Asian entertainment bootlegs and knock-offs are nothing new, but this Star Wars adaptation from 1980 is pretty amazing nonetheless. Maggie Greene, an assistant history professor at Montana State University, recently unearthed this gem at a market in Wen Miao. The adaptation takes the form of a lainhuanhua, which is the name given to small palm-sized collections of sequential drawings which typically featured stories and legends from Chinese history. Less manga than picture book, this still doesn't explain how or why someone came to create an unauthorized re-telling of Star Wars in this format, but it's nonetheless awesome.
The storyline is essentially accurate; if you want to read it for yourself, you can check out Nick Stember's English translation of the entire 142-page book on his blog. Now, while the plot might remain consistent with the film that we all know and love, there are some, erm, aesthetic freedoms that have been taken. Namely with everything except for Vader, Treepio, and Artoo (I particularly enjoy the weird Cold War fashion take and the...well, you'll see). Here, have a look for yourself.
Like this drawing of Leia's blockade runner from the film's opening sequence.
And Leia herself, recording her SOS message into R2 by apparently flashing her breasts.
Naturally, this act offended C-3PO's delicate British sensibilities and thus compelled him...stage-dive?
No, this is not the Mos Eisley Gentleman's Club, but rather Leia's arrest on the Tantive IV. Astute Star Wars will wonder what Bossk and Boba Fett are doing there; apparently they're just Imperial Stormtrooopers. Sure, okay.
Similarly, the Alliance medical droid and IG-88 have now replaced the stormtroopers charged with scanning the escape pods for signs of life (a particularly curious choice, seeing as they are robots who allow robots to escape with the Death Star plans...)
Here's Luke and Uncle Owen buying Threepio and Artoo from the
evil itinerant merchant Jews Jawas.
"Obi-Wan Kenobi save me! You are my last and only hope!" says the Sexy Leia Triplet Hologram before launching into what looks like a lesbian orgy of some kind which Luke enjoys watching with his robot companions.
Here's Aunt Beru preparing what looks like duck in the microwave — perhaps foreshadowing the fresh cooking that she herself suffers at the hands of the stormtroopers?
No, seriously. This is definitely a 70s dream porn sequence.
Attack of the Tusken Raiders — who, like the Jawas above, were apparently reduced to offensive stereotypes, this time of the savage natives. Maybe George Lucas's racism was just a lot more subtle in 1977 than it was in say, 1999.
Foreshadowing the famous love-making scene between Princess Leia and Artoo (hey, that droid's equipped for anything!).
Obi-Wan Kenobi, upon revealing his secret history as a Jedi Knight. Literal Knights on rocket-blasting motorbikes = waaaaaay better than midochlorians.
The "Your father's light saber. It is the weapon of a Jedi Knight" scene, with added smiley-face sun cycles and...an advertisement for J&B Whiskey, I guess. (Crazy ol' Ben Kenobi had to make his fun somehow)
Dominatrix Darth Vader and his faithful triceratops, aka "A pupil of mine by the name of Darth Vader he betrayed and murdered your father." I wonder how the Star Wars porn parody would have interpretted that one...
The Millenium Falcon, looking decidedly less hamburger-and-pickle-y, navigating through the asteroid remains of Alderaan.
The Millenium Falcon falls into the Death Star's tractor beam. This page accurately depicts my mental state right now.
Apparently the secret location of the Rebel base is actually...Kennedy Space Center? Wait a second, that's not on Dantooine...
This is obviously Han and Chewie beating up the stormtroopers to steal their armor and has absolutely nothing to do with either Boba Fett or Planet of the Apes.
And another look at Chewbacca the Ape-Man.
My thoughts exactly.
Also the Death Star's core was definitely a nuclear-powered submarine because no one had the Cold War on their mind at all, no way...
Definitely no Cold War metaphor at all.
"Well take care of yourself, Han. I guess that's what you're good at."
Vader enters the Battle of Yavin in his trusty TIE fighter!
The destruction of Death Star, rendered even more beautifully than the Special Edition release could have ever imagined.
And the final moment of the film, the last page of the book, which roughly translates to "Luke feels as if his entire heart and soul have come under the sway of the Princess. Noticing his unrestrained gaze, she smiles." IF ONLY YOU'D SEEN JEDI, CHINESE BOOTLEG ADAPTORS!
And now I leave you with this Chinese New Years commercial celebrating the year of the Horse. (I think you're smart enough to figure out the pun on your own without a translator):