Lawrence Kasdan

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Posted by r2d2 04/23/2009 @ 06:11

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Lawrence Kasdan

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Lawrence Kasdan (born 14 January 1949) is an American movie producer, director and screenwriter. Raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, where he graduated from Morgantown High School in 1966, he went on to attend the University of Michigan as an education major.

Kasdan was born in Miami, Florida. He graduated from the University of Michigan with an MA in Education, originally planning on a career as an English teacher. He was a student of Professor Kenneth Thorpe Rowe. Upon graduation, Kasdan was unable to find a teaching position, so he became an advertising copywriter, a profession he found so loathsome he refused to bring a second child into the world until he escaped it. Still, he labored at it for five years (even picking up a Clio Award along the way), first in Detroit and later in Los Angeles where he tried to interest Hollywood in his screenplays.

Kasdan's introduction into the film business came in the mid-1970s when he sold his script for The Bodyguard to Warner Bros. as a vehicle for Diana Ross and Steve McQueen. The script became stuck in "development hell" and became one of several scripts successively called "the best un-made film in Hollywood"; it was eventually produced as a 1992 film starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner.

George Lucas commissioned Kasdan in 1979 to complete the screenplay for The Empire Strikes Back after the death of Leigh Brackett. Lucas then commissioned Kasdan to write the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark and the last installment of the Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi. Kasdan made his directing debut in 1981 with Body Heat, which he also wrote.

Kasdan is known for both writing and directing his films, which have ranged from Westerns and romantic comedies to thought-provoking dramas. He has received four Academy Award nominations, for screenplays to The Big Chill, Grand Canyon, and The Accidental Tourist, for which he also earned a nomination for Best Picture. He has cast Kevin Kline in five of his films.

He makes a cameo appearance in James L. Brooks' comedy As Good As It Gets as the fed-up psychiatrist of Jack Nicholson's novelist.

Kasdan is the father of directors/actors Jake and Jon Kasdan.

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Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones attempting to take the Golden Idol in the opening of the film

Raiders of the Lost Ark (also known as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark) is a 1981 action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by George Lucas and starring Harrison Ford. It is the first film in the Indiana Jones franchise, and pits Indiana Jones (played by Ford) against the Nazis, who search for the Ark of the Covenant, in an attempt to make their army invincible. The film co-starred Karen Allen as Indiana's former lover Marion Ravenwood; Paul Freeman as Indiana's nemesis, French archaeologist René Belloq; John Rhys-Davies as Indiana's sidekick, Sallah; and Denholm Elliott as Indiana's colleague, Marcus Brody.

The film originated with Lucas' desire to create a modern version of the serials of the 1930s and 1940s. Production was based at Elstree Studios, England, and filming also took place in La Rochelle, Tunisia, Hawaii, and California from June to September 1980.

Released on June 12, 1981, Raiders of the Lost Ark became the top grossing film of 1981; it remains one of the highest-grossing movies ever made. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in 1982 and won five (Art Direction, Film Editing, Sound, Visual Effects, and Sound Effects Editing). The film's critical and popular success led to three additional films, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), as well as a television series: The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992-1996).

In South America, 1936, treasure hunter/archaeologist Indiana Jones braves an ancient temple filled with booby traps in the Peruvian jungle to retrieve a Golden Idol. Upon escaping the temple, Indiana is confronted by rival archeologist René Belloq and the indigenous Hovitos people. Surrounded and outnumbered, Indiana is forced to surrender the idol to Belloq, and flees from a jungle chase onboard a waiting seaplane.

Shortly after returning to America to the college where he teaches archaeology, Indiana is informed by two Army intelligence agents that the Nazis, in their quest for occult power, are searching for his old mentor, Abner Ravenwood, who is in possession of the headpiece of an artifact called the Staff of Ra and is the leading expert on the ancient Egyptian city of Tanis. Indiana deduces that the Nazis are searching for the Ark of the Covenant, the biblical chest built by the Israelites to contain the fragments of the Ten Commandments, and is said to grant the power of God to whoever holds it. The Staff of Ra, meanwhile, is the key to finding the Well of Souls in Tanis, which is where the Ark is buried. The agents subsequently authorize Indiana to recover the Ark with the promise of displaying it in a museum. Indiana travels to Ravenwood's tavern in Nepal for the headpiece, only to find that he had died and that the headpiece is in the possession of his daughter and Indiana's embittered former lover, Marion. The tavern is suddenly raided by a group of thugs commanded by Nazi agent Major Toht. The tavern is burned down in the ensuing fight, during which Toht burns his hand on the searing hot headpiece as he tries to grab it. Indiana and Marion escape with the headpiece, with Marion declaring she will accompany Indiana in his search for the Ark so he can repay his debt.

Indiana and Marion travel to Cairo where they learn from Sallah, Indiana's friend and a skilled digger, that the Nazis are currently digging for the Well of Souls with the aid of Belloq and a replica of the headpiece modeled after the scar on Toht's hand. In a bazaar, Nazi operatives kidnap Marion and fake her death in front of Indiana, who strengthens his resolve to find the Ark. That evening, while deciphering the markings on the headpiece, Indiana and Sallah realize that the Nazis have miscalculated where to dig for the Well of Souls. Using this to their advantage, Indiana and Sallah infiltrate the Nazi dig and use the Staff of Ra to correctly determine the location of the Well of Souls. Shortly afterward, Indiana discovers that Marion is captured but alive, but does not free her out of fear that it will draw the Nazis' attention to him. Indiana gathers a small group of diggers and uncovers the Well of Souls, which is filled with poisonous snakes (of which Indiana is deathly afraid). Upon obtaining the Ark, Belloq and the Nazis arrive to take it for themselves. They proceed to toss Marion, who had refused to reveal any information to the Nazis despite Indiana's perceived betrayal, down into the well with Indiana and seal them both in. However, Indiana and Marion manage to navigate the underground temple and escape. After chasing down a convoy of trucks holding the Ark, Indiana manages to take it back before it can be shipped to Berlin.

Indiana and Marion leave Cairo to escort the Ark to England on board a tramp steamer. The next morning, their boat is boarded by the Nazis who once again steal the Ark and kidnap Marion. Indiana stows away on the Nazis' U-boat and follows them to an isolated island where Belloq and the Nazis plan to test the power of the Ark before presenting it to Hitler. Indiana reveals himself and threatens to destroy the Ark with a rocket launcher, but Belloq calls his bluff for, as archeologists, they both want to see it open as badly as each other. Indiana surrenders and is tied to a post with Marion as Belloq performs a ceremonial opening of the Ark, which appears to contain nothing but a pile of dust, the ruined remains of the Ten Commandments. Suddenly, spirits emerge from the Ark; aware of the supernatural danger of looking at the opened Ark, Indiana warns Marion to close her eyes. Belloq and the Nazis, who do not look away, are all killed by the Ark's divine powers, and the Ark closes itself with a crack of thunder. Back in Washington, D.C., the Army intelligence agents tell a suspicious Indiana that they are sending the Ark away to be studied by "top men." In reality, the Ark is sealed in a wooden crate and stored in a giant government warehouse filled with countless similar crates.

In 1973, George Lucas wrote The Adventures of Indiana Smith. Like Star Wars, it was an opportunity to create a modern version of the film serials of the 1930s and 1940s. Lucas discussed the concept with Philip Kaufman, who worked with him for several weeks and came up with the Ark of the Covenant as the plot device. Kaufman was told about the Ark by his dentist when he was a child. The project stalled when Clint Eastwood hired Kaufman to direct The Outlaw Josey Wales. Lucas eventually shelved the idea, deciding to concentrate on his outer space adventure which would become Star Wars. In late May 1977, Lucas was in Maui, trying to escape the enormous success of the first Star Wars film. Friend and colleague Steven Spielberg was also there, on vacation from work on Close Encounters of the Third Kind. While building a sand castle at Mauna Kea, Spielberg expressed an interest in directing a James Bond film. Lucas convinced his friend Spielberg that he had conceived a character "better than James Bond" and explained the concept of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Spielberg loved it, calling it "a James Bond film without the hardware", although Spielberg told Lucas that the surname Smith was not right for the character, Lucas replied "OK. What about Jones?". Indiana was the name of Lucas' Alaskan Malamute.

The following year, Lucas focused on developing Raiders and the Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back, during which Lawrence Kasdan and Frank Marshall joined the project as screenwriter and producer respectively. Between January 23-January 27, 1978 for nine hours a day, Lucas, Kasdan, and Spielberg discussed the story and visual ideas. Spielberg came up with Jones being chased by a boulder, which was inspired by The Seven Cities of Cibola at the INDUCKS, an Uncle Scrooge comic by Carl Barks. Lucas later acknowledged that the idea for the idol mechanism in the opening scene, and deadly traps later in the movie were inspired by several Uncle Scrooge comics. Lucas came up with a submarine, a monkey giving the Nazi salute, and Marion punching Jones in Nepal. Kasdan used a 100-page transcript of their conversations for his first script draft, which he worked on for six months. Ultimately some of their ideas were too grand and had to be cut: a mine chase, an escape in Shanghai using a rolling gong as a shield, and a jump from an airplane in a raft, all of which made it into the prequel, Temple of Doom.

Spielberg and Lucas disagreed on the character: although Lucas saw him as a Bondian playboy, Spielberg and Kasdan felt the professor and adventurer elements of the character made him complex enough. Spielberg had darker visions of Jones, interpreting him as an alcoholic similar to Humphrey Bogart's character Fred C. Dobbs in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. This characterization fell away during the later drafts. Spielberg also initially conceived of Toht as having a robotic arm, which Lucas rejected as falling into science-fiction. Comic book artist Jim Steranko was also commissioned to produce original illustrations for pre-production, which heavily influenced Spielberg's decisions in both the look of the film and the character of Indiana Jones himself.

Initially, the film was rejected by every major studio in Hollywood, as most executives thought that the story was too over the top and would be exceedingly expensive to produce. Eventually Paramount agreed to finance the film, with Lucas negotiating a five picture deal. By April 1980, Kasdan's fifth draft was produced, and production was getting ready to shoot at Elstree Studios, with Lucas trying to keep costs down. With four illustrators, Raiders of the Lost Ark was Spielberg's most storyboarded film of his career to date, further helping the film economically. He and Lucas agreed on a tight schedule to keep costs down, and to stylistically follow the "quick and dirty" feel of the old Saturday matinée serials. Special effects were done using puppets, miniature models, animation, and camera trickery. "We didn't do 30 or 40 takes — production; usually only four. It was like silent film — shoot only what you need, no waste," Spielberg said. "Had I had more time and money, it would have turned out a pretentious movie." Lucas also directed some of the second unit.

Filming began on June 23, 1980 at La Rochelle, France, for scenes involving the Nazi submarine, which was rented from the production of Das Boot. The U-boat pen was a genuine one that had survived from World War II. The crew moved to Elstree Studios for scenes involving the Well of Souls, the interiors of the temple in the opening sequence and Marion Ravenwood's bar. The Well of Souls required 7,000 snakes, though the only poisonous snakes on set were the cobras. However, one crew member was bitten by a python on set. To shoot the scene where Indiana comes face-to-face with the cobra, a glass sheet was put between Ford and the animal, which is partially visible in the film when the light hits it at a certain angle. Unlike the character he portrayed, Ford does not actually have a fear of snakes; Spielberg was not afraid either, but seeing all the snakes on the set writhing around made him "want to puke". The opening sequence featured live tarantulas: Alfred Molina had to have many put on him, but they did not move until a female tarantula was introduced. A fibreglass boulder 22 feet (7 m) in diameter was made for the scene where Indiana escapes the temple; Spielberg was so impressed by production designer Norman Reynolds' realization of his idea that he told Reynolds to increase the length of the boulder run by 50 feet (15 m).

All of the scenes set in Egypt and the canyon where Indiana threatens to blow up the Ark were filmed in Tunisia; many of the locations were previously used in the Tatooine scenes from 1977's Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, since many people in the location crew were the same for both films. Notably, that canyon was the exact same location wherein R2-D2 was attacked by Jawas. Filming there was a harsh experience due to the heat and disease. Several members of the cast and crew fell ill; Rhys-Davies in particular defecated in his costume during one shot. Spielberg was never ill, as he only ate tinned foods from England. Spielberg did not like the area and quickly pushed forward a scheduled six-week shoot to four-and-a-half weeks. Much was improvised there: the scene wherein Marion puts on her dress and attempts to leave Belloq's tent was improvised, as was the entire plane fight. During shooting of that scene, Ford tore his cruciate ligament in his left leg as a wheel went over his knee, but he did not accept medical help and simply put ice over it. The fight scenes in the town were filmed in Kairouan; by then Ford was suffering from dysentery. He had enough, and did not want to shoot a fight scene between Indiana and a swordsman. He said to Spielberg "Why don't we just shoot the sucker?" Spielberg agreed, scrapped the rest of the fight scene, and filmed the gag of Indiana quickly shooting the swordsman. The truck chase was shot entirely by the second-unit who mostly followed Spielberg's storyboards, though they decided to add Indiana being dragged by the truck. Spielberg shot all the close-ups with Ford afterwards.

The interior staircase set in Washington, D.C. was filmed inside of San Francisco's City Hall. The University of the Pacific, located in Stockton, California, stands in for the exterior of the college where Jones works, while his classroom and the hall where he meets the American intelligence men was filmed at the Royal Masonic School for Girls in Hertfordshire, England. His home exteriors were filmed in the city of San Rafael, California. The opening exteriors were filmed in Kauai, Hawaii, with Spielberg wrapping in September, finishing under schedule in 73 days, in contrast to his previous film, 1941. The Washington, D.C. exterior was not included in early edits and, although it appeared in early drafts of the script, was actually added later when it was realized that there was no resolution to Jones's relationship with Marion. Shots of the Douglas DC-3 Jones flies on to Nepal were taken from Lost Horizon, while a street scene was cut from a shot in The Hindenburg.

The special effects for Raiders were provided by Industrial Light & Magic. These largely featured in the climactic sequence where the Ark of the Covenant is opened and spirits come out to attack the Nazis. The melting of Toht's head was done by exposing a gelatine and plaster model of Ronald Lacey's head to a heat lamp with an under cranked camera, while Dietrich's crushed head was a hollow model from which air was withdrawn. The spirits were shot underwater for a ghostly look.

Ben Burtt, the sound effects supervisor, made extensive use of traditional foley work in yet another of the production's throwbacks to days of the Republic serials. He selected a 30-30 Winchester rifle for the sound of Jones' pistol. Sound effects artists struck leather jackets and baseball gloves with a baseball bat to create a variety of punching noises and body blows. For the snakes in the Well of Souls sequence, fingers running through cheese casserole and sponges sliding over cement were used for the slithering noises. The sliding lid on a toilet cistern provided the sound for the opening of the Ark. In addition to his use of such time-honored foley work, Burtt also demonstrated the modern expertise honed during his award-winning work on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977). He employed a synthesizer for the sounds of the Ark, and mixed dolphins' and sea lions' screams for those of the spirits within.

Vic Tablian plays Barranca and the Monkey man. Producer Frank Marshall played a pilot in the airplane fight sequence. The stunt team was ill, so he took the role instead. The result was three days in a hot cockpit, which he joked was over "140 degrees". Pat Roach plays the large mechanic with whom Jones brawls in this sequence, as well as Toht's Sherpa henchman in Marion's bar. He had the rare opportunity to be killed twice in one movie. Special-effects supervisor Dennis Muren made a cameo as a Nazi spy on the seaplane Indiana Jones takes to Nepal.

John Williams composed the score for Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was the only score in the series performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. The score most notably features the well-known "Raiders' March." This piece came to symbolize Indiana Jones and was later used in Williams' scores for the other three films. Williams originally wrote two different candidates for Indy's theme, but Spielberg enjoyed them so much that he insisted that both be used together in what became the "Raiders' March". The alternately eerie and apocalyptic theme for the Ark of the Covenant is also heard frequently in the score, with a more romantic melody representing Marion and, more broadly, her relationship with Jones. The score as a whole received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score, but lost to Vangelis's iconic synth-based score for Chariots of Fire.

The $20 million (USD) budget film grossed $384 million worldwide in its initial theatrical release. It remains one of the top twenty highest-grossing films ever made (when adjusted for inflation). The film was subsequently nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in 1982 and won four (Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Norman Reynolds, Leslie Dilley, Michael D. Ford)). It also received an additional Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing. It won numerous other awards, including a Grammy and Best Picture at the People's Choice Awards. Spielberg was also nominated for a Golden Globe.

The film received positive reviews from most critics. In his review for the New York Times, Vincent Canby praised the film, calling it, "one of the most deliriously funny, ingenious and stylish American adventure movies ever made." Roger Ebert in his review for the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "Two things, however, make Raiders of the Lost Ark more than just a technological triumph: its sense of humor and the droll style of its characters We find ourselves laughing in surprise, in relief, in incredulity at the movie's ability to pile one incident upon another in an inexhaustible series of inventions." He later added it to his list of "Great Movies". Rolling Stone said the film was "the ultimate Saturday action matinee–a film so funny and exciting it can be enjoyed any day of the week." Bruce Williamson of Playboy claimed: "There's more excitement in the first ten minutes of Raiders than any movie I have seen all year. By the time the explosive misadventures end, any movie-goer worth his salt ought to be exhausted." Stephen Klain of Variety also praised the film. Yet, making an observation that would revisit the franchise with its next film, he felt that the film was surprisingly violent and bloody for a PG-rated film. New Hollywood champion Pauline Kael, who once contended that she only got "really rough" on large films that were destined to be hits but were nonetheless "atrocious," found the film to be a "machine-tooled adventure" from a pair of creators who "think just like the marketing division." (Lucas later named a villain, played by Raiders' Nazi strongman Pat Roach, in his 1988 fantasy film Willow after Kael.) Today, the film is considered to be a classic of the action and adventure genres by many contemporary critics and carries a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Following the success of Raiders, a prequel, Temple of Doom, and two sequels, The Last Crusade and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, were produced. A television series, entitled The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, was also spun off from this film, and details the early years of the character. Numerous other books, comics, and video games have also been produced.

In 1998, the American Film Institute placed the film at number 60 on its top 100 films of the first century of cinema. In 2007, AFI updated the list and placed it at number 66. They also named it as the 10th most thrilling movie, and named Indiana Jones as the second most thrilling hero. In 1999, the film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. Indiana Jones has become an icon, being listed as Entertainment Weekly's third favorite action hero, while noting "some of the greatest action scenes ever filmed are strung together like pearls" in this film.

An amateur, near shot-for-shot remake was made by Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala and Jayson Lamb, then children in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. It took the boys seven years to finish, from 1982-1989. After production of the film, called Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, wrapped in 1989, it was shelved and forgotten until 2003, where it was discovered by Eli Roth and acclaimed by Spielberg himself who congratulated the boys on their hard work and said he looked forward to seeing their names on the big screen. Scott Rudin and Paramount Pictures have purchased the trio's life rights and will be producing a film based on their adventures making their remake.

Assessing the film's legacy in 1997, Bernard Weinraub, film critic for The New York Times, which had initially reviewed the film as "deliriously funny, ingenious, and stylish", maintained that "the decline in the traditional family G-rated film, for 'general' audiences, probably began" with the appearance of Raiders of the Lost Ark. "Whether by accident or design," found Weinraub, "the filmmakers made a comic nonstop action film intended mostly for adults but also for children." Eight years later, in 2005, viewers of Channel 4 in the UK rated the film as the twentieth best family film of all time, with Spielberg taking best over-all director honors.

The only video game based exclusively on this movie is Raiders of the Lost Ark, released in 1982 by Atari for their Atari 2600 console. The first third of the video game Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures, released in 1994 by JVC for Nintendo's Super Nintendo Entertainment System, is based entirely on the film. Several sequences from the film are reproduced (the boulder run and the showdown with the Cairo Swordsman among them); however, several inconsistencies with the film are present in the game, such as Nazi soldiers and bats being present in the Well of Souls sequence, for example. The game was developed by LucasArts and Factor 5. In Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine a bonus level brings Jones back to 'Peru, South America' from this film. He can explore the cave and he discovers another hidden idol. LucasArts released Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures on June 3, 2008 in North America and June 6, 2008 in Europe to coincide with the release of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Lego also released several building sets based on the film in early 2008.

In 1981, Kenner released a 12-inch doll of Indiana Jones, and the following year they released nine action figures of the characters in the film, three playsets, as well as toys of the Nazi truck and Jones's horse. They also released a board game. In 1984, miniature metal versions of the characters were released for a role playing game, and in 1995 Micro Machines released die-cast toys of the vehicles in the film. Hasbro released action figures based on the film, ranging from 3 to 12 inches (8 to 30 cm), to coincide with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on May 1, 2008. A novelization by Ryder Windham was released in April 2008 by Scholastic to tie in with the release of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

The film was released on VHS in pan and scan only and on laserdisc in both pan and scan and widescreen. It was also released on Betamax. For its 1999 VHS re-issue, the film was remastered in THX and made available in widescreen. The outer package was retitled Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark to correlate with the film's prequel and sequel. The subsequent DVD release in 2003 features this title as well. The title in the film itself remains unchanged, even in the restored DVD print. In the DVD, the glass partition separating Jones from the cobra in the Well of Souls was digitally removed. The film (along with Temple of Doom and Last Crusade) was re-released on DVD with additional extra features not included on the previous set on May 13, 2008.

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The Bodyguard


The Bodyguard is a 1992 romantic-thriller film starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. In the film, Costner stars as a former Secret Service Agent turned bodyguard who is hired to protect Houston's character, a music star, from an unknown stalker. The film was written by Lawrence Kasdan and directed by Mick Jackson.

In this film debut for Houston, she plays Rachel Marron, a music superstar who is being stalked. Frank Farmer (Kevin Costner), a professional bodyguard and former Secret Service agent, is hired to protect her.

The film then follows Rachel Marron's life through her career and family. Performances include her singing hits such as I Will Always Love You and I Have Nothing. Frank Farmer successfully protects her from danger and as a result of his protection, Rachel falls in love with Frank. He initially tries to keep the relationship professional, but the two sleep together. However, recognizing that their relationship may compromise his protection of her, Frank breaks off their affair. Rachel must put her trust in Frank ahead of her own desire for success. In the end, Frank's duty is fulfilled, having successfully protected Rachel, and they part with a kiss. Frank then moves on to his next assignment to protect an archbishop.

The film was originally proposed in 1976 with Steve McQueen and Diana Ross in the leads, but negotiations fell through as McQueen refused to be billed second to Ross. It was proposed again in 1979, starring Ryan O'Neal and Ross again in the leads. The project fell through due to irreconcilable differences in the relationship of the two stars. Costner stated that he based Frank Farmer on Steve McQueen; even cutting his hair like McQueen.

Madonna was considered for the role of Rachel. The deal was called off informally during an incident captured in her documentary Truth or Dare. This took place during the scene where Madonna met with Costner backstage; he congratulated her concert, calling her show neat, Madonna made fun of his "neat" remark after he left. Costner undoubtedly saw this after the documentary's release.

During recording of the song "I Will Always Love You", there was some different ideas for the cover version of the song until Costner and Houston decided to do the intro a capella, having Houston sing with no music. That version would be the one used in the film. The single of this song would ultimately go on to #1 in two dozen countries, sell over eight million units globally, and give Houston the best selling single by a female artist in music history.

Originally, the song that Rachel performs at the end of the film was meant to be "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted", which was originally sung by Jimmy Ruffin. However, it was decided that the song Rachel would sing would be Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" (supposedly at the suggestion of Costner, believing the song would fit better with the couple's break up).

Upon release, The Bodyguard received mixed to negative reviews. The movie holds a 39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and received 6 Golden Raspberry Award nominations including Worst Picture. Despite the mixed critical reception, the film was a commercial success, earning over $410 million worldwide. The film was also nominated for two Academy Awards, both in musical categories.

In addressing any controversy that the ads were trying to avoid showing the interracial aspect of the film, Houston thought this issue was without warrant and stated in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine in 1993, "people know who Whitney Houston is—I'm black. You can't hide that fact." Despite the minor controversy, the film is notable for not mentioning or needing to address any racial aspect.

The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album has become the best selling soundtrack of all time. It has been certified diamond in the US (sales of at least ten million) with sales of over 17 million copies. Worldwide, the sales are at a staggering 42 million copies. In addition, Houston's I Will Always Love You became one of the best selling singles of all time, and the best-selling single by a female artist, selling approximately 12 million copies worldwide.

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Star Wars

The Star Wars logo, as seen in all films

Star Wars is an epic space opera franchise initially conceived by George Lucas. The first film in the franchise was simply titled Star Wars, but later had the subtitle Episode IV: A New Hope added to distinguish it from its sequels and prequels. It was originally released on May 25, 1977 by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, spawning two immediate sequels released in three-year intervals. Sixteen years after the release of the trilogy's final film, the first in a new prequel trilogy of films was released, again released in three-year intervals, with the final film released on May 19, 2005.

As of 2008, the overall box office revenue generated by the six Star Wars films has totalled approximately $4.3 billion, making it the third-highest grossing film series. behind only the James Bond and Harry Potter films.

The Star Wars franchise has spawned other media including books, television series, video games, and comic books. These supplements to the film trilogies comprise the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and have resulted in significant development of the series' fictional universe. These media kept the franchise going in the interim between the film trilogies. In 2008, Star Wars: The Clone Wars was released to theaters as the first ever worldwide theatrical Star Wars film outside of the main trilogies. It was the franchise's first animated film, and was intended as an introduction to the Expanded Universe series of the same name, a 3D CGI animated series based on a 2003 animated 2D series, also of the same name.

The events depicted in Star Wars media take place in a fictional galaxy. Many species of alien creatures (often humanoid) are depicted. Robotic droids are also commonplace and are generally built to serve their owners. Space travel is common, and many planets in the galaxy are members of a Galactic Republic, later reorganized as the Galactic Empire.

One of the prominent elements of Star Wars is the "Force", which is an omnipresent form of energy which can be harnessed by those with that ability. It is described in the first produced film as "an energy field created by all living things surrounds us, penetrates us, binds the galaxy together." The Force allows users to perform a variety of supernatural feats (such as telekinesis, clairvoyance, precognition, and mind control) and also can amplify certain physical traits, such as speed and reflexes; these abilities can vary from user to user and can be improved through training. While the Force can be used for good, it has a dark side that, when pursued, imbues users with hatred, aggression, and malevolence. The six films feature the Jedi, who use the Force for good, and the Sith, who use the dark side for evil in an attempt to take over the galaxy. In the Expanded Universe many dark side users are Dark Jedi rather than Sith, mainly because of the Rule of Two (see Sith Origin).

The Star Wars franchise began as a film series. The original trilogy comprised Star Wars, released on May 25, 1977, The Empire Strikes Back, released on May 21, 1980, and Return of the Jedi, released on May 25, 1983. The opening crawl of the sequels disclosed that they were numbered as "Episode V" and "Episode VI" respectively, though the films were generally advertised solely under their subtitles. Once Star Wars became a success and sequels were realized, Lucas numbered the initial film as "Episode IV" and gave it the subtitle A New Hope when the film was re-released in 1981.

In 1997, to correspond with the twentieth anniversary of the release of Star Wars, Lucas released "Special Editions" of the three films to theaters. The re-releases featured alterations to the original films, primarily motivated by the improvement of CGI and other special effects technologies, which allowed visuals that were not possible to achieve at the time of the original filmmaking. Lucas continued to make changes to the original trilogy for subsequent releases, such as the first ever DVD release of the trilogy on September 21, 2004.

More than two decades after the release of the original film, the film series continued with the long-awaited prequel trilogy; consisting of Episode I: The Phantom Menace, released on May 19, 1999, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, released on May 16, 2002, and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, released on May 19, 2005.

The prequel trilogy follows the upbringing of Anakin Skywalker, who is discovered by the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn. He is believed to be the "Chosen One" foretold by Jedi prophecy to bring balance to the Force. The Jedi Council, led by Yoda, sense that his future is clouded with fear, but reluctantly allow Qui-Gon's apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi to train Anakin after Qui-Gon is killed by the Sith Lord Darth Maul. At the same time, the planet Naboo is under attack, and its ruler, Queen Padmé Amidala, seeks the assistance of the Jedi to repel the attack. The Sith Lord Darth Sidious secretly planned the attack to give his alias, Senator Palpatine, a pretense to overthrow the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. The remainder of the prequel trilogy chronicles Anakin's fall to the dark side, as Sidious attempts to create an army to defeat the Jedi and lure Anakin to be his apprentice. Anakin and Padmé fall in love and eventually she becomes pregnant. Anakin soon succumbs to his anger, becoming the Sith Lord Darth Vader. While Sidious re-organizes the Republic into the Galactic Empire, Vader participates in the extermination of the Jedi Order, culminating in a lightsaber battle between him and Obi-Wan. After defeating his former apprentice, Obi-Wan leaves Vader for dead - but Sidious arrives shortly after to save him and put him into a suit of black armor that keeps him alive. At the same time, Padmé dies while giving birth to twins. The twins are hidden from Vader and not told of their true parents.

The original trilogy begins 19 years later as Vader nears completion of the massive Death Star space station which will allow him and Sidious, now the Emperor, to crush the rebellion which has formed against the evil empire. He captures Princess Leia Organa who has stolen the plans to the Death Star and hidden them in droid R2-D2. R2-D2, along with his counterpart C-3PO, escape to the planet Tatooine. There, the droids are purchased by Luke Skywalker, son of Anakin, and his step-uncle and aunt. While Luke is cleaning R2-D2, he accidentally triggers a message put into the robot by Leia, who asks for assistance from Obi-Wan. Luke later assists the droids in finding the Jedi Knight, who is now passing as an old hermit under the alias Ben Kenobi. Obi-Wan tells Luke of his father's greatness, but says that he was killed by Vader. Obi-Wan and Luke hire the Corellian space pilot and smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca to take them to the rebels. Obi-Wan begins to teach Luke about the Force, but allows himself to be killed in a showdown with Vader during the rescue of Leia. His sacrifice allows the group to escape with the plans that allow the rebels to destroy the Death Star.

Vader continues to hunt down the rebels, and begins building a second Death Star. Luke travels to find Yoda to become trained as a Jedi, but is interrupted when Vader lures him into a trap by capturing Han and the others. Vader reveals that he is Luke's father and attempts to turn him to the dark side. Luke escapes, and returns to his training with Yoda. He learns that he must face his father before he can become a Jedi, and that Leia is his twin sister. As the rebels attack the second Death Star, Luke confronts Vader under the watch of the Emperor. Instead of convincing Luke to join the dark side, the young Jedi defeats Vader in a lightsaber duel and is able to convince him that there is still some good in him. Vader kills the Emperor before succumbing to his own injuries, and the second Death Star is destroyed, restoring freedom to the galaxy.

Star Wars features elements such as (Jedi) knights, witches, and princesses that are related to archetypes of the fantasy genre. The Star Wars world, unlike science-fiction and fantasy films that featured sleek and futuristic settings, was portrayed as dirty and grimy. Lucas' vision of a "used universe" was further popularized in the science fiction-horror films Alien, which was set on a dirty space freighter; Mad Max 2, which is set in a post-apocalyptic desert; and Blade Runner, which is set in a crumbling, dirty city of the future. Lucas made a conscious effort to parallel scenes and dialogue between films, and especially to parallel the journeys of Luke Skywalker with that of his father Anakin when making the prequels.

All six films of the Star Wars series were shot in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The original trilogy was shot with anamorphic lenses. Episodes IV and V were shot in Panavision, while Episode VI was shot in Joe Dunton Camera (JDC) scope. Episode I was shot with Hawk anamorphic lenses on Arriflex cameras, and Episodes II and III were shot with Sony's CineAlta high-definition digital cameras. Lucas hired Ben Burtt to oversee the sound effects on A New Hope.

Burtt's accomplishment was such that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented him with a Special Achievement Award because it had no award at the time for the work he had done. Lucasfilm developed the THX sound reproduction standard for Return of the Jedi. The scores for the six Star Wars films were composed by John Williams. Lucas' design for Star Wars involved a grand musical sound, with leitmotifs for different characters and important concepts. Williams' Star Wars title theme has become one of the most famous and well-known musical compositions in modern music history.

In 1971, Universal Studios agreed to make American Graffiti and Star Wars in a two-picture contract, although Star Wars was later rejected in its early concept stages. American Graffiti was completed in 1973 and, a few months later, Lucas wrote a short summary called "The Journal of the Whills", which told the tale of the training of apprentice C.J. Thorpe as a "Jedi-Bendu" space commando by the legendary Mace Windy. Frustrated that his story was too difficult to understand, Lucas then wrote a 13-page treatment called The Star Wars, which was a loose remake of Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress. By 1974, he had expanded the treatment into a rough draft screenplay, adding elements such as the Sith, the Death Star, and a young boy as the protagonist named Annikin Starkiller. For the second draft, Lucas made heavy simplifications, and also introduced the young hero on a farm as Luke. Annikin became Luke's father, a wise Jedi knight. The "Force" was also introduced as a supernatural power. The next draft removed the father character and replaced him with a substitute named Ben Kenobi, and in 1976 a fourth draft had been prepared for principal photography. The film was titled Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars. During production, Lucas changed Luke's name to Skywalker and altered the title to simply The Star Wars and finally Star Wars.

It wasn't long after I began writing Star Wars that I realized the story was more than a single film could hold. As the saga of the Skywalkers and Jedi Knights unfolded, I began to see it as a tale that could take at last nine films to tell—three trilogies—and I realized, in making my way through the back story and after story, that I was really setting out to write the middle story.

The second draft contained a teaser for a never-made sequel about "The Princess of Ondos," and by the time of the third draft some months later Lucas had negotiated a contract that gave him rights to make two sequels. Not long after, Lucas met with author Alan Dean Foster, and hired him to write these two sequels as novels. The intention was that if Star Wars were successful, Lucas could adapt the novels into screenplays. He had also by that point developed a fairly elaborate backstory to aid his writing process.

When Star Wars proved successful, Lucas decided to use the film as the basis for an elaborate serial, although at one point he considered walking away from the series altogether. However, Lucas wanted to create an independent filmmaking center—what would become Skywalker Ranch—and saw an opportunity to use the series as a financing agent. Alan Dean Foster had already begun writing the first sequel novel, but Lucas decided to abandon his plan to adapt Foster's work; the book was released as Splinter of the Mind's Eye the next year. At first Lucas envisioned a series of films with no set number of entries, like the James Bond series. In an interview with Rolling Stone in August 1977, he said that he wanted his friends to each take a turn at directing the films and giving unique interpretations on the series. He also said that the backstory where Darth Vader turns to the dark side, kills Luke's father and fights Ben Kenobi on a volcano as the Galactic Republic falls would make an excellent sequel.

Later that year, Lucas hired science fiction author Leigh Brackett to write Star Wars II with him. They held story conferences and by late November 1977, Lucas had produced a handwritten treatment called The Empire Strikes Back. The treatment is very similar to the final film except that Darth Vader does not reveal he is Luke's father. In the first draft that Brackett would write from this, Luke's father appears as a ghost to instruct Luke.

Brackett finished her first draft in early 1978; Lucas has said he was disappointed with it, but before he could discuss it with her, she died from cancer. With no writer available, Lucas had to write his next draft himself. It was this draft in which Lucas first made use of the "Episode" numbering for the films; Empire Strikes Back was listed as Episode II. As Michael Kaminski argues in The Secret History of Star Wars, the disappointment with the first draft probably made Lucas consider different directions in which to take the story. He made use of a new plot twist: Darth Vader claims to be Luke's father. According to Lucas, he found this draft enjoyable to write, as opposed to the year-long struggles writing the first film, and quickly wrote two more drafts, both in April 1978. He also took the script to a darker extreme by having Han Solo become imprisoned in carbonite and left in limbo.

This new story point of Darth Vader being Luke's father had drastic effects on the series. Michael Kaminski argues in his book that it is unlikely that the plot point had ever seriously been considered or even conceived of before 1978, and that the first film was clearly operating under an alternate storyline where Vader was separate from Luke's father; there is not a single reference to this plot point before 1978. After writing the second and third drafts of Empire Strikes Back in which the point was introduced, Lucas reviewed the new backstory he had created: Anakin Skywalker was Ben Kenobi's brilliant student; he had a child called Luke but was swayed to the dark side by Emperor Palpatine (who became a Sith and not simply a politician). Anakin battled Ben Kenobi on the site of a volcano and was wounded, but then resurrected as Darth Vader. Meanwhile Kenobi hid Luke on Tatooine while the Republic became the Empire and Vader hunted down the Jedi knights.

With this new backstory in place, Lucas decided that the series would be a trilogy, changing Empire Strikes Back from Episode II to Episode V in the next draft. Lawrence Kasdan, who had just completed writing Raiders of the Lost Ark, was then hired to write the next drafts, and was given additional input from director Irvin Kershner. Kasdan, Kershner, and producer Gary Kurtz saw the film as a more serious and adult film, which was helped by the new, darker storyline, and developed the series from the light adventure roots of the first film.

By the time he began writing Episode VI in 1981 (then titled Revenge of the Jedi), much had changed. Making Empire Strikes Back was stressful and costly, and Lucas' personal life was disintegrating. Burnt out, and not wanting to make any more Star Wars films, he vowed that he was done with the series in a May 1983 interview with Time magazine. Lucas' 1981 rough drafts had Darth Vader competing with the Emperor for possession of Luke—and in the second script, the "revised rough draft," Vader became a sympathetic character. Lawrence Kasdan was hired to take over once again and, in these final drafts, Vader was explicitly redeemed and finally unmasked. This change in character would provide a springboard to the "Tragedy of Darth Vader" storyline that underlies the prequels.

After losing much of his fortune in a divorce settlement in 1987, Lucas had no desire to return to Star Wars, and had unofficially canceled his Sequel Trilogy by the time of Return of the Jedi. However the prequels, which were quite developed, continued to fascinate him. After Star Wars became popular once again, in the wake of Dark Horse's comic line and Timothy Zahn's trilogy of novels, Lucas saw that there was still a large audience. His children had begun to grow older, and with the explosion of CGI technology he was now considering returning to directing. By 1993 it was announced, in Variety among other sources, that he would be making the prequels. He began outlining the story, now indicating that Anakin Skywalker would be the protagonist rather than Ben Kenobi, and that the series would be a tragic one examining Anakin's transformation to evil. Lucas also began to change how the prequels would exist relative to the originals — at first they were supposed to be a "filling-in" of history, backstory, existing parallel or tangential to the originals, but now he saw that they could form the beginning of one long story that started with Anakin's childhood and ended with his death. This was the final step towards turning the franchise into a "Saga".

In 1994, Lucas began writing the first screenplay titled Episode I: The Beginning. Following the release of that film, Lucas announced that he would also be directing the next two, and began working on Episode II at that time. The first draft of Episode II was completed just weeks before principal photography, and Lucas hired Jonathan Hales, a writer from The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, to polish it up. Unsure of a title, Lucas had jokingly called the film "Jar Jar's Great Adventure." In writing The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas initially decided that Lando Calrissian was a clone and came from a planet of clones which caused the "Clone Wars" mentioned by Kenobi in A New Hope; he later came up with an alternate concept of an army of clone shocktroopers from a remote planet which attacked the Republic and were repelled by the Jedi knights. The basic elements of that backstory became the plot basis for Episode II, with the new wrinkle added that the entire event was personal manipulation of Palpatine's.

Lucas began working on Episode III even before Attack of the Clones was released, offering concept artists that the film would open with a montage of seven Clone War battles. As he reviewed the storyline that summer, however, he says he radically re-organized the plot. Michael Kaminski, in The Secret History of Star Wars, offers evidence that issues in Anakin's fall to the dark side prompted Lucas to make massive story changes, first revising the opening sequence to have Palpatine kidnapped and Dooku killed by Anakin as the first act in the latter's turn towards the dark side. After principal photography was complete in 2003, Lucas made even more massive changes in Anakin's character, re-writing his entire turn to the dark side — he would now turn primarily in a quest to save Padme from death, rather than the previous version in which that reason was one of several, including that he genuinely believed that the Jedi were evil and plotting to take over the Republic. This fundamental re-write was accomplished both through editing the principal footage, and new and revised scenes filmed during pick-ups in 2004.

Lucas often exaggerated the amount of material he wrote for the series; much of it stemmed from the post–1978 period when the series grew into a phenomenon. Michael Kaminski explained that these exaggerations were both a publicity and security measure. Kaminski rationalized that since the series' story radically changed throughout the years, it was always Lucas' intention to change the original story retroactively because audiences would only view the material from his perspective.

At a ShoWest convention in 2005, Lucas demonstrated new technology and stated that he planned to release the six films in a new 3-D film format, beginning with A New Hope in 2007. However, by January 2007, Lucasfilm stated on that "there are no definitive plans or dates for releasing the Star Wars saga in 3-D." At Celebration Europe in July 2007, Rick McCallum confirmed that Lucasfilm is "planning to take all six films and turn them into 3-D," but they are "waiting for the companies out there that are developing this technology to bring it down to a cost level that makes it worthwhile for everybody". In July 2008 Jeffrey Katzenberg, the CEO of Dreamworks Animations, let it slip that George Lucas is to redo all six of the movies in 3D.

The six films together were nominated for a total of 22 Academy Awards, of which they won 7.

The term Expanded Universe (EU) is an umbrella term for officially licensed Star Wars material outside of the six feature films. The material expands the stories told in the films, taking place anywhere from 25,000 years before The Phantom Menace to 140 years after Return of the Jedi. The first Expanded Universe story appeared in Marvel Comics' Star Wars #7 in January 1978 (the first six issues of the series having been an adaptation of the film), followed quickly by Alan Dean Foster's novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye the following month.

George Lucas retains artistic control over the Star Wars universe. For example, the death of central characters and similar changes in the status quo must first pass his screening before authors are given the go-ahead. In addition, Lucasfilm Licensing devotes efforts to ensure continuity between the works of various authors across companies. Elements of the Expanded Universe have been adopted by Lucas for use in the films, such as the name of capital planet Coruscant, which first appeared in Timothy Zahn's novel Heir to the Empire before being used in The Phantom Menace. A character introduced in Dark Horse Comics' Star Wars series, a blue Twi'lek Jedi Knight named Aayla Secura, was liked enough by Lucas to be included as a character in Attack of the Clones.

To date, six films and three animated series have been produced for television, with a live-action series and a 3D CGI animated series in pre-production as well as a 3D CGI full-length theatrical movie, The Clone Wars, which was released on August 15, 2008. Lucas has played a large role in the production of the television projects, usually serving as storywriter or executive producer. Star Wars has had numerous radio adaptations. A radio adaptation of A New Hope was first broadcast on National Public Radio in 1981. The adaptation was written by science fiction author Brian Daley and directed by John Madden. It was followed by adaptations of The Empire Strikes Back in 1983 and Return of the Jedi in 1996. The adaptations included background material created by Lucas but not used in the films. Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams reprised their roles as Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, and Lando Calrissian, respectively. The series also used John Williams' original score from the films and Ben Burtt's original sound designs.

Star Wars-based fiction predates the release of the first film, with the 1976 novelization of Star Wars (ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster and credited to Lucas). Foster's 1978 novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye, was the first Expanded Universe work to be released. In addition to filling in the time between the films, this additional content greatly expanded the Star Wars timeline before and after the film series. Star Wars fiction flourished during the time of the original series (1977–1983) but slowed to a trickle afterwards. In 1992, however, Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy debuted, sparking a new interest in the Star Wars universe. Since then, several hundred tie-in novels have been published by Bantam and Del Rey. A similar resurgence in the Expanded Universe occurred in 1996 with the Steve Perry novel Shadows of the Empire, set between Episodes V and VI, and accompanying video game and comic book series.

LucasBooks radically changed the face of the Star Wars universe with the introduction of the New Jedi Order series, which takes place some 20 years after Return of the Jedi and stars a host of new characters alongside series originals. For younger audiences, three series have been introduced. The Jedi Apprentice series follows the adventures of Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi before Episode I. The Jedi Quest series follows the adventures of Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker after Episode I and before Episode II. The third and currently on-going series is The Last Of the Jedi series which follows the adventure of Obi-Wan Kenobi and the adventures of a surviving Jedi almost immediately after Episode III.

Marvel Comics published Star Wars comic book series and adaptations from 1977 to 1986. A wide variety of creators worked on this series, including Roy Thomas, Archie Goodwin, Howard Chaykin, Al Williamson, Carmine Infantino, Gene Day, Walt Simonson, Michael Golden, Chris Claremont, Whilce Portacio, Jo Duffy, and Ron Frenz. They also published a Star Wars newspaper strip by Russ Manning, Steve Gerber, and Archie Goodwin, the latter under a pseudonym. In the late 1980s, Marvel announced it would publish a new Star Wars comic by Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy. However, in December 1991, Dark Horse Comics acquired the Star Wars license and used it to launch a number of ambitious sequels to the original trilogy instead, including the very popular Dark Empire stories. They have since gone on to publish a large number of original adventures set in the Star Wars universe. There have also been parody comics, including Tag and Bink.

Since 1982, dozens of video games have been published bearing the Star Wars name, beginning with Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back published for the Atari 2600 by Parker Brothers. Since then, Star Wars has opened the way to a myriad of space-flight simulation games, first-person shooter games, roleplaying games, RTS games, and others. Two different official tabletop role-playing games have been developed for the Star Wars universe: a version by West End Games in the 1980s and 1990s, and one by Wizards of the Coast in the 2000s. The best-selling games so far are the Lego Star Wars and the Battlefront series, with 12 million and 10 million units respectively.

The latest games released are Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, for the PS3, PSP, PS2, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS and Wii. While The Complete Saga focuses on all six episodes of the series, The Force Unleashed, of the same name of the multimedia project which it is a part of, takes place in the largely unexplored time period between Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and casts players as Darth Vader's "secret apprentice" hunting down the remaining Jedi. The game features a new game engine, and was released on September 16, 2008 in the United States. There are two more titles based around the Clone Wars which were released in November 2008 for the Nintendo DS (Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Jedi Alliance and Wii (Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Lightsaber Duels).

Star Wars trading cards have been published since the first 'blue' series, by Topps, in 1977. Dozens of series have been produced, with Topps being the licensed creator in the United States. Some of the card series are of film stills, while others are original art. Many of the cards have become highly collectible with some very rare 'promos', such as the 1993 Galaxy Series II 'floating Yoda' P3 card often commanding US$1000 or more. While most 'base' or 'common card' sets are plentiful, many 'insert' or 'chase cards' are very rare.

The board game Risk has been adapted to the series in two editions by Hasbro: Risk Star Wars: The Original Trilogy Edition (2006) and Risk Star Wars: Clone Wars Edition (2005).

The Star Wars saga has inspired many fans to create their own apocrypha set in the Star Wars galaxy. In recent years, this has ranged from writing fan-fiction to creating fan films. In 2002, Lucasfilm sponsored the first annual Official Star Wars Fan Film Awards, officially recognizing filmmakers and the genre. Because of concerns over potential copyright and trademark issues, however, the contest was initially open only to parodies, mockumentaries, and documentaries. Fan-fiction films set in the Star Wars universe were originally ineligible, but in 2007 Lucasfilm changed the submission standards to allow in-universe fiction entries.

While many fan films have used elements from the licensed Expanded Universe to tell their story, they are not considered an official part of the Star Wars canon. However, the lead character from the Pink Five series was incorporated into Timothy Zahn's 2007 novel Allegiance, marking the first time a fan-created Star Wars character has ever crossed into the official canon. Lucasfilm, for the most part, has allowed but not endorsed the creation of these derivative fan-fiction works, so long as no such work attempts to make a profit from or tarnish the Star Wars franchise in any way. Lucasfilm's open support and sanction of fan creations is a marked contrast to the attitudes of many other copyright holders. Some owners, such as Paramount Pictures with the Star Trek properties, have been known to actively discourage the creation of such works by fans.

The Star Wars saga has had a significant impact on modern global pop culture. Both the films and characters have been parodied in numerous films and television. Notable film parodies of Star Wars include Hardware Wars, a 13 minute 1977 spoof which Lucas has called his favorite Star Wars parody, and Spaceballs, a feature film by Mel Brooks which featured effects done by Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic. Lucasfilm itself made two mockumentaries, Return of the Ewok (1982), about Wicket W. Warrick's actor Warwick Davis, and R2-D2: Beneath the Dome (2002), which depicts R2-D2's "life story". There have also been many songs based on, and in, the Star Wars universe. "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded two parodies: "Yoda", a parody of "Lola" by The Kinks; and "The Saga Begins", a parody of Don McLean's song "American Pie" that retells of The Phantom Menace from Obi-Wan Kenobi's perspective.

When Ronald Reagan proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a system of lasers and missiles meant to intercept incoming ICBMs, the plan was quickly labeled "Star Wars," implying that it was science fiction and linking it to Ronald Reagan's acting career. According to Frances Fitzgerald, Ronald Reagan was annoyed by this, but Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle told colleagues that he "thought the name was not so bad."; "'Why not?' he said. 'It's a good movie. Besides, the good guys won.'" This gained further resonance when Reagan described the Soviet Union as an Evil Empire, which was taken from the opening crawl to A New Hope.

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Zero Effect


Zero Effect is a 1998 feature film written and directed by Jake Kasdan (son of famed Hollywood writer/director Lawrence Kasdan). It stars Bill Pullman as 'the world's most private detective' Darryl Zero and Ben Stiller as his assistant Steve Arlo. The film is to some extent inspired by "A Scandal in Bohemia" by Arthur Conan Doyle.

The film was shot in Portland, Oregon. It was scored by The Greyboy Allstars.

Darryl Zero, a brilliant but reclusive private detective for hire, traditionally works from afar with assistant Steve Arlo as his representative in the field. Socially awkward and inept but extraordinarily confident in his deductive abilities, Zero keeps himself locked in his apartment where he composes awful songs on his guitar and subsists on a diet of tuna, Tab, pretzels, Campbell's soup, and amphetamines. Zero and Arlo are retained by Gregory Stark (Ryan O'Neal) to investigate who is blackmailing him. During the investigation Zero takes to the field and encounters Gloria Sullivan (Kim Dickens), an equally mysterious young woman with a possible connection to the case. Throughout the film Arlo is torn between his loyalty to Zero and his affection for his girlfriend Jess.

In 2001 Kasdan attempted to resurrect the character Daryl Zero for the NBC television network. He shared the screenwriting duties with Walon Green and directed the pilot. He was also one of the producers. The series was intended to be a prequel, tracing the early adventures of Zero as he and Arlo became a team. The pilot stars Alan Cumming as Darryl Zero and features Krista Allen and Natasha Gregson Wagner. NBC did not pick up the pilot.

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Jake Kasdan

Jake Kasdan (born Jacob Kasdan 1974) is a Golden Globe nominated American television and film director. He is the son of writer-director Lawrence Kasdan and Meg Goldman, a writer. His younger brother, Jon Kasdan, also works in the film and television industry as an actor and writer. He is married to singer/songwriter Inara George of The Bird and the Bee.

Kasdan has directed four theatrical films: Zero Effect (1998) , Orange County (2002), The TV Set (2007), and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007). He has also worked in television, most notably with Judd Apatow, as a consulting producer on Freaks and Geeks and as a director on Undeclared. He has also directed numerous stage productions.

In 2006, Kasdan received his first Golden Globe nomination for Walk Hard: Best Original Song (shared with John C. Reilly, Judd Apatow, and Marshal Crenshaw), but lost to "Guaranteed" from Into the Wild (written by Eddie Vedder).

As a child, he made several appearances in his father's movies such as The Big Chill and Silverado (in the former he is an autograph seeker at a funeral and in the latter a stable boy).

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Jon Kasdan

Jon Kasdan (born Jonathan Kasdan) is the son of film director Lawrence Kasdan and the brother of director and actor Jake Kasdan. His directorial debut, In the Land of Women, was released in the United States in 2007. Kasdan also wrote the film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006. Kasdan has worked as a writer for the American television series Freaks and Geeks, and as an actor in Dawson's Creek. He had his acting debut in 1983 in his father's film, The Big Chill. Kasdan was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease when he was a 17-year old junior in high school.

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Source : Wikipedia