The influence of Steven Spielberg on George Lucas and the Star Wars mythology… we mean ‘the edit‘.
Steven Spielberg is arguably one of the most popular and talented filmmakers there is.
They invented the word blockbuster because of his film Jaws. Star Wars claimed that that mantle a short time later.
Literally, people queued up around the block to see the 1975 movie! To see a shark eat a man.
Spielberg went on to create wonderful films including science fiction gold such as E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, A.I., and Minority Report.
There's many connections (other than a great friendship) – four of them are some films that all feature a certain whip wearing character called Indiana Jones.
You see, Spielberg directed those movies but they were largely George Lucas productions – he wrote and produced them to satisfy his desire to capture the magic of the films that had inspired him as a child.
Spielberg once said “With Star Wars, George put the butter back into the popcorn.” which is possibly the greatest compliment one director can give another.
Of course, they have and this has lead to Spielberg have some influence over the direction in which George Lucas took the Star Wars films – after all, if one of your greatest friends is a fan of your work and ideas and is actually one of the world's greatest directors in his own right, you'd totally take some of his suggestions and ideas on board!
A New Hope, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and a certain bet
At a similar time, Spielberg was producing what became Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
George was a bit nervous about how Star Wars was going to turn out and during a set visit to Spielberg's film expressed such concerns. Steven promptly backed his friend so much so he suggested they swap royalty points on each other's films by way of a bet that each other's film would do better.
Fearing a flop with his own movie, Lucas agreed.
Da na. Daar na. Da naa!
Let's go back to Jaws, the first film we mentioned. Other than the shark, Bruce was his name, eating Captain Quint, one of the most famous parts of that movie was the music.
It was Spielberg that suggested and introduced Williams to Lucas to score the music of Stars Wars.
The Phantom Menace
Revenge of the Sith
Not many people sit through the credits of movies these days (except if it's a Marvel movie) but if you did during Revenge of the Sith you may have noticed Steven Spielberg was given a production credit as Assistant Director!
Lucas eventually found a way to get Spielberg on board though. He asked his mate for some help with the lightsaber duel between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar and with Yoda's swashbuckling with the Emperor during the planning and development of the scenes.
The Clone Wars
Jaws is no less important to those who create Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The first time I realized there was a hardcore Jaws fan on the crew of The Clone Wars was watching the thirteenth episode of the third season. “Monster” served as our introduction to the now-iconic villain Savage Opress. The homage from Jaws was subtle and CG supervisor Joel Aron later told me that he thought I might have been the only person who noticed it. But in Jaws (and in a few other Spielberg pictures) there is a lovely shot of a night sky, a quiet moment, and a falling star streaks across the frame. The moment is repeated in loving memory in “Monster” and it brought a smile across the face of the film nerd inside of me.
The JJ Abrams factor
JJ met Spielberg when he was a film student and they eventually become professional colleagues.
Without the support and encouragement that Spielberg has given to JJ over the years that have lead to JJ being a very good film director, it would be very unlikely that he would found himself sitting in the director's chair for Episode 7.
It's almost certain that Spielberg was consulted on JJ's appointment as well as Kathleen Kennedy produced many of Spielberg's movies, including Indiana Jones and I think we mentioned who wrote those movies?
Paul Rose Jr has worked as TV News Producer, Forensic Analyst, and Train Conductor, among many other things. He’s the former TV Editor for Infuzemag.com and owns more books, DVDs, and comics than most people have seen in their lifetimes. When he’s not writing articles, he exercises his creative muscle writing screenplays and acting in film and television in Los Angeles, CA.