CRUCIAL THINGS 'STAR WARS' FANS DON'T UNDERSTAND ABOUT 'STAR WARS', BY DAVID WONG
George Lucas was writing the first draft of Star Wars at the exact same time David Wong's parents were entering the pre-production phase on him (spring of 1974). And it gives him some perspective on why Star Wars is the Santa that keeps on giving, disappointing horribly, then giving again: http://goo.gl/C2CHYk
- •It's a cynical mashup."The roots of 'Star Wars' go back to 1912, when Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote a swashbuckling space adventure called 'A Princess of Mars'. ... This inspired writer Philip Francis Nowlan to create the swashbuckling space adventure 'Buck Rogers' ... Writer Alex Raymond copied that with 'Flash Gordon', a shamefully identical comic strip that debuted in 1934 and launched its own lucrative media empire. ... Lucas grew up on 'Flash Gordon' but couldn't buy the rights to adapt it, so he wrote his own."
- •It always existed to sell toys."George Lucas took a massive pay cut in his director's salary in exchange for all rights to Star Wars merchandise and future sequels. The studio happily complied, saving a cool $350,000 against what they were sure would be purely imaginary merchandise sales. ... But George Lucas knew exactly what he was doing: Star Wars toys would wind up generating $27 billion(!) in revenue over the next few decades. It got to the point that Kenner was cranking out action figures of every extra in the movies."
- •It reformatted Hollywood."It's not like great original films aren't still being made. It's just that the mega-blockbusters DO matter. ... Today if you're making a movie that can stand at the center of the collective cultural imagination, you'll need $200 million in production (split between big stars, elaborate stunts, and CGI effects) and another $100 million in promotion. And you'll need a concept that is a very safe bet -- usually a sequel, remake or spinoff. You can thank George Lucas for that, too."
- •'The Force Awakens' is a nostalgia cash-in."Disney has six freaking 'Star Wars' movies in the pipeline, and they've lined up marketing tie-ins with Verizon, Kraft, General Mills, Subway, Duracell, Chrysler, Lego, Southwest Airlines, HP, Nestle and Pottery Barn. And that's not even mentioning the avalanche of Hasbro toys or the EA Star Wars video game that just happened to launch within weeks of the new movie's premiere. Here in the real world, it turns out Star Wars is the Empire, a sprawling force whose reach spans the globe."
- •Despite all those negatives, the magic of 'Star Wars' is as real now as it was in 1977."The happiness Star Wars brought me as a kid was real. It wasn't a trick. It was the product of a fictional universe in which everywhere I looked, I saw or heard something that stuck in my mind for the rest of my life. ... 'The Force Awakens' isn't out yet, as of the time of this writing, and if it is in fact just a Greatest Hits collection of famous scenes from the last six movies ... well, how can I complain? That's pretty close to how the original was made, too. A recycling project."