Well before the original Star Wars film (later subtitled A New Hope) became a reality, George Lucas‘s original treatment for The Star Wars was quite a bit different. It was a story of Jedi Annikin Starkiller and General Luke Skywalker facing evil Sith Knights, with “lazer swords” and a six-foot-tall lizard named Han Solo.
Writer J.W. Rinzler discovered Lucas’s original screenplay, and though it took some convincing, managed to get Lucas’s blessing to flesh out the story in comic form, in a new series commissioned by Dark Horse Comics. “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,” Rinzler said. “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 OK.”
Rinzler has collaborated with artist Mike Mayhew on the eight-issue comic series, which promises Star Wars fans something new to chew on while we wait for the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars Episode VII. Above are a few of Mayhew’s panels for The Star Wars, which launches in September.
The Internet was practically set ablaze on Thursday when reports rang out that current Star Trek director J.J. Abrams would be taking the reigns of Disney and LucasFilm’s newly-announced third Star Wars trilogy. Now, these reports have been officially confirmed by StarWars.com: J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII.
Zack Snyder, the director of Watchmen, 300 and this year’s forthcoming Man of Steel is developing a Star Wars project for Lucasfilm. This runs contrary to reports that Snyder was “not interested” in directing Star Wars: Episode VII, which Lucasfilm and Disney have slated for release in 2015.
However, that report seems to be technically true, as Snyder’s project is apparently a film that will be completely separate from the new trilogy. It’s not clear where in Star Wars continuity Snyder’s film will take place, but it should be sometime after the events of Episode VI, and will not be a numbered “episode” like the new trilogy.
Snyder’s take on Star Wars will be loosely based on Akira Kurosawa‘s 1954 classic Seven Samurai, a personal favorite of George Lucas, who even offered one of its stars, Toshiro Mifune, the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi when creating the original Star Wars.
In an exclusive statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Snyder’s spokesperson says: “While he is super flattered because he is a huge fan, Zack is not involved in any way with the new Star Wars. He is currently in post on his two films, Man of Steel and 300: Battle of Artemisia.”
Vulture has updated their original story with the following:
“Vulture takes the accuracy of its reports very seriously. And while a piece published in The Hollywood Reporter this evening quotes Snyder’s rep as saying that the director ‘is not involved in any way with the new Star Wars,’ Vulture stands by its story. This reporter heard through a source very familiar with the situation that Snyder recently flew up to Marin County to meet with Lucasfilm execs about the project. When subsequently reached by Vulture, Snyder’s spokesperson would only repeat that he ‘is’ not currently involved. One should note the possible political ramifications here of our original story break: Snyder’s last Warner Bros. film, Sucker Punch, lost millions for the studio, and execs there could have become distressed at the idea of him getting involved with another studio’s franchise when they have so much at stake with their upcoming Man of Steel and want him available for an immediate sequel.”
The plot thickens…
Following last week’s announcement that the Walt Disney Company has purchased Lucasfilm for over 4 billion dollars and scheduled Star Wars Episode VII for release in 2015, the Internet has been in a flurry of speculation over the future of the saga. Far be it from us not to jump on the bandwagon.
Even more than questioning where the story is supposed to go in the future, everybody seems to be talking about who will direct the next episode of the franchise, given that George Lucas himself is reportedly leaving Star Wars behind (to serve merely as a consultant on Episode VII). Rather than offer any actual suggestions here, let’s take a look at some possible contenders in true Flickchart fashion: two at a time.
Thirty five years ago today, the original Star Wars was released. It opened in the U.S. on a Wednesday, in just 38 theaters. The studio chose the pre-Memorial Day slot in the hope of getting a jump on the other, bigger movies coming out that summer. George Lucas, the film’s director, was worn out after a long, frustrating shoot, and was not convinced that his movie would be a success. He’d even gone so far as to trade 2.5% of the film’s profits as a bet with his friend Steven Spielberg in the belief that Close Encounters of the Third Kind would out-gross Star Wars.