An Alternate Rise of the Blockbuster

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS UPDATE HAS BEEN RETCONNED A FAIR BIT -- THE PROPER VERSION IS BELOW. BUT I'M LEAVING THIS TEXT HERE ANYWAY BUT IN SMALLER FONT SO THIS THREAD IS STILL FOLLOWABLE. KTHNX.

Update #3 -- the making of the Star Trek films

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Plans for a film version of the television show Star Trek had been in the works since early 1975. Over the preceding three years, Gene Roddenberry had written three different television pilots – The Questor Tapes in 1972, followed by two variations on the same concept with Genesis II in 1973 and Planet Earth in 1974 – and each one of them had failed to be developed into a new television series. After three years of failure, Roddenberry finally returned to the old standby which he knew ought to be a guaranteed success.

The Star Trek film – given the working title of Star Trek II – went through several wildly different incarnations during the development phase. Roddenberry’s first script, titled The God Thing, was firmly rejected by Paramount Pictures for being too blasphemous. A story proposal made by Harlan Ellison involving reptilian aliens tampering with the prehistory of Earth sank without a trace after one executive demanded that Ellison include Mayans in the story, despite the Mayan civilisation not being prehistoric. Another rather strange script by Roddenberry and Jon Povill involving time travel, intelligent computers and sentient spaceborne plasma was also rejected as too confusing. Many more different versions were also proposed and rejected.

It was June of 1976 before the film was finally greenlit, based on a treatment by British writing duo Chris Bryant and Allan Scott titled Planet of the Titans. Jerry Eisenberg was assigned as producer alongside Roddenberry, and the role of director went to Philip Kaufman. However, even then the pre-production on the film was anything but smooth sailing: Bryant and Scott would not deliver their first draft script until March 1977, and would quit the film a month later. Their script was deemed unsatisfactory and was rewritten by Kaufman, who eliminated the character of Captain Gregory Westlake (instead making Spock the new captain of the refitted Enterprise after Kirk’s disappearance) as well as introducing a strong Klingon main antagonist. Kaufman’s script was then revised again by Roddenberry before being re-revised by Kaufman. Ultimately, the shooting script would not be ready until August 1977 – and even then, rewrites would keep trickling in throughout principal photography. This delay resulted in the release date being pushed back several months.

The delay also meant that Toshiro Mifune, who Kaufman had hoped would play the Klingon villain, was unable to sign onto the film due to existing commitments. However, thankfully all of the original series’ cast agreed to take part in the film – even Leonard Nimoy, who was in the midst of a long feud with Roddenberry and had come to resent the role of Spock, agreed to return out of concern over bad publicity if he didn’t. The role of the Klingon villain was eventually given to none other than Mark Lenard, who had previously appeared in the series as a Romulan commander and as Spock’s father Sarek.

The Enterprise itself was redesigned for the film, both interior and exterior – although the original Enterprise exterior model and bridge both made appearances at the very beginning of the film; the latter would be recreated before being redressed to become the set for the Klingon bridge. Starfleet uniforms would also be drastically redesigned: the new skintight “jumpsuit” look (which would prove to be very unpopular with the cast) was influenced by Roddenberry, who insisted that all clothes would be single-use and disposable in the future. The new uniforms restricted the departmental colours to the torso only, with the sleeves and trousers made black for a more professional look. The colours themselves were also altered: camera tests found three new colours that would be striking but not garish: burgundy-red (command), white (science, medical) and mustard-yellow (engineering, security, ops). Placing the Captain in red was also intended to eliminate the expression “red shirt”.

The release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind in November 1977 caused a tense few days where executives at Paramount Pictures worried that Spielberg’s film had stolen all their thunder. Close Encounters was nothing like anyone had seen before, as a true science-fiction epic-scale film experience (in a very different way to 2001: A Space Odyssey), and would end up becoming the highest-grossing film of all time with almost $450 million earned at the box office (surpassing the record Spielberg had set with his last film Jaws). However, by this time filming for Planet of the Titans was well underway and the results seemed to be very promising, so the film went ahead.

Planet of the Titans: A Star Trek Motion Picture (to use the full title) was released on Thanksgiving 1978, and very quickly became an enormous success. Long-held anticipation and favourable word-of-mouth meant that the film leaped to #1 at the box office straight away, remaining there until it was displaced a month later upon the release of Superman: The Movie. While Superman would be the real success story of the year, breaking the record set by Close Encounters the year before, Planet of the Titans would ultimately earn around $200 million worldwide.

The massive profits from the film guaranteed that a sequel would be made, and meant that Gene Roddenberry’s star was rising once more. However, Philip Kaufman refused to return for the sequel due to Roddenberry’s continual rewrites and creative interference; Leonard Nimoy, whose experience making the film hadn’t been much better, also made it known publically that he had played Spock for the last time. Roddenberry then set forth to write his own sequel, without any other writers and without the character of Spock; the result was The Fall of Camelot: Star Trek II, a time-travel story involving the crew of the Enterprise setting right interference in the timeline by ensuring that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The film was greenlit quickly and given a slightly smaller budget ($15 million) than its predecessor, with Paramount rationalising that the brand alone guaranteed a large profit. Soon after receiving the script, George Takei also announced that he would not return to play Sulu, describing his character in the film as a “walking, breathing prop”.

While The Fall of Camelot: Star Trek II (released in December 1980) was still a solid financial success, earning $74 million internationally, it did not approach the success of Planet of the Titans and was a critical failure. Reviewers criticised the film as being “boring” and labelled its ending “a foregone conclusion”, as well as pointing to the absence of the still extremely popular Mr Spock. But the lower ticket sales were arguably due to competition from a different science fiction franchise, whose second instalment was released at the same time and was being much better received.

Despite the failure of The Fall of Camelot to capture the same audience as Planet of the Titans, a third movie was still approved by Paramount Pictures; Gene Roddenberry was removed from direct creative control and was made the “Executive Consultant” on the film, having been blamed for The Fall of Camelot’s poor returns. However, after scripting problems resulted in the filmmakers missing an important deadline in providing a script to the special-effects company, the project entered development hell and was eventually shut down entirely. For now, it seemed as if Star Trek was finished forever


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Notes: Planet of the Titans was cancelled in May 1977 in OTL due to the pre-release buzz that Star Wars was getting. With scripting problems still ongoing at the time, and a suspicion that a science-fiction blockbuster was lightning that couldn't strike twice, the project was deemed not worth the effort and abandoned; the new television series Star Trek: Phase II was greenlit instead. It wasn't until Close Encounters was released in November that year and proved that it was possible for there to be multiple science-fiction blockbusters in the world that Phase II was cancelled and The Motion Picture was revived. In TTL, of course, Star Wars hasn't been made yet -- and by the time Close Encounters rolls around too much has been spent by Paramount to justify backing out. Thus, Planet of the Titans survives.

The title "Planet of the Titans: A Star Trek Motion Picture" is just a bit of fun on my part. This is before the "Franchise Title: Film Subtitle" convention had really been codified, so I decided to change it a little. Especially considering that there's not much trekking in either film.

Mark Lenard in OTL played the Klingon commander who gets fried by V'ger at the beginning of TMP. As Toshiro Mifune is... busy, I figured I'd give the role to him.

The thing about the departmental colours for the Starfleet uniforms? That's pretty much what they did in the making of The Wrath of Khan. The burgundy-red is the jacket colour, and the white and the mustard-yellow are the turtleneck colours. By the way, if you're having trouble picturing what the new uniforms look like: they're like Kirk's uniform at the beginning of TMP, but with black instead of dark blue-grey and with the departmental colour instead of white.

The greater successes of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Superman: The Movie are just butterfly things from there being no Star Wars yet. It's just the way the viewing public's tastes and desires are shaped by what they have and what they don't have. The greater success of Planet of the Titans in TTL as compared to The Motion Picture in OTL is simply because it is a much better film.

The thing which kills Star Trek III in TTL almost killed The Wrath of Khan in OTL (down to the multiple drafts and everything), but the film was saved by director Nicholas Meyer writing the new shooting script in only twelve days and forgoing his own writing credit. In TTL, no such miracle happens.
 
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Archibald

Banned
I like it so far.

Plans for a film version of the television show Star Trek had been in the works since early 1975. Over the preceding three years, Gene Roddenberry had written three different television pilots – The Questor Tapes in 1972, followed by two variations on the same concept with Genesis II in 1973 and Planet Earth in 1974 – and each one of them had failed to be developed into a new television series. After three years of failure, Roddenberry finally returned to the old standby which he knew ought to be a guaranteed success.

The Star Trek film – given the working title of Star Trek II – went through several wildly different incarnations during the development phase. Roddenberry’s first script, titled The God Thing, was firmly rejected by Paramount Pictures for being too blasphemous.
I also played with ATL- Star Treks for my alt space TL. There are plenty of possibilities!
 
The thing which kills Star Trek III in TTL almost killed The Wrath of Khan in OTL (down to the multiple drafts and everything), but the film was saved by director Nicholas Meyer writing the new shooting script in only twelve days and forgoing his own writing credit. In TTL, no such miracle happens.
KKKHHHHHAAAANNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"At the end of the universe lies the beginning of vengeance."

You took out one of the best Star Trek films, damn you! You're making history worse! Seriously though this is a fascinating timeline and I'm incredibly happy to see more pop culture ones on the board.

It was consequently a bit of a surprise to Coppola when Lucas called him at home and sheepishly asked if the position of director for Apocalypse Now was still open. Of course, it was.
Charlie Don't Surf? I love Apocalypse Now, I guess I won't like this version anywhere near as much.

But then, how did Leia know Luke was still alive and clinging to the bottom of Cloud City? And would Yoda's "No, there is another" have made a lick of sense to the plot? Those things were definitely not put in for the Special Editions.
True Love for the Only Other Jedi. That's a pretty easy, and obvious, way to go.
 
This looks very good. Though many called Superman a science-fiction film, it's more of a comic book film. I was wondering, do you think we can have Richard Donner complete his version of Superman 2 ITTL and release it in 1979/1980? That would be an ultimate fanboy's dream and it would be better than what happened IOTL, where Donner was fired, Richard Lester reshot most of the film, and the overall result was kinda crappy. Also, please also delay the deaths of Cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth and Production Designer John Barry, as they were essential to Superman's success. I think it's easy to their deaths in this TL (Heart Attack, Meningitis). Please use my suggestions.
 
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This looks very good. Though many called Superman a science-fiction film, it's more of a comic book film. I was wondering, do you think we can have Richard Donner complete his version of Superman 2 ITTL and release it in 1979/1980? That would be an ultimate fanboy's dream and it would be better than what happened IOTL, where Donner was fired, Richard Lester reshot most of the film, and the overall result was kinda crappy. Also, please also delay the deaths of Cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth and Production Designer John Barry, as they were essential to Superman's success. I think it's easy to their deaths in this TL (Heart Attack, Meningitis). Please use my suggestions.
Agreed. Though for Superman 3, I wonder if we can get a Brainiac/Supergirl plot and no Richard Pryor.
 
KKKHHHHHAAAANNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"At the end of the universe lies the beginning of vengeance."

You took out one of the best Star Trek films, damn you! You're making history worse! Seriously though this is a fascinating timeline and I'm incredibly happy to see more pop culture ones on the board.
Of course. The Wrath of Khan's awesomeness was a direct consequence of The Motion Picture's suckitude. If it weren't for The Motion Picture being a bloated monstrosity, Harve Bennett would never have been given control of Star Trek and bringing back Khan as a villain would never have happened at all.

It's worth noting that the planned Star Trek III in TTL was not the same story as The Wrath of Khan. They merely have similar occurrences in their making -- Roddenberry removed from control, multiple wildly-differing rough drafts, and the threat of cancellation due to a special-effects deadline. But the truth is I haven't really bothered to make up a story for TTL's Star Trek III since it's not that important.

But anyway, a major reason why Harve Bennett in particular was appointed the new producer and creative brain behind the Star Trek films in OTL was because he was known for producing The Six Million Dollar Man -- not only was this seen as a good and successful show, but above all it was cheap. Paramount wanted a producer who'd be able to work with a much smaller budget than the then-astronomical $46 million it took to make The Motion Picture. But with Planet of the Titans costing around $18 million altogether and The Fall of Camelot $15 million, penny-pinching is less of a concern. So whoever the producer was who was put in charge of Star Trek III in TTL, it wasn't Harve Bennett.
 
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The release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind in November 1977 caused a tense few days where executives at Paramount Pictures worried that Spielberg’s film had stolen all their thunder. Close Encounters was nothing like anyone had seen before, as a true science-fiction epic-scale film experience (in a very different way to 2001: A Space Odyssey), and would end up becoming the highest-grossing film of all time with almost $450 million earned at the box office (surpassing the record Spielberg had set with his last film Jaws)... While Superman would be the real success story of the year, breaking the record set by Close Encounters the year before...

The greater successes of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Superman: The Movie are just butterfly things from there being no Star Wars yet. It's just the way the viewing public's tastes and desires are shaped by what they have and what they don't have.
If Spielberg's ET does as well as OTL, could this mean that Steve has even more of a monopoly on the early mega-blockbusters...
 
Let's hope he and George Lucas still make Raiders of the Lost Ark together. And let's also pray real hard that Harrison Ford is involved. I can't see Tom Selleck, or Tim Matheson, or anyone else as Indy!!
 
I've decided to revise Update #3. There were some aspects of it that I really wasn't happy with, and other parts that I thought needed expansion or explanation. So, here it is again.

Update #3 (for real this time) -- the making of the Star Trek films.

---

Plans for a film version of the television show Star Trek had been in the works since early 1975. Over the preceding three years, Gene Roddenberry had written three different television pilots – The Questor Tapes in 1972, followed by two variations on the same concept with Genesis II in 1973 and Planet Earth in 1974 – and each one of them had failed to be developed into a new television series. After three years of failure, Roddenberry finally returned to the old standby which he knew ought to be a guaranteed success.

The Star Trek film – given the working title of Star Trek II – went through several wildly different incarnations during the development phase. Roddenberry’s first script, titled The God Thing, was firmly rejected by Paramount Pictures for being too blasphemous. His next script, written together with Jon Povill, was a rather strange story involving an encounter with a black hole resulting in major changes to the history of Earth; the story involved multiple instances of time travel, encounters with historical figures including John F Kennedy and Adolf Hitler, and a large spaceborne mass of sentient glowing plasma. This script was also rejected for being too confusing.


Unsatisfied with Roddenberry’s proposals, the executives at Paramount Pictures then began approaching other writers for potential Star Trek films. A story proposal made by Harlan Ellison involving reptilian aliens tampering with the prehistory of Earth sank without a trace after one executive demanded that Ellison include Mayans in the story, despite the Mayan civilisation not being prehistoric. Many other versions, including stories by Robert Silverberg and by former Star Trek script editor John D F Black, were also proposed and rejected.

It was June of 1976 before the studio finally settled on a treatment by British writing duo Chris Bryant and Allan Scott titled Planet of the Titans. The story involved Kirk disappearing to the titular planet at the beginning of the film; then, three years later, the Enterprise (now refitted and under the command of Captain Gregory Westlake) would have to fight to preserve the fruits of knowledge of the legendary (now apparently extinct) Titans, both against the monstrous Cygnans who now roam the planet’s surface and against the Klingons who want the Titans’ knowledge for themselves, before the planet itself is sucked into a black hole. The story ends with the Enterprise going through the black hole and emerging in orbit around prehistoric Earth; after showing the primitive humans how to make fire, the crew of the Enterprise realise that they are the Titans of legend.


Jerry Eisenberg was assigned to be the producer alongside Roddenberry, and the role of director went to Philip Kaufman. However, even then the pre-production on the film was anything but smooth sailing: Bryant and Scott would not deliver their first draft script until March 1977, and would quit the film a month later. Their script was deemed unsatisfactory and was rewritten by Kaufman: the director eliminated the character of Captain Westlake and instead made Spock the new captain of the refitted Enterprise after Kirk’s disappearance, as well as introducing a strong Klingon main antagonist. Kaufman’s script was then revised again by Roddenberry, who among other changes first introduced the new characters of Lieutenant Xon – Spock’s protégé, the young full-blooded Vulcan science officer who was interested in exploring his emotions rather than repressing them – and Lieutenant Ilia – the very sensual Deltan navigator (with Chekov now becoming the Weapons Officer). Roddenberry’s script was then re-revised by Kaufman: ultimately, the shooting script would not be ready until August 1977 – and even then frequent rewrites by Kaufman and Roddenberry would keep trickling in throughout principal photography. This delay resulted in the release date being pushed back several months.

The delay also meant that Toshiro Mifune, who Kaufman had hoped would play the Klingon villain, was unable to sign onto the film due to existing commitments. However, thankfully all of the original series’ cast agreed to take part in the film – even Leonard Nimoy, who was in the midst of a long feud with Roddenberry and had come to resent the role of Spock, agreed to return out of concern over bad publicity if he didn’t. The new major roles of Lieutenant Xon and Lieutenant Ilia were filled by actor David Gautreaux and actress Persis Khambatta respectively. The part of the Klingon villain was eventually given to none other than Mark Lenard, who had previously appeared in the series as a Romulan commander and as Spock’s father Sarek.


The Enterprise itself was redesigned for the film, both interior and exterior – although the original Enterprise exterior model and bridge both made appearances at the very beginning of the film; the latter would be recreated before being redressed to become the set for the Klingon bridge. Starfleet uniforms would also be drastically redesigned: the new skintight “jumpsuit” look (which would prove to be very unpopular with the cast) was influenced by Roddenberry, who insisted that all clothes would be single-use and disposable in the future. The new uniforms restricted the departmental colours to the torso only, with the sleeves and trousers made black for a more professional look. The colours themselves were also altered: camera tests found three new colours that would be striking but not garish: burgundy-red (command), white (science, medical) and mustard-yellow (engineering, security, ops). Placing the Captain in red was also intended to eliminate the expression “red shirt”.


The release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind in November 1977 caused a tense few days where executives at Paramount Pictures worried that Spielberg’s film had stolen all their thunder. Close Encounters was nothing like anyone had seen before, as a true science-fiction epic-scale film experience (in a very different way to 2001: A Space Odyssey), and would end up becoming the highest-grossing film of all time with almost $450 million earned at the box office (surpassing the record Spielberg had set with his last film Jaws). However, by this time filming for Planet of the Titans was well underway and the results seemed to be very promising, so the film went ahead.


Planet of the Titans: A Star Trek Motion Picture
(to use the full title) was released on Thanksgiving 1978, and very quickly became an enormous success. Long-held anticipation and favourable word-of-mouth meant that the film leaped to #1 at the box office straight away, remaining there until it was displaced a month later upon the release of Superman: The Movie. While Superman would be the real success story of the year, breaking the record set by Close Encounters the year before, Planet of the Titans would ultimately earn around $200 million worldwide.

The massive profits from the film guaranteed that a sequel would be made, and meant that Gene Roddenberry’s star was rising once more. However, Philip Kaufman refused to return for the sequel due to Roddenberry’s continual rewrites and creative interference; Leonard Nimoy, whose experience making the film hadn’t been much better, also made it known publically that he had played Spock for the last time. Now with complete creative control, Roddenberry wrote his script for Star Trek Motion Picture II (working title, of course); it turned out to be a variation on the story he had previously proposed in 1975 with Jon Povill, now with the black hole replaced by a “spatial anomaly”, the overall story somewhat simplified (eliminating the encounters with historical figures and revising the ending), and without the character of Spock. The film was greenlit quickly and given a slightly smaller budget ($15 million) than its predecessor, with Paramount rationalising that the brand alone guaranteed a large profit. Soon after receiving the script, George Takei also announced that he would not return to play Sulu, describing his character in the film as a “walking, breathing prop”.


The Time Paradox: Star Trek II was released in December 1980. Although was still a solid financial success, earning $74 million internationally, it did not approach the success of Planet of the Titans and received mixed-to-negative reviews. Critics labelled the film “boring” and “too talky”, comparing its rather subdued and philosophical atmosphere to how Planet of the Titans had managed to suitably balance its more high-concept themes with its action-adventure parts, and also still criticised the story as being unnecessarily complex and hard to follow.

Although The Time Paradox was not well-received at the time of its release, it has developed something of a cult appreciation in the following decades. The eventual consensus on The Time Paradox was that while it made a good and thought-provoking science-fiction film, it was nevertheless “not Star Trek”. In any case, its lower ticket sales were arguably due to competition from a different science fiction franchise, whose second instalment had been fast-tracked to be released at the same time and was being much better received.

Despite the failure of The Time Paradox to capture the same audience as Planet of the Titans, a third movie was still approved by Paramount Pictures. While Gene Roddenberry retained creative control, his output and decisions were placed under much more scrutiny. The budget for Star Trek III was reduced again to $12 million, and Roddenberry was given strict instructions from the studio: less talky, more action, and not frickin’ time travel again.


Once again collaborating with Jon Povill, Roddenberry bashed out a story involving belligerent pan-dimensional alien beings. However while the story was approved, repeated problems with the screenplay drafts resulted in the filmmakers missing an important deadline in providing a shooting script to the special-effects company. The project consequently entered development hell and two years later was officially shut down entirely when Roddenberry quit in frustration. And that, or so it seemed, was the end of Star Trek

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Notes: Planet of the Titans was cancelled in May 1977 in OTL due to the pre-release buzz that Star Wars was getting. With scripting problems still ongoing at the time, and a suspicion that a science-fiction blockbuster was lightning that couldn't strike twice, the project was deemed not worth the effort and abandoned; the new television series Star Trek: Phase II was greenlit instead. It wasn't until Close Encounters was released in November that year and proved that it was possible for there to be multiple science-fiction blockbusters in the world that Phase II was cancelled and The Motion Picture was revived. In TTL, of course, Star Wars hasn't been made yet -- and by the time Close Encounters rolls around too much has been spent by Paramount to justify backing out. Thus, Planet of the Titans survives.

The title "Planet of the Titans: A Star Trek Motion Picture" is just a bit of fun on my part. This is before the "Franchise Title: Film Subtitle" convention had really been codified, so I decided to change it a little. Especially considering that there's not much trekking in either film.

In OTL, David Gautreaux and Persis Khambatta were both cast in Star Trek: Phase II as Xon and Ilia in 1977 -- I figured that there was no real reason to change that. Mark Lenard in OTL played the Klingon commander who gets fried by V'ger at the beginning of TMP. As Toshiro Mifune is... busy, I figured I'd give the role to him.

The thing about the departmental colours for the Starfleet uniforms? That's pretty much what they did in the making of The Wrath of Khan. The burgundy-red is the jacket colour, and the white and the mustard-yellow are the turtleneck colours. By the way, if you're having trouble picturing what the new uniforms look like: they're like Kirk's uniform at the beginning of TMP, but with black instead of dark blue-grey and with the departmental colour instead of white.

The greater successes of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Superman: The Movie are just butterfly things from there being no Star Wars yet. It's just the way the viewing public's tastes and desires are shaped by what they have and what they don't have. The greater success of Planet of the Titans in TTL as compared to The Motion Picture in OTL is simply because it is a much better film.

The thing which kills Star Trek III in TTL almost killed The Wrath of Khan in OTL (down to the multiple drafts and everything), but the film was saved by director Nicholas Meyer writing the new shooting script in only twelve days and forgoing his own writing credit. In TTL, no such miracle happens.
 
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Update #4 -- a breakdown of the characters, settings, etc. in the film The Star Wars (1979).

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CHARACTERS

Luke Skywalker: Male, late teens / early 20s. An idealist and a dreamer who feels he has something to prove. Lives on Utapau with his aunt, uncle and cousins. Aspires to join the Rebel Alliance and fight against the Galactic Empire, and to become a Jedi Knight like his late father. Leaves home with Akira Dainoga, plays a major part in rescuing Princess Leia, begins instruction in becoming a Jedi, joins the Rebel Alliance in their assault on the Death Star and ultimately fires the shot that destroys the station.

Princess Leia: Female, late teens / early 20s. Hard-edged and somewhat arrogant disposition, with a deep belief that what she does is right. Crown princess of the planet Ogana Major, and an important figure in the Rebel Alliance. Steals the Death Star’s schematics and stores them inside R2-D2, is captured and taken to Alderaan, and is later rescued by Luke Skywalker and his companions.

Han Solo: Male, early 20s. Cynical, sarcastic and primarily motivated by money, and does not believe in the Force. Poses as a pirate captain when Luke Skywalker and Akira Dainoga buy passage for themselves to Ogana Major on his ship; is actually the ship’s cabin boy, but steals the ship from the real captain and the rest of the crew who mistreat him. Later (reluctantly) takes part in rescue of Princess Leia, and ultimately is instrumental in the success of the attack on the Death Star.

Chewbacca: Male Wookee – an alien approximately two metres tall with grey shaggy fur and a face reminiscent of a bushbaby, who speaks entirely in growls. The pirate ship’s co-pilot and Han Solo’s best friend, who helps him steal the ship and accompanies him throughout the film.

Akira Dainoga, a.k.a. Kane Dainoga: Male, late 60s. Wise but world-weary and short-tempered. A retired Jedi Knight now living on Utapau; is a cyborg, with only his head and right arm remaining organic. Former master of Lord Darth Vader. Accompanies Luke Skywalker to Alderaan; is damaged by Vader in a failed attempt to steal the Kiber Crystal, but has recovered by the final scene of the film.

R2-D2: A droid – approximately one metre tall and cylindrical with a claw arm, three legs and one radar eye, who speaks entirely in beeps and whistles. Has the schematics for the Death Star stored in him by Princess Leia before her capture, after which he takes an escape pod to Utapau where he is captured by Jawas and sold to the Lars family; seeks out Akira Dainoga, causing Luke to follow him, which sets off the whole adventure. Accompanies Luke et. al. throughout, and flies in Luke’s fighter in the assault on the Death Star.

C-3PO: A droid – a bronze-coloured humanoid figure reminiscent of the Machine-Man from Metropolis. Alternates between being grouchy & complaining and being effortlessly polite. Accompanies R2-D2 throughout the film.

Bail Antilles: Male, late 30s / early 40s. Jaded, pessimistic, with a reputation as a drinker. Rebel spy based on Alderaan who helps the protagonists’ ship escape; dies in the process.

Lord Darth Vader: Male, mid-40s. Menacing, very serious, tall and dressed in black. Is a “Dark Lord of the Sith” and is second-in-command of the Knights of the Sith overall. A former Jedi apprentice under Akira Dainoga, he betrayed the Jedi Order, stole the Kiber Crystal and killed Luke Skywalker’s father. Captures Princess Leia at the beginning; later duels with Akira Dainoga on Alderaan, and fights against the Rebels in their assault on the Death Star – is the sole survivor of the Death Star’s destruction.

Governor Montross Holdaack: Male, late 60s / early 70s. Cold and ruthless. Regional governor of Alderaan, with direct command over the Death Star. Personally orders the destruction of Ogana Major. Later killed when the Death Star is destroyed.

Owen Lars: Male, mid-50s. Gruff, stubborn and uncompromising, but affectionate in his own manner. Luke’s uncle via marriage and his guardian – tries to keep Luke on Utapau rather than let him go off-world, but is motivated by concern for Luke whom he sees like a son.

Beru Skywalker Lars: Female, late 40s / early 50s. More understanding and accommodating than her husband. Luke’s aunt and his guardian – is more sympathetic to Luke.

Biggs and Windom “Windy” Lars: Male, aged 7 and 5 respectively. Sons of Owen and Beru Lars.


Captain Oxus: Male, mid-30s. Drunken, fat, bad-tempered and abusive. Captain of the pirate starship of which Han Solo is the cabin boy. Has his ship stolen out from under him by Han and Chewbacca.


Jabba the Hutt: Male reptilian alien. Another pirate who also mistreats Han. Left behind with Oxus and two other nameless pirates as Han and Chewbacca steal the ship.


General Dodona: Male, early 70s or thereabouts. Leader of the Rebel Alliance.


[FONT=&quot][FONT=&quot][/FONT]Grande Mouff Tarkin: Male birdlike alien. Religious leader with the Rebels.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot][/FONT]

WORLDS:

Utapau: Desert planet, mostly consisting of bare sand and rock. Areas of civilisation are centred around spaceports, e.g. Anchorhead and Mos Eisley.

Ogana Major: Lush blue-and-green planet near the galactic core, whose royal family is secretly in league with the Rebel Alliance. Is destroyed by the Death Star.

Alderaan: Grey gas giant planet with a floating “Cloud City” in its upper atmosphere, not far from Ogana Major – is primarily a prison planet, and also the main base for the Death Star.

Yavin: Orange gas giant planet. Its fourth moon, a barren dusty world with high winds and many strange luminous lakes, is the site of the Rebel base.


ORGANISATIONS:

Galactic Empire: The totalitarian government that controls most of the galaxy. The Emperor, never seen in the film, is a politician first and foremost. Supplanted the old democratic Republica Galactica approximately twenty years before. Supported by the Knights of the Sith.

Rebel Alliance: Resistance movement against the Galactic Empire, which calls for a restoration of the Republica Galactica. Engaged in overt wars on some planets and in covert resistance in others.

Jedi Order: Mostly-extinct order of “guardians of peace and justice”, who used the good side of the Force. Almost entirely exterminated by the Knights of the Sith, thanks to the betrayal of Darth Vader.

Knights of the Sith: Evil equivalent to the old Jedi Order, who use the Bogan Force – the bad, dark side of the Force. Support the Galactic Empire primarily to increase their own power.


OTHER:

Kiber Crystal: A crystal that can amplify the power of the Force through its bearer one hundredfold – whether it be the good side of the Force or the Bogan Force. Currently in the Sith’s possession.

---

Notes: Basically all of this is inspired from the second draft script of Star Wars. The exceptions are Bail Antilles (recycled from the first draft script, who only appears in one scene), Princess Leia (who didn't exist in the second draft, being replaced by Luke's older brother Deak, but I've put her back), Akira Dainoga (who is basically Obi-Wan Kenobi as he was written in the third draft) and Governor Montross Holdaack (who first appeared as Governor Crispin Hoedaack in the first draft but reappeared as Grand Moff Tarkin in the fourth draft). Also, the second draft has Owen Lars as being much nicer and has Biggs and Windy as Luke's little brothers -- here, they're his cousins. And the role of the Kiber Crystal in the story is like in the third draft, except Akira Dainoga fails to steal it while "Old Ben Kenobi" succeeds.

Regarding the name "Akira Dainoga" -- both "Akira" and "Dainoga" come from the first draft. Akira Valor was the cybernetic father of the young main hero Justin Valor; and he was a Dai Noga, which the Jedi Bendu were briefly renamed before they eventually became just plain Jedi. And yes, it's supposed to sound vaguely Japanese.
 
Han Solo: Male, early 20s. Cynical, sarcastic and primarily motivated by money, and does not believe in the Force. Poses as a pirate captain when Luke Skywalker and Akira Dainoga buy passage for themselves to Ogana Major on his ship; is actually the ship’s cabin boy, but steals the ship from the real captain and the rest of the crew who mistreat him. Later (reluctantly) takes part in rescue of Princess Leia, and ultimately is instrumental in the success of the attack on the Death Star.

Captain Oxus:[/B] Male, mid-30s. Drunken, fat, bad-tempered and abusive. Captain of the pirate starship of which Han Solo is the cabin boy. Has his ship stolen out from under him by Han and Chewbacca.
He was the ship's cabin boy in earlier drafts? That's absolutely priceless, I've never read any Star Wars scripts.

I still kinda like the classic "won it in a card game" story but I suppose I'm cool with stealing it from the previous captain (with potential for it to bite him in the ass, in later films of course).

Akira Dainoga, a.k.a. Kane Dainoga: Male, late 60s. Wise but world-weary and short-tempered. A retired Jedi Knight now living on Utapau; is a cyborg, with only his head and right arm remaining organic. Former master of Lord Darth Vader. Accompanies Luke Skywalker to Alderaan; is damaged by Vader in a failed attempt to steal the Kiber Crystal, but has recovered by the final scene of the film.

Kiber Crystal: A crystal that can amplify the power of the Force through its bearer one hundredfold – whether it be the good side of the Force or the Bogan Force. Currently in the Sith’s possession.
Cyborgs, magic crystals, and survival? This is shaping up rather differently from OTL.

[snip names]

Alderaan: Grey gas giant planet with a floating “Cloud City” in its upper atmosphere, not far from Ogana Major – is primarily a prison planet, and also the main base for the Death Star.
Oh man these altered planet names are really going to mess with me.

Cloud City in the first film as a Death Star base! Mind boggles, that's amazingly cool. Although why would the Death Star need a base?
 
Let's hope that the name Obi Wan Kenobi is used ITTL. Have you also thought about my request in regards to Geoffrey Unsworth, John Barry, and Superman II? And I wonder, think we'll have a Wrath of Kahn Star Trek film too?
 
Great update; I'm wondering, though, if circumstances allow this version of Star Wars, released at this time, to do as well as OTL?
Lord Darth Vader: Male, mid-40s. Menacing, very serious, tall and dressed in black. Is a “Dark Lord of the Sith” and is second-in-command of the Knights of the Sith overall. A former Jedi apprentice under Akira Dainoga, he betrayed the Jedi Order, stole the Kiber Crystal and killed Luke Skywalker’s father. Captures Princess Leia at the beginning; later duels with Akira Dainoga on Alderaan, and fights against the Rebels in their assault on the Death Star – is the sole survivor of the Death Star’s destruction.
As long as the real story is as OTL, I'm fine w this...
 
He was the ship's cabin boy in earlier drafts? That's absolutely priceless, I've never read any Star Wars scripts.

I still kinda like the classic "won it in a card game" story but I suppose I'm cool with stealing it from the previous captain (with potential for it to bite him in the ass, in later films of course).



Cyborgs, magic crystals, and survival? This is shaping up rather differently from OTL.



Oh man these altered planet names are really going to mess with me.

Cloud City in the first film as a Death Star base! Mind boggles, that's amazingly cool. Although why would the Death Star need a base?
It's absolutely true! You can read all the previous drafts of Star Wars at this website.

The cyborg thing is nothing new: after all, in the finished film Darth Vader is a cyborg.

Like a construction base. Remember the thing has only recently been built. Think Endor in Return of the Jedi -- except that Alderaan is a major Imperial system rather than a foresty backwater.


Update #5 is halfway written at the moment. You may be surprised.
 
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