The 5 Most Influential People Behind 'Star Wars' That You Don't Know Of
When George Lucas first sat down with his idea for a space opera in the early 1970s, he had no idea the phenomenon it would become, giving rise to many movies, television series, books, comics, etc. Obviously, Lucas did not create this epic saga all by himself. There were others who helped contribute to its success. For example, John Williams’ soundtrack added to the atmosphere for the galaxy far, far away, which we have all come to love. In no particular order, here are the five most influential people behind Star Wars that you (probably) do not know about.
If John Williams was the “meat and potatoes” of the sounds of Star Wars, then Ben Burtt was the “side dish.” The Star Wars saga would not have been complete without his work. His innovative ideas in the time when there were no computer-generated sound effects led the way in terms of sound production. He was able to create alien sounds that were out of this world using creative manipulation of sounds found in our world. The blaster sound came from hitting the guy-wire of a sound tower with a spanner. The low hum of the lightsaber was accidentally discovered when he walked by a television set with a live microphone. These unique sounds elevated the Star Wars above other movies in the genre at the time.
Now the vice president and executive creative director at Lucasfilm, Doug Chiang made his start as head of Lucasfilm art department in 1995. He was instrumental in bringing back Star Wars to the screen through his designs for The Phantom Menace, and later on Attack of the Clones. Because of his work, a new generation of audience were able to expand their imagination and rekindle their interest in the franchise.
For many trilogies, the second movie was usually a slump, and did not perform as well as the previous movie (e.g. The Matrix Reloaded). Thanks to Lawrence Kasdan, the Star Wars original trilogy did not suffer from that curse. He was responsible for writing the script for The Empire Strikes Back, giving flesh and blood to Lucas’s skeletal structure. The man behind Raiders of the Lost Ark succeeded in putting the audience through the emotional wringer of the Darth Vader reveal. His other works in the saga included Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens, which were also well received by fans.
All the unique figures that are now synonymous with Star Wars, such as Darth Vader, C-3PO, and R2-D2, came from the imagination of a certain artist named Ralph McQuarrie. In 1974, he took George Lucas’ vision of a certain space opera, and visually translated into beautiful paintings that he could pitch to film executives. If not for his artwork, perhaps Star Wars would not have been greenlit at all. His work also set the bar for the hardworking team at Industrial Light & Magic. Lucas would tell him not to worry whether what he had drawn could be produced, and just to put down what he would like them to be. The results were stunning memorable characters that no one had ever seen before.
Marcia Lucas was probably the secret Lucas behind the success of the Star Wars saga. George Lucas’s ex-wife was the film editor for all three movies of the original trilogy, and won the Academy Award for Best Film Editing for Star Wars: A New Hope. Her hard work took the audience on an exciting journey along with the heroes. In fact, her masterpiece was the climactic trench run scene leading up to Luke’s successful destruction of the Death Star. Originally, Luke was to have two runs at the exhaust port. However, Marcia re-ordered the shots from the ground up, resulting in the thrilling sequence that kept the audience on the edge of their seats. In addition to her official capacity as editor, she would help polish George’s script, as he would frequently bounce ideas off her. Mark Hamill even commented “You can see a huge difference in the films that [George Lucas] does now and the films that he did when he was married.”
Written By Apinya Wong
Syndicated From Culture Slate