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Friday, 15 May 2015

Star Wars: The Deleted Scenes #2: Biggs, Fixer and Koo Stark as Camie

"That's no battle": Koo Stark as Camie, Anthony Forrest as Fixer, Mark Hamill as Luke and
Garrick Hagon as Biggs Darklighter in a deleted scene from Star Wars
Our look at the deleted scenes of Star Wars takes us back to Tatooine, where Luke Skywalker looks foolish for promising to show his pals a space battle. We meet his pal Biggs Darklighter – and are also introduced to one of the tabloid press's favourite actresses, Koo Stark.

When we last met Luke Skywalker, he was roaring off in his landspeeder after spotting, through his macrobinoculars, the space battle above Tatooine.

Star Wars, as scripted and shot, would then have cut back to that space battle. After we watched the arrival of Darth Vader, his throttling of a Rebel crewman, the capture of Princess Leia and the escape of the droids, we would have been back on Tatooine for a couple of scenes which were ultimately left on the cutting room floor.

Luke and friends in Anchorhead

The first of these sees Luke Skywalker driving his landspeeder through the streets of Anchorhead, past a droid and an elderly woman, who shouts after him: “I've told you kids to slow down.” It’s clear Luke is like one of the mildly rebellious teenagers from George Lucas's previous hit, American Graffiti.  But the scene that follows shows that if he's like a particular character from Graffiti, it would not be one of the cooler ones. It would have to be Charles Martin Smith as the hapless Terry the Toad.

Biggs is back: Luke reunited
with his pal at Tosche Station
in Star Wars
Luke walks into Tosche Station (what kind of station Tosche Station is and what people do there, we're never told), where his peers, Fixer (played by Anthony Forrest), Camie, Deak and Windy are hanging around. Deak and Windy are playing something that looks like an early arcade game, though we don’t see it very well (the script describes it as a “computer pool-like game”).  But there's someone among them that Luke didn't expect to see: his old pal Biggs, back from the Space Academy.

We'll discuss Biggs at greater length in my post about the next deleted scene, but for now I’ll just note that Biggs Darklighter is clearly the coolest person Luke can ever imagine knowing.

When Luke declares that he's seen a space battle, everyone troops outside to see it – only to conclude that whatever is going on in the sky is nothing of the sort. Even Biggs declares that Luke has probably just seen a tanker refuelling a freighter, and Luke follows the others in, disconsolate.

Koo Stark as Camie: the most famous person in Star Wars’ deleted scenes

Koo Stark on location for Star Wars
The actress Koo Stark will be familiar to anyone who ever saw a British tabloid newspaper in the early 1980s.

Koo Stark became better
known for this sort of thing,
Cruel Passions in 1977,
than for  the deleted
scenes of Star Wars
She was the sometime girlfriend of the Queen's third child, Price Andrew – or 'Randy Andy', as those papers invariably called him. (For the benefit of American readers, I should explain that while Randy is a perfectly ordinary name in the USA, in Britain it's an adjective used by prurient newspapers to describe anyone animalistic enough to desire sex more than twice in a lifetime.)

Stark was born Kathleen Dee-Anne Stark in 1956, the daughter of Wilbur Stark, who produced Hammer Films’ Vampire Circus and would go on to be an executive producer of John Carpenter’s The Thing.  She was 19 when Star Wars began shooting in March 1976. But it was another film, released later that year, that would end up defining her: the erotic drama Emily, which would strike the British tabloids as much more interesting than Star Wars once Ms Stark was in a relationship with Prince Andrew. Together with the 1977 film Cruel Passions, aka Justine, based on the book Justine by the Marquis de Sade, it would inspire in the tabloid newspapers that mix of disapproval and delight with which they treated all such things.
Even today, the press
defines Koo Stark  
by her
short relationship 
with Prince Andrew

When Stark was in the papers all the time, I remember one of the tabloids mentioning that she'd been in Star Wars.  I tried without success to recall which part she could have played. She clearly wasn't Princess Leia or Aunt Beru, and the only other women evident in the film are a couple of exotic characters at the bar in the cantina. Was she one of those? I should have worked out, of course, that the papers had it slightly wrong, and that she was Camie in the scenes we only knew through other versions of the story.

Now that we've all been able to see these scenes, it's clear the role of Camie was pretty tiny and thankless. I don't think it gets us any closer to deciding whether Stark could have had a more rewarding acting career than she did, had softcore movies and tabloid fame not got in the way. But at least she could have been the third woman with lines to speak (albeit not very many) in Star Wars.

Star Wars and the delayed introduction of Luke Skywalker

The traditional way to tell a story like Star Wars would have been this: We start quietly, with Luke Skywalker’s boring life on Tatooine. Then he sees a space battle going on in the sky above his planet. Then he unexpectedly gets mixed up in the great events taking place in his galaxy.

As I mentioned in last time’s post, George Lucas was interested in telling the story differently, and initially seeing it from the point of view of two foot soldiers, See Threepio and Artoo Detoo. 

These early scenes on Tatooine represent a compromise between the two approaches. They suggest that Lucas was a bit hesitant enough about his Akira Kurosawa-inspired way of telling the story, and had been persuaded to try introducing Luke earlier in the movie. 

He was right to drop these sequences from the final cut, but in doing so he had to sacrifice some scenes that would have deepened the audience’s sympathy for Luke Skywalker. Luke’s friends, particularly Fixer, really are morons, determined to keep their daydreaming pal in his place at the bottom of the pile (or at least to let Fixer do so). There is only one person who sees something special in Luke, and that – as we will see in the next post – is Biggs Darklighter.

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