Saturday, March 9, 2013

Movies on Paper: Star Wars

I've written many posts about books that became films. Much more rarely, this happens in reverse: people write books inspired by movies. The best example you're likely to find is Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope. It was on film first. Now, it's in everything.

The Film

I'm certain there's nothing I can tell you about Star Wars that you don't already know, except maybe that I find Family Guy's to be the definitive spoof and I'm sorry, Mel Brooks (Spaceballs reference). 

It's basically your classic heroic tale, only set in space. The story, to paraphrase, goes something like this. A pretty young and untried filmmaker named George Lucas got an epic idea for a movie, so he wrote it all out. He started showing it around, and movie studios were overwhelmed. They told Lucas he didn't have a movie in his hand -- he had several movies. So Lucas selected the middle chunk of his epic sci-fi fantasy story and said, let's make this into a movie. The studio said, let's make it three.

So they released A New Hope, technically the fourth chapter in the epic story but the first movie made in the franchise, in 1977. 

It blew everybody away. The special effects were mind-boggling and the story so good, everybody pretty much overlooked the fact that three unknown actors were playing the leading roles. Star Wars has it all: romance, mystery, space battles, scary soldier guys, a creepy villain with an amazing name, a little weird guy who's surprisingly wise, a princess, swordplay...and a Bigfoot. It hits all demographics. 

This was a sci-fi movie to end all sci-fi movies, and the franchise has done nothing but grow for the past thirty-five years. A New Hope spawned (so far) 5 more movies, comic books...and dozens of novels.

The Books

There are way, way too many Star Wars books to list, and the authors are numerous as well. Suffice it to say that a great many authors have been inspired by the first film and its subsequent sequels and prequels. Read them to learn a great deal more about different periods in time and all your favorite characters from the films.

Moved to Write

A good story is a good story in any medium. My Twitter followers might know that I'm a big fan of The Walking Dead, which was inspired by a series of graphic novels, and I am not a fan of comic books. There aren't a lot of movies that have inspired authors to create books, but it is proof that inspiration to write can come from anywhere. 

If you can't find your own story to tell but the words inside you are clawing to get out, why not try an adaptation? Many successful, and wonderful, books have been written as adaptations or re-tellings of other stories. Shakespeare and Jane Austen remain favorites in the adapted classics department, but your inspiration may come from anywhere. Tell us the untold story of someone from one of your favorite movies, or books, or poems or even songs. It's still an original idea if it's something that hasn't been seen before, a twist perhaps on something we have. 

Who knows? Maybe you'll write something so interesting, others will be inspired by you.

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