American Graffiti (1974)

Torn 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.

American Graffiti (1974)
Michael Heilemann

"Star Wars Killed the Serious Film"

In which I make a late example out of film critic Philip Kerr, and his poorly researched rant on 'modern filmmaking'.

Michael Heilemann
"Star Wars Killed the Serious Film"

Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB (1967)

‚ÄčLucas's breakout student effort, a dazzling display of guts and vision which took the student film festival scene by storm. A young Steven Spielberg saw this and felt horribly inadequate.

Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB (1967)

Freiheit (1966)

A young man runs through the wilderness, when suddenly he's gunned down by an unseen border guard. An early precursor of sorts to THX 1138, and Lucas's first (kind of) narrative effort.

Freiheit (1966)

The Spiritual Disenchantment of the Super Machine Age

One of Lucas's earliest influences, Arthur Lipsett was an avant-garde Canadian at the National Film Board. His style had a tremendous impact on Lucas's early films, and The Force was rooted in his films.

The Spiritual Disenchantment of the Super Machine Age
Michael Heilemann

Chewbacca

The in-depth look at the creation of everyone's favorite walking carpet. From the earliest idea, and the word 'wookie' in THX 1138, up through his visual development, through an unexpected twist.

Michael Heilemann
Chewbacca
Michael Heilemann

The Son of Suns

A returning motif in Lucas's films, found throughout his student films as well as in THX 1138 and Star Wars, is that of the sun. 

Michael Heilemann
The Son of Suns