So I borrowed the book “The Making of Star wars” from the library some time ago, and before I had to return it I took some photos of one of the last chapters that I didn’t have time to read. I found these photos again recently (I’d completely forgotten about them), and it’s a pretty interesting read.
It’s called “George Lucas Explains his Universe” and is from an “interview” with Carol Titelman where they recorded his thoughts on the expanded Star Wars universe in mid to late 1977. It was done in a method similar to role-playing where he’d answer her questions as Leia, or Threepio, etc. and thereby explain the universe of the film.
However I don’t think these role-playing sessions were ever used for anything official, even though the book implies he did it to help the fans, and possibly even the novelists and comic book writers, understand his “vision” for Star Wars.”
I’ve posted my photos of the four pages below, but I’ve also given a quick summary of the most interesting details.
Han’s background is pretty weird in this version. No saving Chewie from slavers or the Empire here. In this version he was raised by “space-gypsies”, then Wookiees, then he got kicked out of the “Space Academy” for selling exam-answers and for racing one of the professors. And for a while he was apparently a farmer on the planet “Coronee” where he herded “Coldppedas” which were large scaly giraffes with fifteen feet. And before he became a smuggler he was a mechanic on “Saberhing”. The rest is pretty much what we’re used to.
The Millennium Falcon is in this version was made on the planet “Crell” which is a gas-giant inhabited by a a species that are like “porpoises with wings”, as well as having “claw-like hands”.
It’s interesting how C-3PO’s background is both so vastly different from his retconned origin in TPM, yet at the same time, there’s some similarities.
The obvious difference being that here he’s described as 112 years old and having been manufactured in a factory on the planet “Affa”. However at some point it’s mentioned that he was “totally reassembled by a young boy working for a junk dealer”, which is very similar to Anakin working for Watto. Also, as a funny side-note, this is pretty much what Threepio’s background was in the Legends canon/EU, were he existed pre-Anakin, but was destroyed in Mos Espa, the pieces gathered by Watto and eventually re-built by Anakin.
Leia’s background really isn’t that different, nor particularly interesting.
The “History of the Empire” is of course very different from the PT, but not too different from the pre-PT descriptions of the rise of the Empire that has been discussed on this forum before.
This is also the earliest version of Lucas’ original idea that when “Vader” was corrupted to the dark side he continued to pretend to be a Jedi for a while, assassinating Jedi from within to prevent them from protesting Palpatine’s rise to power.
In this version however, the only survivors among the Jedi were Ben and “Annikin”.
It’s interesting how he describes Luke’s father as one of the survivors, implying that his death happened some time after the rise of the Empire.
The backstory of the Rebellion is pretty much the same as it has always been, except for it having started before Leia was born (then again you could argue that this is the case in the PT as well).
Lucas does however state that Threepio was “programmed not to mention having knowledge of the Princess” which I guess he did to clear up some confusion by fans as to why Threepio acted as if he didn’t know who Leia was in the film, despite that being nearly impossible.
Artoo is described as a “plumber”, but is also described as having a function similar to what we saw in TPM where he fixes parts of the spaceship (specifically the Tantive IV) on the outside. In this version Threepio and Artoo met very recently (as opposed to having known each other for decades), and it’s even suggested that Artoo has had several memory wipes, whereas Threepio has had none (which is a funny reversal of what ended up in the PT).
Lucas describes a “coin of the Galactic Realm” which is apparently a “fool proof […] coin made of a crystal-like mineral.”
Not anything particularly interesting is said about Tatooine, apart from an oddly specific little detail that “there are only a few women”.
Lucas might have been setting up potential sequel or EU stories when describing the destruction of Alderaan, because it says that it is unknown if Leia’s family were actually killed.
Lucas talking about the Force is the most interesting part to me;
At first he just talks about how lightsabers are just regular weapons, but that they are preferred by the Jedi and he gives a pretty standard description of the Force. However when he talks about how “certain creatures are born with a higher awareness of the Force than humans”,
he mentions that they have “more midi-chlorians I their cells.” So yes, Lucas did in fact make up midi-chlorians long before the PT, however here it’s a bit vaguer. And it’s interesting that it originates from this “improvisation” session.*
He also talks about how Luke needs “another twenty years before he actually begins to cope with [the Force] on a real level.” He also states that the Force can be learned by “anyone”.
(*EDIT: Seems like Lucas has been tampering with this particular part in Rinzler’s book.)
There are apparently quite a lot of female Stormtroopers, but few of them were on the Death Star. That’s pretty much all he had to say on Stormtroopers in general.
Lucas finally explains why Chewie didn’t get a medal at the end of the movie, because apparently; “medals don’t really mean much to Wookiees. They don’t really put too much credence in them. They have different kinds of ceremonies.” He was also “given a great prize and honor during a ceremony with his own people. The whole contingent from the Rebel Alliance went to Chewbacca’s people and participated in a very large celebration. It was on honor for the entire Wookiee race”. So the whole idea of Wookiee slaves was not a thing yet. (I’m also getting a Holiday Special vibe from that second to last quote.)
Page 1 link
Page 2 link
Page 3 link
Page 4 link
EDIT: Here’s the original statement from Lucas about the Force according to the author of the book;
“The Force is really a way of seeing; it’s a way of being with life. It really has nothing to do with weapons. The Force gives you the power to have extra-sensory perception and to be able to see things and hear things, read minds and levitate things. It is said that certain creatures are born with a higher awareness of the Force than humans. Their brains are different. The Force is a perception of the reality that exists around us. You have to come to learn it. It’s not something you just get. It takes many, many years…Anyone who studied and worked hard could learn it. But you would have to do it on your own.”
Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
Original Trilogy Documentaries/Making-Ofs (YouTube, Vimeo, etc. finds)
Beyond the OT Documentaries/Making-Ofs (YouTube, Vimeo, etc. finds)
Amazon link to my novel; Dawn of the Karabu.