Here's How Star Wars Helped Create the Alien Franchise and Turned Ridley Scott into a Sci-Fi Legend

Monday, 14 September 2015 - 5:20PM
Star Wars
Alien
Monday, 14 September 2015 - 5:20PM
Here's How Star Wars Helped Create the Alien Franchise and Turned Ridley Scott into a Sci-Fi Legend
With movies such as Blade Runner, Prometheus, and The Martian to his name, Ridley Scott can easily be considered a legend of science fiction film, but in a recent interview at the Toronto International Film Festival the director revealed that if it weren't for George Lucas and Star Wars, his journey into the genre may have taken a lot longer.

Alien is arguably one of his most beloved works, but while speaking with Deadline, Scott revealed that he would never have taken the job had it not been for George Lucas making him really, really miserable.

Opening quote
"I never saw or felt audience participation like that in my life" said Scott on watching Star Wars. "The theater was shaking. When that Death Star came in at the beginning, I thought, I can't possibly do Tristan and Isolde, I have to find something else. By the time the movie was finished, it was so stunning that it made me miserable. That's the highest compliment I can give it; I was miserable for week. I hadn't met George at that point, but I thought, Fu*k George. Then, somebody sent me this script called Alien. I said, wow. I'll do it."
Closing quote

You didn't think you could love Star Wars any more, did you? 



Scott's reaction as a creative is perfectly understandable, of course. We've probably all seen something executed really well and then wished that we had done it first, so for a person like Scott, who had just started to make his mark on Hollywood, one can only imagine how he felt upon hearing the crowd go wild at Star Wars screenings. 

Scott argues that Star Wars is a seminal work in the science fiction genre, but says the serendipitous series of events that led to him directing Alien aren't all down to George Lucas. It's well known that Lucas himself was inspired by another movie when making Star Wars, and Scott believes this chain reaction of sci-fi greatness all started with one man....Stanley Kubrick. 

Here's what Scott had to say when asked if Alien exists purely because of George Lucas and Star Wars.

Opening quote
Thanks to Star Wars, and to Stanley Kubrick for the way he influenced George and definitely influenced me, with 2001. The design on 2001…that's the threshold for everything being real. You look at 2001 and you look at Star Wars. Stanley's design influenced everybody. I've never shaken it off; it influenced me even with Prometheus. Stanley really got it right. Stanley was like the Big Daddy, so I never got jealous of him. I watched his 18th Century film Barry Lyndon when I was about to do The Duellists and I'd go, wow Stanley, you did all that in one shot. Hmm. Stanley was like the godfather. There's a certain level of director where we all feed off each other. It's like a painter who looks at the work of a peer and goes, damn. The influences can come even from brand new work, because I look at everything. Everything. Most of it is not so good.
Closing quote

We're just happy everything worked out as it did, because even though Scott found himself sold on the idea of directing Alien, he revealed he was actually only the studio's fifth choice with even MASH director Robert Altman being offered it before him. Can you imagine a Robert Altman version of Alien??

While Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett may have written the first Alien movie, it was Ridley Scott's approach to directing it that really catapulted the franchise into greatness. Would we look back on the tale of Ripley and the Nostromo as fondly as we do now had Scott not been involved? I certainly doubt it.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
Star Wars
Alien
How Star Wars Helped Create the Alien Franchise & A Sci-Fi Legend