The Star Wars Gamble
By Niall Roche

It seems almost impossible to imagine now that Star Wars is such a big part of our culture and the history of movies that before Star Wars hit the screens in May of 1977, it was considered to be a long shot to ever get made much less become the huge success that it did. But from the moment George Lucas got the vision for Star Wars and began drafting those early scripts, it was clear this was going to be a movie that would be like nothing that was ever seen before.

George Lucas was not a new kid on the block in Hollywood when he started trying to get his majestic space trilogy, Star Wars, made. While he wasn't the Hollywood powerhouse he is now, he had some credibility after making the delightful and successful American Graffiti. But even in that early movie making experience, Lucas was showing himself to be a visionary as American Graffiti went on the set in motion the 50s nostalgia trend, was spun off into the successful "Happy Days" TV show and launched the brilliant career of Harrison Ford.

You would think with that success, studios would have seen the genius of George Lucas and embraced Star Wars. But from the very beginning, Star Wars was a gamble. The vision was unique and untried and to studios, that meant risk. Too often innovative and bold film making is not successful at a financial level. Studios like to go with things that are going to make money for sure. That is why studio after studio turned down the chance to make Star Wars, even Universal Studios, who made American Graffiti, passed on it because they said it was a "silly idea." You can imagine how the studio ate those words when Star Wars took the movie business by storm and netted hundreds of millions of dollars for Fox Studios because they were willing to "take a chance" on George Lucas's incredible vision.

Star Wars created innovative story telling and movie making ideas that were untried before and so far ahead of their time that we overlook that in these days of movies that are completely computer generated. There is no question that the special effects of Star Wars had a lot to do with its massive appeal. Nobody has ever seen such realistic effects done before. If you can remember the first time you saw Episode 4, the first Star Wars to come out, that moment at the beginning when you see that huge Star Destroyer is one that literally takes your breath away. And the effects just kept on coming until the amazing battle scene at the end where the audience literally felt like they were right there in the fighter with Luke Skywalker, using the force to blow up the enemy star ship and escape as the fireball erupted all over the screen. It was a cinematic triumph.

We can all be grateful that one studio and one amazing film maker were courageous enough to make a movie that was unlike any before it. We, the movie going public, got this wonderful Star Wars series to enjoy and share with our kids for generations to come and the movie industry would never be the same because they took that chance.

Star Wars has become a part of modern culture - adored by most; hated by a few. For those who love Star Wars you can always become part of the legend by collecting some of the vast range of Star Wars memorabilia available online today.

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