There is a great article that's been written on the website The Secret History of Star Wars, which focuses on Marcia Lucas the ex-wife of Star Wars creator George Lucas. But without his wife Star Wars may have been a completely different experience had Marcia not stepped in and made the suggestions that led to big some big changes. In all honesty she may have been the reason the movies didn't suck. George actually listened to her, and she told him when something didn't work. It was after her and George split up that his Star Wars films went down hill. You can actually see the difference in Lucas' work when Marcia wasn't around. She was truely a strong influence on the films that Lucas had made.
Marcia, along with many of George's friends, critiqued which characters worked, which ones didn't, which scenes were good, and Lucas composed the script in this way. Marcia was always critical of Star Wars, but she was one of the few people Lucas listened to carefully, knowing she had a skill for carving out strong characters. Often, she was a voice of reason, giving him the bad news he secretly suspected--"I'm real hard," she says, "but I only tell him what he already knows." [l] Pollock notes, "Marcia's faith never waivered--she was at once George's most severe critic and most ardent supporter. She wasn't afraid to say she didn't understand something inStar Wars or to point out the sections that bored her." [li] She kept her husband down to earth and reminded him of the need to have an emotional through-line in the film. Mark Hamill remembers: "She was really the warmth and heart of those films, a good person he could talk to, bounce ideas off of."
Only Marcia is brave enough to take Lucas on in a head-to-head dispute and occasionally emerge victorious." [liii] Marcia explains: "I don't think George is real close and intimate with anyone but me. I've always felt that when you're married, you have to be wife, mother, confidant, and lover, and that I've been all those things to George. I'm the only person he talks to about certain things." [liv] Walter Murch comments further: "Marcia was very opinionated, and had very good opinions about things, and would not put up if she thought George was going in the wrong direction. There were heated creative arguments between them--for the good." [lv] When Lucas was having difficulty coming up with ideas or ways of solving scenes and characters, he would talk about it with her
Here are three contributions that she made to the story of Star Wars, besides keeping the story and characters in check.
She came up with the idea of killin Obi-Wan Kenobi. Lucas told the Rolling Stone,
I was rewriting, I was struggling with that plot problem when my wife suggested that I kill off Ben, which she thought was a pretty outrageous idea, and I said, 'Well, that is an interesting idea, and I had been thinking about it.' Her first idea was to have Threepio get shot, and I said impossible because I wanted to start and end the film with the robots, I wanted the film to really be about the robots and have the theme be the framework for the rest of the movie. But then the more I thought about Ben getting killed the more I liked the idea.
She came up with the" kiss of luck". Hamill had this to say a few years ago,
I know for a fact that Marcia Lucas was responsible for convincing him to keep that little 'kiss for luck' before Carrie [Fisher] and I swing across the chasm in the first film: 'Oh, I don't like it, people laugh in the previews,' and she said, 'George, they're laughing because it's so sweet and unexpected'—and her influence was such that if she wanted to keep it, it was in.
She also helped develop the Death Star Trench Warfare.
The Death Star trench run was originally scripted entirely different, with Luke having two runs at the exhaust port; Marcia had re-ordered the shots almost from the ground up, trying to build tension lacking in the original scripted sequence, which was why this one was the most complicated. (Here's a faithful reproduction of the original assembly, which is surprisingly unsatisfying; start at 4:30.) She warned George, 'If the audience doesn't cheer when Han Solo comes in at the last second in the Millennium Falcon to help Luke when he's being chased by Darth Vader, the picture doesn't work.'
Not only did she help out with star wars but she worked with Lucas on Raider of the Lost Ark as well.
[Marcia] was instrumental in changing the ending of Raiders, in which Indiana delivers the ark to Washington. Marion is nowhere to be seen, presumably stranded on an island with a submarine and a lot of melted Nazis. Marcia watched the rough cut in silence and then leveled the boom. She said there was no emotional resolution to the ending, because the girl disappears. ... Spielberg reshot the scene in downtown San Francisco, having Marion wait for Indiana on the steps on the government building. Marcia, once again, had come to the rescue.
I strongley suggest that you read the full article, it's a very interesting look into Marcia's contribution to film, and her relationship with George Lucas.
Tuesday, 8 March 2011
Secret history of Star Wars
A very interesting article that I found via GeekTyrant. I haven't had a chance to read the full article, but this highlights some of Marcia Lucas' contributions to George's best movies.