When Star Wars had the go signal after initial talks with 20th Century Fox, George Lucas readily made his researches and he soon came out with the initial story. Script development went further and significant changes were made in the story throughout the many stages of the writing process.
Given the scope of the story, Lucas knew he himself needed a rebel force who would be up to the challenge for such an ambitious type of production.
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The Star Wars script went into a lot of revisions and radical changes. At one point, Luke Skywalker was a 60-year old general, while Han Solo had green skin and gills. The idea of the “Force” wasn’t originally intangible as it was initially considered as a crystal and a galactic holy grail physically present in the film.
It took time before the concept of the Force became fully realized. Lucas knew that the Force was very vital in the story. He also encountered some difficulty in trying to create a religious and spiritual concept that would work in a very simple way, without making too heavy expositions and without dragging the story away from what the motion picture medium can utilize best.
When the story became more solid, he realized that the film could really never be made into a single film project. At that point, he separated the story into three acts; thus, creating the Star Wars Trilogy.
Lucas focused on the first story for his saga. He was determined that by hook or by crook, he would finish the first movie, then pick things up from there. He spent another year to complete his script. Finally, he was able to keep up with the needs of the story for the first act given his time and resources.
Even during its early developments, the Star Wars script already had Darth Vader as the chief villain. During the writing process, the three main heroine and heroes took time before they got finalized: the plucky young princess Leia Organa; the fearless smuggler Han Solo; and the idealistic farm boy originally named Luke Skykiller, which would later become Luke Skywalker.
As the story progressed, Luke Skywalker trained as a Jedi knight. The Jedis derived their power from the mystical energy known as the Force.
Lucas knew his vision. At the same time, he knew it would be very difficult to communicate this vision and convince the Fox executives that making Star Wars wouldn’t be cheap. To get the Fox Board of Directors to approve the film’s intended budget, he needed to do something dramatic, striking, and considerably aggressive. He then got in touch with Ralph McQuarrie, a conceptual design artist who worked as a technical illustrator for Boeing. He also designed film posters and he animated the CBS News coverage of the Apollo space program.
Lucas hired McQuarrie to work on a number of art works to provide the executives ideas on how to produce his vision for the film. Lucas and McQuarrie also shared a good tandem with their visual outputs as these initial drawings would soon become significant elements seen on Star Wars. During the process of creating the visual works, Lucas also told McQuarrie that he should not worry about how challenging the visuals would be. More than anything else, he should draw and paint the very vision for Star Wars that would be meant for the big screen.
Mcquarrie’s art works were vital for the approval of the $8 million budget for the first Star Wars film, which would be part of the Star Wars’ two trilogies from the late 1970s to the early 1980s and from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. This very first Star Wars film was known as Star Wars in its original release, and later on as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope as part of the whole body of work in Lucas’ Star Wars saga.
George Lucas Biography:
George Lucas Biography: From Race Car Driver to Student Filmmaker
George Lucas Biography: The Student Filmmaker
George Lucas Biography: His Career After Film School
George Lucas Biography: A Pioneer in Modern Filmmaking Technology
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