You can’t have Star Wars without the opening crawl, and I admit I’ll be excited on December 18, 2015 when Star Wars: The Force Awakens appears on screen followed by the first new crawl text in ten years. Like all other aspects of almost any other production, Star Wars: A New Hope went through plenty of tweaks, and the opening crawl was among them. The original screenplays for the trilogy are fascinating (Star Wars: The Annotated Scripts is a great read), and a page from a 1976 draft recently found its way online. The opening crawl presented in this draft isn’t drastically different from what’s in the final film—the gist is the same—but George Lucas, with the help of friend Brian De Palma, were able to finesse the language and make it read better.
Hit the jump to check out the Star Wars original opening crawl and a comparison to what ended up in the final film.
Via Imgur, which also contains some neat behind-the-scenes photos from Episode IV and other annotated script pages. Here’s a transcription of the original crawl:
It is a period of civil wars in the galaxy. A brave alliance of underground freedom fighters has challenged the tyranny and oppression of the awesome GALACTIC EMPIRE.
Striking from a fortress hidden among the billion stars of the galaxy, rebel spaceships have won their first victory in a battle with the powerful Imperial Starfleet. The EMPIRE fears that another defeat could bring a thousand more solar systems into the rebellion, and Imperial control over the galaxy would be lost forever.
To crush the rebellion once and for all, the EMPIRE is constructing a sinister new battle station. Powerful enough to destroy an entire planet, its completion spells certain doom for the champions of freedom.