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Leonard Maltin Interviews George Lucas, Part 1

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In part one of film critic Leonard Maltin's interview with George Lucas, the Star Wars creator discusses writing, casting, and shooting his sci-fi epic. Lucas sums up his Star Wars experience as "unpredictable" -- the making of the films, the story, the success. The original impetus for Star Wars, says Lucas, were the Flash Gordon serials he watched as a boy. Inspired, he wrote his own space opera, which was turned down by every major studio until Alan Ladd, Jr., at Twentieth Century Fox said yes. Asked about developing the script, Lucas says that his original draft was "way too big to make into a movie." He took the first part, expanded it, developed it, and focused on that. Everything else went on the shelf until a later date. Additionally, he developed backstories for Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Since there was no major studio that could make this film, Lucas had to put his own team together, which led to the foundation of Industrial Light & Magic. It was made up of a lot of young college students and filmmakers. The casting of Harrison Ford was the most serendipitous. Ford was working as a carpenter at the time, and Lucas had him stand in for screen tests as his fifth Han Solo, and he read the lines better than anyone else. Finally, Lucas says he had no idea that Star Wars would be a hit until the film came out. "I was always the pessimist," he says.