When Star Wars creator George Lucas first started building his now-iconic space opera franchise in the 1970s, nobody knew quite what the film industry was in for.
Certainly, studios were skeptical of the movie — then titled Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars — and when Lucas and producer Gary Kurtz finally inked a deal with 20th Century Fox (now Disney’s 20th Century Studios), they discovered there was no special effects department to assist during production.
The writing was another issue altogether. Many now credit Lucas’s ex-wife, Marcia, with saving the script and giving Star Wars fans the theatrical cut of Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) that we now know and love.
But, unsurprisingly, there still exists a “Lucas cut” — much like the much-covered “Snyder cut” Zack Snyder’s Justice League — of the original Star Wars movie. The Lucasfilm Archives own a copy of Lucas’s first opening crawl for the movie and the six paragraphs of text are much different than what moviegoers saw on theater screens in 1977.
The original opening crawl reads:
The Republic Galactica is dead. Ruthless trader barons, driven by greed and lust for power, have replaced enlightenment with oppression and “rule by the people” with the FIRST GALACTIC EMPIRE.
Until the tragic Holy Rebellion of “06”, the respected BENDU OF ASHLA were the most powerful warriors in the Universe. For a hundred thousand years, generations of Jedi Bendu knights learned the ways of the mysterious FORCE OF OTHERS, and acted as the guardians and peace and justice in the REPUBLIC.
Now, these legendary warriors are all but extinct. One by one they have been hunted down and destroyed by a ferocious rival sect of mercenary warriors: THE BLACK KNIGHTS OF THE SITH.
It is a period of civil wars. The EMPIRE is crumbling into lawless barbarism throughout the million worlds of the galaxy. Fro the celestial equator to the farthest reaches of the GREAT RIFT, seventy small solar systems have united in a common war against the tyranny of the Empire.
Under the command of a mighty Jedi warrior known as THE STARKILLER, the REBEL ALLIANCE has won a crushing victory over the deadly Imperial Star Fleet.
The Empire knows that one more such defeat will bring a thousand more solar systems into the rebellion and Imperial control of the Outlands could be lost forever…
In contrast, the final opening crawl that every Star Wars fan has seen time and time again reads, much more succinctly:
It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.
During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.
Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy.…
While the reported “Lucas cut” has never been officially released (for better or worse), That Hashtag Show noted that references to Lucas’s original vision for Star Wars have been seen throughout the Star Wars story over the course of the last 40 years:
The name “Bendu,” for example, was one Dave Filoni revisited in Star Wars Rebels. Likewise, “Ashla” is the pseudonym Ahsoka Tano used following Order 66.
The Black Knights of the Sith, who “hunted down and destroyed” the Jedi, of course became the Inquisitors in canon storytelling. We’re sure there’s a touch of the Knights of Ren in the there, too. Yes, it seems that there was a lot that went into the Star Wars Lost Cut.
From the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which Lucas worked on with Dave Filoni, to Disney’s divisive sequel trilogy, it’s clear that Lucas’s fingerprints have remained all over the Star Wars universe.
The Skywalker Saga — featuring icons Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), and Princess General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) — officially ended with Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019), leading into a new era for the Star Wars galaxy.
As the Star Wars franchise continues to move forward with The Mandalorian saga and other series on Disney+ and in theaters, it will be interesting to see whether or not “the Force” behind a galaxy far, far away continues to be a major factor in the future — and, if any more of his wild original ideas surface in the existing Star Wars canon.
Would you like to see the “Lucas cut” of the first Star Wars film?