Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy (2004) Movie Script

I'm Luke Skywalker.
I'm here to rescue you.
It is the most popular
space adventure of all time.
"Exciting" is hardly the
word I would choose.
It's one of the most groundbreaking
sagas in Hollywood history.
There'll be no one
to stop us this time.
It captured imaginations
with an irresistible force...
You've taken your first
step into a larger world.
And catapulted three young
performers to superstardom.
I got him! Great,
kid! Don't get cocky.
My whole life was changed by
the opportunities that came to me
through the success
of Star Wars.
It really is a
wonderful morality tale.
I'll never turn
to the dark side.
It's George's
vision, and he truly is
a visual man in a profound way.
But the Star Wars trilogy
didn't just change the
way we look at movies.
It changed the way
that movies are made.
You must unlearn
what you have learned.
There are so manyaccomplishments
that George has done
that really have changed
the business as we know it.
We did it!
What began as a
galactic fairy tale
became a success story
beyond one man's wildest dreams.
The Force will be
with you always.
I expected not to ever make a
hit movie. That wasn't my agenda.
I certainly didn't expect
Star Wars to be this giant hit.
But it became such a phenomenon.
It's hard to remember
a time before Star Wars.
The world was different then.
There were no cell phones
or personal computers.
The Internet was years away.
Even home video
had yet to catch on.
The space race was over.
That's one small step for man.
Americans felt deeply
mired in the present.
It was a time of
economic inflation
and rising oil prices,
and the nation had grown cynical
about its heroes and its leaders.
Well, I'm not a crook.
In our country,
Watergate tore us apart.
And then we had the
Vietnam War on top of that,
which was dividing the
nation like nothing else had.
It was a terrible decade of great
storm and violence in our history.
On the big screen, Hollywood's
view was equally grim.
The films of the early 1970s
were gritty and often downbeat,
a reflection of America's
social and political upheaval.
Instead of old-fashioned
heroes, the screen was dominated
by hardnosed antiheroes
who broke all the rules.
In the late '60s, the
Warners, the Zanucks,
all the people that started
the studios in the first place,
were retiring, and they were
selling the studios to corporations.
They were beverage
companies and all kinds
of other businesses.
They didn't know at all
how to run a movie studio.
All they know is if the
marketing department
said people want to see
this, then you make that.
They started marketing pictures
and studying demographics,
and these kinds of things.
They realized that there
was a market for films
made by young
people for young people,
'cause the young person was
becoming a bigger part of their market.
The studio system
that lasted for decades
had now collapsed.
And Hollywood executives,
desperate to connect
with younger audiences,
turned to film schools to find the
next generation of moviemakers.
Action. It was in this
atmosphere of change
that gifted young directors
like Francis Ford Coppola,
Brian De Palma, Martin
Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg
brought a more personal
sensibility to the screen.
It was a state of confusion,
and a lot of filmmakers
got to make projects that they
ordinarily wouldn't have gotten to make.
And I got caught
right in the middle of it.
George was the kind of
maverick from Northern California,
an independent filmmaker,
who was always extremely proud
that he had very few
attachments to Hollywood.
Born in Modesto, California,
George Lucas grew up
reading adventure stories
and watching movie
serials on television.
But it wasn't until college that his own
dreams of filmmaking began to surface.
In 1963, he left Modesto
to attend film classes
at the University of
Southern California.
I was teaching at USC, and
George was in one of the seminars.
We talked about some of his
early attempts at filmmaking.
And I'll tell you, right
from the beginning,
George had a unique vision.
George was a guy that
thought out of the box,
as you can certainly see
by his student film THX1138.
THX1138 4 -EB. THX1138 4 -EB.
This is Authority. You
will stop where you are.
He shot a film that
was 20 minutes long.
It was supposed
to be five minutes.
You're going for the
emergency switch.
But he got a great
deal of recognition
and opened the
eyes of professors
that kids could do
something out of the box,
beyond what the
restrictions were.
Lucas won acclaim
for his technical skills
and imagination
as a storyteller.
His interest in mythology and philosophy
gave his work an added dimension.
George's style was fantastic.
I don't care what he was doing,
it just looked more personal
than some of the other work.
After graduating from USC,
Lucas joined his friend, Francis
Ford Coppola, in San Francisco,
where in 1969 Coppola
founded American Zoetrope,
an independent film company.
I came up with no intention of
actually becoming successful.
But I did have a very strong feeling about
being able to be in control of my work
and not having
people tamper with it.
In 1971, Lucas directed THX1138,
a theatrical feature
based on his student film.
But when Warner Brothers
executives saw the finished product,
they demanded Coppola
return the $300,000.
The studio had advanced to
develop THX and other projects.
The fledgling company imploded,
and Lucas had to find work elsewhere.
He decided to take
matters into his own hands
and start his own
company, Lucasfilm Limited.
For his first project
under this new banner,
Lucas chose American Graffiti,
an affectionate look at teenage
cruising in the early 1960s.
I'm a ready teddy.
Well, get bent, turkey.
Produced by Universal Studios,
it was loosely based
on his own experiences
as a car enthusiast
growing up in Modesto.
I had gone from being extremely
experimental and hard-edged
and then really taking up a
challenge that Francis gave me
"I bet you can't do
just a silly comedy."
You know, a kind of
warm and fuzzy comedy.
I said, "Okay, I'll try that."
The film was shot in just 28
days for under $1,000,000.
Coproducing was another
USC alumnus, Gary Kurtz.
Toward the end of the
post-production on American Graffiti,
we organized a screening at the
Northpoint Cinema in San Francisco.
And we felt the reaction to
the film was quite positive.
But Ned Tanen from
Universal was very upset.
He said, "You shouldn't be showing
it to an audience at this stage."
And we were
totally flabbergasted.
My first film they
didn't understand,
and they meddled with
it after it was all finished.
Same thing with my second
film, the corporate entity came in
and jerry-rigged with
it, cut five minutes out.
But even before the
release of American Graffiti,
George Lucas's imagination
was pointed at the stars.
All during this time, he
was talking about the fact
that he would like to do a Flash
Gordon kind of 1930s space opera.
And he started working
on that in earnest.
And people said,
"Of all things to pick, why in
the world would you do that?"
I said, "Well, you know, it's fun
to make films for young people."
"It's a chance to sort of
make an impression on them."
"I wanna do this." With
his galactic fairy tale,
Lucas hoped to
reinvent a classic genre.
Among his influences were the writings
of scholar and educator Joseph Campbell,
in which he explored the origins
of myth and world religions.
When Lucas was writing
the script of Star Wars,
he was heavily interested
in Joseph Campbell.
What Joseph Campbell was
interested in was to see the connections
between the myths
of different cultures
to try to find out
what were the threads
that tied all these very
disparate cultures together.
I did research to try to distill
everything down into motifs
that would be universal.
I attribute most of the success to
the psychological underpinnings,
which had been around
for thousands of years,
and that people still react the same
way to the stories as they always have.
George is nothing if
not a good reporter.
And when he sets
out to do his work,
he starts reporting from the
best sources he can gather.
He brought Campbell
into the process
of looking at his
work on Star Wars
and saying, "Is this right?
Am I getting it down?"
"Is this the right emphasis?
Is this the right character?"
Joseph Campbell said to me,
the best student he ever
had was George Lucas.
Like such epics as The Odyssey,
Beowulf and The
Legend of King Arthur,
Star Wars drew from a shared
pool of mythic archetypes.
You have the youth
who's on the adventure
that you can identify with.
You have the swashbuckler.
And you have the damsel.
She may not sort of have the
reactions that are conventional,
however she is in distress.
And you have the wise old
man, who you go and you find him.
And you have the
funnier characters.
I mean, it really adheres
strictly to that form.
It's the traditional, ritualistic
coming of age story.
And when I went into the
mythological side of what I wanted to do,
that's a key factor with heroes.
By the summer of 1973,
George Lucas had created a treatment
that he felt was ready to shop around.
Whether anyone would be
interested, that was another story.
The most successful science
fiction film up to that point was 2001.
And successful then was that it made
about $24 million or something like that.
Most hit science fiction films
would make about $16 million,
which was the Planet of the
Apes films and that sort of thing.
But most science fiction films
would make under $10 million.
I mean, there was no reason to
think that it would do any different.
Star Wars was more space
fantasy than science fiction,
but its galactic setting
made it a tough sell in 1973.
When I was pitching the film, all I
had was a 14-page story treatment.
It was very vague. Said
it was kind of a 1930s,
action adventure,
Saturday afternoon serial,
based on the kind of Flash Gordon,
Buck Rogers kind of comic book future.
And that's about all
they knew about it.
In the '70s, science
fiction seemed to be
all about apocalyptic societies
and death and destruction.
Not very inspiring, so we
were fighting an uphill battle
with a science fiction project.
George Lucas brought Star Wars
to Universal and United Artists.
Both studios passed
on the project.
But the ambitious young
filmmaker was secretly relieved.
The last thing he wanted was to hand
his dream project to the wrong people.
He didn't care for
the studio system.
He used it because there was no
other way of doing what he needed to do.
Undaunted, Lucas presented
Star Wars to Alan Ladd, Jr.,
the new head of creative
affairs at 20th Century Fox.
Ladd, a former producer, was able
to recognize potential in the filmmaker,
if not necessarily the film.
ALAN LADD, We had a
meeting, and George said,
"Well, I've been thinking about
this thing called Star Wars."
And he told me about it.
And I said, "That
sounds terrific."
I mean, the technology
part of the whole thing
was completely over my head.
But I just believed
in him and his genius.
I sort of recognized
off of American Graffiti
that he really was a
genius, so I just flew with it.
He understood what talent was, he
respected talent and he was able to say
"I think this guy's talented. I
think we're gonna invest in him."
So, Alan Ladd,
Jr. Invested in me.
He did not invest in the
movie. And it paid off.
In 1973,
Ladd's investment in
George Lucas proved justified.
American Graffiti was finally
released to rave reviews
and became the third highest
grossing picture of the year.
It went on to earn more
than $100 million worldwide.
American Graffiti showed a very
human center and a huge heart
that George has
always had, by the way.
And I think that
surprised a lot of people.
With a preliminary deal
for Star Wars in place,
Lucas began writing
his screenplay in 1974.
It proved more ambitious
than he had first imagined.
The filmmaker was able to
distill his idea down to its essence
an epic battle between
a heroic Rebel Alliance
and an evil Galactic Empire.
The chief villain, Darth Vader,
was there practically from the start.
But it took time to come up with
Star Wars's three main heroes
a plucky young princess
named Leia Organa,
the fearless Corellian
smuggler known as Han Solo,
and most important,
an idealistic farm boy,
whose original name
was Luke Starkiller.
Over the course
of his adventure,
Luke trains to
become a Jedi knight,
deriving his power from a mystical
energy known as "the Force."
But along the way, the script
went through radical changes.
At one point, Luke was
a 60 year old general
and Han Solo had
green skin and gills.
Even the concept of the Force
had yet to be fully realized.
Instead, there was
the Kaiburr Crystal,
a sort of galactic Holy Grail.
The concept of the Force was
an important one in this story.
And the difficulty is
trying to create a
religious spiritual concept
that works in a very simple
way without heavy exposition
or without it seeming
to pull down the story.
It got to be a very fat
script, about 200 pages.
And the story had
gotten away from me.
So, the only way I could
cope with it was to say,
"I'll take the first third, the first
act, I'll make that into a movie."
But I'd written all this other stuff.
I'd spent a year writing this story.
And I said, "Well, I'm not gonna
just throw away two thirds of my year"
"and say, 'This is all I
can afford at this point."
"'This is the only amount of money
I'm gonna get is to do this one movie.'"
"So, I put it on the shelf. I
said, "By hook or by crook,
"I will finish this movie."
But Star Wars wouldn't be cheap.
To get the Fox board of directors
to approve the necessary budget,
Lucas needed something dramatic.
He hired Ralph McQuarrie,
a conceptual design artist
who had worked for Boeing.
I'd seen some of his paintings.
I thought he was brilliant.
"I said," Look. I want you to do some
paintings of these scenes that I've done
"so that the studio can get a
picture of what it is I'm talking about."
When I turned in the script,
I had about five or six drawings
that I turned in with it also
to say, "This is what
it's gonna look like."
He had a concept for
a big spectacular visual,
and it didn't come
across in the script.
So I tried to give it scale,
juxtaposing the
tiny little figures
with the great
spectacular backgrounds.
"George would say, "Don't worry
about how we're going to do it.
"We just want to
see an impression"
"of what the scenes would
look like on the screen."
McQuarrie's artwork won
over the Fox board of directors,
who soon approved a
budget of just over $8 million.
With only the first part of his
Star Wars saga being made,
Lucas also needed to
think about the future.
But his prior dealings with major
studios had taught him to be cautious.
When I made the
deal for Star Wars,
originally I made the deal before
American Graffiti had even come out.
'Cause Alan Lad had seen
the film, American Graffiti,
he said he'd make a deal.
But he made a very, you know "You're
gonna make 'X' number of dollars"
and this kind of thing.
And it was a very,
like, one-page memo.
When it came up to doing the contract
for the film, which is about a year later,
I knew that what I really
had to do was to protect
the unwritten part, the
other two parts of the script.
All of a sudden,
Graffiti comes out,
and it's a big huge,
smash success.
So his agent came back
and said, "Hey, look."
"This guy has made this
huge successful movie now."
"Don't you think we should get more
than a couple hundred thousand dollars"
"for writing, directing,
and producing a movie?"
I said, "Yeah. I think
he should get more."
I was very careful to say, "I don't
want more money, more points.
"I don't want
anything financial."
"But I do want the right
to make these sequels."
I was working on the assumption,
as every filmmaker works on,
which is the film
would be a disaster
and that it wouldn't be promoted
and it'd just die a horrible death.
And that it'd be very hard to
get these next two movies made.
George said, "I'd like a big
slice of the merchandising."
Up until that time, merchandising
had been relatively unknown.
When I took over the
licensing, I simply said,
"I'm gonna be able to make t-shirts,
I'm gonna be able to make posters"
"and I'm gonna be able to sell this
movie, even though the studio won't."
So, I managed to get control of
pretty much everything that was left over
that the studio didn't
really care about.
George was enormously
farsighted, and the studio wasn't,
because they didn't know
that the world was changing.
George did know the world was
changing. I mean, he changed it.
With his Star Wars
contract completed,
George Lucas now
needed a rebel force
up to the challenge
of production.
In the summer of 1975,
he founded the visual effects
company Industrial Light & Magic.
There were no special effects
companies in those days.
The studio's special effects
department had been disbanded.
Part of that was
because of the expense,
and part of it was that
the American taste,
the culture had gone toward
very realistic looking films.
We approached the visual effects
as a grand experiment, saying,
"Can we do this with a lot of people
who work on architectural models"
"and in commercials and have
never made feature films before?"
We were kind of like a
weird kind of fraternity
of robotic photography
nuts or something like that.
I mean, this was a big movie for
Fox. We were doing commercials.
We all dreamed
about doing a feature,
and this was like
the dream come true.
So, Star Wars came along
at just the perfect time for us.
We moved into a big empty
warehouse in Van Nuys,
right near the Van Nuys Airport
and basically started from scratch.
I mean, it was empty.
In the early days, you
used to park your car inside.
There was no camera
equipment, no rooms to speak of.
Supervising at ILM
was John Dykstra,
an effects cameraman who had
worked under Douglas Trumbull
on films like Silent Running.
I was essentially
to be responsible
for doing the visual
effects for the film.
We took the concept of motion control,
which is essentially an old concept
of being able to duplicate camera
motion through more than one pass
so that you can generate
multiple elements of film
and we made it production
savvy by tying it into a computer,
which was, at that point,
custom-built microprocessors.
There were no PCs. You
didn't go down and buy a PC.
We built them from scratch.
At the same time the camera
system was being built,
another team began
constructing model spaceships.
I was one of the early hires.
They had a small art department.
And there were some concept
models made out of cardboard
and model kit pieces.
There were some storyboards
and some concept illustrations
that Joe Johnston had done.
There were some paintings
that Ralph McQuarrie had done.
Everything came
either from my sketches
or Ralph's paintings
and drawings.
And any input that George
might have, you know.
There weren't a lot of outside
influences on Star Wars.
George wanted it to look like
you could actually see the rivets,
so you could see the
logic of how it was made.
I was originally hired to
work on the Death Star,
the 40-foot by...
Oh, what was it?
Forty by 80 feet or 40 by
60 feet or something like that.
Nobody wanted to do the job, 'cause you
had to spend a lot of time on your knees.
Everybody sort
of could cross-train
and work in
different techniques.
That was different than
the Hollywood system
that had very strict
sort of union rules.
But there was no way that this
work could be done that way,
or no way that the Hollywood unions
could understand what we were doing.
With preproduction
gaining momentum,
Lucas next began the process
of casting his galactic opus.
He shared the audition stage
with his friend, Brian De Palma,
who was seeking actors for
the Stephen King shocker Carrie.
We were both making these
movies and casting at the same time,
so we decided to
combine our efforts.
I've made movies with very young
people that have no track record,
so I have to kind of go
through and discover them,
pick them, and then test them and
go through them and have readings.
So it takes a long time. I spent probably
six or seven months casting Star Wars.
And that's a long process to sit in
a little room and interview people.
And I interviewed
thousands of people.
In casting the male leads,
Luke Starkiller and Han Solo,
Lucas looked for
individual screen presence
as well as chemistry
between performers.
Okay, action.
Oh, it checks out again.
There's no mistake.
You can't find Organa
Major? I found it.
It's just not there.
Oh, I found it.
It's just not there.
What's left of it
is contaminated.
That's it there. Look at
those radiation readouts.
It's impossible. I've
never seen anything like it.
The Empire must
have gotten here first.
The planet has been
completely blown away.
For the pivotal role of Luke,
Lucas needed an actor who could
project both intelligence and integrity.
She's part of the royal family.
They won't get
anything out of her.
She knows the
power of mind control.
She's part of the royal family.
They won't get any
information from her.
She knows the
art of mind control.
Twenty-four year old Mark Hamill
was a familiar
face on television.
A newcomer to films, his wholesome,
easy-going manner fit the part perfectly.
I can remember a line
from the screen test,
which I don't think
ever will leave me.
And Luke says, "But we can't turn
back. Fear is their greatest defense."
"I doubt if the
actual security there"
"is any greater than it
was on Aquilae or Sullust,"
"and what there is is most likely
directed towards a large scale assault."
Fear is their greatest defense.
I doubt if the
actual security there
is much greater than
on Aquilae or Sullust,
and what there is is most likely
directed towards a large scale assault.
I read that line and I
thought, "Who talks like this?"
So I just did it sincerely.
How many more systems
have to get blown away
before you have no place to
hide and are forced to fight?
Don't you realize
what's going on?
Kid, you take the glory
and the good intentions.
I'll take the reward.
The role of Han Solo
needed someone older
with a more cynical edge.
What's that little droid carrying
that's so blasted important?
What's the little droid
carrying that's so important?
Harrison Ford had worked
with Lucas on American Graffiti.
But because the director
initially only wanted new faces,
he was not allowed to audition.
Wait. Do I have to sit
up to get in on the right?
Instead, he was brought in to
feed lines to the other actors.
I was given sides and asked if I
would help read the other actors.
It became my task to explain to the
other actors who were coming along
just what it was
that these sides, uh,
were meant to be about.
They're gonna follow us.
They'll destroy your hidden bases.
They'll destroy
the whole system.
Right, and they'll bring
the Death Star too.
Lucas may have been
reluctant to use Ford at first,
but the actor won him over by giving
Han a mix of mercenary swagger
and world-weariness.
Well, what was so clear was what the
idea was of the character relationships.
Mark was the callow youth,
and I was the smartass,
and we each had a clear
section of turf to explore.
The planet's totally blown away.
It would've taken
a thousand ships
with more firepower than
I've ever seen to do that.
If the Empire had a new weapon
that could do this, I'd know about it.
I'd have heard something.
Well, you know about it now.
The enemy's on the move.
We haven't much time.
I brought you here. Now what?
We've got to find the rebels.
What we're carrying
belongs to them.
Their bases are
very well hidden, son.
Do you... All the power of
the Empire can't find 'em.
Do you know where they are?
No. Not anymore.
Well, I'm not gonna take you on an
impossible chase across the galaxy!
Virtually every young
actress in Hollywood
tried out for the
part of Princess Leia.
Although the character
was the same age as Luke,
as a leader of the rebellion, Leia needed
to project a confidence beyond her years.
The plans and specifications
to a battle station
with enough firepower to
destroy an entire system.
Our only hope in destroying
it is to find its weakness,
which we will determine
from the data I stored in R2.
Now, our only
hope in destroying it
is to find its weakness,
which we'll do from
the data I stored in R2.
Okay? Now, we've captured the
plans in a raid on the imperial shipyards.
But we fell under attack before
I could get the data to safety,
so I hid it in R2
and sent him off.
When R2 has been safely delivered
to my forces, you get your reward.
Wha... You have my guarantee.
What's the little droid carrying
that's so blasted important?
The plans and specifications
to a battle station
with enough firepower
to destroy an entire system.
One actress in particular
seemed tailormade
to play a princess.
As the daughter of actress Debbie
Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher,
Carrie Fisher was the
product of Hollywood royalty.
She had no trouble conveying the
self-assurance needed for Leia Organa.
I met with Brian De
Palma and George,
and Brian did all the talking,
because George didn't talk then.
There were incredible
actresses that were my age
that were being
considered for this role,
so I didn't think
I would get it.
But our only hope is to
destroy it before it destroys us.
Hiding is useless now.
With the Death Star, they'll
continue to go on destroying systems
until they've found us.
We have no alternative but
to process the information
and use it while
there's still time.
I got it with the proviso
that I went to a fat farm
and that I lose 10 pounds.
I think they were hoping it was
gonna come out five here and five here.
My character was someone
who was feisty and all of that,
but I felt myself to
be a bit of that too,
so it would have been unlikely that
I would be cast as a shrinking violet.
He cast us to type, in a way.
Lucas's decision
to hire unknowns
went against the advice of
his friend Francis Ford Coppola,
who had cast The Godfather
with stage and screen stars.
20th Century Fox
was also concerned
about Lucas's choice of actors.
He came and said, "These are the
three unknown people I want to go with."
I figured we've gone down this far in
the road, he knows what he's doing.
"I'd be lying if I said, "Oh,
my God. Harrison's perfect,
"Carrie is perfect
and Mark is fantastic."
No, I was very
nervous about the cast.
For the important role of aged
Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi,
Lucas recognized that he
needed an established star.
Sir Alec Guinness was
a veteran of over 40 films
and had won an Oscar in 1958
for his performance in The
Bridge on the River Kwai.
The knighted actor had the
pedigree and the persona.
The Alec Guinness role
required a certain stability
and gravitas as a character,
which meant we needed a very
strong character actor to play that part.
Signing Guinness
was a major coup.
But more casting would
be done in London,
where Star Wars would
be principally produced.
Unlike Lucas's home
base of Northern California,
London provided access to
the kind of massive soundstages
needed for Star
Wars' ambitious sets.
The location also gave Lucas access
to Britain's top production talents.
The character of Darth Vader demanded
someone of commanding physical stature.
To fill Vader's boots,
Lucas cast champion
bodybuilder David Prowse,
whose resume included roles
like Frankenstein's creature
in Hammer's popular
horror movies.
As Vader's evil
accomplice Governor Tarkin,
another Hammer alumnus was
cast, 63-year-old Peter Cushing.
Best known as the methodical
Professor Van Helsing in Dracula,
Cushing was the perfect choice
to portray the Death Star's
icy chief administrator.
For the part of Chewbacca, Han
Solo's towering Wookiee co-pilot,
Lucas and Kurtz had to look
outside normal casting channels.
But at seven feet,
three inches tall,
it was no stretch
for Peter Mayhew,
who had been working as an
orderly at a Yorkshire hospital.
I sat down on one of the sofas
waiting for George.
Door opened,
and George walked in
with Gary behind him.
So, naturally, what did I do?
I'm raised in England.
Soon as someone comes in
through the door, I stand up.
George goes, "Hmm."
Virtually turned
to Gary and said,
"I think we've found him."
Finding the right
performers to portray robots
was even more of a challenge.
Production designers had constructed
an assortment of robots and androids
to populate the
Star Wars universe.
But it would take living,
breathing actors to give personality
to the two main droids,
C3 -PO and R2 -D2.
To operate R2,
Lucas needed a
performer small in stature,
but with a big imagination.
"Enter 3'5" stage
comedian Kenny Baker.
They couldn't find anyone
that would fit inside this robot
to make it move,
and they couldn't use kids 'cause it
was quite a heavy machine, you know.
It weighed about 80 pounds.
I'd had a lot of experience
inside costumes
and inside cats and dogs
and goodness knows what else.
So when I got into the
robot, he said, "Look happy."
So I'd go...
Inside. Nobody could see
my expressions, obviously.
But it just... You have to do
something to get the feel of the thing.
Actor Anthony Daniels
not only had the slender
build -needed for C3 -PO,
but training as a mime artist.
He'd been seeing
people every five minutes.
I was there for a while and thinking,
"Well, nearly time to go, I guess."
And then, kind of over George's
shoulder, I saw a painting,
and the most extraordinary
thing happened.
It just struck me, because
I kind of looked at this face,
and the face looked back at me, and
we had this extraordinary eye contact.
He's looking right out of the
picture, and he seemed to be saying,
"Come. Come. Be with me."
And the vulnerability
in his face
made me want to help him.
Isn't that weird? He just
looks utterly vulnerable.
That painting completely changed
my attitude to the whole project.
Years later I was able to go
to Ralph McQuarrie and say,
"You realize this
is all your fault."
In March 1976, with
casting completed,
George Lucas and company
arrived in North Africa.
It was a strange caravan of
British and American filmmakers
working in a French-speaking nation
on a script few people believed in.
The overriding thing for
me, really, at that stage was
the amount of work
that we had to do,
the amount of stuff
there was to achieve,
and we had grave doubts
about getting it done in time.
But the trial by fire
had yet to begin.
It was now up to Lucas
to make his movie.
Just one day into filming,
the Sahara was pelted with
its first major rainfall in 50 years.
We were going out there
to shoot on the salt flat.
I came out in the morning and the rain
was going horizontally down the street.
This way.
I thought, "My God".
I just called a rest day on the
crew, told them all to go back to bed,
because there was no way
we were gonna shoot on that.
The first two weeks of shooting
we'd run into a lot of weather problems.
The sets had blown down,
I didn't get everything shot.
It was a disaster.
At that point I was
pretty depressed, saying,
"Boy, I've gotten myself
in way over my head."
"I don't know
what I'm gonna do."
You must do what you
feel is right, of course.
With temperatures topping
100 degrees by mid-morning,
Tunisia was anything
but fun in the sun.
Luke! Luke!
Baking for hours
in heavy costume,
even the film's stunt
coordinator, Peter Diamond,
found the conditions
physically exhausting.
I was the only stunt person
on the picture in Tunisia.
I became a Tusken
Raider, or a Sandperson.
I'm not a sun merchant. I
don't like the sun. I just burn.
So I just died
with the heat of it.
I couldn't stand it
anymore, it was so hot.
There were so many problems.
It just was not a good location.
We seem to be made to suffer.
It's our lot in life.
-C3 -PO was finally
put together for
the very first time
the day before we
started shooting.
-R2 -D2 didn't really
function that well.
He could run along in
the three-legged position,
but he couldn't turn his
head at the same time.
There were wires everywhere.
The head was on a
track of ball bearings.
I used to grab whatever
I could grab ahold of
and turn it that
way and that way.
Not very far.
Because if I went too far the
wires would go around my neck.
Then they'd say, "Cut!
All right, break for lunch."
And everybody'd just
walk away and leave me.
Then they'd remember
me eventually.
That happened many times.
It was bad enough putting on
the costume for the first time,
and within two paces the
left leg had shattered down
onto the plastic
of the left foot
and was gently, but
forcibly and persistently,
knifing it into the...
The soft part of my foot.
So we took it off and I
limped to the set with one foot.
It was then I began to
panic about the days to come.
As the actors and crew began to
grumble about the adverse conditions,
it was Sir Alec Guinness who served
as a role model of professionalism.
It was, for me, fascinating
to watch Alec Guinness.
He was always prepared,
always professional,
always very kind
to the other actors.
He had a very clear head
about how to serve the story.
He was the person who sort
of brought it some legitimacy.
I asked him why
he wanted to do it.
He loved the idea of
playing a mentor or a wizard
in a morality play
where good and evil
are so clearly defined.
How long have you had these
droids? Three or four seasons.
They're up for sale
if you want them.
Let me see your identification.
You don't need to
see his identification.
I don't need to see
your identification.
These aren't the
droids you're looking for.
These aren't the
droids we're looking for.
He can go about his business.
You can go about your business.
Move along.
Lucas, meanwhile,
was up to his neck in
malfunctioning props,
electronic breakdowns,
and other production woes.
Star Wars was already
struggling to stay on schedule.
The only silver lining
was that after Tunisia
the production would be moving
to a more controlled environment,
Elstree Studios outside London.
The stages at Elstree were
among the largest in the world,
and the sets, now finished
after months of construction,
were just as impressive.
And for the first time, the entire
Star Wars cast was together.
That was almost like a
whole separate movie.
It was like getting
a whole, fresh start.
It was all new, really.
We were all very different ages.
I was 19, Harrison was 33.
He was sort of the
big man on campus.
Meeting him, you sort of felt,
"Well, he'll be a movie star."
Costumes, makeup,
robots, and aliens
were all ready to go.
I put that mask on
and Chewie transformed me.
I transformed. The
attitude was different.
The walk was different.
Chewie turned on.
Do the scenes, come
back, take the mask off,
Peter was back.
That old man's mad.
You said it, Chewie. Boy, where
did you dig up that old fossil?
Ben is a great man. Yeah,
great at getting us into trouble.
I didn't hear you
give any ideas.
Okay, cut.
But working at Elstree Studios
didn't mean the production
was free from problems
or strict British
union regulations.
At 5:30, we had to stop,
unless we were in
the middle of a shot.
Uh, I could ask the crew
for an extra 15 minutes,
but they always voted me down.
I'm not putting down the British
crew, but there was an attitude like
"What is this?"
It didn't help that most of
the crew thought Star Wars
was just a children's film.
At times even the actors were
hard-pressed to take the work seriously.
Didn't think it was gonna
be any good. At least I didn't.
I thought, "This
is a bit strange."
I can remember this lighting man
He said, "What is all this
about? It's a load of rubbish."
And we all thought the same at
the time "Yeah, it's a bit strange."
It was a princess with her
hair in weird buns on the side
and a giant in a monkey
suit or something.
I mean, it was weird.
It was very, very weird.
No more adventures!
I'm not getting involved!
Don't you call me a
mindless philosopher,
you overweight glob of grease!
I'm going to regret this.
It was tough dialogue to say.
So I think I got,
"Governor Tarkin,"
"I thought I recognized
your foul stench."
Which, I don't know about you,
but I'm always talking like that.
Governor Tarkin.
I should have expected to
find you holding Vader's leash.
I recognized your foul stench
when I was brought on board.
Charming to the last.
We used to say, "You can type
this stuff, but you can't say it."
George didn't really
like being in London,
I suppose, is the
best way to say it.
He doesn't like being
away from home.
He's not the most
gregarious person in the world.
He had some clashes
with the cameraman.
Gil Taylor was a very old-school
cameraman, very crotchety.
George, coming out of
low-budget filmmaking
was used to doing a
lot of things himself.
So George would say things
like, "Well, put a light here."
And Gil took offense
at that kind of thing.
He says, "That's
not your job, son."
"You tell me what you
want to see, and I'll do it"
"the way I think is best to
create what you want to see."
It was a clash of
style of working.
Slate 327, take four.
We're coming up on Alderaan.
You know, I did feel something.
I could almost see the
remote. That's good.
You've taken your first step
into a larger world.
Lucas also became frustrated
that the costumes, sets,
and other production elements
weren't living up to
his vision for Star Wars.
The compromises required
due to the film's budget
plagued him on an
almost daily basis.
What was disappointing
would be the cantina sequence.
It was really
imaginatively described,
and then you go in there
and it looks like
The Nutcracker Suite.
You know, there's a
frog guy and a mouse girl
and a giant cricket at the bar.
It was just... It was
really disappointing.
But George says, "Don't worry,
don't worry. We're gonna fix all of this."
We didn't see anything of
what ended up on the screen.
So when they blew my planet up,
I was looking at a guy going like
this against a board with a circle on it.
I mean, it was funny.
Proceed with the operation.
You may fire when ready.
What? Dantooine is too remote
to make an effective
We will deal with your
rebel friends soon enough.
And you call yourselves humans.
George never talked.
We felt he wanted
us to hit our marks
and magically
accommodate our dialogue.
He lost his voice at one point.
We didn't know that for days.
And we wanted to get him a little board
that said, "Faster and more intense."
That was his main direction.
He just wanted us
to speed through it.
George is notorious
for saying, after a take,
"Do it again. Faster,
more intensity."
He certainly said to me, "Terrific,
Tony. Can you do it again, faster?"
But I didn't get
"more intensity."
-I didn't think 3 -PO with more intensity
would be bearable. Do you? Hmm.
I said all systems have been
alerted to your presence, sir.
The main entrance seems
to be the only way in or out.
We all had to fill in
a lot of the blanks.
It was more a matter of, if we did
something he didn't like he'd tell us,
rather than telling
us what to do.
I think George likes people.
I think George is a
warm-hearted person.
But he... Yeah, he's a little
impatient with the process of acting,
of finding something, you know.
He thinks it's there.
"It's right there. I wrote
it down." You know?
"Do that." You know? And sometimes
you can't just "do that" and make it work.
He's really focused on what he's
trying to do and get everything right.
Is the smoke right? Did
the squibs go off right?
And we were just
taunting him mercilessly.
Carrie and Mark have
wicked sense of humors.
Carrie was very young,
and Mark was very young,
so they were the
junior division,
and they were always
lurking about on set.
So it kept us in stitches.
I got one outfit
for the first movie,
and as George taught me,
there is no underwear in space.
Instead of that, there
is, um, gaffer tape.
So I was taped down.
And I used to say, we should just
make up a contest on the call sheet
as to who's gonna rip it off.
But we didn't do that.
We were all goofing around
and trying to make George crack,
'cause he really looked like
he was ready to burst into tears
and you'd try and cheer him up.
Okay, cut. Cut it.
And? And? And? And? And?
Carrie and Mark
bumped in to, uh...
Oh! Oh!
Uh, the mic was in frame.
The mic was in picture.
The mic was in picture! Oh!
The mic was in picture!
Back to first positions. Whoo!
The sound department
has to pay up.
That, to him, was really
inappropriate humor at the time,
because I'm sure he's in the zone
and seeing what he wants to do
and we're just actors
trying to stave off boredom
'cause we've been in the
trash compactor all morning.
Ready? And action!
What happened? I don't know!
It just disappeared!
I got a really bad
feeling about this.
But it is amazing what you can do
when you have a vision, an ambition,
and when you can bend other
people's will to your desire.
The thing that kept it
focused towards the ambitions
was George's vision and
his passion for the idea.
Perhaps the most
memorable stunt in Star Wars
was actually performed by
Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher
the nick-of-time
escape of Luke and Leia
across a yawning
chasm in the Death Star.
Mark Hamill wanted to do
as much as he could himself.
I had times when I had to keep him back
'cause he was too enthusiastic, actually.
He could've got hurt.
Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker
had to swing over this void.
We couldn't afford stunt
doubles, so I said to George
"I can teach them to do
this, and it'll be quite safe."
My buddy and I, we put the
harnesses on, we put the wires on.
Everyone down below... Remember,
we are about 20 meters up,
looking down on them, right?
And as we swang across, there was a
terrible tear, and my buddy said to me,
"Peter, your harness
has snapped."
Mark said, "I'm not going
in that. It's too dangerous."
This is where I discovered
you had to be a good liar.
"I said," There's nothing
wrong with the harness.
"I split my trousers
as I landed."
He said, "Oh, I thought
that was the harness."
I said, "Mark, I wouldn't let you
go on this if it was dangerous."
They did it in one take,
and that's how we got it.
For luck.
That was really
early on in the shoot,
when I was still
worried about my weight.
I thought we were gonna
miss and I'd hit the wall
and they would say, "Ah, still too
tubby. Let's bring in Jodie Foster."
Another of Peter Diamond's tasks
was choreographing the
dramatic lightsaber battle
between Darth Vader
and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
You can't win, Darth.
If my blade should find its
mark, you will cease to exist.
But I warn you, if
you strike me down,
I shall become more powerful
than you can possibly imagine.
George wanted a
broadsword type of fight
with a touch of
Japanese behind it.
But instead of becoming
samurai moves with one hand,
I kept it with two hands,
so all the moves were two
hands, completely like that.
The first swords
were bits of wood
with front-projection material
wrapped around them.
Now, the hardest thing
for me on the first fights
Darth Vader was
a very heavy man,
Obi-Wan Kenobi was
a gentleman, right,
who had done some
fencing in the theater.
I had to teach them,
if that was the sword,
to stop before they touched,
'cause the blades were breaking.
We broke so many blades.
They just kept snapping.
Cut. Cut it!
Across the Atlantic, Fox's head
of production, Alan Ladd, Jr.,
continued to offer
Lucas his main,
if not his only,
support from the studio.
There was a lot
of problems, yes.
I mean, every board
meeting I attended,
the subject was
always about Star Wars.
"Well, the costs are
rising." It's this, it's that.
"Look, we've read drafts of
scripts that make no sense to us"
"in any way, shape or form."
It was rather unpleasant.
The things that stick in my mind
that made me laugh were, like,
memos worried about whether or
not the Wookiee should have pants.
They're looking at
this thing and saying,
"Couldn't he have
some lederhosen?"
And I thought,
"Isn't this great?"
"You know, of all the
things to worry about."
"The Wookiee has no pants."
I think we were like two
weeks over schedule.
At that point, the
board of directors at Fox
started to panic and
tell Alan Ladd, Jr.
That he had to shut
that film down regardless.
And so he came to me and said,
"Look, you've gotta
finish in the next week"
"because I've got
another board meeting,"
"and I can't go in there
and say we're still shooting."
I kept going on the phone to
their production department,
"saying," This is insane.
"If we put on a second crew
to do this, it costs us more"
"than going an extra week."
They said, "It doesn't
matter. The studio's opinion"
"is that the day deadline is more
important than the money you spend."
The final scenes were
filmed at breakneck speed,
with Lucas frantically bicycling
from one soundstage to another.
Well, I think George suffered
a lot more than I was
aware of at the time.
But I was very focused
on what I was doing,
'cause this was a very busy
movie, just nonstop dawn to dusk.
We did go over at the end,
and we split into three
units right at the end.
Gary directed the second unit,
and I had the
distinction of directing
the third unit of Star Wars.
My shots were
things like a closeup
-of R2 -D2's third
foot going down.
Nothing too dramatic.
But that's how we finished it.
Come on!
Okay, cut. Time up. Cut.
I hope that old man got the
tractor beam out of commission,
or this is gonna be a
real short trip. Okay. Hit it!
Fox originally slated Star Wars
for a Christmas release in 1976.
Schmuck. 463, take one.
But the difficult shoot had put
the film severely behind schedule.
Didn't we just leave this
party? Give us a growl.
What kept you? We
ran into some old friends.
Is the ship all
right? Seems okay.
If we can get to it. I
just hope the old man
got the tractor beam
out of commission. Look!
Now's our chance. Go!
With barely six months to go,
there was almost no chance
of delivering the project on time.
Okay, cut! Cut it!
I had just finished shooting the
movie, and I was exhausted, basically,
but I had to go right from the shooting
into the finishing without a break.
Already anxious about
meeting his deadline,
Lucas was shocked when
he saw the first assembly
of his edited film that spring.
Sir, the groiters
are losing power!
All right. I'll get it.
The first cut of Star Wars
was an unmitigated disaster.
How's that? Yes,
that's much better.
I'd started to see things cut
together. I wasn't happy with it.
I'd come in on weekends,
and I'd recut the film on my own.
Cut it!
And I tried to get the
editor to cut it my way,
and he didn't really want to,
and so I had to let the editor go.
So I had no editor. I
was behind schedule.
I had to race to
finish the movie.
177, take two.
Lucas realized his only
hope was to start from scratch.
-And I am C3 -PO,
human-cyborg relations.
And this is -my
counterpart R2 -D2.
Oh, hello. Okay, cut.
To recut the movie, he hired
Paul Hirsch and Richard Chew,
and for several months he was
able to borrow his wife, Marcia,
who was editing New York,
New York with Martin Scorsese.
Slate 250, take seven. Action.
You must do what you
feel is right, of course.
Right now I don't feel too good.
On Star Wars,
the trio's first task
was to give the film an energy
and pace that was sorely lacking.
It was cut in a very
traditional manner
of just playing
things out in masters
and then going into the coverage
and letting the actors'
rhythms dictate the cuts,
rather than having the cuts
kind of, uh, drive the
rhythm of the scenes.
211, take three. Guide track.
So, consequently, there
wasn't any excitement
in the footage the way
that it had been put together.
Richard and I would sort of
leapfrog. If he was on reel one,
I would grab reel two, and
then whoever finished that
would grab reel three
and then so forth.
We used shots up
until the very last frame.
Cut. Can I take another one?
Very often, the very next frame
would be the flash of the camera stop.
For instance, there's a shot
of one of the Sandpeople
who knocks Luke down, and then
he holds his weapon up over his head.
He just did it once, and we rocked it back
and forth so he did it a number of times.
The only things that are
there is what's presentable,
and everything behind
the scenes is a mess.
With no chance of
being ready by Christmas,
a new release date was
set for summer, 1977.
Some doubted that the movie
would ever reach theaters.
But as bad as things
had been with the editing,
the situation at ILM
was even worse.
The company was trying to create
effects that had never been done before.
They knew what they
wanted to accomplish,
but they had yet to create
anything usable for the film.
They had spent
half their budget,
and ultimately I
had about four shots,
none of which I would
accept, they were just not good.
That was pretty
much a low point.
I had no special effects.
I didn't even know whether we
were gonna get the ships to work.
So it was a pretty
desperate time.
And we'd spent half the budget
building the motion-control cameras
and setting the shop up.
It was a disaster,
uh, to say the least.
The factory has to be built
before the first can of peas
can be sent to the supermarket.
And I think it was
a year or more
without any film coming out,
without one shot being finished.
'Cause they were
building optical printers,
they were building cameras,
we were building models.
I know that George was
disappointed in the work,
and I'm disappointed
that he was disappointed.
But there's a certain
subjectivity to some of that stuff.
I wish he'd been happier,
but I also think that, ultimately,
the work did the job.
When word of the various
post-production problems
reached the Fox
board of directors,
they decided they'd had enough of
George Lucas and "that science movie."
I just sat in one executive
committee meeting
where they're hauling
me over the coals.
I just said, "It's the
greatest picture ever made."
That ended the conversation.
"They were afraid to say, "Well,
you're stupid and you're wrong,
"and we want you out of this
building by 5:00 this afternoon."
So, uh, there were some
tense moments there.
With the dismal
early cut of the film,
ILM in chaos, and growing
pressure from the studio,
Lucas was facing almost
unbearable battles on a daily basis.
After an especially
tense trip to ILM,
Lucas felt sharp chest pains.
Fearing a heart attack, the director
checked into a Marin County hospital.
He was diagnosed with
hypertension and exhaustion,
and was warned to
reduce his stress level.
At that point, I
really felt that I'd, uh,
gotten myself into a real mess,
and I didn't know whether
I was gonna get out.
Lucas doubled his
efforts to save Star Wars.
The situation at ILM
required drastic measures.
To get the film's crucial
special effects back on track,
Lucas had no choice
but to step in personally.
We put a production department
in at the special effects company,
I went down there twice a week.
There was a certain
amount of resentment at first
because they felt that
they were being challenged
a bit on how they had set it up.
We felt that there was a
certain quasi-hippie mentality
that some of them
had about the schedule.
Ultimately, I guess we were
known as a country club.
I think it looked to those
guys that there needed to be
a really strong
production force in there
that was going to meet
some sort of quota.
With hundreds of shots
left to be completed,
ILM would have to do a year's
worth of work in just six months.
But Lucas and Kurtz were
determined to turn the situation around.
Gary was a gearhead, so he
could understand our problems.
And George is a
storyteller, you know,
and so we have to serve his needs because
he's the one that's telling the story.
But we had to build these incredible
contraptions in order to do it.
George was our general.
We're his soldiers. And we're
all fighting this single battle
to get this film out.
We were going on
the front lines here,
and that gave us also kind
of a feeling of being special
and fighting this great battle to
get this thing done, whatever it is.
To help inspire the
effects team at ILM,
Lucas had spliced together aerial
dogfights from old war movies.
That would be like the first animatic,
which you do in the computer now,
and we matched frame to frame and did
the action on that as close as we could.
Ha ha!
And it was hugely helpful.
I got him! Great,
kid! Don't get cocky.
To describe that abstract
world of a battle is impossible.
Storyboards don't do
it, as far as the pacing,
the rhythms that he needed.
Thanks, Wedge.
That was a great thing.
As fall turned to winter, Star
Wars finally started to take shape.
That's it! We did it!
We did it!
Working from the
raw production tracks,
sound designer Ben Burtt
would add a critical
new layer to the film.
Burtt had spent a year
building a catalog of sounds
for things that didn't
exist in our galaxy.
George introduced the idea of what
he called an "organic sound track."
George thought that
Chewbacca might be made up
from recordings of dogs
or maybe even bears.
In addition, I recorded some lions
and tigers and even some walruses.
I would begin
editing them together
and making little
phrases out of the noises.
I would take the recordings
and edit the best pieces.
You know, the bear might
make a sound that sounded angry.
Or they might make
a sound that was cute
Or a sound that sounded like a
sentence, a "wah-wah-wah kind of a sound."
Argh, argh, argh!
You said it, Chewie.
The voice of R2 turned out to be
the most difficult problem to solve
in the sound design
of the first movie
because R2 had to act
alongside of the other actors.
And the script only said
that R2 made a sound,
or maybe R2 beeped.
I had a small
electronic synthesizer,
and I did some patches with it and
made up some electronic sounds.
But that didn't sound alive.
At one point we talked
about R2's personality,
and we felt he was
developing kind of as a toddler.
So I did a lot of
baby recordings,
and eventually we found that
in the discussion of R2's voice,
we were making
the sounds ourselves.
A few experiments led to the
combination of using my voice
doing baby talk
beeps and "boops"...
with the electronic synthesizer.
So, R2 is sort of 50%
machine and 50% organic,
coming out of, you know,
the performance of a person.
The breathing for
Vader was recorded
by putting a little tiny
microphone down inside
a regulator on a scuba tank.
I breathed through the mask
itself, and it breathed in and out,
and out of that came the various,
you know, paces of Vader breathing.
And that sound worked
out pretty successfully.
Finding the right
voice for Darth Vader
was another challenge.
And action!
Lucas had never intended to use
the onset vocal
performance of David Prowse.
Start tearing this ship
apart, piece by piece,
until you find those tapes!
Find the passengers of
this vessel! I want them alive!
I can still hear David
Prowse's accent
in the Darth Vader mask muffled,
'cause he would
do the real dialogue,
in trying to curse Carrie
Fisher or something.
I don't know what
you're talking about.
I'm a member of the Imperial
Senate on a diplomatic mission
You are part of the Rebel Alliance
and a traitor. Take her away!
It was hilarious and
terrifying at the same time,
'cause we didn't know
what Darth sounded like.
That was the first time we heard
him. We were like, "Is that it?
"Is he gonna be some
Scottish guy, or what is this?"
Prowse's voice
would later be replaced
with a more menacing
performance Cut it.
Provided by classically trained
stage and film actor James Earl Jones.
George had hired David Prowse,
but he said he wanted a
so-called "darker" voice.
Not in terms of ethnic,
but in terms of timbre.
And the rumor is that he
thought of Orson Welles,
and then probably thought that
Orson might be too recognizable.
So what he ends up is picking a
voice that was born in Mississippi,
raised in Michigan,
and was a stutterer.
And, uh, that happened
to be my voice.
I want to know what happened
to the plans they sent you.
I don't know what
you're talking about.
I'm a member of
the Imperial Senate
on a diplomatic
mission to Alderaan.
You are part of the Rebel
Alliance and a traitor.
Take her away!
-C3 -PO's voice struck
us all as, you know,
"Well, we've got to do
something about that."
Thirty-four, take three.
We seem to be made
to suffer. It's our lot in life.
It was mentioned
a number of times
-that C3 -PO might sound
like a used car salesman.
Not the English butler type.
I'm sorry, sir. I must
have fallen over.
I just came up
with this voice, um,
of an over-the-top
British butler.
Um, British because that would
be my natural mode of thinking.
A butler because
that was his role in life.
Nervous because that
was his feeling in life.
-And it came as, "C3 -PO,
human-cyborg relations."
-This is my counterpart R2 -D2.
A few people were
brought in to record,
and an attempt was made
-to see how 3 -PO would be
with different kinds of voices.
I believe 30 actors came in and
some really quite impressive names.
Stan Freberg and a few
others were auditioned.
Apparently, one of them
was a major cartoon actor,
a man of literally a thousand
voices, who eventually said,
"You know something, George, Tony's
voice is pretty good for the character."
"Why don't you
just use his voice?"
And eventually the
discussion just quieted down,
and it was an
excellent performance.
It synchronized with
his body motions.
It was a total character
which he created.
His track was left in the movie.
Hey! We don't
serve their kind here.
Your droids, they'll
have to wait outside.
We don't want them here.
Why don't you wait out by the
speeder? We don't want any trouble.
I heartily agree with you, sir.
428, take seven. Action!
Here we go. Cutting
the sublight engines.
What the...
At long last, the
editing, sound,
and visual effects
were taking shape.
But a private screening of the
film for Lucas's closest friends
didn't do much to
bolster his confidence.
It was an early stage.
You know, sort of a
second or third cut.
I had a couple of my
friends come up to see it.
Brian De Palma was
in town. Steven came.
Some other friends
came to see it.
The human characters
and the sets were there,
but, of course, all
the spectacular...
You know, the Death Star fight
and the battle
inside the trench,
and all that was just, um,
not even there to be seen.
So, the reaction was not a
good one. I loved the movie.
I was probably one of the only people
in the audience that liked the movie.
All my friends were very honest. "I
don't get it. What are you doing here?"
So that was basically the
tenor of the whole thing.
On the other hand, the studio,
when Laddie and his little
group saw the film, they loved it.
It was the first time I've
actually shown a film, um,
and one of the executives
even cried at the screening.
It was, like, very
emotional for him.
I sat my family round the
kitchen table in my house,
and I said, "The most extraordinary
day of my life has just taken place."
"I want you to
remember this day."
"Because this is what I never
dreamed or maybe I dreamed"
"but I never thought I would
have a day's experience"
"like the day I've had
today in seeing this film."
You know, I couldn't even believe
it, 'cause I'm used to studios...
At that point I was used to studio
chiefs saying, "This is terrible.
"You shouldn't show this to
an audience. Embarrassing."
So, for me it was a
very rewarding thing
to show it to people, even
though it was in bad shape.
It didn't help that one critical
element in Star Wars was still missing.
There's no lock.
The musical score.
That oughta hold
them for a while.
Quick! We've got to get across.
Find the controls
that extend the bridge.
I think I just blasted it.
They're coming through!
I remember bugging George, like,
"When can we hear the score?
When can we hear the score?"
Fortunately, Lucas
was able to recruit
one of the industry's most
accomplished composers, John Williams.
Williams had
recently won an Oscar
for Steven Spielberg's Jaws,
and his resume included
countless film and television scores,
including music for the original
Lost in Space television series.
I do remember George
talking about the fact
that what we were
going to see in the film
represents worlds
that we hadn't seen,
but that the music should give us
some kind of an emotional anchor.
We heard a romantic
melody for Princess Leia.
We heard, uh, bellicose
music for the battle scenes.
And some very heavy
declamatory thing for Darth Vader.
In March, 1977,
John Williams led the
London Symphony Orchestra
in the performance of
the Star Wars soundtrack.
Recorded over 12 days, it was a
sweeping symphonic masterpiece,
one of the few things to actually
exceed Lucas's expectations.
To hear Johnny play
the music for the first time
was a thrill beyond
anything I can describe.
It was my first opportunity to work
with the London Symphony Orchestra,
which was a thrill to me.
This is Red Five. I'm going in.
Like Star Wars itself,
the music in the film
defied conventional wisdom.
At a time when disco
was burning up the charts,
having a traditional
symphonic soundtrack
was another huge
risk on Lucas's part.
He really understood the
genre that I was talking about.
It's a group of composers that
weren't that well looked upon in the '70s.
There was a different attitude toward
the old-fashioned symphonic scores.
And I had a lot of
music in the movie.
Somewhere in space,
this may all be
happening right now.
Here they come.
Fox said they
wanted a trailer out
for the Christmas films,
before the summer release.
They're coming in too fast!
We didn't have any visual
effects shots ready then.
So we said, "Well, it's going to be
limiting in what the footage can be."
It's a big, sprawling space saga
of rebellion and romance.
What was really cool about the trailer was
that we were still working on the movie.
It's an epic of heroes,
and villains,
and aliens from a
thousand worlds.
It was more about
the spirit of it.
It introduced a lot of different
characters, the robots.
One thing they did have
was a couple of the
very early lightsabers.
Star Wars, a billion
years in the making,
and it's coming to your
galaxy this summer.
It was fun.
Industry insiders had been
predicting doom for Star Wars,
but a small army of
fans had been building
thanks to the
foresight of Lucasfilm.
Charles Lippincott was brought
in as a marketing director.
He was a science-fiction fan.
He had contacts with the fanbase.
That was critical, we felt.
Science fiction fans were going
to be the big supporter of this film,
regardless of its popularity
with any other audience.
So that was the key
target audience to start with.
Aside from licensing
posters and t-shirts,
there was little support outside
of Lucasfilm's marketing efforts
to promote Star Wars.
Fortunately, Charles Lippincott
was able to secure a comic book deal
with Stan Lee and Marvel Comics.
He also convinced Del Rey
to publish a novelized version
of George Lucas's
screenplay in November, 1976.
By February the next year,
half a million copies
had completely sold out.
Fearing Star Wars would get
crushed by other summer movies,
like Smokey and the Bandit,
Fox moved its release to the
Wednesday before Memorial Day,
but fewer than 40
theaters agreed to show it.
Nobody wanted to book it.
That same summer of 1977,
Fox released a film called
The Other Side of Midnight,
which was based on an
enormously successful best-seller.
It wasn't a very good film, but it
was a very, very much-expected book.
And in order to exhibit
The Other Side of Midnight,
you had to exhibit
Star Wars.
We sent out a beautiful book,
and that didn't seem to
make an impact on 'em at all.
We had very few bookings.
Also, it wasn't that there
had been Time or Newsweek,
or any of that
stuff preceding this.
Hadn't been screened and
hadn't gotten the reviews.
On the eve of Star
Wars's release,
20th Century Fox, George
Lucas, and the cast and crew
braced themselves for the worst.
One way or another,
May 25, 1977,
would be a day
they'd never forget.
Opening shot was one of the most important
shots in the movie for the visual effects.
Because if the audience
bought that shot, you had them.
The combined chest
of everybody just went...
Air was sucked out of the place.
And then when the white Star-destroyer
came overhead, I teared up.
It was so powerful.
I had seen that scene,
but without music,
without context,
it's not the same thing.
We're doomed.
Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
There was this sort of
weird electric kind of reaction.
One had never
seen anything like it.
I'm gonna make the
jump to light speed.
I had never experienced
special effects that were so real.
I was... I was... I was dazzled.
I'm Luke Skywalker.
I'm here to rescue you.
This is some rescue!
I loved it, because I loved the
story, and I loved the characters.
Will somebody get this big
walking carpet out of my way?
For luck.
I thought that it
was revolutionary.
This is a work of genius.
The Force will be
with you always.
We were in shock. I felt like we
were blasted in the back of our seats.
I said, "Man, who
worked on this?"
I'm going in.
Use the Force, Luke.
I have you now.
What? Yahoo!
The theater was jammed full
of people right down to the front,
and there was a lot of
hollering and cheering going on.
You're all clear, kid! Now let's
blow this thing and go home!
After it was over,
everyone was on cloud nine.
Just kind of in shock. We
had no clue what we were on.
It was wonderful.
I remember leaving the theater
and having these kids
ask us for our autograph.
"No, you don't want our
autograph. We're model-builders."
"No, no. We want you to
sign this." So we were thinking,
"Wow. This must mean something.
People are asking for our autograph."
Everybody was standing
up and applauding.
Never seen this
before in my life.
And I'll never see it again.
We released it, I think,
in 37 theaters initially
and broke 36 house records.
I was completely shocked.
It got an amazing response.
I used to drive by and look
at the lines and think, "What?"
I mean, it was the
first sort of blockbuster.
George Lucas's Star Wars
lifted us out of our
sort of depression of the '70s
and into an
awareness and a focus
on space and its
possible future.
This movie stood by itself.
Timing is everything in art.
You bring out Star Wars too
early, and it's Buck Rogers.
You bring it out too late,
and it doesn't fit
our imagination.
You bring it out just as the
war in Vietnam is ending,
when America feels
uncertain of itself,
when the old stories have died
And you bring it out at that time,
and suddenly it's a new game.
Also, it's a lot of fun.
It's a lot of fun to
watch Star Wars.
People started seeing the world in
the terms that Star Wars had laid down.
People would say, "May
the Force be with you."
It was a kind of code, almost,
that proved that you were one of
the people who had seen the film
and you were connecting with
other people who had seen the film.
Star Wars became
like a kind of handshake.
In the wake of Star Wars,
everyone's careers were changed.
Overnight, Mark Hamill,
Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford
had become household names.
I felt like this.
"Great. Terrific. Now
I can go to work."
Now I have an opportunity to take
advantage of the success of this film
and, uh, go to work.
And as much as life changed for
us, it changed for George as well.
About a month after it was
released, I said, "Okay, it's a hit.
"I can now go ahead. I can make
my other movies. I'm gonna do this."
Ironically, the
independent filmmaker
who wanted nothing to do
with corporate Hollywood
was now credited
with reinvigorating it.
In three weeks, Fox's stock
price doubled to a record high.
A bunch of the guys at that point ran
out and bought a bunch of stock in Fox.
I wasn't smart enough.
The greatest profit
that 20th Century Fox had
ever made in a single year
was $37 million.
And in 19-whatever
that year '77, '78,
whatever that year was, they
made a profit of $79 million.
That was Star Wars.
The cultural impact of
Lucas's outer space story
was greater than anything
even he could've imagined
not just in the United
States but around the globe.
It wasn't a story of cultures,
wasn't a story of nationalities.
It wasn't a story of geography.
It was a story of mankind
escaping his environment
to a life which everybody
expects to happen
but George Lucas was
able to illustrate for us.
This was what made
it a success worldwide.
The movie did spectacular
business across Europe,
but when Alan Ladd, Jr. attended
the premiere in Japan one year later,
he feared that the silence
which followed the screening
indicated that Star
Wars would be a flop.
He was relieved
when he later found out
that silence was the
greatest compliment
a Japanese audience
could give a film.
We had the footprint ceremony
in the Chinese Theater.
-R2 -D2, hurry up.
Thousands of people showed up,
so we were sure by
then that there was
much more to it than just
the science fiction audience.
R2 -D2 goes in.
He made about a
seven-inch impression.
And the crowd is
chanting for Darth Vader!
Not surprisingly, Star Wars's
greatest fans were children.
They thrilled to the fantasy
adventures of Luke Skywalker,
Han Solo, and Princess Leia.
And they were eager to bring the
experience of the movie home with them.
But little Star Wars
merchandise was available
for the first few months
after its premiere.
To help promote the movie,
Lucasfilm's Charles Lippincott
had tried to attract potential
licensees before the film opened.
But prior to Star Wars,
there had been few
successful motion picture
licensing campaigns,
and Lippincott's attempts
were flatly rejected.
Just one company, Kenner Toys,
signed on shortly
before Star Wars opened.
Kenner didn't believe
the film would be a hit,
but they were interested in creating
a modest line of colorful space toys.
When Star Wars became a smash,
they were caught
completely off guard.
Unable to produce toys in
time for Christmas orders,
Kenner resorted to selling boxed
vouchers for Star Wars action figures.
There wasn't anything
available when the film came out.
There wasn't even anything available
for the following Christmas of '77.
That was the infamous
empty-box campaign,
where the idea proposed
by Kenner was that
there'd be these wonderful boxes with
all the Star Wars illustrations on them,
and the kid would get this
for Christmas and open it up,
and there'd be a certificate in there
saying, "You can get this toy in March."
The Star Wars early-bird
certificate package
new from Kenner.
I lit up when I found out
that they were gonna make my
face a mask on a box of cereal
with little dots where
to cut my eyes out.
The idea of me being
on bubblegum cards
I thought you had to have athletic
ability to be a bubblegum card.
So I enjoyed the
merchandising aspect of it.
We signed away our likeness,
so when I look in the mirror
I have to pay George
a couple of bucks.
You're not really famous
until you're a Pez dispenser.
But, you know, you sort of
realize, "I'm not really famous.
"Princess Leia is.
And I look like her."
And owe George
a couple of bucks.
For Lucas, protecting the
quality and integrity of his vision
became as important as
gaining his financial independence
from Hollywood studios.
Merchandising offered
a means to an end,
one that helped fuel support
for more Star Wars films
as well as other
important projects.
In the world of merchandising
oh, goodness gracious,
people came to us with
ideas all the time, every day,
day and night, from
all over the world
for Star Wars merchandise.
We were the ones
in those days to say,
"No. Sorry. That
doesn't fit into our plan."
At the 1978 Academy Awards,
Star Wars earned an
impressive 10 Oscar nominations
and took home seven, including
statues for best visual effects,
sound, editing, and
production design.
It was terrific. I don't know.
It was great. It was like a dream
come true. It's the American dream.
I wound up winning the
Academy Award for Star Wars
before I'd even started thinking
about winning Academy Awards.
My goal was to get another job.
While it didn't win
for best picture,
its nomination was quite an
achievement for George Lucas
and his kids movie.
In addition to industry acclaim,
Star Wars earned more
money than any movie in history.
After years of
fighting uphill battles,
Lucas could finally call his
own shots with the studios.
When Fox approached him
about doing the inevitable sequel,
it was the moment the filmmaker
had long been waiting for.
This was the perfect opportunity
to become independent
of the Hollywood system.
I didn't mind releasing
it through them.
But it was really going to them
for the money and them saying,
"I like the script,
but I want a change,"
or, "The film is good, but we
want to make these changes."
That's the part I
wanted to avoid.
I decided I was gonna
finance the film myself,
that I was gonna make it
completely independently.
The rule in Hollywood is never
put your own money in any film.
Even your own film.
But George was self-financing
The Empire Strikes Back,
but he was doing it through the
bank, and we were talking about
close to a $30
million film at the time.
But, because of the huge
success of the first picture
and of the revenues
that were still rolling in,
merchandising was very strong
It was a gamble, but a gamble
that he knew would pay off.
With his earnings
from Star Wars,
Lucas was able to secure a bank
loan for The Empire Strikes Back.
Empire's original
budget was $25 million,
more than twice
that of the first film.
We would meet at Medway, which
was George's San Francisco office,
and look at the illustrations
while George was
writing the script.
And Gary Kurtz would
fly in occasionally
from London,
and Ralph McQuarrie
would send down drawings,
conceptual designs,
as well as Joe Johnston.
The Empire Strikes
Back would reunite
much of the Star Wars cast.
It would also move the
story in new directions,
digging more deeply into
the emotions of the characters.
George had been given enormous
license by the success of Star Wars.
And so when he started
talking to me about
the Empire script
that didn't exist,
he knew what had
to happen in the story,
and it was very dark stuff.
I was delighted
that it was not gonna
be a rehash of Star Wars.
But, in fact, after having
set the whole thing up
and gotten a rousing start,
you launch into the second act
in which everything goes to hell.
And that's usually
the best act in a play.
Empire would also open the door
to a romance between
Han Solo and Princess Leia.
But this time, George Lucas
wasn't getting in the director's chair.
It was just too hard
to set up a company,
get the money,
get the film made,
and also be down there on the
set every day trying to direct it.
So I decided I'd
hire a director.
I was asked by George to
come to lunch at Universal.
And he said, "How would you
like to do the second Star Wars?"
We had no title
for it at that point.
And I said, "Gee,
George, I don't think so."
It's a phenomenal
hit as a picture.
A second one can
only be a second one.
It can't be as good
because the first one
is the breakthrough.
And I told my agent
about the meeting,
and he said, "Are
you crazy? Do it!"
There were approximately
64 sets on this picture,
which is much
bigger than Star Wars.
"George says, "The
film has to be much better
"and much bigger, and much
more complex than Star Wars.
"Because if the second
one doesn't work,
"it's the end of Star Wars.
"If it does work,"
"then I can continue
making more of them."
"I said," It doesn't put me in
a very comfortable position.
"It's a hell of a
Known for smaller,
character-driven films
like Up the Sandbox
and Eyes of Laura Mars,
Irvin Kershner had never
directed a blockbuster.
But emphasis on character was
just what this middle chapter needed.
The storyline was
much more difficult.
I felt I needed
humor in the picture.
And yet, I couldn't have gags.
I felt I needed a love story,
and yet I couldn't
have a lot of smooching,
and kissing, and all that stuff.
And it had to all
be more implied.
I knew I needed
something powerful going on
inside Luke's soul.
And he really carries
the picture, of course.
So I didn't know quite
how I was gonna do this.
In the year since the
release of the first Star Wars,
now dubbed A New Hope,
ILM had come a long way.
The company was no
longer a fledgling operation
struggling to get by.
At the end of Star Wars,
George invited the core
group to Northern California
to start this
whole new facility.
There were 10 of us, and I was the
only one that immediately came up.
I said, "Are you kidding?
Stay here in Van Nuys"
"in this crummy part of town
"in this dumpy
building, you know,"
"that was inadequate
from the very beginning,"
"or move to Marin County,"
"have a new building and
have a new film to work on..."
"in this great environment?"
It was like a no-brainer.
I remember George saying,
"This time we got some money."
And so that was kind of nice.
We talked about,
"Should we top ourselves?"
or "Are we gonna top ourselves?"
And I think it was more of,
"Let's just make it look
cool. Have some fun with it."
And George came up
with some great story stuff.
We started on the walker,
but we also had
to build the robot,
which is the probe that is
sent down by Darth Vader
that lands on the
snow planet's surface
that then goes and
looks for human lifeforms.
Joe had already drawn the
drawings. George liked that.
But they were going to go to
Norway to shoot all those scenes,
and they needed a prop.
They needed one that was, like,
nine feet tall or something like that
in scale to have
out in the distance.
The making of Empire
was a whole set of problems
that we didn't anticipate.
The picture was a much bigger
undertaking than originally conceived.
The budget was quite a bit more.
"Everybody who's dealt with
visual effects said, "Never do snow,
"because you can't
maintain the color."
We ignored all those warnings and
decided to shoot in the snow anyway.
But it was a very
time-consuming process.
And, again, just
like in Tunisia,
we were in Norway
shooting on this glacier,
and we had the worst
winter in Scandinavia
that they'd had in 50 years
twenty below zero,
18 feet of snow.
It was a miserable location,
'cause we were across this
frozen thing up on this glacier
with these tracked
vehicles to get there.
We had sort of like stakes like
big twigs, almost in the ground
about every six feet.
Because if it started
snowing, you get a whiteout.
You can't tell
where you're going.
And it did one night. I drove
one of the tracked vehicles.
And without these, I never
would've found my way back.
We get to Norway,
and I couldn't get out
of the hotel to shoot
because there was a wall of snow
that was blown in that night.
So we put the camera in
the doorway of the hotel,
going out the back door.
The crew was all
inside, toasty warm,
and Mark had to
go out into the snow
and go running away
from the ice creature.
And we never left the doorway!
And he froze to death,
and we were fine.
We finally shot all the scenes
knowing where
the special effects
where this thing
would come down,
the foot would come
down and all this stuff.
It was really tricky stuff
animating these things
on these snowy sets.
So initially, I think,
the intent was
to try and set up
scenes that would
be bluescreen comped
into background plates
that were shot on location.
But this kid showed up at ILM
who was this, like,
amazing painter,
and so most of the work of the
snow walkers and the tauntauns
were done
against these painted
backdrops that Mike made.
I like the snow walkers. I
think that's just a great idea.
And I think that the
compositing got a lot better,
but it was better than
it was in Star Wars.
And so it's a little
bit more believable.
The cast and crew of
The Empire Strikes Back
were determined to make the
second installment of Star Wars
worth three years
of waiting by fans.
Echo Station Five-Seven.
We're on our way.
All right, boys, keep tight now.
Luke, I have no approach
vector. I'm not set.
Steady, Dak.
Attack pattern Delta. Go now.
As with the first film,
principal photography for
The Empire Strikes Back
was done at Elstree
Studios in London.
Here, members
of the original cast
would be introduced to
a new principal character
Lando Calrissian, played
by Billy Dee Williams.
Why, you slimy,
no-good swindler.
You've got a lot of
guts coming here
after what you pulled.
How you doin', you old
pirate? So good to see you!
Well, he seems very friendly.
Very friendly.
It's always interesting to
create a character that has
you know, a sort
of dual character.
You know, you're not
quite sure about him.
Especially if he's cute.
And I was really kind of cute.
Hello. What have we here?
Welcome, I'm Lando Calrissian.
I'm the administrator
of this facility.
And who might you be?
Welcome, Leia.
All right, all right,
you old smoothie.
The Empire Strikes
Back also introduced
a new villain to the saga
the calculating, cold-blooded
bounty hunter Boba Fett.
What's going on, buddy?
You're being put
into carbon freeze.
What if he doesn't survive?
He's worth a lot to me.
The Empire will
compensate you if he dies.
Put him in.
We looked at the scene
where Han Solo goes
into the freezing chamber.
George had scripted
an exchange between
Princess Leia and Han Solo,
which went like this.
She said, "I love you," and
Han Solo said, "I love you too."
And it kind of, uh, seemed to me
that we weren't taking
advantage of the character
that we'd established
for Han Solo.
We tried take,
after take, after take.
Nothing satisfied
me. And, finally,
I said, "Harrison."
"Don't think about it.
Don't think about it."
"Let's shoot it. Okay, action!"
I love you.
I know.
And he dropped
in, and I said, "Cut."
I said, "Yeah, that's a
great line. That's Han Solo."
Ironically, the most
talked-about new character
wasn't a human at all,
but a two-foot-tall
puppet called Yoda.
Designed by Stuart Freeborn,
and operated by
Muppeteer Frank Oz,
the tiny creature was a
fully realized character
and a unique achievement
in movie puppetry.
George showed me a
few original sketches,
and I thought, "Well,
that's interesting,
"but I want something
in more depth," you see?
And so I looked in the mirror
and I thought, "Well",
"something perhaps a little
bit amusing about my face."
So I modeled
something of myself.
Now I've got to make
him look intelligent.
I got this photograph of Einstein and
put the Einstein wrinkles in all around.
I did a lot of thinking about it
because he's got to be full of
subtle action and movements,
especially in the
face and the body.
And I put it all in, what was
necessary, and finally it all worked.
I remember Stuart
was under the gun.
And it was very
tense. Very tense.
We had to get this thing done.
We've got to start shooting with Yoda.
And so...
While we were talking to
him, I just had Yoda's head,
and I was just playing with it,
and I dropped
it, and it cracked.
So here we are
and then Stuart
said, "I need a drink."
So it was terrible, because
we were pressing so much
and I'm the one
who screwed it up.
In order to shoot
the puppet moving,
the set had to be
built about five feet
above the floor of the stage.
And we would put holes or ridges
where it would
stand on top of it
and he could move it
along in a certain direction.
So it had to be pre-determined.
On top of the stage were trees,
rocks, caves, everything.
Now, they couldn't hear above,
and Mark couldn't hear Frank Oz.
How do you do a scene?
You can't hear each other.
I give Mark a lot
of credit for this.
I can remember he actually...
This little voice called over to
me "Norman, Norman," he said.
And I actually...
I actually blushed
because it seemed so real,
this weird, weird little thing.
It was tremendously
difficult physical work.
The whole floor was about
three-and-a-half, four feet high,
so I could be
underneath the floor,
and then I would hold my hand
up through a hole or whatever.
And I remember
Kersh was talking to me
But he sometimes
talked to Yoda. I'm saying,
"Kersh, I can't hear you. I'm
down here under the floor."
Look a bit more
towards the lens.
Uh, the other way.
But the pressure was extreme
'cause I was taking too much time.
The reason I was taking too
much time was this was the first time
this has ever been done.
You know, I had somebody
doing the cables for the ears,
and somebody else was doing the eyes,
and somebody was doing the left hand.
I had me and three other people
trying to bring one character to life.
Center those eyes a bit.
Yeah, just one second.
The eyes... This way. There.
That's a bit too
far. There. That's it.
That's good, Graham. Okay.
We'll go back into that. Ready.
All right. Action.
I followed my feelings.
You are reckless.
So was I, if you remember.
He is too old.
Yes, too old to
begin the training.
I'm not afraid.
You will be.
You will be.
Sorry. Um, problems. Cut.
That was like a real leap,
because if that
puppet had not worked,
the whole film would
have been down the tubes.
It just would have been a disaster
if it'd been a silly little Muppet
If it'd been Kermit running
around in that movie,
the whole movie would've
collapsed under the weight of it.
-340 -E, take two,
"A" and "B" cameras.
While many individuals
helped bring Yoda to life,
it was Mark Hamill's
believable performance
that made audiences
accept the character.
Is the dark side stronger?
No, no.
Quicker, easier, more seductive.
How do I know the
good side from the bad?
You will know when
you are calm, at peace.
For Hamill, playing
a Jedi-in-training
was more than just
a physical challenge.
It was also an emotional one.
I was the only human being
on the call sheet for months.
It would say,
"Mark Hamill. Luke.
"Props, Snakes,
lizards, robots,"
"smoke machines, Gila monsters."
This is it.
If you choose the
quick and easy path,
as Vader did, you will
become an agent of evil,
and the galaxy will be
plunged deeper... Ow!
Into the abyss of hate
and despair. He bit me.
You're standing in the light.
He bit you? Yeah!
Didn't he bite me? He just
took a... It was a little love nip.
Frank Oz and his
crew were there,
but they'd get buried down
underneath the ground.
I had an earpiece
where I could hear,
"Many years have you..."
And then if you turned your head
the wrong way, you'd pick up Radio 1,
and it was the Rolling
Stones singing Fool to Cry.
I remember I reacted to that
and went, "Hey,
I got the Stones!"
And Kershner goes, "Cut!"
And he's way across
the bog saying,
"You know, if that happens again,
just pretend like you don't hear it,"
because with all the
elements of that set
"Is the smoke
good? Is the snake..."
"Poke the snake. Get the snake
to move. He's just lying there."
So you felt, "Let's get
our priorities straight."
'Cause I'm concerned about
how did I come off in the scene.
They were looking
at everything but me.
I have to say, it was... You
wouldn't wanna fall in that pool.
By the time you
finished shooting,
it was full of all sorts
of wildlife and bugs.
It was absolutely foul
after all those weeks of
being in the stagnant water.
I don't...
I don't believe it.
That is why you fail.
As elaborately detailed as
the sets were at Elstree Studios,
equally impressive was
the work done in California.
ILM was able to
produce special effects
that were light-years ahead of
those seen in the first Star Wars.
If you look at Star Wars, you're
either kind of in space, and they're all,
maybe the Death Star's
back there, maybe it isn't,
and you have a number of
shots on different planets.
But you look at
Empire, and it's broad.
You've got a speeder sequence
and two or three big dogfights.
You've got the whole Cloud City
and all the interiors
of different landscapes
that are way beyond
what we'd done before.
So I think it was the breadth of
the work that differentiates that
from the first show.
And each one of those sequences
required different problem-solving skills.
We did this incredible chase
through the asteroid field.
Designing asteroids is
not as easy as you think,
and I remember many
of us in the model shop
tried and tried to come up with
something that would look good.
And I think for some of the very
far ones, we had used potatoes.
The biggest problem I had
is it wasn't going fast enough,
and I was running out of money.
Irvin Kershner's an
extremely good director,
but the film went over
budget, went over schedule,
and all the money I had in Star Wars
was committed to this film, plus more.
We shot several scenes
in Empire over again.
There's a scene in Cloud City
where the Han Solo character
is kind of pacing up and down
and Princess Leia comes in,
and he reacts to the way she looks
'cause she's dressed differently than
she has in the entire rest of the film.
You look beautiful.
You should wear girls'
clothes all the time.
We looked at the dailies and
we weren't happy with anything.
The attitude of the
actors was too obvious.
Sit down.
Come on. Talk to me.
And we could have let that
go, but it just didn't feel right.
Retake. Action.
I hope Luke made
it to the fleet all right.
I'm sure he's fine.
He's probably sittin' around
wondering what we're up to right now.
You know, your friend Lando's
very charming, but I don't trust him.
Trust him. He's an
old friend of mine.
End slate.
So we shot it in a slightly
more subtle fashion,
which is the way
it's in the film now.
I don't trust Lando.
Well, I don't trust him either.
But he is my friend.
Besides, we'll soon be gone.
Then you're as good
as gone, aren't you?
Although most production
challenges had been anticipated
and expectations were
understandably high,
when Empire went over
budget by $10 million,
Lucasfilm suddenly
found itself in a fiscal crisis.
The Force is with
you, young Skywalker.
But you are not a Jedi yet.
Three of the top executives of
Bank of America Entertainment
walked into my office saying,
"We have to pull your loan."
And I said, "How can the largest
bank in the entertainment business"
"with the sequel to the most
successful movie ever out"
"be wanting to pull my loan?"
He said, "Well, we have a new
credit manager, and he just has a rule."
"Budget doubles,
he pulls the loan."
One of the bankers quit over it.
They knew it was a big
mistake, but, you know,
I was stuck with trying to make
a million-dollar payroll by Friday.
Release your anger.
Only your hatred can destroy me.
That was the big difference
between the studio system
and the independent
view of filmmaking.
The studios have a large
resource to draw on for what they do,
and independents don't,
so it's a much
tighter situation.
I was just hoping the
bank to allow me to finish
without going back to 20th Century
Fox and giving away all my rights,
because that's ultimately
what my other choice was,
was to just simply let them
own it and lose my independence.
But I wanted my
independence so badly,
we managed to do it in a way that I
paid them just a little bit more money,
but they didn't get any of the licensing,
and they didn't get any of the sequels.
That was what I was
trying to hold on to.
If I had to pay a few extra
points in order to get them
to guarantee a loan with
the bank, I could do that.
I think Fox was just as concerned
that the movie get finished as we were.
While Empire's budget
may have been tight,
security during the
production was even tighter.
Only Lucas, Kershner, and the
film's producers knew the real story.
At the time, I knew that Mark had
a father and that it was Darth Vader,
but this was not in the script.
There was a false page
inserted, and I had the knowledge.
The actors didn't even have it.
No one had it. It
was a total secret.
The script was under lock and key,
the models were under lock and key,
ILM was under lock and key and
shrouded from the rest of the world.
The storyline of the movie
was under lock and key.
You are beaten.
It is useless to resist.
The film's shocking climax,
in which Darth Vader reveals
Luke Skywalker's true parentage,
was kept a secret
from nearly everyone,
even David Prowse
and Mark Hamill.
Hamill was told privately, just
moments before the cameras rolled.
I met with Mark and said,
"You know that Darth
Vader's your father."
They had taken me aside and said,
"This is what he's really going to say."
"And we're gonna do the scene."
"And Darth Vader will be saying
stuff that doesn't count. Forget it."
"Use your own rhythm
compared to what he's doing."
There is no escape.
Don't make me destroy you.
We did a few takes,
and he finally got into it.
Join me,
and I will complete
your training.
And here is Darth Vader, who
had his dialogue, by the way,
and he's speaking the dialogue.
He thinks it's being
recorded, you see.
It's not being recorded. What's
being recorded is this, this, this.
He said, "You don't know the
truth. Obi-Wan killed your father."
And then, of course, we
re-recorded everything.
I'll never join you!
If you only knew the power
of the dark side.
When I first saw the
dialogue that said,
"Luke, I am your father,"
I said to myself, "He's lying."
"I wonder how they're
gonna play that lie out."
Obi-Wan never told you
what happened to your father.
He told me enough.
He told me you killed him.
I am your father.
And I scream, "No!"
just as it was meant to be.
Join me, and together
we can rule the galaxy
as father and son.
I think that it went
beyond Star Wars.
You got to know the characters a
little better, you had some humor.
Laugh it up, fuzzball.
I thought of the film as the
second movement of a symphony.
That's why I wanted
some of the things slower.
And it... It ends in a way
that you can't wait to see,
to hear the vivace, the
next movie, the allegretto.
I didn't have a climax at the
end. I had an emotional climax.
As Empire's premiere
date approached,
the producers once again
held their collective breath.
When The Empire Strikes Back
finally opened on May 21, 1980,
it didn't meet expectations
it surpassed them.
Within three months, George Lucas
had recovered his $33 million investment.
There was something about Empire
that immediately just
clicked when I saw it.
I didn't know how all the romance
was gonna work and the adventure,
and was it too serious
and all this sort of stuff,
but it really came together.
Until its premiere, cases
of lightning striking twice
were rare in Hollywood.
Sequels were almost
always a let-down.
But in the Star Wars
universe, different laws applied.
And George Lucas, the world's most
successful independent filmmaker,
was fast becoming
a law unto himself.
In a radical move by
Hollywood standards,
he shared Empire's profits
with every one of his employees,
handing out over five million
dollars in bonuses in 1980.
The profits from the
two Star Wars films
also helped fuel Lucas's rapidly
expanding business enterprises.
We did have some money, but
it was still a start-up company.
We could have messed it
up as much as we did it right.
But his ability to make
successful movies
is what drove the financial
success of the company.
But how we used those
funds to grow the company
and why he has a net
worth the way he does,
he was smart enough to understand
all the rights, all the ancillaries.
By financing The Empire
Strikes Back with his own money,
George Lucas had
bet the farm and won.
In fact, he was in a position
to build his own kind of farm,
Skywalker Ranch, in
Marin County, California.
Lucas had long imagined
a visually inspiring setting
where his employees could
work in a creative atmosphere
and where friends like Steven Spielberg,
Robert Redford, and Francis Ford Coppola
could enjoy working at
a state-of-the-art facility.
George was debating on
two different parcels of land
One was on Lucas Valley Road.
And I said, "Well, that's
the one you have to pick!"
The company structure
supported multi-movies in all areas
merchandising, special
effects, ancillaries.
And so all the little companies
had to be started and operated
and have all these
systems put in place.
LucasArts, THX,
Skywalker Sound,
Industrial Light & Magic.
Each subsidiary of Lucasfilm would
serve George Lucas's creative vision.
In turn, they
revolutionized a film industry
that had for too long been
plagued by complacency.
It was an idea of one person
and successfully implemented.
George has one of the more
successful companies in the world.
And you can't
measure it just by size,
because he doesn't need
the size of a Fox or a Warners
to accomplish the same thing
he's accomplishing
in putting out his films.
As the sole owner
of the most successful
franchise in movie history,
Lucas had gained the financial
means and the creative freedom
to produce anything he wanted.
George's greatest
strength as a filmmaker
is that he's a
great storyteller.
George has a vision.
There are filmmakers down through
history, like Capra and John Ford,
and they made John Ford
pictures and Frank Capra pictures,
and Hitchcock
made Hitchcock films,
and George Lucas makes
George Lucas pictures.
George Lucas had helped turn the
tide of Hollywood's downbeat realism
and brought back a sense
of fantasy and wonder.
Movies were fun again.
But in the wake of Empire,
the filmmaker found himself
unexpectedly mired in Hollywood politics.
To preserve the dramatic
opening sequences of his films,
Lucas wanted the screen credits
to come at the end of the movies.
It was a highly unusual choice.
And for the first Star Wars,
the Writers Guild and
Directors Guild had allowed it.
But when Lucas did
the same for the sequel,
they fined him over $250,000
and even attempted to
pull Empire from theaters.
Next, the D.G.A. went
after Irvin Kershner.
To protect his director, Lucas
paid all the fines to the guilds,
but the situation left him
feeling frustrated and persecuted.
Lucas was so upset that he
dropped out of the Directors Guild,
the Writers Guild, and the
Motion Picture Association.
Another unfortunate
casualty in the wake of Empire
was Alan Ladd, Jr., Lucas's most
vocal supporter at 20th Century Fox.
The criticism over the deal is
what ended my tenure at Fox, really,
'cause people were
very angry and irritated,
even though they made
millions of dollars off it.
And, uh, had a big fight,
stomped out of the boardroom,
and said, "I quit."
That was it.
20th Century Fox ultimately paid
a heavy price for Ladd's departure.
With his long-time ally
gone from the studio,
Lucas decided to go to Paramount
with his latest movie idea,
an action-adventure yarn
called Raiders of the Lost Ark.
George Lucas had
fought and won the battle
to gain his independence
as a filmmaker,
but the war between
his Rebel Alliance
and the Galactic
Empire was far from over.
As he began production on the
final chapter of his Star Wars saga,
he knew expectations
among fans and critics
would be greater
than ever before.
The project was a
high-stakes gamble,
with Lucas once again
putting up every dollar himself.
Nothing about the film,
not even the smallest detail,
could be taken for granted.
George came to me, and he
said, "The title of Episode VI
"is, uh, Return of the Jedi."
And I said, "I think
it's a weak title."
And he came back one or
two days later, and he says,
"We're calling it
Revenge of the Jedi."
Choosing the film's title
was just the beginning.
Jedi would require thousands of production
decisions on both sides of the globe.
We were constructing, really,
in two places in California,
shooting at ILM, that's three
and, of course, working and
shooting in London at the same time.
As Lucas discovered, independence
was a double-edged sword.
Quitting the Directors Guild
made it impossible for him
to hire his first choice,
Steven Spielberg.
Instead, Lucas chose
Welshman, Richard Marquand,
best known for the World
War II thriller, Eye of the Needle.
As the two met with Lawrence
Kasdan to discuss Jedi's script,
a key issue was
whether Harrison Ford,
who was now equally famous
for the role of Indiana Jones,
would return as Han Solo.
The other actors after Star Wars
had signed on to do two more,
'cause I wanted to
finish the whole thing.
"Harrison did not. He had the
idea, "Why don't you kill him off?
"Why don't you kill him off?"
I thought Han Solo should die.
I thought he ought to sacrifice
himself for the other two characters.
I also felt someone had to go.
You know, I felt
someone had to die.
I said, "He's got no mama, he's
got no papa, he's got no future",
"he has no storyresponsibilities
at this point,"
"so let's allow him to
commit self-sacrifice."
And I thought it should
happen very early in the last act,
so that you would begin
to worry about everybody.
We should sacrifice somebody.
And, uh, George was against it,
and George knew what he
wanted, and he got what he wanted.
Hey, it's me.
Once production began,
Lucas was determined
not to let the budget
escalate as it had on Empire.
Good luck.
You're going to need it.
It wasn't easy, given
that the rest of the world
assumed money was no object.
Anytime you would try and
negotiate for production facilities,
people would say, "Well,
that'll cost two dollars,"
when it might
normally cost a dollar.
So I had the suggestion that we
change the name of the picture.
It was called Blue Harvest,
and the sub line behind it was
"Horror Beyond
Imagination." "B" camera.
The idea behind it was
to come up with a title
that would instill absolutely no interest
whatsoever in what you were doing.
It was like, "Well, what is Blue
Harvest?" It's like, "Well, who cares?"
It worked until Han, and Luke,
and Leia showed up to come to work,
and everybody went, "Oh, I guess this
really isn't 'Horror Beyond Imagination.'"
"I guess this is really the
next Star Wars movie."
Revenge of the Jedi would again
reunite the Star Wars cast and crew,
who after six years and two
record-breaking motion pictures
had formed a lasting bond.
We were the same crew for
all three films, for the most part,
so it was, you know, a family.
I'm walking along by myself
rehearsing, going something like
"Lando Calrissian never returned from
this awful place." And so on and so on.
Lando Calrissian
and poor Chewbacca
never returned
from this awful place.
Suddenly I hear,
"Beep, beep, beep,"
and I turn around,
and George is...
George is now crouched
behind me, waddling along,
sort of on his haunches,
going, "Beep, beep, beep, beep."
It was a joyous moment.
Like its predecessor,
Jedi continued
to expand the cast of
characters in the Star Wars saga.
What's that?
One of the biggest was
intergalactic gangster...
I know that laugh.
Jabba the Hutt.
George said, "Oh,
I need something"
"that's, you know,
alien and grotesque,"
"that's like, uh like
Sydney Greenstreet."
And I went, "Oh, okay."
When I had kind of gotten this
idea down to this big slug-like thing
that is just this big
pulsating mass of flesh.
At one point, I had a fez on one of
the characters, like Sidney Greenstreet.
And then Stuart Freeborn in
England's job was to fabricate the thing.
And that was operated with
one puppeteer for each arm,
two puppeteers for the arms,
another guy doing the head,
another radio control
guy doing the eyes.
It was like a couple
of little people in it,
you know, pulling things to
make the tail move around.
It was quite a thing.
And I had my little
dwarf sittin' inside.
I had a little seat made
for him in the tail here,
and he operated it all.
And he was sitting there for
quite a few days doing this.
And if he operated
the first one,
whichever way he pulled it
it would either lift it upwards
or sideways, you see,
so as he could make
that move in any direction.
And action.
At last! Master Luke's
come to rescue me.
I must be allowed to speak.
You will bring Captain
Solo and the Wookiee to me.
-C3 Master Luke,
you're standing on...
Jabba has to pull the rug out from
under Luke and he falls into the pit,
and there's this big
rancor pit monster.
George was really adamant that we
were going to do it as a man in a suit.
It was gonna be like
a really cool Godzilla.
Tony McVey, one of the sculptors,
fabricated this big rancor suit,
based on my design...
He designed this thing that I call kind
of a cross between a bear and a potato.
It was just this big dumb thing.
But it never looked that
great, no matter what we did.
So, uh, at some point, George
said, "Let's do it some other way."
And so Dennis thought, well, let's
try and do it as a high-speed puppet.
We designed the
skeleton for the rancor.
Tom St. Amand and Dave
Sosalla and I puppeteered the thing.
It was a crazy, you
know, way of working,
because this thing, it has to walk
into a room and turn around and roar,
and it's like a four-second shot and
you're shooting at 90 frames a second.
You've got a second to shoot it.
ILM's creatures might
have been puppets,
but they could still elicit
an emotional reaction
from their human costars.
One even triggered
a panic attack.
I'd got claustrophobia once. I
didn't even have the whole suit on.
I was lying on the floor, the
camera's about that far away from me.
Uh, Salacious Crumb, the wonderful
Salacious Crumb, animated by Tim Rose.
And he's pulling out my eye
34 -A, take two. Action!
And something went in my
mind I didn't catch a breath
and I suddenly could feel panic
just absorbing into my body.
Not my eyes! R2, help!
And I was thinking, "Get me out!
Get me out! Get me out! Get me out!"
And I just kept repeating it until
they managed to whiz the head off.
And cut.
Daniels may -have
lost his head as 3 -PO,
but when it came to
risking life and limb,
the production now had a team
of trained stunt professionals.
For the execution
scene on Jabba's barge,
stunt performers dropped in on the
most ravenous monster yet, the Sarlacc.
It wasn't edited that way, but I
was the first guy to come off the skiff
into the pit.
I had to make sure it'd work and
everybody was gonna be all right.
I had a lot of sand
coming on top of me.
But I was able to say
to the guys, if you go in,
shut your eyes, keep
your mouths closed, right?
Put some cotton wool up your nose,
otherwise you'll be sniffing up sand.
Three people went
in one after the other.
As one went in, they pulled him out.
The other went in, they pulled him out.
So, I mean, what was happening
down below is a comedy film of its own,
quite honestly.
But these are the things
the public don't see.
Chewie, you're hit? Where is it?
Slate three three, take one.
Boba Fett? Where?
I was hanging on a
rope with Han Solo,
and he was trying to save me,
and one of the squibs
went right through my toe.
I'm screaming to Han, "Stop,
stop!" He's so busy acting.
And I'm in pain, and all of a
sudden he realized that I got hurt.
Wait! I thought you were blind!
It's all right! I can see
a lot better! Don't move!
A little higher!
Just a little higher!
Harrison, he's one of those
actors, he's very intense.
Chewie, pull us up!
He really gets into what
he's doing, you know?
So, uh, he was really into it.
For Carrie Fisher, getting
into the role of Leia this time
meant fitting into a
skimpy slave-girl costume.
I got to kill Jabba the Hutt, but I
was still much more concerned about
the slave-girl outfit and what I
was gonna do about exercise.
-31 -C, take two.
"A" and "B" cameras.
Wave your arm around. Action!
And then George Lucas said,
"Oh, instead of attacking
Jabba from the front"
"and be getting angry
with him and whacking him,"
"I want Carrie to
jump on his back."
Then she's got her high-heel
shoes on, and it happened to be that
with my little fellow inside,
it was only foam rubber,
and it went right into his head.
He screamed his head
off, so we had to stop, cut.
And cut. All right. Hold it.
Before they could do the
shot again, I had to build
a firm bit over the top of his
head so she could get up there.
Take three, pickup.
"A" and "B" camera.
Background. Go.
Okay, and action!
That was a great relief.
He was an unpleasant thing,
with mong in the corner of the
mouth, and I never really liked that.
Let's go. And don't
forget the droids.
We're on our way.
For the veteran cast members,
bringing something fresh to
their characters was often difficult.
Don't move!
I love you.
I know.
Stand up!
Another challenge on the
set was Richard Marquand's
relative inexperience
with special effects.
It's a difficult thing
to do, you know,
work on the one hand with,
you know, the special effects,
and on the other hand,
with a storyline with actors,
you know, and making
those two things marry.
I hadn't realized that,
you know, ultimately,
it was probably easier for me to do
these things than to farm them out.
Because it was even more
complex than the last one,
I really did have to end up
being there every day on the set
and working very closely with
Richard and shooting second unit.
There was really more work
than I thought it was gonna be.
Under Lucas's
supervision, the production
moved to the redwood
forests of Northern California.
"B" camera.
There they photographed one of the
film's most exhilarating action sequences.
Hey, wait!
The speeder bike chase.
Quick. Jam their
com-link. Center switch!
I got the idea of
using a Steadicam,
and we did a test
in a local park here
of walking through the woods on
a path that we kind of disguised,
and he shot with a camera that
shot one frame of film every second.
So when you project it back 24 frames
a second, it's going 24 times faster.
We figured you walked
about five miles an hour
it came up to about 100 miles
an hour, and it looked great.
Jedi surprised audiences
with its imaginative scope
both large and small.
It introduced a tiny but
valiant new ally to the rebellion.
A race of pint-sized
warriors known as Ewoks.
And action.
Hey! Point that
thing someplace else.
Han, don't. It'll be all right.
Joining the cast was Warwick Davis,
who was just a youngster at the time,
but also a die-hard
Star Wars fan.
I was an 11-year-old boy at
school, and my grandmother
happened to hear a radio
commercial on the London radio station.
They were putting out a call for short
people to be in this new Star Wars movie.
I don't think anybody on the
movie was quite as excited as I was.
You know, being an
11-year-old on the Star Wars set,
there was no stopping me.
In the role of Wicket,
Davis became the film's
most prominently featured Ewok,
but only after Kenny Baker
was suddenly taken ill.
I had this scene with
Carrie and the speeder bikes
in California in the redwoods.
I was looking forward to this.
I thought, "Carrie's nice.
I like working with Carrie."
Come the morning of the
shoot, Kenny was very ill in bed
with what I believe
was food poisoning.
I was seriously in pain.
They said, "Well, we gotta do it
because we've got Carrie Fisher in."
"We've got the scene set
up." So Warwick took over.
Seventy-two "A," take
two. "A" and "B" cameras.
And, uh, they called me in
to play the scene instead.
Cut it out!
I had a dog at the time, and I remember
whenever he would hear a strange noise,
he would tilt his head from
side to side to look inquisitive.
I took those kind of movements
and used them in the character.
So whenever he sees something or
hears a strange sound, he would, you know,
tilt his head.
-115 -S, take three.
"A" camera mark.
What did he say, Ewoks?
He said, "Look out!"
I like Ewoks.
I think they're in there to really
show that you don't need technology.
You need the will and the belief
to take you through anything.
And the fact that the Ewoks
were able to defeat the Empire
only using ropes and rocks,
I think that said something
about them as a race of creatures.
Fighters coming in!
Doesn't matter how
much machinery you had.
If the will of the people is
strong, they will always win.
You've failed, Your Highness.
I am a Jedi,
like my father before me.
And action.
As filming on
Revenge of the Jedi
drew closer to completion,
emotions ran high.
And saying goodbye
would be difficult.
As we were finishing the third one, we
really had the sense that it was the end.
That they were gonna
tie up all the loose ends.
There was a kind of
"clearing your locker out at the
end of the semester" feel to it all.
So part of me was saying, "Oh,
I'm so glad to put this behind me."
And the other aspect was,
"Well, what about all the
adventures Luke could have?"
For the moment, George
Lucas was totally focused on
completing his epic trilogy.
He weighed every decision,
including a change in Jedi's
title just weeks before it opened.
Just before it got to the theaters,
George came back and he said,
"I wanna go back to
Return of the Jedi."
Now the logic behind that was
a Jedi does not take revenge.
Return of the Jedi opened
on Wednesday, May 25, 1983,
exactly six years from the day
that Star Wars made its debut.
On its first day, the
film took in $6.2 million,
making it the biggest opening
day box office in history
by nearly a million dollars.
I told you they'd do it.
But for George Lucas,
completing the trilogy
involved personal sacrifice.
The success of Jedi
would be bittersweet at best.
The challenge is always trying to
do something that's all-consuming
with having a private life.
I had made the
decision after Star Wars
that I had certain
goals in my private life.
One was to be
independent of Hollywood,
the other one, ultimately,
was to have a family.
I finished Return of the Jedi. I
figured that was the end of it for me.
I figured, "Well, I've done
it. I've finished my trilogy.
"This is what I
started out to do."
"This is what I was
determined to get finished."
It was overwhelming and difficult,
but fate has a way of stepping in.
I ended up getting divorced
right as the film Jedi was finished,
and I was left to
raise my daughter.
With the profits he made from the
Star Wars movies and merchandise,
George Lucas was able to keep funding
his dream of pushing the boundaries
of film and audio technology.
For the next two decades, he continued
to create new and exciting innovations.
In the process, he fundamentally
changed filmmaking for the better.
In 1984, Lucasfilm revolutionized
motion picture editing
with EditDroid and SoundDroid,
the world's first non-linear
digital editing systems.
For the first time, filmmakers
could instantly access
any frame or audio track
at the touch of a button.
In 1985, Lucasfilm's computer
division invented the Pixar computer,
helping generate a
new form of animation
characterized by
three-dimensional realism.
The division was later sold and
became Pixar Animation Studios,
the creator of such instant
classics as Toy Story.
The digital breakthroughs that
Lucas himself had ushered in
would eventually lead him
back full circle to Star Wars.
In 1993, after helping create
ILM's ground-breaking effects
in Steven Spielberg's
Jurassic Park,
Lucas concluded
that digital technology
had finally caught up
to his original vision.
In 1997, he would revisit and
perfect his galactic saga at last
with the Star Wars
Special Edition.
For an entire generation,
people have experienced Star
Wars the only way it's been possible
on the TV screen.
But if you've only seen it this
way, you haven't seen it at all.
Things I couldn't
afford to do at the time.
Things that I had to give up on
because I just didn't have the
time or money or the power to do it,
I was able to go in,
complete the films the way
I originally intended them to be
and have it be pretty much
the way I want them to be.
In 1999, 22 years after
the original premiere,
Lucas introduced
The Phantom Menace.
The film marked the beginning of
another trilogy for a new generation.
It also allowed Lucas to continue his
pioneering use of digital technology.
I'm finishing this for the love
of Star Wars. I like Star Wars.
I want to see the
whole thing finished.
For more than three decades,
George Lucas's passion and
dedication to the Star Wars saga
has brought its
share of rewards.
But like the Force itself,
success also has its dark side.
What I was trying to
do is stay independent
so I could make the
movies I wanted to make.
But at the same time, I was sort
of fighting the corporate system,
which I didn't like.
I'm not happy with the
fact that corporations
have taken over
the film industry.
But now I find myself being
the head of a corporation.
So there's a certain irony there,
that I've become the very thing
that I was trying to, uh, avoid,
which is basically what
part of Star Wars is about.
The circle is now complete.
When I left you, I
was but the learner.
Now I am the master.
That is Darth Vader. He
becomes the very thing
that he's trying to
protect himself against.
But, at the same time, I feel good
that I'm able to make my movies
the way I want them to be.
While George Lucas has
remained true to his own vision,
it's been audiences everywhere
who've reaped the rewards
ever since May 1977,
when moviegoers first caught
sight of that galaxy far, far away.
The themes that
George is dealing with
are so strong, so primordial.
The conflicts between
children and their parents.
Luke Skywalker was
George growing up.
George facing a conflict
and the need to prove himself.
You have learned
much, young one.
And he did, powerfully.
You'll find I'm
full of surprises.
George was able to put the good
guys and the bad guys and the mythology
in a package that
somehow touched us.
I don't know how. I guess if you
know how, everybody'd be doing it.
Do. Or do not.
There is no try.
I am so pleased to be a part of that
whole legend, even as an observer.
And I am just an observer.
Most impressive.
He's created people that
everyone in the world knows.
Any author that could create
such memorable characters
would be a very
happy person indeed.
Laugh it up, fuzzball.
He really established the
independent film market.
His films changed
epic productions.
He changed storytelling. He
created what Hollywood is today.
I'm out of it for
a little while,
everybody gets
delusions of grandeur.
George was creating a
new world for Hollywood,
and we were lucky
enough to be a part of it.
Come on!
He's not just the creator and
director, now he is the studio.
He can make exactly the
movie that he wants to make.
Obi-Wan has taught you well.
One of the things that George
Lucas has done in Star Wars
is to communicate, in fact,
with the younger self that resides
somewhere inside
even the oldest person.
Good shot, Red 2. I think
our cultural imagination
has been transformed
by Lucas's films
by taking us back to
stories that make us all feel
that we share in the heroic journey
of the human species on this Earth.
The Force will be
with you always.
George Lucas moved us
into a new place in space,
a new time in the future,
which no one else had
created up to that time.
Star Wars had a tremendous
impact on the young people,
as well as adults,
for that matter.
I committed myself to
making these movies.
I believe in these movies.
I think they're very entertaining. I
think if I can get a room full of people
and they enjoy it, then I've
done whatever I hope to do.
For George Lucas, what began
as a quest for creative freedom,
became a philosophy, a cultural
phenomenon and an empire of dreams.
And may the Force go with you.