It’s not too often that an antiquarian bookseller can feel himself at the very cutting edge, but this week is an exception: Star Wars! The seventh episode makes its début on Saturday 18 December 2015, and in the bookshop we have something quite special: a first edition of the book, ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster, based on Lucas’s screenplay for the film.
Lucas, George, [Alan Dean Foster]. Star Wars from the Adventures of Luke Skywalker. New York: Ballantine Books, December 1976. First edition.
This in itself is rather a treasure; hard-cover editions followed in 1977, but this is the very first appearance of Star Wars in any form, some six months before A New Hope. At the bottom of the rear cover, it reads “Soon to be a spectacular motion picture!/ From Twentieth-Century Fox!” Amusingly, the names of the droids who (that?) accompany Luke are written “Artoo” and “Threepio”.
As of posting (14 xii 2015), on-line used-book aggregators do not show any copies for sale.
What makes our copy most intriguing is a holograph manuscript note on a card headed “George Lucas” [SEE UPDATE BELOW]
“1/15 / Alan / As discussed. / Many thanks / George”
Some familiar with Lucas’s handwriting have indicated its authenticity, but of course we cannot be sure. The burning question, the one we have asked ourselves in moments of real honesty, and in our truest hearts have answered with a hopeful affirmitive is: Is “Alan” Alan Dean Foster? We have attempted to verify the card through LucasFilm and Skywalker Ranch, but doubtless it fell by the way-side among other such inquiries. Still, there is some pride in joining the legion of fanatics that populates the Star Wars sphere (the “Extended Universe”)...
Pp. [iv], 220.
UPDATE: Sadly, it would seem, the card is a forgery. Below is the e-mail we received from Skywalker Ranch:
Dear Mr. Johnson,
Thank you for reaching out with regard to your inquiry about the note card in your first edition copy of Star Wars. Thank you also for your patience in awaiting a response.
After looking into it, that particular note card was not from or written by George Lucas. We can confirm that it is not his handwriting. We hope this will settle any questions you may have as to it’s authenticity, or lack thereof in this case.
Thank you again for your email.