During the Galactic Civil War, some individuals wished their efforts be recorded in the Journal of the Whills, indicating it was an on-going recording of the history, widely known as a tradition to the inhabitants of the Galaxy. The recording of their names and efforts in the Journal signaled their importance to the history, hence honorary.
The events surrounding the life of several members of the Skywalker family were recorded in the Journal by a Keeper of the Whills, after an interview with the Astromech droid R2-D2 one hundred years after the Battle of Endor.
The inclusion of a brief overview of the fall of the Galactic Republic and the rise of Palpatine's New Order in the Journal's First Saga established that the Journal’s beginning included at least the Clone Wars, though how far backwards or forwards in history the Journal’s first segment covered was unknown.
Behind the scenesEdit
As well as not having a clear beginning, the style of the Journal is inconsistent. Whereas the First Saga is expository, written in the past tense with a third person perspective, another known excerpt, from early script drafts, is written in a formatted poetic style reminiscent of many religious texts. The excerpt reads as follows:
- "... 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
Although it has never been confirmed, it is possible that this excerpt deals with the prophecy of the Chosen One seeing as that it does seem to make what could be considered references to Anakin Skywalker, though it could just as easily be referring to his son. The numeric reference is important as it indicates a possible chapter and verse from which the excerpt is taken. The style of the excerpt is also written in the future tense with a prophetic tone, a clear difference from the larger excerpt from the First Saga. However, the First Saga excerpt does indicate that some form of poetic style may be consistent throughout the Journal, as it states:
- "The Old Republic was the Republic of legend, greater than distance or time. No need to note where it was or whence it came, only to know that... it was the Republic."
In his early drafts, George Lucas ostensibly planned to use the Journal of the Whills as a plot device to connect the Star Wars galaxy to our own. In Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays, Lucas explains his original intent:
- "Originally, I was trying to have the story be told by somebody else; there was somebody watching this whole story and recording it, somebody probably wiser than the mortal players in the actual events. I eventually dropped this idea, and the concept behind the Whills turned into the Force. But the Whills became part of this massive amount of notes, quotes, background information that I used for the scripts; the stories were actually taken from the 'Journal of the Whills'."
In 2005's The Making of Star Wars Revenge of the Sith, Lucas intimates that he intended the stories told in his films to be relayed to a Keeper of the Whills by R2-D2, who would record them in the Journal.
The Journal, as a plot device, has several precedents. L. Frank Baum and his successors referred to themselves as Royal Historians of Oz, as the stories they wrote were said to have been told to them by those living in Oz. Most of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories were published in the form of narrations by Dr. Watson. J. R. R. Tolkien's Red Book of Westmarch was supposedly the ultimate source of The Lord of the Rings and his other Middle-earth works. Frank Herbert opened each chapter of his first Dune novel with quotations from texts based on sayings and teachings of the main characters and groups/societies, as did Isaac Asimov in his Foundation series .
"Journal of the Whills" is also the name of the fanclub edition of Star Wars - Das offizielle Magazin, the official German Star Wars magazine.
- "The Tenebrous Way"—Star Wars Insider 130 (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope novelization (First mentioned)
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition
- The Movie Trilogy Sourcebook
- "Scouting the Galaxy: Almost Everything You Wanted to Know... (Responses to Your Star Wars Snail Mail)"—Star Wars Insider 26
- Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays
- Star Wars: Chronicles
- "Use the Force: A Novel Trivia Quiz"—Star Wars Galaxy Collector 5
- The Making of Star Wars Revenge of the Sith
- The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film
- "Ask the Master"—Star Wars Insider 79
- "Unknown Origins"—Star Wars Insider 92
- Star Wars Insider 93
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side