Look, we all tend to believe our favorite directors are infallible, and that every flaw in a movie's final cut is the fault of the producers. (And if we want true justice, we need to get them to #ReleaseTheEdWoodCut.) But in reality, most of what's shot but later removed is chucked out for a good reason. And with a select few scenes, it's baffling that anyone thought they could ever work to begin with.
There are more words dedicated to slamming the Star Wars prequels than there are in the collected works of Tolstoy, so it's a bit cliched to rag on the films. Deleted scenes are still fair game, though, because it's shocking that George Lucas displayed even a modicum of restraint. To wit:
In a cut Revenge Of The Sith scene, Anakin and Obi-Wan are arguing about some information R2-D2 has relayed to them. Anakin then imitates R2-D2, beeps and all, emitting an inhuman electronic noise like a hybrid of a Jedi and a 56k modem. This is not some manic fan spoof. Lucas has Anakin casually imitate a machine, and then has him do it again for good measure. All for some wacky comic relief in the same movie wherein he goes on to mass-murder children.
Early in Donnie Brasco, Al Pacino's character Lefty is taken to a darkened warehouse, and it's hinted that he's about to be killed, like 99% of all gangsters who are ever taken to darkened warehouses. But instead he's gifted a pet lion. Later, he and whatever Johnny Depp's character is called feed the lion hamburgers while Lefty rues how the gift was an insulting testament to his wasted years in the Mafia. It's played for drama, highlighting the irrational extravagance that comes with the lifestyle.
But some deleted scenes accidentally turn the whole affair into a Disney movie about a couple of misfit kids who have to care for a lovable animal on the run from a mean zoo. One has Lefty go to a local burger joint and order 40 hamburgers -- because, you know, lions eat a lot! Another has Pacino and Depp in the front of a car while the lion nonchalantly sits in the back seat like a sight gag from goddamn Naked Gun. Pacino grumbles about the lion before yelling at it to shut up like a parent fed up with their whiny kid. Finally, Pacino mouths off at a random woman who complains about the lion shitting on the sidewalk. And if you want to see the rest of their wacky adventures, just stay turned for Al & Pal, coming to Disney+ the moment a Disney executive reads this.
The biggest criticism of the Hobbit movies was that Peter Jackson went from a studious adapter of the source material into someone who would turn a throwaway line about Elven gardening into a three-hour love triangle. But that side of Jackson almost emerged a decade earlier, when he planned to have Sauron manifest physically and fight Aragorn at the end of The Return Of The King.
Sauron is a unique villain, in that his power comes from his godlike reach and influence rather than his physical power. But the original plan for the movie's final battle was that he would personally come down in his angelic form of "seduction and beauty." Then, after he failed to appeal to ... Aragorn's ol' Ranger of the South, we guess ... he would morph into his Dark Souls boss form previously seen in the prologue to The Fellowship Of The Ring.
Footage that amounted to "Viggo Mortensen versus a klutzy cosplayer" was filmed, but ditched when they realized that Aragorn's heroic story was in holding the line against all odds for Frodo and Sam, not in personally dispatching Fantasy Satan with a sword and a witty one-liner. (Especially since that would make Sauron a total bozo who learned nothing from his last defeat.) So Sauron was replaced with a troll using the best CGI 2003 could muster, and the idea was saved for whenever The Lord Of The Rings is inevitably remade with the Rock.
In the wake of MeToo, it's easy to forget that the casting couch wasn't some deep secret that investigators suddenly exposed. The problem was well-known enough to be the basis of a gag in the end credits of Toy Story 2. You know, something for mom and dad to laugh at.
Pixar movies used to end with fake bloopers and other fourth-wall-breaking jokes, and this bit had villain Stinky Pete caught offering two Barbies a role in Toy Story 3 in exchange for some unspoken return. "So you two are absolutely identical?" he asks while caressing one's hand, prompting you to think about Stinky Pete's little toy erection.
The joke was in the movie for almost 20 years, but Disney quietly removed it for the 2019 4K rerelease. In a staggering coincidence, former Disney and Pixar big shot John Lasseter had been forced out the previous year over his longstanding habit of rubbing and kissing unwilling women in the office. (Sorry for prompting you to think about John Lasseter's little toy erection.)
Quint's appeal is that he's a drunken weirdo, but in a deleted scene in Jaws, he crosses over into the uncle you have to remind about your restraining order when he tries to crash your kid's birthday party.
Quint heads into a music store to buy the piano wire he uses for fishing. Why he doesn't just use fishing line is a separate issue, but whatever, he's eccentric. The real focus of this scene is a boy in the store trying out a new clarinet reed. He's fumbling his way through that one part of Beethoven's 9th we all know. Quint moseys up behind him and starts humming along. The camera settles down, and we spend a full 30 seconds on an unbroken shot of Quint getting louder and louder. Disturbed, the boy starts messing up, so Quint starts shouting corrections until the boy gives up and stops playing, to Quint's ... disappointment? It's unclear.
The scene has so little to do with anything that we don't know what anyone even had in mind for it. It's like an absurd SNL sketch thought up 20 minutes before airtime. Maybe the camera guy forgot to stop recording and caught Robert Shaw in the middle of some unscripted sadism.
As readers lurching toward nursing homes may recall, the original Star Wars had to introduce a whole new universe to viewers, and it had to do so in a hurry. One cut sequence would have shown us what life was like for the youth of Tatooine. The answer is not exhilarating, to say the least.
In an early version of the film, the opening battle continually cuts down to the planet, where Luke is watching it alongside a droid that looks like R.O.B.'s more athletic cousin. He then rushes to the local teen hangout, where his friends are playing "computer-assisted" pool. There he's excited to see that his good pal Biggs Darklighter is back in town, then delivers what could have been an immortal line: "Oh, I almost forgot, there's a battle going on!"
The group goes outside to watch the star wars, but the battle's ended and everyone thinks Luke is full of shit because of how irrelevant Tatooine is. Then Luke worries that the requisite cool girl in the group ("Somehow, even dried sweat looked good on her," the official novelization tells us) might have damaged his space binoculars. She also calls him "Wormy," for reasons that are never explained. Oh, and she's played by photographer and former Prince Andrew lover Koo Stark.
In another scene, Luke gossips about the Rebellion with Biggs like he's a little kid who isn't being let into his big brother's clubhouse. It was supposed to provide some context to the plot (the evil Empire has already started to, gasp, "nationalize commerce in the central systems"), but it all came across like Space American Graffiti and was cut for pacing reasons. This is why Luke greets the apparently new Biggs as an old friend later in the movie. Anyway, the point is that Luke was originally even a bigger dweeb than the movie already portrays him as.
For more, check out 7 Real Deleted Endings That Would Have Changed Movie History:
Follow us on Facebook. If you like jokes and stuff.