A long time ago in a galaxy far far away (1974), George Lucas started writing the first of many drafts that would eventually become what we know as the film franchise that took over the world: Star Wars.
Long before the Luke, Darth Vader and Jedi that we know, George's ideas were rather different, with many things being unrecognizable in their earliest form. In 2013, Dark Horse Comics adapted George's first original draft into an eight-issue comic book series, written by J.W Rinzler and illustrated by Mike Mayhew, it details the adventures and story of Annikin Starkiller, his family and the friends he meets along the way.
The plot bears very slight similarities to the eventual 1977 product, but differs sharply in a number of ways. The universe of The Star Wars features Jedi-Bendu warriors acting as the personal bodyguards of The Emperor of The New Galactic Empire, who rose to power after the events of the Jedu-Bendu rebellion. The Jedi seem to be more of a band of Captain America fighter types rather that the meditation-loving monks that we see in the final product. The Sith exist in what is referred to as The Knights of Sith, and The Force doesn't even exist. Stormtroopers carry around laser swords, and apparently laser sword color doesn't seem to matter, because we see the good guys fighting with red swords and bad guys fighting with white ones.
Darth Vader exists in this first draft as a man who is more "man than machine." This version is a lot less imposing and scary, and may well be less evil, although he still has a pretty cool outfit.
The draft also includes characters such as Annikin Starkiller, the young son of former Jedi-Bendu Kane Starkiller of the planet Utapau. Luke Skywalker takes the role of wise elder Obi-Wan as he appears to help the main characters. Annikin and his friends leave for the planet Aquilae and meet Leia, the 14-year-old princess and the spoiled daughter of King Kayos and Queen Breha, who had two other children: Windy and Biggs (Later used for Biggs Darklighter).
The later changes in drafts along the way establish her as Leia Antilles, the daughter of Bail Antilles from the peaceful world of Organa Major. In the fourth draft the names were switched around so that Leia Organa originated from Alderaan and the last name of Antilles was used later for Wedge Antilles. When Lucas was writing background material for licensing in 1977 (and before he had decided Luke and Leia were to be twins), he wrote that Leia had several brothers and that she was unaware whether her parents escaped the destruction of her homeworld.
Other characters include: Clieg Whitsun (the first incarnation of what would eventually become Cliegg Lars in Attack of The Clones); Han Solo, who is a tall, reptilian alien with a reputation for hunting wookies on his home planet of Yavin; Darth Vader, who is a completely separate character from Annikin Starkiller; and lovable R2-D2, who speaks in basic?!
The story goes on to detail kidnapping, fights and even a death. The Jedi-Bendu in these stories don't appear to have any special powers, as The Force (or what would eventually become The Force) had not been written at the time, but within the pages of the old draft originates some of the oldest Star Wars names (even though their characters differ very much from their current counterparts), such as Valorum, Chewbacca, Owen and Beru, and many many more.
Annikin Starkiller eventually becomes the farmer we all know and love, Luke Skywalker, whereas Luke Skywalker, the gruff, old Jedi-Bendu Master, becomes Obi-Wan, a reclusive hermit who may be old but is more friendly and helpful than his first draft counterpart. Leia's character in the draft may have been the inspiration for two things: Leia Organa, and Padme's role as queen of Naboo at the age of 14; the original draft even mentions handmaidens!
If you want to check out more of what could have been, look for the Dark Horse Comics series titled The Star Wars.
Check out the trailer for the newest Star Wars spin-off film, Rogue One, below:
Which of these details from The Star Wars surprised you the most?