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David Cronenberg’s Return of the Jedi?

Jabba2_2

After George Lucas’ heart nearly exploded during filming of the original Star Wars (I think we can all agree that it can be taxing on the cardiovascular system to be a perfectionist with a predilection towards flabby ideas — Ewoks, Jar Jar — and narrative incompetence), the original plan was to hand each of the sequels over to another director.

It wasn’t a bad idea, actually: bring in another director’s vision to shore up Lucas’ weaknesses. In Irvin Kershner’s Empire Strikes Back, the approach delivered a sci-fi masterpiece. In Richard Marquand’s Return of the Jedi? Not so much.

But before Lucas approached Marquand to direct Jedi, he approached someone else: none other than David Cronenberg, the man behind The Brood, Videodrome, Crash and Dead Ringers.

The story itself — about how Cronenberg was sized up for directorial duties and then immediately blew it by not being excited enough — is one of the saddest ‘what might have been’ tales I’ve ever read:

“I got a phone call. I was in my kitchen and it was one of the producers. He said, ‘What would you think of doing ‘Star Wars’?” Cronenberg explained. “I said, ‘Well, I don’t usually do other people’s material.’ And then there was a kind of click. I wasn’t enthusiastic enough obviously. I didn’t get a chance to think about whether it was a good idea or not. I blew it right away.’

I can only wistfully sigh when I imagine what the man who came up with Dead Ringers’ Gynecological Devices for Operating on Mutant Women might have done with Jabba’s Palace.

Cronenberg’s Aborted Job Offer: ‘Star Wars: Return of the Jedi’ Director’s Chair? [MTV Movies Blog]

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