Just get rid of the damned Ewoks altogether. Replace them with some kick-ass wookiees and we're all good.
I thought Jabba was pretty damn threatening. Granted, I was eleven when the film came out.IMO Jabba was one of the best things about ROTJ. But I see your point about trying to make him more threatening as a villain.
I quite like it- solves the fundamental issue of OTL, which is that Leia and Han have nothing significant to do. Only major thing I'd add is greatly expanding Boba Fett's role; he'd escape Jabba's palace and work for the Empire basically for money. In the third act he and Han would fight, and he'd serve as a foil for Han given that Han in ANH very well could have ended up with the Empire, further developing his decision to sacrifice himself.I'll reboot this thread with my outline for how "Return of the Jedi" could've been as great as the first two:
The overall film should've had a greater emphasis on completing Luke's hero's journey. To do this, introduce Luke earlier in the movie and flesh out his motivations from the get go: rescue his friend Han, come to grips with his father's true nature, and restore freedom to the Galaxy. The best scenes in ROTJ deal with these themes, and had they been expanded the movie would've been that more compelling.
Beyond character development, the film's script needed improvements. The three act structure isn't bad, but it's uneven at times. The initial sequence on Tatooine goes on way too long, and most of the interaction with the Ewoks drags the movie down. The movie also lacks the same level of scale and dramatic tension as the first two. Attacking yet another Death Star is just repetitive and squanders the potential for a bigger and better story. Instead of the OTL script, an improved ROTJ could've opened with Luke returning to Tatooine to examine his past and negotiate Han's release from Jabba - who in this version is clearly aligned with the Empire. When Jabba tries to kill him, Luke uses his powers to escape the trap and he calls in the Rebellion. Leia leads a Rebel force that overtakes Jabba's Palace, frees Han, and defeats the Imperial presence on Tatooine.
In the second act, Luke witnesses Yoda's death in Degobah and speaks to Ben about Vader being his father - as in OTL. But unlike in OTL, Leia isn't established as Luke's sister. Instead - as set up in the ending of Empire - Leia is revealed to have the power of the force. In the second act, Leia moves to take the fight to the Empire by striking at the Imperial capital of Coruscant. First, they must take the strategic planet of Kashyyyk - the wookie homeworld. Han has a larger role as we see the former smuggler commit himself to the Rebellion and resolve his conflict with Lando. After Luke is called in to join the fight, he reveals to Leia that Vader is his father and that she must use the force in order to defeat the Empire. Although the rebels, working with the Wookies, defeat the Empire at Kashyyyk Luke is captured by Vader and he's sent to Coruscant where the Emperor plans to turn him to the dark side.
In the third act, Luke attempts to convince his father to turn to the light side as he's transported to Coruscant. He fails at first, but Luke plants the seed for Vader's transformation in the film's climax. Leia gathers an intergalactic force to wage an all-out assault on Coruscant and beat the Empire for good. The chances for success are slim to none. But Leia takes Luke's advice and trusts the Force to guide her actions. Luke is introduced to the Emperor not in a Second Death Star but at the Imperial Throne Room. Luke is tempted to give into the dark side but as in OTL he refuses and duels Vader a second time. Meanwhile the final fight for the galaxy is the most massive out of all the original Star Wars movies. Luke gains the upper hand over Vader but as in OTL he tosses aside his lightsaber, proclaiming himself a Jedi. Outside the Empire unleashes heavy weaponry that tears through Rebel fighters as Rebel soldiers are mowed down by Stormtroopers. The Emperor electrocutes Luke who's helpless to stop him. It appears that all is lost and the Empire will win. Just as the Rebellion is set to lose, Han bravely sacrifices himself to destroy the central generator powering Coruscant City. A devastated Leia taps into the power of the Force to guide the Rebels to victory as Vader makes the fateful decision to kill the Emperor and save his son. Although he redeems himself, Vader is critically wounded and dies in Luke's arms.
In the finale, the Rebels mourn Han's death and Leia is elected Chancellor of the new Galactic Republic. Gary Kurtz' original ending for Luke, with Skywalker heading off into the sunset after the Empire is no more, is shot and included in the final film. After Luke says his final goodbye to Leia and the rebellion, he returns to his family's old farm on Tatooine to begin training new Jedi. As he makes plans for a life without the Empire and Vader, Luke gazes at the horizon as the twin suns set - mirroring the iconic moment from the 1977 original.
What do you folks think?
Good idea. Fett could serve as a foil to Han throughout the film before having a final confrontation on Coruscant. Han kills Fett but he's forced to make a choice to either flee or sacrifice his life to save the rebellion. Han chooses to destroy the central power station underneath Coruscant and dies in the process. But this turns the tide and the Rebellion wins.I quite like it- solves the fundamental issue of OTL, which is that Leia and Han have nothing significant to do. Only major thing I'd add is greatly expanding Boba Fett's role; he'd escape Jabba's palace and work for the Empire basically for money. In the third act he and Han would fight, and he'd serve as a foil for Han given that Han in ANH very well could have ended up with the Empire, further developing his decision to sacrifice himself.
I read somewhere that Stuart Freeborn the makeup artist on the First Two films was less hand on for ROTJ. Instead of creating the makeup himself , he let the crew at ILM do the work.One other point to mention is that although ROTJ was the last of the original trilogy to be released, its effects in some ways looked worse than what we saw in the previous two. I think this had to do with an overeliance on muppets, and as we've discussed before the Ewoks simply don't look convincing. They look like kids in Halloween costumes, not real creatures.
Perhaps if Lucas hired a director more accustomed to special effects than Richard Marquand, ROTJ would've turned out to be the most sophisticated of the three.