Editor's Note: 30 years old today. (And not looking a day over 29!)And a little news in honor of the celebration.Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed on History Channel
Thirty years ago, an unheralded film known as Star Wars
opened in theaters and took audiences on a groundbreaking journey to a galaxy far, far away. It instantly seized the public's imagination, and three decades later still claims that grasp.
Now, a new special from The History Channel seeks to understand why the emotional impact of the Star Wars Saga remains as relevant as ever.
The two-hour special, Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed
, is a World Premiere on The History Channel on Monday, May 28 at 9pm ET/PT.
Through interviews with politicians, academics, journalists and critics -- all of whom weigh in on the enduring appeal of George Lucas's creations -- the special demonstrates that Star Wars isn't just a high-action adventure in space. It's a remarkably complex and sophisticated story about power, politics, sin, spirituality and redemption--almost Shakespearean in its power, humor, presentation and influence.
The special makes the argument that Star Wars' intensely compelling stories -- borrowed from diverse traditions, from Greek mythology and American westerns to the Bible and even Vaudeville -- compel us to explore some of the biggest questions of our time. Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed
explores that view through interviews with politicians, academics, journalists and critics, who all weigh in on the creations of George Lucas.
The special shows how seldom a movie can make us laugh and think about our role in the universe -- which may be why it has stood the test of time.
"The enduring appeal of Star Wars
," says Tom Brokaw, "is that it's this vastly entertaining piece of cinema that also leaves you ... with the idea that there are some real issues out there that we ought to be thinking about -- good and evil, and right and wrong, and heroism. Generations of people a long time from now will be enthralled by it, just as we are enthralled by the story of Robin Hood or King Arthur's Court or any of the Shakespearean tales."
The special unites a diverse group of high-profile Star Wars fans, from filmmakers to politicians to journalists."The idea of the underdog who's on the right side defeating the overdog who's on the wrong side is a deeply American mythology
," says former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who climbed a high political fence to agree with current Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the movies' impact.
Says Pelosi: "The legacy of George Lucas fits very comfortably among the classics of all time, whether ancient or modern. "Editor's Note: Gingrich and Pelosi on the (literal and figurative) same page? Sign of the end times? Something worse?
Adds Lord of the Rings
director Peter Jackson: "You don't even have to ask, 'Will it stand the test of time?' It has and it will."
This action-adventure film with lighthearted moments and touching purity, demands that we focus on current fundamental themes, including environmentalism, racism and the temptations of power and greed.
As author Carl Silvio notes, at times the movies seem prophetic: "In Revenge of the Sith, when we hear Anakin say, 'You're either with me or against me,' it's almost impossible not to hear that quote and think of another very famous quote," a point the special underscores with a clip of President George W. Bush's November 2001 news-conference quote: "You are either with us or you are against us in the fight against terror." Editor's Note: And yet Anakin's path was set way before the current US preseidential miasma. (I don't mean 'long long ago;' I mean Uncle George had this in mind for Anakin long before the current doofus ever uttered those words).
The dichotomies of good vs. evil and mechanism vs. humanity is apparent throughout the movies, which carry themes of politics and power.
In the Star Wars universe, dictators are ruthless yet charismatic, and while some politicians are well-meaning, as Princess Leia Organa demonstrates, leaders are born from courage and conviction, not from gender.
With regard to other kinds of power, C-3PO and R2-D2 demonstrate that machines can be beneficial, while the feared Death Star shows us their danger. The Ewoks, instrumental in the eventual defeat of the Empire, remind us that natural, environmental solutions have as much as (or more) power than man-made ones. That the movies are fun only gives their central questions and observations more credence.
How long will that endure?"A hundred years from now,"
says Joan Breton Connelly, an associate professor of fine arts at New York University, "someone will be sitting here discussing the impact of Star Wars and they will be seeing different things in it than we are seeing today, just as today we have classes in the university on Homer."
Filmmaker Kevin Smith: "It is bad guys versus good guys and everyone wants to see that story. That story will never grow tired, never grow old."
Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed
is produced by Prometheus Entertainment in association with Lucasfilm Ltd. Executive Producer is Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Kevin Burns (Empire of Dreams, Look, Up in the Sky!).
Executive Producer for The History Channel is Beth Dietrich Segarra.PLUS....
In celebration of the upcoming special, The History Channel is offering fans the chance to win an incredible trip for two to Star Wars Celebration Europe, the largest official Star Wars event overseas.
Only The History Channel is offering fans in the US this exclusive opportunity!
The trip comes complete with roundtrip airfare to London, 4-nights hotel accommodations, 3-day passes to Celebration Europe, $1000 of Star Wars Celebration Europe exclusives and more.
In addition to the grand prize trip, fifty runner-up winners will receive $25 Audible.com gift certificates. From May 16 -- June 3, fans can enter The Legacy Revealed Sweepstakes here
The History Channel has also announced the launch of The Legacy Collection at Audible.com, the online site where you can download audio books and more.
Beginning May 16, fans can access this incredible collection of audio books that offer insight into the characters, stories and themes introduced in Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed
The collection includes such titles as Homer's The Odyssey
, Shakespeare's Hamlet
and Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces
Plus, you can listen to a free sample of the latest audio book in the Star Wars: Legacy of The Force
series. Learn more hereEditor's Note: In honor of the 30th Anniversary, here are a few more SW articles from around the globe - The Force remains strong
Keith Lane will never forget the first time he watched the original "Star Wars" movie. He was only 7, but he remembers the excitement of seeing "Star Wars: Episode IV.""I couldn't wait to see it. I remember seeing clips of the movie on "Phil Donahue" (former talk showEditor's Note: Has it been so long they have to ID this? GOD I'm old....), and I was really excited about it
," the Temperance resident recalled. "I've been a big fan ever since."
He, along with millions of other moviegoers, was not disappointed.
The original "Star Wars" movie celebrates its 30th anniversary Friday.
The epic film was created by writer and producer George Lucas and has become a multi-billion dollar franchise. Actors like Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Alec Guinness brought the sci-fi movie to life with their memorable characters. Even today, names like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi are common names in the pop culture world.
Mr. Lane, 38, is a serious fan. Not only is he a fan of the original flick, but of all "Star Wars" movies. He especially enjoys the original three movies. "I've seen each of those at least 1,000 times,"
he said. And he knows his "Star Wars" trivia. According to his wife, Theresa, he can recite any line, give scene descriptions, owns the soundtrack to all the movies and can answer nearly any question you throw at him.
"She'll test me, and I'll know about 95 percent of the answers. If I know it, she'll tell me how big of a dork I am,"
said Mr. Lane, laughing. Editor's Note: DWEEB, not dork. (Although HE might be a dork....)
For Gary Davis of Monroe, the movie is appealing because it is a timeless film.
"Since it is set in another galaxy, it's not dated. You don't watch the movie and say it's a 1970s period movie. The cultural impact goes beyond the 1970s. It's still valid today,"
he said. Editor's Note: Well...except for a few 'hair' moments?
Mr. Davis, 21, got hooked on the "Star Wars" movies when he watched the re-released version of the original "Star Wars" 10 years ago, when it marked the 20th anniversary. He was only 11 when he saw it on the big screen."I liked how it mixed both fantasy and science fiction, which are two of my favorite (genres
)," he said. Since the movie is ageless, new "Star Wars" fans pop up every day. Bob and Annette Navarre's children - Lindsay, 11; KellyAnn, 10, and Joe, 7 - are all huge fans of the movie.
"All three of them dressed up as ‘Star Wars' characters for Halloween, and they've made their own ‘Star Wars' movies
," said Mrs. Navarre of Monroe. "They have light saber fights all the time."
The Navarre children were hooked on "Star Wars" when they first watched the film about two years ago. "They've collected 645 ‘Star Wars' items between the three of them since they watched their first "Star Wars" movie. They counted them all,"
Mrs. Navarre said.
In their collection, they have accumulated 132 figures, six ships, 11 light sabers, 390 cards, 15 articles of clothing and seven costumes, just to name a few.
"They love playing ‘Star Wars' games together. They have a great time
," she said.
Mr. Davis also is an avid collector. Besides receiving most of his father's collection, he also has been collecting many items that he describes as in "good condition." Some items, he said, are still in the box in order to keep preserved.
"I've been to several ‘Star Wars' conventions, including ‘Star Wars' weekends in Disney World and Celebration 3 (in Indianapolis),"
he said. "I even saw the ‘Star Wars' art exhibit when it came through Detroit a few years back."
Mr. Lane has a lot to celebrate this weekend. Not only does Friday mark the 30th anniversary of "Star Wars," but he and his wife will be celebrating their wedding anniversary this weekend.
The couple is traveling to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., for their anniversary. Mr. Lane also will be able to celebrate "Star Wars.""It's ‘Star Wars' weekend at Disney. I heard George Lucas will be there so I'm hoping we can see him there,"
He believes many factors contribute to the success of the original film. "Special effects, the storyline, the characters … It's a combination of all those things,"
he said as to why "Star Wars" has such a big following. "Back then, sci-fi was a dead genre in movies. George Lucas really brought sci-fi back.
"OVERVIEW OF THE MOVIE
"Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" was released May 25, 1977. Created by writer/producer and director George Lucas, the epic movie (then known simply as "Star Wars") has become a franchise worth more than $20 billion.
Additional films, television series, collector's items, video games, trading cards … the movie is one of the most successful franchises of all time.
The cast of the action, fantasy, science fiction and adventure movie became household names.
Mark Hamill played Luke Skywalker, the leading role, while Harrison Ford played Han Solo, Carrie Fisher was Princess Leia, Alec Guinness played Obi-Wan (Ben) Kenobi and James Earl Jones intoned the voice of Darth Vader.
The storyline follows the life of a farm boy, Luke Skywalker, who attempts to rescue a rebel leader, Princess Leia, from the clutches of the Empire. His allies, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, C-3PO and R2-D2, help him along the way. His nemesis is a former Jedi Knight, known as Darth Vader.THE FILMS
"Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope." Released May 25, 1977 "
"Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back." Released May 21, 1980
"Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi." Released May 25, 1983
"Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace." Released May 19, 1999
"Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones." Released May 16, 2002 "
"Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith." Released May 19, 2005A LITTLE TRIVIA
Actors James Caan, Al Pacino and Burt Reynolds turned down the role of Han Solo
"Vader" is Dutch for "father"
This is the only "Star Wars" movie nominated for Best Picture Academy Award
Mark Hamill (Luke) and Carrie Fisher (Leia) performed their own stunt in a scene in which they swing to safety. They shot it in one take.
Writer/director George Lucas based the character of Han Solo on his friend, director Francis Ford Coppola.
George Lucas came up with R2-D2 during post-production of "American Graffiti" when a crew member asked Lucas to retrieve Reel 2 of the Second Dialogue track. He asked by saying, "Could you get R2-D2 for me?" Lucas liked the sound of it, and wrote it down for future use.
The movie originally was scheduled for a Christmas, 1976, release but post-production took longer than expected.
Studio executives were concerned with May 25, 1977, since it would come out the same week as "Smokey and the Bandit." "Star Wars" grossed more than twice as much as "Smokey."
Within six months, "Star Wars" dethroned "Jaws" as the all-time box office champ. It held the record until "Titanic" in 1997.
In 1977, the movie earned $1.5 million on fewer than 40 screens in its first weekend. In 1997, it made more than $36 million on more than 2,000 screens. Source: Internet Movie Database‘STAR WARS' STAMPS
The U.S. Postal Service is in "Star Wars" spirit, too.Fifteen 41-cent stamps commemorating the film will go on sale Friday. Editor's Note: Today!!! (going to the PO at lunch, dweebpals! Yessirree!!!)
Visitors to www.uspsjedimaster.com could vote for their favorite stamp, which will be released on a single sheet besides the composite. Stamps depicting Yoda and Darth Vader were at the top earlier this week. Voting ended Wednesday.
Besides the stamps, the Postal Service dressed up 400 mail boxes nationwide to resemble the R2D2 droid. Fans can track the location of all the mailboxes by visiting www.frappr.com/r2d2
.AT THE THEATERS IN 1977Editor's Note: Just to 'seal the deal' on making us feel OLD...Top money makers of 1977
"Star Wars" - $460,987,469
"Saturday Night Fever" - $142,500,000
"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" - $128,300,000
"Smokey and the Bandit" - $126,737,428
"In Search of Noah's Ark" - $55,734,818
Star Wars is ranked No. 2 all-time as the largest grossing movie in the United States. No. 1 is "Titanic," which grossed $600,743,440 in 1997.1977 Academy Awards
"Star Wars" was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Alec Guinness), and Best Original Screenplay.
It won for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects.Top Oscars went to:
Best Actor: Richard Dreyfuss for "The Goodbye Girl"
Best Actress: Diane Keaton for "Annie Hall"
Best Director: Woody Allen for "Annie Hall"
Best Picture: "Annie Hall"
Best Supporting Actor: Jason Robards for "Julia"
Best Supporting Actress: Vanessa Redgrave for "Julia"Also at the theaters:
1977 was a big year for the movie industry. Here are some of the other memorable movies released that year:
"Close Encounters of the Third Kind"
"The Hills Have Eyes"
"Saturday Night Fever"
"Smokey and the Bandit"
Those films also propelled the careers of many actors, who became A-Listers.Here are a few actors that became household names after 1977.
Harrison Ford ("Star Wars")
Diane Keaton ("Annie Hall")
Richard Dreyfuss ("Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "The Goodbye Girl")
John Travolta ("Saturday Night Fever")Signs You Have Too Much Star Wars StuffEditor's Note: not that you ever CAN have too much......
11. If your house burned down, more stormtroopers would perish than did in the Death Star explosion.
10. Your ability to afford retirement depends on how the market for realistic light sabers is doing.
9. You had to put both kids in the same room because you had to put your Star Wars Lego collection in a room by itself.
8. Your spouse has had to vacate his or her closet space to make room for your Leia slave girl outfits. Editor's Note: I like how open-minded the gender assignment is on this one. giggle....
7.You're petitioning to have your lot rezoned so you can move your Millennium Falcon collection outside.
6. You're using your refrigerator to store action figures.
5. You had to make a secret sub-basement to hide your Jar-Jar collection out of shame.
4. George Lucas called you when he needed a prop for the Star Wars celebration.
3. You are the highest bidder on eBay for a skin sample from Mark Hamill.
2. Your life-size talking cardboard characters talk to each other.
1. Your friends come over to play life-sized chess with your droid collection.
30 pieces of trivia about Star Wars
Editor's Note: You're going to know most of these already. Still...LISTS are FUN!
The original Star Wars film was released on 25 May 1977.
Much to the surprise of many involved in the project, including the studio which backed it, it became a runaway success.
To celebrate the movie's 30th anniversary here are 30 facts and figures related to the film which influenced a new generation of film-makers.
THE MAKING OF STAR WARS
1. The first trailer for the film hit cinemas six months before it was to open - with tag lines such as "the story of a boy, a girl and a universe" and "a billion years in the making" - as executives hoped to drum up some interest in a film they had little faith in.
2. Made on a budget of $11m (£5.5m) it made $215m (£108m) in the US during its original release, and $337m (£170m) overseas. The final film in the franchise - Revenge of the Sith - cost about $113m (£57m) to make. Editor's Note: yes, this was from a BBC article.
3. It was originally called The Star Wars, but "the" was dropped fairly early on in the creative process.
4. The full title Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope first appeared when the film was re-released in 1981.
5. Director George Lucas originally had a contract with Fox for $150,000 (£75,941) for writing and directing Star Wars. But he cannily insisted on total control and 40% of merchandising - something the studio agreed to because they had no idea of what a phenomenon Star Wars would become.
6. The famous - and often imitated - opening crawl for Star Wars was co-written by Brian De Palma, the director of Scarface. It begins "It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire."
7. Sir Alec Guinness made a ton of money from the film having recognised its potential success and negotiating a deal for two per cent of box office takings. He also refused to do any promotional work for the film.
8. Anthony Daniels as C-3PO and Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2, are the only actors credited with being in all six Star Wars films.
9. Harrison Ford was far from George Lucas' first choice to play Han Solo as the director had wanted completely new faces for Star Wars. Ford had already starred in Lucas' American Graffiti.
10. The original release date was set for Christmas 1976 but major delays in filming saw it pushed back. The Fox studio had threatened to close down production when filming over-ran by more than two weeks.
11. Ralph McQuarrie created the paintings which were used to illustrate how the Star Wars universe could look. He started out as a technical illustrator for Boeing.
12. The Wookiee Chewbacca was inspired by George Lucas' beloved dog Indiana - an Alaskan malamute.
13. Lucas once said that the shape of the Millennium Falcon was based on a hamburger.
14. George Lucas based the character of Han Solo on his friend Francis Ford Coppola.
15. The droids R2-D2 and C-3PO are said to be based on the 1958 Akira Kourosawa film Kakushi toride no san akunin (The Hidden Fortress). Other characters in Star Wars were also drawn from the film including Han Solo and Ben Kenobi.
MARKETING AND MERCHANDISING
16. Cinemas in the US were press-ganged into buying the film after few took up the option, with the threat that they wouldn't get The Other Side of Midnight - a widely-anticipated adaptation of a Sidney Sheldon novel. The Other Side of Midnight, starring Susan Sarandon, was a box office flop.
17. Publicity supervisor Charles Lippincott was aware of the power of the sci-fi fan, going along to conventions to talk about Star Wars and what audiences could expect. He was largely credited with bringing in huge opening day audiences.
18. The merchandise for the film was not in place to accommodate the demand for the first Christmas rush after the film's release. Lucas and merchandise company Kenner Toys hit upon a novel idea with the introduction of early bird certificate boxes. These were basically empty boxes that promised the receiver they would get the figures once they had been made. They sold for $16 at the time and the actual figures arrived two months later. Limited edition packs were re-released in 2005.
19. More than 250 million small action figures were shipped in the eight years after the first film, going to countries across the world. In the first year alone 42m were sold.
20. Composer John Williams won an Oscar for his score for Star Wars. The music was later named by the American Film Institute as the greatest film score of all time. Editor's Note: Johnny W ROCKS!
21. A New Hope was the only one of the six films in the franchise to be nominated in the Academy Awards best picture category. It lost out to Woody Allen's Annie Hall.
MISHAPS AND MISCELLANEOUS
22. Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, was involved in a car accident following primary shooting. His face was damaged making reshoots impossible. Hamill later said he only broke his nose and reports that his face was reconstructed were wide of the mark. Editor's Note: I am a Luke gal. Always have been. But come ON???? He has never looked the same since the accident. I still think he's lovely, but his face is completely different. Yes???!!!
23. Anthony Daniels was injured during his first outing as C-3PO when a leg piece fell off his gold-coloured costume and shattered - stabbing him in the foot.
24. On the first day of filming in the deserts of Tunisia, the country experienced its first major rainstorm in 50 years and a rest day had to be called.
25. When filming moved to Elstree it was hoped the earlier problems encountered in the desert would be finished. But a new problem arose in the shape of the strict British working conditions adhered to on set. Lucas says that filming had to close at 5.30pm on the dot, unless he was in the middle of a shot - when he could ask workers to stay for an extra 15 minutes.
26. One of the most famous bloopers from the film is when stormtroopers burst into a room and one of them hits his head on the door frame. Fans of Star Wars and the blooper have spotted hundreds of "mistakes" throughout the Star Wars franchise but many can only be spotted by the most eagle-eyed viewer.
27. Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca, worked as a hospital orderly in London before being cast as the Wookiee. He was said to have got into character by copying the mannerisms of animals he visited at the zoo.
28. David Prowse, the 6ft 7ins actor who plays Darth Vader, had problems filming lightsaber scenes as he kept breaking the poles that were used as stand-ins for the weapons. In the sequels, fight co-ordinator Bob Anderson stepped into the costume to film the lightsaber scenes.
29. George Lucas wanted his sets to look worn and scuffed but the studio cleaning service continually cleaned and tidied up after a day's filming - much to the director's dismay. Editor's Note: TOO funny! (I wish I could get MY maid to do as well).
30. Lucas' stress levels reached such a height that he thought he was having a heart attack. He was diagnosed with hypertension and exhaustion and told to rest - something the punishing schedule would not allow.
Editor's Note: And here's a link to a SW trivia quiz from an Aussie website -http://media.news.com.au/multimedia/2007/05/070525_starwarsIt's really easy....but it's Friday, so who wants anything difficult, right?