104: “We have to rescue her!”
c.mid–late 1978 | age 9–10 My friends and I used to be baffled by that word Detention. Or maybe it was just me? We’d be playing a scene from Star Wars and all sorts of odd variations would come up. ‘Dentation‘ was, I think, the most common.
That sounds like the part of the Death Star that you go to for Dental appointments, or to get dents in your stormtrooper armour beaten-out. The actors actually said to Lucas: “You can type this stuff George—but you can’t SAY it.” But it was far worse for 9–10 year olds!
Imperial Dententionation Blocks
Dententionation… Prison Block!”
It’s where people are detained. DETAINED. Got it lads?
This is a really enjoyable scene in the film and Harrison Ford demonstrates what he, and only he could ever have brought to the role of Han Solo. Okay, Christopher Walken or Kurt Russell could have made it great, but I don’t think they’d have been as likeable as Ford’s version—or as handsome. I haven’t drawn the rather uncomfortable—but comic manner in which Solo reclines, feet on the desk in his bulky stolen uniform. That’s a pity. I’ve always liked that dismissive couldn’t care less pose, and his over the shoulder monosyllables barked through curled lips. Best of all perhaps, is his wide-eyed look of disbelief, as he tries to imagine how a person might ever even consider helping someone else: for free.
Apparently the actors were really starting to gel during these Death Star scenes and they produced real sparkle and humour (A quality that the prequels almost entirely lack). But George Lucas wasn’t pleased. Especially when they got to the Trash Compactor scene and they all began to ad-lib—probably inspired by Ford’s own dialogue revisions and improvisations. (Speaking of which, you’ll love that when it arrives here in a few weeks. I can’t wait!)
So, I sometimes I wonder if the very occasional sparks of cheeky wit and mischievous flourishes from Ewan McGreggor in the Prequels—who really came into his own on Episode 3—were actually improvised on the spot? I’ve heard that he found acting against a blue screen for 3 films tedious, so I think rather than just giving in and going through the motions, he stayed upbeat like a real pro and tried to inject some energy and humanity. His performance reminds me of the energy sparking between the actors in this the original film. “Always on the move”, “Another happy landing!”, “Well, hello there!”
Wasn’t our Liam Neeson like a piece of wood in ‘Phantom‘ though? I do like him a lot. But could it be that he wasn’t confident enough to challenge the direction? Or was it a case of “It’s boring, but think of the paycheque… think of the paycheque…” ?
WEV’E GOT TOO RECUE HER!”
—Star Wars age 9, 1978
I’m guessing this page was mid–late 1978, from the look of it and the paper used. I’m not sure what the dramatic ZAK! is for when Luke shouts “HAN!” Is he slapping him? 1970s Karate-Chopping? Solo might develop a stress disorder, if Luke keeps that up.
No wonder Solo’s jumped up and drawn his blaster! Maybe the next page should have been Luke dead on the floor followed by the closing credits!