Adventures of the Starkiller as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars was the second draft of the script to the film that would become Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. It was begun in the summer of 1974 and finished on January 28, 1975. It was replaced in May 1975 by a new synopsis called The Adventures of Luke Starkiller (episode one) "The Star Wars."
This version of the script shows a much closer resemblance to the finished film than any of the earlier drafts. It is particularly interesting because of Ralph McQuarrie's conceptual drawings and paintings, which were commissioned to accompany the second draft. McQuarrie began work on conceptual art almost as soon as the script was completed, working through early March 1975. As such, the second draft can be said to have first established the visual character of the Star Wars saga.
Within the damaged Rebel ship were two droids, Threepio and Artwo. The smaller droid led his counterpart toward a corridor. A barrage from one of the Stardestroyers blew a hole in the ship, and Threepio was covered in debris. The Captain, Deak Starkiller, an Aquillian Ranger and a Jedi, arrived and checked on the hapless robots. He informed his officers to expect a boarding party, and that a Sith knight was with them. Deak sensed him in the Force.
Deak ordered a group of R2 units into the ship's lifepods to seek help from his younger brother, Luke Starkiller. One of those sent was Artoo, who took Threepio along. Stormtroopers swarmed onto the Rebel ship, and started attacking the crew. After a firefight, Darth Vader, clad in an armored spacesuit, entered the vessel. He flung objects and fragments of the ship at Deak using the Force, battering the young Ranger. Finally, Vader drained Deak of his life force, and the Rebel passed into unconsciousness. Vader believed he had captured the Son of the Suns and had averted defeat for the Bogan.
Meanwhile, on Utapau, Artoo and Threepio are captured by Jawas and imprisoned inside a sandcrawler. After a prison break, the droids escape, and get directions to the Lars homestead from a local. The same local, however, reports the droids to an Imperial spy, called a Gray Tusken.
At the Lars moisture farm, the droids encountered Biggs Starkiller and his twin brother Windy. Also residing there were the Jedi Owen and his wife Beru Lars, the Starkiller brothers' guardians. Leia Lars was the 16-year old cousin of Luke, Biggs and Windy. When he was given the code word Angel Blue, Luke, who is practicing with his laser sword, stops his exercises and introduces himself to the droids as "The Skywalker," his Jedi title, though he was still an apprentice.
Artoo projected a hologram from Deak explaining that Luke must take the Kaiburr Crystal, which was under the care of Owen Lars, to Ogana Major, where the Empire was attacking the world. The Starkiller, father of all four Starkiller brothers, was defending Ogana, but they needed the Crystal to protect against the Bogan and its minions. Owen believed that Deak would have been taken to the Imperial capital of Alderaan. Though Luke's training was incomplete, and his heart was set on becoming an archaeologist, he took up the mission. He visited his mother's grave site that evening, and explained to his younger brothers the history of the Jedi and the rise of the Empire.
In Mos Eisley, Luke made contact with Han Solo, a young space pirate. Solo came to his aid when a fight breaks out in the Mos Eisley Cantina, though Luke's laser sword was more effective than Solo's laser pistol. In exchange for a million credits on delivery, Solo would get Luke to Ogana Major. As it transpired, Solo was deeply in debt to Oxus, the captain of a TDF104 docked there.
Faking a reactor malfunction, Solo hijacked Oxus's ship. Only three other crewmembers stayed with them: Montross Holdaack the science officer, a cyborg, and Chewbacca the Wookiee. The ship blasted off from Mos Eisley and headed into hyper-skip to Ogana Major.
But their destination was no more: Ogana Major had been destroyed by the Empire. How, was yet a mystery. Luke directed Han to pilot the ship to Alderaan, in hopes of rescuing Deak. The ship docked on the floating city, and Luke and Han stole stormtrooper armor as a disguise. Chewbacca would be their "prisoner." They found Deak, now dying from his torture, and carried him off, escaping both the garrison and strange Dai Noga creatures. As they blasted out of the Imperial capital, four TIE/LN starfighters followed them. Luke used the Kaiburr Crystal to keep Deak alive.
As they arrived at their destination, the moon Yavin 4, site of the secret rebel base, they found that an immense space station had tracked and followed them. Ejecting from the pirate ship, the heroes landed on Yavin in lifepods. On Yavin is the Massassi outpost, where they were debriefed. General Dodana explained the dangers and weaknesses of the Death Star.
Miraculously, The Starkiller, Luke's father, survived the destruction of Ogana Major. With the Crystal, the ancient Jedi is revived. He explained that Luke would complete his training with him.
Luke joined the strike force assembled to attack the Death Star, but despite a payment of 8 million credits, Han declined to help. With Bail Antilles, Artoo and Threepio, and the Crystal, Luke flew his fighter toward the space station. Other Rebel pilots targeted the station's poles.
Darth Vader, however, sensed the Crystal, and pursued Luke with his personal starfighter. He was about to destroy Luke and his crew, but unexpectedly, Han, Montross and Chewbacca attacked him, saving the young Jedi. Vader piloted his ship into the pirates' craft, dying, but seriously damaging the larger vessel.
Luke was able to maneuver the Rebel ship into position, and Antilles and Threepio fired the turrets into the exhaust port. The Death Star exploded as Luke's ship flew past a lifepod from the pirate ship; Han and his crewmates had survived.
The Empire had suffered a serious defeat.
The film script begins with a quote, much like the "A long time ago..." of the finished films:
- "...And in the time of greatest despair there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as: THE SON OF THE SUNS."
- ―Journal of the Whills, 3:127
This script was the first to feature the Force as a supernatural power. Earlier versions depicted the Jedi merely as potent warriors.
This was also the first script begun and oriented with the two droids. By beginning the script with the attack on the Rebel craft and with the evacuation of C-3PO and R2-D2, Lucas returned to the opening he had envisioned in The Star Wars: Story Synopsis, though there they were aboard an Imperial ship threatened with destruction. This was a return to an idea from Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress.
However, unlike The Hidden Fortress and his earlier drafts, he now made Luke Starkiller the main hero, rather than the General or the Princess.
This script introduced the Kiber Crystal, a MacGuffin, or item that everyone wants, providing essential motivation for movement and action, but that is not relevant to the film as a whole. The Kiber Crystal later appeared as the Kaiburr crystal in the Legends novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye, and still later as kyber crystals the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and other canon works.
After completing the second draft, Lucas contemplated changing Luke into a girl, possibly because of the lack of any important female characters in Adventures of the Starkiller. This change was eventually not adopted in the intervening synopsis, and Leia was reintroduced as a major character in the third draft.
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Notes and references
- Starkiller - The Jedi Bendu Script Site
- The Development of Star Wars: As Seen Through the Scripts by George Lucas
- The Art of Ralph McQuarrie