How a French Comic Series Inspired Star Wars

The Rebel Alliance fleet

The shots of the big Rebel Alliance fleet in Return of the Jedi also have their counterparts in the comic book series, especially in Ambassador of the Shadows.

Here I have replaced the inset comic book panes with images from the movie.

Ambassador of the Shadows (1975) versus Return of the Jedi (1983)
Ambassador of the Shadows (1975) versus Return of the Jedi (1983)

In the next picture comparison below, you can even see the Astroship and the Millennium Falcon each leading their individual fleets.

Empire of a Thousand Planets (1970) versus Return of the Jedi (1983)
Empire of a Thousand Planets (1970) versus Return of the Jedi (1983)

Grand Moff Tarkin

The eponymous ambassador in Ambassador of the Shadows looks like he could have inspired the choice of actor for Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope.

Ambassador of the Shadows (1975) versus A New Hope (1977)
Ambassador of the Shadows (1975) versus A New Hope (1977)
Ambassador of the Shadows (1975) versus A New Hope (1977)
Ambassador of the Shadows (1975) versus A New Hope (1977)

Jabba the Hutt and slave Leia

Even Jabba the Hutt and his small pet have similar counterparts in the comic book series.

World Without Stars (1971) versus Return of the Jedi (1983)
World Without Stars (1971) versus Return of the Jedi (1983)

The same comic book and movie constellation also contain probably the most conspicuous resemblance of them all – a scantily clad Laureline and ditto Leia, both in more or less oppressed situations.

World Without Stars (1971) versus Return of the Jedi (1983)
World Without Stars (1971) versus Return of the Jedi (1983)
World Without Stars (1971) versus Return of the Jedi (1983)
World Without Stars (1971) versus Return of the Jedi (1983)

A rough bar with villainous aliens

While searching for Valérian in Ambassador of the Shadows, Laureline and an assistant head of protocol arrives in front of a bar. Laureline asks him to join her inside but he declines, claiming that the place is a bit too rough for him. This hint of proclaiming a bar to be rough was also used by Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Ambassador of the Shadows (1975) versus A New Hope (1977)
Ambassador of the Shadows (1975) versus A New Hope (1977)

But it gets even better as we get inside. Although the interior and the aliens are not a completely straight match, it’s still close enough to raise an eyebrow or two.

Ambassador of the Shadows (1975) versus A New Hope (1977)
Ambassador of the Shadows (1975) versus A New Hope (1977)

The galactic senate

This is one of my personal favorites.

In Ambassador of the Shadows from 1975, Valérian and Laureline arrives together with an ambassador to Point Central, a ginormous space station for all the races of the cosmos. His joins a meeting in a big senate chamber with cubicles for each of these races. This idea was used in a similar manner in all of the movies in the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

First, there’s a general description of the senate chamber from the introduction to Point Central.

Ambassador of the Shadows (1975) versus The Phantom Menace (1999)
Ambassador of the Shadows (1975) versus The Phantom Menace (1999)

In the next example you can see the ambassador entering the Earth cubicle in the top of the comic pane.

Ambassador of the Shadows (1975) versus The Phantom Menace (1999)
Ambassador of the Shadows (1975) versus The Phantom Menace (1999)

Continued on page 3.

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