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"Soon to be a spectacular motion picture! From Twentieth-Century Fox!"
―First Edition, back cover tagline[src]

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, formerly titled Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, is a Legends novel written by Alan Dean Foster. It adapts the film of the same name, and it was based on the screenplay by George Lucas. The novelization was first published on November 12, 1976 by Ballantine Books, prior to the film's 1977 release.

A sequel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye, was written by Foster and published in 1978. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was later collected in The Star Wars Saga (1983) and The Star Wars Trilogy (1987).

Publisher's summary[]

Luke Skywalker challenged the stormtroopers of a distant galaxy on a daring mission—where a force of life became the power of death!

Farm chores sure could be dull, and Luke Skywalker was bored beyond belief. He yearned for adventures out among the stars—adventures that would take him beyond the furthest galaxies to distant and alien worlds.

But Luke got more than he bargained for when he intercepted a cryptic message from a beautiful princess held captive by a dark and powerful warlord. Luke didn't know who she was, but he knew he had to save her—and soon, because time was running out.

Armed only with courage and with the light saber that had been his father's, Luke was catapulted into the middle of the most savage space war ever…and he was headed straight for a desperate encounter on the enemy battle station known as the Death Star!

Development[]

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster, based on writings from George Lucas. It was first published by Ballantine Books under the title Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, and it was released on November 12, 1976. The novel's first edition features cover art by Ralph McQuarrie, and many later printings feature cover art by John Berkey.[1]

Continuity[]

Differences from the film[]

The novelization was based on the screenplay of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, and it has several minor differences from the final film. Some differences include:

  • The novel begins with the words "Another galaxy, another time," rather than "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...."
  • During the battle aboard the Tantive IV, the stormtroopers drop through the ceiling, rather than charging through a door.
  • Before Leia Organa is captured, she kills two stormtroopers, instead of only one.
  • Before Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader enter the conference room scene, there are eight Imperial Senators and officers around the table. In the film, there are only seven officers. During the scene, Vader uses the Force to summon a cup from the table to his hand.
  • Conan Antonio Motti is absent from the conference, instead the argument is between Cassio Tagge and Hurst Romodi. Also it is Tagge who mocks Vader's use of the force and is force-choked by him.
  • Skywalker's X-34 landspeeder has an enclosed cockpit unlike the open cockpit seen in the film.
  • Skywalker's lightsaber is described as having a jeweled hilt.
  • In the novel, Tarkin is present during Organa's torture. In the film, Organa does not encounter Tarkin until she is taken to the Death Star's Overbridge.
  • Chewbacca is described as having bright, yellow eyes.
  • In the cantina, Skywalker is haggled by a trio of individuals. Kenobi cuts a smaller alien in half and cuts off the arm of another. Ponda Baba is described as having multiple eyes.
  • Jabba is described as a fat biped with an ugly, shaggy skull and jowls. His scars are said to be a sign of his ferocious reputation in combat.
  • After the destruction of Alderaan, Vader reports that Alderaan had possessed defensive systems "as strong as that of the Empire." In the novel, Obi-Wan does not feel Alderaan's destruction through the Force.
  • Stormtrooper TK-421 is identified as THX-1138.
  • The officer commanding the detention block is killed activating an alarm rather than drawing a blaster. When the gang dives into the garbage chute, Han Solo dives in before Skywalker. The garbage chamber's number is 366-17891 instead of 3263827.
  • During the Battle of Yavin, Skywalker, Biggs Darklighter, and Wedge Antilles are all in Blue Squadron but in the film, they are all in Red Squadron instead. Skywalker also makes two attack runs through the Death Star trench. When Skywalker learns that Darklighter had been killed, his eyes begin to water and he reflects, "'We're a couple of shooting stars, Biggs' he whispered huskily, 'and we'll never be stopped.'"
  • At the novel's end, Organa gives Chewbacca a medal.

Differences from later works[]

The novel also has instances that were retconned by later works. The book's prologue quotes from the Journal of the Whills, and it says that Emperor Palpatine was merely a figurehead controlled by the Imperial bureaucracy. Additionally, some words are spelled differently; "Wookiee" is spelled as "Wookie", and "Hutt" is spelled as "Hut".

Reception[]

The novel appeared in the New York Times Paperback Best Sellers list from July 3, 1977 to October 23, 1977. The description given was "STAR WARS, by George Lucas (Ballantine/Del Rey, $1.95) The Space fantasy film hit in novel form, written by its director."[5]

Mass Market
Date Position
July 3, 1977 7
July 10, 1977 4
July 17, 1977 4
July 24, 1977 3
July 31, 1977 3
August 7, 1977 1
August 14, 1977 1
August 21, 1977 2
August 28, 1977 1
September 4, 1977 2
September 11, 1977 3
September 18, 1977 5
September 25, 1977 4
October 2, 1977 3
October 16, 1977 4
October 23, 1977 5

Media[]

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International[]

Cover gallery[]

American[]

International[]

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