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Rewrite of the Jedi

In the 1990s, the good and smartassed magazine Sci-Fi Universe ran the article "50 Reasons Why '[Return of the] Jedi' Sucks." It was harsh, by design: Return of the Jedi, as much as I'm fond of it, does have issues. One of the targets was RotJ's opening crawl. The piece went "Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet of Tatooine in an attempt to rescue his friend Han Solo from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt. Charo guest-stars." The point: this space epic opened with what sounded like a TV Guide log line.

I've rewritten the opening crawls of The Phantom Menace and A New Hope before: why not tackle RotJ? First, here's what the film had:

Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet of Tatooine in an attempt
to rescue his friend Han Solo from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt.

Little does Luke know that the GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly begun
construction on a new armored space station even more powerful than
the first dreaded Death Star.

When completed, this ultimate weapon will spell certain doom for
the small band of rebels struggling to restore freedom to the galaxy...

Here's an attempt:

A year has passed. All attempts to prevent bounty hunter Boba Fett
from delivering the entombed Han Solo to the gangster Jabba the Hutt have
failed. With teammate Lando Calrissian missing in action, Luke Skywalker and
Leia Organa must weigh dwindling options for, somehow, rescuing their friend.

As the REBEL ALLIANCE gathers itself in a way not seen since the Battle of
Scarif, its Bothan spies deliver startling information: the GALACTIC EMPIRE has
secretly fast-tracked the building of a larger, more powerful Death Star.

With the Empire straining to both engage the Rebels and finish the massive
weapon, Darth Vader travels to the remote site of the new Death Star
to find ways to hasten its completion....

I have the advantage of being able to reference Rogue One, made 33 years after RotJ. And I made a nod to something which struck me about Timothy Zahn's Thrawn novels: they're about dealing with limited resources, for both the Alliance and the Empire. Think of how important it is in those books to find the lost Ghost Fleet from the Clone Wars, which would give the side that finds it a major advantage. I can imagine this is already an issue when RotJ happens (thanks to the Clerks "Death Star independent contractors" scene).

My opening crawl, so far, is longer than it should be: 117 words, in contrast to the film's 78. It possibly gives too much info. It (I think) peters out; maybe I'm too specific at the end, since we find out a minute later that it's Vader arriving in that shuttle.

Next pass:

All attempts to rescue Han Solo before his delivery to Jabba the Hutt have failed.
With teammate Lando Calrissian missing in action, Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa
face dwindling options for rescuing their friend.

As the Rebel fleet gathers in a way not seen since the Battle of Scarif,
Alliance spies deliver startling information: the GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly
fast-tracked the building of a larger, more powerful Death Star.

Time is running short before the new weapon can be sent to annihilate
the Rebellion once and for all....

88 words, more in line with the crawls for other episodes. The resources line is gone (kill your darlings, I guess). The crawl is, I hope, more urgent. I also hope it's suitably melodramatic; that's part of the fun of Star Wars.

I've enjoyed this writing/editing exercise.

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