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Writing the Star Wars Saga

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Skott, Apr 25, 2003.

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  1. Skott

    Skott Jedi Youngling

    Apr 25, 2003
    I'm in a discussion with a friend over what was originally planned/written for the entire SW saga pre 1977. He thinks Lucas's attempts to connect the prequils to the original trilogy have been "cheap, bumbly, and unconvincing" and believes the idea that Lucas had it all planned from the beginning is a load of manure. I'm wondering if anyone can point me to a website or give me information that can be verified on exactly what Lucas had planned/created/written about the complete story (from episode one through six or nine) before the 1977 release. Any help would be appreciated.
  2. SaberGiiett7

    SaberGiiett7 Jedi Master star 6

    Jul 2, 2002
    I only know sacttered detail's, for instance the name Coruscant had many different incarnation's before Timothy Zahn forced Lucas to settle on that one in the 1991 novel Heir To The Empire. :)

    Maybe another member could post all the varying name's. ::: hint hint :::

    I also know that the story revolved less on the Clone War itself and it centered around a charismatic Palpatine who made the Empire instead of it evolving from the Republic. Anakin's original name was Starkiller and there was some story centered around the enigmic Kaiburr crystal. :)

    <[-]> Saber

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    May 25, 2002
    Skott - I recently found the book 'Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas' by Dale Pollock in the secondhand section of a bookstore in London.
    It has a 1983 copyright date and was published by Harmony Books, a division of Crown Publishing. ISBN 0-517-54677-9. The book has a chapter entitled 'The Vision of Star Wars' which goes into the pre-1977 writing of the saga. It might have some of the information you want.
    There is a paperback edition on - just search on 'skywalking' (tried to post a direct link but it wouldn't work).

    Edit - the book on Amazon looks like it has been updated for the prequel films. The version I have is the original, so I can't tell you if this chapter is the same in the revised edition.
  4. DamonD

    DamonD Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 22, 2002
    Short answer is that Lucas only had a vague overview of what he wanted for the saga. Not everything all written out and collecting dust on a shelf until filming for Episode I was to start.

    Just look at the several drafts for ANH, often with very different situations and characters.
  5. Aunecah_Skywalker

    Aunecah_Skywalker Jedi Knight star 5

    Mar 25, 2002
    Considering that the first drafts of Episode IV had an incredibly different premise than the final draft, I would say he had a very, very vague overview of what he wanted to happen in Star Wars.

  6. Iron_Fist

    Iron_Fist Jedi Knight star 5

    Jan 30, 2003
    The name Lucas had in mind for an "Imperial Capital" was "Had Abbadon" or something around that line.
  7. OldieVonMoldie

    OldieVonMoldie Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 23, 2001

    I guess the best way to sum it up is to say yes, GL did have a strong outline on which to base the saga, but it is one that is constantly evolving. I'll give you an example that I had posted in a previous thread that sort of dealt with the same topic:

    If you look at the prologue in the novelization for ANH, written by George Lucas, it describes an "ambitious senator named Palpatine who, aided by greedy organs of commerce, caused himself to be elected President of the Republic."

    Now, if you just read that part, you'd think "boy, that sounds an awful lot like the plot of TPM" & you'd be right. But, further along it gives strong hints that at this point in the story, GL never intended the Emperor to be a force user, just a corrupt politician. This is also true in the movie. Tarkin refers to Vader as "all that remains of that religion". So at some point between ANH & TESB George decided to make the Emperor a Sith & Vader's master.

    Sadly, I don't know if we'll ever find out EXACTLY how much George has strayed from his original idea, but there was definitely a solid foundation that he is building the saga around.
  8. Aunecah_Skywalker

    Aunecah_Skywalker Jedi Knight star 5

    Mar 25, 2002
    I would say that TPM's plot is like that precisely because GL said that in ANH. I mean, come on, if you read first draft of ANH, which has these things about Son of the Sons and Alderaan as the Empire's capital, lada, lada, lada, it's kind of hard to imagine GL having much more than a very general outline when he started ANH.


    ST-TPM-ASF-TNE Moderator Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 27, 2001
    GL had a simple outline for the whole saga when he first came up with the idea back in the 70's.

    He started in the middle (OT) of the story, and had visions for the beginning (PT) of the story, and the end of the story (the abandoned Episodes 7,8, and 9, in which he had a brief storyline, but never got around to expanding the idea and left it to the EU).
  10. Vaderbait

    Vaderbait Jedi Knight star 6

    Sep 26, 2001
    He had the overall story planned from day one. What makes me think this? Well, everything he's quoted as saying about the story years ago has come true.
  11. zombie

    zombie Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 4, 1999
    Yeah, but what has he been saying? "The PT will show how Anakin became Vader". Duh! His quotes are vague at best.

    When GL wrote ANH, he did have a backstory, BUT, and this is a big but, it was nothing at all like the PT as we know it.

    As someone pointed out with the evolution of the Palpatine, most of the story is invented as he goes, and much of it is changed.
    The foundation for the PT as we know it did not occur until the writing of ESB and later on during ROTJ. That is because of one important element: Anakin Skywalker. Until the second draft of ESB, Darth Vader was NOT Luke's father and was not Anakin Skywalker. The information OB1 tells Luke was correct--OB1 once had an apprentice who turned to evil and killed Luke's father.
    The idea Lucas had of the backstory in 1977 was completly different from what is shown to us in the PT. Star Wars wasnt about the rise, fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker--it was about the heroic journey of a young boy named Luke Starkiller (changed to Skywalker during filming) who would eventually become part of a rebellion against the tyranical Empire. There was no Yoda, no Anakin, no Darth Maul, no Qui Gon Jinn. His idea of the "backstory" to ANH was not the PT--it was a few notes about how the Empire came about (as someone noted already) as a corrupt politician manevered his way into office, how Ben Kenobi and Luke's then-unnamed father had been great jedi knights who faught for the republic in the Clone Wars until a man named Darth Vader (yes, that was his name, not a "sith" title), a former student of Ben, killed Luke's father and then joined forces with the Empire to exterminate the jedi order. What we hear in the film itself is pretty much all that there was, all the bits of info are there in some way, shape or form. The prequel trilogy, if there were to be one, would have focused on a young Obi Wan--from interviews of GL, this was the plan until as recent as the late eighties and early nineties.

    Pretty much everything else was made up as he went. There was an Imperial Capital named Alderaan and later, Had Abaddon, and little other things like that but they dont amount to much.

    Public opinion is that GL knows exactly what he is doing but this is not the case, and he often states that he has only a mere outline of the plots and that everything else is made up as he goes. The key is Anakin Skywalker though--GL has never admitted to making this up after ANH and repeatedly states that the whole Anakin Skywalker story was in mind before ANH but this is simply not true.
  12. Toshi Station

    Toshi Station Jedi Youngling star 2

    May 5, 1999
    Remember, GL had help writing the OT movies so there was an influence other than his & for the PT movies, GL has borrowed from the EU sections as well.

    Does anybody remember GL saying back in the eighties that he planned on making movies 7,8 & 9 (instead of the prequels)?
  13. DoctorZaius

    DoctorZaius Jedi Youngling star 1

    Apr 13, 2001
    " GL has never admitted to making this up after ANH and repeatedly states that the whole Anakin Skywalker story was in mind before ANH but this is simply not true. "

    its incredible that you know what was going on in a man's head 30 years ago. that is just simply amazing. tell me. how do you do this?
    i've never met a time traveling physic before.
  14. gezvader28

    gezvader28 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Mar 22, 2003
    well there are a couple of sites that have a number of the earlier drafts of The Star Wars and in none of them is there any mention of DV being Luke's dad.

    Also - the first draft Empire has DV and Luke's dad as separate people.

    Now MAYBE George had an idea that a good guy character would discover a villain to be his father in some note or idea, but - he has said himself - he only had story outlines for the other 8 sequel/prequels and much of this was written shortly after ANH was a hit.
    He MAY of course be cannibalising some elements from those early The Star Wars scripts in the PT. If you can see similarities let us know.

    As mentioned above the Emperor is a bit different in the ANH novelization (which is based on an earlier script) in the prologue the Emperor is described as someone who was ultimately controlled by his assistants. And if you look on P.72 at the top there is mention of "the later corrupt Emperors" which would certainly suggest that the Republic had finished a lot longer than 20 years ago and that the Empire/Emperors had been running things like the Roman Empire.

  15. zombie

    zombie Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 4, 1999
    Dr.Zaios-- There is an abundance to of proof to prove my point. The notion of Vader being Luke's father was not developed until the second draft of ESB. How do i know this? overwhelming evidence that points to this conclusion. The rough drafts of ANH have anakins father and vader as serperate characters, darth vader dies onboard the death star in one of the last drafts (which was changed at the last second in the final film to leave the door open for a sequel), and the first draft of ESB has a scene where Luke meets his father's ghost. Read the rough drafts and any Star Wars literature from before 1980 and it is abundantly clear that Vader was not Luke's father. On very many occasions it is explicitly stated that they are two different people. This was changed during the writting of the second draft of ESB, when the "Revelation" was thought up. I dont want to go to in depth here because it has been covered substantially in other threads. Lucas has been doing a good job at keeping this under wraps but more and more people are reallizing the truth as time goes on and more information is availble (via the internet, so that people can co-ordinate all the facts).
  16. Yodle

    Yodle Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jun 4, 2002
    i believe roughly around the time ESB was being made, GL had this basic outline for the Star Wars saga:

    Episodes 1-3: Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Luke's mother (now Padme) were to be introduced. These three films were supposed to focus on the Clone Wars, the transformation of Anakin to the dark side, the Jedi purge, etc. Also, Anakin and Obi-Wan were both supposed to be young Jedi knights of approximately the same age.

    Episodes 4-6: Basically the same story up until ROTJ. Luke was supposed to turn to the dark side and join his father, Vader, to rule the galaxy. Also, Leia was supposed to be a completely seperate character...not related to Luke at all. (Which explains the kiss in ESB.)

    Episodes 7-9: These were supposed to reveal the existance of Luke's sister (not Leia) who lives in another part of the galaxy under the watch of a surviving Jedi. (Much like Luke & Obi-Wan.) After hearing the news of Luke's turn to the dark side, the Jedi trains her and sends her off to rescue Luke and her father, Darth Vader, from the dark side, kill the Emporer, and restore peace to the galaxy.

    Lucas had several versions of the plot of the saga, but I chose to tell you of this one because I liked it the most and I think it would be even better than the Star Wars that exists today.
  17. zombie

    zombie Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 4, 1999
    Actually Yodle his plots were slightly different than that; the story did continuously change--first when ESB was made, then when ROTJ was made and then again after ROTJ was made. I dont think a story involving Luke turning and ruling with Vader was every thrown around; Luke was always to be the "good" hero.

    The prequel trilogy would focus on Obi Wan Kenobi. It would show his relationship with Anakin and their battles in the clone wars before he finally had to defeat his apprentice and then hide as Anakin became Vader and hunted down the jedi with the newly created Empire.

    The second trilogy was pretty much the way Lucas imagined it i suppose, though it was mostly made up as he went. It didnt end the way it was supposed to at the time of ESB. The story was supposed to spill into another trliogy that took place twenty years after ROTJ but Lucas realized he just didnt have the time to make four more movies so he compressed the entire third trilogy into one movie, which is what ROTJ is (and that is why it feels rushed and contrived).
    The "other" that Yoda mentions was another character that would be introduced in the third trilogy--Luke's force-sensitive jedi sister, hidden away on the other side of the galaxy. The emperor would make his first appearance at the end of the third trilogy and i dont belive Vader was supposed to turn back to good at this point. Luke would be old, having become a wise jedi master just as Obi Wan.

    Many of these ideas were given to Timothy Zhan for his Heir to the Emperor trilogy--he was the only author to have heavy story conference sessions with Lucas. the "other"--Luke's jedi sister--became Mara Jade, Corusacnt made its appearance, and C'Boath is very much like Palpatine.

    When the decision to change the story into one final movie was made the story changed greatly. It became more about Vader's redemption. After this, Lucas planned on possibly doing the third trilogy yet again but the story would be changed immensly. ROTJ tied up the loose ends and pretty much ended the saga but Lucas could probably get around it if he wanted to. But it would be derivative; Lucas' plot would be that Luke begins rebuilding the jedi order while Leia and the rebels begin installing the New Republic. A new threat would begin to emerge and the main theme would be about morals and responibility. This has been covered by EU obviously, but now that the threat of the Empire has been wiped out, any new threat would seem...out of place.

    I dont want to repeat all the quotes on the subject because there is a great thread on the matter: [link=]Lucas' ideas for the sequel trilogy[/link]. Read through the posts, theres some excellent info.
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