‘Since its release on May 25, 1977, Star Wars – now known as Episode IV: A New Hope – has inspired millions of followers across generations. The film has stood the test of time, but the original circumstances of Star Wars’ creation, and the film’s deliberately constructed relationship with US history, have become obscured.
It seems unthinkable that Star Wars was a film that studios did not want. George Lucas’s treatment was rejected by United Artists, Universal and even Disney – ironic given the $4.05 billion they paid for the franchise in 2012. Though 20th Century Fox picked up the project, it was Lucas they wanted, not Star Wars.
The deal Fox and Lucas made was unusual. Lucas’s previous movie American Graffiti had been such a hit that Lucas could have raised his fee, but he chose not to. Instead, he negotiated a deal which gave him merchandising and sequel rights in what was a pivotal moment for the industry, establishing the practice of merchandising.’