PART 1 THE BEGGINING...
star wars may never have existed...
if it wasn't for George Lucas i wouldn't even be writing this article, but star wars may almost never materialized because George Lucas could have died and star wars with him. as a boy young Lucas drag raced cars for fun (later inspiration for his movie American graffiti)during a race in Modesto California were he grew up, he made a sharp left turn on the track sending his racer straight into a tree crushing it on impact,lucas would have died if his safety harness hadn't broke,but it did sending him through the air 24 feet, when the paramedics rushed onto the track to revive a limp Lucas they concurred that he was dead,but he lived as they later found a faint pulse.
and so star wars lived.
George Lucas wanted to be a professional drag racer, not a film maker...but one day he visited a film museum and he instantly knew what he wanted to do...he wanted to make films...
films like the campy buck Rodgers serials he watched as a small child. when he attended film classes at USC for college he re watched these serials only to find how terrible they were and he wondered why they had captivated him so much, soon he realized that it was the formula...a hero,a villian damsel in destress.all archetypes of ancient myth.teaching at USC was Joseph Campbell author of THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES. teaching of how all heroes relate to one being the archetype of the hero. this inspired Lucas to make his space saga...though he had not thought of a name for it yet,that would come later...for a student film competition George Lucas directed the film ELECTRONIC LABRYTH THX 1138 a 15 minute film ( 10 minutes longer than the requirement) it was shot in a parking garage in California, and at its showing was widely excepted by many as the best film...when Lucas got up to except it his award he was flustered and nervous when giving his speech then when interrupted at the podium by a Warner brothers executive informing George that the winning movie would become a feature film for Warner brothers, George Lucas stood speechless for quite some time and that was just the beggining.after filming thx1138 the Warner execs were sure it would be flop and it made meager earnings.
soon after he began shooting American graffiti with Ron Howard, which when showed to a test audience was greeted with great enthusiasm. but that same year Lucas had started his script for his life's work...the star wars! he pitched the idea to the head of fox Alan lad junior who put faith in Lucas and footed the bill for the project...soon American graffiti came out and was the third highest grossing picture of the year, giving the fox exacts a reason to give him more money for star wars.sharring a casting office with the producer of the horror film Carrie George Lucas began to build up his cast for starwars.his choices were mark Hamill and Carrie fisher and Harrison ford who was working as a carpenter fixing Francis ford Coppola's door when Lucas found him he was not allowed to audition because he was in American graffiti but fed the lines to the actors trying out for Luke and leia,but he won over George Lucas and beat out Kurt Russel for the role of Han solo before he was cast as Han he was putting his carpentry trade to good use by fixing francis ford coppalas door..
the next people that were chosen for star wars were Alec Guinness as obi one peter cushing as governor tarkin. but the people used to play star wars more unusual characters were almost as unusual as the characters themselves. a 7 foot 2 hospital orderly was chewbacca a trained mime artist was c 3p0 and a midget comedian was r2 d2. but the rebel force was building then production on star wars started. In the beginning when Ralph mcquarrie was doing the artwork the star wars script went through many drastic changes, Luke was first going to be and old man then a midget then a woman but finally became a boy, Han solo was once green and had gills. George Lucas actually got the idea for chewbacca from his dog Indiana(who also was inspiration for when George Lucas was writing Indiana Jones) Lucas wanted Han solo to have a friend so he noticed how his dog rode in the car on the passenger side with him kind of like his copilot so George got the idea for a hairy co pilot.
PART 2...THE MAKING OF STARWARS
The first place they shot at was Tunisia which was chosen by Lucas because the sets for luke's house was already there built into the side of a canyon by natives hundreds of years ago.but the weather conditions were terrible it was hot props were malfunctioning and the crew often times didn't take the work seriously. the big wigs at fox were very disappointed at star wars going over budget and over schedule.
when George Lucas set up industrial light in magic in van ies California he had to basically build it form the ground up because the Hollywood special effects studios didn't have the technology to create star wars.
when the crew moved to elstree studios in England to use the huge sound stage all the pressure was on Lucas to finish the movie on time and on budget and still make it as good as he vissioned.he began to have heart related chest pains so he went to ask a doctor who told him that he could have had a massive heart attack had he seen him even a day later, Lucas was told to lighten his stress levels, something that was almost imposible to do if he wanted to finish the movie. besides comic conventions there had been little to no publicity for star wars, so Gary Kurt's hired Charles lippincott, a
fellow usc graduate to promote the movie on very short notice.many of his offers were turned down,but after a meeting with marvel comics Stan Lee was won over by ralph mcquarries artwork and decided to do a six issue comic book deal.
when star wars was completed it was shown to a test audience and to much surprise, won over the viewers.partly because of john Williams perfect score it captured the spirit and adventures motif of the movie and also sold millions of copies. when it was finally realesed,hardley any theatres booked the movie to begin with. so word of mouth spread and critis ratings were overwhealmingly posotive, that one by one star wars began showing all over the globe and took in millions of dollars! The Star Wars movie was an instant hit.All over the globe
PART 3 A NEW HOPE SUMMARY...for those of you not familiar with the story of star wars...Luke skywalker a young farm boy buys two droids for his uncles moisture farm which just so happen to be carrying top secret plans to destroy the evil empires new ship the death star, while living with Luke one of the droids tries to find obi one kenobi and give him the message. Luke finds the droid but is attacked by tusken raiders. but obi one fends them off.when back at obi ones house they find out that they need to transport the plans to alderan,so obi one and Luke leave to go to mos eisley space port to find a piolt to take them to alderan.han solo and his first mate chewbacca take them aboard and they fly to alderan. but on the death star the captive princess Leia is forced by the evil Darth Vader to give the location of the rebels against the empires base, she refuses and her planet is completely obliterated.
when the crew of the millennium falcon reach were alderan should be it is completely blown away and the death star sucks there ship in with a tractor beam. they escape into the death star and disguise themselves as storm troopers to get around without being seen, while obi one tries to deactivate the tractor beam and c3p0 and r2d2 sty in the computer room. they discover that princess Leia is being held captive in the death star and they recuse her. but only to be found by a brigade of imperial troops , so they jump into a garbage compactor, when it starts to compact c3p0 shuts it down and the group escapes for the millennium falcon. but right as they get there Luke finds that obi one and Darth Vader are dueling with lighsaber. a battle in which obi one is killed,when the group takes princess Leia back to the rebel base they are briefed on how to destroy the death Star because of the plans the droids wee carying.the rebels including Luke take off in x wing fighters and go to a direct assault on the death star to shoot 2 missiles down a thermal exhaust port. during the battle all but 2 fighters for the rebels die, Luke and wedge. when Luke is about to blow up the death star, Darth Vader tries to shoot him down but Han solo comes in too save the day and blows up Darth vader's tie fighters wing and he goes spinning into space. Luke blows up the death star and Han and chewie and Luke receive medals...but that is not the end of the empire.
PART 3 MERCENDISING. one of the major proponents of the star wars movies is its merchandise and there was a lot of it...
Soon after star w ars release shirts were sold burger king gave out star wars cups masks were produced spin off book and masks of characters from the movie.
starwars ars was an instant sensation every were and broke 16 house records on its first day,and at the line at grauman Chinese for the first week johnny cash ted Kennedy and muhammad Ali all stood in line to see it and people in Honolulu stood through a monsune to see it. not bad for a movie that was turned down by two movie studios,
for the 1977 academy awards it was nominated for 10 academy awards and took home 7 although it didnt win for best picture it was quite an accomplishment for George Lucas...
PART 4 THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL...
it was the holiday season of 1978 and starw asr was still just getting to some theatres and kenners line of star wars toys came out. that was when CBS approached Lucas to do a star wars themed holiday special(bad idea)
i have seen the special myself and ignored all the warnings of how bad it was i went into it giving it a clean slate...to say the least it is pretty bad it is an hour and a half of debauchery. they have musical numbers Jefferson star ship Carrie fisher was rumored to be high while singing her "princess Leia song" and there is a 10 minute segment of Mala chewies wife watching a hideously repetitive cooking show. the only redeeming point of the special is the cartoon witch is the first appearance of boba fett the intergalactic bounty hunter.
in the cartoon Han and chewie and c3po go missing and it is up to Luke to save them. Luke is "befriended" by boba fett and helps him rescue Han and chewie, but later turns on them and tries to trick them into telling him the location of the rebel base. but boba is found out and flies away.
the basic plot of the special was written by George Lucas but later twisted around and hacked with a knife by the CBS producers and they decided to throw in bee Arthur. it is life day and chewie has to get back to his family for the holiday, Mala itchy and scratchy i think his son is named.
so any way the storm trooper kidnap chweys family and i cant really remember what happens after that.it isnt that great of a special and at times is not even watchable,but if you should want such a thing the special can be watched here...http://galactic-voyage.com/movies-holiday%20special.htm (not a link)
END OF PART ONE...