You didn't think the actors playing Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader just showed up on set one day and improvised their climactic battle scene, did you?
Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy (Abrams) shows just how much pre-planning went into the original iconic trilogy. From sketched scenes that never made it into the films, to drawings of what would become the movies' quintessential moments, Lucasfilm offered up its archives for the book, which was released just ahead of this week's Star Wars: Episode VII cast announcements.
Below, nerd out with images from A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.
Episode IV: The droids escape from the rebel ship in a life pod, headed for Tatooine (or Utapau, in early boards).
Episode IV: Rebel X-wings dive toward the Death Star equatorial trench as the "armada" approaches.
Episode IV: This storyboard is marked "Disney" because matte painter Harrison Ellenshaw ran the matte department there while he freelanced for Star Wars.
Episode V: Luke leads his squadron against the walkers in the Battle for Hoth sequence.
Episode V: A later version of the space slug sequence featured the monster more actively pursuing the Millennium Falcon.
Episode V: Artist Ivor Beddoes did not know exactly what Darth Vader would say as he tempted Luke to join the Dark Side, because that part of the script was top secret. His original note read, "Beelzebub offering the world…end of dialogue."
Episode VI: Jabba the Hutt imprisons Leia, who watches as Jabba's prison skiff sails across the desert.
Episode VI: Although not included in the final cut, Luke's severed hand originally crawled of its own volition toward his light saber.
Episode VI: Luke cuts off Darth Vader's hand, but Vader still saves his son from the Emperor and his vicious "bolts."
Episode VI: Originally intended to just feature the spirits of Yoda and Ben Kenobi, Luke also saw Anakin Skywalker at the final celebration in the Ewok village.
**All Images: (C) 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. And TM. All Rights Reserved. Used Under Authorization**