In the Beginning: Two Early Drafts of Famous Stories

September 3, 2014

A lot can change between the first draft and the final product.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryA “long lost” chapter from the classic children’s novel recently appeared in The Guardian. It was accompanied by a lengthy article about author Roald Dahl and a rundown on his even crazier original version. In one of his earliest drafts, Charlie was accompanied by four additional ill-fated kids while he toured Willy Wonka’s very dangerous factory. A girl named Miranda Grope succumbed to the temptations of the chocolate river in this version, while two naughty boys were whisked away to the rather terrifyingly named “Pounding and Cutting Room.” Another detail Dahl altered: the Oompa Loompas were originally normal factory workers. He made them more interesting after his agent suggested that they should be “something more surprising.”

Star Wars

Star WarsIn the spring of 1973, director George Lucas sat down to cobble together a story synopsis for what would eventually become one of the greatest blockbusters of all time. In this version, Luke Skywalker is a battle-hardened general living in the 33rd century instead of a farm boy. He’s assigned to protect a princess and their adventures lead them to a “starport” called Gordon while they evade Imperial soldiers and other bad guys. This version features a space fortress along the lines of the Death Star and “laser swords.” Han Solo pops up in a draft about a year later but he’s a slimy, lizard-like alien called a Ureallian instead of a dashing intergalactic smuggler. Additional character include a Jedi named Kane Starkiller and his son Annikin. The plot is far more complicated than what eventually wound up on the silver screen. It incorporates stuff that appeared in later Star Wars movies like clones, carbonite chambers and head-scratching galactic politics. Nevertheless, this nutty version is currently in the process of being adapted into a comic book series by Dark Horse Comics.