frog!
Jocasta Nu: That creature is a worrt. It has just been added into the databank in response to this query.
Q : I noticed that the Slave I sounds different in Clones and in Empire. There was an overlapping low whine that wasn’t present in Clones. Is there a reason for this?
Ben Burtt: I expanded the library of sound for Slave I in Clones because the ship did a lot of new things. I used the sounds from Empire as a foundation, and made new sounds that would connect with the old.
I think the whine you refer to was a sound I made on a trumpet for Slave I taking off in Empire. That sound, also combined with a Doppler pass-by of the horn from my old ’71 Dodge Duster was not used prominently in Clones and you probably missed it.
I certainly tried to tie both old and new all together.
Q : Can you send me a checklist for all the action figures?
Steve Sansweet: No. Not to be mean, but actually I’d like one myself.
I’m only half-kidding. The problem is that there are so many different ways that collectors collect, that it’s impossible to come up with one list format that satisfies everyone. Do you want just every different figure that’s ever been released? Do you want to know every card that each figure has been on? Do you want to know about major or minor variations on figures or their cards? Do you want the list in alphabetical order, or would you rather have it in order of release, or “waves”? What we all need is a fantastic database with every figure on every card with every variation that would let us enter the variables and the order in which we’d like to see the final list. It would comprise thousands and thousands of entries–many more if you include all of the foreign-carded variations.
Until then, there are some very good Internet assets such as our own Cargo Bay, the list at hasbro.com, and many others. For regular pricing updates you can try Toyfare or Lee’s Toy Review, two magazines I wouldn’t be without.
Q : Could you please tell me what an E-wing looks like? I have heard them mentioned in novels but have never seen a picture!
Jocasta Nu: The E-wing fighter has been added to the databank in response to this query.
Q : Did George Lucas intend for Boba Fett to die in the sarlacc, despite what others may say or print?
Steve Sansweet: Yes, in George’s view — as far as the films go — the baddest bounty hunter in the Galaxy met his match in the Great Pit of Carkoon where –unfortunately for Mr. Fett — the ghastly sarlacc made its home.
However, Lucas also approved Fett’s comeback in the expanded universe. And of course, by going back in time with the prequels, the Star Wars creator has brought Boba Fett back to life himself, albeit at a much younger age.
Q : During the meeting with the separatists, Wat Tambor fiddles with one of his dials and makes a noise that sounds like it’s from the Q*Bert arcade game. Is this an inside joke, or mere coincidence?
Ben Burtt: This sound must be a mere coincidence. I made it using a vowel generator in a synthesizer device called the Kyma.
Q : Can the clones procreate without scientific intervention?
Jocasta Nu: Yes, clones are fully capable of biological reproduction