So you may have heard that I like comics. A lot. You may also have heard that I like Star Wars, maybe even more than comics. Although, like most Star Wars fans, that affection got kicked around a bit in the last decade or so by the prequel films. But what if we could tell a totally different origin story to the one we’ve all come to know? And do it in comics?!
Well that’s exactly what Dark Horse Comics is doing, showing us the first adventures of General Luke Skywalker, young Anakin Starkiller, the lizard-like alien Han Solo, the Jedi-Bendu of the Imperial Space Force aaaaaand you’re completely lost, right? That’s because this is not the Star Wars you know. This is The Star Wars, George Lucas’ original vision for his sci-fi epic.
See before he got the green light to make the classic films we all know today, Lucas wrote up an draft titled The Star Wars, which may have featured many familiar names, but the owners of those names were not the characters they would eventually become. The aforementioned Han Solo was a green skinned alien, Luke Skywalker is an older war veteran who takes the mentor role occupied by Obi Wan Kenobi, everybody – not just Jedi – use “laser swords”, the Emperor is nothing more than a corrupt politician while Darth Vader – one of the most iconic movie villains of all time – is just an ordinary man.
At the time, it was said that Francis Ford Coppola, upon reading the draft, described it as “pretty good” saying that he didn’t know why Lucas would want to change anything. But the problem was that this vision was even more outlandish and more epic in scope than the films Lucas eventually made, meaning that just about no studio would take a risk on it. He reworked it, changing some details and shrinking the cast by sometimes merging the character traits of several characters into one (Vader is based on three separate characters in this early draft) and the rest, as they say, is movie history.
And in the history books is where that original draft would have stayed, but thanks to Dark Horse Comics, come September 4 we’ll be able to experience that original tale in the first of an 8-part monthly comic book mini-series, adapted from Lucas’ rough draft script by J.W. Rinzler and artist Mike Mayhew. To promote the book’s launch a new trailer has been made available courtesy of USA Today.
Rinzler, who is also an executive editor at Lucasbooks, indicated to USAToday why this script never made it past the early stages, saying that “[Lucas] knew quite well in 1974 that there was no way you could film this script. He changes locales sometimes twice on a page. Any studio head reading that would have just had a heart attack. He would have thrown it in the garbage by the time he got to page 20.”
It’s a sentiment shared by artist Mike Mayhew, who says that if it were to be made today, The Star Wars “would hold its own against The Avengers and Avatar,” but that it was maybe a bit too ambitious for the 70’s. That’s not a problem with comics where the only limitation is Mayhew’s art, something that is sure to turn a few heads based on these stunning preview pages.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve already added this to my subscriptions at my local comic book shop, as it’s looking superb. Dark Horse Comics have done some fantastic work with their Star Wars licence over the last few years (I highly recommend “Star Wars: Legacy” to anybody that possesses eyes and opposable thumbs), and this seems like it could be their best effort thus far. At least it will keep our minds off the fact that we still know next to nothing about Star Wars: Episode VII.
Last Updated: August 13, 2013