Friday, October 08, 2010

Another galaxy, another time.

Here's a follow-up to yesterday's discussion of Star Wars.  If you haven't read the comments to that post do yourself a favor and check them out. An anonymous commenter saved me a bit of typing today by posting a link to the prologue of the original Star Wars novelization, ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster and released 6 months before the first film. Here's what the novel gives us before opening with the rebel ship and star destroyer scene:
Another galaxy, another time.

The Old Republic was the Republic of legend, greater than distance or time. No need to note where it was or whence it came, only to know that... it was the Republic.
Once, under the wise rule of the Senate and the protection of the Jedi Knights, the Republic throve and grew. But as often happens when wealth and power pass beyond the admirable and attain the awesome, then appear those evil ones who have greed to match.
So it was with the Republic at its height. Like the greatest of trees, able to withstand any external attack, the Republic rotted from within though the danger was not visible from outside.

Aided and abetted by restless, power-hungry individuals within the government, and the massive organs of commerce, the ambitious Senator Palpatine caused himself to be elected President of the Republic. He promised to reunite the disaffected among the people and to restore the remembered glory of the Republic.

Once secure in office he declared himself Emperor, shutting himself away from the populace. Soon he was controlled by the very assistants and boot-lickers he had appointed to high office, and the cries of the people for justice did not reach his ears.

Having exterminated through treachery and deception the Jedi Knights, guardians of justice in the galaxy, the Imperial governors and bureaucrats prepared to institute a reign of terror among the disheartened worlds of the galaxy. Many used the imperial forces and the name of the increasingly isolated Emperor to further their own personal ambitions.

But a small number of systems rebelled at these new outrages. Declaring themselves opposed to the New Order they began the great battle to restore the Old Republic.

From the beginning they were vastly outnumbered by the systems held in thrall by the Emperor. In those first dark days it seemed certain the bright flame of resistance would be extinguished before it could cast the light of new truth across a galaxy of oppressed and beaten peoples...

From the First Saga
Journal of the Whills

"They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Naturally they became heroes."
— Leia Organa of Alderaan, Senator


  1. Heheh. He said "massive organs of commerce."

  2. Anonymous3:28 PM

    And now the Emperor is just a sad old man.

  3. written by Alan Dean Foster, working off of Lucas' original script.

    Foster never got the credit. And they tried to screw him out of the credit for writing the first Star Trek movie, too.

    Some guys never catch a break.

  4. I've got that book. It's in storage right now, so it's not at hand. But I love that opening. And I'm a grumpy, grouchy bastard with little love for stupid camp. And I love that opening.

  5. Tom O'Bedlam said...

    " written by Alan Dean Foster, working off of Lucas' original script.

    Foster never got the credit."

    Alan Dean Foster didn't seem to feel the need to get credit on the novel, as he stated in the following interview:

    You were the ghostwriter for Star Wars. Was it hard to take when the book became a bestseller and all the glory went to George Lucas instead of you?

    Foster: Not at all. It was George's story. I was merely expanding upon it. Not having my name on the cover didn't bother me in the least. It would be akin to a contractor demanding to have his name on a Frank Lloyd Wright house.

  6. One of the great disappointments from my youth was the realization that most authors just made things up as they went- abandoning their original stories on a whim or to match expectations that grew out of the reception of the beginning.

    Typically the end result was something that didn't make sense, or somthing that lost the wonder of the opening because the author never really understood what they began.

    Star Wars is perhaps the prime example. And it was clear to me even at the time, that The Empire Strikes Back wasn't the real Star Wars story continued- it was instead what GL thought the fans liked in the original story continued.

    And for me at least, GL was wrong.

  7. Not only was George Lucas not the author of his own novel;
    he 'appropriated' the terms
    BANTHA, SITH, JEDI, etc..
    from Edgar Rice Burrough's
    Martian Novels.

    From the glossary of Thuvia Maid of Mars;
    Jed = King
    Jeddak = Empire

    The original definition of banth and sith are on my website under 'monsters'

  8. Anonymous11:27 AM

    "Many used the imperial forces and the name of the increasingly isolated Emperor to further their own personal ambitions."

    This is the bit that inspires me most for a Star Wars RPG. Imperial Governors and the like as villains, using the Imperial forces for their own schemes, and the PCs as members of the Alliance on missions against them.

  9. Anonymous11:30 AM

    Clovis, Sith is also a word for faerie, and I'm pretty sure from reading early drafts of the script that Jedi came from Dai, which was a word Lucas liked, and seems to relate more to Japanese/samurai inspirations for the Jedi. But no doubt he borrowed from a lot of other sci-fi, including Burroughs.

  10. Anonymous10:35 PM

    With all of Jeff's and Jame's rambling lately I have been feeling a bit space operatic myself. I have been re-reading the original trilogy and find the little details quite inspirational.

  11. I'm in the middle of re-watching the Babylon Five epic, where the consistency of the main story arc is the polar opposite of the Star Wars series. Thank You, J.M.S.

  12. Anonymous5:33 PM

    Then new Mini6 has Star Wars as one of it's micro-campaigns. 'natch, The serial number have been filed off. But this is a Good Thing (tm).