While they are all considered veritable legends in the world of Hollywood, filmmakers George Lucas, Brian de Palma, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Coppola were at one point nothing more than burgeoning storytellers who would all collaborate together and offer advice on how to improve their respective projects, which includes the development of Star Wars: A New Hope. Each member of this group has offered their own recollection of how they felt the first time they saw Lucas’ sci-fi spectacle, with de Palma recently pointing out how ridiculous he thought the name of “The Force” was, in addition to detailing how he helped contribute to the iconic opening crawl.
“Everybody who was involved in that meeting, everyone has a different version of what happened,” de Palma detailed to the Light the Fuse podcast, per Collider. “I was just watching the biography they did of Steven and he related how he saw it. They always portray me as the guy that says the worst thing that drives everybody crazy, but if you’re gonna show me something I’m gonna tell you what I think about it. Why am I there unless I’m gonna give an honest appraisal of what I’ve seen? And in this case, the fact that Steven says that only he saw the possibilities of Star Wars, that’s not really true.”
He continued, “We all saw it as a terrific thing that George had done and we were well aware of where the special effects weren’t there, and how they had cut in all these planes from other movies that were supposed to be the ships and stuff like that. But I did make a joke about The Force, that’s true … I just thought the idea of The Force, you know – ‘The Force,’ I would say, and I kept repeating it. ‘It doesn’t seem like a great name for this kind of spiritual guidance, “The Force.”‘ So needless to say I had a lot to say about The Force, which obviously I was terribly wrong about.”
A New Hope was always imagined as being a chapter from the middle of an overall story, despite not initially being released with the “Episode IV” moniker. In this regard, de Palma noted how being thrown into the middle of the story would surely be overwhelming for a viewer, as he detailed that he personally helped reimagine how the film’s famous opening crawl would be worded to introduce the audience to the overall concept of the film.
“The other thing was the movie starts in chapter [four], we’re in a world nobody knows anything about, he’s got all these funny names for people, I said, ‘George you’ve gotta set this up somehow like those crawls in the Flash Gordon movies.’ George had that idea, but it was all gobbledygook basically, so I and Jay Cocks went over the crawl and basically rewrote it so it made some sense. And that was our contribution,” the filmmaker expressed. “But I said some things very direct to my director friends about their movies that went on to be extremely successful. Sometimes I was right, sometimes I was wrong. They did the same for my movies.”
De Palma would go on to helm films like Scarface, Goodfellas, and Mission: Impossible.
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