'Star Wars' Producer Gary Kurtz Talks Lucas's B.S., The 'Return of the Jedi' Ending That Could Have Been

August 13, 2010


Ready to reignite the George Lucas fury that's been slowly dwindling since whenever it was you last saw one of the Star Wars prequels? Then read this LA Times interview with Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back producer Gary Kurtz. In it, he basically labels Lucas a toy salesman first, filmmaker second, and calls him out on the bullshit of acting like the whole thing was always planned as some massive franchise. That's all fairly common knowledge, but of particular note is Kurtz's description of the original talked-about ending of Return of the Jedi--a rejected finale George Lucas didn't think had enough cute animal characters in it:

“We had an outline [for RotJ] and George changed everything in it," Kurtz said. “Instead of bittersweet and poignant he wanted a euphoric ending with everybody happy. The original idea was that they would recover [the kidnapped] Han Solo in the early part of the story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base. George then decided he didn’t want any of the principals killed. By that time there were really big toy sales and that was a reason.”

The discussed ending of the film that Kurtz favored presented the rebel forces in tatters, Leia grappling with her new duties as queen and Luke walking off alone “like Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns,” as Kurtz put it.

Kurtz said that ending would have been a more emotionally nuanced finale to an epic adventure than the forest celebration of the Ewoks that essentially ended the trilogy with a teddy bear luau.

True, that does sound more emotionally nuanced, Kurtz, but what of Yub Nub? What of Yub Nub???

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