A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…
Well, not really that long ago, and on our same planet, actually…a boy named George Lucas was born in California. George was like many other boys in his day. He liked comic books and rock music and TV shows which were a very new thing in his time. His favorite TV shows were adventure stories with daring heroes who did extraordinary things. Heroes with names like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. In order to buy his favorite things like comic books, George did chores around the house and earned a weekly allowance. One of his chores was mowing their lawn. The only problem was their lawn mower was old, so it could be a very difficult chore. But George had the idea to save up his weekly money and buy a new lawnmower, so the job would be easier! This is called an investment, putting money toward something that will help you later.
When George was in high school he started to love cars. When he was 16 his dad bought him a car, but made sure it was a slow car, because he knew George liked to drive too fast. But George wouldn’t let that stop him from driving fast. He hung around car mechanics and garages and learned how to tinker with car engines, until he figured out how to make his little car drive faster. One of his favorite things to do was to drive around town in his car with his friends. He also liked to race other boys in his car. He liked this so much that someday he wanted to be a race car driver. But one day when George was driving home he was driving very fast and very dangerous. Suddenly his car flipped over and rolled three times. George’s seat belt broke and he was thrown out of the car, just before his car smashed into a tree. An ambulance rushed George to the hospital. He was so hurt they didn’t know if he would survive. But it seemed to be a miracle that he lived and after spending a couple months in the hospital, George got better. George decided being a race car driver wasn’t the best idea, so began looking for something else!
When George went back to school he started doing photography, which means taking pictures. He also decided to take classes to be a filmmaker. A filmmaker is someone who makes movies. George started making short movies and people really liked them. He had an eye for making movies look good and coming up with interesting ideas. His first big movie was about teenagers racing cars just like he did growing up. It was called American Graffiti and to George’s surprise it won many awards and made him a lot of money.
With all of his money from this movie he started to work on his next movie. He remembered all of the TV shows he loved growing up about adventures and space, and thought it would be fun to make a movie like that. His friends told him he should do a more serious movie, but with all of the sad things going on in the world at the time like war, George wanted to do something more positive and exciting. So he started to come up with names and places of his heroes and the far away planets and adventures they would go on. He imagined space battles where ships flew through space and shot lasers at each other. He dreamed up strange aliens and other creatures and made notes about their names and personalities. He would call it The Star Wars. After he wrote down all of the ideas he needed to find a movie company who would pay for the movie. Many of the big companies he asked thought it wasn’t a very good idea. They thought they The Star Wars was silly and no one would watch a movie about a space adventure. But George kept trying until he found a movie company called 20th Century Fox that liked his idea and would give him the money to make it.
Next George Lucas and his friends went to work improving their story. It took them many, many months of trying new characters and stories. Sometimes George got very bored with the work. Many times he had to go to different friends or his wife to get new ideas. After a lot of work and patience he finally had a final story for Star Wars. It would be about a young farm boy named Luke Skywalker who would meet an old Jedi named Obi Wan Kenobi. Together they would find a smuggler named Han Solo, who would help them return the missing droid R2D2 to its owner Princess Leia and rescue her from the evil Darth Vader.
Once the story was approved, George and his team found people to play the parts of their main characters, called actors. He also had a team of artists to turn his ideas into drawings so they could begin to make real costumes and ships and other things for the movie. When videoing the spaceships nothing had been done like this before, so they had to do lots of hard work and thinking to make the spaceships and their battles look real. They had to travel to deserts and other places across the world to film all of the places for their movie.
Challenges in filming, challenges with teams, movie company didn’t give him enough to make the movie, he had to be creative and find ways to do things for less. By the time the movie he was done he wasn’t sure if anyone would like it.
Finally, when Star Wars was finished, the audiences got to see it. George went to a theater and watched it with other people to see how they liked it. At the beginning when the music and the first space ship appeared on the screen everyone cheered. At the end of the movie the audience cheered and cheered and didn’t stop. They loved it! They were so amazed at what they saw. Nothing like Star Wars had ever been done before! People went back and saw it over and over. Many stood in line for hours just to see it again. George knew he had made a great movie, but had no idea how much people would love it! It became a box office hit, broke many records, and was the most popular movie for many years all over the world.
All of George’s and his teams hard work and creativity had finally paid off. George and his team went on to make two more Star Wars movies, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Both movies were also very popular.
A few years later George dreamed up a new hero, who was an archeologist who went on adventures and named him Indiana Jones after his own dog named Indiana. He made this movie with Steven Spielberg and it was also a huge success.
More recently, Disney bought the rights to Star Wars from George Lucas for $4 Billion dollars. He has said he would give half of everything he makes to other people in need. Much of this money will go to helping schools.
George Lucas wasn’t afraid to try new things and used his imagination and creativity to come up with new ideas. Often our creative ideas can lead to new and exciting things. If you ever have a new idea or a creative idea be sure to write it down, make your own story, or draw a picture of it. The ideas George had helped spark the imagination of millions, and got many young people interested in things like space and making their own movies. Watching movies is also a good way to relax our brains and open them up to new ideas. Spend some time thinking about what you might do to be creative, since you never know what your own ideas will lead to!