First of all, I’m not going to employ those pretentious, post-market locutions like “Episode V” or whathaveyou. If you are a grown up, then there are “the three old Star Wars movies” and “the three new Star Wars movies.”
Now: let’s look at all the other people George Lucas got rich ripping off, the way Picasso did with the Africans.
First, Joseph Campbell. This toxic troublemaker earned his academic reputation for his theories on “the hero’s journey.”
That is: Campbell discovered that, in every culture, in all times, societies had myths.
Who went on journeys.
Damn, I wish I’d gone to college.
Campbell also coined the insidious Baby Boomer, New Age bumpersticker motto, “Follow Your Bliss.”
Now, most people know that the sign over Auschwitz read “Work Will Set You Free.”
Fewer people know that the sign over Buchenwald read “To Each His Own.”
What nobody knows yet but me is that when Concentration Camps 2.0 are erected, the signs over their gates will be “Follow Your Bliss.”
(Or, hey, maybe even “Welcome to Comic-Con”…)
Influence #2: Kurosawa. Star Wars is The Hidden Fortress in space. We nuked Japan and stole their movies! (They only deserved the first former.)
Influence #3: Flash Gordon, the boring-beyond-imagining 1930s film serial.
We’re meant to be impressed that Lucas was also inspired by John Ford’s The Searchers (1956). Except that almost every American film made after The Searchers (and not a few foreign ones) was also influenced by The Searchers.
So a human comic book with a stirring soundtrack, bad jokes, and loud zapping noises is one of the top 10 highest grossing films of all time.