Dark Horse Returns to the Origins of Lucas’ Vision with THE STAR WARS

Amidst a minefield of April Fools chicanery, Dark Horse made a tantalizing announcement that turns out to be genuine. Star Wars has enjoyed a long and storied history since 1977’s A New Hope, but the publisher is delving back even further for its next major adaptation of George Lucas’ celebrated space opera. No, it’s not another tale from the Old Republic. It’s not even a point on the Star Wars timeline as we know it. This galaxy exists as far away and long ago as 1974, when Lucas first imagined a mythic journey he called “The Star Wars.”


J.W Rinzler and Mike Mayhew are set to realize the adventures of Annikin Starkiller in a comic adaptation of “The Star Wars,” an early draft of the iconic story. My own experience with this surprisingly divergent iteration of the story probably goes back to my poring over Ballantine Books’ Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays back in 1997. Throughout the familiar beats, an editor described Lucas’ wildly different visions for Han Solo and Luke Skywalker from his original concept and a storytelling device called “The Journal of the Whills.”

Lucas wrote:

“Originally, I was trying to have the story be told by somebody else; there was somebody watching this whole story and recording it, somebody probably wiser than the mortal players in the actual events. I eventually dropped this idea, and the concept behind the Whills turned into the Force. But the Whills became part of this massive amount of notes, quotes, background information that I used for the scripts; the stories were actually taken from the ‘Journal of the Whills’.”

The idea has long been a source of fascination, much like Vincent Ward’s notorious wooden planet draft of Alien 3. Now it’s coming to fruition, courtesy of Dark Horse, still the stewards of he Star Wars mythos in comics for the forseeable future.

It all starts in September.

APRIL 1, MILWAUKIE, OR–It’s no April Fools’ prank! Dark Horse is honored to announce a dream project: working with J.W. Rinzler, executive editor at LucasBooks, and artist Mike Mayhew (Avengers) to adapt the rough-draft original screenplay which spawned the biggest franchise in film history!

Three years before his 1977 film, George Lucas put down on paper his first story set in a galaxy far, far away—a tale of fantastic adventures, daring escapes, “lazer swords,” romance, and monsters. A story of Jedi Annikin Starkiller and General Luke Skywalker, an alien named Han Solo, and evil Sith Knights. The screenplay was titled The Star Wars!

“I’m not sure where I first read about The Star Wars—it was years and years ago—but the idea of Luke Skywalker being an older Jedi General, and Han Solo being a six-foot-tall lizard, turned my Star Wars fan brain on its side,” said longtime Star Wars editor Randy Stradley. “I always assumed this would be one of those stories that would be ‘lost to history,’ so getting to work on bringing it to life is kinda like a dream come true.”

“While researching in the Lucasfilm Archives I’ve found many treasures—but one which truly astounded me was George’s rough draft for The Star Wars. His first complete imaginings were hallucinating to read—mind blowing,” said writer J.W. Rinzler. “While working with George on another book project, I once asked if we could adapt his rough draft. He was hesitant. Years later, with Dark Horse’s invaluable help, we showed him a few drawn and colored pages of what it might look like. He gave us the okay.”

Originally conceived in 1974, The Star Wars has been the subject of rumor and legend in the fan community throughout the history of the galaxy far, far away. Now, Lucas has seen fit to grant Dark Horse the right to adapt this fabled story into an eight-issue comic series launching in September!


  1. Mickey (@GeeksOfChrist) says:

    I assumed this was an April Fool’s joke when I saw this yesterday. VERY excited for this comic.
    Just a few weeks ago I reread one of Lucas’ earlier drafts (the one I have is from 1974) and imagined ways it could be adapted. Good timing!

  2. Woah, I’ll definetly be picking this up.

  3. I’m looking forward to this

  4. This sounds very interesting. I might check this out!

  5. This feels like one of those “Just because we can doesn’t mean we should” moments, doesn’t it? I mean, I get the impetus and can even understand why people would want this, but… yikes. Star Wars is such a strong brand that someone thinks even the first draft can print cash. Just feels dirty for some reason. I guess I’d rather just see the script and some notes and be able to read it like a text than as a fully formed story since it’s creators initially moved on from it and sharpened things up again. Maybe I’ll be the lone dissenter though.

    I do hope people enjoy it. The art looks gorgeous.

    • Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Strongly disagree. It’s so different from the 1977 film that it’s practically another property. It’s also an adaptation of the script from a new creative team, so they’re bringing something to the table as well.

      And remember, if history’s taught us anything it’s that the further along the editing and post-editing and re-editing process Star Wars got, the worse the experience. So, logic suggests going in the opposite direction… 😉

    • Haha. Fair enough Paul. I guess my reaction mostly stems from from other recent entertainment trends. I feel like we’re seeing franchises and nothing but. I understand the business all but demands that right now, but it’s still a bit sad to see. A bit too much clinging on to the past, not enough looking forward. Ya know?

    • I think this is fine to do. It gets a historical document about one of the greatest movie franchises in history to more people. I wouldn’t worry about the non-canon place it will fit in. There’s been a history of Elseworlds style Star Wars comics with stuff like the Infinities line.

    • Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I get that, but I think the current landscape — at least in comics — is pretty healthy for original concepts. And the licensed properties aren’t doing too bad either. There’s plenty of merit in delivering a thoughtful new spin on an older property.

    • @david – Oh, I’m not even slightly bothered or interested in what kind of canon or non-canon space this story occupies. No worries there.

      @Paul – You’re right about comics being full of some awesome original concepts right now. Maybe I’m just being a worry-wort.

  6. This sounds interesting. I remember being fascinated by the original concepts as a kid. It’s always cool to see how a story evolves in the mind of its creator over time. I’ll give it a go.

  7. I’m into this.

  8. Count me in.

  9. I’m excited for this too. Kinda feels like the “Tale Of Sand” adaptation a little. A postscript on the creative process, or something… I’m interested to see how much the concepts evolved over time, maybe more so than the actual product. At least from the page they’ve been showing off, it looks a LOT more traditional sci-fi (maybe just from the clothing style).

  10. “Ugh, God. What a cash grab… wait. Where do I know the name J.W. Rinzler from?… oh. OH. Change of plans! Something new for the pull list.”

    This guy’s books about Star Wars and Empire are the only things you need to see on those subjects. He knows this stuff inside and out.

  11. Sounds good to me. I’m in.

  12. Effn’ awesome!

  13. Weird. I thought Dark Horse already did a Flash Gordon book.