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liberalpragmatist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 04:23 PM
Original message
STAR WARS: Original Storyline for Return of the Jedi
Edited on Mon Nov-22-04 04:28 PM by liberalpragmatist
From Gary Kurtz, an old friend of George Lucas and the producer of Episodes IV and V (A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back). Kurtz had a falling-out with Lucas over Return of the Jedi and left. Since then he has become a critic of ROTJ and the prequels, along with much of Lucas' treatment of the series. He basically felt that Lucas got tired of doing the films and decided he was less interested in complex mythic storytelling and more in creating big commercial action movies.

Personally, while I think elements in ROTJ are weak, I like the film. The prequels aren't up to snuff, however.. I enjoyed Attack of the Clones and thought it was entertaining with some interesting strands, but didn't stand up to the standards of the first three. Phantom Menace was just boring and juvenile.

Anyway, I found this interview I found recently to be quite interesting. Kurtz apparently some years back revealed the original storyline - take a look:

http://cgi.theforce.net/theforce/tfn.cgi?storyID=2624 :

Kurtz gave TPM a mixed review as he was clouded by plans made for Episode 1 back in the early 70s. As someone involved with Star Wars from the initial concepts, Kurtz revealed the original intentions for the nine films as they were laid out BEFORE 1980. Very interesting.

EPISODE 1: Was to focus on the origins of the Jedi Knights and how they are initiated and trained

EPISODE 2: Introduction and development of Obi-Wan Kenobi

EPISODE 3: Introduction and life of Vader

EPISODE 4: There were seven different drafts of the film. At one point, they pursued buying the rights to Hidden Fortress because of the strong similarities. At one point, Luke was a female, Han was Luke's brother, Luke's father was the one in prison (interesting point for some debates) and the film featured 40 wookies

EPISODE 5: Once written, the screenplay of Empire is almost exactly what is seen on screen. The only cut scenes were those involving wampas in the rebel base (cut because of time and unsolved technical glitches) and about two minutes of Luke/Yoda Jedi training with no real dialog.

EPISODE 6: Leia was to be elected "Queen of her people" leaving her isolated. Han was to die. Luke confronted Vader and went on with his life alone. Leia was not to be Luke's sister.

EPISODE 7: Third trilogy was to focus on Luke's life as a Jedi, with very few details planned out.

EPISODE 8: Luke's sister (not Leia) appears from another part of the galaxy.

EPISODE 9: First appearance of the Emperor.

***

Also, here's an excerpt from an interview from a couple years back:

http://filmforce.ign.com/articles/376/376873p4.html

IGNFF: Now, also the story has arisen that George had always intended prequels, but had never intended sequels to that initial three films.

KURTZ: After this idea of more films came up, he did several interviews where he said he had story material to do nine films three prequels and three sequels. That was the accepted story, basically, and there was quite a bit of material both before and after the Star Wars lump. So there was no decision to do either one... it was kind of a red herring in a way, because there was no immediate thought to make any other films right away. In a sense, through a business point of view, it probably would have been better to do so, like they did with Star Trek, rather than wait all this time, because the audience interest dissipated somewhat. I mean, it didn't seem to affect the box office on Phantom Menace too much, but ...

IGNFF: It didn't exactly leave a good taste in people's mouths, either.

KURTZ: Well, regardless of the value of the film as a film, artistically, there is a kind of energy around some things where if it had come out say three, four years later after Jedi, and then another one three or four years later after that, that kind of cycle would have probably been better for the audience and for the merchandising than what happened. But that's hindsight. At that time, he always said that he had enough material for three earlier films and three later films, to make a total of nine, and there were outlined materials certainly for a later three that culminated with this big clash with the Emperor in Episode IX. So, we'll never see any of those, based on what he's said now.

IGNFF: Well what were the original outlines for the prequels? Since they can be compared and contrasted now that the first one's out there, and the second one's soon to be out there. Were there major differences from what you saw, from the original outlines of prequel ideas?

KURTZ: Well a lot of the prequel ideas were very, very vague. It's really difficult to say. I can't remember much about that at all, except dealing with the Clone Wars and the formation of the Jedi Knights in the first place that was supposed to be one of the keys of Episode I, was going to be how the Jedi Knights came to be. But all of those notes were abandoned completely. One of the reasons Jedi came out the way it did was because the story outline of how Jedi was going to be seemed to get tossed out, and one of the reasons I was really unhappy was the fact that all of the carefully constructed story structure of characters and things that we did in Empire was going to carry over into Jedi. The resolution of that film was going to be quite bittersweet, with Han Solo being killed, and the princess having to take over as queen of what remained of her people, leaving everybody else. In effect, Luke was left on his own. None of that happened, of course.

IGNFF: So it would have been less of a fairy-tale ending?

KURTZ: Much, much less. It would have been quite sad, and poignant and upbeat at the same time, because they would have won a battle. But the idea of another attack on another Death Star wasn't there at all ... it was a rehash of Star Wars, with better visual effects. And there were no Ewoks ... it was just entirely different. It was much more adult and straightforward, the story. This idea that the roller-coaster ride was all the audience was interested in, and the story doesn't have to be very adult or interesting, seemed to come up because of what happened with Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Indiana Jones films and the fact that that seemed to make a lot of money and it didn't matter whether there was a really good story or not that wasn't what this kind of film was about. We had serious differences about a lot of that.
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DrWeird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 04:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. Forty years from now...
Somebody should remake the whole thing over from scratch.
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Cush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. someone probably will
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baldguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 06:21 PM
Response to Reply #2
23. If they can afford the rights
By then that would be about the same as a medium-sized indurialized country.
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The Revolution Donating Member (497 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 04:33 PM
Response to Original message
3. I always thought it might be interesting...
To do the Thrawn trilogy as the sequel movies. It would be hard to do now, since all the actors have aged twenty years instead of the five required. Although they could still do the New Jedi Order series as movies. It was a pretty descent storyline.
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Heyo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Aw c'mon...
... we can still drag Hammil's old bones out in front of the camera for one last hoo-hah...





... can't we?

:dunce:

Heyo
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Lone Pawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. Go go suupaa CGI!
Look at Polar Express. Look at Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. I'm certain that in a decade or two we'll be able to completely redo Eps. I-VI and make VII-IX without a single human actor, and yet perfect Fisher, Ford, Guinness etc. likenesses.
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Pig_Latin_Lover Donating Member (295 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:07 PM
Response to Original message
5. Real life version
With George W. Bush as the corrupt Chancellor Palpatine taking over the Senate and the evil Al Qaeda as the greedy Trade Federation invading Naboo (Kuwait).
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TroubleMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
6. The KOTOR story would make a great movie
KOTOR stands for Knights of the Old Republic, and it was one of the best video games of the year. It set in the Star Wars universe a long time before Star Wars (several thousand years I think).

The story on that game is top notch. I heard rumors that they're going to make a movie out of it. If done by the right people it would be very good.
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Socialist Dem Donating Member (363 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
7. I thought it was obvious
Edited on Mon Nov-22-04 05:12 PM by Socialist Dem
Starting with ROJ, it was all about marketing.

Of course, I still hold out hope for ROS.
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stinkeefresh Donating Member (563 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:18 PM
Response to Original message
8. I gotta go on record.
I adore episodes one and two, and I'm prepared to adore Ep. 3 as well.

Here is a guy spending millions of his own dollars and countess amounts of his popularity to bring the world a high-profile story that details, accurately, EXACTLY HOW FACISM RISES OUT OF A DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM. And does anybody give him any love? Nope. Just scorn and ridicule.

Sure, the prequels aren't a hero's journey, and that does make them somewhat less enjoyable as films. But as historical dramas, they are extremely successful. And as widely-distributed cautionary tales for our time, they have no equal.

And before anyone says anything about it, let me add that had he not been part of the first movie, C-3PO would be just as annoying and hated as Jar Jar or the Ewoks.
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Lone Pawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. No, we don't like them because
the acting is stiff, the dialogue is terrible, and there's no dramatic weight to the battles.
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stinkeefresh Donating Member (563 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. as opposed to the brilliant dialogue of the first movies?
I don't see it. I'll grant you the acting is better, but mostly due to the talent in the first Trilogy who, seeing that their director was fairly useless as an acting coach, took it upon themselves to make their characters live.

And as for there not being dramatic weight to the battles- in Episode One the battle was a distraction: a useless excercise meant only to create a need for the Chanceollor to gain power. The Gungan's were pawns. The Naboo folk were pawns. The trade Federation and all their robots were pawns as well. It was all a Phantom Menace.

Sound like anything going on in the real world these days? Indeed.
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Lone Pawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. Yes, actually. The dialogues in ESB was damn good.
In EPIV, the characters had chemistry. They weren't action figures on screen the way they are in the new trilogy.
In EPV, the rapport was outstanding. The characters actually had real, developed personalities.
In EPVI, I admit, dialogue fell a notch but still wasn't "yippee!" "are you an angel?" "seeing you alive brings warm feelings to my heart," "I hate sand," or "this party's over." bad.

I know the battles were distractions. But it's a damn unsatisfying trilogy where even the EPII beginning of the war that will end 20,000 years of Pax Republicus is nothing more than a show of lights and smoke and very little else. We saw the battle the same way their command staff would have--full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing. It's a perspective, sure, but it's just not interesting for the audience. These movies aren't just propaganda, they're supposed to be entertainment.
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Socialist Dem Donating Member (363 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #16
22. You forgot
"I'm quite beside myself" and "What a drag"
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DrWeird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #13
19. LOL.
The REAL reason so many fans didn't like the new movies is because they're now twenty years older and not so easily amused.
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Lone Pawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:54 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. I still enjoy the first three. I enjoyed LoTR.
I enjoyed many of the books. I enjoyed the KoTR video game.

I do not enjoy the prequels.
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DerekG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. I agree somewhat, stinkeefresh
If nothing else, Lucas handled Palpatine's rise to power masterfully--the guy knows his history. The Trade Federation--harkening to the dangers of corporatism--is a nice touch.

However, the prequel trilogy existed to chronicle the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker, and unfortunately, Lucas failed. After two films, the depths of this boy still haven't been plumbed. There are flourishes I like--particularly the telling quote "I will even keep people from dying", hinting that the road to hell is paved with good intentions--but it isn't enough. Anakin should be more complex, more pitiable, more regal by now.

I really wanted these things to be better than LOTR, but there is no comparison.
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Lone Pawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Did you see X-Men 2?
The kid they had play Pyro seemed he would have been a far, far, far better choice than Hayden Cantactson. More naturally hot-headed and hot-shottish, more susceptable to pride--you could see the pride drip off of him, whereas with Anakin he never actually seems to have innate emotions (though he declares he possesses quite a few.) Anakin needs to know he's good, believe he's good--and then think that because he's so good, the rules don't apply. He should have decent intentions, but Ep. II's Anakin was just nonsensical. He went from being cute-little-boy to "Obi-Wan Ruined My Life! Gargh! I hate him! I'm always seething!" with almost to explanation. You can't have a tragic figure without knowing *why* he's tragic.
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DerekG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #14
25. Imagine if Lucas had taken the Tolkien approach...
In ESB, Vader tells Luke that "he can destroy the Emperor" and lures him with promises of ending "this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy."

What if Vader was being sincere?

Coupled with Anakin's desire "to keep people from dying"--understandable since he was a slave empathatic to suffering--we have a fascinating reason for his descent. It's just that Skywalker believes he can bring about good through the Dark Side. I like this, but I fear Lucas won't expound on this possibility; he'll just be a cry-baby.
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liberalpragmatist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 07:22 PM
Response to Reply #25
31. Personally, I wish he made Anakin almost a Han-Solo-type character..
Edited on Mon Nov-22-04 07:25 PM by liberalpragmatist
...in the prequels. Imagine if Episode I had focused on Ben Kenobi. The Clone Wars could have already been occurring, and in the midst of this Obi-Wan discovers a rakish, impetuous teenager whose mother was killed in war and who has spent his life as a slave. Obi-Wan takes him and tries to train him, but Anakin is disgusted by abuse at the hands of the Republic and rebels.

I just feel there was so many interesting potentialities right there. I feel like Lucas squandered an amazing opportunity.

Don't get me wrong - I enjoy the prequels and am looking forward to Episode III. Still, I can't help but wonder what might have been.

Also, your reference to ESB - I find the account in the original thread interesting, b/c according to Kurtz, the entire Episode V was setting up a movie that was never done. The way Kurtz makes it sound, a story for Episode VI was already written, but was scrapped. I find that incredibly fascinating too. My guess is Vader would have been redeemed but the Empire continued and Luke had to train a new generation for the third trilogy.
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DerekG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. That is interesting...
Correct me if I'm overreaching, but it seems you've noticed the same thing I have in the last two films--the Jedi are stolid, loveless, dogmatic assholes. The trouble is, I can't see whether this is intentional on the part of Lucas--in order to make Anakin's rebellion more sympathetic--or if he actually perceives them to be the romantic knights we wished they were.
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liberalpragmatist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 07:56 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. I think that's interesting
I actually was referring more to the Republic itself - tolerant of abuses, slavery, etc. But yeah, I can see the Jedi being dogmatic and unbending, as well as possibly corrupt.

There's so much texture to this - this is getting to my major gripe. I feel as if there's so much that could be done with the material and the prequels are so simplistic. Oh, there are definitely some interesing strands in there, and like I said, I DO enjoy them. But they just aren't overall as well-rounded and multi-layered as ESB and as other epics like LOTR. The prequels could have been too.
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stinkeefresh Donating Member (563 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. But Palpatine is a more important character
than Anakin. To quote a friend of mine: "This is the story of a rising facism and it's eventual destruction. Read "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" and tell me who the main character is. I'll give you a hint: it ain't Goebbels."
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Lone Pawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:50 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. Not to the entire series, he isn't
Lucas himself has said that Star Wars is the story of Skywalker: his rise, fall, and redemption. To claim that the true audience focus of the six movies is a character who barely appears in the first, has a brief role in the second, (third unknown), is not mentioned in the fourth, has a cameo in the fifth, and is a minor supporting actor in the sixth is silly. These are Skywalker's movies.
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Pig_Latin_Lover Donating Member (295 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #15
34. Palpatine is "compassionate conservative" GWB
No one knows what he REALLY looks like behind the hood. They find out in Episode III.

The Trade Federation is both corporatism and it is also a manufactured enemy, like we have seen with Saddam Hussein and Osama (who were funded by our government initially). The invasion of Naboo is like Saddam's invasion of Iraq, a situation created to assert power.

This latest war in Iraq puts us around Episode II, where one man is given power by congress to beef up the military and use force.

In Episode III, if Lucas follows history, Palpatine will be asked to lay down his power. I wonder if that will go down as a parallel of our last election. :)
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liberalpragmatist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #8
21. I don't dislike the prequels
I enjoy them and I liked Episode II pretty well. Episode I was alright and looked great, but it bored me after awhile. I really did enjoy them and I feel that overall they get a bum rap.

Nevertheless, I don't think they hold a candle to the original trilogy, ROTJ included.

That's why I find the original storyline to be quite interesting. The story is fine how it is, but the storyline that Kurtz sketched was much more epic, more expansive, mythical, Tolkien-esque. Who knows how it would have looked, but that outline of Episodes I-IX shows a lot of promise. So part of me wishes to see how that would have been done. It might have been truly incredible.
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DerekG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:26 PM
Response to Original message
9. "Return of the Jedi" was the beginning of the end
Flame me if you will, but Episodes I and II aren't anywhere near as insipid as Episode VI. I simply can't watch the film--it doesn't exist.

Oh, and much credit goes to Kurtz for "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back" being as sublime as they were--superior to the LOTR, IMHO.
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Nevernose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:50 PM
Response to Original message
17. He's planning on total CG for 7-9
Give him a fwe years, maybe just 10 or so, and he'll give us three more movies, this time with the express intention of furthering his lifelong dream -- eliminating actors entirely, replacing even the voices with computer generated "stuff."
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Socialist Dem Donating Member (363 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 06:28 PM
Response to Original message
24. hee hee
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anti_shrub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 06:35 PM
Response to Original message
26. I always thought it was kind of obvious...
that after Episode IV became a super duper smash, it all became a cash cow.

Considering the romantic encounter they had, it's obvious that having Luke and Leia be siblings wasn't planned from the start. Just like you can tell Return of the Jedi was all about selling toys.

Hell, they even changed the title from Revenge to Return just so they could spot all the bootlegged merch. That's all Lucas cares about.

Having said that, I like all 5 movies so far. You just have to separate them into two classes: Episodes 4-6 are basically westerns in space, and Episodes 1-3 are political dramas (assuming 3 follows the pattern, and considering the story arc it has to). That's where all the prequel hate comes from. People expected more cowboys in space type stuff and ended up getting a CGI enhanced civics lesson.
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Nevernose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 06:40 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. That's not why they changed the title
Or at least not the only reason. Here's another reason:



IIRC, the movie even opened with a Star Wars-esque scrawl, and was supposed to come out the same year.

I remeber reading about the "Nerds" factor in movie marketing in some magazine twenty years ago. The eighties were a long time ago, though, and many fine cervezas have since been consumed, so perhaps my brain is completely fried.
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anti_shrub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. Its always the reason I heard
The "offical" reason is that a Jedi would never take revenge, the real reason is that Star Wars bootlegging was already a booming industry and George was trying to cut them off at the pass.

Also:"Nerds" came out in 1984, and Jedi came out in 1983.
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Nevernose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. I remember that crappy-ass excuse
I did say that Nerds was supposed to come out in '83.

There was even a big lawsuit about it and the title of the two movies, though as I've said, the details are all a little fuzzy now.

I'm certain that merchandising had something to do with it, too, though, and probably GL's apparent moodswings played a role, too.
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anti_shrub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. The thing is
That if it came down to the two movies coming out at the same time, I'm sure George would have seen to it that the other movie change its name. No way does Lucas allow a Nerds movie to change his Star Wars movie, especially in 1983 when he was at the peak of Star Wars Mania.
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