By MATT MOORE, Associated Press
A young, idealistic rebel from a desert planet seeks to fight an unjust, tyrannical emperor with a space station capable of destroying planets.
"Star Wars," the 1977 film? Not quite.
Try "The Star Wars," the 1974 rough draft by George Lucas that, ultimately, turned into the wildly popular and still culturally resonant film.
Now, starting Wednesday, Dark Horse Comics is bringing the original script to life as an eight-issue miniseries — with Lucas' blessing — giving fans a different take on Darth Vader (no helmet), Luke Skywalker (he's older and a general), Princess Leia, Han Solo (he's green), C-3PO and R2-D2 along with new ones like Anikinn Starkiller and his father, Kane.
Series writer J.W. Rinzler, an executive editor at LucasBooks, called the series a "once in a lifetime project" and the chance to tell the first story in the "Star Wars" pantheon.
"This is not something you could film," Rinzler said of the original script and his adaptation of it. "Here's a giant city and then here's a giant vista filled with huge spacecraft. (Lucas) was doing his blue sky version of what he wanted to do. He knew this was not going to be filmable."
The story has similarities to "Star Wars," but the differences throughout "The Star Wars" are plentiful and noticeable, Rinzler said, and readers will notice many of them as they explore each page, some big, some small.
"It's just great when the Jedi break out their lazerswords. Guess what? The storm troopers break out their lazerswords," he said, noting that in this draft, there are no lightsabers and the Jedi are more akin to Errol Flynn-types than warrior monks.
Artist Mike Mayhew likened the book to a cinematic-inspired vision of "The Magnificent Seven" because it's a team-oriented story with "each character having a big stake and they're all connected."
He also said his artwork, which goes into great detail in showing the characters, the ships, the worlds, gives a nod to conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie, who created the original concept art for the initial film trilogy.
Mayhew said there's "so much more action, set creatures, such visual candy" in the miniseries.
Moore reported from Philadelphia. Follow him at http://www.twitter.com/mattmooreap
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