Screenwriting : May the 4th be with you! by Nick Assunto - Stage 32 Script Services Coordinator

Nick Assunto - Stage 32 Script Services Coordinator

May the 4th be with you!

I'm probably going to regret asking this, but what do you believe to be the best written Star Wars film, and why?

Martin Reese

I'm going to say The Empire Strikes Back. It really showed how powerful the Empire was and what the rebels were up against. Great action. It better positioned Han Solo's character and his relationship with Leia. And come on the reveal at the end? Perfectly executed. Strong second is Star Wars: Rogue One. It was Guns of Navarone in space. It was different because of the darker tone overall. The film took itself seriously.

Ricki Linksman

I agree. The original first 2 were the best. Earlier ones were more character-driven!

WL Wright

First two definitely but I always laugh when all the fans were criticizing one of the later Star Wars George Lucas responded with "It was written for ten year olds".

Jason Mirch

Martin Reese nails it! Those are both so well done.

Anthony Moore

First two. I did enjoy the introduction of Darth Maul who was the most interesting character of all in the later films but they killed him off before the end of the film.

A lot of those fanboys don't know just how hard it was for Lucas to get the first one made. Nobody in Hollywood was buying or had even heard of a "Space Opera" back then. The project almost died several times during filming and production. Without it, the current Sci-Fi scene would not be half as strong as it is now.

Dan MaxXx

First one. Thank goodness Marcia Lucas saved the movie (but she has been erased by SW Historian Nerds)

James L. Gray Jr.

Martin Reese not to mention that Vader scene at the end was worth $12 on its own for a movie ticket. Not a fan of the new trilogy, and Solo was meh. Empire is easily the best.

Martin Reese

I agree, James L. Gray, Jr. That end of Rouge One was epic.

Nick Assunto - Stage 32 Script Services Coordinator

All us real fans know that Star Wars wouldn't exist without Marcia! JUSTICE FOR MARCIA! Star Wars does have the most absolutely toxic fanbase though. It really is a weird shame when that happens. I worry about Twitter's ability to change a film. The Rise of Skywalker was basically written by tweets.

Dan MaxXx

Nick Assunto - Stage 32 Script Services Coordinator I have never seen the original Star Wars theater version from 1977. Supposedly the Theater version didn’t have the opening crawl.

Nick Assunto - Stage 32 Script Services Coordinator

Dan MaxXx Wow! I knew they added A New Hope years later but had no idea it didn't have the crawl. I wonder if it's really needed? I might know the story too well now to think from that point of view. But damn it if it isn't iconic.

Tony S.

The original, theatrical release STAR WARS: EPISODE IV - A NEW HOPE did have the opening roll. Early on, it did not have a leading "Episode IV - A New Hope."

Martin Reese

That crawl was one of the amazing images that you never forget. By the way I only acknowledge the original 1977 version. Not the one that added Jabba the Hutt and a few other unnecessary shots. Han shot first doggone it!

Tony S.


May 25, 1977, first showing at a Syracuse, New York theater. Seven words etched in memory, "It is a period of civil war."

Damn straight Han shot first. And rightfully. It's a shame Lucas went insane.

BTW, a quibble: a crawl is text moving in a horizontal plane. As in SW, a roll is vertical.

Martin Reese

Thanks for clarifying "crawl" and "roll" Tony S. Not differentiating would probably have bitten me one day. LOL! and you're darn right about Lucas. He got so caught up with the advances in VFX that he decided "Oh I can fix this" without thinking about how it affected the story and characters. This is great lesson in writing. For example revealing Jabba the Hutt in the new version of Episode IV kills the surprise of seeing Jabba in Return of the Jedi. Not having Han shoot first throws off the idea that he was a true scoundrel at first. Oh you could do a whole webinar comparing the versions and how the changes affect the storytelling.

Tony S.

NP, Martin.

I recently viewed a 2010 documentary, THE PEOPLE VS. GEORGE LUCAS, that entertains these, and many more, issues. It is an unmitigated HOOT that is a must for SW fans. The many included fanflims are alone worth the price of admission.

May the.... you know the rest

Vic Burns


M L.

A New Hope. JJ Abrams pretty much copied it's structure completely for Force Awakens.

Cannon Rosenau

American Graffiti! Bwahaha

Erick Freitas

Empire Strikes Back. Then Rogue One. Then it ends there. Lol.

Nick Assunto - Stage 32 Script Services Coordinator

Martin Reese and Tony S. well remember in the late 90s? Spielberg and Lucas were both very concerned about violence in their films and the depiction of guns because of shoot shootings. They even edited all the guns in E.T. into radios. It's absolutely wild, but their hearts were in the right place.

Tony S.

Those are questions posed in THE PEOPLE VS. GEORGE LUCAS. To whom does the work belong: artist or audience? Spielberg and Lucas are undoubtedly free to do with their creations as they see fit. I'm not in total agreement about the location of their concern. Lucas made a lot of changes. I see these as commercial decisions. Lucas refuses to this day to release a fully restored original theatrical version citing 'millions of dollars' for a resto. Go to hell, George.

Lucas on the big one, who shot first?: "Han shoots under the table to kill Greedo. The 1997 Special Edition release of the film alters the scene so that Greedo shoots first and misses (with Han's head digitally altered to move away from the laser blast). The scene was altered again for the 2004 DVD release of the film so that Han and Greedo shoot simultaneously. The scene was further modified for the 2019 4K Ultra HD release with the addition of a close-up shot of Greedo speaking (without subtitles) and a re-rendering of the visual effects.

Lucas stated that he always intended for Greedo to have shot first. He felt that the idea of Han shooting first depicts him as "a cold-blooded killer." This decision sparked objections that it changed Han's moral ambiguity, fundamentally altered his established character, and diminished his transition from antihero to hero. It became one of the most controversial changes to the films."

Spielberg in 2011 on E.T.: "For myself, I tried [changing a film] once and lived to regret it. Not because of fan outrage, but because I was disappointed in myself. I got overly sensitive to [some of the reaction] to E.T., and I thought if technology evolved, [I might go in and change some things]…it was OK for a while, but I realized what I had done was I had robbed people who loved E.T. of their memories of E.T."

Martin Reese

By the way one of the best gifts I have ever gotten is Star Wars: Frames.

Anthony D Paul

Empire strikes back. Because it's the best! :)

Sarah Gabrielle Baron

Star Wars IV A New Hope. Just cuz I'm a romantic and Han and Leia falling in love was so timeless and exciting. I still love those scenes, and back then it did a lot to help inform my young feminist thinking about what a woman's role in a budding relationship could look like. Leia definitely had so much political power in all those movies, and she never let her 'royalty' image falter, even when she clearly knew she was falling for Han despite her best efforts. Whereas Padme, god love her, really came off as a bit of a wimp, and tried to play the role of female empath / emotional healer for her man way too much. Now, Ray, yeah, totally loved her throughout. Warrior badass, emotional navigator extraordinaire, yet still retains that regal aura that Leia had. Rogue One was also a favourite, maybe my second favourite (ach! so hard to decide!) and again, it was because the female lead, Jyn, was such a badass. I loved it that she was such a butch. Lol it wasn't even hiding an emotional vulnerability. If she was feeling vulnerable she just showed it loud and clear like a champ. She's just hardcore resilient and never ever sways from doing what she knows is just. That the plot lines in 1-3, Rogue One, and 7-9 were just rehashes of 4-6 was totally disappointing. However, it was the characters and crazy special effects that made us come back again and again and again, but for me it was the female leads that captured my soul. I also think these strong female leads are Lucas' and his successor's gifts that have the most lasting socio-cultural impact. Here's what I mean: when I was 6 and playing with the neighbours (all boys), I was Leia. Yeah, the princess who made the decisions for the rest of the group. The one EVERYONE respects and is slightly afraid of. That Leia. How empowering is that for a little girl????

Jeff Saylor

Empire Strikes Back

Tony S.


Totals so far:

Ep V - 6 votes

Ep IV - 4 votes

First Two - 2 votes

Dan MaxXx

"The Empire Strikes Back" zoom panel discussion w/ Lawrence Kasdan, hosted by Craig Mazin and John August.

Christopher Poet

Revenge of the Sith - The climatic middle that concludes one story and starts another. Honestly, this film pulled at my emotions more than any other film I have seen, with the exception of Rogue One. And if I had to pick a 2nd runner up, it would be Rogue One.

Tennyson Stead

While The Empire Strikes Back is the best directed film of the series, I actually think Solo is the best written. The lines of action are clean, the characters are clear and at the same time complex, it's tunny and exciting and at the same time honest and often naturalistic... it's a pretty excellent film, and the script is enviable.

Martin Reese

Interesting take, Tennyson Stead.

Jean Buschmann

The original. A classic reluctant hero's journey. Great character set up, plot, and creative use of visual effects. But by far, the realistic relationships and authentic banter between the characters is what puts it in a league of its own, imho. You can take that ensemble crew and those relationships and plug them into a completely different story and they'd still work. Can't really say the same about the recent flicks.

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