Yes, my friends, it’s true! (Well, no it isn’t. But please pretend that it is.)
Through painstaking research and bribery, I have gotten a copy of the first scene to be cut from Star Wars Episode III. I repeat, this is a transcript of a scene that will NOT appear in the final film. It may be restored in the DVD, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. Think of it as a chance to view the creative process that Lucas didn’t want you to see, Or, if you prefer, you can think of it as the deluded ravings of a sleep-deprived writer. It’s all the same to me.
Oh, and a special message to Mr. Lucas. Please, please, please don’t sue me. Your cooperation is very much appreciated in this matter.
(The camera pulls in on a Star Destroyer travelling through space. In a lush conference room, the soon-to-be Emperor Palpatine addresses his faithful pupil, Anakin Skywalker, now 1/3 machine man and wearing an imposing black cape.)
PALPATINE: Well, young Skywalker, you have done very well.
ANAKIN: Thank you, my master. You are most generous.
PALPATINE: Oh, not at all. You have followed my every instruction to the letter. You have instilled fear in my subjects, you have ruthlessly destroyed in the name of the new order, and you look stunning in that black cape. You have even come up with a clever and intimidating Darth name.
ANAKIN: I’m glad you approve, my master.
PALPATINE: Vader. Very good indeed. Where did you get that? I’ve never been able to come up with good ones.
ANAKIN: I think Sidious is quite good, master.
PALPATINE: Oh, I don’t know. I’ve never been quite satisfied with Sidious. And I’m glad you took the initiative and came up with your own. I was leaning toward calling you Darth Spooky or Darth Destructo or something lame like that.
ANAKIN: Actually, master, I was inspired by the name Darth Sidious.
PALPATINE: Oh? How so?
ANAKIN: Well, Master, Sidious is the word “insidious” without the “in” at the beginning, and Vader is …
PALPATINE: Oh! It’s “invader”. My goodness, that’s very clever of you. You know, I hadn’t even noticed that “insidious” thing before.
ANAKIN: Really, my master?
PALPATINE: No, honestly. Pure coincidence.
ANAKIN: How about that, oh, my master.
PALPATINE: Yes, indeed. How about that.
I think, my young apprentice, that you are ready to take your final step into the power of the Dark Side of the Force.
ANAKIN: What must I do, my master?
PALPATINE: It’s not so much something you have to do. I have a present for you.
ANAKIN: A present, my master? I am not worthy …
PALPATINE: Yes, yes, that’s enough of that. But you see, I’m not going to have an apprentice of mine looking insufficiently menacing.
ANAKIN: I … I do not understand, my master.
PALPATINE: Well … Vader, do you recall as a young boy on Tattooine meeting up with a warrior with red skin, yellow eyes and horns?
ANAKIN: Oh, yes, master. Very frightening fellow.
PALPATINE: Yes, well, he was my apprentice. Darth Maul was his name.
ANAKIN: Really? I was never introduced, my master.
PALPATINE: No, but he scared the little pants off you as a boy, didn’t he?
ANAKIN: Quite so, my master. A thoroughly scary individual, was that Darth Maul.
PALPATINE: Do you know what made Maul so scary, Vader?
ANAKIN: Was it the double-sided bo-stick lightsaber, my master?
PALPATINE: No, fool. It was the horns, the contact lenses, the makeup. And the scowl. We practiced that scowl for months before unleashing it on you.
ANAKIN: It was a very intimidating scowl, my master.
PALPATINE: Damn right, it was! I did everything I could think of to keep Maul from looking … human. He was an animal, or so his victims should have thought.
ANAKIN: I certainly did, oh my mas…
PALPATINE: Shut up, Vader. I’m getting to my point.
ANAKIN: Yes, my master.
PALPATINE: I would love to slather you all over with scary red makeup, glue horns on your face and give you freakish contact lenses to wear, but that wouldn’t work with you, Skywalker.
ANAKIN: Why not, my master?
PALPATINE: You are too cute.
ANAKIN: Thank you, my master. You are most gen…
PALPATINE: SILENCE! It is not good for a Dark Lord of the Sith to be cute. It spoils the image. I had to come up with a way to obscure your boyish good looks, and to match that excellent cloak you’ve taken to wearing.
(To a guard) GUARD! Bring the package.
(The guard brings a gaily wrapped package to the Emperor)
PALPATINE: Here you are, Vader. Read the card first.
ANAKIN: Oh, thank you, my master. You are most gen…
Well, I don’t suppose you have to be silent. Go ahead and read the card.
ANAKIN: Master, it is adorable. “Welcome to the Dark Side.” (Opens card)
“Now give me lasagna.” Ha-ha. I am such a big Garfield fan, oh my master.
PALPATINE: Yes, I know. Well, open the box.
(Vader opens the box, revealing the famous helmet.)
ANAKIN: Why … it’s …
PALPATINE: Yes, go on. What do you think, boy?
ANAKIN: It is truly hideous, oh my master.
PALPATINE: HAH! You like it now, wait until you put it on.
ANAKIN: (Listens to the mask)
What is that breathing noise, oh my master?
PALPATINE: (Smiling) Pretty good, eh? That’s a built in air-conditioning system. Trust me, you’re going to need it when you’re all suited up. I had the engineering team working 24-hour shifts for 7 weeks straight to get it to sound more like asthmatic breathing and less like a comforting, regular hum.
ANAKIN: May I try it on, master?
PALPATINE: Of course, of course. That’s the whole idea, you know.
(Anakin puts on helmet.)
ANAKIN: (with James Earl Jones’ voice) It is very comfortable, oh my… WOW! Is that my voice, oh my master?
PALPATINE: (Laughing) Yes, yes, isn’t it excellent? Voice modulation, makes you sound really, really big!
ANAKIN: With a voice like this, I could do commercial voiceovers, oh my master.
PALPATINE: Yes, yes, of course, but put such thoughts out of your mind, Vader. The Dark Side is far more lucrative. Well, go on, say something menacing!
ANAKIN: Of course, my master. Let me think of something good… mmmm… how about this?
(Gestures) “From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee!”
PALPATINE: Oh, yes, quite bone-chilling. You’re a natural at this evil business, Vader. Come on, I’ll get you the matching gloves.
(Wipe-transisition to some damn thing or another.)