In case you have been living under a rock at the bottom of the ocean then I am certain you have heard of Star Wars. What always surprises me is that there are quite a few people who have never seen any of the movies. Regardless of if you have ever seen this, this franchise is one of the most famous and most successful of all time. If you think about it I cannot think of another thing like this that started with one person and has exploded into a billion dollar phenomena, spawning movies, books, comics, toys, and any merchandise you can think of. I dare say that something of this magnitude may never happen again. Avatar was somewhat close just in terms of the film, but still not really on the same level. There are many similarities between the two but they are still not even close.
My reason for this post is not to talk about the unparalleled success of Star Wars but instead to talk about how much the story changed from the first rough draft to the final product that we all know and love. You can check out my review of the comic that had been made from the original rough draft screen play by George Lucas here.
Let’s get started.
Annekin Starkiller – has no relation to Luke, nope not his father Darth Vader. His father actual father, Kane Starkiller, is another Jedi who eventually sacrifices his life so that his son, Annekin may live. What is interesting is that Kane is more machine than man in the rough draft, similar to the Darth Vader we later see. Which is interesting because in the trilogy it seems like Lucas takes a few of these ideas and puts them together. This is one of the larger differences from the first draft to episode IV.
Han Solo – he is still the same old smuggler we know and love, but the biggest difference is that he is a “big green monster” in the original. That was the only description that Lucas gave of Solo in the character description. We know that this did not make it to the trilogy. Still interesting to see that Solo was originally a green alien monster.
Chewbacca – is in the original rough draft, but he is not the best friend of Solo in A New Hope. In the rough draft I felt the Wookies took the place of the Ewks in Episode VI. He is more or less the same character, the main difference is that him and Solo are not the big buddies they are in the movies.
C3P0 and R2D2 – both these droids are in the rough draft and look the same as they do in the movies. The biggest difference is that they are originally owned by the Empire, not the Rebels. That is really the only real difference, they seem to have their same personalities.
Prince Valorum – This is one of the main characters that is in the rough draft that is not in the trilogy. Valorum is a sith master that takes the place of Vader as he is portrayed in the tribology. What is interesting is that there is a confrontation that takes place between Valorum and Vader, after which Valorum seems to change sides and help the Jedi much like Vader did in Episode VI.
Darth Vader – I think this is one of the biggest differences from the rough draft to Episode IV. Frist he is not a Sith master, but just an evil general of the Empire. Next he is in no way related to Annekin or Luke Skywalker. I think this is fascinating how much this single character changed from the rough draft to what he is in Episode IV.
Leia – she is still a princess, yet not the same as she is portrayed in episode IV. Her parents are still alive in the rough draft and as this story moves along there is some romantic tension between her and Annekin.
Cos Dashit- he is the Galactic Emperor, nope not Palpatine, also he is not a Sith Lord either, just appears to be a normal guy.
There are a hand full of other minor characters that are in the rough draft including Lars Owen that made it through to the final draft, but he was somewhat different as to his role in Episode IV.
The biggest difference from the rough draft to Episode IV were the weapons. Everyone still carries their blasters, that is the same, but what is different is that the Storm troopers carry “laser swords” as well as the Jedi. It was strange seeing a storm trooper with a Lightsaber, but that is how Lucas originally wrote them in. Pretty strange, and I am glad that he changed this in the later drafts as it made the Lightsaber so much cooler.
Obviously the plot is different from the rough draft to the original trilogy. What I found interesting is that there are little bits of both Episode IV and VI in this rough draft. I had a hard time seeing where Episode V fit in. After reading this original I am not quite sure how he intended to make 12 movies out of it. However, I am not sure what happened between the rough draft and later drafts. I would like to eventually try to find a second draft and see how much changed from this to the next. I would also like to see if once Lucas had the story figured out how many chapters or episodes he originally wanted, which I recently found was 12. Now that JJ Abrams took over for episode VII I am not sure if this was the direction Lucas was wanting to go or if Abrams used any of Lucas’s notes for his original episodes. I am sure someone out there has the skinny on this. I think this is what I find most interesting, as to where Lucas had envisioned the story going. That is what I am interested in.
This is the first story that I have seen that has been so dissected in almost every aspect. How many other stories do people even care about the first draft and would even want to make a graphic novel with that script. The answer is not many or possible none. It is fascinating to see how much the story changes from the beginning. I have to wonder what the legacy of Star Wars would be had some of these changes not taken place. I wish there was some way for me to clear my brain of all Star Wars knowledge and then read the rough draft, I wonder what my first impression would be? Obviously I cannot do that, but you get the idea. It’s tough to change your opinion of something, especially when it is so engrained in society and has become a massive cultural phenomenon.
I will close where I started. I do not think that another phenomenon like this will happen again. There are a few reasons why I think this. The main one is that it will take something so amazingly different and bizarre, something that no one has ever seen before. That is what made Star Wars so amazing and so successful. The other reason is that in today’s society where everything has been done, it will be hard, if not impossible, to accomplish a brand new idea. For those reasons I don’t think something like Star Wars will happen again. Lucas is responsible for creating an entirely new and awesome billion dollar universe. I cannot think of another person that is solely responsible for creating something like this. I mentioned Avatar earlier, Harry Potter also comes to mind, but even those are not even close. When it comes to the movie aspect all three of these are somewhat in the same ball park, but when you factor in all the merchandise that goes along with Star Wars, there is no equal. Which is why I do not think anything will come close to this. It is really strange or odd that a movie was able to sell so many toys, and not only that but super collectable toys. Some Star Wars toys go for thousands depending on condition. The amazing thing is that even with the new movies the old toys and old characters will continue to sell, mainly just because IT’S STAR WARS!!