Star Wars Drafts The Development Of Star Wars: A New Hope This article is a summary of the 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 -Brendon Wahlberg

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




A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Leia was not a princess, Luke's last name was not Skywalker and there were no droids on Tatooine In fact, George Lucas's box office smash of 1977, Star Wars, did not take place a long time ago but rather in the far future of the 33rd century!

It is not unusual for a work of imagination to go through a variety of changes while an author refines and hones his ideas. Different elements, such as characters and places, are often combined in an attempt to streamline the action. Names may be discarded, and then reused in a new context. Sometimes, outside influences will enter into the creative process and nudge it into a different direction than was originally planned. This is especially true with movie scripts, where commercial aspects often take precedence over artistic ones.

Star Wars was no different, Before the version that won the hearts and minds of the world in 1977, there were several drafts, the earlier ones bearing little resemblance to the final film. George Lucas has never hidden the fact that he was inspired by some of the great classics of fantasy adventure. In an introduction to a story synopsis dated May 1, 1975, he refers to his story as being "in the grand tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars and Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon."

These influences are more apparent in an early 13-page draft dated May, 1973, and called, simply, The Star Wars. In it, the opening spaceboarding sequence takes place in the 33rd century, in the orbit of a blue-green planet named Aquilae. A rebel princess is being pursued by the evil Galactic Empire while she is en route to the planet Ophuchi. The nameless princess is accompanied by General Luke Skywalker, a samurai-like, superhuman warrior.

The princess, Skywalker, and two menial Imperial Bureaucrats, crash-land on Aquilae. They then travel across the planet to the spaceport of Gordon (Mos Eisley in later versions). On their way, they recruit a band of teenage rebels. In a Gordon cantina, Skywalker uses his light saber, then called "laser sword", during a fight. After nearly falling into a trap set up by an evil space captain, the group steals his ship and escape

Pursued by Imperial patrols, they attempt to hide behind an asteroid. However, their ship has been hit, and when they resume their trip, they plummet towards the planet of Yavin.

Yavin is inhabited by giant furry aliens, who ride birdlike creatures. The aliens serve the Empire and capture the princess and the two bureaucrats. A platoon of Imperial guards take them to the planet Alderaan, heart of the Empire. Skywalker and the boys follow in a squadron of one-man "devil fighters", and free the princess. The heroes' safe arrival on Ophuchi, and the ensuing parade, mark the end of the story.

Already in this early draft are key scenes that will be carried                and molded throughout all subsequent versions. These are the spaceboarding                sequences which open the movie; the colorful, alien-filled cantina;                the space battles, the daring rescue-and-escape mission in the heart                of the enemy's territory; and the triumphant return of the heroes                which concludes the story.

Other elements are present in substance, but their forms will change dramatically as the movie evolves. For example, the comic relief is provided here by two humans rather than two droids. Both Han Solo and the Wookiees (and even the Tauntauns of The Empire Strikes Back!) are present but unnamed, and not yet friendly.

The young teenage rebels' innocence will later be incorporated into the character of Luke. Familiar names, such as Alderaan, Yavin, etc., are already in place, but will be subject to much shuffling. What is conspicuously absent, however, is the almost mystical quality of Star Wars.

The Force, the mythical nature of the Hero, the quasi-Arthurian mentor/pupil relationship, are not yet part of the Lucas universe.

General Skywalker does combine the prowess of the warrior and the wisdom of the wizard, but this is probably due in part to Lucas' admiration of the samurai films of Kurosawa and other Japanese filmmakers. Both he and the two Imperial bureaucrats are certainly reminiscent of Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress.

It has also been reported that Lucas was later influenced by the reading of Joseph CampbeII's book, The Hero With A Thousand Faces. The work analyses the heroic mythology which is common to all cultures. It enables one to fit characters into archetypal molds, such as the Good Wizard, the Young Initiate, the Lord of Evil, etc. It also establishes various patterns, such as the Quest for an Object of Power, the Search for One's Father, etc.

Whatever the influences, a second draft, dated January 28, 1975, shows that events have now congealed in a chain more familiar to today's audiences. This version, entitled "Adventures of the Starkiller (Episode One), The Star Wars", is far more mystical and mythological than later versions. It also provides a more detailed background on the history of the Star Wars universe.

The opening titles, and later expository dialogue, tells us that the Republic Galactica was founded in the distant past by a holy man called the Skywalker. He discovered the "Force of 0thers", defined as an energy field influencing the destiny of all living creatures.

The Force is composed of two halves, the good one called "Ashla", and the evil one, or paraforce, called the "Bogan". The Ashla communicated with the Skywalker and made him powerful, but he realized that weaker beings could be seduced by the Bogan. He therefore passed on his knowledge only to his twelve children. They, in turn, taught their children, who became known as the "Jedi Bendu of the Ashla", a term meaning "Servants of the Ashla".

For 100 000 years, the legendary Jedi Bendu Knights were the protectors of the Republic. However, as the Republic grew, its governing body, the Great Senate, fell under the influence of the Power and Transport Guilds. The now corrupt Senate hunted the Jedi Knights, who fled to the Outland systems of the galaxy. By boosting civil disorder, hindering justice and helping terrorists, the Senate manipulated the people into welcoming a police state. Thus the Empire was born.

Meanwhile, a young Padawan-Jedi 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". They helped the Emperor to destroy the Jedi Knights until only a few were left. The most famous of the remaining Jedi, a leader of the rebellion against the Empire, is called the Starkiller.

The script starts with the now familiar spaceboarding sequence, this time in orbit around an amber planet called Utapau. The purpose of the boarding is for Sith Lord Darth Vader to stop rebel captain Deak Starkiller from reaching the rebel base of Ogana. Vader thinks that Deak is the last son of the Starkiller. What he does not know is that the still-living Jedi Warrior sent Deak to Utapau in search of another son, Luke, and the powerful Kyber Crystal.

Deak is captured by Vader, but not before he has managed to program an R2 unit with the vital message to his brother. R2-D2 and his friend C-3PO crash-land on Utapau and, after an encounter with the scavenging Jawas, find Luke at the farm of Owen Lars. In addition to Luke, the Lars farm houses Owen's wife, Beru, Luke's two younger brothers, Biggs and Windy, and Lars' beautiful 16-year-old daughter, Leia.

Lars has taught Luke some of the skills of the Jedi to prepare him for the call that he knew would come. As Luke prepares to leave, Lars presents him with the Kyber Crystal, a stone which has the ability to amplify the power of either side of the Force.

Luke then goes to the spaceport of MOs Eisley with the two droids to seek passage to Ogana. In the cantina, he fights with his light saber, and meets Han Solo and Chewbacca. He promises them a fortune for safe transportation to Ogana. In fact, Solo is little more than a cabin boy on Captain Oxus' pirate ship. With the help of Chewbacca and science officer Montross, the greedy Solo outmaneuvers Oxus and steals his ship. The group then heads for Ogana.

When they arrive, they find the planet mysteriously destroyed and the rebellion gone. Luke then entices Solo to attempt the rescue of Deak, who is being held captive on the cloud city of Alderaan, capital of the Empire and residence of Prince Espaa Valorum, Master of the Bogan.

The Star Warriors manage both rescue and escape, and head for the fourth moon of Yavin, the new home of the rebellion. However, they are followed by Darth Vader's Death Star, already responsible for the annihilation of Ogana.

On Yavin, the Starkiller, an aged, charismatic figure, uses the Kyber Crystal to fight the Bogan Force while his warriors attack the Death Star. A dogfight ensues, with Han rescuing Luke at the last minute. The script contains an alternate ending in which Luke duels and kills Vader near the famous exhaust port. He then destroys the Death Star with a time bomb

The end titles announce future adventures for the sons of the Starkiller, including the rescue of the Lars family, after they are kidnapped by the Empire. It even mentions the title of the next episode of the saga, "The Princess of Ondos".

This second draft contains all of the ingredients of the final Star                Wars story. The dramatic progression from the sand planet to the                Empire headquarters, to the Rebel base, are locked into place. However,                the essence of the story is still vastly different.

For one, there is a much greater concentration on the meaning of the Force, and of its importance in the nature of the Star Wars universe. In several scenes, historical events are lavishly detailed. In fact, at times, the adventure takes a back seat to the exposition of intricate galactic history. In that respect, by its very richness, the second draft is closer to a work of science fiction literature than a cinematic script.

The mystical elements are also more obvious here. The Starkiller, a grander and earlier version of Obi-Wan Kenobi, is, like Merlin, the ultimate father figure. The relationships between him, his sons and the Kyber Crystal is the stuff of which classical myths are made.

(The Kiber Crystal returned in a slightly different form in Alan Dean Foster's novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye.)

This is perhaps the most fundamental divergence: Luke (described as short and chubby!) is a more mature character. Unlike his brother Deak, he has a more intellectual nature and assumes the mantle of the warrior only because it is his duty. Like young Arthur in The Once and Future King, one can see in him the seeds of future greatness and leadership.

If a great many of the other details are still different, it is interesting, however, to note at this stage the introduction of several concepts that will remain through the final film. Among these are the two droids, Darth Vader, the Death Star, Chewbacca, the garbage-eating monster (here identified as "Dia Noga") and, perhaps the most important of all, the famous dogfights during the attack on the Death Star. (The latter may have been inspired by the 1955 Warner Bros. movie, The Dam Busters.)

Among the noticeable differences are the absence of Princess Leia (the Princess of Ondos?) and the still-evolving character of Han Solo. Solo, a burly, bearded Corellian, is much younger than in the 1977 version and, like Luke, grows through his experiences. The character of older science officer Montross is later incorporated into that of Solo, although his name will survive in a later draft as that of a Tatooine spaceport bureaucrat!

Several of the now familiar names belong here to other characters or places. For example, Tatooine is called Utapau; Leia is Luke's cousin; the Tusken are Imperial soldiers; Jabba the Hutt is a crewmate of Solo on Oxus' ship, Alderaan the Cloud City (a concept later reused in The Empire Strikes Back) is the capital of the Empire; Ogana (sic) is the doomed rebel base; and, last but not least, Grand Moff Tarkin is a Rebel general!

Three months after the second draft, a brief story synopsis, dated May 1, 1975, and entitled "The Adventures of Luke Starkiller (Episode One) The Star Wars", describes a more streamlined adventure.

The character of Deak Starkiller appears to have been replaced by the unnamed rebel princess of 1973, now identified as the Princess of Organa. In this version, Utapau has become Organa (but not yet Tatooine). Luke, a young, daydreaming farm boy, alerted by the two droids, runs away from home to rescue the princess from the cloud City of Alderaan.

It is difficult to assess the specific changes brought about at this stage. A third draft was written during 1975 to further reflect these, and bring the script closer to its final form.

A fourth draft, dated January 1, 1976, was eventually written (with a revised version dated March 15, and then normal revisions at various times during production). This draft is entitled "The Adventures of Luke Starkiller, As Taken from 'The Journal of the Whills' (Saga 1) Star Wars". The format here is quite close to the film, including the opening roll with, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away", etc.

Luke is still referred to as Starkiller and not Skywalker, a change which is reported to have been made late in the production, Most of the other names are in their familiar places, however: Tatooine, Jabba the Hutt, Alderaan, Imperial Governor Tarkin, etc.

The differences between the fourth draft and the film are few, but often significant. During the spaceboarding sequence, the story takes us to the surface of Tatooine where Luke is talking with some of his friends, Biggs Darklighter, Deak and Windy (note the reuse of the names). Biggs has joined the rebellion and asks Luke to come with him. Luke refuses, reluctantly, because he must stay on his uncle Owen Lars' farm. He meets with Biggs again, however, just before the dogfight on the Death Star.

Between the second and fourth drafts, the Starkiller has been transformed into Ben Kenobi (the 'Obi-Wan' was added in a later revision). The old Jedi is introduced on Tatooine, and carries the fight in the cantina.

Solo is in his final form and is now the owner of his own ship. Several scenes, later deleted, show him having arguments in MOs Eisley, first with Montross, and then, in the March 15 revision, with Jabba the Hutt. It is also in this revision that the famous line 'Let the Wookiee win!' first appears.

The star warriors no longer rescue the princess from Alderaan (now the doomed rebel base) but from the Death Star itself. In the January 1 draft, Kenobi escapes alive, and the script carries on to the known ending. By the March 15 revision, Kenobi, as in the film, mysteriously disappears when struck by Vader's light saber.

In the streamlining process, by the fourth draft, the wealth of                material on the history of the Star Wars universe has been deleted,                or else referred to only cryptically.

The nature of the Force has become almost a complete enigma. The origins of the Jedi, the fall of the Republic, etc., are shrouded in mystery. Gone is Lucas's brilliant social allegory of the hindering of justice and the rise of anarchy engineered by the Power and Transportation Guilds to bring about a police state.

The adventure remains, perhaps purer and clearer than before, yet to the detriment of the vision and the mythology. One feels, however, that these have not been totally eliminated, but merely postponed. Several of the elements contained in the earlier drafts have found their way into The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.

Often, Lucas said that the early days of the Empire would be the subject of a new series of three films, and it has always been his intention to chronicle the past, present, and future of the Star Wars universe.

It is in this way that elements which were discarded in the streamlining process, perhaps to make the film less costly or more viable at the time, will eventually find their place in the larger Star Wars tapestry.

Star Wars tm & © Lucasfilm, Ltd. Article © 1999 Randy & Jean-Marc Lofficier Illustrations © 1999 Starwatcher Graphics, Inc.


"The Star Wars", May 1973.
This very first thirteen page story treatment begins "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." "It is the twenty third century, a period of civil war..." The story opens over the blue-green planet Aquilae where six fighters attack a huge space fortress and are destroyed. The saga takes place in a time when Jedi-Templar warriors swore fealty to the Alliance of Independent Systems. Leia Aguilae, a rebel Princess, is on route to Ophuchi, accompanied by her family and retainers. She is fleeing an evil sovereign who has taken control of the Alliance and declared himself Emperor.
General Luke Skywalker, a samurai-like, superhuman Jedi warrior, and his friend Annikin Starkiller, also a Jedi, lead the princess on a dangerous escape route past Aquilae. They take two menial Imperial bureaucrats hostage along the way, and these passengers are a bickering terrified pair. Their ship also contains 200 pounds of a rare spice. When the evil Galactic Empire pursues and boards their ship in space, the heroes escape and crash on Aquilae. While traveling to the spaceport of Gordon, they hide from the Imperial patrols in a religious temple. There they find a group of ten teenage boys, ages 15-18, who were planning to attack an Imperial outpost, and reluctantly accept their help. The heroes find themselves in a Gordon cantina, where Luke uses his "lazer sword" during a fight. Leia hopes to make contact with the rebel underground, and hires a ship to take her to Ophuchi. They are betrayed by an Imperial spy, and an evil space captain sets a trap for them, but they escape and steal his freighter. Back in space, they are pursued by Imperial patrols and their ship is damaged, but they manage to hide in an asteroid field. Later, when they are attacked again, the ship is crippled, and the damage results in their forced landing on the jungle world of Yavin. Maneuvering the doomed ship, Skywalker orders everyone to jettison safely away with rocket packs. The group is thus separated, and they encounter giant furry aliens and their Wookiee prince, Chewbacca, riding birdlike creatures. Unfortunately, the aliens serve the Empire. They capture the Princess and the bureaucrats, and deliver them to a platoon of Tusken Imperial Guards in return for a huge bounty posted by the evil sovereign. They are taken to Alderaan, heart of the Empire, home of the villainous General Darth Vader and Valarium, the Black knight. The rest of the heroes are reunited by a grizzled old farmer who is married to one of the alien creatures. But Skywalker and the young rebels follow, and he trains them to fly fighter ships (one-man Devil Fighters), for deep space dogfighting. They disguise their ships as Imperial Rangers and fly right through Alderaan's defenses. They penetrate the prison complex, and free the Princess. Several of the boys are killed in duels by laser guns and swords, but the rest blast their way through the Imperial fleet in their fighters. The heroes arrive safely on Ophuchi, Leia's home planet, and a parade ensues. The heroes are rewarded, and the princess reveals her true "goddesslike" self. The two bureaucrats get drunk and stumble off into the darkness, "realizing that they have been adventuring with demigods".

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. Han Solo is present as a "friend to the Jedi", and the comic relief bureaucrats would later become R2D2 and C3PO. Han Later calls Leia "your worship", and one wonders what his reaction would be to this Leia. The precise identities of Mace and Usby are quite unknown.

First Draft Screenplay, May 1974.
This new version concerns the conflict between the Jedi Bendu, formed 100,000 years earlier as the Imperial Space Force (the Emperor's bodyguards), and the evil Knights of the Sith, a sinister warrior sect. Our eighteen year old hero is Anakin Starkiller. Together with his father Kane Starkiller (who wears cybernetic armor to stay alive) and Luke Skywalker (a 60 year old General and former Jedi Master), they oppose the regime of the fascist Emperor, who is an elected official corrupted by power. Kane and Luke are the last of the Jedi, for the rest have been hunted down and exterminated by the Sith Knights. The Jedi believe in the "Force of Others", a mystical bond between Jedi that gives them miraculous powers, and they use laser swords. Their enemies are Prince Valorum (the Black Knight of the Sith), and his tall, grim General, Darth Vader. Anakin, his younger brother Deak, and Kane have been hiding on the desert world of Utapau for years. When a seven-foot tall Sith knight comes looking for them and kills Deak, they end their exile. On the cloud city of Alderaan, Emperor Cos Dashit launches a final assault on the last of the independent systems, and gives secret orders to destroy General Luke Skywalker, the last of the Jedi on Aquilae. Luke wants to mount a defense with devil fighters, but the leaders of Aquilae decide to accept "peace" when the Empire's ultimate weapon, the Death Star, an armored battle station the size of a moon, approaches. Luke suspects treachery, and urges the Imperial family of Aquilae to hide. But the King is killed, and the Queen demands that the fourteen year old Princess Leia and her two brothers Biggs and Windy be taken to Ophuchi and safety. Kane and Anakin arrive, and Luke enlists their help, offering to train Anakin in the Jedi ways. The party travels into the Jundland wastes to get to the spaceport of Anchorhead. In the wastes, they encounter Artwo Detwo and See Threepio, two battered construction robots who both speak. The robots were from the battle station, but they escaped in a space pod only to crash land in the wastes. They join Anakin's party. Indeed, the Imperials are treacherous, for they launch an invasion force into the capital of Aquilae, led by General Vader and Valorum. They are furious that both the royals and the last of the Jedi-Bendu have escaped. The planet is blockaded, and troops are dispatched to all the spaceports. Luke contacts Han Solo, a huge green-skinned amphibian smuggler with gills and no nose. If the party can be placed in cryogenic sleep, the Imperials will not be able to scan them as life forms when they pass the blockade. Solo's Baltarian freighter may be fast enough to get past the blockade, but it lacks a crucial part for one of its freezing chambers. Kane sacrifices himself by donating the power unit from his cybernetic armor, claiming that he was slowly dying anyway. Anakin is torn by grief. Solo's ship gets past the blockade, but is later spotted by a patrol. Han flies into an asteroid belt to escape, but the freighter sustains too much asteroid damage. The ship makes it to the jungle world of Yavin, but the crew is forced to eject in life pods, and everyone is split up. On Yavin, the Princess is captured by trappers, and sold for a bounty to Imperial troops. Anakin has found the same trappers, however, and discovers that they hold Wookiees captive (including Chewbacca). These are eight foot tall grayfurred creatures. Anakin frees them, and is rewarded by their allegiance against the Empire. They return to the Wookiee camp, to find Luke, Han, C3PO, Biggs, and Windy there as well. The others have been led there by anthropologists Owen and Beru Lars, who study Wookiee customs. The heroes convince the Wookiees to attack the Yavin Imperial outpost to free Leia, but discover too late that she has been taken back to Aquilae. General Skywalker trains the Wookiees to fly one man fighters, in order to attack the battle station. Meanwhile, Anakin disguises himself as an Imperial starraider and gets on board the station to free Leia from her cell. Before he can reach her, he is captured by stormtroopers and brought to Vader. Vader tortures Anakin in front of Valorum, who begins to feel differently about his own evil. Suddenly, the Wookiees begin their attack in space while on the planet, Han leads an uprising of the spacing guild. Valorum has a change of heart (!) and frees the princess and Anakin. They all escape in a lifepod while the battle station is destroyed and the Imperial ground troops are beaten. Queen Leia rewards Luke, Anakin, Valorum, and the rest with medals in the throne room, and R2 and 3PO are simply relieved to have all the excitement over with.

Note the similarities to the final battle of ROTJ, with its space and ground components, and the early version of Vader's turning. 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. Anakin's freeing of the Wookiees is the seed of Han Solo's later relationship to Chewie. One cannot help but wonder if this Han Solo would have turned into a prince if kissed by Leia. The Emperor, while still not a Force user, has an appropriate name, as the cause of all the shit that is happening (Cos Dashit). The Grand Moff Tarkin is a religious leader in this version. A July 1974 revision of this script has Luke as a former "Dai Noga". This term was later to become the garbage monster, Dia Noga, in A New Hope. The term "Force" is used for the first time to describe a power only Dai Nogas can use. Princess Leia's name is changed to "Zara", and Anakin Starkiller's to "Justin Valor". The Wookiees are referred to as "Jawas". Prince Valorum becomes "Captain Dodona", one of the "Legions of Lettow", a bounty hunter who was hired to track down and murder Jedi Knights for the Emperor.

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 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 a few Jedi families were left. A civil war began in earnest, a rebellion against the Empire. Its famous leader was the Starkiller, one of the last of the Jedi. The story opens as Sith Lord Darth Vader, right hand man to Valorum, the master of the Bogan, boards a ship over the amber sand planet of Utapau. Vader is a tall black knight with a breath mask, and his forces include 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 Utapau. He has been told by his father to seek out his own lost brother, Luke, and the Kiber crystal, a small diamond like object that intensifies either side of the force. Unable to get to Luke himself, Deak programs R2D2 with a directive to find Owen Lars and bring a message to Luke. Then Vader finds him and duels him, much like Vader duels Ben in ANH. The Bogan is the stronger, and Deak is drained of energy and taken prisoner. Vader thinks he has altered destiny by capturing the Son of the Suns. R2 and C3P0 crash on Utapau and encounter Jawa scavengers who imprison them in their Sandcrawler. When the huge vehicle is forced to a halt by a rockslide, all the droids on board escape together, rushing the Jawas. 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. The message is delivered. Luke is an intellectual, and assumes the mantle of a warrior only because it is his duty. 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. Owen knew the call would come, so he had taught Luke some of the skills of a warrior, including the lightsaber. Only Luke's father can teach him the 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. He encounters an old seer, who predicts his success. In a cantina, he fights lowlife scum with a lightsaber just like Ben does in ANH, and meets Han Solo and Chewbacca. Solo is a young Correllian pirate, burly, bearded, and flamboyantly dressed. Han believes he can get huge amounts of money from Luke's father. Solo is only the cabin boy of the fat drunkard Captain Oxus (who has another crewman named Jabba the Hutt), and Oxus will never take on Luke as a passenger. Chewbacca and Science Officer Montross help Han to steal Oxus' ship by tricking the rest of the crew to evacuate, then blasting off with Luke on board. 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. Montross Holdaack is an old portly cyborg who was once a great warrior. The only real parts left of him are his head and left arm. Solo also has a girlfriend in Mos Eisley 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). Arriving at Ogana, the group finds it destroyed (by the Death Star) and the rebel base gone. Luke's father may be dead, and Han will get no money, but Luke 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 ship is captured drifting near Alderaan. Once inside the Imperial complex, they disguise themselves as troops to get to the detention area. Finding the horribly tortured Deak, they must then escape past a horrible Dai Noga monster and Sith knights, and survive a trash masher. Fleeing in their ship, the group fights patrol fighters, evading them by using the high speed "hyper-skip". These adventures within cloud city will later become the Death Star rescue of Leia. Luke proceeds to heal Deak with the 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. There waits the Starkiller, an aged charismatic figure who has a long silver beard, flowing white robes, and penetrating eyes. He uses the Kiber crystal to fight the Bogan while his warriors, including rebel Grande Mouff Tarkin, a birdlike alien who doubts the power of the Force, and General Dodana, plan an attack on the Death Star, which has come to attack them. A dogfight ensues between Vader and his TIE fighters, and rebel fighters code-named Bomas and Bantas. Solo, who has seemingly left with his huge reward, has a change of heart and returns to rescue Luke at the last minute. Vader collides with Solo's ship, and is destroyed. The Death Star is destroyed via Luke's and gunner Threepio's shot at its weak spot, a thermal exhaust port. The Starkiller greets them, and a thousand new systems 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 Kyber (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.

Adventures of Luke Starkiller, Episode four, "The Star Wars", May / August, 1975 (third draft).
The story evolves again in the third draft. Now, Luke is a young, daydreaming farm boy on the planet Organa. He is the son of the famous, late Jedi knight, Anakin Starkiller, and lives with a bitter uncle who steals his nephew's savings to keep the farm going. Luke's older brother Biggs has already gone to the Space Academy, and Luke yearns to follow him. The sixteen year old Princess Leia of Organa has placed a hologram message inside R2D2 before being captured by the Empire - a message begging for help in delivering the droid to the faraway rebel stronghold. R2 contains the stolen Death Star plans. Luke gets the message, and runs away from home to try to rescue her from the cloud city of Alderaan. He seeks the help of General Kenobi, his father's old comrade, but is captured by sand people. Ben Kenobi, a "shabby old desert rat of a man" who is insane according to Owen, saves Luke, but must be persuaded to help the rebels. They meet Han Solo, "a rough James Dean-style starpilot, a cowboy in a starship, simple, sentimental, and cocksure", and his copilot Chewbacca the Wookiee. The two agree to transport Ben and Luke to the rebel planet on their smuggling freighter, but when Imperial troops arrive to arrest Luke, the group must blast their way out of the space port. While in hyperspace, Ben senses the Kiber crystal, and orders that Solo penetrate the defenses of the Death Star to obtain the crystal. The Princess, who has mind-control powers (a precursor to her having the Force?), is tortured by Vader on the station, but is able to resist until rescued by Han and Luke. Ben searches for and finds the Kiber crystal, but then meets Vader, his old nemesis, and has a fierce lightsaber duel. Ben is wounded, but is rescued by Han and Luke in time for Ben to give the crystal to Luke. With the aid of the crystal, Luke takes part in a climactic battle to destroy the Death Star. His older brother Biggs reappears as one of the rebel pilots. At the rebel base, the heroes are give medals and titles. The phrase "May the Force be With You" is coined in this version.

The Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Whills (Saga 1) , Star Wars, January, 1976 (fourth draft). "A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away"...Thus begins the fourth draft. The story is now nearly in its final form, and would only go through a few revisions. 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 and with Jabba the Hut, the survival of Ben Kenobi at the end of the story, Ben being a crazy old man who likes pranks (like Yoda later on), and an attack on the Death Star by primitive Wookiees. Lucas had his final draft in March 1976, when filming began.

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 mention of the fact that Vader, the Dark one, is Luke's father. Lucas was still deciding whether Vader would really be Luke's father during the filming of the trilogy. 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. Han and Leia don't seem to have a relationship either (perhaps Han is too interested in his Guinea Pig). When one examines "A New Hope" alone, one sees that Luke's parentage and Han and Leia's romance do not necessarily follow, and that these aspects of the story seem to have been developed after "A New Hope" was written. 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. 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.

1Second Draft Screenplay, by George Lucas

2Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas, by Dale Pollock

3"Star Wars - The Genesis", by John Flynn, in Not Of This Earth Magazine Star Wars Special

4"The Primordial Star Wars", by Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier, in Starlog #120

4Chris Tess RARB Coordinator

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