“May The Fourth Be With You!”: 1977’s “The Making Of Star Wars”

By on May 4, 2017

We thought it would be fun on this May 4th — May the Fourth Be With You! — to take a look back at The Making of Star Wars, from 1977, the very first documentary to come out about George Lucus’s space opera.

“The Making of Star Wars” originally aired on the ABC TV network on September 16, 1977.

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This one was hosted by bickering droid duo C-3PO and R2-D2, and features not only cast and crew interviews but segments on the (decidedly pre-CGI) effects technology employed in the production.

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The original narration was done, as you can hear here, by William Conrad (later VHS releases had celebrated voice actor Don LaFontaine dubbed over Conrad’s voice).

Among the many topics discussed are the movie’s fans and merchandise, the possibility of a sequel and other topics of interest.

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The following comes from a TIME Magazine post (h/t and a big thanks for the info):

According to Chris Taylor’s 2014 book How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise, here are the five of the most drastic changes from Lucas’ early drafts of the film.

Luke was an 18-year-old woman:

After completing his second draft — dubbed Adventures of the Starkiller, Episode I: The Star Wars — in January 1975, Lucas decided in March to change his main character from the teenage Luke Starkiller to an 18-year-old woman.

Although this switch was short-lived — with Luke reappearing as the main protagonist in a May synopsis — it brought about the incorporation of Princess Leia as a central figure in the story.

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The Dark Side had a unique name:

Instead of referring to the two sides of the Force as simply Dark and Light, Lucas originally divided the mystical power into the good, “Ashla,” and the bad, “Bogan” — a term that was mentioned 31 times in his second draft.

In fact, even after removing “Ashla” in the third draft, he was still intent on the name “Bogan,” including an early scene in which Luke asks Ben Kenobi, “Like Bogan weather or Bogan times?” when his mentor begins to teach him the ways of the Force.

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Darth Vader wasn’t Luke’s father:

That’s right: if Star Wars had remained Adventures of the Starkiller, the iconic “I am your father” scene never would have happened. Lucas’ second draft featured the Starkiller, an ancient Jedi who was originally conceived as a cyborg, as Luke’s dear old dad while Vader was killed off during the first assault on the
Death Star.

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C-3PO destroyed the Death Star:

Although Luke was still the pilot of the starfighter that exploded the Imperial battle station, the shotgun-riding Threepio — as the talkative droid was known at the time — was the one to fire the critical shot into its thermal exhaust port, handing the Empire their first major defeat.

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Middle Earth played a role:

During a scene in Lucas’ third draft when Ben Kenobi finds Luke after he has been attacked by a group of Tusken Raiders, the two share an exchange that was pulled verbatim from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

“What do you mean, ‘good morning?'” Luke asks when Kenobi greets him. “Do you mean that it is a good morning for you, or do you wish me a good morning, although it is obvious I’m not having one, or do you find that mornings in general are good?

“All of them at once,” Kenobi replies.

For obvious reasons, Lucas was forced to nix that particular conversation.

Be sure to check out our Night Flight interview with Mark Hamill and our other Star Wars-related posts.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, assistant editor for the When You Awake blog, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.