The first ten minutes of Star Wars: A New Hope is one of the most iconic openings in cinema history. From the giant Star Destroyer invading the entire screen, right through to the first appearance of Darth Vader and Princess Leia recording a plaintive cry for help and blasting an escape pod down to the deserts of Tatooine.
The message she sends was, up until the prequels, one of the only hints we had of what was going on in the years before A New Hope. Now, though, Redditors have once again been poring over a draft of the script dated July 6th, 1976 (freely available online if you want to see it) and have turned up Leia’s original speech, which reads as follows:
General Kenobi, years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars. Now, he begs you to help him in his struggle against the Empire. I regret I am unable to present my father’s request to you in person, but my ship has fallen under attack, and fear my mission to return with you to Alderaan has failed.
I have fed information vital to the survival of all free planets into the memory of systems of this R-2 unit…my father will know how to retrieve it. You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour … You must help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope.
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As you can see, it’s not radically different, but there are a few crucial nips and tucks that make the whole thing pop a bit more. I’m particularly interested in that final line where someone (I presume Lucas himself), tightened things up by removing “You must” and just having “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope.” It’s a small change, but alters the line from Leia simply ordering Obi-Wan to assist her into a desperate plea. It’s also neat to see “all free planets” get narrowed down to “the Rebellion.”
Plus, any mention of the Clone Wars prior to the prequels is always interesting. Back in the day, Star Wars bulletin boards would hum with discussion of what these mysterious Clone Wars actually were. To be honest, I doubt George Lucas had much of an idea himself, but it certainly sounds cool. And just imagine, what if those clones.. attacked!