Notebook

Lucas worked on the “Star Wars” script for two and one half years, writing at the back of his house in San Anselmo in a room that he shared with a gaudy Wurlitzer juke box… First there were too many characters, then too few. They combined, and then divided again. The plot was too simple, too complex. Princess Leia’s role grew bigger, then smaller. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader, initially one character, became two. The Force got a good side (Ashla) and a bad side (Bogan). Annikin Starkiller became Luke Skywalker. Kenobi began life as an elderly general, became an addled hermit and then an elderly general again. A Kiber Crystal appeared, then disappeared. Lucas, meanwhile, was afflicted by headaches, pains in the stomach and chest. He became compulsive about his writing materials, insisting on No. 2 pencils and blue and green lined paper. He took to slicing off bits of his hair with scissors, depositing them, along with crumpled sheets of paper, in the wastebasket. He could never remember how he spelled the names of his characters, rendered Chewbacca differently every time he wrote it. When Lucas finished a draft, he would show it to friends: Coppola, Huyck and Katz, Robbins and so on. No one was supportive. “They said, ‘George, you should be making more of an artistic statement.'”

Peter Biskind, “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls”.

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