When one thinks of the mighty franchise that is Star Wars, the mind will almost always think of George Lucas. This is the man millions of fans have to thank for introducing us to the galaxy far, far away after all. What many fans don't know though, is he wasn't the only "Lucas" involved. There was another who helped him conceive his ultimate vision. Her name was Marcia Lucas, and she was his wife.
Sadly, Marcia has become somewhat forgotten by many fans of the franchise, but contributed more than most knew. So today, we are going to uncover her story and try to help ensure she receives the recognition she deserves.
Marcia met George Lucas back in 1967 when they both served as apprentice editors on Journey to the Pacific. George was still attending film school at the University of Southern California at the time, and they would later go on to be married in 1969. Between the year they were married and 1977, Marcia worked as an editor on many big films, such as Martin Scorsese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Taxi Driver, and New York, New York, as well as her husband's films American Graffiti and THX-1138.
Her work gained her quite the reputation, with many citing her as the best in the business. However, when George came up with the idea of Star Wars, people really got to see her talent shine.
Now, the story goes, whilst Marcia was in Los Angeles editing Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, George joined her and sequestered himself in a hotel room writing the story which would become Star Wars. It's been said she was actually instrumental in shaping some of the greatest scenes from the original trilogy. When writing the first film, now known as A New Hope, George intended for Obi-Wan Kenobi to survive his duel with Darth Vader. It was Marcia who suggested he should be killed and act as a spiritual guide for the character of Luke Skywalker. George didn't think she would work as an editor on the film due to being pregnant at the time, and so hired British union editor John Jympson. However, he was apparently horrified by the first rough cut, so George fired him and brought Marcia onboard.
He tasked her with editing the Battle of Yavin, literally the big climax to the film. There was around 40,000 feet of dialogue footage from the cast of pilots, which she had to go through as well as input all the battle sequences. So it wasn't an easy task, yet she pulled it off perfectly, giving us the battle we now know and love. Regarding editing the scenes, Marcia is quoted as saying:
"If the audience doesn't cheer when Han Solo comes in at the last second on the Millennium Falcon to help Luke when he's being chased by Darth Vader, the picture doesn't work."
Following he release of the film, it wasn't just fans who loved her work, as Marcia would actually go on to win the Oscar for Best Film Editing at the 50th Academy Awards for her her work on Star Wars.
Marcia would then take a break from her work, focusing on raising a family instead and being in control of all the interior decorating for Skywalker Ranch, the famous home of her and George. However, not content with helping shape just one successful franchise, she also helped shape another during this time.
After being shown the rough cut of Raiders of the Lost Ark by Steven Spielberg, who was a friend of her husband, she stated that she felt no emotional closure because Indiana Jones' love interest, Marion, didn't appear at the end of the film. This comment led Spielberg to shoot the ending now seen in the film, with Marion included.
For Return of the Jedi, the conclusion to her husband's story (at the time), Marion again joined the team, serving as the film's third editor. When George was asked about her contributions to the film, he said the scenes she helped edit were the emotional "dying and crying" scenes. There were plenty of them in Episode VI.
Despite the huge success of her husband's films, Marcia was said to be very unhappy in the relationship and grew tired of George's constant workload. She saw him as a workaholic, which she said led to an emotional blockage. So, in mid-1982 she asked for a divorce. This was during the lead up to the release of Return of the Jedi, though, so in order to keep up appearances and not cause any negative publicity which could harm the film, George asked her to wait until after the release to go public. Marcia agreed to this and announced the divorce in the June of 1983.
Marcia would go on to marry again, this time to stained glass artist Tom Rodrigues, who once worked as a production manager at Skywalker Ranch. They would go on to have one daughter, Amy, but would then divorce as well in 1993.
Going back to Star Wars, though, recently there have been suggestions made regarding her absence in the divisive prequel trilogy being part of the reason many fans disliked them. An article published by SFGate earlier this year called Marcia the "secret weapon of Star Wars" and stated:
"Considering the reaction to the "Star Wars" prequels and George's distance from the franchise now, it's not a stretch to say that Marcia was actually the glue that kept the galaxy far, far away together. Or, at the very least, helped repair it when it needed to be fixed."
As with any "What If" scenario, though, it's hard to say with any certainty what would have happened had the circumstances been different, but it definitely raises a very interesting point. With her fixing the Battle of Yavin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Return of the Jedi, one can only imagine just how differently the prequels would have been had she been involved. Regardless, next time you thank Lucas for giving us Star Wars, be sure to spare a thought for Marcia as well.
What do you think? Did you know the obscure story of the forgotten Lucas? Do you think she would have made the prequels different? Be sure to let us know.
Until next time!
Written By Jordan McGlinchey
Syndicated From Culture Slate