I downloaded all the
drafts before Episode I came out. Had I downloaded them
that time, I would have believed that they were an elaborate hoax of
fiction because of all the parallels to scenes in The Phantom Menace
and references to different characters, even some of the names are
and matched differently than the end version. The FBI writing
that confirmed the identity of the Unabomber would have little trouble
with this actually, there are subtle but distinct ways of phrasing
and staging scenes that could only be Lucas. There are a number
interesting pieces here and there which indicate this it not a fake,
the descriptions of things which preceded their physical
For example, in one scene R2D2 "nods." Obviously he hadn't been
out. He and 3PO's personalities are reversed in this draft and R2
talks as well.
This screenplay actually sounds
a lot more
like The Phantom Menace than A New Hope, except that
is a Death Star in it. There is even a scene which would later be
used in RotJ in which a Jedi character (sort of a homologue of
or a young Obiwan) saves a group of wookies from slave traders and they
revere him as a god. In another scene the army of wookies with
shiny shields" engage a group of hover tanks. Sound
One of the most interesting scenes is the first in the screenplay in
an older Jedi with a young boy not quite 10 years old battle a dark
Sith warrior in the desert. That's a little reminiscent of TPM
There aren't too many scenes
draft that make it into the first movie, however. Only two really
stand out: In one, the characters escape into a trash compactor.
However, they escape when the power is knocked out when the attack on
Death Star succeeds, not because of the droids. The other one is
the scene where Ben cuts off Walrus Man's arm in the cantina. The
dialogue is almost exactly the same (there is just a little more of it).
Interestingly, General Luke
present but sounds more like old Ben Kenobi than the protagonist we're
familiar with. Annikin Starkiller is a central character in this
draft and shares much in common with his homologue in the
The name Bail Antilles turns up here as well as being mentioned in TPM
as a possible replacement for Chancellor Valorum... whose name is
by Prince Valorum, "the black knight of Sith" in this draft.
There are also characters who
names Biggs and Darklighter, though neither character resembles his
from A New Hope. Mace Windu's name was similarly formed from a
named Mace and a combination of a child (brother of Biggs and Leia,
named Windom who is referred to as Windy. "Windu" also sounds
like Bendu as the Jedi were referred to in all the early drafts.
Chewbacca is a wookie and is described very much as he would eventually
appear in the final version, but there is curiously a character named
who is "a young hotshot [starfighter pilot] of about sixteen years."
As you might imagine, this
draft is the
most different of the lot and the one from which more elements from the
prequels can be found, all the way through up to and including Revenge
the Sith. It is definitely worth a read.
The second draft
movie much more closely. The personalities of R2 and 3PO are
aligned and R2 now speaks in beeps. In this draft, almost
has the personality with the name with the role in the plot. The
first draft was a little intimidating because I couldn't say to myself,
"Oh, So-and-so is really Luke and this other guy is really Han."
It was a lot more complicated and most of the story was different.
The story is also considerably
in this draft. Instead of this huge epic, this one is like
Star Wars: A New Hope from a parallel dimension. Little things
different (everyone, even Chewie, has a "laser sword"), but the arc of
the story is virtually identical. It starts with Luke on Tatooine
(though called Uatau -Tatooine came the from the name of a town in
near where those scenes were filmed). The droids arrive with a
for him. Next Luke meets up with Han and Chewie and they try to
Luke's brother Deak (instead of his sister, Leia who is back on
with Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru). They escape and travel to the
Moon of Yavin (which is a little reminiscent of Dagobah with its bogs)
where they plan and eventually attack the approaching Death Star.
The main difference is that
there is no
Obiwan (Luke already has some Jedi training in this version, so he gets
by okay). Also, there are very few scenes with the bad
You never see Vader and Tarkin talking, let alone the whole council
of Imperial officers. Vader doesn't come in until the very
There are a couple other Sith Knights, but they don't contribute
to the story (hence their eventual deletion).
Still, there are interesting
throughout this draft. For example, Alderaan is the capital of
Empire and is described as "an island city suspended in a sea of cirrus
methane." Another familiar ring, no? It is mentioned
in the first draft as well. When the heroes arrive there, the
reads "The magnificent domed and gleaming city is perched,
on a tall spire which disappears deep into the misty surface of the
I'm glad he dredged that idea back up. Bespin was always one of
There is a cute section of the
which Han steals the Millennium Falcon (though not named in this draft)
from the real captain (Han's just a cabin boy) by tricking the old
into thinking the reactor is about to melt down and explode. As
as he runs off the ship, Han closes the ramp and takes off.
Another moment I liked was when
Luke steal the officers' uniforms (they don't describe them as
armor. In fact, Han has to conceal a blood stain on the outfit he
steals). A little bit later Han knocks out another officer, this
time a superior, and steals his uniform. As he puts it on he
"I've just been promoted."
Of note is that in neither of
drafts do we have to sit through the awful origin of 3PO. What a
miserable experience that was! I haven't read the 3rd draft yet,
so there may be a few surprises, but the evolution from the 1st to the
2nd was so significant that I don't see much room for any earth
I think at least one of these
was scanned in because there are odd misspellings here and there.
For example, "e" replaced with a "c" in at dozens of spots and a "c"
an "o" elsewhere, and the "I" in "Imperial" replaced with a lower case
L, and "king" instead of "kind." I wish I could find a program
scanned intelligently. I'm always getting packets of handouts
I have to type up myself. It would be a lot nicer to scan them,
edit them after the fact.
On the surface this one
just like the movie, but there are so many subtle changes that it
seems like a Twilight Zone episode. There are little exchanges
and there that put things in a different light. This draft has
things in place than the previous. As a result, it's the little
that stand out so much more than entirely new scenes.
The first description of the
appears in this draft, pretty much as they end up looking like in the
Curiously, this draft makes the trash compactor scene separate from the
fight with the monster in the water. Instead, they jump into a
and make their way out through the other end of it with minor
They don't end up in the compactor until right before they escape the
Star. Ben manages to survive the entire draft, although he is
when battling Vader.
There is a mention of
in at least 2 or the 3 drafts (recall Han jumping through the doors
trying to escape the Death Star), so Lucas definitely had some idea
things were going to look like. He describes 3PO as shiny,
and with an "Art Deco" surface in all three drafts. Also, the
sabers are consistently described as making a low buzzing sound.
The two Sith Lords mentioned in
draft are again in this one, although (once again) they have little
on the story. Darth Vader is in this draft also, but he doesn't