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.
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.
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.
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.”