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Star Wars – The Radio Drama Review

Format: Audio Drama

Number of Episodes: 13 (Around six hours)

Date Released: March 1981-June 1981

I wasn’t sure what to expect with the radio drama, but I’m happy to report that it’s quite good. Mark Hammill (Luke Skywalker) and Anthony Daniels (C3PO) reprise their roles, alongside a very talented cast. The only person who felt miscast was Perry King as Han Solo. It’s not that he didn’t do a good job, it’s just impossible to recreate that Harrison Ford swagger. I can tell he tried channeling Ford while making it his own, but it really doesn’t work. Ann Sachs as Princess Leia was amazing, and I’d almost say I would have preferred her performance of the Princess. I just bought the toughness she portrayed more than I bought Carrie Fisher's.

The audio drama restores scenes that were cut from the original script and is thickened with some new scenes written purposely for production. I found just about everything that was added to be amazing. There is a great backstory of how Princess Leia ended up on Captain Antilles ship with the stolen plans. I also really enjoyed the added dialogue for Luke’s initial Jedi training on the Falcon. Obi Wan is given more time to explain the Force and I always found that lacking in the first film.

My favorite added scene is one that was hard to listen to. The radio drama goes into detail on the torture Darth Vader conducts on Princess Leia. It’s quite intense, and again, I must give major props to Ana Sach’s performance, because you buy into it every minute. By the end of it, I was ready to tell Darth Vader where the plans were. The drama goes an extra step in explaining how the Princess was able to resist and Vader even takes steps to cover his own tracks. It’s fascinating, well thought out, and borderline brilliant.

The only downside I really saw in the radio drama was the influx of whiny Luke. If you recall to the beginning of A New Hope, you might remember Luke being a whiny teenager. Like all whiny teenagers, he can be a little annoying at times. With the radio drama, Luke is given more dialogue, especially prior to the where the movie began. It contains a lot of immature Luke and it can get grating at times. Kudos to Mark Hamill for being able to pull off that same tone and voice, four years after the first film, but man I could have done with it toned down a notch.

Conclusion

It’s hard for me to enjoy things that are non-canon sometimes. I want to feel invested in the current story, so when I step out of the current universe everything just seems out of order. I’m guessing it’s some OCD part of me that is like that. Still, I really enjoyed the radio drama and will probably listen to both the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi in the future. It makes for an excellent listen on my hour long commute to work and from work. I honestly can’t say I would have listened to it if I didn’t have that much time to kill.

I give it three Death Stars out of five.

You can find the radio drama on YouTube as well as Archive.org.

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Benjanime Posted on Jun 10, 2020 at 05:23 AM

this franchise just had everything, didn't it?

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