The Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope novelization, originally entitled Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, was the official novel adaptation of the film Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, published in 1976 by Ballantine Books. It was ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster, but credited to George Lucas. It contains many scenes and much information cut from the film. Some editions contain sixteen pages of full-color photos from the motion picture. This version of A New Hope was later collected in The Star Wars Trilogy novelization.
- This summary refers to the original version of the novel.
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 farthest 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!
- This summary refers to the pre-theatrical version of the novel.
Luke Skywalker was a twenty-year-old who lived and worked on his uncle's farm on the remote planet of Tatooine…and he was bored beyond belief. He yearned for adventures out among the stars—adventures that would take him beyond the farthest galaxies to distant and alien worlds.
But Luke got more than he bargained for when he intercepted a cryptic message from a beautiful princess being held captive by a dark and powerful warlord. Luke didn't know who she was, but 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!
As it was published six months before the release of the film, this was the first Star Wars item ever produced. The book has the Star Wars Corporation listed as a copyright holder.
Differences from the filmEdit
- The novel starts off with the words "Another galaxy, another time," rather than the famous opening words of "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...."
- Droids are often referred to as "mechanicals" throughout the novelization. The term "droid" is implied to be a slang term for "android."
- Darth Vader is referred to as a "Sith Lord" and other Sith Lords before him are briefly mentioned though not in detail. Unfortunately, the term, "Sith," is never said in the theatrical release of the original trilogy. However, in the theatrical release of the prequel trilogy, the characters use the term, Sith, a lot.
- C-3PO is described to have bronze plating, not his iconic gold plating.
- During the battle aboard the Tantive IV, the stormtroopers dropped through the ceiling, rather than charging through an entryway.
- Before Leia Organa is captured, she kills two stormtroopers, instead of only one in the film. The first stormtrooper shot also doesn't finish his sentence. Upon sighting the Princess the stormtrooper says, "Here she is. Set for stun forc—" instead of "There's one. Set for stun" and is shot.
- Luke is introduced right after the battle aboard the Tantive IV after seeing the battle through his binoculars. The section also introduces Luke's friends: Camie, Fixer, Deak, Windy and Biggs. (Although this was filmed for the movie, it was cut in post-production.)
- A rare effects scene in which Luke nearly runs over a woman is included. However, instead of her saying, "I told you kids to slow down!" she says, "Won't you kids ever learn to slow down?"
- Before Tarkin and Vader enter the conference room scene, there are eight Imperial Senators and officers around the table whereas in the film there are only seven officers. General Tagge is described as "one of the youngest" officers in the room during the conference scene. Also, instead of Admiral Conan Antonio Motti, there is Romodi, who has deeply entrenched facial scars. The doors slide open, interrupting the officer's discussion, but Tarkin does not begin to speak after he is seated. Vader uses the force to summon a cup from the table to his hand, as he also does in the Marvel Comic, but there is no mention of him drinking from it. Because of the absence of Motti, Vader tells Tarkin not to be so proud of "this technological terror you've spawned" and uses the force to throttle Tagge.
- Luke's landspeeder has an enclosed cockpit unlike the open cockpit seen in the film.
- Ben Kenobi lives in a cave rather than a hut. The differences between Luke's father and his uncle are described more deeply than in the film.
- Ben Kenobi is described as nearly on the verge of death, and with a flasflood of wrinkles and scars, plus all the references that he should be dead by now. Though he is only established as fifty seven since the prequels.
- Ben Kenobi mentions in passing how lightsabers used to enjoy widespread use in the galaxy, and are still used in some areas. The saber is said to have jewels on the hilt, whereas, the hilt has no jewels on it in the film.
- In the novel, Princess Leia fully addresses the Rebellion as "the Alliance to Restore the Republic" in the message she put in R2-D2. It is never used in any of the films, though "Rebel Alliance" and "Rebellion" are more preferable terms in both Canon and Legends timelines.
- Kenobi refers to a duck, a creature Luke is unfamiliar with. Later films established that ducks (or duck-like creatures) exist on Naboo.
- In the novel, Grand Moff Tarkin is present during Leia's torture. But in the film, Leia does not encounter Tarkin until later when she is taken to the Death Star's Overbridge.
- Chewbacca is described as having bright, yellow eyes.
- Kenobi cuts a smaller alien (Kabe, who is canonically a female, not male, and not an antagonist) in half as well as hacking off the arm of another in the cantina, in defense of Luke. Instead of just two bullies (Ponda Baba and Dr. Evazan), there were three in the novel (those two, plus the aforementioned alien).
- Ponda Baba is described as having multiple eyes.
- When Greedo confronts Han Solo in the cantina, he is speaking through an electronic translator. The infamous ending of the scene that follows is very vague in the novel, which says only that "light and noise filled the little corner of the cantina"; it never says who shot first in both the original 1977 release and the special edition release. (The idea of Greedo being shot without himself firing was already present in the 1976 versions of the script, contemporary with the novel.)
- Wioslea is male, not female.
- During the Han-Jabba confrontation scene that was cut from the original 1977 release and then remade and reinserted in the special edition release, Jabba is described as a fat biped (rather than the familiar slug monster he would later become in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) with an ugly, "shaggy skull" and "jowls" that shook with his head. His scars are said to be a sign of his ferocious reputation in combat. This differs from other descriptions of Jabba prior to Return of the Jedi—the early A New Hope test footage with a large actor in fur, a familiar alien in a flight suit in Marvel Comics, the large-headed, razor-toothed monster in early sketches, or a slavering creature with "eyes on stalks" in the scripts. When Jabba says, "for an extra twenty percent," Han Solo doesn't say, "fifteen, Jabba, don't push it."
- The Death Star's destruction of Alderaan is not fully described like in the film, just the preparations to fire and the Millennium Falcon's arrival in the debris field following the blast.
- After the destruction of Alderaan, Darth Vader reports that, contrary to what Leia stated, Alderaan possessed defensive systems "as strong as that of the Empire." The film never mentioned this, although it was nonetheless implied by several frames in the destruction sequence depicting a similar effect to deflector shields in the 1997 rereleases as well as The Clone Wars.
- In the novel, Obi-Wan doesn't feel the destruction of Alderaan through the Force.
- Stormtrooper TK-421 is referred to as "THX-1138," another reference to one of Lucas's other films.
- 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 dives in before Luke, whereas in the film, Han goes last.
- The garbage chamber's number is 366-17891 instead of 3263827.
- The novel gives no indication that Obi-Wan stops fighting and purposefully allows Darth Vader to strike him down as depicted in the film.
- During the Battle of Yavin, Luke, Biggs, and Wedge are all on the Blue Squadron whereas in the movie they are a part of the Red Squadron. Luke also makes two runs through the trench of the Death Star.
- The entire Death Star sequence is extended with more detail given than the movie.
- Luke gets much more emotional when Wedge tells him that Biggs was killed. Luke's eyes begin to water; "'We're a couple of shooting stars, Biggs' he whispered huskily, 'and we'll never be stopped.'", repeating a line Biggs said to Luke during their reunin at Yavin. When this scene was reinstalled in the Special Edition, they cut this line in half, only leaving Biggs to say "'They'll never stop us'".
- At the novel's end, Leia does give Chewbacca a medal, but she has to strain to do so.
Differences from later worksEdit
- In the publisher's summary it says that Luke is twenty years old, yet he was born in 19 BBY, and the film (and book) takes place in 0 BBY, so he must be 19 (to see how this works, go here). The Empire came into power in the year zero in the Imperial Calendar, and this would add a year to Luke's age. So twenty is an accurate assessment. It is also possible the publisher's summary is not intended to provide an exact age and is instead colloquially putting Luke's approximate age at twenty. Of course, the novel was published long before the scripts were written for Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which would create the mythology that Luke and Leia were the twin children of Darth Vader, and establish them as being born 19 years prior. The novel for The Empire Strikes Back, which takes place three years later, states that Luke is 23.
- The Emperor is never implied to have any Force abilities as he later would in The Empire Strikes Back.
- The prologue quotes from the Journal of the Whills, and says that Emperor Palpatine becomes merely a figurehead controlled by the Imperial bureaucracy. A brief description is given of the transition from Republic to Empire, when Palpatine became President (the office called Supreme Chancellor in Episode I and thereafter).
- Throughout the first edition and some later editions, Wookiee is spelled "Wookie."
- Hutt is spelled with one t as it was in all publications before 1983.
- ISBN 0-345-26061-9; December 1976, Ballantine Books, paperback, 220 pages (first edition, Ralph McQuarrie cover art)
- no ISBN; 1976 Book Club Edition (2403), Ballantine Books, hardcover, 183 pages, John Berkey cover art
- ISBN 0-345-26079-1; May 1977, Ballantine Books, paperback, 220 pages (movie tie-in edition, John Berkey cover art)
- ISBN 0-345-27476-8; October 1977, Ballantine Books, hardcover, 183 Pages Gold Cover
- ISBN 0-345-34146-5; 1995, Ballantine Books, paperback, 220 pages ("Classic Star Wars: A New Hope", cover art of original theater poster by Tom Jung)
- ISBN 0-345-40077-1; September 1995, Ballantine Books, hardcover 260 Pages
- ISBN 0-345-34146-5; 2004, Ballantine Books, paperback, 216 pages (New cover, introduction by George Lucas, Wookiee is now spelled correctly)
- ISBN 0-7221-5669-3; 1977, Sphere Books Limited (UK, Australia, New Zealand, ROI, Malta), paperback, 220 pages
- ISBN 0-316-88203-8; 1996, Little, Brown (UK), hardcover, 248 pages
- ISBN 1-85723-945-8; 1999, Orbit Books (UK), hardcover, 248 pages
- ISBN 978-954-528-812-8 (Нова Надежда); 2008, Trud (Bulgarian), paperback, 236 pages.
- no ISBN (ЗВЕЗДАНИ РАТОВИ); 1978, Prosveta (Yugoslavia, Serbo-Croatian language), hardcover, 343 pages.
- ISBN 3-442-03633-X (KRIEG DER STERNE); 1978, Goldmann Verlag (Germany), paperback, 240 pages.
- ISBN 3442247659 (STAR WARS:KRIEG DER STERNE); 1997, Goldmann Verlag (Germany), paperback, 250 pages.
- ISBN 88-200-2385-7 (Guerre stellari); 1997, Stile libero Big, Sperling & Kupfer, 200 pages.
Pre-theatrical release - From the Adventures of Luke SkywalkerEdit
Special Edition releaseEdit
|Organizations and titles||Sentient species||Vehicles and vessels||Weapons and technology||Miscellanea|
Organizations and titles
Vehicles and vessels
Weapons and technology
- "Star Wars Publications Timeline"—Star Wars Insider 23
- The Secrets of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
- "Bookshelf"—Star Wars Insider 75
- The Essential Reader's Companion
Notes and referencesEdit
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (junior novelization)
- Choose Your Own Star Wars Adventure: A New Hope