Lucas-Hughes photo

Was he once young?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (namely the mid-1970s in central California), a USC graduate named George Lucas was enjoying the success of his first major film, American Graffiti (which incidentally starred a young Harrison Ford, pre-Solo). Lucas was also pulling together the early drafts of what would become the cultural phenomenon we now know as Star Wars, the first cinematic ‘epic saga’ in modern times. But the protagonist of the 1977 release Star Wars was not originally a moisture-farm hand named Luke Skywalker. One of the early names the filmmaker tried on the character was Luke Starkiller, and the character was a bookish historian more intent on cataloging the deeds of "the ancients" than going on any interstellar adventure. In another draft, Starkiller was even a grizzled old general, not the wistful teen we remember. And would you believe that the light and dark sides of the Force were once called the Ashla and the Bogan, respectively?

At least it’s not hard to figure out why Lucas chose Luke as a first name for his Jedi-to-be.

If this sort of thing gives you a new hope, take your young Jedi and Sith lords, all the better if in costume, to the Topsham Public Library (25 Foreside Rd) on Friday, February 23 at 1 p.m. for the 3rd Annual Friday of the Force, a free celebration of all things Star Wars. From lightsaber duels to Star Wars-themed snacks to galactic games, it’s to be family fun of the highest order. There is no try.

If your kids are a little older and prefer the more down-to-earth writing of the late John Hughes, or simply like the idea of a movie script that was conceived and written (108 pages) in a single week (February 26 to March 3, 1985) with no character-name changes, take any and all truants in the fam to a free showing of the PG-13 classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at the Freeport Community Library (10 Library Dr) on Wednesday, February 28 at 2:20 p.m.

After all, it’s up to you to impart the wisdom of the ancients to your own Brat Pack, right?

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