Gloria Katz, 'Howard The Duck' Writer & Producer and 'Star Wars' Script Doctor, Dies at 76

Screenwriter Gloria Katz, who wrote American Graffiti and provided uncredited work on Star Wars' script, has passed away at age 76 after a battle with ovarian cancer, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed.

With her husband Willard Huyck, Katz also wrote Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, based on a story conceived by George Lucas. Other credits of Katz include the scripts for Lucky Lady, Messiah of Evil, French Postcards, Best Defense, and Howard the Duck. Katz, Huyck, and Lucas were nominated for an Academy Award for their American Graffiti script.

Following their collaboration with Lucas on American Graffiti, Katz was asked to polish the script for Star Wars, with Katz herself claiming in 2017 to The Mary Sue that the filmmaker had "a lot of reservations" about the script, largely due to "the debacle of THX 1138."

"He said, 'Polish it — write anything you want and then I'll go over it and see what I need,'" Katz revealed. "George didn't want anyone to know we worked on the script, so we were in a cone of silence."

Katz and Huyck claim they are responsible for 30 percent of the film's dialogue and for establishing Leia's demeanor.


“When we talked to him about the character, we said Leia should be a more ‘Hawksian woman,’ with all the traits that that woman had: she can take command; she doesn’t take any sh-t, but at the same time she’s vulnerable and to write her as really focused, instead of just a beautiful woman that schlepped along to be saved," Katz detailed. "For her to be the one that initiated the action. And because Carrie Fisher was so young, the contrast between this young girl and her goals became more poignant.”

Comic book fans are currently enjoying a renaissance as Hollywood looks towards all corners of the comic book world for ideas, though Katz previously delivered a Marvel adaptation with her script for 1986's Howard the Duck. While many audiences might look to Blade or X-Men as the first Marvel film adaptations, Howard has them beat by more than a decade. The film might not have earned the same success as other superhero films, though it did become a cult classic, with Guardians of the Galaxy including the character in a cameo in 2014. The character made another appearance in 2017's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, leading many to hope the character gets his own film in the near future.