Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the ninth feature film in the Star Wars universe, debuts in theaters this weekend. It, along with all the other sequels and prequels, multiple TV series, video games, stacks of novels, and myriad Star Wars toys and pieces of miscellany, were the result of the surprise success of the 1977 original film, which has retroactively been retitled A New Hope.
Lucas worked for years on the concepts and the universe of Star Wars, drafting and re-drafting his first script multiple times. In 1975, Lucas met with the artist and designer Ralph McQuarrie, asking him to create concept art for his film. His drawings helped Lucas get funding from 20th Century Fox to film Star Wars, and McQuarrie’s work helped solidify the look and feel of Lucas’ universe, designing key characters including Chewbacca, C-3PO, and Darth Vader.
But McQuarrie’s earliest sketches, along with Lucas’ earlier drafts of his script, paint a very different world than the one that debuted on the silver screen in 1977. Luke Skywalker’s character was originally a woman, Stormtroopers all had lightsabers, and Han Solo had a cape for some reason. A group of students at the Digital Animation and Visual Effects (DAVE) School in Orlando, Florida, has tried to bring that original world to life in a new trailer based on these original concepts:
While many aspects of the film have remained roughly the same—there were still X-Wing, Y-Wing, and TIE Fighter starships, a Death Star, and a sandy planet with two moons—it all feels a little more retro-futuristic than the final movie ended up feeling.
It’s worth keeping this all in mind as you head to the theaters to watch just how much things have changed since the days that Han Solo looked like a caped Flash Gordon, and C-3PO was just a golden version of the robot in Metropolis.
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