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‘The Star Wars’ # 8 : A Slightly Longer Time Ago In A Galaxy A Bit Farther Away

‘The Star Wars’ # 8 : A Slightly Longer Time Ago In A Galaxy A Bit Farther Away

The Star Wars Cover 2

The Star Wars #8

Written by J.W. Rinzler

Art by Mike Mayhew

Colors by Rain Beredo

Lettering by Michael Heisler

Cover by Nick Runge

Publisher Dark Horse Comics

The Star Wars is an interesting beast. A comic book based on George Lucas first draft screenplay for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, The Star Wars is immediately recognizable and foreign at the same time. Many would write this book off as a cash grab. Just one more piece of Star Wars merchandise to wring another few bucks out of the rabid fan-boys and gals that still worship at the alter of Lucas. This is not entirely the case though. The Star Wars is fascinating look at what we might have gotten had George Lucas made his movies in order and A New Hope was filmed in the digital age. Full of extraneous dialogue and crammed with too many characters, The Star Wars is a bloated overly complicated affair. What makes reading it interesting is that one gets the sense that Lucas didn’t start having bad ideas with the prequel films, he had them all along. However, it wasn’t until the Phantom Menace that technology had caught up enough to realize these bad ideas. Couple that with the fact that no one was in the position to challenge Lucas authority on his later films and you start to understand how Episodes I,II, and III came out the way they did. What actually saved Star Wars from ending up like The Star Wars was the low budget 20th Century Fox gave Lucas, the technological limitations that forced George to narrow down his set pieces and action sequences to what could be achieved successfully, and most of all that in 1977 George Lucas wasn’t “THE George Lucas” yet. People said no to him, frequently.

As far as the story, specificity that contained within issue #8, all the basic notes from the third act of A New Hope are there, rescue a princess, blow up a Death Star (here described only as an Imperial Fortress), etc. The differences lie within chewie medalwhich characters are which at this point (example: Luke Skywalker is clearly in the Obi Wan Kenobi role at this point in the screenplay), and which formerly human characters are now aliens. It’s hard to know exactly what Dark Horse kept from the original screenplay and how much they changed or added to make it fairly readable. A scene at the end in which Chewbacca gets a medal from the Princess feels like it was thrown in as a bit of fan service and not because it was specifically written in the original screenplay.

AnikkenThe art by Mike Mayhew is just beautiful. It feels like he’s trying to emulate the style of Ralph McQuarrie’s original Star Wars concept art in order to really make the whole project feel like a proto-Star Wars

The Star Wars #8 concludes an interesting experiment : fully rendering an artist’s rough draft of a masterpiece. Whether it’s worth actually collecting the series as a whole is debatable. On one hand it is interesting to get a glimpse at what George Lucas first ideas were with no budget or SFX constraints in mind. On the other hand, most would argue that an artist’s first draft is just that, a first draft, an incomplete sketch that will see refinement several times before being deemed good enough to be put into production. One would be hard pressed to imagine flipping on the radio and hearing the demo version of “Bohemian Rhapsody’ or walking into a book store and picking up the rough draft of Stephen King’s The Stand . It really comes down to your level of devotion to all things Star Wars. Casual fans will have no use for this. Die hards might be surprised to see the origins of the characters they know and love. Whatever your decision, may the force of others be with you.