NPR Star Wars Radio Series

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Title: NPR Star Wars Radio Series
Date(s): 1981, 1983, 1996
Medium: audio
Fandom: Star Wars
External Links: Wikipedia info

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NPR Star Wars Radio Series was an expanded radio dramatization of the original Star Wars trilogy.

The radio series was produced in 1981 (A New Hope) and 1983 (The Empire Strikes Back). The third part (Return of the Jedi) was produced by most of the same team and broadcast in 1996.

The radio series was made with George Lucas' full consent and cooperation. It included music from the movies, as well as many of the original actor's voices.

The scripts were by the American science fiction novelist Brian Daley.


Fan Comments

Fan Comments: A New Hope

There are many in Jundland Wastes #14 (1983).

Fan Comments: The Empire Strikes Back

BACK. The series was written for radio by Brian Daley (who wrote the Han Solo book series) and has added dialogue from that which was in the movie of the same name. The series is devided into ten (10) thirty-minute segments to be aired on consecutive weeks on stations around the country. I've personally found the first three installments very interesting in light of the fact that some aspects which were skimmed over in the film have been expanded on" the radio series. The cast does an excellent job in their portrayals with a few minor points that I find slightly distracting. First, Mark Hamel is outstanding as Luke Skywalker (who else?) and seems quite at home on radio. He brings more maturity to the role than he ever has before which is a set up for the coming RETURN OF THE JEDI.

As with other members of the original cast, his voice is unmistakable and his radio Luke seems much more the future Jedi than he was on film. Second, and this begins the parts where I'm disappointed with the production, is Ann Sachs. Ms. Sachs as Leia is very good, but she lacks some of the regal harshness that we've come to expect from Leia. I'm not about to say that she is not good, quite the reverse, she is very good and it brings us to wonder if perhaps she's a better Leia than the original. Ms. Sachs has brought a more caring Leia to the airwaves. In radio, the voice is the key, and where hers sounds very much like Carrie Fisher's, it has a different intonation of even the original words which shows us much more of Leia than did the film.

Along these same lines is Perry King, playing Han Solo, and although he doesn't have the same resonance or quite the bite of the original, he is also very good. I fear, however, that he was unprepared for the ways of radio as his lines are sometimes barely audible. This was particularly annoying during the scene in the 'south passage' as I was most anxious to find out what all Han had to say during those warm moments!

The other cast members are very good. I rather miss most of the metal twang usually present with See Threepio (Anthony Daniels) but otherwise he's the same silly goose he always is. It should also be mentioned that Brock Peters does a very admirable job in the role of Darth Vader. I can think of only one or two actors currently around who could do as well with that famous sound.

The music is of course from the original John Williams score (and who, it might be noted recently won several Grammy's for his "E.T." score) and Ben Burtt supervised the sound which is excellent. Some technical stuff worth mentioning is that it was recorded at KUSM in Los Angeles and post production sound was realized at Studio M St.Paul, Minnesota (Hey! I've been there!) on the 3M Mastering system. (Whatever that is!) Well, whatever they did, it turned out well worth the effort.

If the series is available in your area, I urge you to tune in. It's well worth the time invested and a very pleasurable experience for the 1istener. [1]

In regard to the radio show (EMPIRE STRIKES BACK on PBS), I don't know if it's intentional or not, but you can tell just from the dialog interpretation that Daley senses "The Other" to be Han. In the second episode I just heard last week Luke calls Han "Ben" twice and you listen to Han using Luke's light sabre with ease, after we heard Luke having some trouble with it in the episode where Kenobi gives it to him.

To me the clincher, of course, has got to be when Luke asks him (Han) bluntly, "O.K. Han, what's your excuse this time? [2]

Fan Comments: Return of the Jedi


  1. ^ from Rogue's Gallery #11 (1983)
  2. ^ from a letter of comment in "Rogue's Gallery" #11