- "I'm having a blast adapting George Lucas' prototypical ideas into sequential storytelling. It's a dream task to help bring to life Annikin Starkiller, General Luke Skywalker, the first Sith Knights, a Space Fortress (that's attacked twice), Imperial troopers on dune birds, the very first Princess Leia (from the planet Aquilae)… And there's so much more in The Star Wars."
- ―J. W. Rinzler
The Star Wars is an eight-issue comic book series launched in September 2013 by Dark Horse Comics. It adapts George Lucas's original draft for Star Wars from 1974, in which Luke Skywalker is older and already a Jedi, and the main protagonist is Annikin Starkiller. The series is written by Jonathan W. Rinzler, illustrated by Mike Mayhew, and edited by Randy Stradley.
The universe of The Star Wars features the Jedi-Bendu as having been the personal bodyguards of a generally benevolent Emperor for 100,000 years, before the rise of the villainous Knights of Sith. At its core, the story features a young Annikin Starkiller, son of former Jedi Bendu Kane Starkiller, leaving their homeworld Utapau in the Kessil system for Aquilae, a planet which is still independent of the New Galactic Empire. Whereas the finished Episode IV featured Obi-Wan Kenobi in the role of the wise elder, The Star Wars has an older Luke Skywalker in the role of teacher to young protagonist Annikin Starkiller.
Aquilae, home of Princess Leia, is targeted by the Empire for conquest due to its advanced cloning technologies. The Aquilaen King learns of the plot from one of his spies, Clieg Whitsun, who is an operative on the Imperial capital planet Alderaan. In defense of his world, the Aquilaen King attacks the Empire's Space Fortress, causing a pair of droids to crash down into the inhospitable Jundland Wastes region of the planet.
The King dies shortly thereafter, moving Princess Leia into the position of the Empire's target for a puppet ruler. Annikin Starkiller is now Padawan to Luke Skywalker, and the pair travel to protect the Princess. After rescuing her, the pair lead her through the Jundland Wastes to the spaceport town Gordon, where they meet Han Solo. In this story, Solo is a Urellian, a tall reptilian with a reputation for hunting Wookiees on their home planet of Yavin.
Solo, an old friend of Kane Starkiller, charters a freighter off-world, captained by an individual named Valorum. While escaping from Imperial patrols, Kane dies sacrificing himself to save the others, and Valorum is revealed as a Sith Knight.
After escaping from Valorum by stealing an Imperial ship, the protagonists are chased through an asteroid field and forced to land on the Wookiee homeworld. There they align with the Wookiees, who are in the midst of fighting Urellians, and meet a Wookiee named Chewbacca. The group gathers at the home of a pair of anthropologists, Owen and Beru Lars, while Leia is recaptured by Imperial forces and taken to the Space Fortress.
Rushing back to Aquilae to save Leia, Annikin dons stormtrooper armor to infiltrate the Space Fortress, but is captured in the process. A largely off-screen Darth Vader orders Valorum to kill Starkiller, but Valorum has a change of heart and sets Starkiller free. Starkiller rescues Leia and escapes just in time, as Luke Skywalker leads a squadron of fighters piloted by Wookiees to destroy the Space Fortress.
Returning to Aquilae, now-Queen Leia appoints Annikin Starkiller "Lord Protector of Aquilae."
- "While researching in the Lucasfilm Archives I've found many treasures—but one which truly astounded me was George's rough draft for The Star Wars. His first complete imaginings were hallucinating to read—mind blowing. While working with George on another book project, I once asked if we could adapt his rough draft. He was hesitant. Years later, with Dark Horse's invaluable help, we showed him a few drawn and colored pages of what it might look like. He gave us the okay."
- ―J. W. Rinzler
On March 31, 2013, it was announced at WonderCon that Dark Horse Comics was in the process of adapting the original Star Wars script as an eight-part comic series. A number of early panels were shown there, which were subsequently published at Bleeding Cool. This was followed by a more detailed press release the next day, and subsequently confirmed on Dark Horse's Twitter account and website.
The series' art, by Mike Mayhew, takes its cues from the earliest concept art by Ralph McQuarrie, Joe Johnston, and Colin Cantwell, while the story is said to be even more obviously inspired by Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress.
On May 4, 2013, Dark Horse comics released an exclusive digital preview for the first issue. It covered pages 6–8 of the comic, focusing on the meeting between King Kayos and his various staff regarding how to deal with the Empire, ending when Kayos sent Count Sandage to find out the Empire's intentions as well as learning from his sons Biggs and Windy that Leia is leaving abruptly.
A second preview was issued on August 20, 2013. In addition to showing both the cover and the first seven pages, it featured a trailer for the comic. Instead of using John Williams' score, it utilized the classical music piece The Planets: Mars, The Bringer of War by Gustav Holst.
|Color code key:|
|Collected (TPB) issue||Released issue||Future issue|
|Issue||Title||Publication date||Trade paperback||Hardcover||Deluxe Hardcover|
|1||The Star Wars 1||September 4 2013||
The Star Wars
July 22, 2014
The Star Wars
July 22, 2014
The Star Wars
August 26, 2014
|2||The Star Wars 2||October 2 2013|
|3||The Star Wars 3||November 6 2013|
|4||The Star Wars 4||December 4 2013|
|5||The Star Wars 5||February 5, 2014|
|6||The Star Wars 6||March 12, 2014|
|7||The Star Wars 7||April 16, 2014|
|8||The Star Wars 8||May 28, 2014|
|0||The Star Wars 0||December 31, 2013|