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In item #43 of this list states, as an "inside secret," that Richard Marquand was fired from Return of the Jedi and that Lucas had to take over directing duties to finish the movie. I did find indications that Lucas helped him with the FX issues, since Marquand had not worked with FX shots before, at least not extensively. I also found articles, without major support, that some think Marquand was director-in-name-only and Lucas did most of the work. Interviews tend to indicate that there was a good relationship between Lucas and Marquand.

Do we have any clear information on what was the actual relationship between Lucas and Marquand? For instance, did they work well together and was Marquand actually directing? Did he need help with FX issues due to lack of experience in that particular field?

Clear evidence and not rumors or publicity interviews would be appreciated. Any interviews that show both have the same story would help, but shallow interviews like, "Oh, he was great to work with," that lack supporting anecdotes or support would not be useful.

  • uproxx.com/movies/return-of-the-jedi-richard-marquand/3 - The implication is that Lucas overruled him on a number of decisions (mostly those relating to the way scenes were shot in order to allow later editing) but that their relationship was cordial and productive. – Valorum Dec 10 '16 at 1:07
  • You might also want to have a look at Rinzler's "Making of" book if you can lay your hands on a copy. There's tons of stuff in it about how Lucas wouldn't keep his sticky mitts off of the production. – Valorum Dec 10 '16 at 1:09
  • originaltrilogy.com/topic/… – Valorum Dec 10 '16 at 1:17
  • @Valorum: Do you want to use that or any other interview as evidence that the claims are invalid? I'd be interested in that as well. I guess I should rephrase to say I'd like proof for or against. – Tango Dec 12 '16 at 15:09
  • Well, he definitely wasn't fired but I think that answer is far too simplistic. If you fancied rephrasing it to ask more about their relationship, I'd probably have a go at answering. – Valorum Dec 12 '16 at 15:20
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Lucas was there more often on set than he was on Empire, that's not news, he did look over his shoulder. Like in Empire, Lucas did design and storyboard the movie while direct the VFX shots.

He even did that with Kershner at times but not as much but Lucas did do some re-shoots himself, just not as much.

So Marquand was less experienced and more submissive. Lucas did supervise some of the technical shots.

That being said, a lot of your favorite moments are due to Marquand:

  • The sequence with Jabba is due to Kasdan and Marquand
  • It was also his ideas to make the Death Star look like it's not operational when it was
  • He suggested Lando fly the Falcon
  • He also cast Ian McDiarmid as the Emperor
  • He also gave us Admiral Ackbar
  • He also did the whole fight with Luke and Vader.

Robert watts said that one time Marquand did have a fit and would put his foot down when Lucas breathed too much down his neck.

His first cut of Return of the Jedi was a mess so Lucas did essentially take over at the end, to be fair Lucas took over in post during Empire Strikes Back. Kershner was more of a presence but all the VFX shots were directed by Lucas, as said by Joe Johnston and Dennis Muren.

So while Marquand wasn't in the same league as Kershner, he nonetheless brought his own flavor to the Star Wars universe for better or for worse.

Sources: JW Rinzler's books

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