The Origin of Star Wars

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An ambitious essay but they pull it off well...
How did George Lucas create Star Wars?
A critic might say "Oh, Lucas combined Flash Gordon with Akira Kurosawa, threw in some science fiction novels, comic books, The Wizard of Oz, and sewed it all up with Joseph Campbell's ideas on the structure of myth." And Lucas did do all those things, but that can't be the final answer. Every storyteller wants to connect with people as deeply as Lucas did with Star Wars, and everyone had access to the same raw materials. If the process was really so obvious and simple, wouldn't every story be just as good?

For those of us trying to write a story we like as much as Star Wars, how do we even begin? Perhaps the answer lies in Basho's suggestion: "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought." Maybe the key to becoming a skillful storyteller isn't imitation of the storytellers who have influenced us most, but figuring out what they were trying to achieve, then reaching for the same goal ourselves.

This website is filled with educated guesses as to what might have influenced George Lucas when he created the original Star Wars trilogy. The question is never where Lucas found his inspirations, but rather how he wove them together with such intelligence, insight and compassion. What gives a story the power to touch us? How does the imagination work?
A very good read -- the author rambles (in the good sense) from Joe Campbell to Heinrich Zimmer to Tolkein to the Kalevala and the Elder Edda and references the Matrix, the Ring (des Nibelungen), Lensmen and much much more. This website is long and deep -- it's well over fifteen pages but very engaging. Brew a fresh pot of coffee, put on some good music, put the cat out, kick back and start reading...

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Now if we could just keep Lucas from writing his own dialog and get him to let the actors do their job we might have some great movies.

As opposed to the magnificent toy commercials we've seen the last two times.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on May 3, 2005 10:55 PM.

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