I'm bringing over another SW analysis thread that got no takers at TFN, hoping you lot will be more appreciative. :)
Here's the first post, about the visuals of the ANH first draft.
Ralph McQuarrie is pretty justly famous for his illustrations of the SW universe; without his paintings George Lucas would never have gotten the green light to make a crazy science-fiction movie. But McQuarrie only came on board the production when Lucas was busy writing the second draft of ANH. The first draft, however, was a very different script with a lot of different ideas.
Since no artists ever worked on illustrating Lucas's 1974 first draft, we're left to imagine what he intended from his own words on the page. That's what I want to do in this post.
A brief plot summary:
The peaceful, benevolent Galactic Empire of past millennia is no more. In the wake of the "Jedi Rebellion," the "New Galactic Empire" has outlawed the ancient order of Jedi Knights, and has created the Knights of the Sith in order to hunt down any remaining Jedi. As the story begins, the evil Emperor Cos Dashit is launching an invasion of the peaceful desert planet Aquilae, the last independent system in the Galaxy. Two fugitive Jedi, Kane Starkiller and his son Annikin, arrive on Aquilae just as the Imperial invasion begins, where they meet Kane's old friend General Luke Skywalker, warlord to Aquilae's King Kayos.
General Skywalker wants to launch a preemptive attack on the Empire, but gets authorization too late. Kayos is killed (in a nuclear blast) and a space assault on the chief Imperial battle station proves abortive, due to political treachery. Annikin Starkiller, now apprenticed to Skywalker, rescues Kayos's daughter, Princess Leia Aquilae, and captures two droids that have fled the space battle overhead. (A relationship develops between Annikin and Leia, the forerunner of Han Solo's tempestuous wooing of Senator Leia Organa.) Reuniting with General Skywalker, they make their way to a spaceport, where they are joined by the alien Han Solo. Their initial goal is to find a ship and travel to Ophuchi, to solicit the aid of "the chrome companies" in throwing off the Imperial occupation. Leia travels with her two young brothers, Biggs and Windy; Kane Starkiller, who is mostly mechanical, dies when he rips out his cyborg power unit, in order to power the cryogenic tubes keeping the young boys safe and quiet during the dangerous journey.
General Valorum, a Knight of the Sith, tries to lay a trap for the fugitives at the spaceport of Gordon, but they escape and steal a starship, heading deep into space. Taking damage in an asteroid belt, they crash-land on the jungle planet Yavin. Here Leia is kidnapped and taken back to the space fortress orbiting Aquilae. Starkiller and Skywalker meanwhile befriend the natives of the planet, the furry "Wookees," and with the aid of the Jedi, the Wookees capture the planet's Imperial outpost. Starkiller takes a starship and flies to the fortress above Aquilae, where he masquerades as a stormtrooper in an attempt to free Leia, but is captured.
Valorum, now reduced to the rank of an ordinary stormtrooper, switches sides after an impassioned appeal to his honor by Starkiller, and frees the young Jedi. Together they rescue the Princess. Meanwhile, General Skywalker has been training the Wookees to fly four-man Imperial starfighters. They lead an attack on the space fortress over Aquilae, and destroy it just as the heroes aboard escape in life-pods. Annikin and Leia kiss. The final scene of the film is Queen Leia receiving the two droids, R2D2 and C3PO, in her throne room in the Palace, commending them to the service of Annikin Starkiller, now her consort and "Lord Protector of Aquilae." General Skywalker and General Valorum also hold places of honor in her entourage.
Lucas subsequently produced a slightly tweaked version of this draft, changing virtually nothing except for most of the character names.
But this wasn't the first version of the story.
In notes for an earlier iteration, known as the Journal of the Whills, there were two major powers in the Galaxy--the Alliance of Independent Systems and the Galactic Empire--as well as other smaller, neutral star systems. The relationship could best be described as a sort of Galactic Cold War. The Jedi-Bendu master Mace Windy and his apprentice CJ Thorpe, both in the service of the Alliance, would travel to the desert planet Aquilae, which had been invaded by a neighboring "Border System" with secret aid from the Empire. The job of the Jedi would be to protect Prince Luke Skywalker (heir to Aquilae's King Annakin Starkiller), and to end the Border System's occupation--but without overt Alliance aid, so as to avoid turning the Galactic Cold War hot.
Alongside the "Bebers" (humans) of Aquilae, there were the "Hubble people," an alien race also inhabiting the desert planet. Their leader was to be Han Solo, and the Jedi would need his help to retake Aquilae. Lucas also wanted to visit other planets during the film: Yavin, a jungle planet; Norton II, an ice planet; and Ophuchi, a gaseous cloud planet with "lovely women." We would also see Alderaan, a fully built-over city-planet, the "capital of the Border System" that invades Aquilae.
The basic plot of the outline, with its suggestion of adventures on a desert planet, and conspiratorial invasion plots, is very much taken from Frank Herbert's Dune, mirroring the invasion by House Harkonnen (with secret aid from the Padishah Emperor) of the Atreides family base on desert planet Arrakis. The Hubble aliens, however, seem drawn from the John Carter of Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs--about which more below. The political situation with the Galactic Cold War is an analogy for Vietnam: America is the Evil Empire and its puppet state is a South Vietnam analogue, while the heroic defenders of Aquilae represent the North Vietnamese. (So said Lucas himself, at any rate.)
In between the Journal of the Whills and the first draft script, Lucas produced a story synopsis in 1973, which was strongly influenced by Akira Kurosawa's film The Hidden Fortress. It eliminated the JOTW characters of Mace Windy and his Jedi apprentice, and introduced instead General Skywalker and the Princess of Aquilae (replacing Prince Luke). Lucas would ultimately combine the two sets of characters in his first draft.
The youthful hero of the first draft is "ANNIKIN STARKILLER, a tall, heavy-set boy of eighteen." We never get much description of him, but we do learn that his younger brother Deak (who dies early on) "is ten years old, with dusty blond hair." Thus it's quite possible that Annikin too has blond hair, likely along with blue eyes, just like Lucas's childhood hero Flash Gordon.
Annikin's father Kane Starkiller wears "his long hair tied in an odd bun on the top of his head." We later see that Annikin also "wears the distinctive Kessilian hair knot." Kane explains at one point that he and Annikin have been hiding from the Empire in the Kessil star system, so it seems they've adopted the haircut of the civilization there. However, this distinctive hair bun is rather clearly borrowed from Japanese samurai hairstyles:
Toshiro Mifune in samurai garb, complete with haircut
Note the very similar hairstyle given to Obi-Wan Kenobi in this early TPM concept painting by Doug Chiang:
So, given the samurai influence on the characters of Kane and Annikin, it's equally possible that Annikin has dark hair. (Rather like Paul Atreides from Dune and John Carter from the Barsoom novels.)
It's worth noting that the idea of Jedi with distinctive samurai-esque hairstyles probably dates from the Journal of the Whills treatment, where the only Jedi are Mace Windy and his apprentice CJ Thorpe, who work for the Alliance of Independent Systems--there is no Jedi character in service to the King of Aquilae. Lucas added General Skywalker and Princess Leia (replacing Prince Luke Skywalker, heir to Aquilae's King Annakin Starkiller in the JOTW) when he took plot elements from Akira Kurosawa's film The Hidden Fortress.
As noted above, the concept of Jedi with distinctive hairstyles would also resurface in TPM, where it evolved into the Padawan braids. In early TPM concept art Obi-Wan even has a samurai topknot:
Also worth mentioning, though, is that in the notes for this first draft script, Lucas did not make Kane Annikin's father. Rather, "Kane Highsinger" was to be Annikin's Jedi mentor until his death midway through the film. Presumably their relationship would mirror that of Mace Windy and CJ Thorpe.
We're told that Annikin's other Jedi mentor, General Luke Skywalker, "is a large man, apparently in his early sixties, but actually much older. Everyone senses the aura of power that radiates from this great warrior. Here is a leader: a JEDI general. He looks weary, but is still a magnificent looking warrior. His face, cracked and weathered by exotic climates, is set off by a close silver beard, and dark, penetrating eyes." ("Early sixties" was changed to "early forties" in a revised version of this draft.) A similar description was used for Ben Kenobi in Draft 3 of ANH, and for Draft 2 hero Luke Starkiller's father, the aged Jedi warrior known only as The Starkiller. The Starkiller, however, has "penetrating gray-blue eyes" instead of General Skywalker's and Ben Kenobi's dark eyes, which suggests that the young Annikin/Luke character has blue eyes as well.
(Incidentally, Lucas really likes blue-eyed heroes; his TPM shooting script specified this about both Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, and his early notes on the young Anakin's personality for the prequels also state that Anakin should have blue eyes.)
Leia, who is fourteen years old in this early version, has "long auburn hair tied in braids" and blue eyes. Her hair color is probably derived from that of Princess Aura in Flash Gordon, specifically as described in the FG tie-in novel The Lion Men of Mongo (written by Ron Goulart under the pseudonym Con Steffenson). Also notice the mention of braids--was this the first indication of Leia's famous cinnamon-bun hairdo?
Flash Gordon and Queen Fria of Frigia, from Alex Raymond's Sunday comic strip
Flash and Queen Desira of Tropica. Combine Fria and Desira--do you get Leia Aquilae?
In this early draft C3PO is described as "chrome" in color, instead of "bronze" as he would be in later drafts. This probably reflects the influence of the Maria robot from Fritz Lang's Metropolis.
The Robot Maria
In the first draft C3PO has the silver color Robot Maria possessed on screen. In fact, the Metropolis robot costume was actually painted bronze on set; Lucas probably learned this and adjusted his description of C3PO accordingly.
Monochrome concept art of C3PO by Ralph McQuarrie
The spaceships of Aquilae that fight against the Imperial space fortress are described as "six silver spacecraft" with two men in each (a pilot and a gunner). This concept would be reused in the designs of Naboo fighters for TPM; in fact, the first draft script of TPM had Padme and Anakin together flying a sleek two-person spacecraft in the orbital battle.
Silver Naboo starfighters seen in early TPM production paintings by Doug Chiang
The captured Imperial spaceships flown by the Wookees in the final battle, on the other hand, are rather different. They carry a crew of four (including a "tail gunner"), and nine of them (in three squads of three) go up against the Imperial space fortress. The ships have been customized, though, so as to be easily distinguished from their opponents' craft: "Nine gleaming starships sit in a row along the edge of the vast jungle runway. Bizarre and colorful Wookee designs have been painted across the large deflector fins of the spacecraft. Some designs transform the ships into huge and grotesque animals, while others create unique mosaic patterns."
This last description reminds me very much of the work of British SF artist Chris Foss, whose designs feature brightly colored spaceships painted with World War I "dazzle camouflage" patterns:
Imagine that in a Star Wars movie!
The imperial space fortress itself is never described in great detail, but it doesn't have the world-shattering power of a Death Star. It must have been more akin to the Trade Federation battle droid control ship in TPM.
Han Solo, an alien friend of General Skywalker, is described as "a huge, green-skinned monster with no nose and large gills." His character was carried over from the Journal of the Whills treatment, in which he was the leader of an alien race on Aquilae (obviously the forerunner of the Gungans).
Jar Jar Binks with green skin in an early Doug Chiang painting
However, the description of Solo and "the Hubble people" in the JOTW notes very much recalls the Green Martians of Edgar Rice Burroughs's Barsoom series.
A Green Martian of Barsoom, AKA Mars
The Green Martians, giant four-armed sentient aliens, are warlike in nature and do not get along well with the more human-like Red Martians who also inhabit Mars. The series' hero, John Carter, must teach the Green and Red Martians to fight together against their common enemies; ultimately both Green and Red Martians unite to proclaim him Warlord of Mars.
Aquilae, the predecessor of Tatooine, has twin suns. (Intriguingly, in the 1973 story synopsis, it is described as "blue-green" when seen from space--an idea inconsistent with its status as a desert planet.) In the revised version of the first draft, it also now has a green sky, mentioned repeatedly. This is of course based on the green sky of desert planet Altair IV in Forbidden Planet.
Concept art for the green sky in Forbidden Planet
In the revised first draft Yavin's sky is described as "a strange light brown color."
The Journal of the Whills described Alderaan, the capital of the "Border System," as a city-planet in the vein of Trantor from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. But in the first draft, where Alderaan is the capital of the Empire, it is a cloud city on a gaseous world, similar to Bespin in ESB--an idea ultimately taken from the "Sky City of the Hawkmen" in Flash Gordon. (This idea would be retained through the third draft of ANH, in which Alderaan became an Imperial prison planet.)
Kane Starkiller wears "the distinctive robes of a Jedi." In the script's opening we see a seven-foot-tall Sith warrior "in black robes and a face mask." (The face mask is necessary to breathe on this particular world, the barren Fourth Moon of Utapau. Annikin also wears one when he ventures outside.)
When Annikin "ignites his lasersword," it "creates an eerie red glow." There is never any other blade color described--presumably all lightsabers glow red.
Howard Chaykin's poster art for ANH, with all lightsabers glowing red
The uniforms of Aquilae are white: we see, for instance, "the flowing white robes of the Aquilaean military." Later on, Annikin Starkiller "is now dressed in the white uniform of the Aquilaean starforce" (though still with samurai topknot). Likewise, the pilots of Aquilae's starfighters wear a "distinctive circle and cross medallion on their white space suits."
However, the Empire of course has "gleaming black uniforms" and its generals wear a "black and grey uniform." As a Sith Knight, Valorum wears "the fascist black and chrome uniform of the legendary Sith One Hundred." So we can clearly tell who the good guys and bad guys are. :P
“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”