news culture Star Wars would have been a huge flop without this latest rescue!
If today Star Wars is one of the most important licenses of all time, at first George Lucas’s film encountered many difficulties. Fortunately, the American filmmaker knew how to surround himself with the right people who allowed him to succeed. This is especially the case of Marcia Lucas, his wife at the time, who played a crucial and still little-known role today.
Marcia Lucas, the savior of the shadows?
In 1977, during the New Hope broadcast, Star Wars is immediately a hit. However, At first nobody believed in it, starting with George Lucas himself, the director of the film and creator of this universe., who took refuge in Hawaii with Steven Spielberg because he was too afraid of critical comments. It must be said that even some of his friends were not convinced during the press screening. Among the legend that surrounds the first presentation of the film, we remember that Brian de Palma is reported to have said that the Force was “shitand that I did not understand the context of the film. Despite everything, the feature film reaped the success we know today to the point of becoming one of the most profitable licenses of all time. However, at first things were really complicated, but very fortunately, George Lucas was able to count on his close guard, in particular Marcia Lucas, his then wife, whose role was somewhat forgotten.
In 1969, George and Marcia Lucas get married, and from that moment she begins to play a decisive role in the director’s films.. For her first project, THX 1138, she was hired as an assistant editor and offered advice on engaging the public with a point of view on the visual and graphic aspect of the work. While editing takes place in the attic of her house, Marcia is the only person George listens to despite their differing opinions.. Despite his good will, the film will be a commercial flop even if it enjoys some critical acclaim. We will have to wait for the success of Star Wars years later for the feature film to become cult.
For George’s next film, American Graffiti released in 1973, we find the same dynamic, Marcia being the only one who believes in the project while criticizing the structure initially planned by her husband. Instead, it offers a less frenetic editing pace that leaves the scenes more breathless so that viewers feel more involved and attached to the characters. A decision that appears to have paid off as the film was a critical success and generated over $100 million in revenue. Her talents as an editor will be noticed, so much so that Martin Scorsese will hire her as sole editor on many projects., first with Alice is no longer here. Satisfied with his work, the director once again resorted to his services to edit what would become a cult film: Taxi Driver. However, this seizure of independence upset George Lucas, who at the time had a rather outdated conception of the place of women. However, the latter will help him once again in the most ambitious project of his life: Star Wars.
Star Wars, a project that doesn’t convince… at first!
Two years before the release of the feature film, Marcia advises Lucas on the second draft of the Star Wars script, especially regarding the construction of the characters, the emotional impact of certain scenes or even the writing of the dialogues. A participation in the narrative that even suggests that George had Ben Kenobi killed. as the latter achieved its narrative goal in the third act, but also to recruit Mark Hamill in the title role, as Luke Skywalker. Through her involvement in the project, Marcia is quite frustrated to see George Lucas fully identify with the auteur politics and take credit for every element of the film when they are the result of numerous inquiries.
During the filming of Star Wars, Marcia follows her husband to Tunisia and the UK and the least we can say is that she saved his day. Initially, it was John Thompson who edited the film and George Lucas was not at all satisfied with this first cut, which lacked the energy that he imagined for his feature film. He was quickly fired and that’s when he could count on his wife to catch up with him. She starts by selecting all the junks, calls the assistants to start everything from scratch.. In the fall of 1976, a few months before the film’s release, this new version was completed and convinced Alan Ladd Jr., a major producer at the time. Obviously, the feature film was the success we know today and Marcia Lucas even receives an Oscar for best editing with the other two editors..
As the Lucas couple continue the Star Wars sequels, this is where their relationship deteriorates over time. George Lucas is absent more and more due to his new responsibilities and is much less involved in his projects, particularly in The Empire Strikes Back. If Marcia Lucas returns to edit some sequences of return of the jedithe couple finally divorced in 1983. because of the distance between them. Unfortunately, this will exclude you from his old social circle and close the doors to many projects. He will only talk about his experience in Star Wars on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the film, since without it the saga would not be as we know it today.
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