Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the Old Republic was crumbling away, rotting from the corruption and treachery within. Power-hungry technocrats and wealthy bureaucrats maneuvered and bribed their way into office, while one ambitious senator plotted to destroy the Jedi and rule the galaxy.

Hoping to restore virtue and the remembered glory of the Republic, the High Council of Senators dispatched the Jedi Knights - protectorate of justice in the galaxy - on a quest to retrieve the lost Kaiburr Crystal. They believed that the small diamond-like object (which intensified the power of the Force) would unite the disaffected among the people and would destroy the corruption around them.

However, within their Council, the evil Senator Palpatine had other traitorous designs. Foreseeing that the Crystal would secure his position as Emperor, Palpatine deceived one of the Jedi Knights and sent him to acquire the Crystal. . .

This is the opening crawl to a film treatment entitled Star Wars III: The Fall of The Republic, by a man named John L. Flynn. This script is one of the earliest known pieces of Star Wars fan fiction, with most copies dated September 6, 1983. It made the rounds through fan conventions and on BBSs throughout the 1980s. Many times Flynn’s name was left off the treatment and the story was credited to George Lucas himself.

The movie opens with a lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker on the violent world of Sigma Vulcanus. During the course of the battle, Anakin plummets into a pool of molten lava while still holding the Kaiburr Crystal. Obi-Wan leaves the planet, but Senator Palpatine sends several mysterious Sith monks to retrieve Anakin’s body and bring him back to life. The monks minister his wounds and forge a battle suit/respirator for him to wear. They then proceed to teach him in the ways of the Dark Side.

After visiting Yoda on Dagobah, Obi-Wan returns to the Republic capital of Jhantor (which in description, sounds surprisingly similar to Coruscant). There he finds out that Palpatine has arrested Anakin’s pregnant wife Arcadia and is holding her prisoner. Obi-Wan teams up with a Corellian freighter captain named Antilles, and along with his trusty R2 unit they break Lady Skywalker out of jail. The Lady proceeds to give birth to twins on the deck of the Corellian freighter with the help of C-3PO.

Meanwhile, now-Emperor Palpatine orders his stormtroopers to kill all of the newborn sons on the planet in the hopes of ridding himself of the baby Luke. Following this is a montage of scenes of Darth Vader and Boba Fett working with teams of assassins and exterminating the already depleted Jedi ranks. The montage ends with a huge battle between Vader and Boba Fett and the last of the Jedi (except Yoda and Obi-Wan, of course). This sequence is completely and totally awesome.

Antilles, Lady Skywalker, the twins, and the droids work together with Senator Bail Organa in trying to evacuate the Alderaan embassy and escape from Jhantor. Captain Antilles enlists the help of the many members of the Merchants Guild and they attempt to break the Imperial blockade around the planet. Our heroes split up, with Antilles, Lady Skywalker, Bail Organa and the baby Leia going to Alderaan, while Obi-Wan takes the baby Luke to Tatooine. The film ends with Arcadia Skywalker living as a servant in the Organa household along with Artoo and Threepio. Obi-Wan leaves Luke with his brother, Owen Lars, and retreats into the desert.

Several elements of this story, such as the lava duel and the Kaiburr Crystal, were present in Lucas’ first drafts for the film that eventually became Star Wars. Flynn must have somehow gotten his hands on one of these early scripts, and this helped lend an air of authenticity to his treatment. The prequel trilogy is filled with names and events from the early Star Wars drafts, so Flynn ended up picking the correct source material for his story. We’ll find out how close he actually was when the real Episode III comes out in 2005.

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