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The Problem With The "Special Edition" Emperor in Ep. V

Discussion in 'Original Trilogy' started by tm0910196, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. tm0910196

    tm0910196 Guest

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    Greetings, Cantina. Recently, I was thinking about the various changes made to the Original Trilogy over the years, and found myself thinking about the revised Emperor Palpatine scene in The Empire Strikes Back. And the more I've thought about it, the more I've felt like it creates problems compared to the original.

    The original exchange went like so:

    Vader: What is thy bidding, my Master?
    Emperor: There is a great disturbance in the Force.
    Vader: I have felt it.
    Emperor: We have a new enemy: Luke Skywalker.
    Vader: Yes, my Master.
    Emperor: He could destroy us.
    Vader: He's just a boy. Obi Wan can no longer help him.
    Emperor: The Force is strong with him. The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.
    Vader: If he could be turned, he would become a powerful ally.
    Emperor: Yes...yes. He would be a great asset. Can it be done?
    Vader: He will join us or die, Master.

    The revised version goes like this:

    Vader: What is thy bidding, my Master?
    Emperor: There is a great disturbance in the Force.
    Vader: I have felt it.
    Emperor: We have a new enemy: the young Rebel who destroyed the Death Star. I have no doubt this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker.
    Vader: How is that possible?
    Emperor: Search your feelings, Lord Vader...You will know it to be true. He could destroy us.
    ...etc.

    Alright, so in the original, Vader knew about Luke Skywalker, and it actually seemed like the Emperor was a little behind on things (see Vader's response: "Yes, my Master."). The exchange is short and to the point, and the purpose of the scene is to set up Luke's joining the Sith. In the revised version, the scene is made into a story exposition piece. There's two problems here to me:

    1. Vader already knows Luke Skywalker's name, both in the movie itself and thanks to one of the Vader comics in the current canon. In Ep. V itself, Vader says about the Hoth base, "That's it. The Rebels are there. I'm sure Skywalker is with them." Logic dictates - as it did in the original version of the movie - that Vader was able to put two and two together and surmise, without the Emperor's help, that "Skywalker" was his son. He just seems slightly clueless in the revised version, since he had used Skywalker's name earlier in the movie. Unless his surprise is fake. But why bother changing it in the first place if his surprise isn't supposed to be genuine?
    2. The Emperor seems even more "behind" than in the original version. In the original, the Emperor gathers that Luke Skywalker's a new enemy. Alright. Great. But he doesn't need to tell Vader the two are related. They both let the name imply what it will. By going the extra mile in the special edition, he makes himself look especially foolish.

    Anyway, I just feel like the revised scene makes weird contradictions that the original version didn't. Add in the fact that McDiarmid looks like his Ep. III self, and I just think the special edition scene was a mistake.
     
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  2. Dork Lord of the Bith

    Dork Lord of the Bith PhD in Sith Ethics

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    About this point: In the special edition the Emperor does not mention the name "Luke Skywalker" at all. That is why he then followed up with "I have no doubt this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker".
    Generally, though, you're right. Like plenty other scenes, there was no need or gain by getting them remade.
     
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  3. GingerByte

    GingerByte Guest

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    I'd say it's meant to show that the Emperor is not as powerful as he seems. In ROTJ the Emperor is surprised that Vader could sense stuff regarding Luke Skywalker that he could not, and the "search your feelings, you will know it to be true" line suggests that Emperor may suspect that Vader already knows the truth. I'd argue that the whole scene is establishing that Vader wishes to overthrow his master. All he needs for this is his son.
    Would you rather he looks like a woman with chimpanzee eyes? :p
     
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  4. tm0910196

    tm0910196 Guest

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    Okay, that works for the Emperor, but I still don't see why they needed to include the supposed ignorance from Vader ("How is that possible?").

    Nah, not necessarily. I wish they had done something like this, though. If a fan can put it together, I have faith Lucasfilm could do something equally good:

     
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  5. GingerByte

    GingerByte Guest

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    Sith Lords play a deadly game of cat and mouse. They always withhold information from each other. The master, so they can retain power, and the apprentice, so they can gain power.

    I'm sure we would have gotten something like that eventually. In fact, we should have gotten that instead of Obi-Wan having a mental breakdown to scare off some Tusken Raiders :D.
     
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  6. tm0910196

    tm0910196 Guest

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    I'm convinced some of these alterations are just meant to test the fans' patience... :D The Blu-Ray really might have been the straw that broke the camel's back.
     
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  7. Crusifix

    Crusifix Rebel Official

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    George Lucas just being George. Changing and doing things for no gain or reason.
     
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  8. SegNerd

    SegNerd Rebel Official

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    This is essentially the same set of questions that has been raised before (admittedly, even by me). Is Vader being deceptive or sincere with the Emperor? When exactly does Vader become convinced that Luke is his son? Although I have my own theory that I like to believe, the fact is that you will simply never get all fans to agree on these questions. Even if Lucasfilm were to take an official position on this (which is unlikely), probably some fans would insist that whatever they said was a retcon and that they still like the other way better. I think it is best to just say "It is open for interpretation."

    If I could set that aside for the moment, in general, I think the fact that they fixed it so the Emperor is always played by the same person is a big win.

    Although not everyone agrees with the changes, I think they must have been important to GL - it would've been cheaper to just have Ian McDiarmid rerecord the exact same dialog as Clive Revill and keep Vader's existing dialog, but GL instead made changes that required help from JEJ as well.
     
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  9. PrincessLeiaCB3

    PrincessLeiaCB3 The Princess that was Promised
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    From the current canon we have learned that Darth Vader knows Luke's name and has confirmed, first with the hired help of Boba Fett and then by Dr. Aphra investigation, that Luke is his son and that Padme didn't die pregnant. From the comics we see that Vader is about to let the Emperor know about it but he refrains - I guess looking towards the long game and withholds that piece of information. Him acting as he does not know is just to feign surprise.

    True.

    Same here. It would have been better to have the same dialogue but I'm happy with having Ian McDiarmid reprising his role as the Emperor in TESB :D
     
    #9 PrincessLeiaCB3, Oct 18, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
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  10. tm0910196

    tm0910196 Guest

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    Hmm, you're right, Highness. I had forgotten that the comic in question did in fact incorporate the "fake ignorance" into the scenario. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. And I agree that Ian McDiarmid is better for continuity's sake, I just wish they could have made him look more like the ROTJ version. The difference is big enough that it ends up being a tad jarring, in my opinion. :p
     
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  11. PrincessLeiaCB3

    PrincessLeiaCB3 The Princess that was Promised
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    I know! I prefer his ROTJ appearance too :D
     
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  12. Bosc

    Bosc Force Attuned

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    I think this works even without knowledge of the comic storyline. We know from the start that Vader is "obsessed" with finding Luke, and when they finally meet he wants Luke to be his apprentice. So something's up when the Emperor is like, "Luke" and Vader's like, "who? what?"

    Vader's lying. I like the change.
     
    #12 Bosc, Oct 18, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
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  13. CTrent29

    CTrent29 Rebel Official

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    It's interesting that many people are only willing to criticize the "Special Edition" versions of the Original Trilogy and not the movies that were originally released between 1977-1983.
     
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  14. tm0910196

    tm0910196 Guest

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    Careful what you read into things. There's plenty to criticize about the original versions, too... How did Vader spend so much time with Leia in ANH and not put their familial connection together? Why did blood stain the floor when Obi Wan cut the guy's arm off in the Cantina, since it was established by Ep. V that lightsabers cauterize open wounds? Why did ROTJ need Ewoks? How did the Empire build a second Death Star so fast, and why bother trying since the last one got destroyed?

    The point is not that the original versions are immaculate. The point is, very often, initial writing instincts are correct and make for a more cohesive story. Altering things later on for the sake of exploring new story elements doesn't. Especially if remnants remain that contradict the change you've made.
     
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  15. CTrent29

    CTrent29 Rebel Official

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    Are those your only criticisms of the Original Trilogy? What are your criticisms of "The Empire Strikes Back" (the original version)?
     
  16. GingerByte

    GingerByte Guest

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    @tm0910196 Blood comes out of Maul's chest in The Phantom Menace. I don't know the explanation for why blood sometimes does and doesn't come out.
     
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  17. tm0910196

    tm0910196 Guest

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    I don't like the original Emperor's look, for one. I just wish they had made a greater effort to replicate the ROTJ look instead of using the obviously different Ep. 3 one. Would I need to absolutely have something to criticize about the original Empire Strikes Back in order to be credible for you? I'm not asking to be rude, either, but judging from posts you've made, I gather that unless people have a concrete and specific criticism of the OT while criticizing prequel or special edition elements, you just dismiss their arguments. I'm sure that's an unfair over-simplification on my part, but that's how things appear.
     
    #17 tm0910196, Nov 9, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2016
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  18. eeprom

    eeprom Prince of Bebers

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    Mostly, what I dislike about that altered scene is how clearly you can see his face. When we see Palps in ROTJ, he’s shrouded by the hood. We don’t get a good look at him until the throne room sequences near the climax. The mystery of the figure is maintained right until the end. But in the ‘special ed’ ESB, there he is, full frontal in the cleanest, crispest hologram you've ever seen.

    Granted, Lucas expected we’d be watching the saga in episode order. So we’d have already seen the Emperor by ep.5. But for somebody like me, who never watches the prequels, it’s a pretty jarring and unseemly visual. Meh, it is what it is.
    Isn’t that sentiment better communicated to us when Vader flat out says it later in the film?:D
     
    #18 eeprom, Nov 9, 2016
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  19. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Rebel Official

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    Interesting thing here is, that this dialogue appears to be a relic from Leigh Brackett's first draft (according to which Anakin and Vader were still two different beings):

    DARTH VADER
    Your Imperial Majesty Highness.

    The voice that speaks is silken and deadly as a strangler’s cord.

    EMPEROR
    You are aware of the disturbance in the Force?

    DARTH VADER
    I am.

    EMPEROR
    Then you know that Skywalker is not dead. And he is more dangerous than [unreadable] I had realized. Remove him this time, Lord Vader… Or I shall remove you.

    Darth Vader bows.


    Of course, the (original) ESB audience wasn't too learn that Vader was Luke's father, but besides that, my impression had always been that both Vader and the Emperor use "son of Skywalker" or "young Skywalker" as a synonym for Luke, but one that obviously deprives him of any personality (i.e. first name), and last but not least reveals what he actually means to them: He's just a tool, an asset.

    More interestingly, Lucas and Kasdan deliberately continued to use that terminology throughout ROJ:

    EMPEROR You have done well, Lord Vader. And now I sense you wish to continue
    your search for young Skywalker.

    EMPEROR It is of no concern. Soon the Rebellion will be crushed and young
    Skywalker
    will be one of us!

    BUT because Vader stops using "their" terminology, the Emperor instantly becomes suspicious:

    VADER (after a beat)
    My son is with them.

    EMPEROR (very cool)
    Are you sure?

    VADER I have felt him, my Master.

    EMPEROR Strange, that I have not. I wonder if your feelings on this matter are
    clear, Lord Vader.
    (i.e. calling yound Skywalker "my son")


    ...and practically buries a cool, almost subconscious concept, Lucas and Kasdan seemed to have agreed upon, earlier. :(

    And the really hilarious part: According to the Special Edition it took the Emperor three years to figure out who destroyed the Death Star... :p
     
    #19 Lt. Hija, Nov 21, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
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  20. ATMachine

    ATMachine Rebelscum

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    The fact that Lucas could've simply had Ian McDiarmid re-record Clive Revill's dialogue, and instead chose to alter it in such a nonsensical way, is one of the biggest reasons why I've come to believe that Lucas intended the Special Editions to be intentionally bad.
     
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