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On Saturday, a video from Star Wars Celebration V leaked online. In it was a scene that George Lucas said was deleted from the opening of Return of the Jedi, a scene in which Luke Skywalker completes the construction of his lightsaber in a cave on Tattooine. Turns out that much like everything Lucas has put out in the past 10 years, it's probably complete bullshit.
Geeks Of Doom has uncovered a video interview with Mark Hamill from Comic Con 2009. In it the actor discuss the scene in question, and what does Hamill say? "I never shot a scene like that." So who was that in the deleted scene? A double? That could explain why we never clearly see his face. So now the question is raised: when was this scene filmed? Is Lucas simply trying to create artificial hype to help sales of Star Wars on Blu-ray? I've said it once and I'll probably say it another thousand times before I die: Screw George Lucas.
Check out the video below.
UPDATE #1: But this isn't where it ends. Sadly, Mark Hamill, who I have loved for years because of his dedication to fans, is entirely implicit in this mess as well. Not only did Hamill come out to introduce the clip, but also said afterward "You can see my cleft chin sticking out of the hood, but the first thing that gets applause is my lightsaber," according to Ology.com. So when did Hamill suddenly remember filming this scene? Star Wars universe, you have officially broken my heart.
UPDATE #2: We've found a video of Mark Hamill talking with Jon Stewart and George Lucas both before and after the "deleted scene" is shown, and there are a few interesting points to be made:
1. He introduces the clip by saying “This is my original entrance into Return of the Jedi.” The "my" seems to indicate that either he is saying it is him, or he has no problem letting the audience sip away on the kool-aid.
2. He doesn't actually say "my cleft chin," but rather "the cleft chin."
3. Hamill mentions the black outfit and the glove, but this likely refers to the outfit he wears in the last half of the film, and not the one in this scene (he isn't wearing the glove).
The rabbit hole keeps getting deeper and deeper. I'll keep updating as I find more information. In the meantime, check out the video below, which also includes the "deleted scene" in question.
UPDATE #3 Commenter Nicholas West mentions that Hamill did remember that he was in the scene prior to the showing of the clip, so we dug up the full intro to the video. The verdict? Quoth Mark Hamill:
But when they told me what was involved in this scene, I said, "I vaguely remember," and then, of course, when they showed me I really remembered."
Something is very, very wrong here. Check out the video below.
UPDATE #4: Commenter Michael pulled an old article from StarWarz.com which has quotes from Anthony Daniels, the man who played C-3P0. Said Daniels of the scene:
I filmed the background to this in Death Valley just before the road to Jabba (the last scene filmed in ROTJ). It was a tiny crew and George and me. It was the best time I had in all four movies.
The writer of the article notes (keep in mind this was written in 2001) that there was no mention of Hamill being at the taping of the scene, which conflicts with Hamill's comments at Celebration V. The writer does point out that in the storyboards, which were drawn two years apart, C-3P0 is outside of the cave, not in it, meaning that it is entirely possible that the two parts of the scene were filmed separately.
UPDATE #5: Two new bits for the morning edition, one that would seem to argue in favor of the scene being as legendary as we've been told, the other not so much. Reader Philip Obaza emailed me about the score for the scene and informed me that it is a John Williams piece titled "Tatooine Rendezvous" and is available on the expanded version of the soundtrack which was released in 1997. It brings up an interesting point, as it is unlikely Williams would score a scene that doesn't exist. I plan on doing some more research into the history behind the track and will update with my findings.
The second piece comes from the press release issued from StarWars.com. The quote in question is as follows:
Actor Mark Hamill came out to describe the scene, remarking that once again his original introduction in a Star Wars film was cut out (his Anchorhead introduction was, of course, cut from A New Hope). Luke’s intro is purposely played as ominous, with his face cowled in shadows and his intentions unclear.
The words to notice in there is "his face," once again suggesting that it is Hamill under those robes. I feel I should also take this time to clear something up: this whole issue was raised because Hamill didn't say "I don't remember shooting a scene like that," but, rather, "I never shot a scene like that" and "I would remember if I had done something like that." It's only when he got to Celebration V that he seemed to get a little fuzzy on it.