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Old 1970s Lucas Interview
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KageRyu
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 4:54 am    Post subject: Old 1970s Lucas Interview Reply with quote

In the past here, in some discussions that I was involved in that became heated regarding the prequel timeline and the original Star Wars and Lucas plans, I would often reference older materials from the 70's and 80s, which were no longer readily available, and thus disbelieved. I had often said I was trying to gain access to my brothers access of Star Log, Fangoria, Cinemagic, and Rolling Stones magazines to scan and preserve old Star Wars materials that have long since been lost to Lucas's changed visions of Star Wars - only to find many of his were sold or destroyed in flooding.

What follows is not posted to promote arguments, or fighting, but to show credence in what I had said as well as provide what was for a long time a lost glimpse into part of Star Wars origins and Lucas' plans and mindset.

It turns out Rolling Stones has been digitizing their older articles and interviews, which saves me the troubles and worries. Here is an old interview with George Lucas following Star Wars original opening in 1976. Parts of it I had remembered, but had forgotten just how much detail it went into about Lucas' feelings and plans. It confirms much of what I had said about Vader and the lava burns always being planned, and how the Ewoks and Endor was initially planned to be Wookies on Kashyyk, and how the word Wookie was made up by a friend of his. How his inspirations were largely drawn from Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, and the works of Edgar Rice Buroughs (yes, as I said one time, Star Wars is in fact a knock off of John Carter of Mars, not the other way around).
A few of the things he discusses that were cut for budgetary reasons would have been great to see on screen (Jawa junk village).

Old timers such as me will find this nostalgic, newer fans may find it an interesting read, and at the very least help to understand the widening gap among old versus new Star Wars fans at least.
http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/the-wizard-of-star-wars-20120504?page=4

This is only one interview of thousands of interviews and published background material Lucas had released from 1976 through the late 80's, and if I can find surviving archives of any of those I will also share them happily.

Enjoy the nostalgia.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Old 1970s Lucas Interviews Reply with quote

Cool. Thanks for posting this. I've recently read the three mega Making Of books for the classic trilogy and have a refreshed perspective on the development of the Star Wars saga. It's fascinating. Please, post some more 70s article links in this thread when you find them!

KageRyu wrote:
Here is an old interview with George Lucas following Star Wars original opening in 1976...

http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/the-wizard-of-star-wars-20120504?page=4

Just for correctness, this interview is from the summer of 1977, not 1976. I'm sure you knew that and it was just a typo.

KageRyu wrote:
How his inspirations were largely drawn from Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, and the works of Edgar Rice Buroughs (yes, as I said one time, Star Wars is in fact a knock off of John Carter of Mars, not the other way around).

Whoa, I don't remember that one. Did someone actually say that John Carter was a knock-off of Star Wars? John Carter's story that was first published in 1912? If someone actually said that, that was, well, extremely inaccurate.

And while I wouldn't call Star Wars a "knock-off" per se, anyone that knows anything about John Carter, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers knows that they were significant inspirations for Star Wars.

And I think it is also worth mentioning that John Carter was a huge influence on Superman in 1938, and thus the entire modern superhero genre.

KageRyu wrote:
In the past here, in some discussions that I was involved in that became heated regarding the prequel timeline and the original Star Wars and Lucas plans, I would often reference older materials from the 70's and 80s, which were no longer readily available, and thus disbelieved...

What follows is not posted to promote arguments, or fighting, but to show credence in what I had said as well as provide what was for a long time a lost glimpse into part of Star Wars origins and Lucas' plans and mindset...

Old timers such as me will find this nostalgic, newer fans may find it an interesting read, and at the very least help to understand the widening gap among old versus new Star Wars fans at least.

Yes, it has become apparent that many (but certainly not all) of the fans that tend to dislike more recent aspects of the SW franchise hold on to the fallacy that all of these things were new creations of Lucas, so much to the point of flat-out denying facts and the cold hard reality that some (but certainly not all) of these things were devised in the 70s and just not introduced into the franchise until later. Their SW world view is old = good and new = bad, so they often can't accept that M-word, Threepio being rebuilt by a boy working for an outer rim junk dealer, and stormtroopers being clones all originated in the 70s. When an idea originated should not be a determining factor in anyone's like or dislike. You should like and dislike whatever you want in Star Wars, regardless of the time of its origin, and not categorically disbelieve any set of statements made by Lucas. That is just uneducated and illogical.

Yes, we should still be weary of the phrase "all along" in Lucas' statements, because he was very wishy-washy and changed his mind all the time. So "plans" go back and forth over the years, but sometimes, just sometimes, things that were created way back then disregarded ended up being revisited much later. More of these articles being posted over a larger time period will show this dynamic evolution of the Star Wars saga. In all my studies I have found no reason to disbelieve that any plans for Star Wars were true, on the day the statements were made anyway. 8)
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KageRyu
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Old 1970s Lucas Interviews Reply with quote

By 1976 I meant the interview was adressing the initial release in 1976 not the later rerelease, sorry I was not more clear.

Whill wrote:

Whoa, I don't remember that one. Did someone actually say that John Carter was a knock-off of Star Wars? John Carter's story that was first published in 1912? If someone actually said that, that was, well, extremely inaccurate.

I can't remember the full details, but something to that effect was said or alluded to when the John Carter movie was coming out, and I was quick to point out that the movie was based on the Princess of Mars series by E.R. Buroughs from the early 1900s which was one of Lucas's admitted inspriations which led to a downard spiral in discussion.

Quote:
And while I wouldn't call Star Wars a "knock-off" per se, anyone that knows anything about John Carter, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers knows that they were significant inspirations for Star Wars.

I did not mean to imply Star Wars was just a knock off, it is so much more, I was just using the context of one of the many discussions.



Quote:
Yes, it has become apparent that many (but certainly not all) of the fans that tend to dislike more recent aspects of the SW franchise hold on to the fallacy that all of these things were new creations of Lucas, so much to the point of flat-out denying facts and the cold hard reality that some (but certainly not all) of these things were devised in the 70s and just not introduced into the franchise until later. Their SW world view is old = good and new = bad, so they often can't accept that M-word, Threepio being rebuilt by a boy working for an outer rim junk dealer, and stormtroopers being clones all originated in the 70s. When an idea originated should not be a determining factor in anyone's like or dislike. You should like and dislike whatever you want in Star Wars, regardless of the time of its origin, and not categorically disbelieve any set of statements made by Lucas. That is just uneducated and illogical.

I am generally among those that prefer older to newer. The prequels left a bad taste in my mouth all along, mainly because in the 80's Lucas had reiterated time and again he had a set storyline for the prequels already written and in differing interviews he would reveal tidbits (The Mandalorians were supposed to have an army of their own and get into hunting Jedi because a cloned Jedi killed one of their higher ups - but no one knew it was a clone at the time...Han was supposed to have served as a ship captain in the war, earning decorations and left service after the empire took over and he learned of them running slaves...Wookies...). I will search for online archives of interviews that can confirm these, but I really wish my brother had not allowed his magazines to become damaged or sold off the survivors.

I will give the new movie a chance (not in theatres, was so dissapointed by the prequels and the remastered crap, will likely wait until it hits video).

I am one of many a fan that if the original trilogy were remastered as it appeared in theaters (without all the re-edits and changes and removed scenes and replaced scenes and without Greedo shooting first) I would snap them up in a heartbeat. The third prequel would have been almost tolerable except for the extremely poor acting of Christian Hadenson.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Old 1970s Lucas Interviews Reply with quote

KageRyu wrote:
I am one of many a fan that if the original trilogy were remastered as it appeared in theaters (without all the re-edits and changes and removed scenes and replaced scenes and without Greedo shooting first) I would snap them up in a heartbeat.

If it is possible, you'll get your chance. The original unaltered footage is in such bad shape with age, but if restoration is possible, Disney is not going to pass up the market for that.

KageRyu wrote:
The third prequel would have been almost tolerable except for the extremely poor acting of Christian Hadenson.

I all fairness, I put most of the blame on Lucas for his bad direction. Although a creative visionary genius, Lucas, was just never good at directing human performances. Some actors rose above the lack of direction had good performances anyway - Harrison Ford, Ian McDiarmid, Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson were always good. However some actors who may otherwise be good, like Mark Hamill, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman and Samuel Jackson, were pretty bad under Lucas.

KageRyu wrote:
Here is an old interview with George Lucas following Star Wars original opening in 1976
KageRyu wrote:
By 1976 I meant the interview was adressing the initial release in 1976 not the later rerelease, sorry I was not more clear.

There was nothing confusing about your language, just the year. Initial release and rerelease of what now? I thought you were talking about the original Star Wars film which was originally released on May 25th 1977, not 1976. When this August 1977 Rolling Stone issue hit the newsstands, Star Wars was still in its original theatrical release.
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Zarm R'keeg
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:29 am    Post subject: Re: Old 1970s Lucas Interviews Reply with quote

Whill wrote:

I all fairness, I put most of the blame on Lucas for his bad direction. Although a creative visionary genius, Lucas, was just never good at directing human performances. Some actors rose above the lack of direction had good performances anyway - Harrison Ford, Ian McDiarmid, Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson were always good. However some actors who may otherwise be good, like Mark Hamill, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman and Samuel Jackson, were pretty bad under Lucas.


I think the genre itself can be blamed, too. My wife and I have certainly noticed a fair share of decent actors giving terrible performances on ABC's Once Upon A Time, when they're called upon to play fairy tale characters. The stylized dialogue and archaic/stylized social interaction structure of a fictional universe is just something that some actors- no matter how good they may be otherwise- seem to have a hard time adjusting to, while others are really able to thrive in it.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Add in blue/green screens (which they use a lot in both Star Wars and Once Upon a Time) and actors trying to act against tennis balls or other props, and it adds to the problems.

Thanks so much for the link, KageRyu. I recognize your name from way back (in my long-running supers campaign, a PC's name is Kageryu), and it's great to see you posting again!
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just finished reading it. What a fascinating interview!

Some interesting things:

- They misspelled "Wookiees" (a word they used like a thousand times)
- Interesting how he envisioned the dianogo (a massive creature) that they spent a ton of time and money on, but ended up scrapping
- How competitive he was (wanting to let others make SW films, then he could make the last one "twice as good" as them!)
- How it was only about 25% of what he wanted
- Fascinating how the death of Kenobi was decided (an idea from his wife)
- Interesting how he planned to 'retire', run a toy/game shop that sells rock n' roll records and do esoteric, bizzare movies
- I like how he referred to John Williams repeatedly as "Johnny"
- Funny to think about how they could do movies about the Wookies, Han, Luke, etc. (reminds me of how Disney now wants to explore other stuff)
- Alec Guiness could do the voice of "The Force" Laughing
- How he considered much of the dialogue to be corny (even explaining how he "winces" at some of it)
- How Anthony Daniels changed 3P0 (from slimy used car salesman to fussy butler)
- How politically incorrect he was, by today's standards (referring to Kenny Baker as a "midget", the Wookiees as "Indians", etc.)
- How much the story has changed (many of us have insisted on this for a long time). An especially amusing portion:

"It's about Ben and Luke's father and Vader when they are young Jedi knights. But Vader kills Luke's father, then Ben and Vader have a confrontation, just like they have in Star Wars, and Ben almost kills Vader. As a matter of fact, he falls into a volcanic pit and gets fried and is one destroyed being."
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Whill
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doug, great summary of a lot of the article's interesting points. Thanks.

DougRed4 wrote:
They misspelled "Wookiees" (a word they used like a thousand times)

I don't think a "canon" spelling had been settled on at that point, but if there was a precedent than it probably should have matched the spelling in the film's novelization (which came out well before the film even).
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You continue to astound, sir. Just checked my old version of the novel and see that it was - at that time - spelled Wookie. I didn't remember that.

[bows]

It was also interesting how they spelled Dia-noga; I imagine there's been more than a few words that have changed over time.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Doug, great summary of a lot of the article's interesting points. Thanks.

DougRed4 wrote:
They misspelled "Wookiees" (a word they used like a thousand times)

I don't think a "canon" spelling had been settled on at that point, but if there was a precedent than it probably should have matched the spelling in the film's novelization (which came out well before the film even).


There's a lot in canon that hadn't been settled at that point. I remember quite a few things that just didn't gel quite as well after Return of the Jedi.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Old 1970s Lucas Interviews Reply with quote

Whill wrote:

KageRyu wrote:
Here is an old interview with George Lucas following Star Wars original opening in 1976
KageRyu wrote:
By 1976 I meant the interview was addressing the initial release in 1976 not the later re-release, sorry I was not more clear.

There was nothing confusing about your language, just the year. Initial release and re-release of what now? I thought you were talking about the original Star Wars film which was originally released on May 25th 1977, not 1976. When this August 1977 Rolling Stone issue hit the newsstands, Star Wars was still in its original theatrical release.

I am fairly certain there was a late fall/early winter 1976 limited release of Star Wars. I will have to see if I can find something that verifies this or some citation. It was all so long ago, and as I have maintained, much of what has made it to online archives is not always complete and is after the fact (one reason I had wanted to digitize my brothers old magazine collections). It also doesn't help I was so very young at the time.

I am glad so many are enjoying this interview though. I figured it might be a good insight as well as fuel for ideas for role playing and settings.

I would encourage anyone else who stumbles upon such old archives digitized to share - heck even tack them onto this thread.

DougRed4 wrote:
Thanks so much for the link, KageRyu. I recognize your name from way back (in my long-running supers campaign, a PC's name is Kageryu), and it's great to see you posting again!

Thank you. I may still pop in from time to time, or lurk on occasion. Not as active as I once was for a lot of reasons. A big one is I have not played a game in nearly 8 years now (a failed attempt in 2012). I also have been busy with 3D work, trying to get a personal animated project rolling, and battling personal demons that I never really discussed much here (many of which leave me a raw nerve and prone to arguing or becoming easily agitated which is not fun in a role playing forum for anyone).
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Old 1970s Lucas Interviews Reply with quote

KageRyu wrote:
Whill wrote:
I thought you were talking about the original Star Wars film which was originally released on May 25th 1977, not 1976. When this August 1977 Rolling Stone issue hit the newsstands, Star Wars was still in its original theatrical release.

I am fairly certain there was a late fall/early winter 1976 limited release of Star Wars. I will have to see if I can find something that verifies this or some citation. It was all so long ago, and as I have maintained, much of what has made it to online archives is not always complete and is after the fact (one reason I had wanted to digitize my brothers old magazine collections). It also doesn't help I was so very young at the time.

That is certainly not correct. Last month I finished reading the gargantuan "The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film". I highly recommend it to all of those interested in the history of the production of Star Wars.

The film had very little special effects completed in the fall of 1976, and sound effects were still in the works. In October they were still filming pick-up shots. Post-production, including even the filming of practical elements of special effects scenes continued well into 1977. John Williams didn't even begin working on the soundtrack until 1977, and James Earl Jones didn't even record any lines until then. The finishing of some key effects shots, such as the Falcon going to Hyperspace and Luke's shot to destroy the Death Star, were not completed until April 1977. Sound editing went all the way into May.

Although the film's sound mix was not complete, Lucas decided to go ahead and preview Star Wars for the first time to the public on May 1st, 1977, at a single theater, San Francisco's Northpoint Theater. The final mix was literally not completed until May 24th, just in time to print 32 copies for its initial theatrical run starting May 25th, 1977.

There are two things you may have been thinking of. There were two rough cuts put together for internal production and studio viewing only, a very rough one in the fall of 1976 and a slightly less rough cut in late December 1976. See above for how far off those were from any form showable to the public. And the novelization of the film was actually released in December 1976, six months in advance of the film itself.

KageRyu wrote:
I am glad so many are enjoying this interview though. I figured it might be a good insight as well as fuel for ideas for role playing and settings.

I would encourage anyone else who stumbles upon such old archives digitized to share - heck even tack them onto this thread.

I agree. I especially find the preliminary story ideas very inspirational.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think even this very article has Lucas talking about how he was still working on stuff for the film literally up until a few days before its release.

Best of luck in battling those demons, KageRyu. In any case, it's nice to have you back, even if it's only periodically.
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Zarm R'keeg
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Old 1970s Lucas Interviews Reply with quote

KageRyu wrote:
I also have been busy with 3D work, trying to get a personal animated project rolling...


You should sink a few character points into that, bump your work up to at least 4D+1. Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Old 1970s Lucas Interviews Reply with quote

Zarm R'keeg wrote:
KageRyu wrote:
I also have been busy with 3D work, trying to get a personal animated project rolling...


You should sink a few character points into that, bump your work up to at least 4D+1. Wink

I don't think it's my skill level that's the issue, I need to buy off this debt disadvantage and pick up a few levels of wealth for equipment.
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