Star Wars, George Lucas’ lavish space opera, is a fantasy for our times, this generation’s Wizard of Oz. Nevertheless, whereas Lucas’ film was almost universally praised for its costuming, sets, technical perfection, and wondrous special effects, its plot was largely dismissed by reviewers as corny or hokey, strictly kids’ stuff. “The film’s story is bad pulp, and so are the characters of hero Luke and heroine Leia,” says Richard Corliss.1 “I kept looking for an ‘edge,’ to peer around the corny, solemn comic-book strophes,” writes Stanley Kauffmann.2 And Molly Haskell sums up the critics’ objections: “Star Wars is childish, even for a cartoon.”
“A Long Time Ago… In A Galaxy Far, Far Away….”
Even now, some seventeen years later, those words still strike such an emotional response of awe and wonder in the hearts of audiences worldwide. Without doubt, the most popular space age adventure of all time, the “Star Wars” trilogy mesmerized filmgoers with the exploits of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Ben Kenobi and Darth Vader, and delighted both young and old alike with the antics of See-Threepio and Artoo-Detoo.
The Star Wars Trilogy, comprising Episodes four through six “A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” (respectively), did not begin as one fully-developed, high-concept pitch but rather evolved over a five-year period through a variety of scripts and story treatments. In fact, the origins, original storylines and development of the characters are just as fascinating as anything that has appeared in George Lucas’s final vision, and provide the impetus for this article.
The Development Of Star Wars: A New Hope Version 3.0, Third Draft available (Version 1.0 Second Draft available; Version 2.0 First Outline and First Draft available)
THE DEVELOPMENT OF STAR WARS AS SEEN THROUGH THE SCRIPTS BY GEORGE LUCAS Written by JAN HELANDER DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION AND LANGUAGES – LULEÅ UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY MARCH 1997 Table of Contents Introduction 1. The Writing of Star Wars 2…. Continue Reading →
Randy & Jean-Marc Lofficier wrote an essay in 1983 about the genesis of the SW scripts. The article was published in a French Sci-fi magazine. In 1987, the article was printed in English in STARLOG’s SW issue. This article was one of the first ever to deal with the original scripts. This article is reprinted in its entirety with full permission from the author. You can find the original article at http://www.lofficier.com/starwars.htm.