Often times when we hear about studio notes and memos for classic films, think Back to the Future and Blade Runner as notable examples, it's because persons involved in the production or release didn't think it would be successful and didn't believe in it. Though there were certainly people involved in George Lucas' classic film Star Wars, memos from 20th Century Fox have surfaced online revealing that a lot of people new that the movie was going to be a hit a year before the movie (later retitled to include the "Episode IV: A New Hope" subtitle) was even released. See them yourself below!
Author and documentarian Charles de Lauzirika posted the images which include some choice excerpts by 20th Century Fox VP of Domestic Distribution, Peter S. Myers like: "Alan Ladd Jr. saw a rough assemblage without music, special effects or dubbing, and as conservative as he is he just flipped claiming it is the best picture he has ever seen;" "They claim the picture has a look never seen on the screen before and that it is so believable you never feel it is other than the present even though the location and equipment are space in the year 2000 plus;" and "I am saying the picture should get better treatment than Godfather, King Kong, Jaws, Poseidon (Adventure) or Towering Inferno."
This is a Fox memo from Nov 1976 alerting those at the studio that their little film called :::checks notes::: STAR WARS might be something worth paying attention to after all. The giddy combo of discovery, excitement and relief here is a joy to behold. h/t @nickjwright pic.twitter.com/s6CxDw8EBo— Charles de Lauzirika (@Lauzirika) June 1, 2021
The memos were previously published (in a now deleted post) on StarWars.com.
Series creator, and "Episode IV" director, George Lucas is no longer involved in the franchise that he began with that film, selling off Lucasfilm to The Walt Disney Company back in 2012. This acquisition resulted in a major expansion of the Star Wars franchise with not only the "sequel trilogy" of movies, two spin-off movies (Rogue One and Solo), plus the many Disney+ original shows. That doesn't mean he doesn't still visit his creation as Lucas has popped up on the set of The Mandalorian more than once.
"He would be giving Dave a hard time about how many setups he was getting and how fast he was shooting and urging him to go faster," series creator Jon Favreau shared with Entertainment Weekly last September. "He was like a boxer's cornerman coaching him, but always with a twinkle in his eye."
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