A long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away… editing was not done on computers.
But before Final Cut Pro, before Avid, before Adobe Premiere … George Lucas tried to develop a system called EditDroid. Through a Lucasfilm spinoff company, the Droid Works and Convergence Corporation, EditDroid was one of the first “non-linear” editing systems developed. Based on LaserDisc technology — you remember those, right? — EditDroid made its debut at the 1982 NAB conference.
The disc used to demonstrate the EditDroid system was an early copy of Return of the Jedi, and it includes about thirty minutes of behind-the-scenes footage that’s not seen the light of day in a long time. A long time.
Now it looks like it’s in the hands of Charlie Owen, who’s posting bits and pieces on the Facebook page Return of the Jedi long lost Edit Droid Laserdisc Discovered, which has over twenty-one thousand “likes” (and counting). Note that we assume it’s Owen, as he’s one of three administrators on the page and the other two don’t quite match the location or length of time for the page…
The BTS footage includes alternate takes from scene 50 — Yoda’s death on Dagobah. It’s interesting to note differences in camera angles, as well as dialogue that never made it into the finished film.
This is raw footage; no music, no sound mix. Slates are present, and you can hear instructions coming from off-camera, likely from director Richard Marquand, as Frank Oz goes as long as he can through the scenes.
Coming in the wake of a new blooper reel from Star Wars, along with the original trailers for the trilogy (there was only one, right?), it’s been a fun couple of weeks for Star Wars fans. The site Jedi News reported an unconfirmed story that Harrison Ford has at least a verbal agreement for a multi-picture deal to reprise his role as Han Solo on the promise that Lucasfilm would be in active development on Indiana Jones 5 by the end of 2014. Plus, we have news that Lawrence Kasdan and J.J. Abrams have taken over writing duties, and Michael Arndt is done. No word on whether this was part of the plan from the beginning, or if Arndt has taken the script as far as he’s able and disagreements set in.