The Original Ending for Return of the Jedi Did Not Include an Ewok Party
Far be it from me to argue with the business acumen of George Lucas -- after all, the filmmaker and current scourge of the geek universe was smart enough to include merchandising rights in his original deal for Star Wars -- but did he really ruin what would have been a killer ending to Return of the Jedi because of toy sales?
Producer Gary Kurtz -- who parted ways with Lucas before Return of the Jedi because of his disdain for the "second Death Star" conceit -- has revealed that the original ending for the original trilogy was much more bleak than you could have imagined. Kurtz spoke with the LA Times:
"We had an outline 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.
Other than the fact that under no circumstances could anyone ever compare the acting stylings of Mark Hamill to Clint Eastwood's "Man with No Name," this sounds positively awesome. So naturally it didn't happen. But hey, those Ewoks were pretty cute. Don't act like you didn't have an Ewok doll when you were growing up. Just me?
· Did 'Star Wars' Become a Toy Story? Producer Gary Kurtz Looks Back [LAT/Hero Complex]