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Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (novel)

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StarWarsNovelization
Star Wars Episode IV:
A New Hope
Attribution
Author(s)

Alan Dean Foster (credited as George Lucas)

Cover artist
Publication information
Publisher

Ballantine Books

Release date

December 1976

Media type

Paperback

Pages

220

ISBN

0345260619

Chronology
Era

Rebellion era

Timeline

0 BBY[1]

Series

Star Wars Trilogy

Preceded by

Shadow Games

Followed by

Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina

The Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope novelization, originally entitled Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, was the official novel adaptation of the film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, published in 1976 by Ballantine Books. It was ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster, but credited to George Lucas. It contains many scenes and much information cut from the film. Some editions contain sixteen pages of full-color photos from the motion picture. This version of A New Hope was later collected in The Star Wars Trilogy novelization.

EditionsEdit

AmericanEdit

ForeignEdit

Publisher's summaryEdit

This summary refers to the original version of the novel.

Luke Skywalker Challenged the Stormtroopers of a Distant Galaxy on a Daring Mission—Where a Force of Life Became the Power of Death!

Farm chores sure could be dull, and Luke Skywalker was bored beyond belief. He yearned for adventures out among the stars—adventures that would take him beyond the furthest galaxies to distant and alien worlds.

But Luke got more than he bargained for when he intercepted a cryptic message from a beautiful princess held captive by a dark and powerful warlord. Luke didn't know who she was, but he knew he had to save her—and soon, because time was running out.

Armed only with courage and with the light saber that had been his father's, Luke was catapulted into the middle of the most savage space war ever...and he was headed straight for a desperate encounter on the enemy battle station known as the Death Star!


This summary refers to the pre-theatrical version of the novel.

Luke Skywalker challenges the stormtroopers of a distant galaxy on a daring mission—where a force of life became the power of death!

Luke Skywalker was a twenty-year-old who lived and worked on his uncle's farm on the remote planet of Tatooine…and he was bored beyond belief. He yearned for adventures out among the stars—adventures that would take him beyond the farthest galaxies to distant and alien worlds.

But Luke got more than he bargained for when he intercepted a cryptic message from a beautiful princess being held captive by a dark and powerful warlord. Luke didn't know who she was, but he had to save her—and soon, because time was running out.

Armed only with courage and with the light saber that had been his father's, Luke was catapulted into the middle of the most savage space war ever…and he was headed straight for a desperate encounter on the enemy battle station known as the Death Star!

SummaryEdit

The book's plot is the same as that of the film. Like many novelizations, it differs from the film in that it often uses different dialogue, gives more details about characters' thoughts, and provides more background information. Other notable differences are listed below.

Differences from the filmEdit

  • The novel starts off with the words "Another galaxy, another time," rather then the famous opening words of "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…"
  • Droids are often referred to as mechanicals throughout the novelization. The term "droids" is implied to be a slang term for the word "androids."
  • Darth Vader is referred to as a "Sith Lord" and other Sith Lords before him are briefly mentioned though not in detail (the Emperor is never implied to have Force abilities at all as he later would have in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back).
  • C-3PO is described as bronze, not gold.
  • During the battle aboard the Tantive IV, the stormtroopers dropped through the ceiling, rather than charging through an entryway.
  • Before Leia Organa is captured, she kills two stormtroopers, instead of only one in the film. The first stormtrooper shot also doesn't finish his sentence. Upon sighting the Princess the stormtrooper says, "Here she is. Set for stun forc--" instead of "There's one. Set for stun" and is shot.
  • Luke is introduced right after the battle aboard the Tantive IV after seeing the battle through his binoculars. The section also introduces Luke's friends: Camie, Fixer, Deak, Windy and Biggs. (Although this was filmed for the movie, it was cut in post-production.)
  • A rare effects scene in which Luke nearly runs over a woman is included. However, instead of her saying, "I told you kids to slow down!" she says, "Won't you kids ever learn to slow down?"
  • General Tagge is described as "one of the youngest" officers in the room during the conference scene. Also instead of Admiral Conan Antonio Motti, there is Romodi, who has deeply entrenched facial scars.
  • Luke's landspeeder has an enclosed cockpit unlike the open cockpit seen in the film.
  • Ben Kenobi's hut is a cave rather than a hut. The differences between Luke's father and his uncle is described more deeply than in the film.
  • Ben Kenobi mentions in passing how lightsabers used to enjoy widespread use in the galaxy, and are still used in some areas. The saber is said to have jewels on the hilt.
  • Chewbacca is described as having bright, yellow eyes.
  • Kenobi cuts a smaller alien (Kabe, who is canonically a female, not male, and not an antagonist) in half as well as hacking off the arm of another in the cantina, in defense of Luke. Instead of just two bullies (Ponda Baba and Dr. Evazan), there were three in the novel (those two, plus the aforementioned alien).
  • Ponda Baba is described as having multiple eyes.
  • When Greedo confronts Han Solo in the cantina, he is speaking through an electronic translator. The infamous ending of the scene that follows is very vague in the novel, which says only that "light and noise filled the little corner of the cantina"; it never says who shot first. (It should be noted that the idea of Greedo being shot without himself firing was already present in the 1976 versions of the script, contemporary with the novel.[1])
  • Jabba is described as if he is a fat biped (rather than the familiar slug monster he would later become in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) with an ugly, "shaggy skull" and "jowels" that shook with his head. His scars are said to be a sign of his ferocious reputation in combat. This differs from other descriptions of Jabba prior to Episode VI: Return of the Jedi—the early A New Hope test footage with a large actor in fur, a familiar alien in a flight suit in Marvel Comics, the large-headed, razor-toothed monster in early sketches, or a slavering creature with "eyes on stalks" in the scripts. When Jabba says "for an extra 20 percent", Han Solo doesn't say "15, Jabba, don't push it."
  • In the novel, Obi-Wan doesn't feel the destruction of Alderaan through the Force.
  • TK-421 is referred to as "THX-1138", another reference to one of Lucas's other films.
  • When the gang dives into the garbage chute, Han dives in before Luke, whereas in the film, Han goes last.
  • The garbage chamber's number is 366-17891 instead of 3263827.
  • The novel gives no indication that Obi-Wan stops fighting and purposefully allows Darth Vader to strike him down as depicted in the film.
  • The entire Death Star sequence is extended with more detail given than the movie.
  • Luke gets much more emotional when Wedge tells him that Biggs was killed. Luke's eyes begin to water; "'We're a couple of shooting stars, Biggs' he whispered huskily, 'and we'll never be stopped.'"
  • At the novel's end, Leia does give Chewbacca a medal, but she has to strain to do so.

Differences from later worksEdit

  • In the publisher's summary it says that Luke is twenty years old, yet he was born in 19 BBY and the film (and book) takes place in 0 BBY, he must be 19 (to see how this works go here). The Empire came into power in the year zero in the Imperial Calendar, and this would add a year to Luke's age. So twenty is an accurate assessment. It is also possible the publisher's summary is not intended to provide an exact age and is instead colloquially putting Luke's approximate age at twenty. It should be noted of course that the novel was published long before the scripts for Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith were written, which would create the mythology that Luke and Leia were the twin children of Darth Vader, and establish them as being born 19 years prior. In the novel for Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back which takes place three years later, it is stated that Luke is 23.
  • The prologue quotes from the Journal of the Whills, and says that Emperor Palpatine becomes merely a figurehead controlled by the Imperial bureaucracy. A brief description is given of the transition from Republic to Empire, when Palpatine became President (the office called Supreme Chancellor in Episode I and thereafter).
  • Throughout the first edition and some later editions, Wookiee is spelled "Wookie."
  • Hutt is spelled with one t as it was in all publications before 1983.

AppearancesEdit

By type 
Characters Creatures Droid models Events Locations
Organizations and titles Sentient species Vehicles and vessels Weapons and technology Miscellanea

Characters

Creatures

Droid models

Events

Locations

Organizations and titles

Sentient species

Vehicles and vessels

Weapons and technology

Miscellanea

Languages


Cover galleryEdit

This is a gallery of the different cover variations of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

Pre-theatrical release - From the Adventures of Luke SkywalkerEdit

Theatrical releaseEdit

Special Edition releaseEdit

Later releasesEdit

Behind the scenesEdit

As it was published six months before the release of the film, this was the first Star Wars item ever produced.

The design of Darth Vader on the top-right corner of many LEGO Star Wars sets for the Prequel trilogy looks remarkably similar to his design on the original cover of this novel. Both have a red light source shining on the left side of Vader. Both versions also have a more complex, robotic design to them, more prominent on the novel's rendition.

Collected inEdit

BibliographyEdit

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

External linksEdit


Star Wars film novelizations
Prequel trilogy
Episode I: The Phantom Menace · Episode II: Attack of the Clones · Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars Trilogy
Episode IV: A New Hope · Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back · Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
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