While we often think of Star Wars as George Lucas’ baby, it took a whole lot of different people with money, power, and/or talent to get that first movie to the silver screen in 1977. Almost forty years on, many of their contributions have been forgotten, or or they never got the recognition they deserve. Some were well-known already, like Francis Ford Coppola and Brian De Palma, and some are known mainly within their craft or area of expertise. Others are sort of in between, like film editor Marcia Lucas.
George's wife from 1969 to 1983, Marcia Lucas' influence on American Graffiti and the Star Wars trilogy was profound. Although Marcia Lucas was nominated (along with Verna Fields) for an Oscar for her editing work on American Graffiti, Marcia wasn't originally working on Star Wars in the late 70s. While George labored on his space opera, Marcia worked with Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver. But as production on Star Wars wound on, Lucas realised that the editor he'd originally hired (John Jympson) wasn't cutting the film together with enough creative verve.
Jympson was duly replaced by three new editors, Paul Hirsch, Richard Chew, and Marcia Lucas. Together, they took Star Wars to pieces and put it back together in a way that conveyed the pace the story clearly required. One of the key sequences Marcia worked on was the final assault on the Death Star. Knowing that it was one of the pivotal moments in the movie, she took it apart and re-ordered the scenes to give it a greater flow and build-up.
Marcia and George's subsequent break-up has often left her overlooked, but her contribution to the Star Wars franchise shouldn't be underestimated. While she shared an Oscar with Hirsch and Chew for her editing work, Marcia's efforts went beyond the technical. For years, she was George's closest and most honest critic, telling him frankly which parts of his story worked and which ones didn't. When George struggled with what to do with Obi Wan Kenobi's character towards the end of Star Wars, it was Marcia who came up with the idea of killing him off. Conversely, Marcia encouraged George to keep some of Star Wars' more humane moments, too. Leia's "Kiss me for good luck" line to Luke was nearly edited out, until Marcia convinced him to leave it in.
Meet nine more of the people who brought us Star Wars, at Den of Geek.