Light-Sabers Up! Episode IV: A New Hope

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Eric Cunningham

Eric Cunningham is the editor-in-chief of Elections Daily. He is a lifelong resident of western North Carolina and graduated from Appalachian State University. You can follow him on Twitter at @decunningham2. @decunningham2.

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27 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    One thing that I think is also notable is the tenor of all of the movies that were coming out around the same time.

    Like, every single other movie was The Brave Little Toaster and Star Wars comes in and it has a happy ending. Sure, (spoiler) dies… but he becomes more powerful than we could possibly imagine. A breath of fresh air? It was like going out side for the first time since Kennedy died.Report

    • Avatar Eric Cunningham in reply to Jaybird says:

      This was intentional. The great documentary Empire of Dreams goes in to this, but Lucas intentionally avoided the darkness and negativity of films in the 70s. The soundtrack (grand orchestral, a style that was unbelievably on the way out at the time) was part of it but also the concept itself. It was a breath of fresh air at the time.Report

      • I always wonder how stuff that I *LOVED* when I was a kid would do if it were released today.

        Of course, it’s a silly thought experiment. I live in the world that Star Wars created. You can’t imagine Star Wars being dropped off in 2019 because 2019 as we understand it only exists in the context of Star Wars.

        But I wonder if Star Wars would take off today.Report

        • Avatar jason in reply to Jaybird says:

          I think it would, like you say it’s a silly thing to think about because I want to say something like, “With the same story and today’s effects” but we wouldn’t have today’s effects without it, but yeah, I think it would work. The OT would be something like the MCU.

          I’m about 60-70% sure of this.Report

        • Avatar Eric Cunningham in reply to Jaybird says:

          That’s an interesting question especially because a world without Star Wars looks very different from the one we have now.Report

          • The closest thing to a not-Star-Wars-at-all Star Wars that I can think of is Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.

            If you haven’t seen it, just ask yourself “what if they remade Star Wars with owls and owl-appropriate levels of technology?” and, yeah, you’ve pretty much seen it.

            And it didn’t take off.

            I mean, sure, it was derivative as hell and we live in the world that Star Wars created. But it didn’t take off.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

      Sure, (spoiler) dies… but he becomes more powerful than we could possibly imagine.

      Sort of like Gandalf. And somebody else that I can’t quite place.Report

  2. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    While it’s completely fair to give lots of credit to the editing, editing alone doesn’t make a movie great. The tone, and the visual imagery are all George. Darth Vader was probably the most iconic villain of the last 50 years, with the black armor and artificial breathing – “more man than machine”. And that’s George, and, I’m sure, his collaborators.

    We note how easily and readily Lucas stepped aside for other directors and even writers, while maintaining his influence on story and visuals. That’s what he inhabits.

    I saw this in the theaters when it came out. It’s hard to describe the impact it had – how different it was from everything else in the theaters.

    For instance, A Bridge Too Far came out the same summer, and competed with SW. It is a great, great film. It is classic 70’s in the sense that there is plenty of heroism and sacrifice and nobility, but it ends with failure. I own it, I still watch it, but it didn’t capture people the way SW did.Report

    • Avatar Eric Cunningham in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      Oh I don’t mean to give all the credit to editing. The film is George’s dream and he’s responsible for the best parts of it (and participated in the editing process – he made the decision to fire the original editor of the “Lost Cut”). I just thought the editing in particular is one of the best things about the film – it actually won an Academy Award for Best Editing and it was well-deserved.Report

  3. Avatar Adam Johns says:

    {Ed Note: Hey man. Hope things get better for you soon and you get out of this funk. -Will}

    Report

  4. How could there not be a single person working on a freaking science fiction movie who didn’t know that a parsec is a unit of distance?Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      The original Star Wars was a mash-up of westerns, kung fu movie mysticism, and WWII aerial combat movie effects. Almost incidentally set in space. Why do you think there was anyone working on it who knew about parsecs and who was also in a position to tell Lucas that his dialog failed basic dimensional analysis?Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      They fixed that in the Han Solo movie. Han Solo managed to make the Kessel run in less distance than anyone else by taking bold shortcuts through a very dangerous nebula.Report

      • Avatar Eric Cunningham in reply to George Turner says:

        FWIW it was also fixed in Legends in the same explanation. Although I like the newer canon version more because Han is actually lying about how many parsecs it was – it was actually over 12 parsecs (he justified saying 12 by saying it was 12 if you round down), then in A New Hope he said it was under 12, and he corrected Rey that it was under 12 in The Force Awakens. It’s a fun little gag in the films now, really.Report

  5. I completely agree about the mistake of putting Jabba the Hut into the special edition. It was, as you say, redundant. It also was a spoiler of sorts, or at least it would have been a spoiler had it been in the original version. I remember before Jedi came out, one thing my 9-year old self wondered was, “what does Jabba look like? what kind of monster/gangster is he?” That uncertainty, in its own way, may Jedi more interesting than it might have been for me. Of course, I was 9 years old and wouldn’t have been uninterested in Jedi regardless, but the mystery of what new characters would show up helped feed my interest.Report

    • Avatar Eric Cunningham in reply to gabriel conroy says:

      The interesting thing is the original scene wasn’t redundant. The Greedo scene did not contain the same information as the Jabba scene until after the Jabba scene was cut for technical reasons – everything Greedo said was dubbed, so they could put all that stuff there.Report

  6. Avatar Ozzzy! says:

    While I know “Mindless diversions” is a slightly tongue in cheek category tag, I’m pretty sure this doesn’t qualify.

    Very much enjoying a little slice of your life and experiences.Report

  7. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    One of the other big “fan rework” ideas has been redoing the Vader / Obi-Wan fight to make it seem more flashy and spinny, more in line with the style established in the Prequels.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to2SMng4u1kReport