Light & Magic (2022–…): Season 1, Episode 2 - Episode #1.2 - full transcript

Who are the real-world Illuminati ?
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I grew up on a farm in Modesto.

Like most kids that grew up in the Valley,
I had a strong interest in cruising.

I wandered around and spent most of
my youth roaming the streets of the town.

Following the path that I was on,
I was sort of flunking out of high school.

My mother kept worrying about me.

"He's not going to amount to anything."

My father kept saying,
"He's a late bloomer.

"Don't worry about it.
He's a late bloomer."

Driving cars, going fast.
I really liked that.

I liked the sensation of it.

I wanted to be a car mechanic,
I wanted to race cars.

At the time, in high school,
I had a very little car,

it was, you know, that big, and I was

turning into my driveway,
it was a country road,

and uh, there was this guy.

So he was going about 90 miles an hour.

I didn't see him coming.

I hear a horn honk

And then I'm gone.

They hit me broadside.

My car rolled about seven or eight times,
wrapped around a tree.

And when I woke up,
the first thing I heard

the nurse saying, "Don't worry,
you have all your arms and legs."

I said, "What do you mean?"

Everybody kept saying,
"You should be dead."

That's when I decided that, you know,
maybe there's a reason I'm here.

My father wanted me to go
into the stationery business

and run an office equipment store.

They built it up for me to take over,
and I said, "I don't want that."

I'll never work at a job
where I have to do the same thing

over and over again every day.

It was probably the biggest disagreement
we ever got into.

I said, "Well, I'll just go to school.
I mean, I'll go to college."

You know, this is during the Vietnam War.

The only thing I could get into
was the junior college.

I took lots of classes
in the social sciences,

psychology and anthropology,
and I got really hooked on it.

I said, "This is great. I love this."

And one of the books I had to read
was The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

And I got very intrigued with the idea
of how you build a society.

It was all done by stories,
mythologies, heroes.

It really wasn't until my junior year of
college that I discovered film.

Ended up at USC.

Suddenly I was seeing all kinds of
films that I'd never seen before.

Complete eye-opener.
It was just a whole new world.

It's one of those things you eat,
sleep and drink movies,

and you love every second of it.

I instantly knew
that this was for me, that this was it.

I didn't know what a filmmaker was.

I didn't know what a producer was
or a director or anything.

All I knew was that I wanted to make film
and whatever that entails.

First semester there,
and I started making student films.

Took the Cinema department by storm.

We met in the '60s
when he premiered THX 1138,

his short film, during a film festival.

George won first prize.

THX 11384EB. This is Authority.
You will stop where you are.

I basically said,
"I'll never make a movie that good."

One of the things that really bonded us
was we made movies for the audience,

even more than making
movies for ourselves.

All of my friends,

they were all people who loved movies.

None of them were interested
in making money.

They were just interested
in making movies.

Lucas is out of school now,
working with Francis Ford Coppola,

himself, a recent graduate
of the film school at UCLA.

Coppola is directing The Rain People,

his third professional film
for Warner Bros.,

and Lucas is making a movie
of him making a movie.

The idea is you got to really...

You've got to really want to do something

and then nothing can stop you, I believe.

Would you tell us something
about your young assistant, George Lucas?

Well, he's not my assistant, actually,
he's an associate.

- Okay.
- George won an award to come to

Warner Bros. And observe
a film being made there.

So we were making Finian's Rainbow,
and I see this skinny kid with a beard

and always looking. I said, "Who's that?"

And he said, "He's observing you."

On Finian's Rainbow,

we were the only two people
on the set under 50 years old,

and the only two
that had gone to film school.

We had an affinity.

We were young and very much
against the establishment.

And so in '69, we went to San Francisco.

Both Francis and I said,
"This is where we should be."

Not too many lobbies that have
a friendly pool table right here.

That's true.
We hope that at 3:00 in the morning,

that will be a comfort and an aid
when we're working on a film

in the other room. This is the main...

We bought mixing equipment
and editing equipment.

We were building a little studio there.

We would do everything ourselves.

I got to take one of my student films
and turn it into a feature.

One Coppola production was filmed

in a garage at
the San Francisco International Airport.

A science fiction story written
and directed by George Lucas, who is 25.

Lucas and his wife
are editing the film themselves.

Although Warner Bros. Agreed
to finance and release it,

Lucas retained complete creative control.

In terms of my film, have complete freedom

to say whatever I want to say.

Right, wrong or indifferent.
At least I can say it.

THX is pronounced
incurable and shall be held in detention.

With Warner Bros., they didn't come up
here and look at what I was doing,

and I don't know whether
they even read the script.

We finally showed him the cut, and they
were like, "Oh, my God, what is this?"

All magna personnel...

The board didn't like it.

And they chopped it up.
They ended up cutting out five minutes

and some of it was really good stuff.

There's nothing worse than the frustration

of having somebody
who doesn't get what you're doing

trying to turn it into something else.

And as a result of our disagreements

with Warner Bros.
Over the final cut of THX,

we ended up losing a lot of our projects
that we were gonna be doing for them.

The company we had built together,
American Zoetrope, went bankrupt.

So Francis went off and did The Godfather.

He told me, he said,

"Enough of this artsy fartsy,
science fiction, strange movies."

"I want you to do a comedy."

"Prove to me you can do a comedy."

The first time that I met George
was an audition for a movie that he had

with an indecipherable title,
American Graffiti.

I had to look up the word "graffiti,"

because I didn't know what it was,
and there were things about George

that I found mystifying as an actor.

He doesn't really do actor speak.

He's a little cryptic.

He talks about an atmosphere, a world.

And I remember it took six auditions
over a period of about six months

for all of us to wind up being chosen.

I joked with him about that at one point.

He said, "Yeah, well, it took me
that long to pick the cars, too."

I was fascinated when we were
shooting American Graffiti

by the freedom he gave the actors,
but also by the world creation of it.

And I wouldn't have known
to use that term then.

The cars were as important to him.

A lot of it's from my own experience.

At the time, cruising was gone,

and I really felt compelled
to sort of document the intimate nature

of man's relationship to machine.

Cruising was
a uniquely American mating ritual.

What did you say?

Wait. What did you say?

What did you say?

On some kind of subliminal level,

it obviously clicked with audiences.

It was a big moment for me because
I really did sit down and told myself,

"Okay, now I am a director."

"Now I know I can be creative
in a way that I enjoy."

One day we had been
standing around Mel's Diner,

and I said to George,
"What do you think you want to do next?"

And he said,
"Well, I like science fiction.

"The advances that Kubrick made,

"I want to apply that
to Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon

"kinds of movies, like a movie serial.

"Combine that with 2001 special effects,

"but the ships go real fast."

And that's kind of all he said.

That was about all I had.

I was just searching for a story,

and then I thought "mythology."

The idea that a society creates
heroes that they can admire.

But I could see it as a mechanism,
a universal reality.

So I said I want to do one of those,
only a modern version of that.

Well, first I had to do a story treatment.

I am not the greatest writer in the world.

I'd taken a proposal
to a couple of studios,

and they had turned it down,
completely confused by it.

Robots and Wookiees.

They couldn't read it and say,
"I understand what this is all about."

Science fiction was not something
that did well at the box office.

On top of that,
it was aimed at young people

and most of the studios said,
"Look, Disney does that."

"The rest of us can't do that."

I knew I was going to have to sell it.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

I hired an illustrator, Ralph McQuarrie,
to draw the characters that I had done.

When he showed me those paintings, I said,

"That's exactly what I want."

"I've got 100 ideas here."

"Do this scene.
Do this scene, do this scene."

The paintings inspired me
to keep writing the script,

and that's how
I got through it.

The picture was going to be

a wonderful visual experience
as much as being a story.

It was going to be like
a roller-coaster ride.

Full of things that would make
the audience go, "Wow."


At the same time, the new
Fox Studio executive, Alan Ladd, Jr.

Saw American Graffiti and loved it.

I showed him the drawings
and he said, "Wow, what's it about?"

I said, "Well, that's kind of a space
opera, old-fashioned feel about it",

"and there's a giant dog
that flies with the hero,"

"and it's very hard to get what this is."

We had a special effects budget
on that movie of $2 million,

which now won't even buy you a shot.

In the beginning, Fox was not very...
Who were financing the film,

weren't very interested in building
a new special effects company

that would just be specifically
for making Star Wars.

So setting up ILM, I spent about
half a million dollars.

Paying for it myself
out of American Graffiti money.

And that's one of those things,
if you get one guy

who's really good,

he'll bring all the other people with him.

It was an organism

that grew.

We were thinking of names,
and most of the names were really bad.

But I thought, well,
we were in a warehouse,

so it was very industrial, and we were
using magic and light to create things.

It just popped into my head.

I said, "I'm going to call it
Industrial Light and Magic."

And I was going off to England,
Tunisia to shoot the film.


I've got to rest before I fall apart.

My joints are almost frozen.

I was in such bad shape
when I was in Tunisia.

Everything went wrong.

The whole set blew down overnight
and we had to shoot the next day.

We had nothing, no sets.

It was just one thing after another.

People ask me, "Well, what's the secret
of making movies?"

I said, "Persistence."

That's the only way you can describe it.

And if you give up or you,
you know, falter, you can't do it.

You've got to be persistent
under impossible conditions.

So I got on the airplane to fly home,
first place I went was ILM.

When I came back, we had less than a year
left to do the special effects.

They'd spent a million dollars

and they had... I don't know, three shots.

George was very angry.

You know, you could feel it in the room,
even if he wasn't necessarily in the room.

I know he was unhappy,
but I don't know whether

he was unhappy with me or the situation.

The studio was breathing down his neck.

I don't think he was feeling well.

One day, I needed to go to editorial
and grab some piece of film for something,

and you had to go through
the screening room to get to editorial.

Ran up full of energy,
went flying into the screening room.

George and Dykstra
were in a heated argument, yelling,

and I just ran right in the middle of it.

I don't even know what it was about.

We were buried doing the work
of building the equipment

and the miniatures 18 hours a day.

So, that we hadn't succeeded
getting it all done

and executing the shots
was the least of my worries at that time.

Ended up on my way home,
flying from LA to San Francisco,

"thinking," Oh, my God,
this isn't going to work.

"This is a mess
and you'll never get to work again."

And I was having severe chest pains.

They took me to the hospital because they
thought I might be having a heart attack.

They said, "Have you been
under a lot of pressure?"

I said, "Yeah."
They said, "Well, it's probably that.

"Take some aspirins,
call us in the morning."

Because it wasn't a heart attack.

It turned out to be angina or something.

But of course,
everybody else was panicked.

What if I died? People don't even know
what the movie is.

Yeah, it was in a million little pieces.

Nobody knew what I was really doing.

I was the fourth editor hired.

So a lot of work had already been done
in the editing process

by the time I arrived on the scene, and I
was deeply impressed with the whole thing.

But almost every cut
had to be altered somehow.

I got up my nerve and I said,
"Listen, George,"

"there's something I
really need to tell you."

"I've never worked on anything
this big before."

He said, "Don't worry about it.
Nobody has."

I have a very bad feeling
about this.

- Turn the ship around.
- Yeah, I think you're right.

Full reverse.
Chewie, lock in the auxiliary power.

I was very frustrated
editing without effects.

What did I get myself into?

How am I ever going to get this done?

George, at a certain point,
decided that he wanted to get the opinion

of some of his colleagues,
Brian De Palma and Martin Scorsese,

and Steven Spielberg.

I saw Star Wars for the first time
in rough cut.

Well, there we are, Mos Eisley Spaceport.

You will never find a more wretched hive
of scum and villainy.

The film was, uh...
To say it was not finished is a kindness.

Get back to the ship!

Where are you going? Come back!

He didn't have the effects yet.

Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

You're my only hope.

There was a great deal
of debate about context

because there are only a couple
effects shots in there.

Where are we?

Who are we?

Who are they?

Do we need they?

What is this menagerie of imagination,

George, that you've invited us
to see and tear apart?

Even I, who worked on the film,

could barely follow the story.

It was much rougher
than rough cuts usually are.

Half the film
was just literally like

watching a documentary from World War II
because that's all George had.

This is it!

We should be able to see it by now.

Keep your eyes open for those fighters.

Me and Alan Ladd, Jr., the head of Fox,

we were probably the only people
in that room that loved the movie

in the condition it was in.

But when R2 and C-3PO escape

and their vehicle purges,
and you see it leaving

the docking platform
and it goes into space,

that shot alone should have told all of us
what that movie was going to be

with ILM's help. But it wasn't
there yet in the rough cut.

When I said there were no other

special effects houses,
visual effects houses,

there were not in the world,
the whole world, there weren't any.

So I didn't have a choice.

I was on the bucking bronco
and I had to go.

It really became a thing
where we simply got on with it.

For him,

it was more a matter of resignation
than a decision

that the process was going to work.

Every time we shot a scene
using motion control,

with a pan and the tilt and a boom
and the track and all those things.

So it was so arduous to do a shot.

And we realized that we had so many
thousand elements that we had to shoot.

There wasn't enough hours in a day
for me to shoot everything.

And so Ken is shooting the cannons.

Dennis is shooting X-wing shots.

And then I'd ram the camera
into the model,

and they'd have to come out
and fix it, you know?

I mean, this was not
a perfect world, right?

Dealing with all these pieces of film.

It was like photo masochism.

I was actually really frankly worried

about how we were going
to keep track of all this.

With a sophisticated prototype,

there's always problems,
but for George, it was impenetrable.

We had all this
very exotic equipment.

We were doing things
that nobody'd ever done before.

John Dykstra was crucial
in designing and making it work.

But we were running out of time,
running out of money.

I said, "I don't care
if you put it on a stick"

"and just shoot it going through the dark.
Put in a few stars."

"We got to get this thing done."

Several people were sent in
to try and make us

more efficient and more structured.

George Mather.

He'd made a real effort
to bring some organization.

He did what he could, and we grudgingly
agreed to some of it.

But I think Rose really was the one
that put it all together.

When I arrived for my interview,

it was a pretty...

I don't want to use the word
looking place.

They did not have nice furniture.

It just looked like a dump.

Let's face it.
There was a guy sitting next to me,

like, a runner, with his feet up,
and I was asking the receptionist,

"How's it working here?
Is George Lucas nice?"

"Tell me about this film.
It's a sci-fi film,"

and she seemed really uptight.

And then Dykstra opens the door and says,
"Come on in for the interview."

And this young man gets up
and walks in with me.

Well, of course,
that young man was George Lucas.

He turned to me and asked two questions.

Do you take shorthand?

And can you start Monday?

I had seen American Graffiti,
so I was already sold.

Okay. Whatever this guy
wants to do, I'm on board.

And George had just returned from England,
so mostly he was up north editing.

He would show up two days a week,

and my job was to follow him around
and make notes.

Someone had to accompany him everywhere

and keep track of everything
he said to every department.

But most of the time
I was following Dykstra around.

He's just such an engaging,
charismatic person.

He'd be so loose. He'd be so funny.

Then when George got there,
it was all business,

and I sensed a coolness between them.

There was nobody organizing it.

I don't know how they managed
to decide what to shoot when.

We needed to get an adult in the room

to say, "Look,
this is what needs to happen."

George Mather really brought order
that gave George Lucas

tremendous confidence.

Mather and I listed every single element
that needed to be done.

It got on the calendar,

and it just started flowing very smoothly.

We had a big book of the storyboards,

and every day I would type up
the notes from dailies

and he would cut them out
in little strips,

and paste them into this book.

Once the system was complete,
I brought George down a few times

to step him through the process, and I
said, "Okay, let's start with this shot."

"There's two or three elements
in the shot."

Okay, I would shoot the first element,

have that developed in about 10 minutes,

put it on the Moviola,

and I'd say, "You like this move, George,
or you want to modify it?"

And he says, "You know,
maybe we can have it"

"do a little bit more of this
or something,"

and I would shoot another one.

He says, "Yeah, I like that now."

It's like, "Okay, let's do the next model,
and then put the two together."

George now could see
the two elements that I just shot.

So I did that a few times for him.

We schooled him, in a sense.

He saw the work
we were doing could be successful

because the product was
significantly more interesting,

and more evocative than it would have been

if we'd settled for the cheap
and cheerful approach.

But there were a lot of
the shots that could have been done

with older processes, old techniques.

But what John had come up with
was an elegance.

Once you bought into that thing,

you had a system that could do
any type of shot you wanted.

For all of us, it was an education,

both in managing to pull
the technology together

as well as to understand George's vision.

For each shot, storyboards would
give us the gist of the idea,

and then I would interpret the storyboard
to figure out what to shoot first.

Something that really made me quake
in my shoes was the opening shot.

Because if the opening shot didn't
grab the audience and convince them

that they gotta watch this movie,
we were in trouble.

The best effect is one that has
subliminal cues like scale

and focus to make this stuff
indistinguishable from reality.

And George would come down
and he would say,

"I want the Star Destroyer
to look enormous.

"We can build this model
on the wall and have ladders"

"and, you know,
other things that give scale,"

and I would say, "George,
we already have a Star Destroyer"

"that's this long."

"I want to do a test.

"Put your best guys on
detailing the bottom of this thing

"and really making it tricked out,

"and then make me a Rebel blockade runner"

"that's about the size of a cigarette,
and I'll put that on a wire"

"sticking out of the front of the ship,"

"and we can try to create a bigger scale."

It was very important to be able to get
the camera very close to the models,

and the camera is going to be
hanging from the boom.

So I flip a Star Destroyer
and got it level,

so the lens was basically
1/32 of an inch off the model

and it was actually scraping it
at a couple points.

Basically, I shot it upside down.

And the next day at dailies,
everybody's aghast.

It's like...

The feeling that you got
in that opening shot

when the Star Destroyer comes overhead

was precisely what George wanted.

And here's one of the keys
that makes it work.

The entire ship is in focus,
from the closest thing to the camera

to the furthest thing from the camera.

It's a really critical component
to establishing scale.

And the model had
little doors and windows.

Human scale things
that tell you how big it is, right?

So it's those kind of subliminal clues
and an understanding of how to use them

that makes it artistry,
as opposed to simple mechanics.

I mean, it's a mystery.

It's like magic, really.

We're creating magic
through this very lugubrious process.

Such a creative group spirit emerged.

Collaborative problem solving,
on every crew in every department.

We knew we had to help each other.
We had to be supportive of each other

in order to get the work done.

It's about making the movie,

telling the story,
and don't let your ego get in the way.

A lot of problems got solved
at the coffee machine.

People would walk up, they got
some problem and they talk to you,

"Can you help me with it?"

We were a family.

I just really liked
that George would

stay late and help me on mundane tasks.

Would be 9:00 at night,
and we'd be stamping storyboards.

Some of the times
that he was happiest

is when he would go into the model shop
and glue parts on a spaceship.

He really loved to do that.

We were behind, so it just took
a long time to do that many shots.

He was great at compromising, you know.

"We can reuse this shot over here."

"We can flip this shot backwards"

"and it'll look like it's
going the other direction."

We started making quantum leaps.

Things accelerated.

I mean, there were some rough spots.

To work in visual effects,
you have to be crazy.

You have to be a little bit nuts.

But since we didn't know
what it was going to become,

there was nothing sacred and just build it
and get it in front of the camera.

It was fun all the time.

When it was grueling, it was fun.

The star field was
hollow on the inside.

You could get in there
and sleep comfortably.

"One day somebody said," Hey,
don't leave the pillow against the light.

"These things get hot."

It was madness. It was madness.

We had a lot of parties, and I'd mix
punches and throw dry ice in it,

and they'd gurgle and bubble
till I learned that that was poison,

that you really can't put dry ice in.


As George used to say,
"Give them enough pizza and beer,"

"they'll do anything."

It was like a fraternity house.

The studio called us
the Country Club.

Yes, we were in the hot tub,
and yes, we waterslided,

and yes, we were immature.

But nobody worked harder,
nobody stayed later.

We were breaking new ground.

It really was a lot of fun
until it got toward the end.

You know, the crunch was on.

We were beating ourselves up
to get the movie done in time.

The premiere is coming up,
people are freaking out.

Sound department wants your work now,

because they have to put
their sound in, oh, my God.

Joe was redesigning the storyboards
and giving us different shots.

We were shooting like crazy
and falling over each other.


Just trying to get the work done.

Getting the models and lighting
and shooting those as fast as we could.

It was a mission of faith.

Because nobody knew whether
we were going to make it or not.

Everybody was very hopeful.

But I was under
an enormous amount of pressure.

The crew was under
an enormous amount of pressure.

When we were walking through the stages,

he was kind of frustrated,
like things were not

coming together the way he would like.

He was disappointed in some of the shots.

Not everybody's work was given approval.

You know, he was,

I wouldn't say hypercritical, but...
It's his movie.

It's... He's going to take the blame.

I'm a perfectionist.

And if it's not right,
I get really upset inside.

Sometimes outside, but mostly inside.

- Okay.
- Okay.

You know, my impression of George
was that

he was the combination
of extremely imaginative

and extremely practical.

And usually you find people who are
one or the other, but not both.

I've learned to live with the fact

that everything can't be
the way you want it to be.

You have to sort of do the best you can
and move forward.

George had always been unhappy
with the creatures

that they had given him
for the cant in a sequence.

So, reshoots were planned.

We had shot
the cant in a scene in England

and I wanted it to be crowded with aliens.

They gave me some, but it wasn't enough.

I think it was a budgetary problem.
There just wasn't that much money,

so it looked to me like
what they had done in England

was go to a costume department,

got a bunch of Beatrix Potter-type things.

We shot everything we could,
but then I said,

"Well, I'll just pick them up
when I get home."

George hired me and Jon Berg

and a couple of out-of-work
stop-motion animators,

and his direction was,

"Make me as many space aliens
as you can in six weeks."

They drew drawings
and I picked another 12 monsters.

Ron Cobb did some designs,

and we would sculpt
and fabricate his designs.

And then went over to a little stage
on La Brea Avenue.

And George put us in our own masks.

And costume department would dress us up
and that's kind of how that was done.

Phil Tippett and Jon Berg,
I liked them.

They were a good team.

We became friends.

George would come in once a week
to check out our progress,

and one time he was looking around
and he saw on the shelf

a stop-motion character that I had made
when I was like, 20.

He said, "Oh, so you guys do
stop-motion animation, huh?"

He showed us the chess set,
and the assembly

that he had without any characters in it.

330. Take two.

George was initially
going to have the chess set

just be people in masks
shot against blue screen...

But Future World had just come out,

and there was a scene there
with actors on a chessboard.

My knight to your pawn.

George felt kind of scooped in a way.

You know, it was like
his thing would not be original.

And so if he did it stop motion,
it would have its own thing.

So he said to me and Jon Berg,

"Can you make 10 stop-motion aliens
in two weeks?"

I said, "That's why we're here."

The one advantage we have at ILM
is we got guys,

you know, off the street,
which meant they could do anything.

Right at the end of the schedule,
right at the end of the schedule.

And so when Jon Berg and I went in
to make a deal with George for it,

Dykstra had this big round table,
and George sat at one end

and Dykstra had a replica old Western .44.

And while we were negotiating
talking about our rates,

he would just like, spin the chamber.

He had no idea that he was doing it,

but we were sitting there
going like, "Uh, is that too much?"

"We'll do it for free."

We had a cardboard box
with all these little characters in it.

Took them to the set
and asked George what he wanted,

and he goes like, "I don't know."

"How about this little yellow guy jumps
out and the green guy picks him up"

"and throws him down,
and everybody else is watching."

And we're like, "Okay. You got it."

We would shoot in the evenings,
I think over three nights.

And it's just kids
playing with toys, you know.

That was the only
stop-motion work we had.

We were all happy with the results.

Now be careful, R2.

He made a fair move.
Screaming about it can't help you.

Let him have it.
It's not wise to upset a Wookiee.

George was very generous
with giving creative freedom to people,

and he would be very patient.
If you had a question,

it didn't make sense to you,
he would explain, you know,

why this is what I want to do.

When he came by,
I got as much of his time as I could.

I remember him sitting
at the drawing table

and drawing the sequence
at the end of the film,

the attack on the Death Star.

George is not an artist.

He can put lines on paper,
but he's not an artist.

And I was really amazed
at his ability to convey the idea

in very crude visuals of what this attack
was gonna look like.

The end battle was of particular
importance to George

because the studio was
threatening to eliminate it.

They had concerns about cost overruns,

and they thought,
"Hey, they get to the Death Star,

"they rescue the princess.
That's it. Story's over."

But George was determined
to have this end battle.

Movies are kinetic.

It's about movement.

Forget the actors. Forget the story.
It's all about movement.

The chase. The chases were
the beginning form of cinema.

Chase, like anything else in a movie,
it has to be built.

You got a beginning, a middle and an end,

and you have several incidents in there.

At the end of the film,
the idea was to create

a realistic-looking space dogfight.

They were attacking
an invulnerable fortress,

the Death Star,
and Luke's prowess as a pilot

allows them to succeed
in destroying this behemoth.

The reason the Death Star
had trenches in it

is because it was the only way
we could achieve a sense of speed.

We had ridden motorcycles down
gullies out in the desert and noticed

that when you were in the gullies,
you're traveling by things.

They seemed really fast.

George wanted a city look,

like flying down the center of Manhattan
high speed in some kind of a ship.

But the scale would be much larger.

Something that's supposed to look
like you've traveled 40 miles

is going to have to be a mile a foot.

That's no mean feat.

That meant an incredible amount
of detail on each surface piece.

The Death Star surface,

it was the very first project
I was hired to do for two months.

And it didn't take me very long to realize

why all the other model makers
didn't want to do it.

They got burnt out.

You basically spent the day
on your knees with big foam pads

and crawled around on the surface
that was about 15 feet by 40 feet.

We built six molds
for this gigantic Death Star surface.

We had to be able
to cut them up and move them,

put them in different positions.

So you wouldn't recognize
that it was a lot of repetition.

It's pretty astronomical,
the number of combinations

that we had available to us.

At the end of the model,

we had to show that
it goes on and on and on.

So we photographed a section
of the Death Star trench

and glued it to a piece of Masonite.

I painted the detail on it.

Just to make it seem more alive,

thousands of these little windows

had to be put everywhere
with retro reflective tape

made out of glass beads
that reflect back the light.

But there were tens of thousands.

That was my job to do that,

you know?

There was a moment when Marcia Lucas,
George Lucas's wife at the time,

came down and looked at the Death Star.

She got the camera,
looked at it, we lit it up,

and she said, "Hmm, the windows
have to be a smaller scale."

It's like, oh, my God,
they had to be half as big.

The approach will not be easy.

You're required to maneuver
straight down this trench,

and skim the surface to this point.

The target area is only two meters wide.

It's a small thermal exhaust port
right below the main port.

When it came time to
shoot the trench,

George is talking us through
and there he goes.

It looks like he's not seeing anything

'cause he's so in his head,
but you can see in his eyes

what he already sees
as the finished product.

We're right in there.

We're loving this story
and he's got us all excited about it.

"That's the scene.
Go do it, guys," and off we go.

Look at the size of that thing.

This is it.

It's away!

We figured out that we had to be
traveling 20 miles an hour

as we went by the Death Star model.

We put it flat in the parking lot,
and the only way we could get the camera

to a high enough speed
would be with a motorized vehicle.

Guerilla film making,
put the camera in the back of the truck.

Richard climbed up there,

we drove by the model
and set off the charges.

- It's a hit!
- Negative.

It didn't go in.

Just impacted on the surface.

There weren't any rules.

It was like whatever worked,
we'll make it somehow function

and we'll come out with this great thing.

R2, that stabilizer's broken loose again.

See if you can't lock it down.

An impossible schedule,
an impossible budget,

trying to do things
that have never been done before.

We were the Rebel Alliance.

Look out!

You're all clear, kid.
Now, let's blow this thing and go home.

Everybody came through in the end.

- Hey!
- Hey!

I knew you'd come back.

Finished the movie. Yay!

I couldn't believe it, really.

And on the last night,
ILM was having its wrap party.

So everybody around us was whooping it up.

And a bunch of the guys
who were smarter than me

took out 20th Century stock.

We didn't know what we were working on.

I mean, it was really just a job,
five or six days a week.

We didn't really know
until the movie came out.

And we were mixing,

we were mixing up
until the day it was released.

And when we finished,
we went to Hamburger Hamlet

on Hollywood Boulevard, right across
from Grauman's Chinese Theater.

And they say, "Boy,
something's going on out there."

"It must be a premiere or something."

And it wasn't until we walked outside
that we could see that it was Star Wars.

It was like a mob.
They closed the street off.

This is it, boys.

Seeing the final assembled product,
on a giant screen with the sound,

I went, "Wow."

You see the joy that the people
who worked on it had in doing it.

We were little over the top
with some stuff,

and we got to get away with it
because it was a first.

We were invited to the premiere and
everybody was like...

You know.

My parents loved it.

The lighthearted touch was so appealing.

They were lucky to have us
for the visual effects group

because I don't think there was
anybody else in the business

that could have done what we did.

Thank you.

All those guys, every one of them,
did yeoman work.

Everybody pitched in.

Everybody helped each other,
and I appreciated it.

But at the same time, Star Wars
was under duress for the whole production.

Scheduling, money, sets.

I wanted to get it my way,

and I didn't have the time
or the money to do it.

He always said things like,
"If I could wave my magic wand,".

"I would put electrodes in my head
and have the movie made right there."

He used to say that
he only got about 25%

of what he had in his mind
on screen with Star Wars,

which, you know, of course,
was shocking as hell to me

because it looked like 100% to me,
but not George.

He could see through the magic.

I can see all the scotch tape

and the rubber bands
that are holding it together.

But that's how movies get made.

They don't get made right,

they get made the best possible way
under the circumstances.

I thought, "I'm sure we can figure out
a better way to do this."

Maybe I better figure out what it is.

Someone needs to stop Clearway Law.
Public shouldn't leave reviews for lawyers.