With the hotly anticipated new Star Wars movie now a little more than a year away from hitting the local multiplex, a new book looks back at the original story as written by George Lucas — and finds that it’s amazing that the muddled, insane version conceived by Lucas went to become arguably the most beloved cinematic story of all time.
For example — what is “The Bogan,” anyway?
In Lucas’ second draft of the Star Wars script, handed in to 20th Century Fox studios in January of 1975, the story that just two years later would electrify pop culture and change the way Hollywood does business is barely recognizable. And according to author Chris Taylor, the word “Bogan” turns up 31 times.
Apparently, “the Bogan” was the original word used by Lucas for what he later called, “the Dark Side of the Force.” In this version, “the Force” was discovered generations earlier by a “holy man” known only as “The Skywalker.” No one else knows about The Force, with The Skywalker imparting the knowledge only to his own children, who pass this secret knowledge down through generations of the Skywalker family.
“And there you have it,” writes Taylor. “As conceived for the first time, the Force was an exclusive, aristocratic cult.”
An earlier version of the script was adapted into a graphic novel last year by Dark Hose Comics. That script was a dark and edgy affair with Annakin Skywalker — still portrayed as a hero — once punching Princess Leia in the face and knocking her out cold. And that was what a good guy did.
In one version of the Star Wars script, which was titled Adventures of the Starkiller, Episode One: The Star Wars, Luke Skywalker was instead named Luke Starkiller and was actually an 18-year-old girl.
The gender change — soon changed back, of course — was inspired by Lucas’ reading of traditional fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella, in which the protagonist in invariably a young girl.
Luke Starkiller was not the naive youngster forced to come of age and become a hero, but rather an older, wiser man. The young “Starkiller” was named “Deak” in the original Star Wars draft.
Taylor, author of the newly released book How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise, also interviewed Gary Kurtz, who was Lucas’ producing partner on Star Wars and its first sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, before the pair had an unexplained falling out.
Kurtz dispelled several “myths” about Star Wars, saying the often-repeated factoid that Star Wars was based on the film The Hidden Fortress by legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa is just baloney fabricated by Lucas.
Kurts also debunked the story told many time by Lucas, claiming that the original Star Wars was simply the middle section of a much longer story.
“That’s not true,” Kurtz confessed, saying that once the final draft of the script was finished “there wasn’t enough material to do other movies.”
The final shape of the Star Wars film was largely due to the movie’s editors, Kurtz said, not the George Lucas original Star Wars script, which he described as “gobbledygook.”