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The Journal of the Whills: A Reconstruction of the 1973 Plot

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 (Edited)

In the vein of my earlier thread which attempted to reconstruct the intended look and visuals of the 1974 rough draft for The Star Wars, here I’m going to do the same for the overall plot of the fragmentary 1973 Journal of the Whills outline.

Fasten your seat belts, ladies and germs; it’s going to be a bumpy night.

Preface

The two main characters are Mace Windy, a revered Jedi-Bendu Master who looks like Toshiro Mifune in old-age makeup, and his apprentice, Chuiee Two Thorpe.

Chuiee, or CJ Thorpe, is the son of the famed space pilot Han Dardell Thorpe, and grandson of the first Chuiee Thorpe. (Think of Dune: Duke Leto Atreides, Paul Atreides, and Leto II.) Chuiee Thorpe Jr, in GL’s head, most likely had black hair and blue eyes, like Jeffrey Hunter in The Searchers.

The younger Chuiee is a "Padawaan learner" to Mace – meaning he is a journeyman or squire in the Jedi Order, receiving tutelage in the field under one particular Master. This contrasts with the Pleabs, or apprentices, who are the youngest among the Jedi, and receive instruction at the central Jedi Temple until they graduate to Padawaan level.

The Jedi Temple (which Chuiee entered at age 16) is a politically neutral, independent entity, whose Knights often take service with the individual rulers of the galaxy. Until recent decades, most of the galaxy’s planetary systems were independent and sovereign. ruled by their own Royal Houses. However, this changed with the rise of the Galactic Empire.

Like Philip II of medieval France, the Empire expelled the Jedi Knights from within its borders, as the Jedi code of conduct clashed with the Imperial goal of continuous expansive conquest. In response to the Empire’s takeover of system after system, many of the remaining planetary nobles banded together, forming the Alliance of Independent Systems to defend themselves.

Each side realized that to wage war militarily against the other would lead to unacceptably high levels of ruin and devastation in the known galaxy. So, then, the Alliance of Independent Systems and the Galactic Empire settled down into the First Galactic Cold War.

Both the Alliance and the Empire, however, considered it fair game to engage in espionage activities, as well as covert attempts to undermine the other’s influence among the remaining neutral systems.

Until four years ago, Mace Windy was “Warlord to the Chairman of the Alliance of Independent Systems” – meaning that he was chief military adviser to the head of one of the two major galactic power blocs.

However, the Chairman’s other advisors, fearing that Mace was so influential that he wielded even more power than the self-styled Galactic Emperor, poisoned the Chairman’s mind against Mace Windy, and arranged for his dismissal from office.

Despite his master’s dismissal, Chuiee Thorpe followed Mace Windy into exile. The story proper of the Journal of the Whills begins four years later.

Act I

The Journal of the Whills opens in classic James Bond fashion, with an adventure largely unrelated to what follows.

Over the past four years, Mace Windy and CJ Thorpe have made their living as ronin, wandering mercenary Jedi taking whatever paying jobs might come their way.

Now they’re on the jungle planet Yavin, having been hired as guards charged with the delivery of a shipment of “fusion portables”. (I’d wager these are some kind of portable thermal-power devices – with the side potential of being easily converted into devastating weapons.)

The natives of Yavin are eight-foot-tall hairy Wookees, just as hairy as the ones you know (and love). However, they’re distinctly unimpressed by Mace and Chuiee. Negotiations over the delivery of the fusion portables, and the price required to pay for them, are quite tense. Think of Indiana Jones’ meeting with Lao Che in Temple of Doom and you’ll get the general idea.

(I should mention that GL probably amused himself by imagining all the dialogue in this scene–on both sides–to be in a foreign Wookee language with English subtitles. Remember, this was long before SW canon told us that humans can’t speak Shyriiwook.)

At some point a battle breaks out, in which the two Jedi show their battle prowess and cause the remaining Wookees to think twice about reneging on payment for the portable fusion devices.

When they return to their ship, they find they have a visitor – a courier sent by the Chairman of the Alliance!

The courier explains that the Chairman has need of Mace once again. A mission of utmost intergalactic sensitivity has come up, and someone with Mace’s experience in covert ops is needed to carry it out. If Mace succeeds, the courier hints, he might be restored to his former rank as the Chairman’s principal war counsellor.

Like Alexander Nevsky in Sergei Eisenstein’s film, Mace and CJ are initially reluctant to help, but when they hear what the mission is, they put aside their grudge and accept it.

Act II

The independent kingdom of Aquilae, a desert planet in the no-mans-land between the territories of the Alliance and the Empire, has been invaded by its neighboring kingdom of Alderaan.

The two systems have long borne each other a mutual grudge. Alderaan, a city-planet, is a sick, dying world, whose inhabitants have damaged its ecosystem through centuries of building and exploitation of natural resources.

In contrast, the scientists of Aquilae are making great strides in reclaiming once-desert land, turning it into lush blooming gardens with fertile vegetation. Not only that: Aquilae’s chief scientists are developing means of extending lifespans, and of transferring human consciousness to new clone bodies.

Given their increasing focus on their own impending mortality, this technology is obviously something that the nobles of Alderaan covet.

Aquilae hitherto has remained scrupulously neutral in the Galactic Cold War. However, Alderaan has increasingly leaned toward the Galactic Empire.

Now the Galactic Emperor, Alexander Xerxes XII of the planet Decarte, has in secret offered military backing for an Alderaanian invasion of Aquilae. In fact, the Emperor has sent his finest general, Owen Lars, to command the Imperial ground troops sent to assist the invading Alderaanian force – on the condition that the Empire’s involvement must remain secret.

(It’s pretty simple: Aquilae = House Atreides, Alderaan = House Harkonnen, Alexander Xerxes XII = Shaddam IV Corrino. )

The Chairman of the Alliance has asked Mace Windy to rescue the royal family of Aquilae from the impending invasion, and if possible, find a way to bring defeat upon the Imperial occupation force – without involving the Alliance openly. (This condition of secrecy is why Mace is skeptical about receiving a reward for his services afterward!)

But Mace and CJ, accepting the mission, go to the second planet of the Aquilae system. Here they meet with Lord Annakin Starkiller, the King of the Bebers, as the human inhabitants of the planet are known.

Lord Annakin has no living heirs of his body: like JRR Tolkien’s Theoden, his heir is his sister’s son, fair-haired Prince Luke Skywalker, currently studying at the planet’s main university. I should note that, at this point in writing, surnames like “Starkiller” and “Skywalker” are evidently royal last names, markers of kingly dynasties.

King Annakin is skeptical that the Empire would get involved in a conflict between the two worlds, since to outsiders the ancient grudge between Aquilae and Alderaan has long faded from immediate memory. Mace answers that not everyone’s memories are as short as the King’s own, perhaps.

The King says that, if there were an attack from Imperial troops, the armies of Aquilae would have no hope in repelling it. Mace counsels therefore that the royal family flee into the desert when the assault begins, taking refuge among the nomadic Hubble people. By forming an alliance with these tall, green-skinned warriors, the Bebers can wait while the Empire’s hold on Aquilae grows soft, until the moment comes to launch a counter-attack and retake Aquilae from its conquerors.

Annakin objects strongly: the Beber and Hubble races have been enemies themselves for a long time, with speciesism adding heat to the natural enmity between city-dwellers and plundering nomads. And in any case, it would be against the honor of Aquilae’s royal house to do anything but make a stand against the invaders – but only once some actual proof has been found of this so-called invasion. Until then, Aquilae must remain on a peace footing.

Mace sighs, seeing that he will get nowhere with this stubborn King. He orders CJ Thorpe to go in seccret and retrieve Prince Luke Skywalker from the academy where he is currently studying.

CJ goes, and finds that Prince Luke is among other things, a champion fencer at university. Prince Luke is skeptical that CJ is who he says he is: trained to fear espionage and assassination from an early age, he has a natural hesitation about strange visitors.

The two Jedi engage in a brawl with wooden swords, and Luke loses. Impressed with CJ’s skill and lack of deference to a Prince, he realizes that this man is probably to be trusted. They set off together for the Beber King’s secret underground fortress.

Meanwhile, King Annakin has received reports from his scouts on the outer planets of the Aquilae system: the Alderaanian fleet has been detected moving in for the invasion. Realizing that Mace was right, Annakin orders his royal landspeeder prepared, to take him to a meeting of the planetary Council and organize a declaration of war.

In orbit over Aquilae, the Imperial fleet sends out bomber craft, loaded with atomics, on a precision-target mission. A nuclear explosion wipes out the Council of Aquilae, and King Annakin along with it.

In the royal underground fortress, Mace Windy scrambles Aquilae’s remaining fighter squadrons, which lead a brave assault on the principal Station Complex of the Imperial battle fleet. They nearly disable it, but are thwarted when the fighter wing is recalled by Count Sandage, lone survivor of the Council of Aquilae.

Sandage, a traitor in the pay of Alderaan, was notified in advance of the attack on the Council, and moved swiftly to organize a Regency, in the hope of sidelining the royal family.

Sandage moves to have Mace arrested, but the aged Jedi swiftly cuts down the traitorous Senator. He reunites with CJ Thorpe and Prince Luke, as well as two new companions.

Two alien maintenance workers ejected in an escape pod from the Station Complex during the attack. Per Imperial fashion, the lower-caste nonhuman workers are known only by alphanumeric designation: C-3PO and R2-D2.

The five refugees set out, leaving behind the underground fortress, whose location is no longer secure. Queen Breha Skywalker, Luke’s mother, detonates a bomb inside it afterward, killing herself and destroying the fortress to keep it from falling into the enemy’s hands.

Prince Luke asks Mace if the fugitives should head for the Hubble nomads’ encampment. This time, however, Mace replies in the negative: he had not expected the Empire to have traitors on the Council itself. His previous strategy would likely now be known to the Imperial generals.

Instead, they must get off-world for a time. Mace decides to travel to his homeworld of Ophuchi, another independent state, and ask his half-brother, the King, for military aid on behalf of Aquilae.

This agreed, the five travel to the nearest starport, in the city of Gordon, and seek to hire a spaceship there. However, they are thwarted in their initial attempt by General Owen Lars, who personally lays a trap for the heroes.

Using martial arts, the Jedi overpower their guards while being marched to the ship’s hold. They break their bonds and disembark from Lars’ ship before it takes off. Running through the spaceport corridors, they break into an empty vessel.

While the others prepare the ship for launch, CJ Thorpe holds off the Imperial troopers pursuing them, cutting each one down with skillful lightsaber work. Finally the ship begins to rise. Quickly sheathing his lasersword, the young Padawaan jumps onto the boarding ramp as it begins to pull away, narrowly making it.

The stolen ship blasts through the overhead hangar door and rockets into space. Imperial fighters attack as it rockets toward the edge of the solar system. Thorpe and Skywalker man the ship’s laser turret-guns, shooting down waves of enemy fighters, until their vessel clears the system and goes to warp speed on its journey to Ophuchi.

More to come…

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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I might be mixing up my rough drafts and outlines. But isn’t this the one that Act II only has about two sentences that are released to the public?

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Only he who does not fear taking a leap of the imagination shall prove worthy to forge Nothung anew. 😉

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

Author
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 (Edited)

Act III

The rebel ship narrowly makes it through an asteroid field on its way to Ophuchi. CJ Thorpe pilots the ship through the thicket of space rock; afterward, Prince Luke exits the ship in a spacesuit to make repairs to damaged portions of the hull.

After this, the battered vessel finally limps to Ophuchi, and its infamous floating Cloud City of Tarna.

Tarna! The very name strikes fear into the heart of most citizens of the galaxy, in Alliance and Empire alike. For the kings of Tarna are in fact the most feared slavers of the space-lanes. Their black spaceships descend like locusts on defenseless planets, carrying off women and men to be sold in the thrall-markets of Ophuchi.

The outlaw city of Tarna is ruled by the House of Windom; its current king is Vance Windom, Mace’s half brother. Mace Windy, an illegitimate son of the prior King, left to make his fortune in the wider galaxy. Now he returns, asking his brother the King for aid for the people of Aquilae.

The King scorns his request; there is clearly a long-held grudge between the brothers. Lord Windom makes it clear that he will not endanger Tarna’s long-held neutrality in the Galactic Cold War by interfering in this proxy conflict.

Mace replies that Tarna’s neutrality is built on blood—the blood of innocent men and women stolen from their home planets and sold into slavery. Vance tells him that slavery is not merely a necessary evil, but a positive good for Tarna: it will provide the means to protect the city against the Empire.

When Mace asks him for an explanation, King Vance reveals that he has arranged to pay a tithe of slaves to the Imperial household annually… and the Emperor’s delegation to take possession of these slaves is even now being feted as guests of the King in Tarna.

All the rebels tense at this – but King Vance states that he will not allow a breach of the peace in this scrupulously neutral city. During their stay on Ophuchi, he says, Mace and his fellow fugitives will not have one hair of their heads harmed by the Imperial soldiers. (Of course, the state of affairs once they leave the planet is a different story!)

It soon transpires that, along with the group of Imperial officers sent to Ophuchi, there is an “honored guest” of the Imperium: golden-haired Cora Sunrider, daughter of Crispin Sunrider, the Consul of the Grand Tribunal of Alderaan. She is here as a “goodwill ambassador” whose presence on this diplomatic assignment is meant to increase ties of alliance between Alderaan and the Empire of Decarte.

(This makes for some amusing background scenes, when Imperial diplomats hit on another blonde woman attending their delegation. This woman is actually an Imperial officer, and has blue eyes in contrast to Cora’s brown.)

Mace and the other rebels are summarily dismissed from the royal presence. Afterward, though, Lord Vance’s judgment is questioned by his sister’s daughter, Mara Windom – one of the few in the royal court who can challenge the King without fearing for their position, if not their neck. (Like Mace and Vance, Mara Windom is what Darths & Droids would call “Space Japanese.”)

Mara thinks Ophuchi should not be allied with the Empire: its naked territorial aggression is too great to be stemmed even by a tithe of slaves. Vance rebuffs Mara’s criticism, and it becomes clear that his diplomacy is driven more by hatred of his brother Mace than by any sensible policy decisions.

As the rebel party leaves the royal audience chamber, an aide draws CJ Thorpe aside. Chuiee learns that his father’s Alliance cruiser, the Tarnack, has disappeared in a volatile region of deep space pocked by gravity storms: Han Dardell Thorpe and all the rest aboard have vanished, and are presumed dead.

Thorpe takes the news stoically, but it is clear that this report has devastated him.

That evening, as the sun sets over Ophuchi, CJ Thorpe meanders morosely through the beautiful streets of Tarna. As he does so, he is accosted by a beautiful girl with red hair, no more than 16 years old, clad in a coarse gray woolen shift.

She introduces herself as Zena, an escaped slave who had been scheduled for sale in the great market tomorrow. Her former master was a good man, she says, but he was greatly in debt; when he died, she was sold to pay his debts with the rest of his “property.”

Zena begs for Thorpe to take her with him and secure her freedom. While Thorpe hesitates, knowing how precarious his group’s freedom is in Tarna, three security officers approach and fire a stun-bolt at Zena, knocking her unconscious.

The officers thank Thorpe for his help in apprehending this runaway slave. As they drag away the young redhead, Thorpe stands silently, his conscience gnawing at his stomach.

The next day, the Great Market of Tarna boasts a sizable crowd watching the slave auctions. Cora Sunrider is here, among the Imperial delegation, trying vainly to hide her disgust at this display of human chattel. So is Vantos Coll, a burly, loud-mouthed, bearded champion of the pod-race circuit; the other mysterious blond woman; and CJ Thorpe, watching intently for any sign of Zena.

The Imperial officers get first pick of the choicest slaves – strong laborers and experienced concubines. Afterward, the market is thrown open for bidding on the remainder of the “stock” by the general public.

When Zena is led to the auction block, it’s clear she has been beaten in retaliation for her escape attempt: one eye is swollen shut and several of her teeth are missing. Zena is stripped for the crowd to see, though the auctioner keeps a tight grip on her upper left arm.

Vantos Coll places a high bid on Zena. However, to his great surprise, Coll is immediately outbid by CJ Thorpe. A bidding war ensues, which Thorpe wins by pledging to pay an outrageous sum of credits. Unfortunately, Thorpe does not actually have these credits.

He is rescued from this problem by the outraged Coll, who is infuriated by Thorpe having bought “his” slave girl. Vantos not only belittles Thorpe, he insults his father, Han Dardell Thorpe – and his grandfather, Chuiee the Elder, who died in battle opposing the Empire.

At that, CJ Thorpe challenges Coll, champion of the pod-race arena, to a race. Coll accepts – on the condition that they make a bet. If Thorpe wins, Vantos Coll will pay off the cost of Zena’s freedom. But if Vantos wins, he can have Zena and Thorpe as his slaves.

The pod-race is fast, long, bloody and brutal – more Ben Hur by way of Rollerball than Phantom Menace. At the end of it, Vantos is left not only defeated, but seriously injured, like Messala in Ben Hur. Thorpe now has the money to pay for Zena’s freedom.

Zena, now clad in a white gown and boots, joins Mace’s party. However, King Vance is outraged by Thorpe’s “insult to our honored guests from the Empire,” and declares that the whole group of fugitives will be arrested on the spot and turned over to the Imperial soldiery.

Mara reminds Vance that this would be breaking his sworn word, and that Thorpe has done nothing wrong by the laws of Tarna. Nonetheless Vance lets his order stand.

Tarnan soldiers move to surround the rebels. Thinking quickly, Prince Luke, who had been watching the podrace, takes Cora Sunrider hostage. Using her as a human shield of sorts to prevent the Tarnans and Imperials from attacking, the rebels make their way back to their ship.

With Cora still held as their prisoner, Mace’s party blasts its way out of Tarna. Imperial ships follow in hot pursuit. A tense conversation about where to go next erupts in the cockpit of the stolen rebel vessel.

Mace advises that the rebels make for Norton II, an ice planet ruled by Kane Highsinger, a former Jedi and good friend to the wizened Mace Windy. The others agree, and lay in a course for Norton II.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Act IV

The party reaches Norton II and comes to the subterranean court of King Kane Highsinger (who would almost certainly be played by an African American actor).

Kane dwells in a magnificent palace of crystalline ice and gleaming chrome spires. Kane, a former Jedi, is happy to meet his old friend Mace Windy, but the news that they have Cora Sunrider as a hostage troubles him. He has no wish to let foreign wars arrive on Norton II – especially not now, when his son Clieg is about to get married!

Prince Clieg Highsinger (a John Boyega type) is betrothed to Jaina Vao, daughter of Janos, ruler of the native aliens of Norton II. Tall, with inhumanly pale skin and hair and golden eyes without whites, Jaina is strangely beautiful. Her marriage to Clieg represents an end to a feud that had lasted nearly as long as the rivalry between Hubble and Beber on Aquilae.

Unfortunately, Kane’s men soon inform him that their planet is being hailed. An Alderaanian fleet has followed the rebels to Norton II, and it is commanded personally by Crispin Sunrider.

Via an open video link, Sunrider demands that Kane turn over the Aquilaean fugitives immediately, so that they might receive justice for their insults to Alderaan. If he fails to comply, Lord Sunrider says, the Alderaanians will land their troops (who outnumber Kane’s men) and launch an invasion of Norton, subduing it just as they conquered Aquilae.

Kane demurs; Mace is an old friend, and he is reluctant to send his friends to certain death. However, he knows that they have done wrongly in kidnapping Princess Cora, even if it was to save their own lives. So Kane Highsinger makes a counter-offer: he will return Cora to her father, thus making amends and preventing a bloody conflict.

As Cora watches in horror, her father refuses to accept her return: like Josef Stalin, he refuses to trust any Alderaanian who was captured by the enemy, even his own daughter. Tears stream from Cora’s brown eyes as she tries to comprehend her father’s betrayal.

Lord Sunrider reiterates his original demands, and Kane Highsinger feels honor-bound to refuse them. The stage is set for battle on the ice plains of Norton.

The resulting battle has two phases. In the first, the Alderaanians drive large, elephant-shaped AT-AT type armored walkers, which the Nortonians bring down with cable from small flying craft (like in TESB). However, eventually the snowspeeders are destroyed, and enough elephant walkers remain to discharge their cargo of troops, leading to an infantry battle.

In the second phase, the Alderaanian infantry advances toward the Nortonian base camp, which presents a tempting target as the soldiers in front of it remain stationary. But the Alderaanians are taken by surprise: a secret reserve of flying craft, kept back by order of King Kane, bombs the ice on which the enemy stands. Many of the heavily armored troops sink into the water and drown.

Now that the forces are even in numbers, Kane orders his men to charge, with the valiant Clieg and CJ Thorpe together leading the attack.

During this scene, C-3PO and R2-D2 find themselves caught up in the battle, each having been a gunner in a crashed snowspeeder. The two try desperately to get back to Kane’s command center, while being buffeted back and forth by the advancing and retreating troops. In the wake of this, the two bickering aliens seem to get on a little better than previously.

Wearing a breathing mask to insulate him from the cold, CJ Thorpe faces down a similarly masked, black-armored warrior at the head of the remaining Imperial troops. The two have a lightsaber duel, which Chuiee wins by cleaving the faceplate of his opponent’s helmet, with a blow that melts durasteel and burns flesh. Wounded, his opponent retreats, and the Nortonians continue to advance.

The assault wins the day for the Nortonians, and the Alderaanians are forced to retreat.

While the battle occurs, back in Kane’s palace, Cora is approached by an assistant surgeon on King Kane’s personal medical staff – in reality a spy for the Alderaanians. He tells Cora, who by now is wavering in her loyalties, that her father would never surrender to the Aquilaeans, even if he were by some strange chance defeated. Crispin Sunrider has already installed a doomsday device in his throne room upon Aquilae – should the Royal Palace ever be threatened, he has but to activate it, and if its timer expires, the entire planet will be devastate by poison gas.

Cora asks the surgeon how he knows this. The surgeon reveals that he was one of the designers. Lord Sunrider wanted the advice of experts on how to design biological weapons. In fact, he knows the code to disarm it.

When Cora, sensing this might be useful, asks him what the code is, the surgeon refuses to reveal it unless she sleeps with him. Reluctantly, Cora consents. After they lie together, the surgeon gives her what he claims is the disarmament code… but she knows the true code, having overheard him talking in sleep.

Cora swallows her anger at being lied to, in the hopes of preserving her honor by keeping this whole incident secret. She lets the junior surgeon go without challenging his veracity.

After the battle, Kane treats his guests to a meal of good meat and wine, which had been meant for his son Clieg’s wedding ceremony. By custom, CJ Thorpe is served by his slave, the red-haired girl Zena. Prince Luke and R2-D2, hungry after battle, both eat so much that they retire to bed early, without staying after dinner for coffee and cake.

Zena (whose eye is by now healing) is angry at Chuiee, who, as she sees it, failed to rescue her from the slave hunters, and then bought her for his own desires. After the main course, when she brings Chuiee some Somaran coffee from the kitchens, she decides to sneak a sample for herself… which instantly causes her to retch and fall to the floor in convulsions.

The alarmed guests realize at once that the Empire has a spy in Kane’s court. The question is, who is it – and who else was meant to die?

Zena is taken to Kane’s medical bay, where she is purged of the poison and kept overnight for treatment. The others are also given antidotes to the poison, which turns out to have been made from several normally innocuous herbs in lethal combination.

Outside the sickbay, Thorpe and Windy stand guard, discussing the matter. Whoever poisoned the coffee would have expected the drug to be slow-acting, not instantaneous – it was only because Zena had an extremely rare allergy to some of the herbs used by the poisoner that this particular toxin was detected in time.

Such an allergy is extremely uncommon, as Mace knows. “We were lucky,” Thorpe concludes.

“In my experience,” says Mace, “there’s no such thing as luck.”

Just then a commotion arises from the sickbay. Mace and CJ, drawing their laserswords, enter the room – to find the head doctor dead, and the assistant surgeon and Zena both gone. At once they know who the spy is.

They follow the surgeon, as he rushes toward his getaway ship with Zena in tow. In the hangar bay, the two Jedi try to stop the spy from taking off, but their way is blocked – by a female Imperial Colonel with icy blonde hair and one cold blue eye. Her other eye is wrapped with a bloody bandage… from the wound Chuiee gave her earlier.

This is Colonel Bastila Shan, right hand to the Emperor, who has been sent to take over operations in the wake of Owen Lars’ failure to halt the rebel escapees at Gordon.

The Colonel engages the two Jedi in a pitched lightsaber battle. She fights only long enough to allow her comrade to start up their getaway craft, however – at which point she leaps aboard the retracting ramp. The sleek vessel soars into the atmosphere as the two Jedi look on in defeat and bafflement.

One question remains unanswered: why was Zena valuable enough for an Imperial agent to kidnap?

A council of war follows. Kane agrees to send a squad of crack Nortonian troops to assist in the liberation of Aquilae. It is decided that everyone but Chuiee, Cora Sunrider and Jaina Vao will accompany him. Cora and Jaina will remain on Norton II, to protect Kane’s kingdom in his absence… and Chuiee Two Thorpe, at his own insistence, will infiltrate the dungeons of Alderaan itself, where Zena is likely being held prisoner.

Chuiee says that, whether she meant to or not, Zena saved his life. He owes it to her to rescue her, and thus make up for his earlier failure on Ophuchi.

Cora, much to the surprise of the others, insists on accompanying the rebels to battle on Aquilae. Since her father has disowned her, she says, she might as well try to make amends for the cruelty the Sunriders have inflicted on Luke Skywalker’s planet. Her influence may persuade some of the Alderaanian officers to surrender… and if they haven’t yet been revoked, her security clearance codes will certainly be useful. (Of the doomsday device commissioned by Lord Sunrider, though, she says nothing as yet.

The plan, thus amended, is agreed upon. Despite the grudge between their two worlds, Luke finds himself impressed by Cora’s bravery.

Taking the hairy, diminutive alien R2-D2 with him (ostensibly as a servant), CJ Thorpe dresses in a captured Alderaanian uniform, and flies off in a two-man craft for Alderaan. The others take Kane’s personal shuttle—equipped with a cloaking device—and return to Aquilae, taking with them a crack squad of elite Nortonian Rangers – with luck the nucleus of a force to resist the Alderaanian conquerors.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Act V: Scene I

On Aquilae, the rebels make contact with the leaders of the resistance to Alderaanian occupation. Prominent among them is Elora Danan – dark-haired, green-eyed daughter of a nobleman of the Aquilaean Council who was killed in the Alderaan troops’ first attack. Elora says that the Resistance has tried to enlist the green Hubble nomads of the desert in their struggle, but so far to no avail.

Mace knows that every extra human(oid) in the rebel armies could make a difference. Prince Luke says that the Hubble may be willing to reconsider… if he meets with their leader personally. Elora Danan agrees to lead Luke and Cora (by now growing rather attached to one another) to the Hubble nomads’ camp.

The nomad encampment is in the ruins of an abandoned temple, deep in the badlands of Aquilae. Here Prince Luke meets with Han Solo, the Hubble leader.

Han declares that he has no respect for civilized “weaklings” who run from battle. Prince Luke insists that he is not a weakling. Moreover, with the cities of the Bebers mainly subdued, soon the Alderaanian occupiers will turn their attention to the Hubble people. When that happens, he says, their way of life will die out. But help us, Luke argues, and we will guarantee you lands in which to roam over the desert – fertile lands, newly enriched by Beber technology.

Han Solo declares that his prior judgment stands. The Hubble will not help the weak “pinkskins” who all seem alike … unless Luke dares to take him on in a trial of strength and win.

Luke tenses, but he agrees.

The two fight with Hubble ceremonial axes. The duel is long and dramatic, with many flesh wounds inflicted on both sides. Luke falls on his knees, and it seems that Han will have the victory – but suddenly Luke Skywalker jumps up and pins Han to the ground! His feint has won the battle, and Han Solo is impressed.

The leader of the green-skinned Hubble nomads realizes this civilized prince is no weakling after all. Han Solo declares that, for once, he has misjudged. The Hubble will go to war against the Alderaanians after all.

Taking counsel in the ruined temple, the heroes formulate a battle plan.

Most of the Alderaanian troops are in fact robots – not the farcical comic-relief battledroids of The Phantom Menace, but scary silver androids out of THX 1138, silent murderers with uncanny faces. Massed in their full ranks, they could crush the Aquilaean resistance as soon as it declared itself.

So, Mace decides, they must draw this army away from the central city, where Crispin Sunrider now holds court, in the former summer palace of the Aquilaean kings. A force of Hubble nomads will approach the city, and then hang back outside it—standing as a very visible, very tempting target for Lord Sunrider’s soldiers. Han Solo, Kane and Clieg Highsinger, and Elora Danan will command in this battle, with the gangly, hairless C-3PO acting as translator for the various army groups.

Meanwhile, Mace Windy, Prince Luke Skywalker, and Cora Sunrider, will infiltrate the Aquilaean royal palace through the sewer system underground. This massive series of subterranean canals provides water for the cities of Aquilae, and takes waste away for processing. From here, the four rebels will make their way up into Lord Sunrider’s chambers, where Cora hopes she can persuade her father to surrender.

But even if this succeeds, the android army can only be deactivated for good by disabling its control ship, a space station complex floating high in orbit over Aquilae. As most of Kane’s fighter ships were destroyed or damaged in the assault upon Norton II, this will have to be done by the Aquilaean Resistance’s ragtag assembly of fighters – they have experienced crews, but the craft are of questionable reliability.

But, such as it is, this plan represents their best hope of success.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Act V: Scene 2

On Alderaan…

Brushing aside the Alderaanian prison guards as incompetent, soft-hearted fools, Bastila Shan, Colonel of the Imperial Security Forces, takes special charge of Zena’s interrogation. She barely registers a glance as janitorial staff take out the body of the surgeon who betrayed Kane Highsinger—sic semper traditoribus?

Shan—now sporting a glowing red cybernetic eyepiece—wants to know all about Mace’s plans for the subversion of Alderaanian rule. Who are his co-conspirators, and where does he intend to strike next?

Zena’s answer is a wad of spittle on Bastila’s cheek, and a string of choice expletives in low Basic.

Colonel Shan decides Zena needs to be “softened up”. She gestures to her aide, a silent cyborg – who promptly summons nine officers of the Imperial Guard. “I trust you know what to do, Captain,” Colonel Shan says. As the Colonel and her cyborg subaltern leave the room, the leading officer gives her an evil wink.

Meanwhile, CJ Thorpe and R2-D2 arrive at an Imperial landing base on Alderaan. Thorpe sends a video message to a contact in the Alderaanian navy: a brown-haired young officer by the name of Bail Antilles. Captain Antilles agrees to meet Thorpe in one of Alderaan’s many ritzy nightclubs.

In the dungeons, the nine officers exit Zena’s cell, the last of them rearranging his uniform as he steps out. Colonel Shan, now returned, enters to find Zena, now half-naked with her white gown shredded to rags, and all her glorious red hair hacked off.

Unfortunately for the Colonel, Zena is now more recalcitrant than before: she merely stares at her captor in angry silence, but her eyes gleam with a deadly hate.

Colonel Shan gives an order to her aide. “Fetch the electrodes.”

In the nightclub, Thorpe and Bail Antilles meet to discuss Zena’s plight. As Antilles flirts casually with a teal-skinned waitress with a Mohawk of brown hair, Thorpe asks him for the use of his security clearance.

Antilles tells him that it will be difficult to break into the prison without being detected. The Alderaanians have greatly tightened security under the Imperial aegis. He’ll give Thorpe a high-level keycard … but he can’t do more without risking his own position.

Thorpe agrees. It’s a start. The two men get up and leave the bar, but are accosted by a band of ruffians as they go – which Thorpe handles in the same vein as Ben Kenobi in SW 1977 (or Toshiro Mifune in Yojimbo). After paying for “the mess,” they exit the nightclub, crossing the city center’s famed Herald Square toward the direction of the prison.

As Zena writhes in pain under electric torture, Colonel Shan tells her the story behind her glowing red eyepiece…. and how the man who put out her eye was none other than Zena’s rescuer in Tarna, CJ Thorpe.

Thorpe and Artoo enter the prison with relatively little trouble… or so it seems. One guard recognizes Thorpe from a report of the disturbance at the nightclub earlier in the evening. The two disguised Rebels begin to hurry down the corridors.

Artoo stops at a computer terminal, and uses it to discover where Zena is being held – the highest security level of the prison, to which they lack security clearance. There’s no hope for it: CJ will have to go there.

Leaving Artoo behind to seek out a suitable escape craft, CJ uses his lightsaber to overcome as many guards as possible. But soon alarms as ringing, and ray shields go up in front of his path, then behind him.

A great one-sided battle ensues. At first CJ takes out many guards, sustaining only a scratch on one cheek, but eventually the odds tell on him, he is captured. However, the Alderaanians do not recognize him as a Rebel quite yet; they know only that he is the officer who sliced up some people in a bar.

Bail Antilles is summoned to the lower-security area where Thorpe is confined. He looks sadly at his friend, feeling helpless to intervene. The guard outside Thorpe’s cell remarks about how this poor unfortunate is lucky. He’ll probably be sent to 20 years in the spice mines of Kessil. Whereas the princess, on the other hand, at the current rate is going to become cell fodder for the new cloning program…

Hearing these words, Antilles realizes that Alderaan has changed. The old kingdom that he once served is dead.

And in his heart Bail Antilles makes a decision.

In the blink of an eye, Bail’s lightsaber is out; in another second, the prison guard’s head has toppled from his shoulders. Bail releases CJ, and the two head toward the high-security zone where “the Princess” is being held.

Once again Colonel Shan leaves the interrogation room – this time with blood on her gloves. An Imperial courier arrives, with the message that the Emperor has asked for her presence on the space station orbiting Aquilae. It seems the natives are attempting an uprising, which the Emperor wants put down with all speed.

Shan, annoyed at this interruption in her work, nonetheless obeys the Emperor’s orders. She tells her cyborg aide to prepare her personal shuttlecraft: she must reach the Aquilae system as soon as possible. Not that this rebellion will amount to anything, of course—but the Emperor likes devoted servants who step to their tasks with alacrity.

As she leaves, she tells the duty officer, “Process the prisoner… then send her to the oubliettes until I return.”

Not long after Colonel Shan’s departure, Bail and CJ arrive and break into the interrogation room. What they find appalls them: Zena, clad only in a ragged skirt, has had her hair shorn, a prisoner number in Alderaanese branded on her forehead—and her eyes put out, both of them, by Bastila Shan’s awful cruelty.

Zena’s sobs of pain turn to joyful cries when she hears Chuiee’s voice. Tears run from her eye sockets, mingling with the blood on her cheeks. Quickly, Chuiee and Bail free Zena from her restraints, and the three of them make their way to the prison hangar.

By this time, alarms are blaring once again. Colonel Shan’s craft has already departed. The ranking officer in charge of security once more activates ray shields to slow the fugitives’ progress. This time, Bail Antilles uses his officer’s lightsword to cut a hole in the floor, dropping the trio into an air vent.

They wind up in a garbage compactor. The walls begin to close in. CJ radios to Artoo, who hacks into a data terminal and shuts down the power to the garbage units. The heroes emerge, and head onward to the hangar bay, where they reunite with R2.

Knowing the consequences of his treason, Bail decides to go with the others. They take over two 2-person Starfighters – older models, and slower than the likes of Bastila Shan’s high-speed shuttle.

With CJ and Zena in one fighter, and Bail and R2 in the other, the four take off through the closing hangar doors. Soon they are racing up into the space over Alderaan, setting course to rejoin their friends on Aquilae.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Act V, Scene 3

On Aquilae….

The red desert plains teem with Imperial hovertanks, superior to the elephant walkers used by the Alderaanian armies on Norton II. Behind the arrowhead of advancing tanks stand rows upon rows of silver android soldiers, armed with powerful laser cannons.

In the lead tank sits Major Owen Lars, now demoted from supreme command of the occupation force due to his failure at the spaceport of Gordon.

Opposing the tank force are a small elite force of Nortonian soldiers, and a large band of green Hubble warriors, many riding fierce krayt dragons. In general command on this side are Kane Highsinger and Han Solo. Commanding the individual wings of the armies are Kane’s son Clieg; Elora Danan, hot with desire to avenge her father’s death; and a fully armored Aquilaian soldier, who gives his name as Nom Anor, and wears a mask, he says, to hide the hideous facial scars inflicted by Alderaanian torture.

The plan is to draw the Imperial tank force in toward the center wing – commanded by Elora Danan – while the left and right flanks hold back, waiting to spring in once the enemy comes into the trap.

Major Owen Lars is not stupid; he knows this is very likely what the insurrectionists are planning. He radios to general headquarters, in the space station in orbit overhead. The newly promoted General Shan, now Supreme Alderaanian Commander, tells him to advance: no territory must be left in rebel hands by nightfall.

Owen Lars sighs. But the last time he acted on his own initiative, he was demoted; the next time could see him kicked out of the army, if not executed for insubordination. He resolves to carry out General Shan’s orders.

The tanks advance.

Major Lars has his tanks begin firing as they move, then suddenly stop their guns. The Rebels believe their heavy lasers have run out of power. Instead, though, the Imperials were simply conserving their fire – the better to use on the Rebel forces at close range, thereby instilling panic in the opposing army.

Lars also orders jamming equipment activated. The Imperials will not be able to communicate with each other – but the Rebels will have the same problem, and with their forces split, they will have difficulty coordinating their attacks that the Imperials, in a single mass, will not.

The tactic works. With Kane’s headquarters unable to communicate with his flanks, the central wing of the Aquilaean army is devastated, its soldiers either falling where they stand or fleeing in all directions. Only Elora Danan stands at a mounted artillery gun. Crazed with rage and a thirst for vengeance, bereaved first of a father and now her comrades in arms, she fires and fires until the gun grows red hot – and finally explodes. She runs away in time to avoid being incinerated, but the explosion leaves her permanently blinded.

The lead tanks actually get as far as Kane Highsinger’s headquarters tent. As the tanks roll towards his command post, Kane sends his translator, C-3PO, as messenger to Nom Anor’s wing of their army, bearing by hand the directive to fall on the Imperial troops from the rear.

Now Kane and Han Solo draw lots; one of them will go to bear the same message to the flank commanded by Clieg. The other will stay behind and sacrifice their life, buying time for the messages to get through.

Kane wins the toss. He stays behind. The old Jedi cuts down a score of chrome soldiers before he falls.

Han Solo and C-3PO escape to deliver their respective messages. Han tells Clieg that his father died in a manner befitting a Jedi. Tears fall from Clieg’s eyes, but Han tells him that there will be time enough for weeping once the battle is won.

The two wings converge on the central mass of the Imperial army. In the heat of battle, Han Solo finds the blinded Elora helpless on the battlefield, and carries her to a medical tent.

Clieg and Nom Anor find themselves fighting side by side. The new lord of Norton II finds himself impressed with the masked warrior’s prowess. A dying soldier tears Nom’s helmet off as he falls… revealing that “Nom Anor” is actually Clieg’s intended bride, Jaina Vao – defying Kane’s orders by coming to battle on Aquilae in disguise. The two share a moment’s embrace before returning to the fight.

Meanwhile, C-3PO throws rocks at several of the mechanical soldiers, causing their programming to detect each other as threats, and start shooting accordingly, creating friendly-fire casualties.

The battle is going the Rebels’ way…. but if the space station overhead is not activated, reinforcements will soon come. And both sides know it.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Act 5, Scene Four

From all over Aquilae, a ragtag force of ships assembles, soaring into the upper atmosphere. Converging into a coherent flight group, these ships, marked with dazzle camouflage and bearing hand-painted slogans, approach the orbital command center.

So far, however, the station’s defenses are holding. General Shan, confident of victory, orders a wave of Imperial fighters out to battle against the rebel ships.

In the sewers beneath the Imperial Palace, Prince Luke, Princess Cora, and Mace Windy find their advance checked by the attack of a monstrous tentacled creature. The creature’s hide is impervious to blaster bolts; it grabs Cora and draws her toward its slimy, toothed maw.

Mace Windy suffers a brief hesitation, but Prince Luke tells him to fire their blasters at the sewer ceiling. The resulting collapse of the tunnel brings down a heap of debris on the monster, crushing it and allowing Cora to wriggle free. Aside from some bruises, and a tear in her jumpsuit that exposes one breast, she appears unharmed.

The trio continue on, up into the corridors of the palace, which has been largely emptied of soldiers in order to provide reinforcements for the battle on the plains. A few droid troopers provide token resistance, but the palace is eerily quiet for a royal headquarters.

That’s when Cora realizes: The doomsday bomb has been activated. The whole planet is in danger.

In orbit over Aquilae, the two fighters from Alderaan arrive at last, and swiftly alert the other Rebels as to whose side they are really on. In one craft are Bail Antilles and R2-D2. In the other fighter, the blinded Zena flies according to Chuiee’s directions, while he uses the guns to target enemy ships.

Still, the Imperial fighters are too numerous, and it seems that the Rebels will not be able to break down the shields…

…when suddenly, a whole squad of Ophuchi starfighters arrives, and begins firing on the Imperial ships!

Mara Windom radios the Rebels. She’s leading a picked squad of pilots, in defiance of her uncle’s orders to stay at home. Bail Antilles can scarcely contain his delight at having new wingmen in the deadly space battle. While the Ophuchi fighters take on the Imperial small craft, the other Rebels begin pounding the space station’s shield generators.

In the station’s command center, General Bastila Shan orders out the last wave of fighters to defend the complex from the increasingly effective assault.

But to no avail. The deflector shields fall at last… and Bail Antilles and Zena, flying with CJ’s guidance, maneuver their respective craft into a maintenance shaft on the station.

In the Great Hall of the Royal Palace on Aquilae, Mace, Luke, and Cora find themselves facing a trio of enormous four-armed droid warriors… all of which are wielding a lightsaber in each arm. Twelve blades against three…. with a ticking clock.

Mace tells Cora and Luke to run on, into Lord Sunrider’s inner sanctum. He will stay here to fight these terrible mechno-machines. Luke urges him not to do what amounts to committing suicide – but Mace knows, it is necessary to save the world from Sunrider’s mad scheme.

He charges into battle against the three terrible droids…
…and as the wizened Jedi begins his last fight, Luke and Cora take advantage of the distraction to enter the inner sanctum of the Lord of Alderaan.

In the antechamber, seven elite guards, all armed with lightsabers, face off against the two heroes. Cora, never having trained with a lightsaber, runs for cover, while Luke fights against the seven warriors. He fells six of them with ease, but the seventh cuts off his right arm at the elbow.

Luke sinks to his knees in pain. The surviving warrior raises his saber for the kill—and falls dead, struck down by Cora with the blade of a fallen guard.

Luke gets to his feet, sharing a tender embrace with Cora, before the two of them proceed into Lord Sunrider’s study.

When they enter, they find Lord Sunrider standing in front of a window at the far end of the room, with his back to them, staring out at the setting sun. A glowing device counts down numbers on his heavy, ornate marble desk: the doomsday weapon has indeed been activated, Cora says.

Lord Sunrider turns. “Always you’ve had a talent for stating the obvious.”

Cora asks her father why he would do this – throw away his own life and those of everyone else on Aquilae. He launches into a grandiloquent speech about how Alderaan needs breathing room, how it is better to die on one’s feet than live on one’s knees, etc. He says that he can stop the countdown at any time, should the tides of battle turn once again in his favor, but since fortune appears to be going otherwi—

Cora punches in the disarm code, and the device powers down.

Lord Sunrider stares, appalled at his daughter’s treachery. “…How?” he asks.

Cora confesses her tryst with the surgeon on Norton II, as much to clear the air between her and Luke as to annoy her father. She tells him that he has acted very evilly, in preferring to commit suicide and take the entire planet with him, rather than accept an honorable defeat by a valiant enemy.

“The Aquilaeans have no honor,” spits Crispin Sunrider, pulling a laserpistol from the sheath at his hip.

“Where is the honor in buying slaves from a thrall market? Where is the honor in invading a planet without even a declaration of war… or in disowning a child whose only crime was to be kidnapped against her will? No, Father, we… you… are just as dishonorable as they.”

But Cora proves more merciful than her father. She invites him to surrender, him and all his troops, and renounce his secret league with the Emperor of Decarte. If he does that, she says, she will do her best to ensure that he remains on the throne of Alderaan.

“Mercy, is it?” says the Lord of Alderaan. “Very well.”

He raises his pistol, as if to hand it over….

….and shoots Cora once in the eye, burning her face severely.

Luke’s lightsaber hums to life in his left hand, but before he can attack the old man, Lord Sunrider fires three more shots at the great glass window. It shatters, and the high winds suck him out to his certain death.

As the gale wind whips around them, Luke and Cora hold on for dear life to the desk, each with one hand—Luke has only one arm, while Cora’s other hand clutches her ruined eye—until the forcefields kick in and the winds abate.

Luke holds Cora tightly as sobs run down her face. The Lord of Alderaan is dead; the new Lady mourns her father’s passing.

High overhead……

Navigating the perilously twisty innards of the space station (rather like the second Death Star in ROTJ), the two stolen Starfighters come to the central power core.

While Bail Antilles and Zena (flying with Chuiee’s guidance) approach the massive central power core, CJ Thorpe and R2-D2 lock on with proton torpedoes. Directly the torpedoes are launched, the two craft turn around and exit the way they came.

Both barely make it out in time to avoid the massive explosion that follows.

Seconds earlier, in the control room, the cyborg aide asks a question in Robotic chirps to General Bastila Shan, which she answers in Basic Galactic with evident disdain.

“Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances.”

Bastila is very surprised when an explosion rips through the office a few seconds afterward.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Epilogue

The funeral for Mace Windy and Kane Highsinger paid them the honors due to two such noble Jedi Bendu warriors. By the light of the pyres against the moonlit night sky, Bail Antilles and Mara Windom could be seen holding hands.

Colonel Owen Lars was ransomed, and returned to Imperial service. Prince Luke told him that he had fought with honor, and that the Galactic Empire would be a better place with men like him in its ranks.

The Emperor Alexander’s position grew increasingly unstable, and his sons and subordinates began jockeying for position, each hoping to succeed a man who looked increasingly ill-equipped to lead a major galactic power.

A suitable time afterward, a lavish wedding ceremony for King Clieg Highsinger and Jaina Vao was held on Norton II.

Elora Danan joined Han Solo as queen of his tribe of Hubble nomads, roaming through desert lands on Aquilae, now beginning to sprout strange green and blue plant life.

Elora remained blind, for Aquilaean cloning technology could not yet reproduce human eyes; and the only producers of mechanical eyes were Imperial laboratories, whose work remained suspect.

Han Solo had himself lost an arm in the great battle of the Aquilae sand flats, but he refused a prosthesis, arguing that to accept such artificial aid was not “the warrior’s way”. It took a bit of time, but he soon became adept at riding a krayt dragon and shooting a laser-rifle at the same time, though he now had only three hands.

King Luke Skywalker married Princess Cora Sunrider, thereby healing the ancient blood feud between Alderaan and Aquilae.

Luke replaced his lost right arm with a mechanical one of silver, as a way of showing off his valor as a warrior via his injuries in battle. One side of Cora’s face was burned, and one of her brown eyes was now blind, but, like Elora, she had no way of replacing it without turning to hated Imperial devices, which she refused to do.

Bail Antilles remained at King Luke’s court, as his new chief warlord. He married Mara Windom within the year.

Chuiee Two Thorpe was recalled to the capital of the Alliance of Independent Systems, where he took up the position as Warlord to the Chairman that had been vacated by Mace Windy. The scar on his cheek testified to his trial by fire in the Aquilae Affair, as it came to be known.

Chuiee wedded Princess Leia of Aquilae – Luke Skywalker’s sister, whom he had come to know as Zena.

Luke’s mother had given birth to twins, a boy and a girl, but shortly thereafter, one of them had been stolen by an Imperial agent. The agent came to grief, and the babe was sold as a slave to a master who had a reputation as being better than most.

A birthmark on Leia’s upper left arm, recorded at her birth, confirmed her identity – as did her allergy to the poison used on Norton II, a rare disorder shared by others in the Skywalker line.

Her glorious red hair grew back in time, but the prisoner number branded in Alderaanian numerals on Leia’s forehead, and her empty sockets where bright eyes had once been, testified ever afterward to the cruelty of the late Empire under Alexander Xerxes XII.

This suffering was not, however, reflected in Leia’s demeanor – for, she came to be known as one of the best hostesses of the Alliance capital. But under explrt tutelage, she also learned the arts of lightsword combat. Very quickly, despite her blindness, the erstwhile Zena became one of the best duelists in the Alliance, and a worthy partner to Chuiee Thorpe when they went on undercover missions for the Chairman.

As one of the first acts of his reign, Prince Luke dedicated two giant statues, in white marble with gilt adornments, of Kane Highsinger and Mace Windy – the two Jedi who, through the shedding of their blood, made possible the restoration of the Skywalker line to its throne, and perhaps the greatest check on the power of the Galactic Empire in living memory.

And now, though eons have passed and the statues lie partially destroyed through ages of wear by the desert winds, the inscriptions on their pedestals still testify to the high regard these worthy men were held in.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Addenda and Corrigenda

In retrospect, it seems more likely that GL would’ve intended Cora Sunrider to have red hair and green eyes, and wanted blond hair and blue eyes (to match Prince Luke) for Zena/Leia. Leia would also lose her hair permanently to Col. Shan’s torture; in the epilogue she’d wear a wig made from stones of blue crystal (like Vivien Leigh in Caesar and Cleopatra).

Bastila Shan herself was probably meant to have brown hair and blue-gray eyes. She might even have shown up earlier in the film, during the opening sequence set on Yavin – perhaps losing an arm in a duel with Mace Windy, and replacing it with a bulky droid prosthesis in later scenes?

Owen Lars, the Imperial general who leads the invasion of Aquilae, would have had shining silver mechanical eyes, like those of Gary Mitchell in the second Star Trek pilot. These would have given him enhanced vision… but also allowed his superiors to spy on his work (rather like the bionic camera-eye of Steve Austin in Cyborg, the literary version of The Six Million Dollar Man). Gen. Lars would also likely have been missing a couple of fingers on his right hand, akin to Claus von Stauffenberg’s similar real life injury in WWII.

While pleading for Kane Highsinger’s assistance in their cause, Mace Windy would have struck a table in the briefing room, and cracked open the synthetic-skin shell covering his mechanical left arm – a scene that recurs in the three first script drafts of The Star Wars. This would have emphasized Mace Windy’s increasing age and frailty, and foreshadowed his eventual death.

The doctor in King Kane’s service–let’s call him Mir Nash–would, I imagine, be played by a Middle Eastern or Indian actor.

Rethinking this particular bit: Mir Nash, the doctor formerly in the service of Crispin Sunrider, would most likely not have been the one who kidnapped Zena/Leia from the sickbay on Norton II. Instead this would most likely have been Dr. Nash’s assistant & nurse, a white-skinned alien woman of the same race as Jaina Vao – let’s call her something like Aetra Vaan. While Jaina Vao would’ve had pale blue eyes (with tiny pupils and no whites) Aetra’s eyes would have been golden.

Though Doctor Nash would once have been employed on Alderaan (before being poached by King Kane for higher wages), Aetra Vaan would have been a spy working directly for the Empire of Decarte. It would be Aetra who murdered Nash in order to kidnap Leia, and Aetra who was in turn murdered by Colonel Shan as a “reward” for her treachery to her master. (This whole bit is an inversion of Dr. Wellington Yueh’s betrayal in Dune, which the Harkonnens concealed by diverting suspicion onto Paul Atreides’ mother, Lady Jessica.)

Additionally, Mara Windom’s squad of fighter pilots from the big space battle would very possibly have been composed entirely of women, in the spirit of Richard Wagner’s Valkyries. One pair of female pilots in particular would likely have received special focus, as a counterpart to the bickering duo of C-3PO and R2-D2. In my own head they’re a woman of color named Zeeta, and a golden-haired, brown eyed pilot named Halla.

(Speaking of the two not-yet-droids: C-3PO was probably meant as a tall, hairless alien, and R2-D2 as a short, hairy being, a combination reminiscent of Tolkien’s Legolas and Gimli. Let’s say for the sake of conjecture that Threepio was a Sith from the planet Lundee, and Artoo was a Boma from the world of Bestine.)

The film’s epilogue would probably have shown us the capital world of the Alliance – perhaps this was the same planet as Kissel, Chuiee Two Thorpe’s home planet. The Alliance capital was probably a world of snow-capped mountains and grassy plains, rather like the Alderaan of the PT many years later.

The Imperial capital world, by contrast, would have been like Isaac Asimov’s Trantor in Foundation, or the Moon base from Stanley Kubrick’s film version of 2001: a world of sprawling subterranean cities buried beneath a dry, dusty planetary exterior of gray sand and rock. This planet would have been known officially as Anchorhead, but sarcastically called Utapau by the inhabitants. (In the 1975 third draft, Luke’s home planet, Utapau, is known to off-worlders as Sullust.)

Anchorhead would also have had a volcanic moon, Starbuck or the “Blood Moon,” where the Emperor had a private residence at the imposing Castle Gromas, situated amidst a desolate land of vast lava plains and fiery volcanoes. This idea appears again and again in concepts for Darth Vader’s private castle from the making of SW 1977 and ESB, and would resurface into the concept of the Emperor’s underground lair in early drafts of ROTJ. From time to time, the Emperor himself (elderly with a white moustache, like description of Dracula in Bram Stoker’s novel) would have been shown during cut-away scenes, meeting here privately with other actors in this whole affair.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Postscript

I should note that Col. Shan’s method for removing Leia’s eyes was probably by dissolving them, melting them out of her head with the venom of an Acromantula (a giant beaked spider native to Bestine). Naturally this is another reference to Frank Herbert’s Dune series; in particular to the second book, Dune Messiah, where Paul is blinded by an atomic explosion.

Also, General Owen Lars’ wife would probably have a cameo somewhere in the film. This version of Beru Lars was probably meant to have dark hair and blue eyes, rather like Majel Barrett as Number One, first officer of the Enterprise in the first Star Trek pilot from 1964. Beru’s small appearance would have been modeled on the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to Captain Ahab’s wife in Moby Dick.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Afterword

When Chuiee Thorpe arrived on Alderaan, he would’ve landed at an Imperial military base – symbol of the newfound “alliance” between the Empire and Alderaan, with the latter as a decidedly junior partner, or in fact a colony in all but name.

Thus Chuiee would’ve stolen an Imperial uniform for his disguise, rather than an Alderaanian one. This would have led to many Alderaanian officers giving him suspicious looks, seeing him as one of the hated Imperial soldiers to whom they were now expected to kowtow.

This resentment would be the underlying cause of the brawl in the Cantina, with the result that Chuiee (literally) disarms one officer and beheads another. However, as Imperial officers on Alderaan could be tried only in Imperial courts (like in 19th century imperialist colonies, or American troops in Vietnam), Thorpe would not be accountable for his actions in the bar fight… officially.

Later, though, when Chuiee was held captive in the dungeons of Alderaan, his Alderaanian guard would just see him as another typical Imperial soldier, hopped up on power and thinking he could do whatever he liked. As a result, when the surviving officer from the Cantina brawl came to visit Chuiee in prison – along with a couple of friends – all they would have to do is slip the guard some gold, and claim to be the prisoner’s “friends,” to get some extended time alone with Chuiee in his cell.

The net result would be that CJ Thorpe was held down and castrated (in the Chinese fashion, with everything removed). When Bail Antilles found Thorpe, he would be naked with blood-soaked bandages wrapped round his thighs. After Bail freed him, CJ would steal the uniform of his jailor; however, like Lawrence of Arabia in David Lean’s film, blood from his mutilation would seep through his uniform trousers.

By the ending of the film, Thorpe would have received new genitalia grown via Aquilae’s cloning program; however, as the Aquilaean cloners could not reproduce sperm, he would remain sterile.

Though this symbolism might seem crass, it’s in keeping with GL’s thinking at the time – being sterile would link CJ Thorpe thematically not only with Lucas himself, but also with George Washington (cf. the Emperor’s speeches in the 1974 rough draft quoting excerpts from the diary of John Adams). It also fits with the idea of the Empire in SW reflecting the sexless, emotionless dystopian society from THX 1138.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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 (Edited)

Denouement

To reach the ruined temple on Aquilae where Han Solo’s band of green Hubble nomads had taken refuge, the heroes would ride some sort of scaly alien mounts, smaller in size than the fearsome Krayt dragons of the Hubble warrior tribes.

Near the temple, the party would reach an area of soft quicksand, which their beasts of burden would refuse to cross. The quicksand is inhabited by dangerous albino sandworms, roughly the size of large alligators, which enjoy feasting on humans who stumble into their lairs.

Elora Danan would guide the party safely over the quicksand… all except Princess Cora, who would have one leg sucked into the mire, and lose one of the boots of her grey battle jumpsuit to a sandworm before being rescued. Annoyed with the creature, Cora would throw her remaining boot back into the soft quicksand, deciding to go barefoot in order to keep her balance.

The underground resistance on Aquilae, short on uniforms already, would not be able to provide Cora with new boots – meaning she’d have to walk barefoot in the slime of the underground sewers, rather like the shoeless American troops in the winter snows at Valley Forge.

I should also mention that, while I’ve described the Ophuchi racing craft earlier as podracer-type vehicles, in reality they were probably more like the speeder bikes of ROTJ, or swoop bikes from Shadows of the Empire.

Plus, I imagine that while he was still officially an Alderaanian officer, Bail Antilles would wear a mustache (a fashion influenced by Alderaan’s increasing links with the Empire), only to shave it off after defecting to Aquilae. This is an allusion to how during the First World War, the British Army required all its troops to grow mustaches… until 1916, that is, when the requirement was repealed because the men being drafted into service were so young they couldn’t grow any decent-looking facial hair.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Exit Music

When Luke and Cora walked into the antechamber of the royal palace on Aquilae, four of Lord Sunrider’s seven guards would restrain Cora, while three others engaged Prince Luke in combat. Cora, fighting against her captors, would struggle hard enough for them to knock out two of her teeth.

Once Luke had taken down his opponents, the other guards would rush to confront the Prince of Aquilae – after knocking Cora out with a gun-butt to the back of the head. Fortunately, Cora would wake up in time to grab the lightsaber of a fallen guard, just as Luke (now disarmed) was having difficulty in his battle with the last soldier.

In the film’s finale, Cora would have two gold teeth – a display of her battle wounds, similar to King Luke’s silver arm. This also has Biblical symbolism, alluding to the 30 pieces of silver received by Judas Iscariot as the price for his betrayal of Jesus.

PS: Forget the albino sandworms in the quicksand on Aquilae. Quicksand is threatening enough.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Deleted Scenes

During the opening sequence on Yavin, as part of his payment for delivering the shipment of fusion portables (and protecting the local Wookees from marauding Imperial trappers), Chuiee Thorpe would receive from the Wookees a precious gift: distilled essence of the fruit of the Blackleaf tree.

This tree’s golden-colored fruit has marvelous curative properties: in particular, it can cause extremely rapid healing when applied to flesh wounds. Thus far the fruit is known to grow only on Yavin, making the Wookees’ gift to Thorpe extremely valuable, and a show of their great esteem for him.

During the climactic escape from the dungeons of Alderaan, Leia/Zena would be shot in the throat by a blaster bolt from a stormtrooper’s gun. However, her life would be saved when Chuiee (who had planned to use it for his own serious injuries, but only after escaping) poured the blackleaf fruit essence first in her mouth, then onto the wound in Leia’s throat.

Although Leia’s wound would heal, saving her life, the drug would have one unusual unanticipated side effect of the drug: Leia’s skin would turn entirely bone-white from head to toe, and her teeth would be stained black, like those of a traditional Japanese geisha.

In the finale, Leia would be seen wearing a wig made of blue precious stones, crafted by the Sith of Lundee (C3PO’s species). She would also have new prosthetic eyes, a metallic bronze in color with pin-point pupils and no whites (made by the Bomas of Bestine, Artoo-Detwo’s homeworld).

Additionally, while Leia’s wound would heal, the injury would have taken away her voice. General Owen Lars, captured in the Battle of Aquilae, would ransom his freedom by paying for the Boma to make her a special (ie, unbugged) voice-box implant – outwardly visible as a small red Lundeean jewel protruding from Leia’s throat, which lit up with inner fire whenever she “spoke”. Remote speaker units at strategic locations would receive pulses from the jewel, and translate Leia’s thought-waves into spoken sentences, giving her a tinny, mechanical-sounding voice akin to a female version of Robby the Robot.

CJ Thorpe would carry one such speaker in portable form: a small silver baton hanging on his belt, which doubled as a badge of office for his role as Prince Consort/Lord Protector. This would look like the comlinks in SW 1977 – but it’s also a precessor to the lightsaber of modern SW, since in 1973 GL apparently still thought of “laserswords” as permanent full-length solid blades charged with energy, worn in sheaths like regular swords.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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PPS: I should note that in the JOTW script (in contrast to the '74 rough draft), it’s likely Aquilae’s cloning program was still in very early stages – as yet doing little more than making human skin cells and suchlike. This was the consequence of Aquilaean scientists having just begun to break the galactic taboo on cloning research in the wake of the Clone Wars (a conflict analogous to Dune's Butlerian Jihad). As a result of the long moratorium on the use of cloning technology, Aquilaean prosthetics for wounded combat veterans would take the form of mechanical parts covered by a synth-skin shell.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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I’m going to sound like a complete greenie here, but where did you get the information for this!? I mean, it’s utterly fascinating, but the most I’ve ever seen of this is a single page printed in this book I have. Is there more in a Rinzler book, or…?

I’m just here because I’m driving tonight.

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Imaginative reconstruction, and a lot of reading and watching pre-1977 books, comics, and movies.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Or the secret mind reading powers of the Bavarian Illuminiati. You pick. 😉

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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ATMachine said:

Imaginative reconstruction, and a lot of reading and watching pre-1977 books, comics, and movies.

In which case, it’s very impressive indeed!

I was simply under the impression that the original “Journal of the Whills” was a first-person two-page setup story. I’m working on a transcript of the single released page, and it is pretty interesting. Though if I’ve learned anything by looking at both that and the Empire Strikes Back treatment; Lucas is a terrible speller.

I’m just here because I’m driving tonight.

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Only two pages of full narrative for the JOTW were ever written, but GL had evidently more in mind, judging by his outlines of people and places meant to appear in the film. I’ve tried to follow those as best I could, filling in the gaps by reference to the stuff he would’ve seen and associated with each particular locale/character/etc.

As for typing up the single known JOTW page, I’m way ahead of you.

Agreed that the GL of the 1970s was a terrible speller. (In fact, at least one SW book I’ve seen has digitally altered the first page of the ESB treatment to correct some of his misspelled words! Special Editionism goes deep…)

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Tack said:

Lucas is a terrible speller.

Pfft. “Lizard” should be spelled with double "L"s and everyone knows it.

[JEDIT]

That should be “double 'Z’s”. *d’oh*

“I am a writer. Therefore, I am not sane.”

― Edgar Allan Poe

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ATMachine said:

Only two pages of full narrative for the JOTW were ever written, but GL had evidently more in mind, judging by his outlines of people and places meant to appear in the film. I’ve tried to follow those as best I could, filling in the gaps by reference to the stuff he would’ve seen and associated with each particular locale/character/etc.

As for typing up the single known JOTW page, I’m way ahead of you.

Agreed that the GL of the 1970s was a terrible speller. (In fact, at least one SW book I’ve seen has digitally altered the first page of the ESB treatment to correct some of his misspelled words! Special Editionism goes deep…)

Whoa, I was WAY off. Somehow instead of Kissel I got Rinel! (which I thought was a perfectly good planet name, but whatever…)

That’s just hilarious, too. I can only hope he caught some of his typos when he typed it up. Otherwise Brackett was probably scratching her head trying to figure out what he meant.

I’m just here because I’m driving tonight.