Ever since reading Anchorhead's high praises of the Star Wars NPR radio show, I have been determined to find it. To experience a more comprehensive take on Star Wars hooks the curiosity of any die-hard fan.
So now I finally have my hands on all three installments (ANH,ESB,ROTJ). I'll naturally start with ANH in sharing my thoughts on each episode.
Do share your thoughts also, if you have any questions, or have listened/are listening to it.
Episode 01 - A Wind to Shake the Stars: The narrator tells us there are millions of different systems in this galaxy. The way he speaks, really sets the tone for just how much potential there is for this story. The first setting is Tatooine, and we find out that Luke's "friends" are really a bunch of assholes that push him around, save for Wendy (a guy).
Luke has his sights set on the Imperial Academy. He wants to become a galactic-reknown pilot. His friends, being the pessimistic ultra-conservatives they are, have a serious problem with that. Anyway, Luke challenges Fixer, Alpha Male asshole, to a race with their Skyhoppers. While his co-pilot Wendy freaks out, Luke takes a dangerous short-cut that could very well cost them their lives. Fortunately, our hero not only survives, but wins the race.
We then go to the Moisture Farm. It's evident that most everyone on Tatooine hates people with pie-in-the-sky dreams. Uncle Owen berates Luke for having his head in the clouds, and Aunt Beru is always having to come to her nephew's defense. I imagine Aunt Beru being a lot younger in this version of the story, given her voice.
Luke goes to work on some ancient moisture vaporators, with the assistance of an equally ancient droid that seems to be malfunctioning. I don't blame Luke for bitching the droid out. Randomly spotting something in the sky, Luke uses his (what is the equivalent of) high-powered binoculars to get a closer look. There are two space ships firing at one another! Presumably he's seeing a Star Destroyer subduing the Tantive IV. If I remember right, this scene with Luke working and spotting the space battle was actually shot for the film, but of course later deleted. Luke races off to Fixer & Co. to tell them about his discovery, only to find that his (one and only) true friend, Biggs Darklighter, has briefly visited home from the Imperial Academy.
Biggs and Luke hop into a speeder and zoom away for a canyon where they can catch up on old times. To be honest, I almost was sure that Luke was coming onto Biggs during their subsequent conversation. His inflection when speaking to his friend was pretty sensual.
Biggs reveals to Luke that he has plans to jump ship and join the Rebellian against the Empire. He tries to convince Luke to get off of Tatooine, basically telling him that Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru are dead weights, and on Tatooine he has no real future. Luke rebuffs Biggs, and there's a little argument. He then drops Biggs off at the power station, but not before they make out up. Luke promises that he will join the Academy the next season.
The narrator then gives this epilogue to episode 1:
With the abruptness he will find difficult to believe, Luke Skywalker's life is about to change beyond his wildest dreams... as he's swept up in the bitter war between Rebel Alliance and Empire. And soon, a captive princess' desperate plea for help, a final quest of a legendary hero, and the key to the empire's most awesome weapon, will be decided by the actions of a young farmer boy from Tatooine.
So far I really like it. The story as we know it from the film has yet to even begin. The foreshadowing, complemented greatly by the John William's score, is among the best I've come across. The voice acting is superb. When Luke and Biggs are talking, it doesn't seem acted at all, but is like listening to two close friends interacting. That adds a realistic and relatable quality to the story.
"Fuck you. All the star wars movies were excellent. none of them sucked. Also, revenge of the sith is the best."
- DarthZorgon (YouTube)