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The mythology behind the mythology of 'Star Wars'

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Star Wars
Star Wars

Star Wars' apparent influences range from spaghetti westerns to Kurosawa's samurai dramas — but the story may actually be a bit more mundane than George Lucas would have us believe. Lucas looked up to great auteurs like Kurosawa and writers like Tolkien, and when Lucas's own influences weren't as scholarly or profound as theirs, he spun a tale that made it seem that way. From Mexican revolutionaries to NASA, Michael Heilemann breaks down Lucas's claims to reveal a true background of science fiction pulps and films. Lucas's movie may have the thoughtful duels of a samurai flick, but chances are good that Luke's lightsaber only glows blue because it looks cool.