Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Star Wars

The Star Wars; J.W. Rinzler & Company (Dark Horse Books; 2014; ISBN 978-1616553807).

Before there was Star Wars or Star Wars IV: A New Hope, there were a few mentions of The Star Wars in the pages of Starlog (then a new print magazine) and Newsweek (then still a print magazine) featuring a brief plot rundown and some artwork by Ralph McQuarrie (who I had encountered in the past as an illustrator for news coverage of the Apollo missions).

The plot outline was enough to excite me that when we were asked to do a fiction piece in English class in high school, I wrote my version of the movie, based on nothing more than those few sentences.

Several months before the movie came out, I spotted a novelization (with a fantastic cover by Ralph McQuarrie) and grabbed it (the odd thing is, well before we learned that Alan Dean Foster wrote this, I figured he was involved just from a few odd Fosterian phrasings). The plot was different from the summaries and the artwork. Where, for example, did all the laser swords (now called light sabers) that the stormtroopers were carrying go?

Now we know. Working from early concept art and an early script, J.W. Rinzler and a hosts of artists have recreated that first vision and what a strange trip it is. Multiple attacks by the Death Star. Many laser sword battles, including those laser sword-wielding stormtroopers. A wookie planet. Han Solo that is not human. And...if you thought the dialogue was wince-inducing at times in what you saw on the screen...some really wince-inducing dialogue.

Thumbs up to Rinzler and Company for undertaking this effort. What might have been!

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