The Star Wars Trilogy Radio NPR Dramatization

Started by Geekyfanboy, February 02, 2007, 11:59:21 AM

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I just got this and am now listening to the first episode. Has anyone else heard these... they are really cool.

Here is more info...

The Complete Star Wars Trilogy Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back - Return of the Jedi

(A great description from Wikipedia) - An expanded radio dramatization of the original Star Wars trilogy was produced in 1981, 1983, and 1996. The first two radio series, based on Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, were produced and broadcast by National Public Radio as part of NPR Playhouse. A dramatization of Return of the Jedi was produced by most of the same team and also broadcast on NPR.

The radio serials were made with the full co-operation of George Lucas, who for one dollar each sold the rights to KUSC-FM, the public radio affiliate at his alma mater, the University of Southern California. Lucas also allowed the use of original sound effects and music from the films.

The adaptations for radio are part of Star Wars canon within its Expanded Universe.


Star Wars

Star Wars is a 13-part (6½ hour) radio serial first broadcast on National Public Radio in 1981. It was adapted by Brian Daley from the original film, and directed by John Madden, with music by John Williams and sound design for Lucasfilm by Ben Burtt.

The series fleshes out the storyline by adding a great deal of back story that had probably been created but not used by Lucas. Examples include: Princess Leia obtaining the Death Star schematics and her initial encounter with Darth Vader; Luke Skywalker using his binoculars to observe the movie's opening battle and trying to convince his friends at Toshi Station of what he saw; the skyhopper race that results in Luke's vehicle being damaged (seen in the movie in the background of his Tatooine garage); and Vader's interrogation of Princess Leia (a controversial scene for its intensity).

The episodes were entitled:

1. "A Wind To Shake The Stars"
2. "Points Of Origin"
3. "Black Knight, White Princess, And Pawns"
4. "While Giants Mark Time"
5. "Jedi That Was, Jedi To Be"
6. "The Millennium Falcon Deal"
7. "The Han Solo Solution"
8. "Death Star's Transit"
9. "Rogues, Rebels And Robots"
10. "The Luke Skywalker Initiative"
11. "The Jedi Nexus"
12. "The Case For Rebellion"
13. "Force And Counter Force"


Many of the actors involved in the movie were unavailable to reprise their roles: Harrison Ford, for instance, was committed to the first Indiana Jones movie. Two of the actors, Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels, returned to reprise their roles as Luke Skywalker and C-3PO respectively.

* Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker
* Ann Sachs, Princess Leia Organa
* Perry King, Han Solo
* Bernard "Bunny" Behrens, Obi-Wan Kenobi
* Brock Peters, Lord Darth Vader
* Anthony Daniels, C-3PO
* Keene Curtis, Grand Moff Tarkin
* John Considine, Lord Tion
* Stephen Elliott, Prestor â€" more widely known as Bail Organa
* David Ackroyd, Captain Antilles

* Adam Arkin, Fixer
* Kale Browne, Biggs Darklighter
* David Clennon, Motti
* Anne Gerety, Aunt Beru
* Thomas Hill, Uncle Owen
* David Paymer, Deak
* Joel Brooks, Heater
* John Dukakis, Rebel
* Stephanie Steele, Cammie
* Phillip Kellard, Customer #2

The supporting cast included James Blendick, Clyde Burton, Bruce French, David Alan Grier, Jerry Hardin, John Harkins, Meshach Taylor, Marc Vahanian, John Welsh, and Kent Williams.

The Empire Strikes Back

The success of the first series led to a 10-part, five-hour series based on The Empire Strikes Back, again written by Daley and directed by Madden.

Like the preceding series, The Empire Strikes Back expanded its story by incorporating new scenes that did not affect existing continuity. Examples include an Imperial attack on a Rebel patrol (set before the film's opening scene) and a tense conversation between Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, stranded in the Hoth wastelands awaiting rescue.

One of the unusual promotions that National Public Radio did for the radio serial was to get Craig Claiborne to create his version of Yoda's rootleaf recipe, which the Jedi Master served Luke in the hut on Dagobah. The recipe ran in magazines and newspapers across the country.

The Empire Strikes Back debuted on NPR on February 14, 1983.

The episodes were titled:

1. "Freedom's Winter"
2. "The Coming Storm"
3. "A Question Of Survival"
4. "Fire And Ice"
5. "The Millennium Falcon Pursuit"
6. "Way Of The Jedi"
7. "New Allies, New Enemy"
8. "Dark Lord's Fury"
9. "Gambler's Choice"
10. "The Clash Of Lightsabers"


Billy Dee Williams reprised Lando Calrissian, and John Lithgow played Yoda; at the time Madden was directing Lithgow in the play Beyond Therapy.

* Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker)
* Ann Sachs (Princess Leia Organa)
* Perry King (Han Solo)
* Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian)
* Bernard "Bunny" Behrens (Obi-Wan Kenobi)
* Brock Peters (Lord Darth Vader)
* John Lithgow (Yoda)
* Anthony Daniels (C-3PO)
* James Eckhouse (Beta)
* Peter Friedman (Dak)
* Ron Frazier (Deck Officer)
* Merwin Goldsmith (General Rieekan)

* Peter Michael Goetz (Ozzel)
* Gordon Gould (Veers)
* Paul Hecht (The Emperor)
* Russell Horton (2-1B)
* James Hurdle (Controller)
* Nicholas Kepros (Needa)
* David Rasche (Piett)
* Alan Rosenburg (Boba Fett)
* Jay Sanders (Imperial Pilot)
* Don Scarino (Wedge)
* Ken Hiller (Narrator)

The supporting cast again included David Alan Grier and also included Sam McMurray, Steven Markle, Stephen D. Newman, John Pielmeier, Geoffrey Pierson, Gary Tacon, and Jerry Zaks.

Return of the Jedi

NPR's plans for a third radio serial (which would be based on Return of the Jedi) were put on hold when federal funding for NPR was dramatically reduced. It was not until 1996 that a six-part adaptation of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi was made by Highbridge Audio, the company that had released the first two series on tape and CD.

Like the preceding series, Return of the Jedi expanded its story by incorporating new scenes that did not affect existing continuity. Examples include Luke Skywalker constructing his new lightsaber and C-3PO conversing with Mara Jade in the palace of Jabba the Hutt.

Scriptwriter Brian Daley died before the series was produced, so "additional material" was contributed by John Whitman, who introduced changes required for continuity with the now-planned prequels, as well as any changes identified by the director and cast.

The episodes were titled:

1. "Tatooine Haunts"
2. "Fast Friends"
3. "Prophecies And Destinies"
4. "Pattern And Web"
5. "So Turns A Galaxy, So Turns A Wheel"
6. "Blood Of A Jedi"


The adaptation used many of the original radio cast, though Joshua Fardon took over as Luke and caucascian actor Arye Gross replaced African-American actor Billy Dee Williams as Lando. Ed Begley, Jr. was the voice of Boba Fett and Edward Asner, speaking only in grunts, guest-stars as Jabba the Hutt. The only actor who starred in both the feature films as well as previous radio dramas was Anthony Daniels.

* Joshua Fardon (Luke Skywalker)
* Perry King (Han Solo)
* Ann Sachs (Princess Leia Organa)
* Anthony Daniels (C-3PO)
* Bernard Behrens (Obi-Wan Kenobi)
* Arye Gross (Lando Calrissian)
* Edward Asner (Jabba The Hutt)
* Paul Hecht (The Emperor)
* John Lithgow (Yoda)
* Brock Peters (Lord Darth Vader)
* Ed Begley, Jr. (Boba Fett)
* Samantha Bennett (Arica)

* David Birney (Anakin Skywalker)
* Peter Dennis (Moff Jerjerrod)
* David Dukes (Bib Fortuna)
* Peter Michael Goetz (General Madine)
* Ian Gomez (Salacious Crumb)
* Martin Jarvis (Barada)
* Jon Matthews (Wedge)
* Natalija Nogulich (Mon Mothma)
* Mark Adair Rios (Admiral Ackbar)
* Yeardley Smith (9D9)
* Tom Virtue (Major Derlin)
* Ken Hiller (Narrator)

Darth Gaos

Wow...that sounds really cool.  Where did you get it and what did it coest of you don't mind my asking.
I think it was Socrates who spoke the immortal words:  I drank WHAT?


I've wanted to get those for a while, but haven't, it seem like each one runs about $40 on eBay.  I have heard A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, about 10 years ago, though I only really remember one scene from ANH.
"I won't have this handed to me, it's only worth something if you struggle for it.  Damn it, Bones, I want my pain.  I NEED my pain."
"The fact that you just quoted Star Trek V to me only proves how screwed we are without that money." ~ PVP Online


Yeah I have wanted to get these for years and years... but they have been bit too expensive.. but I was lucky enough to have a friend who already had them in MP3 format on a single DVD. So I borrowed it and downloaded to my itunes.


Thats great Kenny, I have heard lots of interesting things about them. Let us know what you think of them after listening.

Dan M

Listening to the A New Hope NPR dramatization is a fond memory of my childhood.  I think they were on Sunday afternoons in my area, and it was the highpoint of my week. 

I've got all three radio adaptations on my iPod, and I'll play them sometimes at work.

(I've also got all 6 movies on my iPod.  I just feel better knowing I've got 24/7/365 access to Star Wars.)


I think the Radio dramas are fantastic.  There's all kinds of expanded scenes in "Star Wars" and "Empire" which are very enjoyable.  There's not as many expanded scenes in "Jedi", but the radio show is much shorter.  I'd recommend them to any "Star Wars" fans.   You're really missing out if you haven't heard them.  I think Rico has mentioned them before.  Perhaps this would be a good subject for a future podcast.


These are awesome!  I so loved listening to them each week when they first came out.  So much nice detail to fill in the films.  I've got them on CD.  Great set!

Captain BJ Wanlund

Will NPR and Lucasfilm have the sense to help those of us out who DON'T have it yet?? :wallbash: *10 calories per bonk*

Love Star Trek TOS & TNG (never really got into DS9, Voyager, or Enterprise).  Also love Star Wars (everything save for the prequels...), and Indiana Jones, and ElfQuest, basically anything remotely SF or fantasy is my bag, tho I tend more towards SF than I do fantasy.

Dan M

I've been listening to A New Hope for the past few weeks when I've run out of podcasts to listen to.

On the way into work today, I listened to the episode where Vader questions Leia on the location of the Rebel base. 

It definitely cleared up questions raised in the forum thread on "Splinter of the Mind's Eye".  She was tortured. 

All the dialogue where Vader uses the word "father" has an irony now that we're more informed of their relationship.  Not that it was intended at the time.  "Your father orders you to reveal the location."  Duh, of course, he does.  You've been doing it for five minutes now, Dad.


Oh Kenny those got to be one of the greatest Star Wars collectibles ever. I got them a few years ago and I love them.

Granted, my favorite is Another Hope. It's really well done and expands the story far longer than the movie. 

"The Needs Of The Many, Out Weigh The Needs Of The Few, Or The One..."
Mr. Spock


I just got done listening to the first of the NPR Radio Drama Episode "Star Wars" and all I have to say is WOW. It was awesome... they expand on characters and story. When Leia is being tortured it was painful to listen to, I had tears in my eyes. They really play up the attraction that Luke and Leia have for each other. Han Solo is more of a jerk then the movie. And the end battle, though you can't see it, is very emotional.

Now I move on to The Empire Strikes Back.


Well I just finished both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. All I have to say is WOW. These edition just seem more emotional to me. There were times when I was eating lunch at a fast food place and have tears in my eyes listening to what is going on.  I don't know if it's because the visuals are gone and you focus more of the words and tone of voice, but  these were very moving pieces. These are a must of any Star Wars fan. They were super quick and it's great that they are a serial type  show. You can listen to it in 25 minute segments and each one ends in a kind of cliffhanger. I wish I would have heard these on NPR way back when but I'm so happy I found them now. If anyone is intrested in getting them I think I can fit all the files on a data dvd, just PM me.



YES and YES!!  I love them.  I can still remember hearing them when they first played on radio long ago.  Great stuff!!