Top 10 Sources that Inspired Star WarsEveryone loves Star Wars, but did you ever wonder how the film franchise came to be? It was inspired by many different sources such as books, movies, TV shows, mythology, history, religion, and many other types of things. And here's 10 of the things that influenced George Lucas the most to create the epic science fantasy story that we know of today.
The Top Ten
Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998) is regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers in cinema history. His films are the most direct influences of the Star Wars films. Films that include Seven Samurai, The Hidden Fortress, Sanjuro, and Yojimbo.
There are several similarities to Seven Samurai, including the Jedi order mimicking the samurai order. Luke and Obi-Wan's relationship in A New Hope resembles that of Katsushiro, the young samurai who trains under Shimada Kambei, the wise, old ronin. Luke may also have been inspired by Kikuchiyo, a farm boy who wants to become a samurai.
Star Wars takes a lot of inspiration from Flash Gordon. Even the opening text crawl in every Star Wars film is in the same style as the text openings of each chapter of the Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe serial.
George Lucas originally wanted to do a reimagining of the old Flash Gordon movie serials of the Great Depression, but he couldn't get the rights to Flash Gordon so he decided to do his own story called Star Wars (though Flash Gordon continued to be an inspiration). A New Hope has many elements derived from the 1936 Flash Gordon film serial and its sequel Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe.
Lucas was directly influenced by Joseph Campbell's book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. It's what drove him to create the "modern myth" of Star Wars.
When Lucas was in the University of Southern California he was fascinated with the work of Joseph Campbell (1904-1987), an American mythologist, writer, and lecturer best known for his work in comparative mythology and the 'Hero's Journey'. His work covers many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summerized by his phrase: "Follow your bliss," advice we all need to take to heart.
Even Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy influenced Star Wars. Lucas has often cited The Lord of the Rings as a major influence on his film trilogy. A few superficial similarities you can see between Star Wars and LOTR are ones like how Darth Vader cuts off Luke's hand which plunges into the abyss with Luke's lightsaber (Gollum butting off Frodo's finger which plunges into the abyss with the One Ring) and Obi-Wan and Luke's lightsabers glowing blue (Galndalf and Bilbo's Magic swords glowing blue).
Frank Herbert's Dune is the Lord of the Rings of science fiction novels: the most popular, most influential and most critically-acclaimed novel in the genre.
Star Wars shares many similarities with Dune including Tatooine which is a dessert planet (Arrakis which is a dessert planet), the villain who turns out to be the hero's father (the villain who turns out to be the hero's grandfather), and Jedi Mind Tricks (The Voice-Bene Gesserit ability which controls the actions of others).
The spacecraft in Star Wars were influenced by the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. 2001 was also Lucas's influence for combining a classical score with science fiction-at one point, Lucas and John Williams discussed mixing existing classical pieces with original music, but Williams persuaded Lucas that composing new pieces with the same feel would give the soundtrack a more unified quality.
Forbidden Planet is one of the most influential sci-fi films of all time. Star Wars borrows strongly from the movie, including the Energy Monster burning through a Krell door (Qui-Gon Jinn burning through the Trade Federation door) and Robbie's red force-screen (the red force-screen in The Phantom Menace).
Star Wars has a few similarities to the 1939 film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, including Obi-Wan disappearing when killed by Darth Vader, leaving only an empty robe (the Wicked Witch disappearing after Dorothy spills water on her, leaving only an empty dress) and Luke and Han disguise themselves as Stormtroopers to rescue Leia (the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, and the Cowardly Lion all disguising themselves as Winkies to rescue Dorothy).
C-3PO was inspired by the evil robot Maria from the 1927 film Metropolis.
Actually, it was Valérian and Laureline that influenced Star Wars. This is just an adaptation that's coming out this year (it wasn't released before the first Star Wars movie).
R2-D2 was also inspired by the drones Huey, Dewey and Louie from the 1971 film Silent Running.
Known for inspiring the prequels and the Clone Wars film and T.V. show.