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The Man Who LITERALLY Built Star Wars

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Esquire put out a great interview yesterday with Roger Christian the set decorator behind the OT. It was so good I thought it deserved it's own thread. Here's a quick excerpt:

ESQ: How did you come up with the initial idea to use scrap metal?

RC: I told George gingerly one day, "I cannot afford to dress these sets, I can't get anything made in the studio," but my idea was to make it like a submarine interior. And if I bought airplane scrap and broke it down, I could stick it in the sets in specific ways — because there's an order to doing it, it's not just random. And that's the art of it. I understood how to do that — engineering and all that stuff. So George said, "Yes, go do it." And airplane scrap at that time, nobody wanted it. There were junkyards full of it, because they sold it by weight. I could buy almost an entire plane for 50 pounds.

Click here to read the entire interview.

Help finish ROTJ: Revisited!

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Excellent interview. Guys like that are a dying breed. He hits the nail on the head about the feel of the universe.

I just love the idea of someone digging around in a scrap bin and just assembling a lightsaber from found stuff. I'd love to do that kind of thing.

I would be ecstatic if he was involved even just as a consultant for the new films, because this man knows the aesthetic for the entire Star Wars galaxy.

Also, I always get sad when people describe young Lucas. It's like the man is dead or something.

Keep Circulating the Tapes.

END OF LINE

(It hasn’t happened yet)

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Tyrphanax said:

Also, I always get sad when people describe young Lucas. It's like the man is dead or something.

 Me too. It sounds like he was such a great guy back then, but now he's stuck-up, can't tell the truth (either that or he has memory problems), and is no longer admirable in any way whatsoever (from what I know of him, that is).

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RicOlie_2 said:

he ... is no longer admirable in any way whatsoever (from what I know of him, that is).

I disagree. I genuinely admire the fact that he was able to let go of Star Wars, regardless of the circumstances, his actual reasons and whatnot.

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I guess that's one.

I don't hate him though. The man was a genius (the operative word sadly being "was"), and without him, we wouldn't be on this site. He isn't the same person he used to be, and that's unfortunate.

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RicOlie_2 said:

I don't hate him though. The man was a genius (the operative word sadly being "was")

Lucas is no genius (not as a filmmaker, at least), but he did provide that initial spark, and that in itself is a pretty big deal.

RicOlie_2 said:

He isn't the same person he used to be, and that's unfortunate.

So you're basically saying you know the man in person?

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m_s0 said:

RicOlie_2 said:

I don't hate him though. The man was a genius (the operative word sadly being "was")

Lucas is no genius (not as a filmmaker, at least), but he did provide that initial spark, and that in itself is a pretty big deal.

Looking at his early films (THX, American Graffiti and OT), I can easily say he was a great filmmaker back then.

His best skill is (was) definitely mentally making stuff up (stories, characters, scenes, worlds, concepts etc.). However, you could say he isn't good at realising it by himself.

真実

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With Graffiti he was just recycling his memories.

With everything else he was recycling other people's work (some of which constituting cultural memories Flash Gordon, Nineteen Eighty Four etc).

His real skill isn't inventing but collage, of ready made ingredients so the set designs being made that way too is a perfect metaphor for this approach.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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m_s0 said:

RicOlie_2 said:

He isn't the same person he used to be, and that's unfortunate.

So you're basically saying you know the man in person?

 No, but isn't it obvious? People change as they age, and he certainly is no exception. I don't know how he changed in every way, and he's probably exactly the same way in certain respects as he was back in the '70s. The fact that he called remaking films "re-writing history" and then did the same himself a few years later demonstrates the way he changed in a certain area. In regards to movie-making, ideas, etc., he changed for the worse.

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Bingowings said:

His real skill isn't inventing but collage, of ready made ingredients so the set designs being made that way too is a perfect metaphor for this approach.

Well you are being a little stiff here. Almost everything in this world is either influenced by something that already exist, being made up with existing ingredients or just simply being discovered.

Steak is essentially made by an animal. A cook only takes the meat and other ingredients to make the food. Some make great food, others don't.

Newton did not invent the gravity, he just described what already existed.

There really isn't much that hasn't existed in some or other form.

真実

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imperialscum said:

Bingowings said:

His real skill isn't inventing but collage, of ready made ingredients so the set designs being made that way too is a perfect metaphor for this approach.

Well you are being a little stiff here. Almost everything in this world is either influenced by something that already exist, being made up with existing ingredients or just simply being discovered.

Steak is essentially made by an animal. A cook only takes the meat and other ingredients to make the food. Some make great food, others don't.

Newton did not invent the gravity, he just described what already existed.

There really isn't much that hasn't existed in some or other form.

At my age stiffness on demand is an achievement.

No, there is a difference from sitting down and thinking of fresh characters who happen to fit classic archetypes and sitting down with a bag of memories and stitching them together.

This is Lucas' style.

When he does it he can evoke whole chunks of culture in a single frame.

When he does it badly he reminds us why Stepin Fetchit movies and Sir Alec's Fagin are now difficult to watch.

Back in 1977 he got the mix right but he didn't invent like Frank Herbert who arguably is as evocative but more by weaving story function rather than tailoring it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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Great article! And Mr. Christian certainly has aged well going by that photo.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Bingowings said:

At my age stiffness on demand is an achievement.

:)

Well I sense it would be another endless discussion, so I will withdraw.

All I will say is that every author has recycled something in one form or another... consciously, subconsciously or unknowingly.

真実

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Thanks for posting!

His similar work on Alien was awesome as well. Have still to this day not seen the turkey Battlefield Earth. Have I missed anything?

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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"While you were still learning how to SPELL YOUR name!"

Ol’ George has the GOUT, I see.