Ultraist Studios Blog Journal thoughts, musings and other rambling…

December 8, 2006

STAR WARS – Archeology Project pt.1

Filed under: Essays,Inspiration,Nostalgia — M Kitchen @ 5:53 pm

On May 25, 1977 20th Century Fox released a film by director George Lucas called Star Wars. At 2 and a half years of age I wasn’t old enough to remember this event. It was 3 years later when I watched the film in the theater during a double header. Star Wars is one of my earliest memories, and easily my first obsession. It became a foundation of my intenal psyche and the corner stone of my imagination.

Vividly I remember sitting in that theater. Watching the opening fanfare and text scroll, followed by the emense Star Destroyer. The act climaxed in a wave of both shock-and-awe, and terror, when Darth Vader boarded the Corriliean Corvette through the smoke and carnage with his squadron of Stormtroopers.

The paradox of past and future, sci-fi and fantasy.
“a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”

The reason the first movie resonated was because the issues were timeless. They are real.
A used future. An evil empire. A young farm boy answering the hero’s call and becoming jedi like his father before him. The force. The dark side. This film contained everything to captivate a young mind.

Han Solo became the archtype of cool.
Obi-Wan of wisdom.
Luke of hero.
R2-D2 and C-3P0 of comedy.
Leia as heroin.
Vader of capital “V” Villain.

Star Wars became a common reference point for an entire generation. I still use the three act structure of the Star Wars films as a reference point to Real Life. The hero’s journey.

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster by your side kid” – Han Solo.

Cool … only to find out those words aren’t quite true. Like real life. I have more to type here, but have to find the right words…
Kenner Products obtained the rights to produce action figures and playsets for the Star Wars trilogy from 1977-1984.

Again, one of my earliest memories is waking up Christmas morning in 1980 to find a Millenium Falcon under my stocking. (A Death Star playset under my brothers).

Star Wars facinated me, and digging deeper into the “behind the scenes” treasure trove of information regarding the making of Star Wars. The incredible art of Ralph McQuarrie, spacecrafts built from old model kits, starfields superimposed over bluescreens, overexposure mattes to create the blade of the lightsabers, makeup and prosthetics to create robots and aliens. This, more than anything, convinced me that building universes is something I wanted to do.

The special effects in Star Wars is what inspired me to do effects for feature films.

In later years, I was fascinated to learn how close this film came to becoming a total train wreck. The movie was saved by the Academy Award winning editting of Paul Hirsch, Richard Chew and Marcia Lucas. George Lucas suffered a breakdown and was diagnosed with hypertension and exhaustion. ILM blew half of its total budget on only four shots. In the original script Darth Vader wasn’t even supposed to have a helmet, something that was added because McQuarrie thought Vader was going to be in space, he’d need a helmet to breath.
And yet, everything came together to become one of the greatest feats in filmaking.

This generation has had to suffer the butchery called the “Special Edition”.

Though purists can check out OCPmovies release of the “Classic Edition” – This is the theatrical release of Star Wars, remastered and digitally enhanced for DVD. This is Star Wars the way we remembered it.

This post is a work in progress and subject to change…


  1. Man… I feel like I was right there with you for some of those memories…….. oh wait, I was. That Christmas goes down in my memory as the best Christmas ever. Waking up at 5 in the morning, and having those two toys sitting under our stockings. Man. I also remember seeing the back to back feature of Star Wars and Empire. The two most vivid parts were the intro of Darth Vader, and Han Solo being put into the carbon freeze. I was so confused, yet I thought about that for weeks. What a way to leave the theatre. I was terrified, and I LOVED it!! I remember riding home in the station wagon talking about it. Do kids still feel that way at the end of movies? Actually when I left the theatre after watching Incredibles, I was so excited to see every boy around 5 to 8 years old, running around like crazy, trying to be dash. That’s the sign of a good movie.

    Comment by Blair kitchen — December 10, 2006 @ 12:43 pm

  2. What’s weird is Star Wars had zero influence on me. I remember having to borrow your copy in college just to find out what the freakpit was always talking about.

    1980 was a big christmas for me; I got an Atari 2600.

    Comment by Matt Campbell — December 11, 2006 @ 11:05 am

  3. People are still living in George Lucas’ Star Wars set in Tunisia. Now there’s some hardcore fans!


    Comment by Matt Campbell — December 12, 2006 @ 11:33 am

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