The first American fairytale, in its greatest silver screen presentation; a marvel of color and staging when it was first released in 1939. Perhaps not surprisingly, the first true American fairytale fueled another great American fairytale; here's how.Read More
Born out of his days cruising the streets of Modesto, American Graffiti is Lucas's love letter to a long since dead mating ritual. Seeming perhaps a sidestep in relation to Star Wars, when compared to the science fiction worlds of THX 1138, it was crucial in shaping the populist approach with which Star Wars conquered the world.Read More
Ray has been a great inspiration to us all in the special visual industry. The art of his earlier films, which most of us grew up on, inspired us so much. Without Ray Harryhausen, there would likely have been no Star Wars.
— George Lucas
A four-page essay on nomadic tribes in Africa, written by a teenage Lucas at Thomas Downey High School in Modesto, California.Read More
Not long out of USC, Coppola's production company American Zoetrope, started its life with Lucas's first feature film, THX 1138. An alienating film about social politics, consumerism and other hot button topics of the 60s, it is a remarkable first picture, and one that in many ways can be thought of as the art house version of Star Wars.Read More
It's a common refrain amongst critics and even certain groupings of film fans, that the films of Spielberg and Lucas effectively killed the important and much more serious films that were finally gaining ground in the 70s. One critic, Philip Kerr certainly thought so, and I couldn't help but rebut his poorly researched and thought-through claims, even if I'm late to the party on this one.Read More
WWII was an enormous influence on all kids of the 50s and 60s, and Lucas was no exception. From the general good vs evil nature of the conflict to the specifics of war epics like The Guns of Navarone and air-heroics of The Dam Busters and 633 Squadron, it seems entirely possible that Star Wars would never have existed if not for the war.Read More
The first film made by John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon, two other USC alumni, has a computer interface distinctly familiar to Star Trek fans.Read More
Before Star Wars, before American Graffiti even, a young film maker is interviewed for a PBS special. Remarkable for being the perhaps earliest video of George Lucas, and for Lucas's persistent vision, much of which he lays out for Gene Youngblood.Read More
Though it's labelled 'the fourth landspeeder' on a technical drawing, the small pod-like vehicle near the Mos Eisley cantina has a more interesting backstory to it.
Outside the Cantina is a space module that is an homage to the space-pod EVA from Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey (perhaps Mos Eisley is where astronaut Dave Bowman wound up?). Back then it was harder to find reference photos, so Lucas’s craft is not identical to Kubrick’s […]
(In an early edition of blueprints published by Ballentine in 1977, this drawing was captioned “Ubrickian Landspeeder 9000 Z001,” which reads a lot like “Kubrick 2001.”) [p49, 1]
Star Wars: The Blueprints, J.W. Rinzler. Epic Ink Books (2011).