Producers decided a voiceover was required to explain things. Darryl Ponicsan was first hired to write the VO, but his version was tossed out. Then a veteran TV screenwriter named Roland Kibbee was hired to write it and this is what was used. Why he was chosen is a mystery particularly as he was all but retired (his career spanning 1946-1980). Ford was still contracted and reluctantly came in to the studio to read the voiceover, but said he would only do it 10 times and that was it. According to Katie Haber (production executive), he read it the way he did on purpose, hoping it wouldn’t then be used. In their interview for the BR documentary, Peoples and Fancher say that by the time the movie came out they had become friends and when they heard the voiceover, they were so worried about the possibility that the other had written it, they didn’t make any negative comments about it for months afterwards. Note that a voiceover was actually included as an idea in earlier scripts and a few of the lines are reminiscent of that, so it isn’t as totally tacked-on as the “happy ending”.
Scott didn’t like the way the excessive “Irving the Explainer” voiceover turned out (and didn’t want it added on anyway) so when the pseudo-Director’s Cut was made, this was one of the first things to be excised. It will definitely not be reintroduced in the Special Edition!
Posted in: 4.9. Miscellaneous Movie Questions