Posts Tagged ‘world war II’



From World War to Star Wars: The Millennium Falcon

Cole Horton | February 18, 2014

Last month, I claimed that World War II impacted more elements of Star Wars than any other single influence. This month, I set out to prove it by studying the galaxy’s most famous spacecraft: the Millennium Falcon. Nearly every aspect of this famous ship shares a connection to the war: from the cockpit to the engines, the Second World War helped build everyone’s favorite bucket of bolts.

The Millennium Falcon cockpit interior while jumping to lightspeed

(more…)

The Cinema Behind Star Wars: The Guns of Navarone

Bryan Young | February 18, 2014

Han Solo at the shield bunker in Return of the Jedi, a scene similar to The Guns of Navarone

The Guns of Navarone came out in 1961 and, to my mind, is one of the greatest World War II films to ever come out of the 1960s and it seems to me that it must have been influencing Star Wars since the beginning. It tells the story of Keith Mallory (played by Gregory Peck) and a group of allied soldiers (including David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Anthony Quayle, and James Darren) as they work to destroy a pair of the biggest and well-fortified ship-destroying guns the allies have ever seen. If the guns aren’t destroyed within a few days, all of the allied soldiers being ferried through that channel for a rescue mission will be killed.

The story is entirely invented, there’s no island of Navarone, there were no British soldiers stranded on the isle of Keros, and the actors were all too old for the roles they were playing, but that doesn’t negate the charm and suspense of this effects laden picture.

Both A New Hope and Return of the Jedi have echoes of the plot. In the original Star Wars picture, the Rebel fleet must destroy the Death Star before it makes it within range of Yavin IV and it works out well. It inverts the tension with the bad guys attacking instead of passively hiding on an island. But Return of the Jedi is where the influence is felt the most.

(more…)

The Cinema Behind Star Wars: Battle of the Bulge

Bryan Young | January 20, 2014

The Rebel Base from The Empire Strikes Back

I’m a fan of old-school war movies and it’s pretty clear that George Lucas is, too. For me, Battle of the Bulge, directed by Ken Annikan is a movie that I hadn’t seen prior to the recommendation of Dave Filoni, the supervising director on Star Wars: The Clone Wars. During one of the many times I harassed Filoni about movies they were watching behind the scenes of The Clone Wars to inspire themselves and the show, he told me that this was a big one I needed to watch and he wasn’t kidding.

(more…)

Where a Long Time Ago Meets a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Cole Horton | January 15, 2014

Star Wars is my favorite World War II movie. The saga is headlined by actual World War II veterans and tells the story of dictators, democracy, and empires. It is filled with Second World War sound effects, uses World War II props, features spectacular World War II dogfights, and is backed by a film score straight out of the golden age of Hollywood.

From World War to Star Wars Movie Intro

Star Wars might just have more in common with a World War II movie than science fiction flicks. I’ve been making such bold claims for years now, after I started casually seeing references to World War II in various Star Wars books, documentaries, and interviews. One day, I started writing them down, until I had collected hundreds of ideas, stories, and quotes. Armed with these notes and pure excitement, I took the stage at Star Wars Celebration VI to share how “a long time ago” influenced the “galaxy far, far away.” Thanks to Star Wars Celebrations, I’ve shared some of these stories with audiences in the United States and Germany. Now I get to share them with everyone on the Star Wars Blog.

(more…)