Super Shadow Visits Skywalker Ranch
Skywalker Ranch Update: Here is a rundown of what George Lucas and SuperShadow did during an average day at Skywalker Ranch during the production phase of Star Wars 3 Episode 3 Revenge of the Sith.
5:57 A.M. Receive phone call from Lucas explaining what time I should show up today. Lucas says we have a very busy day and should get started at 7:30 A.M.
7:10 A.M. I leave the guest cottage at Skywalker Ranch and walk to the building that houses the coffee shop. I order the most expensive cup of coffee they have.
7:25 A.M. After finishing off three brutally hot cups of coffee, I head over to Lucas' office. Lucas is already there and his personal production staffer shows me into his office. Lucas and I greet and he asks me how I slept and then he goes on about what he did last night. We talk for about 10 minutes about trivial things.
7:35 A.M. Lucas hands me a folder, which details all the shots we will be reviewing that day. Lucas takes several minutes to go over everything and asks me if I have any questions. A few minutes later Rick McCallum (producer of Revenge of the Sith) walks into Lucas' office with a big grin on his face. McCallum begins to rattle on about a book he read last night.
It focused on the history of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire. McCallum explains how the Mongols would encircle their enemies and slowly collapse the circle until everyone in the battle zone was dead. McCallum goes on talking for what seems forever.
Finally, he comes to the end of his tirade and Lucas says that's all very fascinating. Lucas hands McCallum a folder showing all the shots we will be reviewing and McCallum seems truly excited. Of course, if I was receiving a producer's salary for not doing much work, I would be jumping for joy also.
8:20 A.M. Lucas, McCallum and I head over to the screening room where we will watch the footage of Revenge of the Sith. A few people from ILM (Industrial Light and Magic is the special effects company owned by Lucas) are there to take notes on what Lucas says about the film footage. The first images we see are of Obi-Wan Kenobi riding off into the sunset on Tatooine.
Lucas immediately says he wants the light from the twin suns to be more intense. Lucas wants the shot to be brighter in order to convey that there is a new hope at the end of the most harrowing Star Wars movie. One person from ILM asks Lucas a few questions.
10:00 A.M. We spend the next hour and a half going over very minor scenes. Lucas feels comfortable with most of them, but he tells his people that certain changes still need to be made. McCallum interjects his opinions. Finally, we get to the Obi-Wan vs. General Grievous light saber showdown. Lucas is beaming with pride at what he sees.
After working for what seems like eternity, ILM has finally got the scene down right. The ILM people are relieved. It is so much fun seeing General Grievous in action. He's a lot better villain than Count Dooku and Darth Maul. The way Grievous can split his arms so that he can wield four light sabers is completely amazing.
10:15 A.M. We take a break. I go fetch Lucas, McCallum and I a cup of exotic coffee.
10:35 A.M. We're back at it again. For the next two hours, we relentlessly pour over the most mundane scenes from Revenge of the Sith. These are mostly the exposition scenes that provide the thrust for the basic plot. These are my least favorite moments during the day because I have no interest in the slow, boring scenes, which provide unnecessary character development.
I'm only in to the action sequences. Anyway, Lucas is very happy with what he sees. He seems to relish even the most trivial of scenes. Lucas believes every word he writes in the script is of the utmost importance.
11:10 A.M. Lucas tells the film editor to integrate all the new stuff into Revenge of the Sith and we will watch the whole thing after lunch. We break for lunch.
1:30 P.M. We arrive back at the screening room and prepare to watch Revenge of the Sith again. The movie rolls and we watch the opening fanfare and the famous Star Wars crawl.
Lucas pauses the film when he wants to make a comment. It's difficult to watch the film this way because Lucas pauses the movie what seems like every five seconds. Anyway, we slowly make our way through the film.
4:45 P.M. We've finally made it to the end of the film. I'm satisfied with everything, but Lucas says that there are always changes that can be made. I tell Lucas that there comes a point where nobody is going to really notice the changes.
If Padme has a certain gleam in her eye and Lucas wants to modify it, who's going to know he made such a change and who's going to care? Lucas explains that he is creating art and that every stroke is significant. McCallum adds his two cents worth of advice, which doesn't really make any coherent sense. McCallum always agrees with Lucas.
5:30 P.M. The day is over. I'm not sure just exactly what we have accomplished this day because I don't understand how any of the minor modifications Lucas continues to make are going to matter. The film looks perfect to me, but Lucas is never satisfied. Lucas won't stop tinkering with the film until we hit the April dead line when the final film print has to be created.
However, even after Lucas completed Star Wars Episode 2 Attack of the Clones and it had its theatrical run, he went back and modified some scenes for the DVD release. I guess this is what Lucas really enjoys doing, which is why he will never stop making modifications to the classic trilogy. He will always find something wrong with them.