When a review copy of Star Wars: The Original Trilogy – A Graphic Novel arrived, my first thought was “Why does this exist?” Artistically speaking, it looks like a watered-down Saturday Morning cartoon based on the classic Star Wars films. But after a few pages, I found myself enjoying the saga in this quick-to-read comic format.
The 207 pages inside this hard cover, full-color comic book are split into three parts and tells the full story from each film, opening scroll and all. But if you’re a true Star Wars fan, the question you’re probably asking is which version is this based on? Does Han shoot first? Is Annakin’s force ghost at the end of Return of the Jedi Sebastian Shaw or Hayden Christiansen? I am sad to say this graphic novel closely follows the most recent Blu-Ray/Digital release of the films. Han and Greedo shoot at the same time and when Luke’s father appears in all his force ghost glory, he is somehow young and annoying (even with no speech bubble, so annoying). But at least Darth Vader doesn’t yell “NOOOOOoooooooo!” when he throws his master into the reactor core of the Death Star…
It took me about twenty pages to get used to the artistic style. Full artist credits are provided on the last page, which highlights no less than nine artists that worked on this project. Style is kept impressively consistent across all frames. Some character designs are extremely appealing, such as the cute-and-spunky Princess Leia, while others are very off-putting. Darth Vader, for example, has become a black-grey alien with a helmet. But this comic gets a little comical during The Empire Strikes Back when Luke Skywalker begins to look more feminine than Leia, just like in the real film.
There are two benefits to experiencing Star Wars as a graphic novel. The first is that you can quickly breeze through the saga in about an hour vs. the 6+ hour butt-numbing experience of having an Original Trilogy movie marathon. The second is that you can eradicate any acting choices that may have driven you crazy. Luke Skywalker only needs to be as whiney as you want him to be. When he’s stuck in the trash compactor, his pleas for C-3PO’s help don’t need to be as grating to the soul as they are in the film. “Three-Pee-Oh! Three-Pee-Oh!?!?!? Oh, where could he BEEEEEE?!?!?”
All kidding aside, I really did enjoy reading this graphic novel version of Star Wars: The Original Trilogy. The book is clearly designed to span multiple generations, being kid friendly in design but catering to Star Wars fans with its content. It could have done a better job of remaining faithful to the original original trilogy, but you can’t fault the artists for sticking to the version that is currently sanctioned by Lucasfilm as being “Something, something complete.”