For most Star Wars fans, it’s hard to think this impressive galaxy far, far away without multiple movies, TV shows, books, video games and other media projects coming to mind. Of course, none of this would exist without the original movie that came out in 1977, and it all came from the mind of George Lucas. Nowadays Star Wars, or rather Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope, and its sequels are best known as epic space operas, but when Lucas was originally conceived this science fiction/fantasy tale, he had something more in line with the action-packed film serials from classic Hollywood. He explained:
Star Wars evolved. It didn’t come out as one thing. It was an idea and the idea was more: I would like to make an action movie, that is more like a Saturday afternoon serial that I enjoyed as a kid, but imbue it with mythological, psychological motifs, which we didn’t have those [that day]. So I said, ‘I want to take these two things and put them together.’
Our own Sean O’Connell in attendance when Star Wars Celebration held its 40th anniversary panel, and George Lucas was among the many notable figures who spoke during it. Every film goes through changes between the moment when that first idea lights up in someone’s mind to when it’s being edited. Star Wars was no exception, and Lucas has talked before about how the film serials from the first half of the 20th century influenced his creation, naming Flash Gordon as a specific influence in the past.
George Lucas’ idea morphed as time passed, and while it may not have as much of a serial feel as he originally planned for, I think Star Wars fans can all agree that the first movie and its descendants have all been packed with plenty of action and mythological elements. Still, if you want to check out something close to Lucas’ original idea for Star Wars, read The Star Wars, the eight-issue comic book series released by Dark Horse a few years back that adapted the rough draft screenplay. But more importantly, Lucas managed to create something unique not just to science fiction/fantasy, but pop culture in general. Let’s be glad that original idea evolved the way it did.