SPACE MAY DAYS: THE STAR WARS – A longer time ago in a galaxy even further away!

THE STAR WARS

Longer ago, in a galaxy even further away . . .

THE STAR WARS is an eight-issue comic book mini-series produced by Dark Horse Comics and published in September 2013. It is based on George Lucas’ original screenplay for STAR WARS in 1974. In it Luke Skywalker is older and already an accomplished Jedi, and the main character is Annikin Starkiller his apprentice. The mini-series was written by Jonathan W. Rinzler and illustrated by Mike Mayhew.

Cast:

LUKE SKYWALKER

ANNIKIN STARKILLER

PRINCESS LEIA

HAN SOLO

CHEWBACCA

ARTWO

THREEPIO

WHITSUN

KANE STARKILLER

OWEN LARS

THE TWINS – BIGGS & WINDY

PRINCE VALORUM – A KNIGHT OF THE SITH

DARTH VADER

GOVERNOR HOEDAACK

THE EMPEROR

A KNIGHT OF THE SITH

  • The mini-series was originally announced in 2013 at WonderCon. Early panels were shown that were later published by Bleeding Cool. The next day a more detailed press conference confirmed the series.
  • Artist Mike Mayhew took his cues from early concept art by Ralph McQuarrie. The story is said to be inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s THE HIDDEN FORTRESS.
  • A digital preview of the first issue was released on 4 May 2013 covering pages 6-8. A second preview came out on 20 August 2013. It showed the cover and the first seven pages. In addition it featured a trailer. Rather than use John Williams’ score it has THE PLANETS: MARS, THE BRINGER OF WARS a classical peace by Gustav Hoist.
  • On 20 December 2015 the entire collection was reprinted as part of STAR WARS LEGENDS EPIC COLLECTION: INFINITIES.
  • In edition to the eight-issue mini-series there is an issue #0 that highlights artwork and design and goes into much of the thinking that went into presenting these comics.

Dislikes:

  • I had to read the first issue twice. Let me explain why. I entered into reading this comic series without realizing how different it was going to be from what I am familiar with. The Jedi are the Jedi-Bendu. The Sith are the Knights of Sith. Everyone uses light sabers. And the expression is” “May the Force of others be with you!” That threw me for a loop and I tossed away the first issue in disgust. But as I thought about it I realized that the fault wasn’t entirely to blame on the comic. They did say that this was based on George Lucas’ original first draft. The problem was that I didn’t know, and wasn’t told; just how extensive the differences are between the first draft and what we eventually got. So now forewarned and better equipped I tackled the first issue again and then went on to read all of it. My one complaint is there should be a warning: This is not your Star Wars.

SPACE FORTRESS

Likes:

  • The artwork is spectacular! Mike Mayhew is an incredible artist and his work shines in this mini-series. I found myself looking back on it as if I had seen a movie instead of reading a comic book.
  • My hat goes off to J.W. Rinzler for the job he did writing this series. It has to have taken enormous courage to even think about adapting Lucas’ original script. Then to go ahead and do such a marvelous job. Bravo Mister Rinzler!
  • The best compliment I can give this comic book is that I was sad to see it end. I would have liked to have seen more of Anakin Starkiller and this Princess Leia. I’m curious about the Knights of Sith. And what happens next with the Empire? Maybe Mister Rinzler and Mister Mayhew would consider writing their own sequel. I can only hope.

As a Star Wars fan before reading THE STAR WARS you have to reconcile yourself to the fact that this is not going to be the Star Wars you know and love. In fact, the name THE STAR WARS (George Lucas’ original title) lets you know just how far back this goes. On top of that you have to realize that there are going to be names, places, and things that are familiar sounding but very different. This can be jarring at times. For example, Han Solo’s name comes up several times before we actually see Han Solo. And when we do see him the fact that he is so different is striking and offsetting. You can’t let this throw you. If you can enter into reading this mini-series prepared you can love it almost as if it were some kind of alternate universe. It helps to pay attention to the tag line: “Longer ago in a galaxy even further away!”

As the story goes, George Lucas wanted to do Flash Gordon, couldn’t get the rights, and so decided to make his own Flash Gordon-type movie. But what he initially came up with and what finally came to us on screen are two different things. His THE STAR WARS became STAR WARS and went through various re-writes and re-imaginings and compromises because we were given A NEW HOPE – the movie we all love.

Reading this mini-series allows you to see all those changes. So on that level it is an interesting read for Star Wars fans. However, it is also a damn good story in its own right. Even if not read as Star Wars, if read as just a sci-fi fantasy, if read by a non-Star Wars geek, it is an enjoyable read and good experience. 

I recommend this mini-series. If you’re a Star Wars fan then read it. If you’re a George Lucas fan then read it. If you’re a sci-fi comics fan then read it. If you trust me then read it. You will not be disappointed. 

I give THE STAR WARS mini-series four and a half gray geeks. And the only reason I took off half a gray geek from a perfect score is because of my initial confusion at the beginning – which isn’t really their fault.

Well that’s about it for this time my Buckaroo Banzais. I home you enjoyed our visit. I certainly did. Until next time, may the warm sun caress you face, may a light breeze lighten your brow, and may the bird of happiness take a crap on your head. Hasta la vista!

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