It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.
During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough fire power to destroy an entire planet.
Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy...
"I knew from the beginning that I was not doing science fiction. I was doing a space opera, a fantasy film, a mythological piece, a fairy tale.
"Originally, I was trying to have the story be told by somebody else; there was somebody watching this whole story and recording it, somebody probably wiser than the mortal players in the actual events. I eventually dropped this idea, and the concepts behind the Whills turned into the Force. But the Whills became part of this massive amount of notes, quotes, background information that I used for the scripts; the stories were actually taken from the 'Journal of the Whills.'"
- George Lucas
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"The were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Naturally they became heroes."
Journal of the Whills
Leia Organa of Alderan, Senator
- from "Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker," by Alan Dean Foster, 1976
THE STAR WARS: original treatment, May 25, 1973
THE STAR WARS: rough draft, May 1974
THE STAR WARS: first draft, July, 1974
THE ADVENTURES OF THE STARKILLER EPISODE ONE: THE STAR WARS: second draft, January 28, 1975
THE STAR WARS: from THE ADVENTURES OF LUKE STARKILLER: third draft, August 1, 1975
THE ADVENTURES of LUKE STARKILLER: SAGA ONE - THE STAR WARS: revised fourth draft screenplay, March 15, 1976
Actual shooting script
STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE: revised fourth draft, public version. Edited to match with the final film release, published in 1979.
Some missing scenes are still included.