Take the 2-minute tour ×
Movies & TV Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for movie and tv enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I got into a semi-argument with a friend recently regarding how much credit to give George Lucas for Star Wars. She was commenting how he's an awful director and that's why the new Star Wars trilogy was so terrible and I countered Well I've read the script to the original Star Wars and that at least was spectacular, he's a great writer, to which she replied that they had done a major rewrite of his original script for A New Hope because the original script was so bad. Is that true?

And I already know other people wrote the screenplays to The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, so now I'm starting to wonder how much of it Lucas himself actually came up with? I want to believe in Lucas but I need to see some evidence!

share|improve this question
You're asking only about the old trilogy, aren't you? I think (not know, though) he wrote and directed the whole of the new movies all by himself. –  Napoleon Wilson Mar 18 '13 at 23:39
Have faith in Uncle George - he did indeed write it all himself, just getting others in to work on the subsequent screenplays. It's great fun digging through the archives and finding references to characters with names like 'Mace Windy' (sic) written before 1977 :) –  Nobby Mar 19 '13 at 3:35
The accepted answer is lacking key points to the extent of being incorrect –  d'alar'cop Mar 16 '14 at 22:44
@d'alar'cop Feel free to provide a better and more correct answer then, since the alternatives to the accepted answer obviously don't cut it either at the moment. –  Napoleon Wilson Dec 12 '14 at 1:17

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

George Lucas wrote the story treatment for the entire saga alone and the script for the first film (relabeled A New Hope) was a solo effort.

You will find Wookieepediaa far more reliable source than other wiki pages, as the information is highly scrutinized and verified by reliable sources.

According to the New Hope page:

• In January 1973 Lucas began work on (The Adventures of Luke Starkiller), and by May had prepared a 14-page story outline for distribution among film studios.

• Lucas finished a draft of the screenplay in May 1974. As the draft developed, the characters evolved significantly.

• The completed script was too long for one movie; however, Lucas refused to condense it. Instead, he expanded the first third of it into one movie and left the rest for two future films, effectively creating the original Star Wars trilogy.

Regarding The Empire Strikes Back

• Lucas hired screenwriter Leigh Brackett to write a screenplay based on his story treatment. Brackett finished the first draft on February 23, 1978 but she died soon afterward. According to Lucas, he didn't like the direction in which her screenplay went. Without a writer to fix it, he was forced to write the second draft himself throughout March. Major plot changes were made compared to the first draft and the storyline that is in the film was formed in this draft. One of the most notable changes was making Vader Luke's father. When Lawrence Kasdan finished writing the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark he was hired to rewrite and improve Lucas' draft. He wrote a few more drafts before the script conference was held in November between George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan, Irvin Kershner and Gary Kurtz. After some additional input, the shooting script was finally formed. Minor changes to dialogues came from Kershner and actors throughout the filming and were mostly approved by Lucas.

• For Return of the Jedi, the screenplay was written by Lawrence Kasdan and Lucas (with uncredited contributions by David Webb Peoples), based on Lucas's story.

share|improve this answer
Luke Starkiller LOL good call on changing it –  Shiz Z. May 29 '13 at 5:30
@d'alar'cop, the page about Alan Dean Foster discusses the Novelization of Star Wars: not the film itself but the subsequent book it spawned in order for the franchise to move into the literary market. –  John Smith Optional Mar 17 '14 at 11:40
@JohnSmithOptional Yes, but we are getting to something very interesting. GL have a first draft to Alan Foster - this then influenced the subsequent drafts. If you look into other features of the original Star Wars that GL envisioned you would laugh your *** ass e.g. 3PO was meant to sound like a used car salesman... and there is a lot more to it. The prequels give us a glimpse into what might have been had GL done more (as people believe he did). –  d'alar'cop Mar 17 '14 at 12:25

Are we talking about motion picture movies or creating the idea and concept of Star Wars? I have heard on a few occasions that Lucas began creating not just the idea but the story while he was at university with two other people, a classmate, and his roommate, to which they never received credit or acknowledgement, at least none that I can find.

share|improve this answer
Welcome to Movies & TV! Do you have a link to a source for this? –  CGCampbell Dec 12 '14 at 4:08
@CGCampbell: Is that not George Lucas in Love? –  Jean Hominal Mar 19 at 9:23

George Lucas wrote a treatment--as in he laid out the foundations for the story. His script was only around 200 pages (most of which was changed dramatically when Alan Dean Foster NOT Goerge Lucas, wrote the first Star Wars book (The Adventures of Luke Starkiller) for him for a payment of $5,000; which was released a year before the movie came out.

Lucas has admitted this only recently--and the newest editions of the book give the credit.

Lucas did this:

I want Rebels I want Empire I want Jedi I want Civil War I want a master etc etc etc

He gave vauge ideas on where he wanted the story to go... He did have a 200 page treatment which he gave to Alan Dean Foster when he wrote the first book. Alan changed major parts of the treatment for it was for lack of a better word--terrible.

Alan then released the book under George's name and Lucas took all the credit (till a few years ago).

On the matter of the movies--Lucas adapted what Alan wrote into a screenplay then directed episode 4--which was a disaster due to 2 things; Lucas is a terrible director; this is why episodes 5 and 6 were better than all other films he made--for all others he directed. The other thing was his god awful editing--if you want to see how bad his editing is just look at the dialogue scenes in the prequels, absolutely bare minimum no excitement nor entertainment, predictable and utter a bore to watch; luckily he was able to get his wife to move on into the editing on episode 4 and she did a fantastic job--she gave scenes that felt lifeless; life.

In regards to episode 5: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (also known as The Empire Strikes Back) is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner, produced by Gary Kurtz, and written by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan, with George Lucas writing the film's treatment and serving as executive producer. Of the six main Star Wars films, it was the second to be released and the fifth in terms of internal chronology.

George did not write it, the screen play was written by Leigh and Lawrence based on Lucas's vague treatment--the success to 5 is the director "Irvin" and the amazing themes and scenes he forced the studio to put into the movie.

Episode 6 was written by George and Leigh. Hence why it had Ewoks in it(just look at Jar'jar and you can see what I mean by that).

George wrote episodes 1,2,3 all on his own--no editors for the screenplay nor any proof-readers to fix continuity or coherence problems--what we saw was basically a first draft of each film--the novelizations were far better for 2 reasons: they weren't written by George--they didn't have the problems the movies had.

Hope this helps.

share|improve this answer
This oh so good answer might be able to take some more advantage from its supposedly correct information if it wasn't worded like an entirely subjective rant. Unfortunately it's the tone that makes the music and with this answer I simply don't care if it's correct or not, not because I love George Lucas, but because I don't hate him either. –  Napoleon Wilson Dec 12 '14 at 1:15

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.