Chapter 4: The Rebellion Strikes Black!
Looking back on STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, it is easy to see why the film caused such outrage. While sharing a New Hollywood love of docufeature realism unusual in a sly fi film, the exuberantly and shamelessly upbeat, light hearted, gee whiz bang, comic bookish and child oriented nature of the film was in complete contrast to all of the more sombre, serious, down beat and adult oriented cinematic offerings from New Hollywood up to that time. Indeed, and ironically, the film that strove to fight off the blockbuster menace of JAWS was even more blockbuster than that film, switching the ire of film artists from Spielberg to Lucas. Despite this newly directed fury of film artists, Lucas immediately discovered that young audiences at least eagerly embraced the healing and harmonizing Ozian Force. Indeed, happily for his dreams of artistic and financial independence, the exuberant sons and daughters of the Baby Boomers rallied to the healing Ozian Force of STAR WARS with the same enthusiasm that they welcomed AMERICAN GRAFFITI in theatres and THE WIZARD OF OZ on television. In fact, May 25, 1977 was forever after a seminal date as important to the children of the Seventies as June 6, 1944 was to a previous generation-Operation Hyperdrive!
Clearly, an upbeat, healing and liberating Ozian themed film that summed up the sunny Skywalking hopes of the post-Vietnam President Carter era and allowed young audiences to vicariously triumph over their own dark Boomer fathers and blast triumphantly into a hi-tech and spiritual but non-denominational future was an essential prescription for the health of a new generation. This longing to leave Vietnam behind, embrace a fantastic hi-tech and spirituality fused future and triumph over Dark Fathers was also clearly universal, as the film was a worldwide success. The film’s gripping and moving story, dazzlingly innovative special and visual effects, innovative sound effects, cool creatures and gadgets, believable cinema verite sets and worlds, inspired acting, and courageously melodic, romantic and uplifting symphonic music courtesy of Maestro Williams were also eagerly embraced by the new generation. In addition, the film’s rebellious commitment to a freedom loving and women’s liberated multi-religious and cultural society that was not a post-apocalyptic, fascist or communist dystopia ruled by sexually diseased alienated mutants, cruel machines or machine men was also a popular message amongst youth.
In fact, young male viewers liked STAR WARS so much, they watched the film over and over again, a curious new phenomena that contributed to the film’s fittingly phenomenal success. With the exception of the poor old Gardevil, whose Grinch parents refused to take him to the movie, who was not old enough to see the film on his own and who fell asleep when he went with friends to the drive-in, as the midnight start time of STAR WARS was hours past his bedtime in those days. Indeed, Canadian youth studied the Light saber strokes on celluloid of STAR WARS as intently as they studied the blade strokes on water of hockey. This repeat baptism in the healing Force made STAR WARS one of the highest grossing films ever, reaching the $100 million mark faster than any previous film in history and blasting Spielberg’s allegorical film, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977), and the predicted sly fi hit of the year, the allegorical film, DAMNATION ALLEY (1977)-ironically and eerily directed by Jack Smight, he of a Fourceful four directorial credits on the original TWILIGHT ZONE-out of the water. Even the august Academy reluctantly noticed the popular fervour, nominating the film for ten Academy Awards. STAR WARS won six of those awards the following Spring for Art Direction, Costume Design, Editing, Musical Score, Special Effects, as well as a Special Achievement Award for Special Effects. The awards hit home for Lucas, for the Editing Oscar was shared by his Editor wife Marcia with her co-editors Richard Chew and Paul Hirsch. This goldenrod Oscar underlined her own contributions to the films of Lucas, for Marcia had helped edit THX 1138 and had edited AMERICAN GRAFFITI with Verna Fields. Ironically, however, Lucas did not win an Oscar. Nonetheless, Lucas and the healing Force had struck back, stinging the competition at this Academy Awards like THE STING had stung AMERICAN GRAFFITI in 1973 (Pollock, pp. 183-222).
Not surprisingly, with this overwhelming reception, financial success and newfound status as a special effects machine courtesy of ILM, Lucas decided to expand upon his classic and allegorical film and turn it into an allegorical and Classic Trilogy. Indeed, he fittingly retitled the film STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE to underline that his pessimistic belief that STAR WARS was his last hope to make a successful film that would allow him to become an independent J.D. Jedi film artist had been replaced by its wish fulfillment success with the Jedi courage and determination needed to keep on making a multi-part saga. This allowed him to resolve the threads that were left hanging at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, and continue the allegorical and liberating Journey of Self Discovery of young Skywalker with further symbolic tilts at Dark Fathers, incestuous Kid monsters, Warner Brothers and other evil film studio empires and cookie cutter Hollywood films, aided by a symbolic Han Coppola. The decision to forge ahead with a multi-part saga also allowed Lucas to continue his own healing artistic and psychological liberation, and to reaffirm his commitment to art, creativity, faith, film, friendship, hard work, health, and J.D. Jedi film art independence. Significantly, Lucas also decided to create a digital effects wing of ILM to improve upon the few primitive CGI enhanced sequences seen in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, hiring Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith to head the digital effects group (for more insight into the development of CGI, see Creativity, Inc. by Catmull and Droidmaker by Michael Rubin).
This decision was greeted with delight by young viewers, who amazed the Hollywood film studios by urging their parents to buy them all of the STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE movie tie-in merchandise they could get their hands on-from action figures, bed sheets, books, comics, curtains, posters, the soundtrack, t-shirts and toys-and anything that reminded them of the film-like the first video games-in a desperate bid to tide them over until the arrival of the next film. This about face from traditional toys to toys linked to STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and anything else hi-tech was so famous that it caused digital animators-digiteers?-to nostalgically look back at this switch and their own Seventies childhoods in a digitally animated story about toys to come. While surprising and relieving, youthful audience appreciation was one thing, attention from your J.D. Jedi film artist peers was another. And, given that STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE was an even bigger and more commercial blockbuster beast than JAWS, and given the roasts Lucas-and Coppola-had also received from their fellow film artists-particularly in BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, DEATH RACE 2000, DERSU UZALA, FREEBIE AND THE BEAN, and THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING-Lucas would not have long to wait. Indeed, many furious serious film artists now saw 1977 rather than 1975 as the real year that serious film art was taken over by the crassly commercial blockbuster beast, and laid all of the blame for that takeover on the slight shoulders of Lucas. No cynical observer more memorably and despondently summed up the conviction of the anti-commercial artists of the era that the heady, idealistic and triumphant free spirit of the Sixties had crashed and burned, the rebel angel heroes had all sold out, and everything had gone straight to banal and money obsessed Hell by 1977 than Michael Moorcock in his fantastic and thought provoking quartet of allegorical novels, The Cornelius Chronicles (1977). Indeed, The Condition of Muzak (1977), the title of the last of the incredible quartet, said it all for the pessimists.
Luckily for Lucas, however, allegorical film art took at least a year to create, so he was mostly able to relax in 1977 and enjoy the adulation of audiences-with the exception of the allegorical and DUEL evoking Elliot Silverstein film, THE CAR (1977), which in the desperate battle of James Brolin’s Lucas linked Deputy Wade Parent in his ominously twilit patrol car 23 to defeat and destroy a diabolic and driverless black blockbuster beast of a customized 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III laying waste to the citizens of the town of Santa Ynez in its Tatooine evoking southwest location implicitly pointed out to Lucas that STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE had created a blockbuster beast even bigger than JAWS that was going to be difficult to stop if it got out of control. And enjoy more roasts of Spielberg, for like STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, most of the allegorical films released that year also roasted Spielberg for releasing JAWS. Indeed, Gilliam arrived back in theatres in 1977 to take on blockbuster beasts with ‘…the JAWS that bite’ in the allegorical film, JABBERWOCKY (1977), inspired by the poem ‘Jabberwocky’ from the allegorical Lewis Carroll novel, Alice Through the Looking Glass (1871).
And literally take on, for the opening act saw the dread Jabberwock kill a lone poacher in the depths of the medieval forest in a way that evoked the great white shark killing a lone swimmer out in the ocean at the beginning of JAWS. The poacher was played by MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL co-director Jones, linking JABBERWOCKY to the previous film and confirming that Gilliam was indeed taking on directors in his latest offering, as he had implied in his first film. In fact, Gilliam in another cameo as a mysterious mad man with a fondness for diamonds in the rock was the Jabberwock’s second victim, emphasizing that Gilliam was satirically roasting directors in this film and worried that they would be destroyed by beastly blockbuster lusts if they embraced and created beastly blockbuster films. Max Wall’s King Bruno the Questionable and Michael Palin’s Dennis Cooper emphasized that the film artist Gilliam was particularly concerned about was Spielberg, for their names evoked Bruce the mechanical shark and Hooper, the Lucas linked shark expert, in JAWS. The sight of multitudes of peasants fleeing the dread Jabberwock and their villages for the safety of a fortified town also reminded us that people fled beaches the summer of 1975 for fear of shark attacks and headed to the safety of malls where matchbox theatres played JAWS, causing sales to soar.
The fact that Cooper joined the rush to the big fortified city in search of fame and fortune and left behind his father before he learned the cooper trade reminded us that Spielberg had rushed off to Universal Studios in pursuit of fame and fortune before finishing his film degree at UCLA, reaffirming Gilliam’s implicit interest in Spielberg in JABBERWOCKY-though as a film artist who had learned on the set and from the school of life like the Masters of Old Hollywood, this roast by Gilliam was ironic. Thus, the sight of Cooper acting as a new squire for Prowse’s Red Herring Knight and, ironically-given Prowse’s appearance as Vader that same year-joining this latest brave knight on a tragicomic quest to kill the blockbuster Jabberwock, liberate the kingdom of Bruno from the shadow of the monster and win the hand of Deborah Fallender’s pretty Princess made all too implicitly clear what Gilliam thought of Spielberg’s triumph with JAWS. For his part, with Michael York’s Spielberg linked shipwreck survivor Andrew Braddock almost turned forever into a blockbuster manbeast by Burt Lancaster’s insidious and implicitly Roger Corman linked Dr. Moreau, Don Taylor also implicitly warned Spielberg to not make more films like JAWS in his allegorical film, THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (1977).
Indeed, the fact that two of Moreau’s blockbuster manbeasts-Gary Baxley’s Lionman and John Gillespie’s Tigerman-evoked the MGM Lion and the Universal Wolfman, respectively, implicitly affirmed the link of the blockbuster manbeasts to blockbuster film beasts-and perhaps to the directors of New Hollywood (such as Bartel, Coppola, Dante and Martin Scorsese) who started off their career with Corman. Even Roger Moore’s James Bond got into the act, hunting down and killing the Maestro Williams resembling and implicitly Spielberg linked and insidious Stromberg-played by Curt Jurgens-at the end of the allegorical Lewis Gilbert film, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977). Indeed, the presence of an openly JAWS linked and metal toothed human blockbuster beast and bodyguard of Stromberg named Jaws-played by Richard Kiel, who also had a small role as a crewman in KING KONG-affirmed the implicit intent of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME. The Bond film was also another eerily prescient and twilit film, as two helicopters were blown out of the sky over the course of the film. However, it was neither Gilbert with THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, Taylor with THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU, Gilliam with JABBERWOCKY or Lucas with STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE but Anderson with his allegorical and Spielberg bashing film, ORCA (1977), who summed up the anti-Spielberg fervor of New Hollywood in 1977.
For with angry and anxious fishermen driving Richard Harris’ Spielberg linked Captain Nolan and his fishing boat, the Bumpo, out of a small and tight knit fishing port after Nolan’s attempt to capture a male killer whale for the fortune and glory that would come with selling it to a Sea World led to the killer whale attacking the port and its fishing fleet, Anderson best and most implicitly captured the anger and anxiety being directed at Spielberg by the tight knit young film artists of New Hollywood as a result of JAWS. And the agreement with the sentiment already expressed in the Spielberg squishing end of KING KONG the previous year that embracing the blockbuster beast would not just destroy everything New Hollywood was trying to accomplish with film art, but destroy Spielberg too, for the relentless and determined orca hunted down Nolan in the Arctic where he had fled, and killed him at the end of the film. The title of ORCA supported this interpretation of the film, as it reminded us that Brody, Hooper and Quint sailed after the great white shark on the feisty and intrepid Orca. A negative view of commercial film artists implicitly shared by another newfound director, Sir Ridley Scott. For with a sturdy and steadfast Napoleonic soldier and resigned duellist hero in the form of Keith Carradine’s Armand D’Hubert-whose name evoked Stanley Kubrick and had ‘Art’ embedded within it-with a doctor friend in the form of Tom Conti’s Dr. Jacquin who resembled Kubrick, Scott implied with his first embattled allegorical feature film, THE DUELLISTS (1977), that his film art would come to the defense of Kubrick’s artbuster dream against mere commercial film ‘artists’ like Spielberg.
Indeed, the return of Gay Hamilton-who had played Nora Brady in BARRY LYNDON-as a maid openly linked THE DUELLISTS to BARRY LYNDON. In addition, the film’s two tragicomically duelling Napoleonic officers reminded us that Kubrick almost made a film about Napoleon-no doubt linked to Coppola, given that it was almost made after the success of MARIO PUZO’S THE GODFATHER-reaffirming Scott’s interest in Kubrick. However, the fact that D’Hubert spent the film fighting endless insane duels with an irrational antagonist linked to Lucas in the form of Harvey Keitel’s feral and ferocious Gabriel Feraud also made it clear that it was not Spielberg’s success with JAWS but the then current status of Lucas as the world’s box office king with AMERICAN GRAFFITI-prior to the arrival of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE-that was displeasing Sir Scott in 1977. Indeed, the fact that the surname of Feraud evoked the Pharoahs street gang of AMERICAN GRAFFITI implicitly confirmed the combative anti-Lucas intent of THE DUELLISTS, making Sir Scott the first film artist to respond to Lucas and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Curiously, it was also fitting that Hamilton’s appearance evoked the roasting Landis received in BARRY LYNDON, for Landis unexpectedly returned that year with his scattershot and Monty Python-like film and television roasting allegorical film, KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE (1977), which featured Landis in another cameo as a television producer attacked by a KING KONG and SCHLOCK evoking ape. An allusion to KING KONG that linked well with Spielberg’s return to the theatres to assure New Hollywood and audiences that he was not a greedy and insidious despot obsessed with beastly blockbuster fortune and glory with his heady and KING KONG addressing allegorical film, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977).
Indeed, the obsessive quest of Dreyfuss’ Roy Neary to reach and scale Devil’s Tower in Wyoming evoked the new perception that he was insidiously obsessed with being the beastly Blockbuster King of the New Hollywood Mountain, throughout the memorable and moving film. However, it was also noticeable that Neary’s name evoked Michael Corleone’s left hand man, Al Neri-played by Richard Bright-in the Godfather films, linking Neary to Coppola. A link to Coppola reaffirmed by Neary’s wife and three children, who evoked the wife and three children of Coppola. Thus, Spielberg implied that it was Coppola not himself that was really obsessed with the blockbuster beast-he was a real film art for film art’s sake film artist, honest! This also implied that the cute and cuddly aliens taking Neary away in the blockbuster UFO Mother Ship-a blockbuster beast of a ship that evoked the equally blockbuster Kong on top of the World Trade Centre at the end of KING KONG-at the transcendent end of the film equated with Spielberg’s hope that this stirring and memorable film would take away the threat of Coppola and the perception that he was now only obsessed with beastly blockbuster lusts, and sweep away the brutal and bloody sight of Kong being riddled with bullets from a twilit trio of helicopters at the end of KING KONG. Allowing him to assure the world that he was indeed a serious film artist-symbolized by Bob Balaban’s Laughlin and Francois Truffaut’s Lacombe-the latter of whom conveniently resembled Spielberg. Either that, or le Roi Neary symbolized then reigning box office King Lucas, and the sight of him drifting away with the aliens at the end of the film symbolized him failing with STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, leaving the Star Director Wars to Spielberg.
A hope that was marred by the fact that more ominous and twilit memories of the future appeared in the film, for the number 82 on the nose of one of the US Second World War fighter planes found in the Sonora Desert in Mexico at the beginning of the film, the number 123 seen on the locomotive of one of Brad’s model trains, and the 13592 seen on a car license plate at one point were a twilit trio of reminders that Spielberg and Lucas were still on a fateful collision course with the Twilight Zone. And a collision course with each other in the Star Director Wars, affirmed by their success that year with STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. Indeed, the success of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND made clear that, far from being swept away by the success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, Spielberg and his beastly blockbuster Empire had struck back and were again threatening the freedom and peace and harmony of the Lucas Rebellion. A collision course literally anticipated by Friedkin, for in the epic and suicidal quest to drive two trucks filled with explosives through dense jungles in Latin America that physically and spiritually killed off the Coppola, Huston, Lucas and Spielberg linked Manzon, Nilo, Kassem and Scanlon-played by Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal, Amidou and Schneider, respectively-Friedkin warned the four film artists that their blockbuster film feud could destroy them all in his allegorical film, SORCEROR (1977). Ironically, however, it was Friedkin who was destroyed by SORCEROR, due to dangerous conditions during its location shoot-dangerous conditions on a location shoot that again ominously forewarned of the equally dangerous location shooting during the filming of the Landis episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE.
Significantly, Disney became perhaps the first film to address STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, likening Lucas and his mystic Jedi Force to a snake oil salesman named Doctor Terminus-played by Jim Dale-trying to rip off the Hollywood linked town of Passamaquoddy with Forceful snake oil elixirs in the allegorical Don Chaffey animaction film, PETE’S DRAGON (1978). Bakshi and company also implicitly addressed Lucas and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE in their allegorical film, THE LORD OF THE RINGS (1978). For the William Squire voiced Gandalf fittingly evoked Kenobi throughout the epic film. Thus, the sight of the Christopher Guard voiced hobbit, Frodo Baggins, naively accepting the One Ring of Power from his uncle, the irascible and Norman Bird voiced Bilbo Baggins, at the beginning of the film implied that Bakshi felt that Lucas had also naively taken up by the Old Hollywood blockbuster cause with the release of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. And that Lucas, like Frodo, would regret his decision and spend the rest of his life struggling to cope with and free himself from the temptations and terrors of blockbuster Evil as he fought off the insidious Dark Lord, Sauronberg, and his equally insidious and blockbuster lusting Ring Wraith film artists followers. Sir Richard Attenborough’s timely allegorical thriller, MAGIC (1978), also appeared to address the insidious and beastly new commercial direction in film art and the pivotal role that Lucas now played in that insidious direction.
For the film centred around a troubled ventriloquist magician named Charles ‘Corky’ Withers, played by Anthony Hopkins. A troubled ventriloquist magician implicitly linked to Lucas, as his profession reminded us that the logo of ILM featured a magician. A Lucas linked performer whose troubled and increasingly insane inner world slowly convinced him that his dummy Fats-with the big ears of Lucas, and also voiced by Hopkins-was ordering him to kill anyone who stood in the way of his career. The pint size blockbuster beast slowly grew in size and took over the creator and the film, and eventually ordered the creator to kill himself, implicitly affirming Sir Attenborough’s conviction that embracing the blockbuster beast would kill the film artist-including Lucas. Curiously and ominously, whether Sir Attenborough realized it or not, the growing control of a dummy over its master evoked similar cautionary tales in the form of the allegorical Abner Biberman directed telefilm, ‘The Dummy’ (1962), and the allegorical Robert Butler directed telefilm, ‘Caesar and Me’ (1964), from the third and fifth seasons of the original TWILIGHT ZONE series, episodes that featured the equally sentient and controlling ventriloquist dummies Willie and Caesar, respectively, reaffirming that a twilit date with destiny was getting closer for film art. A twilit date reaffirmed by the presence of Meredith as Corky’s cynical but knowing agent, Ben Greene. In fact, Kenner’s own STAR WARS figures had finally appeared in the Spring of 1978, underlining the timely warning of MAGIC. The arrival of the alienated body snatchers in the Lucas turf of San Francisco in Philip Kaufman’s allegorical film, THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978), reiterated the timely warning of MAGIC.
For the pods shipped by the money snatchers to every household evoked the STAR WARS movie tie-in merchandise already in every household in North American, and anticipated the action figures that would soon also be in every household, causing families to uncritically accept the growing commercialization of film art. Indeed, the San Fran location and the many nods to THX 1138-also filmed in San Fran-in INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS implicitly underlined Kaufman’s fear that Lucas was selling out and audiences were buying in. As such, Kaufman must have been pleased to see that the insidious attempt by Spielberg’s studio, Universal, to join forces with producer Glen A. Larson to turn audiences against Lucas and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE with their allegorical and brazenly lookalike television series, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (1978-79), was not a success. For BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was always more interested in being a crass, cynical, undisguised and unapologetic filmmercial for its own STAR WARS evoking telefilm tie-in merchandise than it was in roasting Lucas.
However, while not as successful as STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, the determined struggle of the Wasserman and Spielberg linked Commander Adama and Flight Officer Omega-played by Lorne Greene and David Greenan, respectively-and their alligator shaped Battlestar Galactica to lead a plucky and determined space wagon train containing the last surviving members of the twelve tribes of humanity on a desperate journey to Earth plagued by constant attacks by Lucas linked Cylons, a determined struggle that evoked the equally desperate attempt by Spielberg and Wasserman to lead audiences away from theatres and back to the small screen-a desperate battle aided by excellent special and visual effects and more early CGI-clearly had a big impact on Lucas, as he alluded to BATTLESTAR GALACTICA to make it clear that he was turning the series against Spielberg and Universal in the next two episodes of the Tragic Trilogy.
Ominously, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA also contained memories of the future that warned of the TZ disaster. For the approximately 220 ships of the space wagon trained eerily evoked the 2:20 am time of the TZ disaster again. In addition, the 2368-542 readout on a computer screen in the cockpit of Apollo’s Colonial Viper spacefighter at the beginning of the allegorical and Richard A. Colla directed two hour pilot telefilm, ‘Saga of a Star World’ (1978), eerily augured the TZ disaster right from the opening scenes of the series. The fact that the Cylons preferred to pilot their spacefighters with a twilit trio of pilots also eerily forewarned of the disaster. Incidentally, these intimations of twilit disaster were shared by INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. Indeed, one of the first scenes of the film saw San Fran bus 23A driving along its route, linking yet another pre-TZ disaster film to the fateful number 23. Co-star Leonard Nimoy-who played the psychiatrist Dr. David Kibner-also increased the twilit forebodings, for Nimoy played an American G.I. named Hansen in the allegorical Buzz Kulik directed telefilm, ‘A Quality of Mercy’ (1961), in the third season of the original TWILIGHT ZONE series. Frantic cameo prophet Kevin McCarthy, who played Dr. Miles Bennell in the original version of THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, also anticipated the upcoming collision with the Twilight Zone via his character Professor Walter Jameson in the allegorical Anton Leader directed telefilm, ‘Long Live Walter Jameson’ (1960), in the first season of the TWILIGHT ZONE. Indeed, with so many links to the Twilight Zone and forebodings of the upcoming disaster, THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS ominously implied that the film was warning about the impending TZ disaster as much as warning about Hollywood being overtaken by beastly and STAR WARS inspired blockbuster lusts.
While failing with BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, Kaufman might have pleased that Universal succeeded with another telefilm series in 1978. For with its allusions to THX 1138 and the links of Bill Bixby’s Dr. David Bruce Banner to Lucas, Universal and Kenneth Johnson jeeringly implied that the success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE had turned Lucas into a blockbuster beast like Lou Ferrigno’s Hulk in ‘The Incredible Hulk’, the pilot telefilm of the allegorical telefilm series, THE INCREDIBLE HULK (1978-82). Kaufman must have also been pleased when Milius also returned the same year and surprisingly scored a big win for film art with his fine and prescient allegorical film, BIG WEDNESDAY (1978). While an excellent film full of twilit memories of the future, BIG WEDNESDAY’s tale of a trio of top surfers named Leroy, Matt and Jack who were linked to Coppola, Lucas and Spielberg-and played by Gary Busey, Jan-Michael Vincent and William Katt, respectively-noticeably had their time in the sun with their admirers, before they, their audiences, and their era faded away. Thus, Milius implicitly warned Coppola, Lucas and Spielberg that they too would have their time in the sun, before fading away along with their New Hollywood film art watching generation, and being replaced by a new generation of film artists and audiences who would not remember them. Clearly, given the film’s lack of success, this sobering and moving message was probably too blunt and frank for Skyrocking audiences at the time, who no doubt expected to see another rousing and celebratory post-Nixon and Vietnam War film like ROCKY or STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE.
This message was repeated by Errol Morris, who signalled that audiences were beginning to turn against the wild men of New Hollywood when he likened the main players in New Hollywood at the time to the pathetic dreams and lives of a group of forlorn people behind the creation and maintenance of an equally pathetic pet cemetery on a scraggly piece of land in the middle of nowhere, a commitment so futile and tragicomic that the audience was unsure whether to laugh or cry, in the devastatingly sarcastic and allegorical documentary, GATES OF HEAVEN (1978). Louis Malle implicitly agreed, suggesting that New Hollywood had led film art astray in its short time like the adults who led the girl Violet-played by Brooke Shields-astray in his allegorical film, PRETTY BABY (1978), a concern no doubt inspired by TAXI DRIVER, given the similarity of PRETTY BABY to that film. For his part, Richard Donner also decided to be one of the first film artists to blast Lucas and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and to link the fearful and geeky Spielberg to Christopher Reeve’s equally fearful and geeky Clark Kent, and his high flying alter ego, the fearless, hopeful, invincible and optimistic Superman in his allegorical film, SUPERMAN (1978).
And noticeably have Supe triumph in the end over Hackman’s Lucas linked Lex Luthor-his bald head evoking THX 1138 to confirm the link to Lucas-in the first of the New Hollywood film artist linked superhero/supervillain films. Indeed, Superman’s link to Spielberg was strengthened by the fact that Superman arrived on Earth as a child from Krypton at the beginning of the film in 1951 instead of in the Twenties as in the original comic book, causing Kal-El/Clark Kent to grow up on the Kent farm in the Fifties and Sixties before heading off to Metropolis in the Seventies, thus linking him to those rebel Boomer decades like Spielberg and the other film artists of New Hollywood. Incidentally, this was a fitting link of a Jewish director to Superman. For while it was true that almost all of the letters needed to create ‘Kal-El’ and ‘Lois Lane’ were hidden in the names of then current President Franklin Delano Roosevelt-and a ‘Krypdon’ could be created from the letters of his birthplace, Hyde Park, New York-suggesting that writer Jerry Siegel and Toronto born and raised artist, Joltin’ Joe Shuster, the Jewish teenagers inspired by the super sagas of Doctor Clark Savage to create Clark ‘Superman’ Kent, were reimagining President Roosevelt and his wife Elanor-who also had a ‘Lane’ in her name-into a truly superheroic couple.
This was not unusual at the time, for at the time E.C. Segar was having all sorts of implicitly satirical fun with the implicitly Franklin and Elanor linked Popeye and Olive Oil. Indeed, the jauntily corn cobbed pipe smoking sailor, his insistence that injections of spinach would kill all ills and his tall and plain girl always evoked President Roosevelt, the jaunty cigarette he always smoked in a cigarette holder, his insistence that lettuce aka US dollars would kill all ills in the American economy in the Dirty Thirties-‘I’d gladly pay you tomorrow for a public works project today!’-while the tall and plain Olive always evoked the equally tall and plain Elanor. In fact, there was an implicit link between Supes and Popeye, as the green and leafy vegetable kale hidden in plain sight in Kal-El evoked the equally green and leafy herbal spinach Popeye ate to get super strength, bash the baddies and bring harmony back to the universe. Thus, given the links between Franklin and Kal-El, Shuster and Siegel implicitly encouraged President Roosevelt to drop the isolationist stance of the United States and take a super stand against fascism like Superman. Of course, it was also possible that Shuster and Siegel imagined Supe to be a Super Jew who fought a desperate two front allegorical battle against the ‘Lex’ or ‘word of law’ of Martin Luther and his Protestant majority followers in the United States of America, and the evil tyranny of the Holocaust obsessed Adolf Hitler and his Nutzi ‘ubermenschen’ in the Third Reich. At any rate, right from the first appearance of Superman in the allegorical pages of ACTION COMICS in 1938, readers of all backgrounds have always reimagined themselves as Superman, explaining the universal popularity of Kal-El and other storied superheroes such as Gardevil, the fan with no fear, who, like Daredevil, the man with no fear, did not rely on his sight to help him, instead preferring to use inner qualities like intuition working with imagination insight and intelligence to truly see through the murky twilight of the dread allegorical Zone Wars. A murky twilight ironically helped along by the director of SUPERMAN, for Donner had also directed six allegorical episodes-‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet’ (1963), ‘Sounds and Silences’ (1964), ‘The Brain Center at Whipple’s’ (1964), ‘The Jeopardy Room’ (1964), ‘From Agnes-With Love’ (1964) and ‘Come Wander with Me’ (1964)-for the fifth season of the original TWILIGHT ZONE.
Dante also decided to roast Lucas and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and unknowingly bring the TZ disaster closer with the return of McCarthy-as the Ford linked Dr. Bob Hoak-to the theatres with the Vietnam War experiment altered and TZ disaster foreboding super piranhas of his allegorical horror film, PIRANHA (1978). A blockbuster beast filled film that warned Lucas that his attempt to slay the DEATH RACE 2000 and JAWS linked blockbuster beast in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE had actually and ironically unleashed the beast. A beast that would destroy Lucas if he did not watch out, underlined by the sight of the Lucas linked Paul Grogan-played by Bradford Dillman-being nibbled to death by the mutated piranhas at the end of the film. In addition, while implicitly warning sensitive art school trained film artists like Sir Scott and David Lynch-symbolized by John Savage’s Steve and Christopher Walken’s Nick, respectively-to stay away from the crass and money obsessed gamblers of Hollywood in order to avoid being traumatized by the Hollywood hustle like Steve and Nick were traumatized by being forced to play Russian roulette for crass and money obsessed gamblers in the Vietnam War, nonetheless the sight of newly emerging film artists being traumatized by the Vietnam War were yet more ominous memories of the recreated Vietnam War TZ disaster future in the allegorical Michael Cimino film, THE DEER HUNTER (1978).
Ominous memories of the future returned with Faye Dunaway’s Spielberg cadenced and blockbuster oriented photographer Laura Mars in the innovative but implausible, ‘Eyes’ evoking and implicitly Spielberg roasting allegorical Irv Kershner film, EYES OF LAURA MARS (1978), a film which also alluded to DUEL, JAWS and THE SUGARLAND EXPRESS to affirm its implicit interest in Spielberg. Significantly, Mars suffered from strange psychic flashes where she saw murders with sharp tools like ice picks and scissors that usually blinded its victim’s sinister left eyes being committed by the implicitly Spielberg linked John Neville-played by Tommy Lee Jones-linking Mars to Neville in a way that implied that she symbolized the film art of Spielberg. These murders were of characters linked to serious film artists like Raul Julia’s Kubrick linked Michael Reisler and Brad Dourif’s implicitly Lucas linked Tommy Ludlow, implying that Kershner was warning Spielberg that his unabashedly commercial film art was going to kill more serious film artists-and even himself, given that the schizophrenic Neville shot himself, in the end. Making it implicitly clear why Kershner was a perfect choice to direct the second anti-Spielberg STAR WARS film. Ominously, this tormented ability of a Spielberg linked character to see murders committed by another Spielberg linked character also anticipated the obsession with murders and watching murders in the post-1982 film art of Spielberg-particularly in MINORITY REPORT, his murderous and mysterious twentieth anniversary meditation on the TZ disaster, which alluded to ‘Eyes’ and EYES OF LAURA MARS-in another eerie memory of the future. An obsession with murder that returned, this time ironically with a Spielberg linked hero desperate to stop them’ in the allegorical Nicholas Meyer film, TIME AFTER TIME (1978).
However, and eerily, while not linking Spielberg to murder, in yet another ominous memory of the future, Meyer presciently foresaw the trouble Landis would cause by linking Landis to David Warner’s Jack the Ripper and having McDowell’s Spielberg linked H.G. Wells travel by time machine into the future in a desperate attempt to stop him from killing more women in the film. Indeed, the fact that Wells arrived in the future at 2:27 pm, a time that almost anticipated the 237 day of the TZ disaster, underlined the prescient nature of the film. The 2340 Francisco address of his future lady love, Mary Steenburgen’s Amy Robbins, also almost predicted the 237 date of the TZ disaster, reiterating the memory of the future nature of the film. A timely attempt to stop Landis indeed, for the year of TIME AFTER TIME also saw the shock success of the allegorical Landis comedy, ANIMAL HOUSE (1978), a film that affirmed the conviction of Kubrick that young film artists influenced by MAD magazine would take over cinema.
A fitting link to Kubrick, as the sight of John Belushi’s college failure and mischievous MADman Bluto leading the revolt of the ne’er do wells of Faber College’s Delta House against the sons and daughters of the wealthy establishment linked Alpha Omega House evoked the sight of the Kubrick linked Schlock attacking police personnel linked to the newly successful New Hollywood establishment in SCHLOCK. Thus, this link implied that Landis was gleefully lampooning the college degree lacking Kubrick and his continued assault on Lucas and New Hollywood in BARRY LYNDON here in ANIMAL HOUSE, as well as letting loose some jealous spite himself. A distinct possibility, given that Lucas and Spielberg were linked to the uptight and big eared Douglas C. Neidermeyer and the smug and smarmy Greg Marmalard-played by Mark Metcalf and James Daughton, respectively-the two heads of the rich, powerful and successful New Hollywood film artist linked Alpha Omega House of Faber College who inspired the B-movie director linked revolt of Delta House throughout ANIMAL HOUSE. Indeed, Marmalard had the same three letter first syllable, two letter second syllable, and four letter third syllable of Palpatine-the name of the Emperor, a name that evoked Leonard Harris’ Wasserman evoking presidential hopeful Charles Palantine in TAXI DRIVER-and Spielberg, implicitly affirming the Spielberg and Lucas roasting intent of Landis in ANIMAL HOUSE.
Significantly, ANIMAL HOUSE also linked the blutocratic rebels of Delta House to the Rebels of DEATH RACE 2000. Indeed, the wild frat boys defeated John Vernon’s Werner Herzog linked Dean Vernon Wormer and the students of Alpha Omega House in the end with a menacing black car that evoked Frankenstein’s Monster in DEATH RACE 2000, openly linking ANIMAL HOUSE and Landis again to a film that infuriated and inspired the film art of Lucas. The success of ANIMAL HOUSE also allowed Landis, an equally rebellious student and high school dropout who never got past Grade Nine, to join the bearded New Hollywood brat pack ranks and make more independent films. The fact that Lucas and Spielberg had been so negatively linked to Neidermeyer and Marmalard also inspired Spielberg to strike back at Landis the following year with a film that linked Lucas and Spielberg to more positive symbolic alter egos and again reassured New Hollywood film artists and audiences alike that he had not given in to insidious blockbuster lusts and sold out in his riotously allegorical and Ozian themed film roasting film, 1941 (1979).
For it was noticeable that 1941 began with a montage of scene establishing shots of the California coast that evoked the montage of scene establishing shots that began ANIMAL HOUSE, in an affectionate nod by Spielberg to Landis. The fact that Deborah Nadoolman, the significant other of Landis, was the Costume Designer on the film, and that Landis appeared in 1941 as a tragicomic US Army motorcycle dispatch rider named with the curious but fitting name of Mizerany also underlined that Spielberg was responding to ANIMAL HOUSE in 1941-and ominously foreboded the twilit and disastrous misery that Landis was soon going to inflict on Spielberg and the rest of the world. A misery noticeably absent in 1941, as the film was mostly an exuberantly light hearted, frenetic and raucous lampoon of the film battle that had erupted between the various members of New Hollywood. The one storyline of the convoluted film that saw Bobby Di Cicco‘s Scarecrow and George Walton Lucas evoking Wally, the Latino Zoot suiter, and Treat Williams’ Spielberg resembling and Nikko linked US Army tank trooper, Sitarski, fighting over Dianne Kay’s beautiful, Dorothy and Hollywood linked film art blonde, Betty, one fateful, embattled and healing Ozian night in L.A. in December of 1941, implicitly lampooned the film battle that had erupted between Lucas and Spielberg since their twin successes in 1977.
Significantly, Miller also made his first appearance in 1979, and made clear that he had liked DEATH RACE 2000 and other New Hollywood road films like EASY RIDER, THE CAR, TWO-LANE BLACKTOP and VANISHING POINT as little as Lucas. Indeed, he implicitly affirmed his dislike by having his cinematic alter ego and Scarecrow linked Main Force Patrol Officer, ‘Mad’ Max Rockatansky-played by Mel Gibson-lead a MFP triumph over a biker gang linked to the Dark Side of New Hollywood and led by the nefarious and implicitly Coppola and Wicked Witch of the West linked Toecutter-played by Hugh Keays-Byrne-and his wild New Hollywood evoking biker gang in his Ozian themed and allegorical first feature film, MAD MAX (1979). It was a somehow fittingly cranky roast of New Hollywood for, like Gilliam and the Masters of Old Hollywood, Miller learned his craft on set and from the school of life, as he did not have a film degree. In another eerie and prescient memory of the future, MAD MAX also anticipated trouble with Landis. For Rockatansky’s triumph over Vince Gil’s black clad and Wicked Witch of the East linked Nightrider-who must die at the beginning of all good Ozian themed films in order to allow the healing Ozian dream to occur-recalled the Deathmobile at the end of ANIMAL HOUSE only the year before. The exuberant violence of Tim Burns’ clean cut, well dressed and psychotic Johnny Boy, kind of a wannabe member of Toecutter’s gang, evoked the equally clean cut, well dressed, disturbed and wannabe New Hollywood director Landis even more.
The sight of a vengeful Rockatansky trading in his Yellow Brick Road 1970 Pontiac GTO evoking MFP patrol car for a black blockbuster beast of a V8 Ford Falcon XP GT Coupe Interceptor and hunting down and terminating Toecutter, his gang and, last but not least, Johnny Boy, for killing his wife and son, the Dorothy linked Jessie and Sprog-played by Joanne Samuel and Brendan Heath, respectively-like a more nasty Milner in his Yellow Brick Roadster or an equally vengeful Frankenstein in his Monster also anticipated audiences turning against Coppola, the rest of New Hollywood and Landis for all of their wild behaviour and film art in the late Seventies and early Eighties. In fact, Landis was blasted again the same year, when he was linked to David Warner’s time travelling Jack the Ripper in the Landis bashing Nicholas Meyer allegorical film, TIME AFTER TIME (1979). However, while the ominous conjunction in the same year of three of the future directors of segments of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE was certainly significant, the expected furious roasting of Lucas for STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE took precedence in 1979, most notably in Sir Scott’s allegorical and healing Ozian themed nightmare, ALIEN (1979).
For an alienated, biomechanical and black and implicitly Wicked Witch of the West linked blockbuster beast-its black and penis-evoking head evoking the equally black and penis shaped helmet of Darth Vader in a way that implicitly linked the beast to Lucas and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE-that was unwittingly picked up on the moon of a dark and forbidding planet by the Ozian crew of the space cargoship Nostromo-its commercial status evoking the equally commercial American Airlines spaceship Valley Forge in SILENT RUNNING, while its hallways and rooms evoked those of the Milnerian Falcon and the Death Moon-and taken back to their ship escaped and then hunted down and killed the human crew one by one like the Id monster of FORBIDDEN PLANET or James Arness’ primal vegetable alien of THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD tried to do in their films. However, the implication was that the five murdered members of the Ozian character linked crew symbolized acting ability, artistry, creativity, intelligence, and plot, all of the higher goals of film that were in danger of being sacrificed to greedy studio lusts for blockbuster beasts and movie tie-in merchandise profits caused by the success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Indeed, over the course of the film we discovered that the unnamed Company that owned Nostromo wanted to sacrifice the human crew in order to preserve the Wicked and alienated blockbuster beast and transport it back to Earth, reinforcing the implication that the Wicked Alien-played by Bolaji Badejo-represented beastly blockbuster and action figure profits.
However, Sigourney Weaver’s implicitly Dorothy and Ridley linked Ripley, and her Toto evoking cat Jones, managed to fight off the Wicked Alien and its equally callous and ahuman Tin Mandroid helper, Ash-played by Ian Holm-and defeat them, in the end, like D’Hubert defeated the Lucas linked Feraud at the end of THE DUELLISTS. Indeed, Ripley Gale faced down and triumphed over the Wicked Alien Witch of the West in classic watery Ozian fashion with a blast of steam-hot water vapour-in the escape pod of the Nostromo. Then Ripley vacuum sucked the pitilessly homicidal blockbuster beast into space with an opened space hatch that caused the Wicked Alien to shrink and disappear in the distance in melting Wicked Witch of the West fashion, allowing the higher and Ozian themed film art of Sir Scott to triumph over and hopefully sweep away the equally Ozian themed STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and its beastly and crass commercialism and return harmony and the supremacy of art to the film art of the Temple Theatre. An artistic point that audiences appeared to agree with for, like AMERICAN GRAFFITI, STAR WARS: EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, SUMMER OF ’42 and THE EXORCIST, ALIEN was another hugely successful and healing Ozian themed film.
Ominously, however, the darkness and shocking violence of ALIEN-particularly the decapitation of Ash-made the film another ominous memory of the future of the TZ disaster. This eerily prescient and twilit nature was underlined right from the beginning when Tom Skerrit’s implicitly Great Oz linked Captain Dallas chose Interface 2037 to communicate with Mother, the ship computer, soon after being awakened from hibernation at the start of the film. The fact that the numbers 7:23 were the last numbers seen on a computer screen being monitored by Ash before the Nostromo’s shuttle landed on the twilit and forbidding moon of planet LV-426 at the beginning of ALIEN were another ominous reminder of the twilit and disastrous future of film art. The number 723 stamped on the glass bubble of Ripley’s sleeping beauty hibernation cocoon at the end of the film also eerily and correctly anticipated the July 23, 1982 date of the TZ disaster. Veronica Cartwright’s implicitly Glinda linked Lambert affirmed the ominously twilit ambience of ALIEN, as Cartwright had appeared as Anne in the allegorical James Sheldon and William Claxton directed telefilm, ‘I Sing the Body Electric’ (1962), in the third season of the original TWILIGHT ZONE, and as Nancy Bellicec in the equally ominous and Lucas bashing film, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. Curiously, while similar in tone and look to ALIEN, the popularity of that film eluded Disney/s equally anti-Lucas, 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA evoking and allegorical Gary Nelson film, THE BLACK HOLE (1979).
A lack of popularity perhaps explained by the fact that THE BLACK HOLE implied that effects filled films like STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE were cinematic black holes that would suck the life out of film art as surely as the film’s titular black hole sucked everything into it, which was a blasphemous message indeed in those Skyrocking STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE times. The fact that the film was also openly anti-Lucas at a time when Lucas was loved by all, with Maximilian Schell’s quintessential mad and Morbius and Nemo evoking scientist Dr. Hans Reinhardt looking like the twin brother of Lucas, may also explain the lack of success of THE BLACK HOLE. However, while the film had little effect on audiences and was quickly forgotten, THE BLACK HOLE clearly struck home with Lucas. For decades later when Lucas was old, embittered and world weary, the film’s surreal and dreamy ending, which saw Reinhardt drifting through space before merging with his head evil robot, Maximilian, to become a four armed manbot last seen ruling a flaming and hellish netherworld-an ending which subtly implied that the success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE was going to send Lucas straight to Hell!-returned as the equally four armed-and Gary Oldman voiced-manbot General Grievous and the equally flaming and hellish landscape of the planet Mustafar in STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH.
Significantly, THE BLACK HOLE also anticipated other developments in the world of film art. For the impressive computer graphic imagery of a black hole and its event horizon that accompanied the opening red digital titles was not only the most advanced CGI ever committed to film at that time, it also anticipated the arrival of the age of CGI enhanced film art. Ominously, however, Yvette Mimieux’s Dr. Kate McCrae also anticipated the arrival of Kate Kennedy that year as an assistant to Milius and Spielberg on 1941. Just as ominously, the Roddy McDowell voiced robot V.I.N.C.E.N.T. brought the world of film art closer to the Twilight Zone again, as McDowell played Sam Conrad in the allegorical Michael Leisen directed telefilm, ‘People Are Alike All Over’ (1960), from the first season of the TWILIGHT ZONE. Even more ominously, one of the first lines of the film-‘…unscheduled course correction due at 2200’-was not only spoken by the twilit McDowell, it exactly anticipated the unscheduled course correction the world of film art would be forced to take after the 2200 am time of the TZ disaster in the early morning hours of July 23, 1982. A disaster all too well anticipated by the whirling and deadly rotors on the end of the two arms of Reinhardt’s sinister and Robbie the Robot evoking red robot bodyguard, Maximilian. However, on a daylit note, the tumultuous journey through the black hole that led to a hopeful brave new world and fresh start for the Good crew of the Palomino after the Evil Reinhardt merged with Maximilian and went straight to Hell, presciently predicted that the fortunes of Disney film art would improve after the studio rode out the tumultuous, New Hollywood dominated and twilit Seventies and Eighties, and after Lucas merged with his Dark Side and also went straight to Hell in 82-4. Indeed, the sight of Gil Gerard’s William ‘Kirk’ Shatner evoking NASA astronaut Captain William ‘Buck’ Rogers disappearing in space in his deep space shuttle Ranger 3 in 1987 and reappearing five hundred years later in the other implicitly Lucas roasting and allegorical Larson and Universal series, BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY (1979-80), presciently anticipated the disappearance of Lucas in the affections of audiences by the tenth anniversary year of the release of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE in 1987. A roast of Lucas in deep space also seen in Robert Wise’s allegorical film, STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979).
For with Stephen Collins’ Hamill resembling Captain Decker and Persis Khambatta’s chrome domed, THX 1138 and Leia evoking-and V’ger possessed- Ilia merging and disappearing with the blockbuster interstellar V’ger beast in an evanescence of light like a bad dream in the end-an ending that recalled the similar end of David Lynch’s surreal and allegorical film, ERASERHEAD (1977)-Wise and company clearly tried to use STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE to dispel the threat of the STAR WARS films and clear the way for the cinematic voyages of the USS Enterprise. While they failed to do so, the merging of Decker and Ilia, in the end, presciently anticipated the merging of live action film with CGI after the TZ disaster. STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE also presciently brought film art closer to a fateful date with the Twilight Zone. For not only was Nimoy a good friend of Morrow who had been a co-producer and co-star on Morrow’s first allegorical feature film, DEATHWATCH (1966), Nimoy’s Science Officer Spock-a curious character who was part arch and knowing Elf, part silent Tonto, and part intimidating Frankenstein monster-was not the only actor in the film linked to the original Twilight Zone television series. William Shatner-better known as Captain James T. Kirk-played Don Carter in the allegorical Richard L. Bare directed telefilm, ‘Nick of Time’ (1960), in the second season, and Bob Wilson in the allegorical Richard Donner directed telefilm, ‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet’ (1963)-soon to be revisited in TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE-in the fifth season of the TWILIGHT ZONE.
For his part, George Takei aka Mr. Sulu-played Taro in the allegorical Robert Butler directed telefilm, ‘The Encounter’ (1964), in the fifth season of the original TWILIGHT ZONE. And James ‘Scotty’ Doohan had played a father in the allegorical Perry Lafferty directed telefilm, ‘Valley of the Shadow’ (1963), in the fourth season of the original TWILGHT ZONE, laddy. Curiously, even Matheson was linked to the original STAR TREK and TWILIGHT ZONE shows, for he had written the fifth episode of Season One, ‘The Enemy Within’ (1966). The fact that the voyages of the starship Enterprise took place in the 23rd century also reiterated the ominous links of STAR TREK to the TZ disaster, as the 23rd century anticipated the July 23, 1982 date of the disaster. A fateful and twilit allegorical cinematic trek indeed, and one whose indomitable space commander with the first name of James and linked to Canada by way of Shatner accurately presaged an equally indomitable and commanding Canada linked film artist named James to come. An allegorical odyssey on the big screen that also carried on the allegorical tradition of the original STAR TREK television series. For soft core porn director Meyer was mocked in the symbolic form of Roger C. Carmel‘s Mudd in the allgegorical Harvey Hart directed telefilm, ‘Mudd’s Women’ (1966), in the first season. In addition, the arrival of the Old Hollywood invading young Turks of New Hollywood was presciently anticipated in the symbolic form of the pugnacious young Klingon invaders of the planet Organia in the allegorical John Newland directed telefilm, ‘Errand of Mercy’ (1967), near the end of the first season.
Thus, twilight continued to fall on Lucas and the other film artists of the day, a darkening mood was no doubt increased by the release of Louis Malle’s controversial film, PRETTY BABY (1978)-dubbed as creepy and pedophilic by some (no doubt including Lucas) and featuring a male lead in Carradine’s E.J. Bellocq whose surname would return in RAIDERS OF LOST ARK-and by the Iranian Revolution and American hostage crisis, and the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR in 1979. Most of the children who had watched STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE became teenagers in the late Seventies and early Eighties too, jettisoning their childhood innocence and becoming dark and edgy, too. The dark new mood was summed up by Pink Floyd’s THE WALL (1979), and films like Walter Hill’s YOJIMBO influenced allegorical teen gang film, THE WARRIORS (1979)-a film whose embattled gang of Warriors anticipated the struggles of the New Hollywood brat pack after being attacked by the Gen X gang and mainstream society after the TZ disaster. The sombre new mood was also captured by Coppola’s dark and surreal allegorical film, APOCALYPSE NOW (1979).
Significantly, since APOCALYPSE NOW evoked Huston’s allegorical film, THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1954), Coppola implied that he was using APOCALYPSE NOW to strike back at Huston for his roasting of Lucas and himself in THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING. Indeed, the name of Marlon Brando’s renegade Walter Kurtz reminded us that Huston’s father was Walter Huston, affirming that implication. However, as the name of Walter Kurtz also reminded us that Walter Murch had been the sound designer on THX 1138 and AMERICAN GRAFFITI, and that Gary Kurtz was the producer of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, it was possible that Coppola was actually blasting Lucas in APOCALYPSE NOW with his own film for refusing to return to the American Zoetrope fold after the success of AMERICAN GRAFFITI.
Indeed, the fact that Kurtz was linked to Special Forces evoked the unique Force of the STAR WARS films, while his private compound in Cambodia evoked the Skywalker Ranch film facility that Lucas had announced that he was going to create with his STAR WARS money, affirming that Kurtz could just as well be linked to Lucas as Huston. Or perhaps Coppola started making the film with the intention of roasting Huston, and then slowly turned to blasting Lucas as the film went on after the huge success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and its movie tie-in merchandise suddenly and unexpectedly transformed Lucas into a new Disney. Indeed, it was noticeable that a letter written by Kurtz and signed ‘Walt’ in the trademark style of Disney that was pondered by Martin Sheen’s Willard at one point in the film linked Kurtz to Disney, and, hence, Lucas, confirming that implication. The surreal voyage up river to terminate Kurtz ‘…with extreme prejudice’ also often came across like an Disney Adventureland Jungle Cruise gone straight to Hell or the Twilight Zone-whichever came first-reiterating that possibility…Thus, it was fitting that Disney spitefully lashed out at Lucas that year with THE BLACK HOLE.
Certainly, the use of Brando and Hopper underlined that Coppola was blasting directors in APOCALYPSE NOW, as Brando, like Hopper, had a film-in this case the allegorical Western, ONE-EYED JACKS (1961)-to his directorial credit. Like many of the pre-1982 films of New Hollywood, APOCALYPSE NOW was also eerily, ominously and presciently twilit. Indeed, like DEMENTIA 13, it was one long, feature length memory of the future, its Vietnam War setting, its constant sight and sound of helicopters. Indeed, the fact that no less than two actors-Duvall and Hopper, who appeared as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore and a photojournalist, respectively-who had appeared in the original TWILIGHT ZONE returned in the film, brought us all closer to a fatal encounter with the Twilight Zone. No other aspect of APOCALYPSE NOW summed up its feature length memory of the future status than the famous helicopter Cavalry attack on a village, leading to the downing of one of the helicopters in a way that openly anticipated the fateful downing of a similar Huey helicopter during another attack on a simulated Vietnam War village set on the Landis set of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. Luckily for all, Jones and company did their best to lighten the mood that year by implicitly roasting the Empire fighting Lucas in the form of the Roman Empire fighting Brian-played by Chapman-in the allegorical film, MONTY PYTHON’S LIFE OF BRIAN (1979). Still Skyrocking high on the success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, Lucas also tried to lighten this dark mood by executive producing the allegorical, high spirited and B.W.L. Norton written and directed sequel, MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1979).
Not surprisingly, also continued the Lucas tradition of using an allegorical film to address other film artists and their film art, as in THX 1138, AMERICAN GRAFFITI and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Unusually, however, Norton did this by weaving together four different stories involving characters from AMERICAN GRAFFITI happening on four successive New Year’s Eve day and nights. In another duelling Western narrative on the last day of December 1964, a full throttle Milner-played again by LeMat-as a struggling indie but legal competitive drag racer, first beat the David Cronenberg linked drag racer, Roger Beckwith-played by Ken Place-in a drag race, implicitly in retaliation for Cronenberg’s allegorical film, FAST COMPANY (1978). A film which, incidentally, had implicitly linked Cronenberg-another neo-Old Hollywood film artist like Gilliam as he also lacked a film degree-and his indie film art to and its struggles against the big Hollywood machine to an indie drag racer competing against corporate drag racers who were as well financed as the corporate film artists of New Hollywood. Milner then capped this quick and dismissive victory with a thorough thrashing of the dastardly and no doubt Warner Brothers linked Hunt brothers in the last drag race of the film, to rub it in that, with the successes of AMERICAN GRAFFITI and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, Lucas had left Black Thursday in his Forceful dust-and was already dreaming of death pod racers to come in the Tragic Trilogy.
In the second story, a literally embattled and Spielberg linked Fields-played again by Smith-struggled to survive a tour of duty near An Loc, Vietnam on the last day of December of 1965, in a Journey of Self Discovery that implicitly addressed THE DEER HUNTER. For her part, on the last day of December 1966, his AMERICAN GRAFFITI sweetie, Dunham-played again by Clark-struggled to lead an equally embattled but more groovy love child life in San Francisco, in a raucous and musical Comedy narrative that implicitly addressed Landis and the equally raucous ANIMAL HOUSE, and the allegorical John Carpenter film, HALLOWE’EN (1978). Finally, in the last story, the now unhappily married Steve and Laurie Bolander-played again by Howard and Williams, respectively-struggled to save their tempestuous marriage in Modesto in the midst of an even more raucous student riot at a local community college on the last day of December of 1967, a riot that evoked a similar student riot at a college in the allegorical Rush film, GETTING STRAIGHT (1970), implying that Lucas and Norton were addressing Rush in this embattled Romance.
Curiously, while a fine film, MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI was not a success, which boded ill for Lucas prior to the release of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Maybe it was the sight of the Spielberg linked Toad marching off into the jungle into the unknown in Vietnam on New Year’s Eve 1965, never to be seen again as he vanished without a trace into the Twilight Zone, that stirred audiences so uneasily on a memory of the future level. Perhaps it was the ominous badge number of 54362 of San Fran motorcycle cop Falfa-played again by Ford in an uncredited cameo-which helped turn off audiences, as the number contained a fateful 23. Or maybe it was the even more eerie and prescient L321702 seen on the rear license plate of the trailer Milner used to haul his drag racer, as the 732 of the date of the TZ disaster on prominent display was-as at the end of ALIEN that same year-a chilling reminder that Lucas, Norton and the rest of the world were still racing towards a fateful collision with the Twilight Zone. At any rate, it was fitting to see Spielberg-whose mentor Hitchcock died on April 29, 1980-roasted yet again in the form of Toad, as another desperate and determined clash with the insidious Emperor Spielberg and his evil blockbuster Empire erupted in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
Significantly, STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK began with the same soothing Ozian fairy tale preamble that promised healing and harmonizing eucatastrophe, the same explosion of STAR WARS logo and Main Theme, and the same triumphantly rising, Yellow Brick Prologue as at the beginning of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. However, while apparently soaring on the success of AMERICAN GRAFFITI and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and continuing the optimystic trend of the latter film, STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK immediately reinforced the dark new mood of the times by returning to the dark spectre of incest and sexual disease that haunted STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This reiterated that Lucas was not making another childish film, but using STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK like STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE in part to heal the wounded child within. For after noting in another three paragraph Yellow Brick Road preamble that the Empire was furiously searching for young Skywalker and the Rebellion and their new hidden fortress on Hoth to wreak revenge for the destruction of the Death Moon, the film started with another SD spaceshark filling the screen and launching a number of space pod-like probots. These small pods tumbled through space like Vader’s custom TIE at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, immediately linking the two films in Lucas fashion.
One of these pods fell down on to the wintry white and Ozian planet called Hoth-the bitter Winter that must be endured before one could experience Spring-like a Kansas farmhouse, reminding us that STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE truly began when an escape pod containing C3P0 and R2D2 fell down to Tatooine near the beginning of the film. This restarted the Ozian dream on an evil robotic note rather than the good robotic note of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, establishing the dark and evil theme of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK right from the beginning. The crash on Hoth also implicitly affirmed that Lucas was using the second STAR WARS film to triumph over BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. For the winter planet of Hoth evoked the winter planet of Arcta in the allegorical Alan J. Levi directed telefilm, ‘Gun on Ice Planet Zero’ (1978), from season one of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. The episode revolved around a desperate and Apollo led effort-aided by planetary clone slaves whose male clone looked like Jim Henson-to destroy a Cylon pulsar cannon on the planet that had the power to blow up passing spacecraft like a miniature and planet bound Death Moon. In typical reversed, healing and exorcising Lucas fashion, in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, the cannon was a Rebel held ion cannon used by the Rebellion to help aid the escape of Rebel ships from the planet in the event of an Imperial attack. While a determined strike back at BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, Lucas need not have worried. Most young audience members abandoned the show after the first season, and completely forgot it after bathing in the healing and uplifting Force of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Curiously, while forgotten, the episode was linked to the dread Zone Wars, as a young Larry Cedar, who played a Colonial Viper pilot named Shields, returned as a monster in the fourth episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE.
Significantly, the meteor-like crash of the probot also evoked the other seminal crashes in the films of Lucas, reiterating the link to what had gone before. Rising up from its impact crater like another evil and alienated mechanical brain from Arous, this black probot also evoked the floating Death Moon and the equally black floating mind probot of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This reiterated the link of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK to STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, and also returned inhuman sexual disease to the Classic Trilogy. Indeed, the probot’s meteor-like crash and impact crater also reminded us that Gor had landed in the deserts of the US southwest in a meteor-like crash of its spaceship and had also risen out of an impact crater to cause his insidious mind controlled mayhem, confirming its link to Gor and underlining that alienated sexual disease had immediately returned to the Classic Trilogy. Seeing the probot rise out of a crater on a frozen and lunar-like world also evoked the sentinel lurking beneath the dust of Tycho crater on the moon in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and the North Pole of THE THING FROM ANOTHER PLANET, linking the film to two other films full of alienated sexual disease and wicked machines right from the beginning. Floating up out of a cloud of smoke also linked the probot to Vader’s first appearance in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and to the Wicked Witch of the West’s first appearance in THE WIZARD OF OZ, reaffirming its sexually diseased and Wicked nature, reiterating the Ozian structure of the film, and preparing us for the arrival of the Dark Lord Vader.
The probot’s black colour also recalled Robby the Robot in FORBIDDEN PLANET, making it Probby the Probot. An ominous link, as no sooner did it float away from its impact crater like Gor than the POV switched to the sight of Hamill’s young Skywalker-back after surviving a Great car Crash of his own on January 11, 1977-immediately linking Luke to insidious and alienated machine brains right at the beginning of the film. Soon after, Luke was attacked by a Wampa Kid monster-which uncannily resembled me after waking up in the morning, in one of the most eerie and nightmarish memories of the future of the entire dread Zone Wars-which rose up out of nowhere like the Tusken Kid monster that attacked Skywalker on Tatooine in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This attack occurred immediately after Skywalker told Solo over his Dick Tracy wrist communicator that he was going to check out the probot ‘meteor’ crash on his tauntaun charger-a horse-like creature with a Totoish name that confirmed that the Western narrative as well as the Ozian structure had both returned to STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK-for Skywalker and Solo were travelling on their own paths on Hoth like C3P0 and R2D2 initially did on Tatooine at the beginning of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Coming so soon after Skywalker saw the aroused and alienated probot land on Hoth, this Wampa Kid monster attack confirmed Probby’s insidious link to FORBIDDEN PLANET, and also confirmed that incestuous undercurrents continued to haunt Skywalker in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, Forcing Luke to continue the Journey of Self Discovery in order to come to grips with these undercurrents. Indeed, the ‘pa’ at the end of Wampa evoked the Dark Father of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, and prepared us for the arrival of Darth Vader on Hoth-and for the later 3D holocast arrival of the Wicked Emperor Palpatine on the Executor. Significantly, Des Webb’s Wampa Kid monster also dragged Skywalker off to its underground wamp rat lair after assaulting him, the first of four subterranean, THX 1138 and tomb-like labyrinths that Skywalker descended into in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK that implied that Lucas was fighting off fears of another THX 1138 disaster as well as exorcising incestuous nightmares in his latest film.
Seeing Skywalker hanging upside down from the roof of the Wampa’s cave by ice shackles and unable to escape also confirmed that he was still the Tin Luke and in need of further Forceful lessons. A Journey of Self Discovery that soon restarted, for Luke luckily proved that he was worthy of further training by defeating-but not killing-this larger Kid monster by breaking free from his frozen feet shackles and hacking off the ironically right arm of the Wampa-a neat dismemberment that evoked Ben’s quick work in Mel’s Cantina on Tatooine-and clambering out of its subterranean underworld lair. To be reborn in the THX 1138-like lunar limbo of Hoth, where Kenobi returned as a Glinda the Good Force ghost and advised him to go to Dagobah-a planet name which evoked the dog-like daggits of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA-and restart his Journey of Self Discovery with a mysterious new Great Oz Jedi Master named Yoda who instructed Kenobi. This was a curious development, for it was unclear who was symbolized by Yoda. For while Kurosawa was a student of Ford, linking him to Vader, Ford was a student of no one, as he became involved with film art as a gopher in the early years of Hollywood silent film art when there were still no significant mentors…
Significantly, while young Skywalker successfully fought off and escaped from the Wampa Kid monster and communed with Kenobi the Good, Solo returned to the new hidden fortress of the Rebels on his own tauntaun. Here we quickly discovered that while still with Leia, Luke and the Rebellion, Solo still had to pay off his debt to Jabba the Hutt. This reaffirmed his link to Coppola, and underlined that Lucas was still obsessed with Black Thursday despite flying high on the success of AMERICAN GRAFFITI and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Indeed, this reminder of the repayment to Warner Brothers reiterated that Lucas was worried that STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK would be as unsuccessful as his other sequel MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI, causing a new THX 1138 disaster that would financially ruin him, end his dreams of J.D. Jedi film artist independence and prevent him from completing the Skywalker Ranch film facility that he was constructing north of San Francisco. A significant implication, and one that implied that Lucas looked on Coppola as comrade rather than foe in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, no doubt due to the fact that the film had been written and filmed before Coppola released and possibly attacked Lucas in APOCALYPSE NOW.
Luckily for Leia and the Rebellion, insidious television transmissions sent by the eastward floating Probby the Probot to Vader-played again by Prowse-onboard his new and truly blockbuster Super SD Executor-its colossal size evoking the Mother Ship of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and the huge aid Spielberg received with BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, reaffirming the film’s implicit interest in Spielberg-led Vader to order the Imperial fleet to attack Hoth. This attack prevented Solo from breaking up with Leia and the Rebels, keeping the sweeping sweeping Romance alive and well in the Classic Trilogy. Not that sexual disease was also not present on Hoth, despite this Romance. In fact, incestuous disease was unknowingly confirmed by Leia when she innocently kissed her twin brother Luke in his hospital bed after he had been rescued from the lunar limbo by Han. For, prior to ambushing the probot-its self-destruction ironically making it the symbolic Wicked Witch of the East figure whose death restarts the healing and harmonizing Ozian spiritworld dream-Solo had rescued Skywalker on tauntaun back.
Significantly, Han had emerged from out of the snowswept wastes like SRT in the lunar limbo of THX 1138, confirming that the Afro-mojo Force flowed naturally in him. The rescue of Luke also evoked Uzala’s rescue of the Lucas linked Arseniev in DERSU UZALA, preparing us for the arrival of another unusual little fellow wise in the ways of the universe. The rescue also evoked Chewie and Han’s rescue of Luke at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, linking the two films together again in Lucas tradition. However, while saved by Solo again, the ideous Wampa and the kiss underlined that Skywalker still needed to work hard to free himself and his sister from his inner Kid monsters. Indeed, this hospital sequence began with the scar faced and Scarecrow linked Skywalker floating underwater in a bacta tank in his second descent into the underworld in the film, evoking the machines that probed THX 1138 at the beginning of his reprogramming in THX 1138, underlining that young Skywalker had yet to free himself and Lucas from the troubled inner labyrinth.
However, there was still hope that Lucas and Skywalker would succeed in their quest, as the Imperial invasion of Hoth was a new Kansas twister that drew the Ozian dreamers deeper down into the healing Ozian dream. Indeed, the famous battle that broke out between the Imp snowtroopers and their huge and Toto-like All Terrain Armoured Transports (AT-ATs) and the Rebels and their snowspeeders, and between the fleeing Rebel spacecraft aided by their huge planet based ion cannon-allowing the Rebels to blast orbiting spaceships in a way that confirmed that Kershner and Lucas were triumphing over BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, as the Cylons were the first ones to be able to blast fleeing human spaceships with a planet based supergun in ‘The Gun on Ice Planet Zero’-and the SD spacesharks hungrily waiting in orbit evoked the inner battles that took place in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and THE WIZARD OF OZ. Clearly, the solid and earthy Rebels were human white blood cells again, rising up to fight off another diseased bacterial invasion of Leia and Luke. In particular, the full throttle struggle between Rebels in smaller and faster snowspeeders-their attack pattern Delta evoking Delta House of ANIMAL HOUSE, implying that Kershner and Lucas were also using the film to triumph over and exorcise that Universal release-and the Imps in the larger and slower lumbering AT-ATs also recalled the Rebel spacefighter attack on the Death Moon at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Indeed, seeing young Skywalker and his Rebel snowspeeder colleagues in their orange flightsuits underlined the link to the climatic battle at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. These orange flightsuits also transformed Skywalker into a Cowardly Pilot again, a transformation from Wampa frozen Tin Luke that returned Ozian transformations to a Lucas film and reiterated that Skywalker was still on his Journey of Self Discovery in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
Indeed, the snowspeeder of young Skywalker crashed at one point in the battle, another seminal crash in the films of Lucas that reiterated Luke’s link to Lucas and THX 1138 and their Journeys of Self Discovery. However, while Skywalker and his fellow Rebels fought well, this time the battle was only a partial victory for the Rebels. For while their transport spacecraft escaped Hoth, the new hidden fortress and its second mystic and protective energy shield for Solo was overrun and blown up by Julian Glovers’ Lean linked General Veers in his AT-AT. This ended the Rebel sojourn on Hoth, and scattered the Rebellion to the stellar winds, underlined by the sight of Vader striding through the ruins of their wintry base in another cloud of smoke like the Wicked Witch of the West and another alienated Thing. This destruction of the new hidden fortress also split up the story again, with Chewie, Leia, Solo and Threepio taking their Comedy, Romance and Western narratives and fleeing Hoth in the Milnerian Falcon with the Imperial fleet in hot pursuit, while Arttu and Arthurian Skywalker in his orange Cowardly Lion spacesuit fled Hoth for Dagobah and Yoda in their X-broomstick to continue the Journey of Self Discovery and their own Comedy away from the others like Henderson in AMERICAN GRAFFITI. Significantly, this split in the story also linked the lunar female energy of Artoo to Skywalker and the solar male energy of Threepio to Leia for the first time in the Classic Trilogy, filling and balancing each with the energy of the other.
After escaping Hoth in the Falcon, Solo and company were immediately pursued by four more TIE fighters and by even more huge and voracious white spaceshark SDs than those that had chased the Falcon after blasting out of Mos Eisley on Tatooine or after fleeing the Death Moon in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This link reminded us that STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK was in many ways an evil remake of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, with many of the situations in the first film reappearing but being dominated by the Empire or bad luck in the second, implicitly affirming that Lucas was confirmed about the possible failure of the film. Indeed, in a tragicomic case of the latter, Solo soon found to his impotent frustration that the hyperdrive of the Falcon was not working and would not allow the heroes to escape the pursuing SD spacesharks as in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This transformed Solo from hunkish Scarecrow, escaping Cowardly Pilot and Great Oz Captain of his own space balloon to frozen Tin Han, implying again that Solo was also on his own Journey of Self Discovery in the Classic Trilogy. Significantly, this hyperdrive impotence problem also linked Solo to Vader, for Anikkostein was also unable to capture the fleeing Falcon. This led Vader to furiously full throttle Imp officers like Michael Culver’s Captain Needa and Michael Sheard’s Oz evoking and perhaps Donner linked Admiral Ozzel, Nikko evoking names that reiterated Vader’s link to Nikko. Vader’s new links to Solo also raised the question of whether Solo was on the side of Bad or Good again, underlined by the fact that he was unable to fully commit himself to the Rebellion despite his growing love for Leia-the third mystic energy shield in the films for Solo.
After discovering that his hyperdrive was not working, Solo and company found themselves in an asteroid field that evoked the fragments of sylvan Alderaan that were left after the planet was destroyed by the Death Moon in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Significantly, this asteroid field again evoked the magnetic storm that battered Barbarella and her living ship Alfie at the beginning of BARBARELLA, preparing us for the Sogo and Tau Ceti-like cadence and presence of Cloud City on Bespin. This time Solo used the huge hurtling asteroids as cover to weave in and out of-despite being warned by Threepio that the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field were 3720 to one, another ominously accurate memory of the future that exactly predicted the 723 date of the TZ disaster-in order to successfully escape from the four pursuing TIEs. Of course, these four pursuing TIEs evoked the four TIEs that attacked the Millenium Falcon after the spacerod escaped the Death Moon in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, four TIEs that again centred the Falcon between them in a way that underlined the Fifth Elemental nature of Leia. A fitting link, as these four anti-Ozian TIEs were dispatched with equal Fifth Elemental ease by Chewie and Solo’s deft piloting of the Falcon. Unfortunately, this successful piloting led Solo to cockily hide the Falcon from impious sight in the subterranean tunnelled depths of a cave at the bottom of a crater on one of the asteroids, a cratered and tunnelled cave that evoked a similar cratered and tunnelled cave created by the crash of Gor’s spaceship in THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS.
Significantly, as Solo and company descended into aroused and insidious depths, young Skywalker descended into his own insidious depths on his Journey of Self Discovery. Indeed, he fell from space down onto the wild, wet, lush, overgrown, permanently twilit and Vietnamese jungle-like surface of Dagobah with Artoo in his X-broomstick like Dorothy and Artoto in their falling farmhouse, restarting the healing Ozian dream on an ominously twilit note. They crash landed into a misty swamp in another seminal crash in the films of Lucas, a crash landing that evoked the sight of Richard Hatch’s Captain Apollo crash landing his ailing and triple engined Colonial Viper space fighter on an equally fecund planet after a Cylon ambush in space in the allegorical and SHANE evoking Rod Holcomb telefilm, ‘The Lost Warrior’ (1978), from the first season of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. The crash landing also evoked the unceremonious dump into the garbage compactor in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Indeed, to remind us of that garbage compactor, Artoo was quickly pulled under by a swamp monster as she swam to shore. This huge beast evoked the dianoga that pulled Luke under in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, and prepared us for the space slug that soon tried to swallow the Falcon.
Significantly, the cascade of spinal bones on the back of this diving monster recalled the cascade of spinal bones on the skeleton of the sand dragon that Threepio discovered on his trek into the desert after crash landing on Tatooine, linking STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK to STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE again and preparing us for the arrival of a new Jawakin-like Munchkin. Prior to being swallowed by the monster, Artoo swam underwater to shore with a robotic eye poking up on a shaft. This humourously evoked the phallic dianoga again, confirming Dagobah’s link to the dianoga and the surrogate garbage compactor nature of this swamp. The sight of Artonoga also prepared us for the sight of young Skywalker getting his virile mojo going again here on Dagobah as he had after the baptismal dunk with the dianoga. Luckily for Luke and Artoo, the swamp monster did not find her particularly appetizing, spitting her out onto land in a way that reminded us that Skywalker had been released after his baptismal dunk in the living Force by the dianoga in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE.
This humourous rejection of Artoo was a good sign, affirming that Skywalker’s dreaming and intuitive lunar side would be awakened still further on water filled and hence moon ruled Dagobah. This lunar awakening quickly began with the arrival of the Classic Trilogy’s new Munchkin Great Oz, the Uzala evoking Jedi Master, Yoda-his name also evoking the Noga pigmen of the allegorical Christian I. Nyby II directed telefilm, ‘The Magnificent Warriors’ (1978), from the first season of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, his green skin evoking the Incredible Hulk, and performed and voiced by the appropriately named Frank Oz. Humourously, Artoo squawked uneasily at her first sight of the Great Yodakin, just as she had at her first sight of the Krayyt Kenobi in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. And with good reason this time, for the arrival of the Great Yodakin created an ominously twilit trio of one female and two male characters on the Vietnam jungle evoking planet.
The green skin, brow folds and the puppet nature of the dimunitive J.D. Jedi Master also recalled the Wicked Witch of the West, a lizard seen in the main computer control centre of the underground labyrinth in THX 1138, the brain folds of Gor and the sinister puppet Fats in MAGIC. The Great Yodakin also evoked Caesar and Willie, the two controlling puppets of the two episodes of the original TWILIGHT ZONE series, more ominous links to the Zone here on Dagobah. In addition, the ‘da’ at the end of the Great Yodakin also combined with the ‘da’ at the beginning of Dagobah, making two ominously double trouble dimunitive forms of Dad that evoked the ‘da’ at the beginning of Darth Vader. Dagobah also had the exact same syllabic cadence as Darth Vader and Anakin, and sounded like Ramona-the avenue in Modesto that Lucas lived on as a child-and evoked Wampa, more reasons for Artoo to be worried about the Great Yodakin. For the amusing Jedi Master was linked to the symbolic Dark Father of Skywalker, and prepared us for the nightmarish arrival of Vader in the visionary tree cave sequence.
However, Dagobah also had the same syllable cadence as Kenobi, Massassi and Tatooine, linking the forbidding planet to the healing Force. And, while odd looking and given to talking backwards like the father of Lucas, the Great Yodakin was polite and friendly to Artoo and Skywalker at their first meeting. Indeed, the Great Yodakin was a perfect new mischievous Munchkin, underlining that the healing Ozian dream had indeed restarted here after touchdown on Dagobah. Yoda also had a four letter name that underlined that the Ozian fours were with him, and that also evoked healing and empowering yoga. The Great Yodakin’s name also evoked Glinda, preparing us for another arrival of Kenobi’s Glinda-like Force ghost. Indeed, the Great Yodakin wore a ragged samurai robe like Kenobi and the Jawakins, openly shied away from violence like Kenobi, and even invited Skywalker back to his house for dinner like Kenobi invited Luke and the robots back to his desert sanctorum on Tatooine in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE.
The Great Yodakin also took a mini-flashlight from Skywalker at their first meeting, a surrogate Light of the Covenant saber that underlined that the Great Yodakin was on the side of Light in the Dark and misty swamps of Dagobah. The sight of the Light of this flashlight disappearing in the lush and dense growth as the Great Yodakin led the way back to his house also reminded us that green symbolized lush green plant and tree life as well as disease. Indeed, the lush landscape of Dagobah evoked the jungle moon of Yavin and anticipated the forest moon of Endor, further good signs for Skywalker. This link to two rebellious and triumphant moons evoked all of the positive lunar energy of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, reaffirming that Skywalker would awaken his lunar side on Dagobah. Thus, things looked good for Skywalker despite the links of twilit Dagobah and the Great Yodakin to Dark Fathers and Vietnam as he reluctantly followed the Great Yodakin back to his equally dimunitive house.
A good thing, for before he made it to the house of the Great Yodakin, the narrative returned to Dark Fathers with the ominous sight of Vader kneeling to the 3D holocast of the Spielberg resembling Wicked Emperor on the Executor in a way that confirmed that he was indeed the Emperor’s subservient Anikkostein. Indeed, the hologram’s face was green, confirming that the Emperor-voiced originally by Clive Revill, now played and voiced by McDiarmid-was the Wicked Warlock of the West of the Classic Trilogy and that green could be linked to wicked disease as well as the lush and fecund life of Dagobah. Fittingly, all that could be seen of the Wicked Emperor was his head, floating insidiously above Vader like the alienated brain from Arous, openly linking the Emperor to Gor in a way that reiterated that the gloating criminal mind from Arous was back in aroused and insidious action. This confirmed that Darth was under the evil mind control of the Emperor as March was under the mind control of Gor, and not a Dark and incestuous Father of his own free will. Indeed, Palpatine, the Emperor’s real name, had two ‘pa’s’ in it, underlining that the Emperor was the true double trouble Dark Father of the Classic Trilogy.
Significantly, the name of Palpatine also confirmed his status as a symbolic Spielberg, as Palpatine and Spielberg both had a three letter first syllable, a two letter second syllable and a four letter third syllable, affirming that Spielberg was indeed a pal who had gone to the Dark and blockbuster lusting Side. Indeed, we could see in the 3D holocast that the Wicked Emperor Palpatine resembled Spielberg, implicitly affirming the link. This prepared us for the sight of Vader breaking free from and destroying the Wicked Emperor at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI like March broke free from and destroyed Gor at the end of THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS. Indeed, Emperor Palpaberg also wore a monk like robe, evoking the mind controlling priests of OMMRICK in THX 1138 and SEN 5417’s successful attack on one at the end of that film. This link to THX 1138 reiterated that Lucas was still striking back at the THX 1138 disaster and fighting to break free as an independent J.D. Jedi film artist with the help of Kershner in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Ominously, the Emperor agreed with Vader that young Skywalker should be turned to the Dark Side-turned, or destroyed-evoking the dark spectre of male rape in the films of Lucas again. An insidious encounter, indeed.
When the POV returned to Dagobah, the Glinda Ghost of the Krayyt Kenobi appeared again, this time inside the house of the Great Yodakin. Obi Wan invisibly intervened to persuade the Great Yodakin to accept young Skywalker as his Padawan apprentice. The Great Yodakin reluctantly agreed to train Skywalker, but not before a final exchange with Skywalker that evoked the mind controlling puppet Fats of MAGIC more than ever before. For when Skywalker defiantly insisted that he was not afraid to leave behind his Cowardly Pilot stage and continue the Tin Luke axesaber training, the camera moved in on the Great Yodakin. Filling the camera frame, the puppet’s face suddenly turned from innocent and amusing to nightmarishly twilit and eerie as he ominously replied, ‘…you will be…you will be!’ in another memory of the TZ disaster future in the films of Lucas. The sudden shift from Light to Dark and the sight of the puppet’s face filling the screen reminded us that the face and head of Fats the dummy became larger and larger as the puppet changed from Light to Dark and assumed more and more control over Corky the ventriloquist over the course of MAGIC. Indeed, the implicit link was affirmed by the fact that Withers, the tormented ventriloquist magician of MAGIC, was the first Lucas linked character to insist to his agent Ben ‘Kenobi’ Greene that ‘…I am not afraid’ early in MAGIC. A timely evocation of MAGIC, and one that implied that Lucas was now worried about where the success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and its movie tie-in merchandise would lead him, particularly since an even larger avalanche of STAR WARS stuff accompanied the release of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
Significantly, as Skywalker stared in aghast surprise at the suddenly menacing face of the Great Yodakin, the POV switched to Solo frantically piloting the Milnerian Falcon out of the cave he had thought he had hid in on the asteroid in a sequence that evoked a similar ship hidden on an asteroid in the allegorical Dick Lowry directed telefilm, ‘The Plot TO Kill A City’ (1979), from the first season of BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY. For when the cave had suddenly become as aroused and agitated as Gor-perhaps due to the fumbling attempts at Butler and O’Hara-style lovemaking that Solo and Organna had engaged in during their sojourn in the cave, primitive lovemaking intercut with Vader’s meeting with the Emperor that ominously linked it to alienated brains from Arous, indeed-Solo suddenly realized that it was no cave but some sort of huge living creature. Indeed, rocketing to the entrance of the cave, the Milnerian Falcon barely managed to slip through the closing teeth-closing teeth that evoked the closing teeth of Vader’s meditation chamber as well as the closing mechanical teeth of the spaceship garage of the palace of Emperor Wang in FLESH GORDON-of a monstrous blockbuster beast of a phallic space slug that again evoked the dread Penisaurus of FLESH GORDON like the dianoga in the garbage compactor had in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This Kid monster also evoked Jabba and Penishead, and reminded us that Solo suffered from some dark inner Coppola turmoil of his own, dark inner turmoil that sluggishly prevented him from embracing the Princess, the Rebellion, and Lucas, and kickstarting his hyperdrive. However, saving Leia and Threepio was another Good sign that implied that Solo was confronting his Dark Side, preparing us for the sight of him openly aligning himself on the path of Good in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. Indeed, the rescue of Leia and Threepio recalled Milner’s rescue of Laurie at the end of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, another good sign that suggested that Solo would turn out as good as Milner, in the end. The encounter with the space slug also evoked the myth of Jonah and the whale in The Bible, a link that implied that Solo was beginning to realize that he could not run from his duty to openly unite with the Rebellion against the Empire.
The escape from the aroused space slug ‘cave’ also prepared us for Skywalker’s descent into the Old Man Willow-like tree cave on Dagobah, linking the adventures of Skywalker and Solo again. Indeed, Skywalker’s third descent into the underworld of death happened soon after the escape of the Falcon from the space slug, linking his tree cave to sinister space slugs and aroused alienated brains. As such, it was not surprising that a spectral Darth Vader suddenly appeared from deep within the tangled and labyrinthine root cavern of the massive Dagobahn tree. Fittingly, this vision recalled a vision seen by Shunkawakan-played by Richard Harris-the Englishman adopted and trained by the Sioux in Kershner’s allegorical sequel, THE RETURN OF A MAN CALLED HORSE (1976). Significantly, although he had just been instructed by the Great Yodakin that the Jedi only used their powers for knowledge and defense and never for attack, Skywalker impertinently ignored the puppet and immediately ignited his now fully blue axesaber and attacked the spectral figure of Annikostein.
Significantly, this improvident and impromptu saber duel evoked the climatic duel between Captain Apollo and a lone Cylon enforcer named Red Eye that climaxed ‘The Lost Warrior’, reaffirming the implication that Kershner and Lucas were trying to triumph over and exorcise BATTLESTAR GALACTICA with STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. After trading a few blows with the black Phantom of the Space Opera, Skywalker suddenly hacked off the head of this Dark Father with his axesaber in one of the most ominous memories of the Morrow decapitating future of the dread Zone Wars. The head flew off and rolled away on the ground, suddenly coming to a stop face up. As Skywalker watched, the mask exploded away, revealing his own face. This was a seminal omen for Skywalker, telling him that if he did not release his desire for violent revenge for Kenobi and his aunt and uncle, defeat his inner and incestuous Kid monsters and start listening to Yoda, he would turn into another Dark Father himself. Indeed, the ominous sight of his face in the mask prepared us for Vader’s invitation to join him in overthrowing the Emperor and taking over the Empire at the end of the film.
Intercut as it was with the sight of the Great Yodakin waiting thoughtfully for Luke outside the cave, Skywalker’s failure in the cave also implied again that Lucas was now worried that he had betrayed his serious film art ambitions with the light hearted, comic book-like and childish style and success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and its avalanche of action figures and other movie tie-in merchandise, and had turned into a blockbuster lusting Dark Lord like Spielberg. A most likely interpretation, as soon after his failure in the cave, Skywalker was also unable to use the healing Force to levitate his sinking X-broomstick out of the swamp into which he had crash landed when he arrived on Dagobah. This second failure and its open links to sexual impotence that linked Skywalker to Solo and Vader implicitly affirmed that Lucas was indeed worried about the success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and its movie tie-in merchandise and afraid that selling out would cost him his creative potency. A link to virile potency that was confirmed when the Great Yodakin scoffed that ‘…size matters not’ and promptly levitated the X-broomstick out of the swamp with a virile Force that reminded us that the Jawakins had big sandcrawlers.
In addition, as if to confirm that the films of the New Hollywood brat pack of the Sixties and the Seventies were in some way warning of the TZ disaster, Skywalker experienced a literal and visionary memory of the future himself after failing to get his X-broomstick up. In this Mars evoking memory he saw Solo and the others in pain on Cloud City, definitely linking these memories of the future to a twilit pain and suffering that was only two years away now, a twilit memory of the future made more ominous by the fact that Solo landed the Falcon on platform 327 on Cloud City, exactly evoking July 23rd, 1982 for the second time in the film, soon after Skywalker had that vision. The landing of the Falcon at outdoor landing pad 327 in the new Metropolis of Cloud City was also ominous for another reason. For floating high in the sky of the planet, Bespin, Cloud City looked more like the Mother Ship in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND than it did the Emerald City of THE WIZARD OF OZ. Ominously, this Great Oz linked city floated high in the clouds of the gas planet Bespin-a potentially spinsterish planet name with the same number of letters and syllables as Altair-on its single spinal stalk like a new alienated floating brain or Death Moon, preparing us for the arrival of Vader and the Evil Empire.
Bespin and Cloud City also evoked planet 16 of the Tau Ceti system and the city Sogo in BARBARELLA-reaffirming that another Wicked Tyrant was soon to arrive-and the Hollywood linked mining planet of Carillon in the pilot film for BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. An ominous link that reminded us that the Cylons ambushed the fleeing remnants of humanity on Carillon, preparing us for an Imperial ambush here. Indeed, the surname of the head of Cloud City, Solo’s mysterious caped friend and pseudo Great Oz, Lando Calrissian-played by Billy Dee Williams-also evoked Carillon, implicitly affirming the link to BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and the imminent arrival of the equally caped Phantom of the Space Opera Vader and the Evil Empire. The allusion to Carillon also reminded us that it was Larson who came up with the idea of using films and telefilms like BATTLESTAR GALACTICA as filmmmercials and tele-filmmercials for tie-in merchandise, crassly ambushing the purity of the Classic Trilogy. But Lucas no doubt could not help but guiltily note that it was the success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and its movie tie-in merchandise that gave Larson his insidious inspiration.
Lando also sounded like Nikko, reiterated by the ‘rissi’ in Calrissian, a twofold evocation of Nikko that prepared us again for the return of Annikkostein and Lando’s betrayal of Solo and the others to the double trouble Empire. Lando Calrissian’s names also sounded Italian and evoked Corellian-as well as Bolander in AMERICAN GRAFFITI-reminding us that Solo symbolized Coppola and that Solo’s status as Light or Dark Lord had not yet been fully resolved. There was also a Larson, evoking the creator and producer of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA-or was that a Landis?-hidden within his names. A link to Larson reaffirmed by the fact that Lando also evoked Commander Royco-played by Christopher Stone-and his black major domo in the allegorical and Larry Stewart directed telefilm, ‘Space Vampire’ (1980), from the first season of BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY. Despite these insidious links and bad omens, his good looks and buoyant health also recalled the afro-holograms of THX 1138, leaving out hope that he would also turn out for the Good, in the end. Indeed, evoking Nikko with Lando reiterated the healing Ozian structure of the film, transforming the landing Falcon back into Dorothy’s farmhouse and Cloud City and its hallways into not just an Emerald Balloon City but a new wonderful world of Oz complete with Yellow Brick Road. This Ozian status was confirmed by the sight of the Ugnaughtkins, the real mischievous Munchkins of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, who were always soon met after touching down on an Ozian linked world and who evoked the mute Noga pigmen of ‘The Magnificent Warriors’. Lando also evoked the fissure of Rolando that led to the destruction of the aroused brain from Arous, and the trench run annihilation of the Death Moon at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This anticipated the destruction of the second Death Moon in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, leaving out hope again that Lando would turn out for the Good.
However, with all of Lando’s links to Carillon, Nikko and Anikkostein, it was no surprise that the black clad Phantom of the Space Opera and his skeletal Imps suddenly made their sinister reappearance. Their impious arrival and their TZ disaster-style decapitation and dismemberment of Threepio reminded us that the crowded, bright and white labyrinthine hallways of Cloud City also evoked the subterranean labyrinth of THX 1138 and the Death Moon, reiterating that Lucas was on one level still struggling to break free from the dark memories of the THX 1138 disaster and from pod people society in order to achieve artistic J.D. Jedi film artist independence. Indeed, Calrissian’s major domo Lobot-whose name linked him to Lando and the probot, who looked like Luthor, and who was played by John Hollis-looked like THX 1138, underlining Cloud City’s link to the underground of THX 1138 and implicitly confirming that Lucas was still fighting to become an independent film artist in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Ironically, Lobot also evoked Colonel Kurtz of APOCALYPSE NOW, reminding us that Coppola continued the Star Director Wars in that film despite the best efforts of Lucas to end the Wars in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. And end the Star Director Wars in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, for after initially going along with the Empire and its insidious schemes, Calrissian broke free from its mind control and used his own ominous computer mind control of Lobot to free Artoo, Chewie, Leia and Threepio from Vader and the Imps and rescue Solo-which linked Lobot to Good, exorcising the Evil of Luthor in SUPERMAN.
But it was too late for Solo, for the Corellian space rogue had been frozen into a Tin Man-like carbonite statue that trapped him in a Twilight Zone between life and death after declaring his love for Leia in a dark and orange lit scene in a carbon freezing chamber deep in the bowels of Cloud Nine City that evoked the burning of Atlanta in GONE WITH THE WIND. Then he was loaded on to the Slave 1 to be taken back to Tatooine by his evil Scarecrow Dark Side, the greasy bounty hunter Boba Fett-played by Jeremy Bulloch, voiced by Temuera Morrison in the 2004 DVD-whose name linked him to Dagobah, Falfa and Jabba. Significantly, he probably symbolized Sir Ridley Scott, given that the independent bounty hunter status of Fett reminded us that Sir Scott was an equally independent film artist with his own film production company. Indeed, Fett also evoked Brett, the mechanic on the Nostromo in ALIEN played by Harry D. Stanton, implicitly affirming his link to Sir Scott. This tin statue also officially confirmed Solo’s impotent Tin Han status in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, thus completing his transformative Ozian Journey of Self Discovery and preparing us for his centred and healing Force in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. Fittingly, the sight of the carbon frozen Solo also reminded us that relations between Coppola and Lucas had no doubt become rather cool and strained after the release of APOCALYPSE NOW. Clearly, Lucas still had to free Coppola from his Dark and grandiose Side on Tatooine, in order to succeed with his goal of healing Coppola with harmonious Ozian cinema and mending their friendship.
Curiously, the departure of the Scarecrow hunk also allowed young Skywalker to take on the Scarecrow role and complete his own transformational Ozian Journey of Self Discovery when he arrived in Cloud City to rescue his friends in the end like Milner. Indeed, the lean and fit Skywalker initially crept warily around the labyrinthine corridors with his blaster drawn like a true Western gunslinger and almost got into a shootout with Fett, underlining his new Milner status. A timely inner conjunction of the Ozian fours, for Skywalker needed all of the elemental Ozian Force he could muster in the desperate battle with his salaciously taunting Dark Father that erupted when he descended deep into his subconscious for the Forcefull fourth and last time in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK on a trip down into the dark underworld of Cloud City. Significantly, the battle with Vader began in the carbon freezing chamber, linking and contrasting Vader’s Dark and submissive Force with the Light and courageous love of Han and Leia. Indeed, beginning the battle in the carbon freezing chamber reiterated that on one level the Classic Trilogy was about freeing Lucas from dark memories of incest and returning him to a state of healthy sexual harmony. However, seeing Skywalker’s once tentative axesaber now glowing with a deep and healthy blue in contrast with Vader’s blood red nightsaber was a good sign. Alas, this final subterranean showdown between Jedi and Sith also evoked the Krayyt Kenobi’s final showdown with Vader in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, reiterating that STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK had followed the structure of that film, and preparing us for Skywalker’s own defeat at the hands of the Black Knight in this film.
Despite this omen, Skywalker initially defeated Vader, knocking him off the carbon freezing platform in a way that prepared us for Skyrocker’s final victory at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. However, this initial victory led Skywalker deeper into the labyrinthine THX 1138 underworld of Cloud City, searching for the Dark Lord of the Sith and finding him in a reactor control room. Initially, Vader toyed with him like a cat with a mouse, using the Dark Force to pelt Skywalker with heavy in a way that evoked Carrie at the end of CARRIE. But after breaking a huge window that caused a Kansas tornado of air to suck Skywalker past the shattered panes and down a reactor shaft even further into the Ozian dream, Vader suddenly struck out of nowhere on the gantry platform below and tore into Skywalker with his blood red nightsaber in a full throttle fury. The furious and helicopter rotor-like onslaught of nightsaber blows was too much for the young Jedi, and as Luke staggered backwards, Vader suddenly sliced off his right hand in a dismembering twilit chop that sent both hand and saber flying into the core like the right forearm Kenobi succinctly sliced off in Mel’s cantina in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE.
This diseased but neat dismemberment robbed Skywalker of his virile potency and turned him into a truly impotent Tin Man as surely as the carbon freezing process did to Solo, again linking the two men in a way that reminded us that both Coppola and Lucas had been devastated by the THX 1138 disaster. The shocking amputation also recalled the right arm of the Wampa Kid monster that Skywalker sliced off at the beginning of the film, and Skywalker’s decapitation of the nightmare Vader in the tree cave on Dagobah, linking the third in a twilit trio of dismemberments to the Dark Side within Skywalker. Just as shocking was Darth Vader’s sudden insistence that he was Skywalker’s Dark Father, and that Skywalker should help him defeat the Emperor and rule the Empire together. Significantly, the words caused Skywalker to scream in shocked agony and refuse to join Vader. Clearly, he would be an independent J.D. Jedi film artist indeed and not be in league with a Dark Lord of the Hits, particularly one linked to Kurosawa.
And so Skywalker threw himself off the gantry platform and fell further down into the healing Ozian dream, evoking the fall into the future of Buck Rogers in the opening credits of BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY, and anticipating a future fall from a Parisian apartment ledge for Morrow’s Bill Connor in the Landis episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. And so he was eventually dumped out of Cloud City with the rest of the garbage, and barely managed to hang upside down from a cross-like antenna underneath Cloud City in a way that summed up the worry of Lucas that he was a failed film art messiah but ironically prepared us for his messianic return, and also evoked his upside down incarceration in the Wampa Kid monster’s lair to bring the insidious film full diseased circle. And so Skywalker was eventually rescued by Artoo, Calrissian, Chewie, Leia and Threepio in the Falcon due to a sudden benevolent J.D. Jedi mind link with Leia that prepared us for the revelation that she was Luke’s sister in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. And so this crosshanging rescue and the hyperdrive escape that followed-it finally worked!-allowed the elemental Ozian heroes to break free from the Wicked clutches of the Spielberg linked Empire and live to strike back on the side of free, creative and independent film art another day, allowing the film and its Comedy, Journey of Self Transformation and Western narratives to end on a reasonably eucatastrophic note. And so the heroes fled a virtuous white ‘childhood’ on Hoth and escaped the adolescent perils of bright lights, big Emerald Cloud City and arrived safely back amidst the ironically comforting and Kansas-like-as it was yet again BATTLESTAR GALACTICA evoking-sanctuary of the Rebel fleet.
And so the film ended in another hospital bedroom on a medical frigate amidst the Rebel fleet with Skywalker’s ominous new Rotwang and Vader-like robotic hand being tended to by that robotic Kenobi, 2-1B. And so Artoo, Leia, Luke and a rebuilt Threepio watched as Chewie and Lando-dressed for blasterslinging business in Solo’s white shirt and black vest Western combo-rocketed off in the Falcon to rescue Solo on Tatooine, unaware that Leia was the Other hope for the Rebellion and the other Skywalker mentioned by Yoda to the Glinda Ghost of the Krayyt Kenobi when Skywalker left Dagobah for Cloud City. And so Luke waited for his own turn to bring the allegorical trilogy to its trimatic conclusion by defeating incestuous Kid monsters, Dark Fathers, evil Spielberg linked film Empires and the THX 1138 disaster, and freeing film art and the Tin Man. An ambitious quest that was summed up in the first poster for STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, a poster of two silver tin man hands raising a silver axe of the Covenant saber against a backdrop of stars that made clear that the final film in the Classic Trilogy would be not just about the Other but also about THE RETURN OF THE TIN MAN.