Just as World War II impacted every corner of our world, the events of Star Wars: The Clone Wars seemed to touch nearly every corner of the Star Wars galaxy. The six seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars gave us a deeper look into the far-reaching implications of a galactic conflict that had only been glimpsed in the Star Wars films. In 2008, George Lucas said that the upcoming Star Wars: The Clone Wars was “like Band of Brothers only with Jedi,” but little did we know then just how much the award-winning show would draw from history as inspiration. With the complete series of The Clone Wars now on Netflix, now is a great time to look back at just how World War II inspired the galaxy’s greatest conflict.
It was just an ordinary Tuesday afternoon a little after 4:15 p.m. I was working at my computer as usual, when I caught an e-mail from my nephew Jeff, a lawyer in the suburbs of Philadelphia.
“Did you know you were just an answer to a Jeopardy question!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
His most famous film character has destroyed the Death Star, received the Medal of Bravery following The Battle of Yavin, and resisted a turn to the dark side — so what is he going to do next?
He’s going to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!
No wait, wrong answer. He’s going to Disney World!
I’m going to take you on a journey. A stereo journey. Back to the mid 1970s, when a little fancied sci-fi film called Star Wars changed the world of cinema and exploded into popular culture like Bazooka Joe’s bubble gum. It was a world of 7″ and 12″ vinyl, cassettes, and 8-tracks, when your dad’s music setup was often housed within a sideboard the size of a Morris Marina and when the Walkman was still a long-distant dream. So for kids of the day, desperate for as much Star Wars as they could get their hands, eyes, taste buds, and ears on the music of the film was an evocative and much-prized treasure.
Today the music of Star Wars is as iconic as any aspect of the film, weaving its way into the cultural subconsciousness and launching a thousand imitators. The original soundtrack, a double album with booklet released in May 1977 by 20th Century Records, sold in millions and revived not only the popularity of the orchestral soundtrack but also the mass appeal of movie soundtracks in general. It made a global star of the already Oscar-laden John Williams and, completely incidentally, gave a plethora of artists and labels — some non-licensed — the impetus to go out and record some of their own versions of the films score. In these far savvier days, when a cursory glance at the internet would tell you instantly whether or not you were buying the “real thing” the thought of picking up one of these albums might seem crazy, but when kids were clamoring for anything remotely related to the galaxy’s greatest film these releases sold well.
Here then is a look at just a few of those unique releases, some reasonably well-known (MECO hit number #1 on the Billboard Top 100 with his “Star Wars Theme” and today can be heard over the end credits of all RebelForce Radio shows and some not so much (“The Sounds of Star Wars” by The Sonic All-Stars anyone?)
In the part one of “15 Years of LEGO Star Wars“, I looked at the introduction of the mashup franchise through to the end of 2005 and the release of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge on the Sith. Part two of this retrospective looks at the period between 2006 and 2010 which includes the 10th anniversary of LEGO Star Wars and the introduction of the first sets from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. By the end of 2005 we’d seen 124 sets released which included over 125 different minifigures.
Like most people reading this, I spent a whole Saturday binge-watching the Netflix premiere of the Lost Missions of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. We were rewarded for our patience with 13 episodes of a show we loved, which might have been 13 of the best produced. They were action packed, beautifully animated, thrilling, and, at times, heartbreaking.
But for some reason I really, really wanted to watch the Indiana Jones movies after this batch of episodes. It should come as no surprise that the Indiana Jones films might creep their influence into Star Wars projects as they have George Lucas in common, but there were three episodes of The Lost Missions that paid pretty blatant homage to everyone’s favorite archeologist.
Welcome to the sixth of 12 articles revealing — for the first time ever — material cut from The Essential Guide to Warfare before its April 2012 publication. Each section will be preceded by brief comments discussing why the material wound up on the cutting-room floor.
THEY’RE AFTER OUR CREDITS!
Jason Fry: In Episode I the Trade Federation are the bad guys, but to amass the power they had in the Senate they had to have been a force for good at some point. This piece was an effort to illustrate that, showing the Trade Federation playing a positive and much-needed role in sectors of the Outer Rim that the Republic was too weak and distracted to effectively control. This piece accomplishes that, but it doesn’t accomplish much else – the character speaking isn’t very interesting, and you need a master’s degree in the Expanded Universe to decipher the blizzard of names. This was an easy cut. (So why include it in this Author’s Cut at all? Keep reading.)
Star Wars has a rich legacy of firsts. When it first came out in 1977, A New Hope was wholly different from any science-fiction story ever told and it broke the mold. Not only that, but it recast how the business of movies could be run by revealing the power of merchandising. Nowadays every big kids’ movie has an obligatory toy line, but Star Wars was the first to see its potential. As a corollary to that, the 501st Legion was the first Star Wars fan club (or fan club of any franchise, really) to see itself plugged right into the product line of the very universe it sought to celebrate.
It’s both exciting and humbling to witness. Here is a fictional universe that one man imagined and countless millions have enjoyed. Thousands of artists, authors, and editors have contributed to populate it to George Lucas’ standards. But to imagine the fans themselves being welcomed into the canon is just inspiring.
The story of how the 501st became Star Wars canon is a story for another blog. Since 2004, Lucasfilm has owned the rights to the 501st Legion name and I couldn’t be happier. Every so often I browse a toy store or a convention floor and out of nowhere there’s 501st merchandise for the offering. Wow. So here’s a quick and incomplete list of the cool items I’ve seen come out. If you’ve seen more feel free to contact me and we’ll add it to the list.
At some point in late 2005 / early 2006 a blue clone trooper figure appeared in Japan stores featuring the title “Vader’s Legion.” This may seem a coincidence, but the bottom of the package left no room for doubt: amid the Japanese lettering, it read “501″ in the description. I can only guess they had not secured permission from us yet to use our name and found this description a good compromise.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars, set between Episode II and III, added to the Star Wars universe like nothing else before it. The beloved animated series took us to strange worlds, explored classic characters, and introduced new heroes and villains. Now that the series is complete and available on Netflix, StarWars.com presents an official chronological order of the show’s 121 episodes, as well as the feature film that started it all. Get ready to have a LONG viewing party…