Although he didn’t know it in 1977, George Lucas’ script for Star Wars would go on to become the blueprint for the way modern movies are made, seen, and marketed.
We’re going to break down the essential aspects of the Star Wars script, and how George Lucas made a science-fiction classic.
Buckle up, we’re going into hyperdrive…
The Star Wars: A New Hope Script
Click to view and download the entire Star Wars: A New Hope script PDF below.
STAR WARS SCRIPT Mastermind
Who wrote the Star Wars: A New Hope script?
Written by George Lucas.George Lucas is one of the world’s most iconic living filmmakers and was a transformative figure during the New Hollywood era of the 1970s. In 1971, at just 27 years old, Lucas released his debut feature, THX 1138, to widespread critical acclaim. Nearly 50 years since its release, Lucas has been credited on dozens of different projects and has worked on every facet of film production.
A New Hope PLOT
Story Beats in A New Hope Script
Here is the story structure for the Star Wars: A New Hope screenplay:
STAR WARS SCRIPT BEAT SHEET
STRUCTURE OF STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE
Luke Skywalker is a farm boy on the desert planet Tatooine who hopes to one day become a star pilot and study at the Imperial Academy.
Princess Leia, a young political diplomat, plants a distress call on an R2-D2 droid unit, who she then sends in an escape pod to Tatooine before being captured by the villainous Darth Vader.
Plot Point One
On Tatooine, Luke discovers the R2 unit and hears the distress call from Leia calling out for help from Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke asks his Uncle Owen if Obi-Wan might be related to an old hermit named Ben Kenobi, which greatly unsettles him.
Luke finds Ben Kenobi, who reveals that he is actually the great Jedi Knight Obi-Wan and has been in hiding since the Clone Wars. Obi-Wan asks for Luke’s help in rescuing Leia. Luke doesn’t want to abandon his Aunt and Uncle, so he’s hesitant to agree to this proposal.
Luke returns to his homestead to discover that his family was slaughtered by Imperial troops. He vows to dedicate his life to that of a Jedi and to become as powerful as his father, Anakin Skywalker—a former pupil of Obi-Wan’s.
Plot Point Two
Obi-Wan and Luke hire smuggler Han-Solo to fly them to the planet Alderaan so that they can free Leia. Meanwhile, on the weaponized ship known as the Death Star, Darth Vader orders the destruction of Alderaan.
Han’s ship, the Millennium Falcon, is caught in a tractor beam and trapped within the Death Star. Luke and Han rescue Leia, while Obi-Wan confronts Darth Vader, who kills him in mortal combat.
Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewbacca escape from the Death Star and return to the rebel base of Yavin where they plan an all-out assault.
The Rebel Alliance attacks the Empire in a galactic dog-fight. While piloting an X-Wing, Luke uses the Force to fire a laser shot into the Death Star exhaust port, which causes the entire station to go up in flames.
Luke, Han and Chewbacca are honored at a large ceremony and given medallions by Leia for aiding the Rebel Alliance in the destruction of the Death Star.
Star Wars: A New Hope Script Takeaway #1
Star Wars: A New Hope QuotesCreating a fantastical, yet believable world outside of the one we know is one of the greatest challenges a screenwriter can face. With Star Wars, George Lucas created a sprawling universe with unique characters, expressive cultures, and new languages—all of which he showcases in the famous cantina scene.
From a visual standpoint, this scene is iconic, but that sometimes overshadows how Lucas builds its solid foundation in the script.
We've uploaded the scene to StudioBinder's screenwriting software so you can take a closer look at how he describes the setting:
Lucas also uses language to express the diversity of characters.
Although some of the creature’s utterances are intentionally left unclear, Lucas makes a point to provide subtitles for Han’s dialogue with the alien Greedo. When Greedo tells Han that he’s been looking forward to killing him, Han cooly responds by saying, “Yes, I'll bet you have.”
Han has plenty of great quotes in Star Wars, but the other characters do as well. Here are some examples:
- “Quiet down will ya! You got a mouth bigger than a meteor crater.”
- “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope.”
- “Well of course, of course I know him. He's me!”
- “He was the best star-pilot in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior. I understand you've become quite a good pilot yourself. And he was a good friend.”
- “An elegant weapon for a more civilized time.”
- “Fast ship? You've never heard of the Millennium Falcon?... It's the ship that made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs!”
- “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”
- “That's no moon! It's a space station.”
- “Aren't you a little short to be a stormtrooper?”
- “Don't underestimate the power of the Force.”
- “When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master.”
- “You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”
- “Great shot, kid. That was one in a million.”
Star Wars Script Takeaway #2
Star Wars: A New Hope Character Building
The Star Wars script does a great job of building character through the words of others.
One example of this is when Obi-Wan Kenobi tells the story of his former Padawan, Anakin Skywalker. Obi-Wan details a narrative backstory in this scene about the history of the Jedi Knights:
Backstories are especially difficult to pull off. If they’re done poorly the audience may sense that there’s too much plotting or exposition.
Here, though, Lucas does a good job of using backstory to build the mythos of the film’s world, while also foreshadowing Luke’s complicated connection to the force.
The story of the fall of the Jedi has been expanded since the release of Star Wars: A New Hope, but it’s still remarkable how much emotional depth Lucas was able to capture in this original scene.
Star Wars: A New Hope Script Takeaway #3
Star Wars: A New Hope — Differences Between Script and Screen
The script for Star Wars: A New Hope is fairly long by industry standards. At over 150 pages, it was inevitable that some scenes weren’t going to make the final cut.
One such scene is at “Anchorhead Settlement,” where Luke meets with his friends on Tatooine:
The important aspect of this scene is Luke’s relationship with his best friend Biggs, who is leaving to join the rebel alliance. Luke shares his dreams of being a star-pilot with Biggs, but says that he can’t because he feels obligated to help his Aunt and Uncle through the Harvest.
The Anchorhead Settlement scene was filmed, as shown in the video above. But ultimately, Lucas felt that it didn’t fit with the pace that the rest of the film establishes.
Biggs shows up in the final cut as an X-Wing pilot during the attack on the Death Star, but sadly, he perishes in the combat.
The Matrix Script Analysis
Here's another story that structures its plot and protagonist in a Hero's Journey. When we first meet Neo, he's just an employee at a respectable software company, MetaCortex. As we follow him deeper down the rabbit hole, we discover the truth about the matrix and his purpose in redeeming it. Download and read the full script.