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George Lucas Stole Chewbacca, But It’s Okay

Great post over at

Did you know that Star Wars is nothing but a copy of The Hidden Fortress set in space? That Lucas wrote a screenplay so epic it had to be cut into twelve films? Or that the Millenium Falcon was based on a burger with a bite taken out of it and an olive stuck to its side!? Boba Fett’s ship was based on a street lamp outside of ILM’s building, and the Imperial Walkers from The Empire Strikes Back on giant loading cranes in the San Francisco docklands that Lucas would drive past on his way to work. And Chewbacca was originally based on his dog.
The answers to all of the above can be found throughout this article, but let me spoil it for you: Only one of them is true, and only when viewed ‘from a certain point of view’.


The making of Star Wars is comprehensive mythology onto itself, populated by rarely documented statements like the ones above, compelling enough to be repeated over and over until they’re so prevalent that they must be true and are accepted even by hardcore fans (and Lucasfilm itself). But in some cases they’re embellished facts, half-truths, sometimes false and in pretty much all cases oversimplifing a truly interesting, and luckily exceptionally well documented creative process.
And that’s what this post it about; the creative process. Cultural touchstones like Star Wars might seem to have sprung fully formed from the minds of their lauded creators, but as in all creative endeavours, movie making, web design or this very post, nothing could be further from the truth. Creation is a process, and strangely, by looking at how everyone’s favority plush first-mate sprang into existance, we can learn a lot about any collaborative creative endeavour.
Unfortunately, perhaps because of the verisimilitude of the disciplines needed to make a film like Star Wars come together, the making-of narrative is surprisingly fragmented and often incomplete. A quick look at the sources needed to put together this post should give a good idea of just how fragmented. And once you’re down the rabbit hole, you quickly learn that nothing found there can be taken at face value. Quotes, drawings, photos and diagrams are undated, unsourced, some old, some new, some so distorted as to be pure fiction and most of it entirely out of context.

Read the rest here


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