Original Original Version of Episode IV
Star Wars fans are some of the most devoted in all of fandom. Purists swear by the unaltered Original Trilogy, while a majority of the newest generation of fans simply accept that the changes made with the special editions were in the best interest of the story. Since it’s theatrical release, Star Wars (later named Episode IV: A New Hope) has undergone numerous revisions and visual facelifts. The most notable changes occurred with the 1997 re-release of the trilogy as “Special Editions”. Of all the changes, fans often cite Greedo’s poorly aimed shot in the Cantina as the most detrimental to altering the essence of the film. That was only one brick in the wall of revisions made since George Lucas first developed the story for Star Wars. Lucas’ original screenplay was heavily altered prior to shooting the film and shows little resemblance to his initial ideas. Before the Marvel acquisition of Star Wars as a comic property, Dark Horse comics released Lucas’ “The Star Wars” as a tribute to what could have been. Between the story shown in those books and the theatrical release of 1977, Star Wars changed a lot. Fans of the first film have rarely seen what those revisions look like, until now.
Star Wars actor and pop culture icon, Peter Mayhew has recently began sharing photos of his personal script from the 1977 blockbuster. Mayhew has been sharing this revised fourth draft of the script from his Twitter account since February 17th along side the hashtag #chewscript. The actor began with the promise to post a few pages each day and that his campaign will end with a major announcement. Several major media outlets have picked up the story over the past week. CNN posted an article to their site, which can be read HERE. Tonight Show host, Jimmy Fallon, even mentioned the #chewscript campaign during his opening monologue on the February 23rd edition of the show.
The script has many differences from the original cut of the film and it’s really great to be able to read how things could have turned out. Thus far, the name of the main character sticks out as the biggest change. In Mayhew’s script, Luke is not yet known as a Skywalker. A meeting between Luke and Biggs, shortly after his military training, was omitted. Even minor changes, such as Vader moving a cup prior to his show of power in the first force choking scene, add quite a bit of enjoyment as to wondering what might have been. In a time where almost everything about the original trilogy is common knowledge, it’s nice to have some new material to dig into. Thanks for sharing with us, Mr. Mayhew.