James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction series just debuted its second episode and it features an in-depth talk with George Lucas about the anti-authoritarian message in Star Wars. The two iconic directors discuss Lucas’ anthropology background and his motivations for the choices that he made in the original Star Wars universe. The discussion gets a bit bleak for a moment, but George Lucas is very engaged and forthcoming with his answers, which James Cameron is happy to receive.
In a new clip for James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction, he and George Lucas discuss the social commentary in Star Wars. The major theme of Star Wars is the little guys against the big guys, the Rebels vs. the Empire, which is not a new story. It’s been played out throughout history, and Lucas believes that nobody is really paying attention to history in watching empires fall over time. James Cameron talks about the rebels and says that they’re basically called “terrorists” today to which Lucas agreed. George Lucas then brought A New Hope down to a colonial example and related it to the Vietnam War. He had this to say.
“It’s colonial… we’re fighting the largest empire in the world and we’re just a bunch of hayseeds in coonskin hats who don’t know nothin’… and it was the same thing with the Vietnamese, the irony is that the little guys won.”
George Lucas comes from a 1960s mentality of being against the “man,” and anti-authoritarian, which is where part of the theme of Star Wars came from in the first place. James Cameron calls it, “a condemnation of populism,” and Lucas agrees and says that it’s a thread that runs all the way through Star Wars. George Lucas than calls the universe that he created a “vessel,” that allowed him to create worlds to tell social stories through.
Since the show is about science fiction, the two do get into the subject after discussing the social aspects of Star Wars. James Cameron starts talking with George Lucas, saying that space is the great unknown, that people can “use it as an excuse to get to another culture.” He and Lucas then discuss the vastness of space and how the unknown is truly terrifying for people, which is how they are able to craft their stories. Lucas explains.
“The big boogieman is the unknown. It’s terrifying. There are things up there, and the things have to mean something. Curiosity brings you things like stories.”
James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction had a hard time getting George Lucas to agree to be on the show. In the end, Cameron was able to persuade Lucas and the two spoke for over 3 hours, though the entire discussion doesn’t end up in the show. Cameron says.
“I had to talk George (Lucas) into it. He said I don’t do stuff like that. I said I know, but if you’re going to do stuff like this you should do this one because you’ve defined a certain genre of pop culture science fiction. You created it. It sprang from your forehead and we’re all living in the aftershocks of that 40 years later. I said, You’ve got to talk about it to somebody, George. So he finally said Yes and he honored that because when he finally showed up he talked for like three hours.”
If you can get through the whole clip of the show watching James Cameron interrupt George Lucas, you can probably make it through the whole episode, which also features Zoe Saldana, Jeff Goldblum, Sigourney Weaver, Milla Jovovich, and Sir Ridley Scott imagining what is in outer space. You can check out the clip of James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction below, thanks to the Film is Now YouTube channel.