Unlike the other novels I have read up until this point, A New Hope does not seem to include the same amount of additional information from its film counterpart. It does have changes and some information not present in the film, however it seems to be broken into pieces rather than in larger chunks. This tells me a couple things.
First of all, the author listed for this novelization is George Lucas, who was also the one responsible for Star Wars in the first place. If the author is the same, that must mean he already included the information he wanted to, correct? Writing a novelization with this in mind is perfectly fine. It is, after all, an authorial choice. A New Hope was a good film…a classic, really.
It did, however, disappoint me. After reading the prequel trilogy, I found I really enjoyed the amount of new information and they way in which they were written. As you know, my favourite so far is Revenge of the Sith. Going into this book, I was really hoping to learn more. What about Han Solo? Could we not learn more about him before he meets Luke?
George Lucas did write this book well, and I am overjoyed to see that many of the iconic lines from the film appear in it. However, I would still have loved to see some expansion on the world he introduced to us.
Having said all of this, I want to address two particular moments. One I know comes up for many fans of Star Wars. Who shot first? Of course, there is only one answer here: Han shot first. After all, he walked away unscathed and Greedo did not, so how could Greedo have shot Han before Han shot him?
Despite the fact I fully believe that Han shot first, it frustrates me that the book does not definitively answer this question. It purposefully leaves this scene ambiguous. Of course, I believe the book was written around the same time the movie was released, thus I would not really expect it to contain much of a different story in this case. Besides, it just provides a little bit of doubt that some people need to latch onto in order to continuously argue their point. Even though…Han still shot first.
The other moment I wish to discuss is actually a difference between this novelization and its film counterpart. Specifically, I want to discuss the battle between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi and Obi-Wan’s actions prior to his defeat. Things are perfectly clear in the movie: Obi-Wan gives up and lets Darth Vader kill him. There is absolutely no question about that, especially given what we already know about him and his prowess at fighting. The only question in my mind is why did he give up? I never really got an answer from the films. However, there is a small difference in the book version of A New Hope.
Obi-Wan’s defeat is not as clear in the book as it is in the film. Did he give up here? I still believe he did and it still frustrates me that we do not have an answer. The only one who could provide an answer is, well, dead. Why do I believe he gave up?
He defeated powerful Sith and Anakin before. He is a legend. In addition, you know that he and Anakin were a pair that the whole galaxy looked towards for protection. I think I have a theory as to why he gave up. But, unfortunately for you, I cannot share it with you until I complete my reading of these novelizations. It will only make sense if I share it then.
Until that point, may the force be with you.
Title: Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope
Author: George Lucas
Publisher: Del Rey