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Also known as Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama

Created in association with National Public Radio, Lucasfilm, and the BBC, Star Wars: The Radio Drama debuted in 1981 and could be heard on radios all over the world. The idea was conceived in 1978 by Richard Toscan, who would be the executive producer, shortly after the release of the film. But how does one take the most visually spectacular film of the time and adapt it to work in an audio only medium? Toscan commented, "In radio drama, visual images and action are created by sound effects. Done well, there's no need for dialogue to tell us what's happening."

Using the original sound effects created by Ben Burtt and score by John Williams, this adaptation brought unfathomable depth to the beloved story using the listener's imagination to fill in the visual details. And so came the project's tag line: You may think you've seen the movie; wait till you hear it.

Of course, NPR was not the only ones who wanted to take on such a project. George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, was being inundated with request to adapt the movie in several different forms. However, he chose to sell the rights to KUSC-FM, the public radio affiliate at the University of Southern California, for one dollar. Along with the rights, he also included the original sound effects, score, and portions of the script that had not been included in the movie. Lucas provided them with the material they needed then walked away, knowing they would do a magnificent job.

Brian Daley, who would later author several Han Solo books, the Robotech books, and Tron, wrote the radio play. Although he was a fledgling novelist and had a limited experience in radio, he was chosen to script the thirteen half-hour episodes. Immediately Daley ran into a problem, "...there are some twenty-seven minutes or so of dialogue in the course of the one hour and fifty minute movie; we had a running time of more than six hours in which to expand on existing scenes and add new ones." Making good use of George Lucas's notes and scenes removed from the original movie script, Daley preformed this task amazingly well.

The radio drama featured the voice talent of Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels reprising their roles as Luke Skywalker and C-3PO, respectively. "It's an opportunity for me to work in a medium that has been denied me simply because of my age," commented Hamill. Although, at the time he didn't know it, this role would help spawn his career after Star Wars as he has gone on to do voice acting for a several cartoons and video games.

In 1981 when Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama first went on the air, a quarter of a million people tuned in to listen. It has been credited with a 40% rise in NPR's listener base, and helped to solidify the legitimacy of public radio. It also brought awareness of radio dramas to a totally new generation.

It has since been broadcasted all over the world on radio and the Internet. It has also been released for purchase on cassette tape and compact disc.

Written By:
Brian Daley

Based on Characters and Situations Created By:
George Lucas

And on the Screenplay By:
George Lucas

Directed By:
John Madden

Sound Mixing & Post Production By:
Tom Voegeli

Music By:
John Williams

Sound Design for Lucasfilm By:
Ben Burtt


Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi: Bernard (Bunny) Behrens
Tion: John Considine
Grand Moff Tarkin: Keene Curtis
See Threepio (C-3PO): Anthony Daniels
Prestor: Steven Elliot
Luke Skywalker: Mark Hamill
Han Solo: Perry King
Lord Darth Vader: Brock Peters
Princess Leia Organa: Ann Sachs

Featured Cast:

Antilles: David Ackroyd
Fixer: Adam Arkin
Various: James Blendick
Heater: Joel Brooks
Biggs: Kale Browne
Various: Clyde Burton
Motti: David Clennon
Rebel: John Dukakis
Various: Bruce French
Aunt Beru: Anne Gerety
Various: David Alan Grier
Various: Jerry Hardin
Various: John Harkins
Uncle Owen: Thomas Hill
Narrator: Ken Hiller
Customer #2: Phillip Kellard
Deak: David Paymer
Cammie: Stephanie Steele
Various: Mesach Taylor
Various: Marc Vahanian
Various: John Welsh
Various: Kent Williams


  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

Coming Soon:
The Empire Strikes Back: The Radio Drama | The Return of the Jedi: The Radio Drama


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