Star Wars Remembered

May 04, 2012 | 3:06 p.m.

Star Wars Day memory: When George Lucas wasn’t feeling The Force

Are you a Jedi fan who wishes that Star Wars Day felt a little more special? Well, good news — this year the date arrives with “New Hope” and The Force of history. The May 4 tradition (“May the Fourth be with you” — see what they did there?) gives fans yet another occasion to dust off their lightsabers, don their stormtrooper suits and bask in the Blu-ray glow of Jedi films. But more than that, this month marks the 35th anniversary of the first “Star Wars” release, later labeled “Episode IV” and called “A New Hope.” And it was 29 years ago that “Return of the Jedi” closed out the original trilogy of the space saga that defined cinema for a generation of moviegoers and future filmmakers. Fans today can’t get enough of the imaginative universe George Lucas created, but in May of 1983, […]
May 25, 2011 | 1:49 p.m.

‘Star Wars’: A look back on opening day in May 1977

Many of you celebrated Star Wars Day on May 4 (as in, “May the fourth be with you”), but Wednesday, May 25, might be a more apt time to stage an Ewok feast in honor of the greatest space opera of them all. It was 34 years ago, on May 25, 1977, that “Star Wars” (later known as “Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope” ) thundered onto the big screen and changed the course of Hollywood history. It was clear on that day that George Lucas and his epic were a new force in American pop culture. “On opening day I was on the East Coast and I did the morning-show circuit — ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘Today,’” Gary Kurtz, the producer of “Star Wars,” told Hero Complex last year. “In the afternoon I did a radio call-in show in Washington and this guy, […]
Jan. 13, 2011 | 9:31 a.m.

‘The Empire Strikes Back’: Sweet memories of the ‘impish’ Irvin Kershner

GUEST ESSAY Writer and filmmaker Peter Briggs reflects on this week’s star-studded event celebrating the life and art of the late Irvin Kershner. “The Empire Strikes Back.”  Four simple words that are guaranteed to stir the heart for fans of the fantastic. That famous title was coined by “Star Wars” producer Gary Kurtz, as a throwaway phrase during a news conference in Germany when describing the aspirations of the “Star Wars” sequel. Happily, it stuck. It’s unfair to encapsulate a wide and varied cinematic career with just one movie, but for any “Star Wars” fan, those four words are instantly synonymous with only one individual. Perhaps not even George Lucas, who created and continues to feed the wellspring of imagination that is the ongoing “Star Wars” saga. Nor Kurtz, who against the odds produced a movie that arguably surpassed its original. Or screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, […]
Dec. 26, 2010 | 12:56 p.m.

Did George Lucas change cinema with ‘Star Wars’ prequels?

GUEST ESSAY George Lucas should have stopped after three original “Star Wars” films — that’s a common sentiment among Jedi fans of a certain age and disposition, and they passionately point to Jar Jar Binks, an over-reliance on CG effects and numbing dialogue as the unforgivable sins of the second live-action trilogy, which began with “The Phantom Menace” in 1999 and closed out with “Revenge of the Sith” in 2005. But are old-school fans missing the true value and actual innovation represented by the prequel trilogy? Yes, they are, says Kevin McLeod, who has made online games for productions in other media, including those for”A.I.: Artificial Intelligence” and the television show “Jericho.” Here, in a guest essay for Hero Complex, he makes a case for the idea that the prequel trilogy was in fact a landmark moment in cinema. George Lucas […]
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