Last year Dark Horse Comics published an 8 issue series entitled The Star Wars. Adapted by J. W. Rinzler with gorgeous art by Mike Mayhew, it told the tale that George Lucas originally presented to studios in 1974. This was a very different universe than made it into theatres. And thank goodness. While this was full of similarities and some cool scenes, the plot was somewhat chaotic and was definitely in need of focus. There are many scenes that are recreated in both New Hope and Return of the Jedi, but it is mostly its own story.
When I say its a different universe I mean drastically different. The Empire is not too different from what we know, and they have a Death Star, but they are based out of Alderaan, where in the original film, Alderaan is the home of Princess Leia. Princess Leia is also pretty much the same, if not a few years younger, but thats about where the similarities end.
The R2-D2 and C-3PO counterparts are visually similar, but both speak and aren’t really that entertaining, they just hate on each other the hole time, and aren’t that integral to the story. In one scene Threepio throws R2-D2 across the sand.
Chewbacca is still a Wookie and still incomprehensible, but he looks really weird, and his species play the role that the Ewoks play in The Return of the Jedi (The final battle shares more with that film than it does with A New Hope). While he isn’t Han’s copilot in this Han is still able to understand him.
Han Solo is a big green SwampThingish brute, so, thats kind of weird. He is an old friend of Kane Starkiller. The escape of the droids in the escape pod, followed by meeting Solo at the cantina is just how it is in the movie, just more towards the end of the story.
Kane Starkiller is the Obi Wan of the group. He dies sacrificing himself for the others. He is a Jedi, but at the point we meet him he is mostly robotic, only an arm and head remain of his original body. His youngest son dies in the initial scenes of the book and he gives Luke Skywalker the task of training his son Annikin Starkiller.
Anakin the main hero and is kind of a mix of who Han becomes and Luke from the film. He falls in love with Leia, but is a jerk to her. In one scene he punches her in the face to knock her out. This is after she is beating on him, but its still a very powerful image.
Luke is more like Qui-Gon Jinn. An experienced Jedi, which here is short for Jedi-Bendu (this reminds me of the Bene Gesserit, the religious sisterhood from Dune, who had advanced mental capabilities like suggestion and sensing of the future) In the book he looks like Ben Kenobi, but thats about it.
Darth Vader in the film is a clear combination of the two villains in this book, Darth Vader who is a slightly scared, but non masked leader in the Empire. He is in charge of the Death Star and plays more the role of Darth Sidious in Return of the Jedi.
Valorum (a name used again in episode 1) is visually more like the Vader we know, and he is a Sith Knight. He is a villain for most of the book, but when coaxed into battle with Annikin, he turns on Darth Vader and helps to rescue Leia, (A scene that takes place at the end of the story instead of in the middle. The post rescue garbage compactor scene is also from taken right from here. Both scenes happen during the Wookie assault on the Yavin Emperial base.) He says he is helping to fight tyranny. But I think he just sees hope in the fact that the once rumoured extinct Jedi are still around. Had he had a scene like in Ep VI where Darth realized the evil he was working for, this would have made more sense.
The last major character is Whitsun, who just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and joined in on the adventure, until he had to sacrifice himself as well. He looks just like Annikin, but with short blonde hair instead of long, so I got the characters confused. He was definitely a character that needed to be dropped.
Leia also has two twin brothers that they have to keep safe for the majority of the movie, until they can get them to a much younger Owen and Beru Lars. They are mostly just an impediment on the story. Luke should have dropped them off at the nearest Tykes and Tots Early Learning Centre for the day and gone off and saved the day afterword. There names though are Biggs and Windy. Biggs is Lukes friend in the original film and Windy plus another minor character Mace probably inspired the name Mace Windu.
While many of the scenes were brought into Episode 4 and 6, thematically, it is more along the lines of Episode 1. In my first Star Wars Week post I discuss what makes the characters so great, and a lot of that was added after the screenplay was rewritten. There are cool scenes her, but for the most part it felt like everyone was running around with their heads cut off and much of the story was just confusing or needless action. I am definitely going to have to reread this book to get a better grasp. I enjoyed reading it, but I found myself questioning what just happened a few times, and being confused about which character was supposed to be doing what and where they were, or how they got to where they were. I never felt like I knew what they were supposed to be doing, except thwarting evil.
Character work were the most confusing. They kept on being added in even up to the end, and characters I thought were in one place, were not, or i couldn’t explain why they were gone. Confusing. that is the best word I have to explain this book. That being said I did read this throughout several points in my day and had to get focused in every time I went back. If I read this in one sitting, maybe that would help, but I rarely have this problem with other books I’m reading through multiple sittings.
Visually this book is quite grabbing. The art is realistic, compelling and perfect for the theme of the book. Mike Mayhew did a great job of making this book feel Star Wars. Props to him.
Thanks for reading. May the force of others be with you. (Thats what they say in this book)
James Zintel’s original theme art done for this week.
Images from http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130906193819/starwars/images/1/16/Annikin_Starkiller.jpg, http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130906214945/starwars/images/b/b4/Luke_Skywalker_%28Aquilae%29.jpg, http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130823193234/starwars/images/f/fc/22824.jpg, http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20150327030122/starwars/images/d/df/Han_Solo_as_a_Ureallian.png, http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130906210608/starwars/images/e/ee/Darth_Vader_%28New_Galactic_Empire%29.jpg, http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20131109202248/starwars/images/b/bf/Valorum.png, https://borgdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/dark-horse-the-star-wars-the-george-lucas-draft-issue-1d.jpg