- "Hello. I am C-3PO, and you are about to listen to the story of Star Wars: A New Hope. You can also read along with the story in your book. Unless you are already programmed to know when the pages end, you will know it is time to turn the page when your hear this sound.... I believe the storyteller is ready, so let us begin."
Episode IV: A New Hope Read-Along Storybook and CD is a young-readers' story from Disney–Lucasfilm Press, released on February 10, 2015, written by Randy Thornton and illustrated by Brian Rood. It presents an illustrated version of the story of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope and also features an accompanying CD with narration of the story and character voices.
Experience Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope like never before! Fully illustrated with gorgeous images by Star Wars artist Brian Rood, this epic storybook also includes a CD with word-for-word narration, music, and character voices. Follow along as Luke Skywalker meets Obi-Wan Kenobi, rescues Princess Leia, and faces Darth Vader for the first time.
In a galaxy torn by conflict, a vessel carrying secret plans for the Galactic Empire's ultimate weapon, the Death Star, races towards Tatooine. It is intercepted by the Devastator, an Imperial-class Star Destroyer, but before the Empire's agents have time to the search the ship, the Princess Leia Organa hides the plans in the memory banks of the droid R2-D2 and sends him and his companion, C-3PO, in an escape pod to Tatooine.
Leia Organa is captured by the feared agent of the Empire, the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader, but refuses to provide him with any information. Being that she is an Imperial Senator, he declares her a traitor to the Empire and orders her taken away for questioning.
On the planet Tatooine, the droids find themselves captured by Jawa scavengers. They are then sold to the moisture farmer Owen Lars, who tells his nephew, Luke Skywalker, to clean them up so that they can be of service on the Lars moisture farm. While examining the droids, Luke accidentally activates a portion of a secret message programmed in the R2 series astromech droid, R2-D2. The holographic message depicts the woman from the Tantive IV, Leia Organa, stating "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope." Skywalker is dazzled by the image of the beautiful woman. He isn't sure who "Obi-Wan Kenobi" is, but does know of an old Ben Kenobi, a sort of strange old hermit who lives out beyond the Dune Sea.
Fearing that the droids may have been stolen, Luke sets off in a landspeeder to pay a visit to Ben Kenobi. Upon arrival, Kenobi is able to access the full message stored within R2's databanks, which is a message from Leia Organa appealing to Kenobi in the name of his service during the Clone Wars, asking him to deliver the droids to Alderaan, as the R2 unit contains information vital to the continued survival of the Rebel Alliance. At this point, Kenobi informs Skywalker that he was once a Jedi Knight, as Skywalker's father was. Skywalker is surprised, as he didn't know his father was ever a Jedi. Kenobi gives Skywalker his father's lightsaber and tells him that he must learn the ways of the Force if he's to come with him to Alderaan. Skywalker, not ready to give up his life on Tatooine, tells him that he can only take him as far as Anchorhead. Kenobi grimly replies that he must do what he feels is right.
While traveling to Anchorhead, the group discovers that the Jawa sandcrawler with had previously borne R2-D2 and C-3PO had been destroyed by Imperial forces. Skywalker realizes that this means the Imperials would have tracked the trail back to the Lars homestead, but it's too late, and the entire property has been destroyed. Turning to Kenobi, he tells him that he wants to join him on his mission to Alderaan. The two travel to Chalmun's Spaceport Cantina, where they meet with Han Solo of the Millennium Falcon and his Wookiee co-pilot, Chewbacca. They make a deal to travel on Solo's ship to travel to Alderaan and while they head off to sell their landspeeder for some extra money, Solo has a discussion with Jabba, a vicious Hutt that he owes money too. The two come to an agreement that Solo can pay him after completing this next charter, but if he fails again, then Jabba will bring down an army of bounty hunters upon him.
As the Millennium Falcon departs for Alderaan, an unpleasant scene unfolds upon the Death Star. Princess Leia Organa is brought before the station's commander, Wilhuff Tarkin, who tells her that before her execution, he'd like her to witness "a ceremony that will make this battle station fully operational." The full force and power of the station's feared weapon, the superlaser, is then brought to bear on Alderaan, completely obliterating Organa's home planet. At the same time, the Millennium Falcon emerges from hyperspace, only for the crew to find that the planet they're trying to reach apparently isn't there, only a "small moon." Obi-Wan Kenobi, however, realizes "That's no moon. That's a space station." The ship is quickly caught in a tractor beam from said space station and pulled in. When Imperial forces search the ship, however, they find it empty, as everyone has hidden in secret compartments. Once the Imperial forces leave, the group emerges and sneaks on-board the Death Star.
Obi-Wan Kenobi sets off to disable the tractor beam and as he does so, the droid R2-D2 plugs into an Imperial computer and discovers that Leia Organa is aboard the station. Skywalker convinces Solo and Chewbacca to join him on a rescue mission to save the princess. He and Solo disguise themselves as Imperial stormtroopers that are escorting their prisoner, Chewbacca. The ruse works and Skywalker discovers the Princess's cell. He informs her of who he is and that he's come to rescue her. The group beats a hasty retreat as stormtroopers bear down, but it soon becomes clear that they have no real plan of escape. Organa, unimpressed, decides to create her own plan and directs the group to take refuge down a garbage chute. The group lands safely on a pile of smelly garbage, but then finds the walls closing in on them. They've landed in a garbage masher. They are very nearly crushed, but Luke Skywalker suddenly remembers the droids and pages R2-D2 on his comlink, getting him to shut the garbage masher down. While all of this happens, Ben Kenobi finds the controls for the tractor beam and disables it. On his way back to the Millennium Falcon, however, he encounters Darth Vader, his former student who has now turned to the dark side of the Force. As the two engage in a fierce duel, Skywalker and the others make for the Millennium Falcon, but Skywalker is shocked when Kenobi seems to simply stop fighting in the middle of the duel, his robes collapsing in a crumpled heap as Vader swings through them. Skywalker is horrified by what he is just witnessed, but there is no time for mourning as he and the others escape the Death Star.
Before making the leap to hyperspace, the crew fights off four Imperial TIE/ln space superiority starfighters. They arrive safely at the Rebel base on Yavin 4, but have no time to celebrate, as the Empire placed a homing beacon on the Millennium Falcon, leading them directly to the Rebels. With the secret plans in their possession, however, the Rebels are able to put together a plan-of-action and launch their X-wing starfighters against the Empire's forces, which even include a TIE fighter flown by Darth Vader himself.
In a fierce and challenging battle, after one of the rebel pilots fails to hit the Death Star's weak spot, everything is up to Luke Skywalker, whom Vader has right on his tail. Noting "The Force is strong is strong with this one," Vader prepares to fire, only for a laser blast to impact the vessel of his wingman, sending his own ship careening off into space. Solo comms that Skywalker is clear and as Skywalker makes his run, he hears the voice of Ben Kenobi telling him to "use the Force." He fires two proton torpedos, landing a direct hit that causes the Death Star to explode. Back on Yavin, everyone gathers to celebrate this great victory over the Empire. Both Han Solo and Luke Skywalker are awarded Medals of Bravery by Leia Organa, but though everyone is happy for their victory, they know that the Empire, Darth Vader and the feared Galactic Emperor remain a grave threat.
Omissions and modificationsEdit
A New Hope Read-Along Storybook and CD is a picture book and audio retelling of the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, but omits a number of details and scenes to fit the story within the format of a 32-page picture book.
The opening scene aboard the Tantive IV is presented largely as it is in the film, simply omitting certain dialogue unnecessary to the story. The story then skips ahead to C-3PO and R2-D2 being captured by the Jawa scavengers, the details of the journey through the desert omitted. Luke Skywalker's story begins with him visiting the Jawas to purchase the droids with Owen Lars, though Owen himself is not pictured. R5-D4 appears only in the book's illustration. The story continues with Luke examining the droids in the garage, omitting all material with Luke speaking with his aunt and uncle and the character of Beru Whitesun Lars entirely. R2-D2 is shown playing back the message from Leia Organa, but there is no mention of Luke attempting to remove a restraining bolt from him, nor having placed it in the first place. Rather than R2-D2 escaping into the Jundland Wastes, it is instead suggested that Luke boards his landspeeder directly with both droids and proceeds directly to deliver them to Obi-Wan Kenobi, fearing that they had been stolen. As such, all scenes involving the Tusken Raiders and the danger in the desert are omitted. Upon arrival, Kenobi discovers the full message from Organa immediately and only tells Luke Skywalker of his history as a Jedi and offers him his father's lightsaber after the message has been played, though he does not tell Luke that Darth Vader killed his father. The scene following, in which those on the Death Star receive news of the dissolution of the Imperial Senate and in which Vader chokes Admiral Conan Antonio Motti, is omitted entirely.
The story continues with Skywalker and Kenobi finding the Lars homestead destroyed and traveling to Mos Eisley, though they are not shown encountering the stormtroopers, nor does Skywalker get into trouble in the Mos Eisley Cantina. Han Solo is not shown having to fend off Greedo, thus skirting the question of who shot first, though he is shown talking with Jabba the Hutt and promising him that he now has a "nice easy charter" and will be able to pay him back. On the Death Star, Leia Organa is taken before Wilhuff Tarkin, but there is never any mention of her being tortured for information and while Alderaan is destroyed, it seems to be done simply out of spite and to horrify Organa. The story then arrives at the Millennium Falcon emerging from hyperspace, with Skywalker's training with Ben Kenobi and the game of dejarik between R2-D2 and Chewbacca depicted only the book's front cover. The arrival at the Death Star and hiding then boarding is largely the same as in the film, though no reference is made to Vader detecting a familiar presence. Luke's persuasion of Solo is only briefly described and no mention is made of the droids being left behind during the rescue of Princess Leia, nor of the difficulties the group encounters prior to them actually escaping with the princess. Though the garbage compactor scene is depicted, the living creature within it is not mentioned. The remainder of the events of the escape from the Death Star are highly compressed, with the group described as simply escaping from the garbage masher and then arriving at the docking bay, where they witness the battle between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi. This is described generally as it occurs in the film, with the Millennium Falcon's escape and battle with TIE fighters described in a couple of brief sentences.
Following the Millennium Falcon's arrival at the Rebel base, all scenes involving the discussion of how to take down the Death Star and Luke Skywalker meeting up with Biggs Darklighter are omitted. Additionally, no mention is made of Han Solo choosing to leave with Chewbacca in order to pay his debt to Jabba. The story instead proceeds immediately to the Rebel Alliance's assault against the Death Star. This is described in a few brief paragraphs with no mention of Wedge Antilles, nor by name of any Rebel pilot other than Skywalker. None of the scenes during the battle on the Death Star itself are depicted. Following the battle, the story ends with a depiction of Skywalker and Solo being presented with medals of valor.
- Narrator - Chuck Riley
- Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
- Pat Parris as Princess Leia Organa
- Brock Peters as Darth Vader (legacy recording)
- Charles Howerton as Uncle Owen Lars
- Joshua Fardon as Luke Skywalker
- Roy Dotrice as Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi
- Perry King as Han Solo
- Randy Thornton as Jabba the Hutt
- Tony Pope as Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin (credited, legacy recording)
- Illustrated by Brian Rood
- Music composed by John Williams
- Read-Along produced by Randy Thornton
- Read-Along executive produced by Ted Kryczko
- Recording engineer: Jeff Sheridan
- Adapted by Randy Thornton
- All music published by Bantha Music (BMI), co-published by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI)
- Published 2015 Walt Disney Records/Lucasfilm Ltd., Copyright & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd.
The text and recording are the same as the 1997 release from Walt Disney Records. That version used photographs to illustrate the story, and the audio recording was on cassette tape. The 1997 release coincided with the Special Edition theatrical releases, and thus while omitting many key scenes, does include Han Solo's interaction with Jabba the Hutt.
As of February 24, 2015, A New Hope Read-Along Storybook and CD had five reviews on Amazon.com with an average rating of 4.2 out of five stars. Reviewers generally praised it as being a faithful adaptation of the original film and good for young readers, including a dyslexic boy who benefits from the format of being able to listen to the printed story in an audio format. Some reviewers, however, expressed irritation with the voices not sounding like those from the film and certain dialogue being different. A member of the fan site Rebels Report, who was sent an advance copy of the book for review, stated that he was thrilled to see the names associated with the original radio dramas in the cast list on the inside cover. He praised the title as "a great way to introduce your kids to the story of Star Wars" and complimented Rood's artwork for translating scenes from the Special Edition of the film into his own realistic art style.
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