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If you’ve been scratching your head for the past four decades trying to figure out what Star Wars is really all about, George Lucas sat down with Charlie Rose and opened up about that very subject.
The creator of the 1977 game-changer and ridiculously influential cultural touchstone reveals that the real origin of Star Wars can be traced back to a long, long time ago — specifically to the days when myths and stories were spread orally throughout expanding cultures from one generation to the next. Lucas explains that these stories had the rules for the fledgling society encoded within them, which made it easy — and entertaining — to instill the values necessary for societal stability into the next generations.
Lucas says he wanted to make a movie to test whether those same techniques could work on a modern audience.
“It’s about good and evil, but heroes — what makes a hero, what’s friendship, what’s the idea of sacrificing yourself for something larger?” he says. “They’re all really basic things, you might say you don’t have to make a movie about that [because] it’s very obvious, but it’s actually not. It’s not that obvious to a lot of people unless you have somebody tell you, every generation, that this is what our country believes in.”
The filmmaker explains to Rose that by placing his myth in a sci-fi setting, he was able to speak to a wider audience. “With Star Wars, it was the religion — everything was so taken and put into a form that was easy for everybody to accept so it didn’t fall into a contemporary mode where you could argue about it. It went everywhere in the world.” Lucas adds that he believes most people share the same basic beliefs.
You can check out the full interview below.