All great scripts begin with a rough first draft. When the writer first puts pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard if you prefer – they use the initial draft of their screenplay to start working out characters and concepts that until then have existed only in their fevered imaginations. Rough drafts rarely come much rougher than George Lucas‘ original vision for what would become the movie that defined his career in cinema and made him a cultural legend, Star Wars.
Dark Horse Comics is adapting Lucas’ first draft of his blockbuster outer space adventure that launched a mammoth franchise into an eight-issue comic book miniseries entitled The Star Wars, the movie’s original title. Check out a page of artwork from the comic here below.
The miniseries will be adapted from Lucas’ 1974 first draft by writer J.W. Rinzler, an executive editor at LucasBooks who has written several definitive books on the making of the Star Wars films, with artwork by Mike Mayhew (Vampirella).
Here’s what Rinzler had to say about the announcement:
“While researching in the Lucasfilm Archives I’ve found many treasures””but one which truly astounded me was George’s rough draft for The Star Wars. His first complete imaginings were hallucinating to read””mind blowing. While working with George on another book project, I once asked if we could adapt his rough draft. He was hesitant. Years later, with Dark Horse’s invaluable help, we showed him a few drawn and colored pages of what it might look like. He gave us the okay.”
In this alternate vision of what Star Wars would ultimately become, Annikin Starkiller is the overweight 18-year-old hero, Luke Skywalker is an older general introduced to Annikin by his father on the planet Aquilae, Han Solo is a six-foot-tall lizard with no nose and large gills, and Chewbacca resembles (in Lucas’ words) “a huge, grey bushbaby with fierce baboon-like fangs.” The Jedi are called the Jedi Bendu, the villains are the Sith Knights (one of whom is named Prince Valorum…zzzzz…), and the evil Emperor is named Cos Dashit.
I swear in the name of all that is decent and fearful of retaliation from Lucasfilm’s legal department that nothing in that last paragraph was made up by yours truly. The narrative is large in scale but unwieldy and at times just plain freakin’ weird, but fortunately Lucas would iron out most of the script’s major problems by the time cameras finally rolled on Star Wars in 1976. I refuse to end with “and the rest is history” because I have done that entirely too much.
Longtime Star Wars editor Randy Stradley added:
“I’m not sure where I first read about The Star Wars””it was years and years ago””but the idea of Luke Skywalker being an older Jedi General, and Han Solo being a six-foot-tall lizard, turned my Star Wars fan brain on its side. I always assumed this would be one of those stories that would be “˜lost to history,’ so getting to work on bringing it to life is kinda like a dream come true.”
Considering that he wishes people would just forget about the original theatrical versions of the first Star Wars it is pretty bold for George Lucas to consent to this project. Next to Lucasfilm becoming Disney property and a new movie put into development with J.J. Abrams at the helm this is some of the most exciting news from the Star Wars universe in quite some time. Dark Horse has held the Star Wars comics license for the past two decades and have always done stellar work with their titles. This is one comic to look forward to this year. I am certainly looking forward to seeing how Rinzler and Mayhew streamline Lucas’ unfocused original approach to the narrative and make it a gripping adventure.