Star Wars Movie: A New Hope – Movie Versus Book

I’d like to talk today about the Star Wars movie, A New Hope, and how many people don’t realise there is a much deeper story going on that what is represented in the movies once you read the book. There are facts from the book that unless you read the book, you may never know. For me personally, I prefer to read the book as well as watch the movie if both are available.

I love these stories so much that I want to devour as much information, back story and facts that I can so that I can glean greater understanding and feeling from it. I find that movies tell a visual story, which is so invaluable in obtaining meaning from a person’s expression and body language, tone of voice etc. A book however, does something more.


Does A Book Tell A Story In More Depth?


To answer this question, most definitely YES. There is so much more that comes across in a book. This is something that has always bothered me when I read a novel that is then transferred onto the big screen. I get truly disappointed that the movie can never fully tell the story, or that parts of the story line get changed around. For example a character in a book may have stated something, yet in the movie version, a different character said it. I noted that this happened in the Harry Potter series on occasion, and even with the Lord Of The Rings movies.


Books Come Alive At The Movies


Going to the movies, which I still absolutely love when it means I get to see a favourite book come alive in pictures, is fantastic, but it still doesn’t translate everything about a story. When you read the book, you realise that so much more happens but there simply isn’t enough time in a movie to capture the entire thread. Sometimes, even character back stories that may otherwise have been shown to be influential to a major character, may never even have reached the big screen version, such as Biggs Darklighter for example.


Luke Skywalker, Tattooine, Tattooine Sunset, A New Hope, Star Wars Movie, Star Wars Film, Star Wars Movie A New Hope

Luke Skywalker Looks Longingly At The Sunset, Watching His Dreams Disappear


Why Does Luke Skywalker Look So Sad?


Or in the case of the photograph shown here, the picture may show that Luke looks despondent about something and we know it has something to do with him not being allowed to go to the ‘academy’ he speaks of yet, but unless you have read the book, you don’t quite grasp the entire unfolding of events that led to this scene. There is a whole section of the book describing how Luke feels about living on Tattooine, working as a moisture farmer, how he has been left behind by friends, how he dreams of becoming a pilot and leaving the planet. These are just a few.


How Do You Feel After Reading A Book And Then Watching The Movie?


After reading a book, I get so excited when I hear that they are turning the book into a movie, such as with the Harry Potter series and Lord Of The Rings, my two other favourite stories, because previously only imagined scenes will be brought to life adding that other valuable element to my enjoyment. But if I love a story line that much, I will do both, read the book and watch the movie, to soak in everything there is to know about the story but get a visual representation as well.


Books And Movies Don’t Always End The Same


I really wish my daughter would listen to me about the difference between reading a story as opposed to seeing it on the big screen. She refuses to read the book of Eragon, because she believes that she knows the whole story line from the movie and it won’t tell her anything new. In fact she won’t read a book if she’s seen a movie because she would find it boring due to the ‘spoilers’ from the movie. What she doesn’t realise is that this is a 4 part series, and the actual movie Eragon, had a totally different ending to the book Eragon, and it was a much more intriguing ending also, thus allowing for the story to move along into another 3 books.

Eragon the movie, Eragon the book

Eragon – To get the most out of this story, both the movie and the book


How True To The Book Is The Star Wars Movie – A New Hope?


Surprisingly Star Wars as a novel does follow very closely to the story line in the movie, however there are some things that are written about in the book that you may find of interest, or that may enlighten you about particular scenes or events that have taken place. Some of the die-hard Star Wars fans out there will be aware of pieces of this information, but for someone just beginning their journey into the Star Wars realm, it will be an enlightening experience in terms of some of the scenes or back story.


You Get More Of A ‘FEEL’ For The Story With A Book


In a book, you get to experience the story on another level again. You get to hear the thoughts of the characters and feel their feelings. While you may not be able to see them, unless of course you have seen images of the characters from a movie or poster or comic etc, you can’t get the complete picture of their personalities without their thoughts and feelings. Of course stance, facial expressions and tone of voice can still give very big indications from a non-verbal language perspective, but it still conveys only a partial image.

An Interesting Piece Of Trivia You Won’t Find In The Movie


Senator Palpatine, Star-Wars-Movie-A-New-Hope

Senator Palpatine

The opening prologue of my particular copy of the Star Wars book, is where I found a description of Emperor Palpatine quite different to that which we know now in the canon versions by both George Lucas and Disney. It appears that Emperor Palpatine was originally cast as an ordinary man with grand goals to cleverly scheme his way into the position to which he could declare himself as Emperor. He was not a Sith!!


Palpatine Was A Pawn


He ended up with no real power after obtaining his throne. Instead the Empire was controlled by greedy Imperial Governors who were the ones who initiated the extinction of the Jedi, not Palpatine.

This outline was a two page segment of the original idea for the story of Star Wars called The Journal of the Whills. It was responsible for the initial plot involving the rise of Palpatine as Emperor.


Star Wars Book Facts And Some Movie Differences Too.

Did you know?


  • Tattooine has twin suns, called Tattoo I and Tattoo II. Hence the daytime heat and the planet being a desert, and the double sunset too in the famous scene with Luke and later again when baby Luke was delivered to Owen Lars in Revenge of the Sith.


  • Water is obtained from machines called Vaporators that pull moisture out of the atmosphere.


  • Jawas are scavengers of anything, mostly mechanical, and if anything was left unattended, it would be highly likely Jawas would snaffle it.


  • Sand people, or Tusken Raiders as they are officially known, are nomadic tribes that raid homesteads, stealing food, equipment and taking captives.


  • Banthas are the creatures that are ridden by the Sand People, and look a bit like mammoths.


Twin Suns, Tattooine, Star_Wars_Movie_A_New _Hope

Setting of the Twin Suns on Tattooine


  • Dewbacks are the lizard-like beasts of burden used similarly to mules or horses. Stormtroopers are seen to be riding them while hunting for the two droids, Artoo Detoo (R2D2) and See-Threepio (C3PO).


  • The story was originally written from the perspective of the two droids.


  • During this story, Luke Skywalker is 20 years old, and the nephew of a moisture farmer called Owen Lars, his Aunt’s name is Beru.


  • We learn that Luke is adopted by his Aunt and Uncle and that his mother’s whereabouts remains unknown to us and that he believes his father to be a navigator on a space freighter.


  • Luke lived on the outskirts of a town called Anchorhead and frequented a repair shop or factory called Tosche Station. This is mentioned in the movie when Luke tells his Uncle Owen he was going to get power converters after Owen tells him to clean up the new droids they bought.


  • Luke’s friends on Tattooine were Deak, Windy, Camie, Fixer and Biggs and were often found hanging out at Tosche Station. A friend called Tank was mentioned in the movie, but not in the book.


  • Luke had the nickname ‘Wormie’ among his peers and was the brunt of much teasing and jokes.


Star Wars Movie, A New Hope


  • The first time you see Luke Skywalker in the movie is when the Jawas sell C3PO and R2D2 to his Uncle Owen. Yet in the book, Luke is working on his uncle’s farm when he first appears and sees the space battle between Princess Leia’s spaceship and Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer. This sparks a mad dash into Tosche Station to tell his friends, who are less than enthusiastic about the battle.


  • C3PO does not seem to be aware of who Princess Leia is in the book, fearing he is hallucinating, when he sees a figure reaching across to R2D2 to place the stolen data into his memory. Yet in the movie he states at the start during the battle, “there will be no escape for the Princess this time”. A difference here is that he says in the book, “there’s no escape for the Captain this time”. He tells Luke in both cases that he thinks she was a person of some importance.


Star Wars A New Hope

Leia places the stolen plans into artoo detoo


  • See-Threepio tells Luke in the workshop on their homestead, that Captain Colton was their last master instead of the statement in the movie of Captain Antilles being their last master.


  • The change in the name of the Captain makes sense after the events in episode 3, The Revenge of The Sith. Antilles is the name of Bail Organa, who is Princess Leia’s father, he is also known as Bail Antilles of Alderaan. I believe the ‘Organa” part of the name may be the royal lineage. In that story, the 2 robots ended up in the service of a Captain Antilles in Bail Organa’s star fleet after having their memories wiped.


  • There are no ducks on Tattooine. Luke did not know what a duck was when Ben used it as a metaphor.


There You Have It!


I have enjoyed pointing out some of the facts from, and differences between, the Star Wars Movie, A New Hope, and the book of the same name. As you probably know, the reason I have this website is to preserve the books and stories of the Star Wars saga, mostly for those of the expanded universe, however I plan on including the canon because I am looking forward to all of the new books and underlying stories because it opens up, in the words of Luke Skywalker, “A whole ‘nother world”.


If you would like me to talk about anything else from the movie or book or have any questions, please leave a comment for me and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Similarly if you have anything you’d like to add yourself about differences you’ve noticed, please comment as well.


Thank you for reading


Warm Wishes



Eragon Image attributed to Austen Squarepants under the following license. No changes were made.

Other images taken from my own media or created by myself.


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