12 THE U81 7—20 Mar 1997

Hit the Hutt: Jabba and Han Solo meet in a new scene in Star Wars Special Edition

As the next generation of Star Wars fans embrace Princess Leia and R202 with the film's re-release, its creator George Lucas explains why the fairy tale refuses to die. Words: Eddie Gibb


Wars has knocked a number of new blockbusters off their perch in the US. which proves the enduring appeal of a movie which was first screened in 1977. This phenomenal success is not the result of thirtysomething nostalgia alone. Star Wars has created its own next generation of fans who have seen the video, bought the plastic figures and played the video game but have not. until now, had a chance to see the movie on a big screen.

But they just couldn’t wait. In the weeks before the film opened in America, multiplexes were

r attraction

ET opened five years after Star Wars. and he generously credits writer and director George Lucas as inventor of the ‘family’ movies which dominate the top ten of all—time biggest grossers.

Early on in his career. Lucas recognised the power of the big American movie myths. With Star Wars he married them to a universally understood story the triumph of good over evil. As has been repeatedly noted. Star Wars is a fairy tale told in the style of a Western with the action translated to ‘a galaxy far. far away’. Lucas said recently: ‘I was interested in creating a new kind of myth and using space to do it. because that’s the new frontier.’

The genius behind Star Wars is that while many elements of the story are instantly recognisable. it never feels like a formula being slotted into place. Lucas’s fascination with children’s stories shines through and he created a movie untouched by cynicism. This combination of familiarity with an innocent

queued out with ma” 'I was interested in creating a new kind of

rats wanting to catch

the [mm It has myth and using space to do it, because that's become a cultural the new frontier.’ George Lucas

reference point for kids

who were not even born when the movie was made. but grew up surrounded by images of a beautiful princess and evil warlord battling across outer space. Who needs Snow White when you could have Princess Leia?

‘Star Wars was a seminal moment when the entire industry instantly changed,’ Steven Spielberg told Newsweek in January. ‘For me, personally, it’s when the world recognised the value of childhood.’ Spielberg’s own movie

freshness, which stands up to repeated watching. perhaps goes some way to explaining the movie’s longevity.

‘The idea that I had created a fairy tale that resonated so strongly with young people just told me that my notion in the beginning was correct and is still correct,‘ says Lucas in a forthcoming Omnibus profile of the filmmaker. ‘l was making the movie I wanted to make and not the one my peer group felt I