THE LUCASFILM WEB SITE SCANDAL
Although this didn't start on RASSM, it can be viewed as RASSM history because of the part the members played in this monumental event. It began back in September 1996 when without warning news reached RASSM that Lucasfilm Ltd. were searching the Web for unofficial Star Wars sites with a view to closing them down. Why this was was unknown at the time, until people began claiming that they had been sent letters from Lucasfilm telling them that their Star Wars Web site was breaching copyrights and had to be closed. This wasn't true. Lucasfilm had apparently asked a man named Jason Ruspini to close his site, and that is where the rumours had started about a Web site holocaust. Of course these rumours sparked a bitter revolution as far as Star Wars Web site authors were concerned, and this too reached RASSM. A boycott began whereby Star Wars Web site owners, if they were against the proposed closures, would display a special symbol on their sites indicating their disaproval. This was quite a wide-spread protest. But within a matter of weeks Lucasfilm announced that the proposed closure of Jason Ruspini's site had been "a misunderstanding" and they did not plan to close any sites what-so-ever. Many people, upon further evidence of Lucasfilm's activities, still find this hard to believe.
A formal letter written to Jason by Lucasfilm denouncing the closure was printed in the Star Wars Insider issue #30.
OBI-WAN THE CLONE?
The debate as to whether or not Obi-Wan (aka Ben) Kenobi is clone has been around since the beginning of RASSM. The debate centers around the name "Obi-Wan", Kenobi's given name. Many have wondered if Kenobi is clone and his name is actually "OB1." While there is no proof in the movies or Lucasfilm approved literature, it is an intersting notion.
The content of Episodes II & III are likely to provide as definitive of an answer as Star Wars fans can get from George Lucas. Until then, speculation will surely continue and evidence from both sides will continue to pile up.
1996 (revised 2000)
THE SPECIAL EDITIONS
The announcement in 1993 by Lucasfilm that, in co-operation with Twentieth Century Fox, they were to re-release the Star Wars trilogy in the cinemas was one of the key factor in the resurrection of RASS. At first it seemed that Lucasfilm were the heros, they had come to save Star Wars. But was that really the case? After almost four years of waiting for the Special Editions' arrival, many fans have come to their own conclusions. On the one hand it appears that George Lucas is re-releasing the films for the fans and because he wants to improve the final versions of the trilogy, but on the other it is a clever ploy to try and drain us of our money. But which view is right? There is no right answer, but their are certainly some theories.
One theory is that he is indeed trying to drain the fans of yet more money. There is evidence that Lucasfilm already does this: the huge cascade of poor Star Wars literture for example, the four different formats of the trilogy (now five: original, re-mastered, THX, laserdisc and Special Edition), and the fact that Lucasfilm allowed a disgraceful project such as Shadows of the Empire to be seen as "canon" (Star Wars law).
But is this only because George is trying to fund the new prequels? It is certainly a possibility.
Some fans feel that the Special Editions are masking the originals, which in their view is equivalent to blasphemy. It is a rather bold assumption, but valid never-the-less. Why tamper with films that are already perfect? It has been compared to "re-painting the Mona Lisa's smile".
But how can you condemn the re-release of Star Wars? Whichever way you look at it, the Special Editions are still Star Wars, and we are being given the chance to re-live our old memories or even experience this phenomenon on the big screen for the first time. Plus, we get the chance to see Star Wars the way its creator George Lucas "envisioned" it. No one can pass up that opportunity.
However, a more recent debate on RASSM concerning the Special Editions is what is to be included rather than the reasons for their release. Two of these inclusions are an extended scene between Han Solo and Greedo in the Mos Eisley Cantina and a brand new scene between Jabba the Hutt and Han Solo in Mos Eisley Docking Bay 94. Both of these are included in the Special Edition of Star Wars IV : A New Hope. The first of these arguments centres around the actions of the Rodian bounty hunter in his scene with Han Solo when Solo shoots him from under the table. In the Special Edition of Star Wars IV : A New Hope, it is Greedo who fires the first shot at Solo. The shot misses and Solo shoots the Rodian in defense. This is all achieved using computer generated images, although the scene was originally filmed back in 1976 so the footage of Han is available. But the argument is that this softens Han Solo's character and ruins the cold blooded shooting of Greedo. However, after a lot of protest from fans via the Webmaster at starwars.com, apparently ILM have made a quick change in this scene. According to an e-mail from the Webmaster, Han Solo fires at Greedo as Greedo fires at Han. Han's shot kills the Rodian whilst Greedo's shot flies wide of Solo's left shoulder.
Another argument is over the inclusion of a scene between Jabba the Hutt and Han Solo in a Mos Eisley docking bay. This two minute conversation between the two characters is about how Han and Chewbacca owe Jabba the Hutt money after they dropped a shipment of spice which the crime lord had payed for in advance. Filmed in 1976, Jabba the Hutt was originally played by a fat Irish actor. The reason it was eventually removed from the final cut was that George Lucas wanted Jabba to be a slug, not a human, and at the time he hadn't enough money to make the puppet we see in Return of the Jedi. But with the availability of computer generated images, ILM have been able to replace the movements of the Irish actor with an image resembling the puppet Hutt. The argument here is that it just looks bad and doesn't move very well. But there is also a pinciple at stake. In both A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back we hear of Jabba the Hutt but we never see him. It is a shock when we finally meet him in Return of the Jedi; at last we know what this famous crime lord looks like. But this new scene in the Special Edition A New Hope will ruin this affect for anyone who has never seen the trilogy before. They will already know what Jabba looks like when they come to watch Return of the Jedi. There is further argument over this scene which follows the same basic priciple of ruining a myth. During the new Jabba/Han scene, we meet the notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett who, although speechless, lends his eerie presence to the Mos Eisley docking bay. Like the argument over the inclusion of Jabba, Boba Fett is first seen in The Empire Strikes Back and his appearance here could undermine his legendary inclusion on the bridge of Darth Vader's Star Destroyer.
"What/Who is your favorite _________?" is one of the most common types of threads on RASSM. After all, people are always curious to find out the likes and dislikes of other Star Wars fans. While these impromptu "polls" are fun for everyone, the answers are almost the same year after year. However, these types of questions are good icebreakers and allow new posters to the group an easy way to jump in to the discussion.
Periodically, an "official" poll is taken to determine everyone's likes and dislikes. The results of the "official" poll are then stored on the ORHP until another "official" poll takes place.
1997 (revised 2000)
THE LOVE OF BOBA FETT?
Everybody's favourite bounty hunter is Boba Fett - or at least almost everybody's, but what exactly is the attraction? This is the question asked within this thread. There was an influx of these during early July 1996, and they have recently been resurrected this new year. Most people think that the attraction is due to Fett's mysterious backround. In the two films he appears in, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, the audience learns nothing about him or his history. All we know is that he wears neat looking armour and is virtually untouchable. It's a myth that has been witheld up until now however, because with the increasing number of Star Wars novels and especially comics focusing on the hunter, we have learned probably more than we wanted to.
DID HE OR DIDN'T HE?
This thread will be around for as long as Usenet will, and is unlikely to go away even after Usenet colapses. Star Wars actually includes a lot of bloopers ie. things that go wrong which shouldn't really have been left in the final versions of the trilogy. The most famous is when a group of Imperial stormtroopers burst into the Death Star's communications room in which the droids C-3PO and R2-D2 are hiding and the tallest trooper (to the right of the screen) whacks his helmet on the overhanging blast door. Seeing it for the first time is hilarious, and it appears that this is one of the first interesting facts new Star Wars fans encounter. And having found a Star Wars newsgroup like RASSM, they have to tell someone about what they've found. "Have you seen the bit in Star Wars where a stormtrooper hits his head in the Death Star?". Of course, anyone who has been a Star Wars fan for more than three months is already going to know this, so the person who asks gets flamed or is subjected to a wide variety of explanations about this event such as:
On a side note, there is also constant debate about the pronunciations of certain words used in the trilogy. The most frequent is about what the Emperor calls Endor in Return of the Jedi - Century Moon, Sanctury Moon, Centri Moon??? Why not look in the script? Another common debate is about what Luke Skywalker shouts to Princess Leia as he climbs from his X-wing fighter having just blown up the first Death Star - is it "Yeeeaaaahhh" or the name of the actress who plays the Princess, "Carrie"???
Bloopers are always a source of debate and discussion amongst RASSMers. New readers quite often say "have you seen this blooper? I don't think I've heard it mentioned here before..." and proceed in making themselves look ignorant. But three moments in the trilogy are certainly a mystery. They're not strictly bloopers, but little "incidents" that were in fact deliberately placed into the final cut. For this page, they are going to be called "X-Files". The three X-Files that seem to baffle most Star Wars fans are the potato, the exloding TIE pilot, and the shoe.
This is how The Star Wars Trilogy Blooper Viewers Guide (collected and arranged by Jeremy Kennedy: available at http://www.egosystem.com/starwars/index.html) describes these incidents:
Special Effects crew at Industrial Light and Magic
have often placed little "inside jokes" that are too small to be seen in
the final cuts. In the asteroid belt sequence, one of the asteroids is
actually a potato. There is no actual confirmation of which one or if it is
even visible in the final cut but what follows is an educated guess.
When Chewie and Han come up to the cockpit right after the line, "That
was no laser blast, something hit us". Han sits down, and then it shows out
the window of the Falcon and you see asteroids. Two asteroids come across
the front of the window, from top left to bottom right. It is thought that
perhaps one of these could be the potato....
Supposedly another one of these little jokes the special effects crew
made was creating a scene where a TIE Fighter pilot is visible in a ball of
flame after his ship is blown up.
It is the scene where the Falcon first enters the asteroid field. The
first TIE Fighter to get hit by an asteroid explodes. In the centre of the
explosion you can see the pilot, on fire, spinning from the centre of the
screen to the lower left. It is a lot easier to find this scene in the
There have been several reports saying that during the long and tedious
shooting of the tremendously complex space battles that to help "relieve the
tension", that special effects persons put a tennis shoe in the rebel fleet.
No one seems to have found the shoe in any of the scenes of the movie, and it's
very possible that the scene with the shoe may have been cut and never saw
the silver screen....
When Chewie and Han come up to the cockpit right after the line, "That was no laser blast, something hit us". Han sits down, and then it shows out the window of the Falcon and you see asteroids. Two asteroids come across the front of the window, from top left to bottom right. It is thought that perhaps one of these could be the potato....
Supposedly another one of these little jokes the special effects crew made was creating a scene where a TIE Fighter pilot is visible in a ball of flame after his ship is blown up.
It is the scene where the Falcon first enters the asteroid field. The first TIE Fighter to get hit by an asteroid explodes. In the centre of the explosion you can see the pilot, on fire, spinning from the centre of the screen to the lower left. It is a lot easier to find this scene in the letterboxed versions....
There have been several reports saying that during the long and tedious shooting of the tremendously complex space battles that to help "relieve the tension", that special effects persons put a tennis shoe in the rebel fleet. No one seems to have found the shoe in any of the scenes of the movie, and it's very possible that the scene with the shoe may have been cut and never saw the silver screen....
These "inside jokes" are often discussed on RASSM, and a conclusion has never been reached as to whether any of them are true or not. But people still try....
1997 (revised 2000)
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