The Development Of Star Wars: A New Hope
by Brendon Wahlberg
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 Star Wars”, May 1973.
The eerie blue-green planet of Aquilae slowly drifts into view. A small speck, orbiting the planet, glints in the light of a near by star. Suddenly a sleek fighter-type spacecraft settles ominously into the foreground moving swiftly toward the orbiting speck. Two more fighters silently maneuver into battle formation behind the first and then three more craft glide into view. The orbiting speck is actually a gargantuan space fortress which dwarfs the approaching fighters. Fuel pods are jettisoned. The six fighters break off into a power dive attack on the huge fortress. Lazer bolts streak from the fighters creating small explosions on the complex surface of the fort. Return fire catches one of the fighters and it bursts into a million pieces. Another of the craft plows into a gun emplacement jutting from the fortress causing a hideous series of chain reaction explosions. The chaos of battle echoes throughout the vastness of space.
It is the thirty-third century, a period of civil wars in the galaxy. A rebel princess, with her family, her retainers, and the clan treasure i being pursued. If they can cross territory controlled by the Empire, and reach a friendly planet, they will be saved. The Sovereign knows this, and posts a reward for the capture of the princess. She is being guarded by one of her generals, (Luke Skywalker) and it is he who leads her on the long and dangerous journey that follows. They take along with them two hundred pounds of the greatly treasured “aura spice”, and also two Imperial bureaucrats, whom the general has captured.
The two terrified, bickering bureaucrats crash land on Aquilae while trying to flee the battle of the space fortress. They accidently (sic) discover a small container of the priceless “aura spice” and are rummaging around the rocks pushing and pulling each other trying to find more when they are discovered by Luke Skywalker and taken to his camp.
The princess and the general are disguised as farmers, and the bureaucrats join their party with the intention of stealing their “land Speeder” and “aura spice”. It doesn’t take them long to realize the general isn’t a farmer and that they are captives about to embark on a dangerous mission. The two bureaucrats are essentially comic relief inserted among the general seriousness of the adventure. The small group in their sleek, white, two-man “land speeders” travel across the wastelands of Aquilae, headed for the space port city of Gordon, where they hope to get a spacecraft that will take them to the friendly planet of Ophuchi.
At a desolate rest stop, the rebels are stopped and questioned by an Imperial patrol. Apparently satisfied, the captian (sic) lets the group continue on their way, but a short distance into the wilderness, they are attacked by the patrol. The Imperial patrol of 12 men is no match for the incredibly skilled and powerful general, who makes short work of the enemy.
One of the two-man “speeders” is destroyed in the fight, and the bureaucrats must ride on the back of the remaining one, which slows the group down considerably. They drive into a storm, run low on food and water, but eventually make it to the ruin of a religious temple. In the temple they discover a rebel band of ten boys (aged 15 to 18) who are planning an attack on one of the Imperial outposts. The boys laugh in anticipation of the blow they will strike the Empire in the name of the princess. They all stop laughing, but the laughing continues and they look around in consternation. Into the sanctuary ambles Skywalker, scratching himself, amused at the idealism of the youths. He barely glances at them. The contrast between the boy rebels with their terse nods, their meaningful glances, and Skywalker, a real general, a real man could not be greater. The boys plead to join the party to protect the princess, but the general refuses, and insists they all return to their homes. They say they have no place to go and begin to follow the party across the wasteland.
One night the party is attacked by one of the large beasts that roam the plains, and is eventually killed by the boy rebels. The general reluctantly accepts the presence of the boys, and allows them to join the group.
The general, one of the bureaucrats, and one of the boys, venture into a shabby cantina on the outskirts of the space port, looking for the rebel contact who will help them get a spacecraft. The murky little den is filled with a starling array of weird and erotic (sic) Aliens laughing and drinking at the bar. The bureaucrat and the boy are both terrified as the general orders two drinks and questions the bartender about the rebel contact man. A group of bullies begins to taunt and ridicule the boy. Skywalker attempts to avoid a confrontation, but worse comes to worse, and he is forced to fight. With a flash of light, his lazer sword is out. An are (sic) lies on the ground, one of the bullies lies double, slashed from chin to groin, and Skywalker, with quiet dignity, replaces his sword in its sheath. The entire fight has lasted a matter of seconds.
Skywalker, the princess, and their party make contact with the rebel underground, but not before an Imperial spy, who followed them from the cantina, reports their plans to the city governor. The rebels enter the space port to board a trader’s ship, whose captain is friendly toward the rebels. The group doesn’t realize until it is too late, that it is a trap. Guards pounce on them from everywhere. The princess, the bureaucrats, and the boys run for a ship while Skywalker holds off the guards. they narrowly escape in a stolen space fighter and lose themselves among the giant Imperial fleet looking for the rebels.
The general orbits his ship further and further away from the planet, until he feels it is safe to head out into deep space toward Ophuchi. As he maneuvers to break out of orbit, a patrol craft hails the ship and requests to board and search her. Skywalker trys (sic) to discourage them, but the patrol becomes suspicious. Skywalker makes a run for it and the patrol craft fires on them. The rebels return the fire and destroy the patrol craft. The stolen Imperial ship races toward the safety of deep space as twelve fighter craft converge on the destroyed patrol and give chase.
A raging air-to-air battle and chase begins which continues halfway across the galaxy. The rebel boys shoot down many Imperial ships under the harsh and uncompromising instructions of the general. A few of the boys are angered at his cold and relentless directions, although they grow to respect him when they begin to see the results of his training. their ship is hit several times and begins to break up, causing them to slow down. they maneuver the crippled fighter to an asteroid in an attempt to hide from their pursuers. The trick works, but as they resume their trek across the galaxy, the ship is rocked by a series of explosions and plummets toward the forbidden planet of Yavin.
Everyone jettisons safely away from the doomed craft before it explodes, and using rocket pack, slowly drift to the foreboding surface. The general, the princess, the two bureaucrats with the “aura spice”, and one f the rebel boys regroup and set up camp. When only one other boy shows up, the group decides to split up. The general, princess, and bureaucrats head for what appears to be a city, while the two boys go off looking for their comrades. They are watched by a giant furry Alien, who quietly disappears into the foliage. Skywalker and his party race along a narrow pathway riding “jet- sticks” fashioned from their rescue packs. They round a bend and see the way is blocked by three or four Aliens, riding large bird-like creatures. The general instantly changes direction on to a side path, the others follow close behind, chased by the Aliens. Skywalker drops behind the others and begins shooting at the Aliens with his lazer gun. The Aliens sling a dart-like object at Skywalker as they rush along the road. The general kills the last Alien just as he reaches the gate to the Alien camp. Skywalker cannot curb his “jet-stick” in time and the momentum carries him directly into the enemies hands. The group is surrounded by Aliens. Skywalker jumps off his “jet- stick” and takes a defense stance. The Aliens give him room. They seem puzzled by these intruders and jabber to themselves. Two leaders carry on a heated argument. Finally one storms off in disgust and the other summons a guard who steps forward with a large spear in his hand. Skywalker and the Alien stand surveying each other. The Alien makes a lunge, the general counters, and the fight begins. A desperate fight ensues, but eventually Skywalker wins by cutting the Alien in half with his lazer sword. At this, all the Aliens worked into a frenzy mob, carry the general off and throw him over a thousand foot crevasse into a boiling lake.
The general’s sure death, terrifies the bureaucrats and moves the princess. The Aliens lead them to a small hut where they are imprisoned. Unknown to everyone, the general grabs an overhanging vine on his descent and swings to safety. He starts back to rescue the others when he encounters an Alien. Skywalker starts to attack, but the Alien drops to the ground, jabbering and carrying on. The general recognizes the Alien as the one who argued with the leader, who ordered his death. The general tries to communicate with the Alien, but all he can make out is that the creature worships and wants to take him some place urgently.
The Alien leads Skywalker to a clearing where a platoon of the Imperial guard is lounging, obviously waiting for someone or something. The general jumps undercover as a herd of Aliens arrive with the princess and bureaucrats in tow. A trade is made and the platoon leaves in a “speed tank” with the three captives. The general tries to follow, but is unable to keep up.
The Aliens leads Skywalker to a small farm where he discovers the boy rebels are waiting for him. The farm is owned by a cantankerous old farmer who is married to an Alien. He tells the group that he hates the Empire and shows them the location of an outpost where they might have taken the princess.
The general and his army of youthful warriors plan an attack on the small Imperial outpost. They use surprise and the general’s rigorous training to overcome the enemy and capture the outpost. they discover the princess has been taken to Alderaan, the capitol of the Empire. They make plans to rescue the princess from right under the nose of the Emperor. The only craft at the outpost capable of intergalactic travel is a squadron of one-man devil fights, which the general trains the kids to use. When they feel they are ready, the strike out toward the center of the galaxy and the heart of the Empire.
Disguised as Imperial rangers, the small armada flies right through the gates of the impressive city-planet of Alderaan and stops at the prison complex. After overcoming a series of difficult barriers and traps, they find the princess and free her.
An alarm sounds. The rebels are forced to fight their way out of the prison with “multiple lazer guns” and swords. A few of the boys are killed, but most of them make it to their spacecraft followed by Skywalker and the princess. They break through a ring of Imperial ships attempting to stop them and escape into deep space. The princess’ arrival on Ophuchi is celebrated by a huge parade, honoring the general and his small band. The princess’ uncle, ruler of Ophuchi, rewards the bureaucrats, who for the first time see the princess revealed as her true goddess-like self. The general commissions the “boy rebels” into the princess’ special guard. After the ceremony is over, and the festivities have ended, the drunken bureaucrats stagger down an empty street arm in arm realizing that they have been adventuring with demigods.
MAY 25, 1973
The original thirteen page story treatment has been said, in the biography “Skywalking”, to begin with the quote “the story of Mace Windu, a revered Jedi-bendu of Ophuchi who was related to Usby C. J. Thape, a padawaan leader to the famed Jedi.”
But this text was not included in either copy obtained by this author. It is possible that the line was not originally attached to the outline. Indeed, the story line does not mention Usby or Mace at all. This disagreement is yet to be resolved, thus the precise identities of Mace and Usby are quite unknown.
This outline does not contain the Force, a concept that would appear in draft one and evolve through the drafts. As it stands, the outline resembles a Flash Gordon type story, which was what Lucas originally wanted to make.
This is hardly the Star Wars we know, yet some of the names are familiar, and parts of the plot would show up in the film trilogy. The briefly mentioned space fortress would become the Death Star in the first draft screenplay, and remain so in the final film. Other concepts that were retained include spice, the rescue of the Princess, an Imperial Sovereign, landspeeders, the cantina scene, Yavin, the cantankerous farmer, and the ceremony at the end. The comic relief bureaucrats would later become R2D2 and C3PO. In the films, Han calls Leia “your worship”, and one wonders what his reaction would be to this “goddess-like” Leia. Lightsabers make their first appearance as lazer swords. (Note, however, that General Skywalker “replaces his sword in its sheath”. What sort of weapon is this?) It may disturb some that Alderaan is the capitol of the Empire, but that theme continues in later drafts.
This outline seems to borrow its overall plot and several characters and scenes from the Japanese film, “The Hidden Fortress”. Viewers of that film may notice that the following elements exist in both: The General, the Princess, the journey across enemy lands, the reward for the Princess, the chase between the General and a patrol (jet sticks and bird mounts, horses), the General’s spear fight, the seedy cantina, the clan treasure (aura spice, the gold hidden in sticks), the comic relief (bureaucrats, the deserters), and the reward ceremony. The first draft itself would also bear some similarities to “The Hidden Fortress”, such as the hidden fortress and its destruction. But by the second draft, the similarities would dwindle as Lucas crafted his own tale. A story that was at first based on “The Hidden Fortress” would become a story that was merely inspired by it.
The next major development was the first rough draft screenplay. It carries through most of the ideas present in the outline above, while adding the Sith, the Jedi, and the Force of Others, concepts that give the Star Wars saga its distinctive feel and elevate it far above Flash Gordon.
The Star Wars First Draft Screenplay, May 1974.
Before the story begins, there has been a destructive conflict between the feared Jedi Bendu warriors and the Knights of the Sith, a sinister rival warrior sect. The Jedi Bendu were the Emperor’s bodyguards for 100,000 years, and created the Imperial Space Force. Now a New Empire has arisen, and the Jedi are all but extinct, having been hunted down one by one and killed by the Sith as enemies of the New Empire. The eighteen year old hero of the story, Annikin Starkiller, lives together with his father Kane Starkiller (who is a cyborg with only his head and right arm remaining), and his ten- year old brother Deak. Kane and Luke Skywalker (a silver-bearded aged General and Jedi Master), are the last of the Jedi. In the Jedi Rebellion, they opposed the regime of Emperor Cos Dashit, who is an elected official corrupted by power. In return, the Emperor had the Sith Knights hunt down and exterminate the Jedi.
The Jedi believe in the “Force of Others”, a mystical bond between Jedi that gives them miraculous physical powers, and they use laser swords with great skill. Their sworn enemies include Prince Valorum (The Black Knight of the Sith), and the tall, grim Imperial General, Darth Vader.
Annikin, his younger brother Deak, and Kane have been hiding on the desert world of the fourth moon of Utapau for years, and Kane has been training his sons in the Jedi ways. One day, a seven-foot tall Sith warrior in black robes and a face mask comes looking for them. The Sith tragically kills Deak, and a grieving Kane slays the Sith. Kane and Annikin take the silver Sith ship and end their exile, heading home to the last of the independent systems, Aquilae.
On the domed and gleaming cloud city of Alderaan, capital of the galaxy, Emperor Cos Dashit, Lord of Alderaan, Consul to the Supreme tribunal, and ruler of the Galactic Empire, prepares to speak. He is a thin, grey-looking man with an “evil mustache”. He reviews his forces and commands his troops to conquer the Aquilaean system. The system’s treasure of Genetics and Cloning science will be a great prize. He appoints Governor Crispin Hoedaack as First Lord of the Aquilaean System and Surrounding Territories. The Imperials will move in under the pretense of negotiating a treaty of Alliance, but then they will take the planet with the help of their space fortress, the death star. A rebel spy, Clieg Whitsun, has recorded the proceedings, and heads for a rendezvous with Bail Antilles, a Galactic trader. Bail informs Whitsun that all ships on Alderaan are grounded, but Whitsun knows he must get to Aquilae with his tapes describing the Space Fortress.
Meanwhile, Vader, Hoedaack, and Supreme Tribunal member Vantos Coll discuss Aquilae. Coll warns that Jedi General Luke Skywalker leads the armies of the system, and that they will not be so easily conquered.
On Aquilae, at the Palace of Lite, the ruling family of the system resides. They are King Kayos, Queen Breha, Princess Leia, and young Princes Windom (Windy) and Biggs. While Kayos prepares for war and secures an alliance with the powerful Chrome Companies, corrupt Senator Count Sandage counsels surrendering to the Empire. General Skywalker counsels the opposite, and wants to mount a defense with devil fighters. The Grande Mouff Tarkin, a priest, counsels caution.
At that same time, Princess Leia, fourteen years old and “possessing a soft beauty and iron will”, is leaving to go study at Chathos Academy.
In an underground Hidden Fortress, the rebel leaders of Aquilae gather, including Captain Montross, General Skywalker, Kane Starkiller, and Annikin. They detect a large Imperial Force leaving Alderaan, a full battalion of two-man fighters known as stardestroyers. They also detect a moon-sized object departing the Anchorhead system.
Kane asks Luke to take on Annikin as a Padawan Learner to become a Jedi-Bendu. Kane reveals he cannot continue to teach his son, as he is dying. The Jedi-Bendu must survive, and a new generation must be started. Annikin is given the title of Captain and is taken as a Padawan Learner to Luke.
Kane goes to Gordon Spaceport to meet with Han Solo, an alien of the Ureallian race.
Kayos meets with Luke, telling him that he will refuse the treaty and get the defense measure approved in the assembly. Whitsun, wounded, makes it back to Aquilae, and tells Luke about the space fortress. It is on its way. Luke sends Annikin to retrieve Leia. He picks the reluctant, feisty Princess up from the Academy. “Just who do you think you are?” she demands, initiating an adversarial relationship that will later become love. (The first template for the Han – Leia relationship.)
Still on the road, Kayos gives Luke permission to attack, and the rest of the royal family goes to the fortress. An Imperial attack kills Kayos as he attempts to return.
The Aquilaean fighters consist of six two-man ships (Devil one, etc.) piloted by Bowman, Chewie, Mace (Pilot Leader), Babs, and two others. Their assault on the death star greatly resembles the attack in A New Hope. There is no exhaust port to aim at, but there is a weak spot, the main crosslink transformer. Before the pilots can find it, news of the King’s death hits, and Sandage takes over. Because Sandage sends peace terms to the Empire, the attack must be broken off. The few Devil fighters that were not already shot down retreat, and are also destroyed. Vader reports that the war is won and the Empire is complete. He orders the invasion of Aquilae to begin. The battle has damaged and shaken the death star, and two terrified robots have made their escape in a lifepod during the thick of the fight. Artwo Detwo is a small tripod fusion repair robot, and See Threepio is a human-cyborg relations robot. Both of them speak, although it is mostly just to bicker and insult each other. They crash in the desert and meet up with Annikin and Leia. The group heads to the underground fortress. There, Queen Breha makes Leia the new Queen. The corrupt Senate is in control, but the Chrome Companies on Ophuchi have promised men and ships to return Leia to the throne. Leia and her brothers must be taken to Ophuchi. Luke, Whitsun, and Annikin will protect the children. The payment to the companies for their help is bizarre. Thirty-three scientists’ brains are condensed and packaged with cloning cell samples, so that the companies will be able to clone their own scientists and infuse the clones with knowledge from the distilled brains.
When Sandage tries to prevent the group from leaving, Luke must kill the senator. When they are some distance away, the fortress is destroyed , taking any other traitors with it.
The rebels face a long overland trip through Imperial controlled territory. Prince Valorum, the black knight of the Sith, from the legendary Sith One Hundred, meets with General Vader in the captured Palace of Lite, to plan how to capture the Jedi, Luke Skywalker. The planet is blockaded, and troops are dispatched to all the spaceports.
After several run-ins with troops in the wasteland, the rebels make it to a Cantina in Gordon. Luke must kill several aliens with his laser sword in a scene nearly identical to the filmed one in which Kenobi kills Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba. They meet Han Solo, a green- skinned monster with large gills and no nose, who is an underground contact. Solo brings them to Kane Starkiller and three other rebels, Datos, Occo, and Quist. They have arranged to get the royals off- planet disguised as the crew of a Baltarian freighter, but the two children, Biggs and Windy, must be put in suspended animation to get them past Imperial scanners. Because power units to run the suspended animation packs are so hard to come by, the group can only get one. The other needed unit is supplied by Kane, who rips it from his cyborg body without hesitation. This causes his death, and he bids good-bye to Annikin and Luke as he passes away.
When the group goes to the Baltarian ship, they find it is a trap set by Valorum. To the Sith Knight’s dismay, the rebels fight free of the snare and manage to steal a different Imperial starship. Blasting free of Gordon, they are chased by hunter-destroyers. A tense run for freedom ensues, during which Leia tells Annikin that she loves him. Though he rebuffs her at first, he stops to think about it, and decides he loves her, too. Whitsun tries to convince him that it won’t work out for a Queen and a Warrior. In a scene that would become the escape from the death star sentry ships in A New Hope, Whitsun and Annikin man the ship’s guns and fight off some of the Imperial fighters. To escape yet another wave of fighters, they head into the Norton Asteroid belt. Heavy asteroid damage to the ship forces the group to abandon ship over the Forbidden world of Yavin. Whitsun doesn’t make it off the ship, and dies when it explodes. Using lifepods, the rest of the group must split up. Han and Threepio land with the General in the vine jungle. Artwo and Annikin land together in the Forest of the Gargantuans. Leia lands alone, but is captured by alien trappers. Annikin hunts for Leia. He finds her and the Trappers, and attacks with all his Jedi skills trying to rescue her. His attack goes awry, and a few Trappers escape with the Princess while he falls into unconsciousness. He does, however, succeed in freeing five captive Wookees, including Prince Chewbacca, a huge grey bushbaby with fierce baboon-like fangs. Annikin is taken to the Wookee camp, which consists of bark and mud hovels. The scene is very much like the Ewok sequence from ROTJ. Annikin awakens and must fight one of the Wookees. When he seems to win by using his Jedi skills, they begin to worship him. In the morning, Annikin leaves with Artwo, but is followed by Chewbacca.
Meanwhile, Luke reawakens the frozen princes, and they all begin a trek through the jungle. The group discovers the hut of Owen and Beru Lars, who are anthropologist settlers familiar with the Wookees. Lars tells of a small Imperial outpost five leagues away. To investigate the possibility that their friends may be there, Luke takes Han out with him on rocket powered platforms. They meet up with Annikin and Chewbacca, and scout the Imperial outpost of Mavassi. It turns out that the Wookees have been besieging the outpost for two years without success. General Skywalker makes a plan with the Wookees, and a forest battle ensues. This was the battle that would later become the ground battle of Endor, including smashing an air tank with stone pendulums swung from the trees, and the capturing of one air tank to use against the others. Wookees with spears, axes, and arrows, manage to hold their own against the laser weapons of the stormtroopers. Luke takes control of the outpost, but finds that Leia has been taken to Aquilae ten hours previously. Meanwhile, stormtroopers capture the princes, but Chewbacca rescues them easily. The Imperial base contains several fighter craft, and Luke gets the idea that he can train the Wookees to fly them and attack the death star. Artwo projects his data on the death star structure, pointing out the weak spot of the main transformer. Annikin is very skeptical of his mentor’s plan, and decides to go rescue Leia from the death star, taking only Artwo with him.
The plan to make pilots out of the Wookees goes forward, leading to predictable effects that resemble the Ewoks riding speeder bikes. Later, the Wookees practice shooting asteroids. Annikin, meanwhile, dresses as an Imperial skyraider and gets onto the space fortress. He cons various troopers, and works his way towards the detention area. Vader is aware of him, and traps and gasses the young hero. Even as the Wookee strike force takes off, Annikin is tortured by Vader as Valorum, humiliated by his earlier failure, watches. Valorum is pained by the sight of his fellow warrior at the mercy of the Imperials, who, unlike either the Sith or the Jedi, are without honor or codes. When Valorum is given custody of Annikin to take him to the Emperor, he makes a decision to help the warrior Jedi, who is more like him than General Vader will ever be. He even helps get Leia out of her cell. Trapped in the cell block, the trio escapes into the garbage chute. However, the garbage receptacle is a trap, and Vader starts the walls closing in on them.
Suddenly, the Wookees begin their attack on the death star with nine ships. At the same time, rebels on the surface of Aquilae begin an uprising. Wookee laser fire hits the vulnerable power terminals, and power goes out on the station. This shuts the garbage masher down just in time. Artwo tells his friends that the power core is too stressed, and the station is in danger. Valorum, Leia, Annikin, and Artwo escape the station in a lifepod.
Vader suggests abandoning ship, but Governor Hoedaack will not give up, believing his fortress to be invincible. As Annikin and Leia kiss in the lifepod, the death star blows up, leaving only a smoke cloud.
Queen Leia honors Luke, Annikin, Valorum, and the Wookees in her throne room, and Artwo and Threepio are assigned to serve Annikin, the new Lord Protector of Aquilae.
Despite some flaws, this is a rousing adventure that contains the basic elements of the final story. The Jedi are almost extinct. The Emperor tries to take over with his death star, and a group of freedom fighters led by an aging Jedi try to stop him. A young Jedi begins his training with an older one, and the Princess is rescued. The death star is destroyed in a space battle in the end. Elements of TESB and ROTJ are also present, such as the forest battle and the asteroid chase.
Note the early version of Vader’s turning, in the form of Valorum changing sides to save Annikin. At this point, Vader is still three separate parts, the black knight, the General, and the hero’s Jedi father who dies without his cybernetic armor. Annikin’s freeing of the Wookees is the seed of Han Solo’s later relationship to Chewie, and Annikin being worshipped by them is the origin of Threepio being worshipped by the Ewoks. One cannot help but wonder if this green Han Solo would have turned into a prince if kissed by Leia. The roots of Han and Leia’s relationship are contained in the relationship between Leia and Annikin, who is more like Ford’s Han Solo than Hamill’s Luke Skywalker. The Emperor, while still not a Force user, has an appropriate name, as the cause of all the shit that is happening (Cos Dashit). He is described as dark and sinister, but his evolution to Palpatine is yet to come.
A July 1974 revision of this script is similar, but has several name changes. Jedi Bendu became “Dai Noga”. This term was later to become the garbage monster, Dia Noga, in A New Hope. Other changes are as follows;
Utapau , Ogana; Alderaan , Granicus; Aquilae , Townowi; Imperial Space Force , Royal Space Force; New Empire , New Galactic Kingdom; Knights of Sith , Legions of Lettow; Sith Warrior , Legionaire or Lettow Warrior; Plaza of Daders , Plaza of the Donns; Wookees , Jawas; Annikin Starkiller , Justin Valor; Kane Starkiller ,
Akira Valor; Deak Starkiller , Bink Valor; Cos Dashit , Son Hhat; Crispin Hoedaack , Mara Horus; Clieg Whitsun , Clieg Oxus; Bail Antilles , Bomoje Espaa; Biggs , Oeta; Windy , Puck; Leia , Zara;
R2D2 and C3PO , A-2 and C-3; Valorum , Dodona; Owen Lars , Huu Tho; Beru Lars , Beru Tho; and Chewbacca , Boma. Several of these names would be reused in the second major draft, including Oxus, Espaa, Boma, and Oeta.
The second draft alters the story, creating the basic series of events that will end up in A New Hope. The Force is developed more, and now has a dark and a light side. Darth Vader takes a giant step towards becoming like his film version, and the farm boy Luke makes his first appearance. Oddly, the Princess steps out in favor of Deak, who must be rescued from the dungeons of Alderaan as Leia is from the Death Star. Artoo and Threepio are very close to their filmed versions, and Han Solo leaves his gills behind in favor of the cocksure attitude we have all come to love.
The Adventures of the Starkiller, Episode One of the Star Wars, January, 1975 (second draft).
The Republic Galactica was founded in the distant past by a holy man named the Skywalker. He discovered the “Force of others, an energy field influencing the destiny of all living creatures”. The force has two halves, the Ashla (good) and the Bogan, or paraforce (evil). When the Bogan is felt, despair fills the soul, but it can be fought with good thoughts. Though the Ashla had communicated with the Skywalker and made him powerful, he knew that weaker beings could be seduced by the Bogan. Therefore, he only passed on his knowledge to his twelve children. His descendants became the Jedi Bendu (servants) of Ashla, and for 100,000 years, the Jedi protected the Republic. However, as the Republic grew, its great Senate fell under the influence of the Power and Transport Guilds. The senate became corrupt, and when the Jedi threatened them, they hunted the Jedi, driving them to flee to the Outland systems of the galaxy. They then abetted civil disorder, hindered justice, and aided terrorism until the people, sickened by “lawless barbarism”, welcomed a police state, the Empire. Yet, it was foretold that “in the time of greatest despair there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as The Son of the Suns”. A young Padawan-Jedi (student) named Darklighter was seduced by the Bogan and taught its ways to a clan of Sith pirates. These became the Black Knights of the Sith, the Emperor’s bodyguards, and they helped the Empire to find and kill most of the Jedi. Finally, only two or three Jedi families were left. A civil war began in earnest, as seventy solar systems initiated a rebellion against the Empire. Its famous leader was the Starkiller, one of the last of the Jedi.
The story opens as Lord Darth Vader, dark servant of Prince Espaa Valorum, captures and boards a rebel spacefighter over the amber sand planet of Utapau. Vader is a seven foot tall black knight with flowing black robes and a grotesque breath mask, and his forces include white-armored Stormtroopers armed with blasters and laser swords. His quarry is the rebel captain Deak Starkiller, who Vader thinks is the last son of the Starkiller. Vader believes Deak is trying to reach the rebel base of Ogana Major. But Deak’s goal is really Utapau. He has been told by his father to seek out his brother, Luke, and get the Kiber crystal, a small diamond like object that intensifies either side of the force a hundred fold. The Bogan Force is becoming so strong that only the crystal can save the day for the weakened Starkiller. Aquillian Rangers defend the rebel ship, but as the Bogan’s despair sweeps over them, they are overcome, and Deak’s brother Clieg is killed.
Unable to get to Luke himself, Deak commands all of the ship’s Artoo units to find Owen Lars on Utapau and bring a message to Luke, who is code-named “Angel Blue”. Deak fights off a horde of troopers, who are overwhelmed by his amazing Jedi skill with both blaster and laser sword. Then Lord Vader finds Deak and uses the Force to hurl loose objects at him. Deak taunts Vader that he is only a servant, but Vader presses the Bogan on him, weakening him with an “invisible weight”, much like Vader does to Ben in ANH. Deak is overcome, drained of energy, and taken prisoner. The Imperials find a medallion of power showing the Starkiller’s crest on Deak. Vader thinks the Starkiller is dead, and that he has altered destiny by capturing the Son of the Suns. The attack on Ogana Major is to begin. A Commander questions whether there might be another son alive, but Vader expresses his displeasure at being questioned by constricting his throat with the Force.
During the fighting, R2D2 (no longer talking but beeping) receives Deak’s new prime directive. He and C3P0 take an escape pod and crash on Utapau. Bickering over which direction to go, they split up. They both encounter small, hooded Jawa scavengers who imprison them in their giant Sandcrawler. These Jawas are not traders, but “metalmen”, who will melt the droids down. When the huge vehicle is forced to a halt by a rockslide, all the droids on board escape together, rushing the Jawas. Threepio and Artoo make it to a power station in Anchorhead, and get directions to the Lars farm. But Tuskens, a kind of Imperial soldier, are lurking about, and one reports on the droids and their destination.
The two droids then find the Farm of Owen Lars. The farm houses Owen’s wife, Beru, and Lars’ sixteen year old daughter, Leia, who is Luke’s cousin. Also living there are Luke (who is short and chubby) and Luke’s younger brothers Biggs and Windy. Young Leia thinks the droids are a trap sent by the “dark master of the Bogan, or maybe even the Emperor himself.” But a mention of Deak and Angel Blue sets them all at ease.
The message is delivered to Luke, who is a researcher studying fossils in the Dune Sea when he is not practicing the warrior skills taught to him by Owen. Deak’s hologram is projected by Artoo, telling of the great need to bring the Kiber crystal to their father on Ogana Major, which is under siege by the Imperial Legions of Alderaan. Luke is afraid to go into such danger. Owen counsels that Luke is the son of a Jedi, not a researcher, and that he should accept his destiny. Luke must believe he can do it, or else the Bogan will overcome him through his doubt. While the twin suns set, Luke visits the grave of his mother, to talk about the father he never knew, who he must now meet. Luke is greatly intimidated by his legendary father. Owen knew the call would come, so he had taught Luke some of the skills of a warrior, including the laser sword. But only Luke’s father can teach him the spiritual ways of the Jedi Bendu. Owen gives Luke the Kiber crystal, hidden in a belt buckle, and the young Starkiller goes to Mos Eisley Spaceport with the two Droids, to seek passage to Ogana Major. They are followed by Tuskens.
In the seedy spaceport, he encounters an old seer, who predicts his success. In the cantina, Luke is forced to leave his droids outside. He fights lowlife scum with his laser sword just like Ben does in ANH, and meets Han Solo and Chewbacca. Solo is a young Corellian pirate, burly, bearded, and flamboyantly dressed. Chewbacca is a 200 year old Wookiee with baboon like fangs and large yellow eyes, who wears bandoleers and a flak jacket with brown cloth shorts. Solo is very condescending to Luke until he sees Luke slice the Monduth alien in half. Solo takes Luke for a meal in his dingy slum dwelling, where he has a girlfriend who is a Boma named Oeeta, a five foot tall cross between a brown bear and a guinea pig (I’ve heard of hard up, but that is ridiculous). There, Han offers Luke passage for a huge sum, and Luke offers payment from his father. But Han has lied – he has no ship of his own. Solo is only the cabin boy of the fat drunkard Captain Oxus (who has another fat crewman named Jabba the Hutt), and Oxus will never take on Luke as a passenger. Chewbacca and Science Officer Montross agree to help Han to steal Oxus’ ship. Montross Holdaack is an old portly cyborg who was once a great warrior, but who is now dying. The only real parts left of him are his head and left arm. Han makes it look like there is a disaster with the ship’s reactor, tricking the rest of the crew into evacuating, then blasts off with Luke and the droids on board. They go into a hyper- skip, and arrive at Ogana only to find it destroyed (by the Death Star) and the rebel base gone. Luke’s father may be dead, and Han is angry that he will get no money, but Luke concludes that he must now find Deak. He implies that Deak could still provide payment, and entices Solo to rescue Deak by appealing to Solo’s ego as a daredevil. Deak is held captive on the cloud city prison of Alderaan, capital of the Empire and residence of Prince Espaa Valorum, Master of the Bogan. Solo and the others hide in secret compartments while their “rag-tag, custom-built” Corellian ship is captured drifting near Alderaan. The ship is towed inside the Imperial complex, and Sith Knights board it, finding only Threepio. Han and company emerge from hiding and steal trooper uniforms. Han and Luke bind Chewbacca and take the droids, while Montross stays behind. Their adventures within cloud city will later become the Death Star rescue of Leia. They take over a control room, find where Deak is, and go to the detention area. Chewbacca pretends to be loose, and the heroes capture the detention area in the resulting chaos.
Finding the horribly tortured Deak, they then escape deeper into the dungeons, fighting past a horrible Dai Noga monster, a cross between a spider and a squid. Solo charges ten troopers, and is forced to flee a moment later. Chewbacca takes Deak and heads for the ship. Cornered by Sith knights and troopers, Han and Luke jump down into a Garbage room. When the walls close in, the droids are able to stop them in time. Everyone makes it to the hangar, and they blast off. Fleeing in their ship, the group fights patrol fighters with turret canons and goes into a hyper-skip to escape.
Luke proceeds to heal Deak with the powerful crystal, then he receives a mental message from his father, telling him to come to the fourth moon of Yavin, new home of the Rebellion. Still chasing his reward, Han takes Luke there. On the emerald green moon is the rebel outpost of Masassi. Bail Antilles, an Aquillian Ranger, greets them. He tells them the Death Star has found their base again, and is on its way. Waiting for them at the outpost is the Starkiller, an aged charismatic figure who has a long silver beard, flowing white robes, and penetrating eyes. General Dodana is planning an attack on the Death Star, based on a strategy of pinpointing a small thermal exhaust port that leads to the main reactor. Commander Grande Mouff Tarkin, a birdlike alien, and General Aay Zavor doubt the Ashla’s strength to fight off the despair-inducing Bogan Force, and push for a computer-designed strategy. After all, the Ashla failed at Ogana Major. But the Kiber crystal brought by Luke changes things. Now the Starkiller is strong enough to hold off the Bogan Force. Luke meets his father, who embraces him. Luke’s spiritual training will have to wait, and Luke must face the Death Star as a warrior. The Starkiller also rewards Han richly, but Han refuses to stay and help; it’s not his battle.
The human and alien pilots take off, as the Starkiller tells them, “The Force is with you.” Silver rebel starships approach the Death Star. Luke is in one as pilot with Bail Antilles and Threepio as gunners. A dogfight much like the one in ANH ensues between TIE fighters and the rebel ships (code-named Bomas and Bantas). The Starkiller uses the Kiber crystal to fight the Bogan, alerting Vader to its presence. Vader realizes the aged Jedi is still alive, and he goes out to battle personally in his own fighter with two wing men. Vader destroys two of the three remaining rebel ships, and is about to destroy Luke’s, when Solo, who has had a change of heart, returns to rescue Luke at the last minute. Vader collides with Solo’s ship, and is destroyed. Han, Montross, and Chewbacca escape their ship in a lifepod. Luke heads for the exhaust port one last time, and gunners Threepio and Antilles manage to hit it. The Death Star explodes, leaving only a smoke cloud. The proud Starkiller greets them back at the base. A thousand new systems will now join the rebellion.
In an adventure to come, the Lars family is captured by the Empire and must be rescued, while the perilous search for “The Princess of Ondos” is undertaken.
This is a very interesting story, and one wonders how much of it may turn up in episodes 1-3. For example, the origin of the Sith is told, and the name of Darklighter (later Biggs’ last name) is appropriate for one who is seduced from the light into the dark. Did Vader lead a group of Dark Jedi, the Sith, in the destruction of the Jedi? The notion of how the Jedi began is also intriguing. The Kiber (later spelled Kaiburr) crystal is in “Splinter Of the Mind’s Eye”, but it could still appear in the next film trilogy. Was Espaa Valorum the root of Palpatine in his Force master aspect? Lucas was still toying with many ideas. At various points in the process of creating this draft, he had Han Solo as Luke’s battle-weary older brother with their father an old Jedi, and in another version, “Luke” as a sixteen year old girl who fell in love with Solo, who was then the central male figure! By this second draft, however, a great deal of the final film is in place. Roles and names would still undergo considerable shuffling, but the basic plot was there.
“The Star Wars” From The Adventures of Luke Starkiller August, 1975 (third draft).
The third draft is the first one to closely resemble the final film, and constitutes the first real draft of A New Hope. The roll up in the beginning describes the fall of the Republic Galactica and the rise of the First Galactic Empire. The Jedi Knights, guardians of peace for a thousand years, are all but extinct, having been hunted down by the Emperor’s agents, the Dark Lords of the Sith. It is a period of civil wars. The “counter wars” against the Empire have resulted in a great rebel victory. One more such victory, and the Emperor will lose control over the outland systems forever. The Emperor has sent one of his most ferocious Dark Lords, his “right hand”, Darth Vader, to find the rebel bases and destroy them.
In a scene much like the opening of ANH, a Star Destroyer overtakes a fleeing rebel ship. On board, R2-D2 (an astro robot) and C-3PO (human cyborg relations), try to escape the fighting as Stormtroopers invade. Darth Vader, seven feet tall with flowing black robes and a grotesque breath mask, enters and uses the Force to hurl objects and rebels through the air. All are at his mercy.
Below, on the desert planet of Utapau, Luke Starkiller, a 20 year old farm-boy with heroic aspirations, is watching the battle with his electrobinoculars. He leaps into his landspeeder and zooms off, leaving his malfunctioning tread-robot behind.
While Threepio frets about Kessel, Artoo leads him to an emergency life-pod. The approaching battle convinces the art-deco robot to get in, and they eject. An Imperial Captain refrains from firing on the pod, which reads as having no life forms.
Meanwhile, Vader shows his fury at the apparently missing set of Death Star plans by twisting and breaking a rebel officer’s arm. Vader is convinced that the plans are still on the ship, because no signals were sent, and orders that it be destroyed.
In Anchorhead, Luke nearly runs over an old woman with his landspeeder. He runs into a power station, to find The Fixer, Camie, Deak, and Windy, so-called friends who call him Wormie. Startrooper Biggs Darklighter, guardian of the Bendu, is also present, having just graduated from the academy and joined the Starforce. Biggs, Luke’s old friend, views the “space battle”, and voices his skepticism; the Empire doesn’t want this nothing neutral system.
But on the rebel ship, Vader’s troops capture the sixteen year old rebel princess-senator from Organa-Major, Leia Organa, a member of the Twelve Families. (Note that Luke and Leia are different ages.) Leia has captured the Death Star plans in a raid on the Imperial shipyards, and hidden them in R2-D2. Levitating a drink into his hand and sipping from it, Vader tells Leia that she will be tortured using the Bogan Force. Her death will be reported as an accident when the rebel ship is destroyed, Vader laughs frighteningly. Threepio and Artoo have landed in Jundland, and after bickering over direction, split up. A huge Jawa Sand Crawler picks up Threepio when he collapses later on.
Biggs and Luke get drunk in the power station, and Biggs asserts that the star force is a bore; he can’t wait for his “hitch” to be up. Going free-lance is much better. Even so, Luke is jealous that Biggs is “doing something”. (Note that Biggs is not a rebel, and does not fight at Yavin.)
Artoo is captured by Jawas in a rock canyon. In the Sand Crawler hold, he is reunited with Threepio.
Leia is taken to Alderaan, the Imperial Sith prison system, where she is tortured by a giant black robot of Vader’s. Vader wants to know the location of the hidden bases of rebel leader Mouff Tarkin, and what happened to the stolen data.
The Sand Crawler arrives at the Lars homestead where Luke Starkiller lives, and the Jawas set up a robot sale. The burly, weather-beaten Owen Lars inspects the merchandise, and chooses Threepio for his ability to speak Bocce and his full T-6 capacity. Another astro-robot is chosen instead of Artoo, but it turns out to have a bad motivator; its claw arm is limp and broken. The guilty Jawas trade R2-D2 for the bad merchandise. In the Lars garage, a lazy Luke watches TV while Threepio has an oil bath and Artoo is recharged. Called to dinner, Luke raises the subject of his application to the academy at Anchorhead, now that extra droids have been purchased. Luke has saved enough from his allowance to afford to go, but Owen meanly reveals that he used Luke’s money to buy the new droids. Luke miserably wishes his dead father were there to defend him. He does not understand that Owen is hard on him because the academy will be hard, and Owen thinks Luke needs a lot of improvement before he is ready. Cleaning Artoo back in the garage, Luke stumbles upon a 3-D hologram of Leia Organa. The message asks that the droid be delivered to Organa Major. The United Assembly will provide a rich reward for it. Leia also says she will be taken to Alderaan by the Sith Lord. Her commanders must go on alone without her. A stunned Luke hides the information from his aunt and uncle, and before morning, he takes the two droids, his father’s lightsaber, and his speeder, and runs away from home. Reading Luke’s good-bye note, Owen and Beru are greatly saddened and fear Luke will be killed “just like his father.” (Note that Owen and Beru are not murdered.)
Luke travels to find General Kenobi, his father’s commander and the “greatest of all the Jedi Knights.” If Luke ever needed help, his father once told him, he should go to find Kenobi.
On a mesa, Tusken Raiders (now resembling the filmed version) observe the landspeeder. They jump on Banthas and ride to an ambush. Luke gets lost in the dunes and heads for the rock canyons. He spots the Banthas and one Raider with his electrobinoculars, but another leaps up in front of him. Artoo hides, Threepio falls from the cliff, and Luke gets into a duel, with his father’s lightsaber against the Raider’s red laser-sword. Luke loses, and the Raiders ransack the speeder and leave. Luke is left hanging in the air by levitating shackles. Artoo is trying to get him down, when a “shabby old desert rat of a man” approaches. Seeing Luke hanging “out to dry”, the old man giggles, and shoots Luke down. They retrieve the damaged Threepio. Luke pretends to be a Bendu officer in disguise, but the codger quickly sees through the lie. Luke is stunned to find that the old man is Ben Kenobi, the former Jedi commander of the White Legions. Ben fought with Annikin Starkiller, Luke’s father, and wrote a “Diary of the Clone Wars”.
In Ben’s cave, they watch the hologram of Leia. Ben reacts by saying he is too old to do a Jedi’s work. Now he is just an outlaw. Luke protests, and Kenobi angrily breaks open his prosthetic left arm to show that he has “lost too much.” (Note this is exactly what Kane and Montross do in drafts 1 and 2 respectively.) After some thought, Kenobi changes his mind. He’ll go along, but he’ll depend on Luke to get them through. He begins to teach Luke about the Force of Others. It’s “an energy field in oneself, a power that control one’s acts, yet obeys one’s commands…It surrounds you and radiates from you.” Luke hopes he can begin to feel the Force. Ben says a Jedi’s power depends on how much Force is stored within him; the old man has little left. To store the Force, one must have a Kiber crystal, which collects and transmits the Force into a Jedi. Ben lost his at the battle of Condawn, where Luke’s father was killed. Ben’s disciple Vader stole the crystal (the last one possessed by the Jedi) and became a Sith Lord. Now the Sith have all the crystals, making them very powerful. The Force has two halves; the positive side (“the Force”) will help you, but the negative side (“the Bogan”) will kill you if you aren’t careful. The Sith use the Bogan to destroy their enemies.
Far away, on Alderaan, Vader is praying before the crystal. He senses a disturbance in the Force. “Something old has been awakened.” In the morning, the group leaves for Mos Eisley spaceport, a “wretched hive of scum and villainy.” In the Cantina scene, as in the final film, the droids are ejected, Ben meets Chewbacca (still looking as he did in draft two), and Ben uses his lightsaber to kill the creatures menacing Luke. They follow Chewbacca to docking bay 23 and see “a long Rube-Goldburg-pieced together contraption which can only loosely be called a spaceship.” Chewbacca’s old buddy Han Solo, “a tough James Dean style starpilot about twenty five years old” emerges. He is “A cowboy in a starship — simple, sentimental, and cocksure of himself.” Solo built the ship himself from a regulation F8- 88 cargo trawler, and is its captain, although it was paid for by Jabba the Hutt, a gross slavering hulk of a pirate.
Solo tells them the price for a trip to Organa Major, a rebel system, is ten thousand. By selling the speeder, they can get five thousand. Han accepts this as a down payment. When Ben and Luke leave, Jabba and a dozen other pirates approach. They want Han to go and hijack a Covina spice shipment bound for Gorden. Han has little choice but to obey the well-armed brigands, who board the ship.
Meanwhile, Ben and Luke sell the speeder and some of Threepio’s circuits to an insectoid used speeder dealer for five thousand. Back on the pirate vessel, Han decides to steal the ship. He makes it appear that there is a reactor malfunction, and Jabba and the pirates hastily evacuate. One pirate, Montross, discovers the trick, but Han and Chewbacca hold him at gun point while Ben, Luke, and the droids get aboard. Han blasts off, leaving a furious Jabba behind.
On the ship, Ben feels the shock in the Force as Organa Major is destroyed. Vader arrives in Leia’s cell to tell her of the Death Star’s destruction of the planet. Although Leia has resisted the mind probes so far due to her mind control powers as a “swan sensana”, Vader suggests she tell where the rebel systems are, or else every suspicious system will be destroyed.
On Han’s ship, Artoo and Chewbacca play a hologram board game while Luke cleans the laser-pistol Ben gave him. Ben cautions Luke to rely on the Force rather than any weapon. He begins to show Luke how to “lose your thinking self…act on what you feel…” Han disdains the Force of Others as a religion and favors his blaster.
The ship approaches Organa major, but finds it destroyed. Ben decides that they must find the hidden rebels and deliver Artoo. This means rescuing Leia, who knows where the bases are. Han will have no part of it. He’s “a free booter, not a revolutionary.” Then Ben shows him the hologram message referring to the reward. Han could have “a million at least…” When the question of Han’s bravery is raised, that clinches it. They head for Alderaan. On the way into the system, Ben uses a laser ball to teach Luke how to use the laser- sword as a Jedi does. Luke easily blocks the laser shot with “his father’s style.” Then, with a helmet over his face, Luke fares less well. Han calls Luke’s one blocked shot “a lucky move”, and blasts the seeker with his pistol.
The ship passes through Imperial perimeters as it approaches the gaseous planet, and Ben convinces them all to hide in the scan-proof lockers. The Imperials on Alderaan send out “tie fighters” and a boarding vessel after the “Corellian gypsy vessel.” The boarding Stormtroopers find only Threepio aboard, masquerading as an abandoned robot aboard a contaminated ship. Ignoring the chattering droid, they pilot the ship to the Imperial City of Alderaan (which physically resembles Cloud City from TESB).
Meanwhile, Vader orders the slow execution of Leia. In a hangar bay, on Han’s ship, Threepio opens the lockers and lets Han and the others out. Ben can sense Vader and the Kiber crystal as being on Alderaan. Han and Luke don Imperial Stormtrooper uniforms and take over the control tower, where they learn the Princess’ location. “May the Force be with you,” Ben tells them, and goes to find the crystal. Chewbacca poses as Han’s prisoner, and as in ANH, the three heroes wreak havoc in the detention area by pretending that the Wookiee gets loose. Han finds Leia’s cell. “Holy Maker, NO!” he exclaims at the sight of her mutilated body and glowing yellow eyes.
The city is now on alert, with troops hunting the heroes. Threepio and Artoo fool the guards that find them, but have trouble contacting Luke. Artoo accidentally uses a power socket instead of a computer terminal, frying himself.
Ben searches for the crystal, stumbling on an Imperial conference room and telekinetically choking all the occupants. He finds the crystal chamber and dances past the invisible alarm beams to reach the crystal’s pedestal. Levitating the crystal, Ben sets off an alarm and is trapped in the room. When troops open the door, Ben is ready. He sweeps through them and cuts them to pieces.
Running through slimy flooded corridors, Luke, Han, Chewbacca, and the awakened Princess encounter and defeat a Dia Nogu, a huge jellyfish-like monster. The groggy but sarcastic princess takes control of their escape. In a hallway above the pirate ship, Stormtroopers catch up to them. Han’s reckless charge at the troopers drives them off, but is cut short when they run into a dead end, turn, and fight. Han runs back to the others, but they are now trapped on both sides, by troopers behind and Dark Lords of the Sith ahead. A garbage chute is their only way out, and they jump in. “I’ve got a very bad feeling about all this,” says Han, as the walls begin to close in, but Threepio shuts the compactor down in time.
Ben meets Vader near the Hangar, and they have a lightsaber duel, as in ANH. Vader taunts the weakening old man, pressing the Bogan upon him. Ben sees that Luke has made it back to the hangar, and the old man cuts a safety lock on the blast door to the hangar, so that it slams down between Vader and himself. A firefight ensues with the troops in the hangar, and Ben is shot and wounded. They all get aboard the ship, and escape the city. Using their gun turrets and a high-speed maneuver, they fight past the tie fighters. But Vader is tracking them to their destination, the green Fourth moon of Yavin, and Ben knows it. Leia feels there is no alternative but to try to use the plans to destroy the Death Star. At the Masassi temple outpost, the data is analyzed. Han claims ten million as his reward, and plans to leave in a hurry to save himself, but Luke claims a place in the upcoming battle as his reward. In the medical chamber, Ben gives Luke the crystal to take with him on his fighter. Luke will need it more than Ben will. Luke takes Artoo and heads for the briefing.
A small thermal exhaust port leading to the main reactor of the Death Star is found. General Aay Zavos suggests that they land an assault force on the station, but the Grand Mouff Tarkin realizes it must be attacked with small maneuverable ships that skim the surface and fire torpedoes into the shaft. Hot-shot pilot Chewie Antilles thinks it’s too hard, but Luke “used to bulls-eye womp-rats” back home, and thinks it’s “not so bad”. Red, yellow, blue, and green squadrons will make the attack.
Meeting Blue Leader, Luke lies that he is “one of the best bush pilots on Sullust.” Not fooled, Blue Leader tells Luke it is foolish to send a fresh kid on a job like this. “You stay glued to me,” he warns. The fighters take off, and General Dodana, Leia, Ben, and Tarkin monitor from a war room. The rebel fighters attack the Death Star, and Vader goes out to defend it in a spider-like fighter with two wing men. Various dogfights occur, and Blue Leader makes a run at the tall heavily armed towers surrounding the exhaust port. He misses, and Vader destroys him, laughing maniacally. Sixty percent of the rebels have been killed, and the Death Star will soon be in position to fire. Luke must make his own run at the target. Vader starts after Luke, saying “You’re next, Blue Five…I have this feeling I know you. The Force is strong with you.” Luke grasps the Kiber crystal and replies, “I am Luke Starkiller. Had we met earlier, you would not be here.” In the war room, Dodana suggests retreat, but Leia forbids it. Luke’s first shot at the port misses. Two other ships try, and fail. Luke makes one more try, and Vader is upon him. “The Force is with you, my bold little friend, but now I have you…” Suddenly, Vader’s wing man explodes, and Solo’s ship flies in. Vader’s other wing man hits Vader’s solar fin, and the Sith Lord spins away. “I noticed you were having some problems, Blue Five,” Han says. “Thanks old buddy. I’ll be with you in a second,” Luke replies. This time, Luke’s shot hits perfectly as he holds the glowing crystal. The surviving rebels fly away as the Death Star explodes. “Not bad, kid,” says Han. Vader heads for Alderaan in defeat. At the temple, Threepio, Ben, and Leia enthusiastically greet Luke, Han, and Chewbacca. In an award ceremony before hundreds of troops, the beautiful Princess gives gold medallions to Han, Chewbacca, the robots, and Luke.
The third draft is obviously close to the final film, with a few charming holdovers from the earlier drafts, such as the Sith warriors, the Kiber crystal, the Bogan, and the Bendu. It is a fascinating transition script from the second draft to the fourth, which clearly shows the evolution of Lucas’ concepts. It is interesting to note that Leia had mind control powers in this draft, another possible precursor to her being Force sensitive. More importantly, for the first time, Ben Kenobi and the tale of his fallen student, Vader, are introduced. Luke’s father died in the same battle where Ben’s pupil Darth stole the crystal and became a Sith Lord. Did Lucas envision Vader as Luke’s father at this point? Vader says to Luke, “I have this feeling I know you.” We can only speculate, for there is no direct evidence in the script to prove it.
In any case, it is fortunate for the character of Vader that we know and love, that he gave his evil laugh away to the Emperor. It would have decidedly diminished his dignity. The Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Whills (Saga 1) , Star Wars, January, 1976 (fourth draft). This draft has yet to be located. Information on it is taken from the articles listed at the end. However, these articles have been found to contain some misinformation, so the following notes might not be correct.
The fourth draft begins, “A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away.” The story is now nearly in its final form. Reported differences from the final filmed story include: Luke’s scenes with his boyhood friend Biggs on Tatooine and Yavin, scenes of Solo arguing with Mos Eisley bureaucrat Montross or with Jabba the Hut, the survival of Ben Kenobi at the end of the story, and Ben being a crazy old man who likes pranks (like Yoda). Lucas had his revised fourth draft in March 1976, when filming began. During filming, a few changes were made in that draft. These included the deletion of Biggs, the change of Luke’s name to Skywalker, and the death of Ben Kenobi.
It is notable that several characters did not have their precursors in these drafts. There is no mention of Yoda or Lando. I have read that these characters were simply invented as required by the evolving story. When Ben died, a new mentor was needed. When Cloud city appeared, there was need of another rogue to run it.
The familial relationship of Luke and Leia has its roots in these drafts, but there seems to be no explicit mention of the fact that Vader, the Dark one, is Luke’s father. Lucas once said he was still deciding whether Vader would really be Luke’s father during the writing of TESB. The idea seems to come from the seduction of Darklighter combined with Luke’s Jedi parentage in the second and third drafts. The whole notion of Luke’s quest to save his father from the Dark Side must have evolved later, during the making of episodes 5 and 6. When one examines “A New Hope” alone, one sees that Luke’s parentage does not necessarily follow, and that this aspect of the story seems to have been developed after “A New Hope” was written.
Han and Leia don’t seem to have a relationship in the drafts either (perhaps Han is too interested in his Guinea Pig). But in the first draft, Annikin and Leia have a relationship very similar to the one Han and Leia have in TESB, complete with bickering and sudden declarations of love.
The development of the Emperor is also interesting. He begins in these drafts as just a corrupt ruler, and the Dark Side Master is another character, Espaa, with Sith Lord Vader as his servant. The Star Wars novelization (November 1976) has the Emperor Palpatine as just a politician in its prologue. An ambitious senator, Palpatine takes the presidency but then becomes isolated from the Galaxy while his governors institute a reign of terror in his name. His Dark Side powers seem to have been grafted on when the story of Anakin’s corruption was worked in; there was need of a corrupter, so why not make him be the Emperor? Thus in the first film, the Emperor is not seen, and Vader symbolizes the Dark Side, whereas in the second film, the Emperor is the Dark Side Master plotting to convert Luke.
This look at the earliest development of Star Wars shows that in many ways, the saga continued to evolve as the films were made, becoming deeper and more satisfying as it went. It is like Star Wars through the looking glass, a glimpse of what might have been, and an insight into the creative process.
1) The Star Wars, story treatment by George Lucas, provided by S. Guilfoyle and Bjorn Wahlberg
2) First Draft Screenplay, by George Lucas, provided by Robert Hanlon
3) Second Draft Screenplay, by George Lucas, provided by Stephen Cohen
4) Third Draft Screenplay, by George Lucas, provided by Holger Bertsch
5) Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas, biography by Dale Pollock
6) “Star Wars – The Genesis”, by John Flynn, article in Not Of This Earth Magazine Star Wars Special
7) “The Primordial Star Wars”, by Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier, article in Starlog #120
This article is a summary of the script development stages of the first Star Wars film, as gleaned from various sources, listed at the end. If anyone can contribute more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org -Brendon Wahlberg. The very first version of Star Wars was a hand-written 13-page outline. The outline is presented here in its entirety, with typos retained.