Star Wars: The early drafts
What follows is one of the early drafts of what was to become Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope.

Some editorial changes have been made.  Specifically, the tabs have been removed to allow this to be presented on a web page.  HTML format doesn't allow the use of tabs the way text documents do, so the layout of the page is somewhat different than it would appear typed.  Versions in this format abound on the web, so you should have no trouble tracking one down.



"THE STAR WARS"

May, 1973
 

Story Synopsis

BY

GEORGE LUCAS
 
 

A
LUCASFILM LTD.
FILM
 
 
 

THE STAR WARS

by

George Lucas
 

LUCASFILM LIMITED
 
 

May, 1973





Deep Space.
 

The eerie blue-green planet of Aquilae slowly drifts
into view.  A small speck, orbiting the planet, glints
in the light of a near by star.
 

Suddenly a sleek fighter-type spacecraft settles ominously
into the foreground moving swiftly toward the orbiting
speck.  Two more fighters silently maneuver into battle
formation behind the first and then three more craft
glide into view.  The orbiting speck is actually a
gargantuan space fortress which dwarfs the approaching
fighters.  Fuel pods are jettisoned.  The six fighters
break off into a power dive attack on the huge fortress.
Lazer bolts streak from the fighters creating small
explosions on the complex surface of the fort.  Return
fire catches one of the fighters and it bursts into a
million pieces.  Another of the craft plows into a gun
emplacement jutting from the fortress causing a hideous
series of chain reaction explosions.  The chaos of
battle echoes through the vastness of space.
 

It is the thirty-third century, a period of civil wars
in the galaxy.  A rebel princess, with her family,
her retainers, and the clan treasure, is being pursued.
If they can cross territory controlled by the Empire
and reach a friendly planet, they will be saved.  The
Sovereign knows this, and posts a reward for the capture
of the princess.
 

She is being guarded by one of her generals, (Luke
Skywalker) and it is he who leads her on the long and
dangerous journey that follows.  They take along with
them two hundred pounds of the greatly treasured "aura
spice", and also two Imperial bureaucrats, whom the
general has captured.
 

The two terrified, bickering bureaucrats crash land
on Aquilae while trying to flee the battle of the
space fortress.  They accidently discover a small
container of the priceless "aura spice" and are rummaging
around the rocks pushing and pulling each other trying
to find more when they are discovered by Luke Skywalker
and taken to his camp.
 

The princess and the general are disguised as farmers,
and the bureaucrats join their party with the intention
of stealing their "land speeder" and "aura spice".
It doesn't take them too long to realize the general
isn't a farmer and that they are captives about to
embark on a dangerous mission.  The two bureaucrats
are essentially comic relief inserted among the general
seriousness of the adventure.
 

The small group in their sleek, white, two-man "land
speeders" travel across the wastelands of Aquilae,
headed for the space port city of Gordon, where they
hope to get a spacecraft that will take them to the
friendly planet of Ophuchi.
 

At a desolate rest stop, the rebels are stopped and
questioned by an Imperial patrol.  Apparently satisfied,
the captian lets the group continue on their way, but
a short distance into the wilderness, they are attacked
by the patrol.  The Imperial patrol of twelve men is no
match for the incredibly skilled and powerful general,
who makes short work of the enemy.
 

One of the two-man "speeders" is destroyed in the fight
and the bureaucrats must ride on the back of the remaining
one, which slows the group down considerably.  They
drive into a storm, run low on food and water, but
eventually make it to the ruin of a religious temple.
In the temple they discover a rebel band of ten boys
(aged 15 to 18) who are planning an attack on one of
the Imperial outposts.  The boys laugh in anticipation
of the blow they will strike the Empire in the name of
the princess.  They all stop laughing, but the laughing
continues and they look around in consternation.  Into
the sanctuary ambles Skywalker, scratching himself,
amused at the idealism of the youths.  He barely
glances at them.  The contrast between the boy rebels
with their terse nods, their meaningful glances, and
Skywalker, a real general, a real man could not be
greater.  The boys plead to join the party to protect
the princess, but the general refuses, and insists
they all return to their homes.  They say they have
no place to go and begin to follow the party across
the wasteland.
 

One night the party is attacked by one of the large
beasts that roam the plains, and is eventually killed
by the boy rebels.  The general reluctantly accepts
the presence of the boys, and allows them to join
the group.
 

The general, one of the bureaucrats, and one of the
boys, venture into a shabby cantina on the outskirts
of the space port, looking for the rebel contact who
will help them get a spacecraft.  The murky little
den is filled with a startling array of weird and
erotic Aliens laughing and drinking at the bar.  The
bureaucrat and the boy are both terrified as the general
orders two drinks and questions the bartender about
the rebel contact man.  A group of bullies begin to
taunt and ridicule the boy.  Skywalker attempts to avoid
a confrontation, but worse comes to worse, and he is
forced to fight.  With a flash of light, his lazer
sword is out.  An are lies on the ground, one of the
bullies lies double, slashed from chin to groin and
Skywalker, with quiet dignity, replaces his sword in
its sheath.  The entire fight has lasted a matter of
seconds.
 

Skywalker, the princess, and their party make contact
with the rebel underground, but not before an Imperial
spy, who followed them from the cantina, reports their
plans to the city governor.  The rebels enter the
space port to board a trader's ship, whose captain
is friendly toward the rebels.  The group doesn't
realize until it is too late, that it is a trap.  Guards
pounce on them from everywhere.  The princess, the
bureaucrats, and the boys run for a ship while Skywalker
holds off the guards.  They narrowly escape in a stolen
space fighter and lose themselves among the giant
Imperial fleet looking for the rebels.
 

The general orbits his ship further and further away
from the planet, until he feels it is safe to head out
into deep space toward Ophuchi.  As he maneuvers to
break out of orbit, a patrol craft hails the ship and
requests to board and search her.  Skywalker trys to
discourage them, but the patrol becomes suspicious.
Skywalker makes a run for it and the patrol craft
fires on them.  The rebels return the fire and destroy
the patrol craft.  The stolen Imperial ship races toward
the safety of deep space as twelve fighter craft converge
on the destroyed patrol and give chase.
 

A raging air-to-air battle and chase begins which
continues halfway across the galaxy.  The rebel boys
shoot down many Imperial ships under the harsh and
uncompromising instructions of the general.  A few of
the boys are angered at his cold and relentless directions,
although they grow to respect him when they begin to
see the results of his training.  Their ship is hit
several times and begins to break up, causing them
to slow down.  They maneuver the crippled fighter to
an asteroid in an attempt to hide from their pursuers.
The trick works, but as they resume their trek across
the galaxy, the ship is rocked by a series of explosions
and plummets toward the forbidden planet of Yavin.
 

Everyone jettisons safely away from the doomed craft
before it explodes, and using rocket pack, slowly
drift to the foreboding surface.  The general, the princess,
the two bureaucrats with the "aura spice", and one of
the rebel boys regroup and set up camp.  When only
one other boy shows up, the group decides to split up.
The general, princess, and bureaucrats head for what
appears to be a city, while the two boys go off looking
for their comrades.  They are watched by a giant furry
Alien, who quietly disappears into the foliage.
 

Skywalker and his party race along a narrow pathway
riding "jet-sticks" fashioned from their rescue packs.
They round a bend and see the way is blocked by three
or four Aliens, riding large bird-like creatures.  The
general instantly changes direction on to a side path,
the others follow close behind, chased by the Aliens.
Skywalker drops behind the others and begins shooting
at the Aliens with his lazer gun.  The Aliens sling a
dart-like object at Skywalker as they rush along the
road.  The general kills the last Alien just as he
reaches the gate to the Alien camp.  Skywalker cannot
curb his "jet-stick" in time and the momentum carries
him directly into the enemies' hands.
 

The group is surrounded by Aliens.  Skywalker jumps
off his "jet-stick" and takes a defense stance.  The
Aliens give him room.  They seem puzzled by these
intruders and jabber to themselves.  Two leaders carry
on a heated argument.  Finally one storms off in disgust
and the other summons a guard who steps forward with
a large spear in his hand.  Skywalker and the Alien
stand surveying each other.  The Alien makes a lunge,
the general counters, and the fight begins.  A desperate
fight ensues, but eventually Skywalker wins by cutting
the Alien in half with his lazer sword.  At this, all
the Aliens worked into a frenzy mob, carry the general
off and throw him over a thousand foot crevasse into
a boiling lake.
 

The general's sure death, terrifies the bureaucrats
and moves the princess.  The Aliens lead them to a
small hut where they are imprisoned.  Unknown to everyone,
the general grabs an overhanging vine on his descent
and swings to safety.  He starts back to rescue the
others when he encounters an Alien.  Skywalker starts
to attack, but the Alien drops to the ground jabbering
and carrying on.  The general recognizes the Alien as
the one who argued with the leader, who ordered his death.
The general trys to communicate with the Alien, but
all he can make out is that the creature worships him
and wants to take him some place urgently.
 

The Alien leads Skywalker to a clearing where a platoon
of the Imperial guard is lounging, obviously waiting
for someone or something.  The general jumps undercover
as a herd of Aliens arrive with the princess and
bureaucrats in tow.  A trade is made and the platoon
leaves in a "speed tank" with the three captives.  The
general tries to follow, but is unable to keep up.
 

The Alien leads Skywalker to a small farm where he discovers
the boy rebels are  waiting for him.  The farm is owned
by a cantankerous old farmer who is married to an Alien.
He tells the group that he hates the Empire and shows them the
location of an outpost where they might have
taken the princess.
 

The general and his army of youthful warriors plan
an attack on the small Imperial outpost.  They use
surprise and the general's rigorous training to overcome
the enemy and capture the outpost.  they discover the
princess has been taken to Alderaan, the capitol of
the Empire.  They make plans to rescue the princess
from right under the nose of the Emperor.  The only
craft at the outpost capable of intergalactic travel
is a squadron of one-man devil fighters, which the
general trains the kids to use.  When they feel they
are ready, they strike out toward the center of the
galaxy and the heart of the Empire.
 

Disguised as Imperial rangers, the small armada flies
right through the gates of the impressive city-planet
of Alderaan and stops at the prison complex.  After
overcoming a series of difficult barriers and traps
they find the princess and free her.
 
 

An alarm sounds.  The rebels are forced to fight their
way out of the prison with "multiple lazer guns" and
swords.  A few of the boys are killed, but most of
them make it to their spacecraft followed by Skywalker
and the princess.  They break through a ring of Imperial
ships attempting to stop them and escape into deep
space.
 

The princess' arrival on Ophuchi is celebrated by
a huge parade, honoring the general and his small band.
The princess' uncle, ruler of Ophuchi, rewards the
bureaucrats, who for the first time see the princess
revealed as her true goddess-like self.  The general
commissions the "boy rebels" into the princess' special
guard.  After the ceremony is over, and the festivities
have ended, the drunken bureaucrats stagger down an
empty street arm in arm realizing that they have been
adventuring with demigods.

THE END ?

MAY 25, 1973



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