So I just got my copy of the Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy book (edited by JW Rinzler) and am leafing through it. So far I’m quite pleased with it.
A few tidbits stand out. The first is that the book contains four recently discovered storyboards for ANH, the only ones known to survive from the short period between the second and third drafts when Luke briefly became a girl. The storyboards, which may originally have been part of a larger sequence, feature the scene from the second draft where girl-Luke, Han, and Chewbacca (carrying the unconscious Deak, Luke’s brother whom they have come to rescue) encounter a monstrous Dai Noga creature in the tunnels deep beneath the Imperial prison planet of Alderaan. The Dai Noga itself is not shown in the surviving boards.
This entire scene would be reworked in several ways; the prisons of Alderaan were moved on board the Death Star, and the monstrous Dai Noga, originally found wandering the corridors deep beneath the prison cells, was later combined with the garbage-masher scene, which was initially a separate incident. In the second draft the Dai Noga is said to be a supernatural monster bred by the Sith Lords, and in fact blaster bolts pass right through it. Han and Chewbacca (carrying Deak) have to sneak around the monster while Luke draws its attention by firing at it with his blaster; they ultimately trap it by firing at the ceiling above it and bringing down an avalanche of debris.
There are also some interesting previously-unseen boards for ROTJ in the sail barge fight scene. Both of them, oddly enough, involve severed hands. In one board Luke severs Boba Fett’s hand when Boba tries to fire on him, then uses his lightsaber to damage and activate Fett’s rocket pack for his ultimate demise. In another board Luke has himself lost his mechanical right hand, and the severed cyborg hand crawls of its own volition toward the lightsaber hilt that he has dropped.
One minor omission I noted is the lack of boards for ANH and ESB that were drawn up for alternate title sequences–ones for ANH in which THE STAR WARS crawled backward at the same angle as the main text crawl, and ones for ESB with black letters set against the white snow-fields of Hoth, with the crawl header reading Episode II. Both of these have previously been seen in other Making Of books, though, so they’re really little loss. I’d much rather see storyboards I’ve never seen before anywhere (of which the book has a large number).
Also, there are no storyboards for the Special Edition sequences. OT all the way, baby.
PS–there are two variant versions of the storyboards for the last shots in ROTJ: one with only Ben and Yoda appearing as Force ghosts, and one with Anakin (Sebastian Shaw version) added. This of course reflects that the decision to add Anakin to the scene was only made during principal photography; the shooting script didn’t mention him.
“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”