Star Wars: The Original Trilogy / A New Hope 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition – Review

Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope 40th anniversary collectors edition book review

By Roger Crow

The first thing I do when I receive a copy of Star Wars – A New Hope, the 40th-anniversary collector’s edition, is look for a typo of Chewbacca. It’s amazing what sticks with you 39 years after first reading the opening chapter of George Lucas’s magnificent sci-fi saga.

Of course, at the time the original novelisation was written, subs probably didn’t have a clue what Chewbacca was, let alone the fact he would become one of the most iconic protagonists in movie history.

Star wars - Episode IV - A New Hope - 40th AnniversaryThe fact Jabba the Hut (yes with one ‘t’) also appears is intriguing, as do characters such as ’Pops’ and ’Dave’ during the legendary Death Star run. Er, who?

Penned at a time when everyone thought Star Wars would flop, clearly those additional characters were just pencilled in. Nobody knew it would become the most successful film of all time, or that every element would be pored over by fans like me.

“For those weaned on the literary film adventures of Luke Skywalker, this is an essential purchase”

The novelisation of hit movies is a lost art form, and as someone who grew up in the 70s and 80s, I would devour any literary adaptations I could get my hands on. I miss those days when I would read the book long before the film was released.

I read the first Star Wars novel five times between 1978 and 1982. It became an annual ritual in the days before I could watch my favourite movie any time I wanted to. Naturally by the time The Empire Strikes Back was released, I had already read Donald F Glut’s novelisation one Monday night in 1980. The same thing happened three years later when Return of the Jedi was released and James Kahn’s novelisation kept me entertained for a few hours.

Star Wars - Original TrilogyA shame the original trilogy or the hardback A New Hope (apparently ghost written by Alan Dean Foster) doesn’t include the original photos that left millions of imaginations soaring. However, for those weaned on the literary film adventures of Luke Skywalker, this is an essential purchase and all the more poignant with the passing of Carrie Fisher, aka ’the radiant Princess Leia’ who closes the first volume.

’She noticed his unabashed stare, but this time she only smiled’.


“These are still great reads”

It’s also worth checking the prologue reference to Journal of the Whills, part of the mythology which finally got a mention in Gareth Edwards’ stunning Rogue One last year.

Long before Harry Potter helped boost literacy among the young, the original Star Wars trilogy books did a great job of educating and entertaining seventies and eighties kids. I’m probably not the only fan wondering where the time went, or reflecting on that era when a three-year wait between some of the best-loved films of all time was excruciating.

These are still great reads. I just hope those beloved photos are added for the 50th anniversary edition.

‘Star Wars: Original Trilogy’ by George Lucas, Donald F. Glut and James Kahn is out now in paperback published by Arrow, priced £12.99
‘Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope: Official 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition’ by George Lucas is out now in hardback, published by Century, priced £16.99


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