Here’s a shot of nostalgia from forty years ago. Just in time to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Star Wars, Arrow books have reprinted the original tie-in novels that were the lifeblood of us fans back in the days of the releases of the original trilogy, indeed a long time away, but not in a galaxy far, far away.
Sadly, the tie-in novel is a fading piece of merchandise, but back then, in the pre-home video days, the humble paperback with the flashy cover was the ultimate souvenir of a loved film, and this was very much the case with Star Wars in particular.
The Star Wars novel was written by Alan Dean Foster, but according to his contract, the credit goes to George Lucas. And to be fair, as Foster was working from an early version of the script, Lucas’s clumsy dialogue which was polished by Laurence Kasdan for Empire and Jedi really does show itself clearly here (One can see why Harrison Ford famously remarked “You can write this s—t, but you sure as hell can’t say it”).
For the completist, this volume is worth the cover price for the Star Wars portion alone (though, to be pedantic, in this volume the title has been altered to A New Hope, from ‘Star Wars – From The Adventures of Luke Skywalker’ that was on the original printing.
Other than that, everything is as it was, Biggs Darklighter has an expanded role, Luke actually sees the battle between the Blockade Runner and the Star Destroyer, and the meeting in the spaceport between Jabba the Hut (spelt with only one “T”) and Han Solo takes place as originally scripted with Jabba described as a “great mobile tub of muscle and suet, topped by a shaggy scarred skull”.
The novelisations for Empire and Jedi were undertaken by Donald F. Glut and James Khan respectively and offer nothing much in addition to what was seen on screen, though we should note that Yoda’s backwards speech does become extremely irritatating to read after a very short while.
Great escapist and nostalgic reading though.
STAR WARS: ORIGINAL TRILOGY / AUTHORS: GEORGE LUCAS, DONALD F. GLUT, JAMES KHAN / PUBLISHER: ARROW BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW