Before we get started notice the “The” before Star Wars, that is key in this review. I am a pretty big Star Wars fan so when I got wind of this one I was very curious as to what this story entailed. There is so much Star Wars folk lore out there, but I was truly interested to see what the original screen play looked like, and I was certainly surprised at how the story that everyone knows worldwide changed from the original rough draft. I am going to do a double post on this book because I want to just talk about the book itself in this review. I also want to talk about the many differences between this story and the Star Wars we all know and love in a separate post. I have read that the original rough draft, which is what we see here, is quite a bit different from the final product. It seems that George Lucas had a few drafts before the final one that he went with. It is very interesting to see how the story changed so much from the start to where it ended up, but again I will get into that in a follow up post.
JW. Rinzler is an author of a few different books that seem to detail George Lucas’s work. He is most famous for his work The Making of Star Wars and The Complete Making of Indiana Jones. He has also written on the Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon series, which I am a quite a fan of. Rinzler is also working on a novel as well as a children’s book that will be out soon. I think it is interesting that the basis of his work consist of the more behind the scenes story of some very famous trilogies and both of these book were New York Times and London Times Bestsellers. Which goes to show the power of both brands.
This story opens up on a planet where a group of Jedi-Bendu are living. A Sith Knight tracks them to the planet and a battle ensues that results in the death of the youngest son of Kane Starkiller, now he is left with his only son Annekin. After the battle the two leave the planet and journey to planet Aquilae which is the last independent system in the galaxy. There they meet up with an old friend General Luke Skywalker as the Empire bears down on the planet with their massive weapon, a giant space station. The group tries valiantly to defend the planet against the overpowering Empire. General Vader is leading the attacks with the help of the sith master Price Valorum. Trying to escape the planet the Starkillers and Skywalker employ the smuggler Han Solo, who is a green alien, to smuggle them off the planet. Eventually the group makes it to Yavin where they encounter a tribe of Wookies. There they help the Wookies destroy an Empire outpost then lead a counter attack against the Empire’s massive space station.
I love Star Wars and have always wondered what the original story looked like and with that, what the trilogy looked like or what changes happened along the way. I would also like to see how may movies he originally wanted to make. I have always heard he wanted to make 9, and the reason for starting with VI instead of one was because of technology and that the technology was better for A New Hope. I have no idea if that is true but that is just what I have heard. I am sure by now you have seen the start of the second three with The Force Awakens, but I wonder what Lucas originally had in mind for the entire 9 films and what story he wanted to tell. I found where Lucas actually wanted to make 12 films, but changed his mind while filming ESB.
With all that, this one is a little harder to judge because of the massive success of Star Wars. We are so used to the story and know so many different details about the story we all know and love, so it is hard to judge this story because of those reasons. I liked the story, but I can’t say that it was anything spectacular. There are so many differences from this story to A New Hope that I felt like this was a cheap knock off or something. Which again makes this one very hard to judge as the real story of Star Wars is so engrained in our heads that it is near impossible to fathom anything other than that story. I have to wonder how I would judge this one if it were just some random space opera with laser swords, Jedi knights, and space fighters. Its impossible to remove what I already know about this universe and simply judge this book by itself.
The artwork in this one is great. In some scenes it looks like the artwork is painted, but in others it looks more taditional. Regardless, it looks awesome and is certainly top notch compared to most other books. The artist did a great job of making it look like this book was set in the Star Wars universe. All the colors and the planets along with the outfits, it all looked like what you would expect to see in that universe. Speaking of the colors in the book, they are great, truly a wonderful experience from a color standpoint. There are a wide range of colors that make the artwork pop and bring to life some very powerful scenes, many that reminded me of what I would have seen in the theater. Page layouts are slightly above average, nothing too crazy but still some very nice visuals. All in all the artwork is very solid.
At the end of the book there is a whole other issue about 40 pages or so that deal with many of the different aspects of this rough draft to ANH. I will touch more on this issue in an additional post, but it was really cool to see how the designs of characters changed along with some of the original artwork that went with the movie. That is really cool, and if you get a chance look up Ralph McQuarrie, you really should. He was commissioned to draw the original concept art for the film, simply amazing!
If you are a fan you certainly must check this out. Even if you are not a huge fan I think this is still worth reading, if for no other reason just to see how much a story can change from the rough draft to what finally gets published. I think that is what I found most fascinating about this book. I will touch on these in my additional post, but the story was almost completely different and the rough draft had some small elements of episode IV, V, and VI. That would also be interesting to hear is how Lucas went from this rough draft to three separate movies, which I am assuming he used this rough draft to write the other stories. I digress, this is a solid read with some great artwork and you should certainly check this one out if you get a chance.