As the latest chapter in the “Star Wars” saga gets ready to hit theaters on December 18, the world has become inundated with all things “Star Wars” related. Well, the world has been inundated for a long time, but now interest is at a fever pitch. There’s no doubt that this latest installment, directed by J.J. Abrams, is being hailed as a return to the spirit of the original trilogy.
And at the core of all this hype, all this merchandising—what’s become a lifestyle for many—is the original “Star Wars” trilogy. Nearly 40 years ago, George Lucas synthesized his love for Japanese cinema, Westerns, and Flash Gordon type serializations and unleashed something completely fresh upon the world. “Star Wars” has become a lot of things over the years as it has been novelized, spun off, turned into cartoons, bed sheets…the list goes on and on. But strip away all of the artifice, all of the world changing, and you still have three amazing movies that are still as fresh today as when they hit the theaters. There are moments that are seared into our collective cinematic memories that seem like they’ve always been there. And we’re always trying to recapture that feeling.
The original “Star Wars” came along at exactly the right time. The 1970s were a time of experimentation for filmmakers; it helped usher in the blockbuster era (for better or for worse…tilting more towards the latter all the time) but still retains a complete aura of innocence that you won’t find today. Made under the radar in foreign locales, interviews with the cast at the time reveal that they knew they were making something special, but of course they had no idea what would actually happen.
It’s hard to imagine that world now. Movies were able to breathe and have lives of their own—things didn’t seem so calculated and suffocating. The evolution of the “Star Wars” saga is the evolution of the movie business itself over the past three and a half decades. And the funny thing about this evolution—the beginning seems to be better than the end result. So join Film Slate as we take a look at the making of the original “Star Wars” trilogy.