2 Hour Annotated Star Wars Film Reveals the Cinematic Influences Behind George Lucas’ Classic Film

Last week we brought to your atten­tion a short video detail­ing the ways George Lucas’ clas­sic Star Wars draws from the samu­rai films of Aki­ra Kuro­sawa, bor­row­ing cos­tum­ing and direc­to­r­i­al nods. But like any great artist, Lucas stole from more than one source. His ground­break­ing space epic incor­po­rates influ­ences as diverse as John Ford’s clas­sic west­ern The Searchers and the com­par­a­tive mythol­o­gy of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thou­sand Faces, among many, many oth­ers. How on earth did Lucas syn­the­size such a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent gen­res into the uni­fied whole that is Star Wars? To begin to answer that ques­tion, Michael Heile­mann has put togeth­er the anno­tat­ed Star Wars you see above, “a work-in-progress mashup of Star Wars with many of its sources of inspi­ra­tion, play­ing as a fea­ture-length pre­sen­ta­tion.” As The Onion’s A.V. Club describes it, “the video illu­mi­nates the astound­ing breadth of mate­r­i­al that was bang­ing around in Lucas’ head as he assem­bled Star Wars. It’s the kind of thing that ought to be on a spe­cial-edi­tion Blu-Ray release but nev­er will be because of copy­right issues.”

Heile­mann, Inter­face Direc­tor at Square­space, edit­ed the film as part of his research process for an ebook called Kit­bashed, an exhaus­tive study of “how George Lucas and his artists per­fect­ed the process of trans­form­ing exist­ing books, comics, movies and ideas into the fan­ta­sy spec­tac­u­lar that is Star Wars.” The title of Heilemann’s project comes from a word that means “using exist­ing mod­el-kits to detail space­ship mod­els for films,” with some con­no­ta­tions of both the “mashup” and the “hack.” Lucas’ achieve­ment, how­ev­er, is much more than either of those words sug­gest, accord­ing to Heile­mann, whose jour­ney into the films revealed to him their “under­ly­ing com­plex­i­ty and seem­ing­ly infi­nite depth.” Far from attempt­ing to “reveal how Star Wars is in real­i­ty com­plete­ly uno­rig­i­nal,” Heile­mann hopes to show read­ers, and view­ers, that “the cre­ative process that brought forth Star Wars is noth­ing short of amaz­ing.”

Read more about Kit­bashed at its offi­cial site.

Via AV Club

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How Star Wars Bor­rowed From Aki­ra Kurosawa’s Great Samu­rai Films

Star Wars is a Remix

Watch the Very First Trail­ers for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi (1976–83)

Joseph Camp­bell and Bill Moy­ers Break Down Star Wars as an Epic, Uni­ver­sal Myth

Hun­dreds of Fans Col­lec­tive­ly Remade Star Wars; Now They Remake The Empire Strikes Back

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness.

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  • Joesixpack says:

    Can we just admit that “Star Wars” was sim­ply a lucky acci­dent? Lucas had all the same influ­ences for every film he he’s done since, yet each of them has fall­en quite flat. It seems his great­est hand­i­cap has been in believ­ing that he’d found “the for­mu­la” to mak­ing com­pelling films. His (and the rest of Hol­ly­wood’s) adher­ance to this for­mu­la has vir­tu­al­ly hogtied Amer­i­can Cin­e­ma for the past thir­ty five years.

  • ShaneLSD says:

    lucky acci­dent? first of all there is no such thing as luck, how can you think Star Wars was an acci­dent the film has reached more peo­ple than any film before or after and will con­tin­ue for gen­er­a­tions to come yeah half of his films suck but the oth­er half have done so much to influ­ence film mak­ers and the pub­lic have you even seen THX 1138?

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