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The moment you'll read this in front of your screens, it will transport you to a diverse universe from humans to different races of aliens, consisting of different planets that are beyond our imagination, and the eternal war between good & evil.
At first, the epic space saga did not made it to the big screen, but it became a popular culture phenomenon as it was loved by millions of people (including me) worldwide. I was about to post this on the 1st week of May, but I had to dive in deep for thorough research before writing this article.
This is the story of George Lucas, how an ordinary man with a vision who created this universe that no one understood, and how he pushed against all odds to create a movie that would become the greatest mythological saga that left a mark in cinematic history.
George Walton Lucas Jr., born on May 14, 1944, in Modesto, California. He had a big interest in comics and science fiction, including 1936'sFlash Gordon. Before handling the camera, he wanted to be a racecar driver and spent most of his high school years racing in the underground scene and hanging out at garages.
Before his graduation on June 12, 1962, George had an accident while driving his car when another driver broadsided him, his car flipped several times before it crashed into a tree. His seat belt snapped, ejecting him and saved his life, but his lungs were bruised from severe hemorrhaging and required medical treatment. This incident began to lose his interest in racing, but also inspired him to pursue other interests.
He studied anthropology, sociology, and literature at the Modesto Junior College, and began shooting with an 8mm camera. Then, he went to the University of Southern California to study filmography as recommended by his friend, John Plummer. He became good friends with other filmmakers, including Steven Spielberg who would become his collaborator in Indiana Jones.
George was deeply influenced by most of his courses back in college, and the works of Akira Kurosawa. He directed a short film, Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB which he won in a film festival in 1967. After graduating college, he became an intern and worked with Francis Ford Coppola'sFinian's Rainbow.
His short film, then became a full-length feature film THX 1138, was not a commercial success followed by American Graffiti which became a critically acclaimed film as it shows how teenage life was back in the 60s. With the film's success, George was about to set the bar up high on his next project, but big challenges are coming from the young filmmaker.
George was about to adapt Flash Gordon on the big screen, but he was unable to obtain the rights and left no option but to create his own. He took inspiration from his beloved TV Series to history's most important events, and cultures from both east & west. Science Fiction in the 70s was poorly received by the masses and not performing well in the box office.
After his success on American Graffiti, he wrote the first drafts of the film, then presented the concept to a studio, but it was dismissed. He faced criticism, but he decided to go working for it. As he enlists Gary Kurtz as they try to pitch their script to a different studio. Rejection after rejection, George was disappointed but continued to move forward.
He seeks the artistic aid of Ralph McQuarry, and told about his next project, he also helped studio executives better visualize his characters and landscapes. Now, the deal is sealed with 20th Century Fox, while George created his own visual effects studio, the Industrial Light & Magic.
As George and the rest of his crew begin to film their shots, one week later, they were already behind schedule due to malfunctioning props, actors were being injured on set, their equipment tore apart, and no one truly believed in the film. Despite having a nervous breakdown, George kept going forward.
George hated the 1st version of the film, but he decided to have it delayed and create the visual effects within 6 months. The crew even had to recycle or re-use other props from other sets. On May 25, 1977, with only 35 theaters in the United States, the film he believed in became a game-changer in the movie business.
Science Fiction is for children? It is way more than that. It can range from different applications to technologies that probably could be real except for special powers. Star Wars broke the box-office records. There was no social media at that time, as word spread like wildfire and fans lined up to watch the sci-fi movie combined with adventure, and suspense with stunning visual effects.
It was an extraordinary movie, it generated billions of dollars that changed the movie business. From almost not being shown in movie theaters to becoming a global phenomenon, Star Wars became an influence and was parodied from other TV series or created their version with humor, as the franchise expanded from other formats: from animated series to books, live-action series, and in video games.
"Always remember, your focus determines your reality." - George Lucas
He faced adversity from rejections to unmotivated colleagues and uncontrollable nature. A struggling filmmaker became one of the world's most renowned directors.