Star Wars Myths and Legends, Episode 2: No Hope!

And you thought we were done with just one Star Wars myths posting! Star Wars, the phenomenon, not just the films, continues to gather steam nearly 40 years after the film film premiered in the theaters. The franchise (for that is what is has become) continues making everyone a lot of money, with more films coming, more toys, more posters, more more more. While this may seems somewhat exhausining, the fans have rarely cried enough, though Jar Jar came pretty close.

8 Active Myths | Suggest a Myth
MYTH: The first Star Wars movie was considered an ‘A’ film that Fox was excited about.

No. Fox didn’t really want to make an expensive Science Fiction space opera, and pointed to the box office failure of such films as Silent Running, and Lucas’ own THX-1138 as a good reason to be wary. The movie had a budget of less than one of the regular comedies at the time: 10.1 million. They had to call Fox to ask for $50,000 more to build one set to finish the movie. Fox granted the money but demanded the movie be finished by their deadline. They did not care whether the quality was there or not. They wanted it finished and wrapped up ASAP.

MYTH: Lucas made more money on the toys than on the films.

Actually, for the first movie, this is very true. 20th Century Fox wasn’t interested in the toy rights for a film they figured would flop, so they let Lucas keep those rights. The Star Wars toys were a huge hit, selling so fast that they couldn’t be kept in the stores. For Christmas of 1977, the toys were in such scarce supply, that parents gave coupons put out by Kenner Toys in lieu of the actual toy, which would come when manufacturing caught up with demand.

MYTH: George Lucas had 12 star war movies plotted out even before they made the first one.

Lucas wrote a great deal of material developing the Star Wars Series. The films he mentioned at the first film hit were never fully scripted or plotted out but he claimed to have a broad overview of the series of nine films. Fans going through the script archive have found none of this, but have found different versions of the original script, along with extra material, some of which made it’s way into other films. So this means the sequels were developed after the original became an international hit.

MYTH: The Star Wars series was based on the author Joseph Campbell's The Hero With A Thousand Faces.

In interviews Lucas tied the movie to this book, which he did not actually read until the film was almost completed. There are many stories like this that Hollywood has made through the years. There are some connections to this but not as many as were publicized through articles and the press. Star Wars, the first film, has much more to do with the Flash Gordon serials that are its true inspiration, than with Campbell’s works

MYTH: Kurtz and Lucas promoted the movie as a space fantasy not science fiction.

For most people, this is a distinction with out a difference. Actually the movie is considered science fiction and fans that came to see the movie weren’t expecting a documentary. If only the science fiction fans attended the Star Wars movies they knew they would easily make their $8 million dollar budget back easily, but promoting it as space fantasy could expand the audience and bring in more profits

MYTH: The first Star Wars test screening was a success.

No, it was not. Star Wars was not an immediate success at that first test screening like in the legends. The audience liked the film but the responses were not overwhelming or brimming with enthusiasm. In fact one movie survey card said 'this is the worst film I have ever seen since Godzilla'. Overall it received only an average rating from the screenings.

MYTH: George Lucas was completely responsible for the Star Wars Holiday Special on CBS in 1977.

Fox had a huge hit on their hands, and frankly, it came as a big surprise. The problem was, there’d be no new film in the theaters for another 3 years. This was too much time, people might forget all about Luke, Leia and Han! Fox, and Lucas, felt they had to produce something in-between the films. Lucas agreed to let Fox and CBS produce a holiday special using the characters, and okayed the general outline. It was then the project got away from him. Bloated with inappropriate guest stars, odd dance numbers, and the original Star Wars cast who really looked like they’d rather be elsewhere, the ‘Star Wars Holiday Special’ became an embarrassment to Lucas, who ordered it never to be shown again after its one broadcast. You can find it though, on various websites, but beware! Once watched it cannot be unwatched.

MYTH: The Empire Strikes Back was delayed to supernatural reasons!

The Empire Strikes Back was delayed and went over budget. First, set designer John Barry died in the first week of filming. This held up production and shocked the crew. Then there were serious weather problems in Norway and a blizzard occurred. Kershner ,the producer was good handling the cast but slower in producing and less skilled than Lucas. There were accidents and illness among the cast members. These are some the factors that caused the delays, but not 'bad luck', voodoo or anything else but the vicissitudes of filming a big movie with a large cast and crew.