Recently a supposed shooting script for the original Star Wars movie found it’s way into the hands of internet journalists who proclaimed that it was definitive proof of the never ending discussion of who really did shoot first. Now the discussion surrounding that scene is a column all unto itself, that is not our focus today. This alleged original script (there are questions surrounding it’s authenticity) shows us in many ways how the saga we all know and love has grown and changed over the years.
When the “news” broke surrounding this script I was immediately skeptical of it’s claims. First, I know that the film we now know as A New Hope was going through revisions all the way up to and past it’s initial premiere. I know that during shooting many things changed in the story. In the original script for example, Obi-wan lived and escaped the Death Star with Luke and Han. So, I immediately question anyone or anything that cites this as a gospel truth.
Each film in the saga has undergone numerous changes and revisions. The original changed so much from it’s inception that Dark Horse Comics published an adaptation of the first draft in 2014. Entitled The Star Wars, this story included General Luke Skywalker, Deak Starkiller, Jedi bendu knights and a Darth Vader who was not Anakin Skywalker.
Walt Disney once said that “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” Star Wars is much the same.
At last count I’ve owned or purchased the original Star Wars movie 8 times through various formats and edits. Of those 8 versions I have 5 different official cuts of the film and one fan edit. That doesn’t cover all the different versions of the movie that have existed throughout it’s history. I always come back to this when I hear people clamoring for the “original, unaltered” cuts of the original trilogy. Which version do you mean? There were at least 3 different cuts of the film in 1977 alone.
While I do not love every single change that has happened over the years, and I continue to be baffled why some things are changed while other scenes are not. There is little I can do about it. As much as we want to claim ownership over Star Wars it doesn’t belong to us. We have no right to tell the creator what to do with his art than we would to tell a painter what and how they should paint.
George Lucas described movie making as “Movies are never finished, only abandoned.” He was of course paraphrasing Leonardo Da Vinci “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” Through the changes it remains alive in the heart of it’s creator and through that it remains alive in the hearts of us, the fans.