You might not have known it, but Star Wars owes a lot to Canada.
On top of Vancouver’s own Hayden Christensen playing Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in the prequel films and upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series, Star Wars creator George Lucas actually drew heavy inspiration for his original space opera film from Montreal-born filmmaker Arthur Lipsett.
#MayThe4thBeWithYou on @StarWars Day! DYK that Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader, is Canadian? Star Wars creator George Lucas’ concept of the “Force” was also inspired by Canadian filmmaker Arthur Lipsett! 🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/zTM8LiLZpf
— Canada #StandWithUkraine🇺🇦 (@Canada) May 4, 2022
Specifically, Lucas has cited Lipsett’s acclaimed 1963 short 21-87 as a key influence on Star Wars, including the idea of “The Force.” 21-87 is an abstract montage-collage film that offers a commentary on a machine-dominated society, and Lucas has said it was “the kind of movie I wanted to make.”
References to that short can even be found in Princess Leia’s cell (No. 2187) on the Death Star in A New Hope and John Boyega’s character, Stormtrooper FN-2187 (“Finn”), in the sequel trilogy.
As part of this year’s May 4th Star Wars Day celebrations, the official Twitter account of Canada has promoted the short, as has Canada Media Fund’s Made Nous division. Additionally, the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada, which originally produced 21-87, is offering the film for streaming.
You can do so for free on the NFB’s website. Meanwhile, all six of Lucas’ Star Wars films, as well as the sequel trilogy and related media, are streaming on Disney+.
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