Saturday, December 7, 2013

Empire Strikes Back: What’s in a Name

In Issue 18 (December 1978) of Starlog there is an interview with Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz that talks about The Empire Strikes Back. I thought this section of the article was rather amusing:

Going along with this long-range concept, the producer refuses to taint the new production with the usual Hollywood sequel slang. The film, for instance, is never referred to in Lucas-Kurtz circles as Star Wars II. "I would never call it that," Kurtz winces. "Our working title is The Empire Strikes Back. And as I said, it's part of a plan that George and I had from the inception of the original film. What we wanted to do was to relate every subsequent Star Wars adventure as an episode of a continuing story, like the old movie serials used to do. We were going to call this movie Star Wars Episode Two: The Empire Strikes Back, but we ran into some problems. You see, although this story is a direct sequel to the first movie, we have three more stories that we eventually want to film that actually occur before the point where the first Star Wars begins.

"So we've been toying with the idea of ignoring the numbers completely. Instead, we'll give each movie episode a unique title. I mean, if we had to give each film its true number in the series, this movie would be called Episode Five: The Empire Strikes Back. The first film would be called Episode Four! Can you imagine how complicated it would get? If we released a story like that publicly through a press release,  thousands of people would be totally con-  fused. Everyone would want to know what happened to the other three movies."

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Post Star Wars Sci-Fi Invasion


In Issue 9 (October 1977) of Starlog there was an article about the invasion of Sci-fi films touched off by the release of Star Wars. The article mentions quite a few movies and TV shows, some made it, some didn’t. All release dates are for the US.

A sequel to Star Wars – Empire Strikes Back (May 1980)

When World Collide – As I discussed in this article a number of writers and directors were attached to this over the years but it never materialized.

H.G. Wells’ In the Days of the Comet – Never made

The Return of the Time Machine – Never made

Return From Witch Mountain – Released March 1978

The Cat From Outer Space – Released June 1978

Space Probe – Released December 1979 as The Black Hole

The Thing From Another World – Released in June 1982 as The Thing

Buck Rogers TV Series – Premiered September 1979

Comedy remake of The Incredible Shrinking Man – Although this didn’t get made, it might have become the 1981 comedy The Incredible Shrinking Woman.

The Predictor – Not made

Childhood’s End – A couple attempts were made to bring the Arthur C. Clarke classic to the screen, but it still hasn’t happened.

Magna I – I did find a mention of this, with the full title Magna I – Beyond the Barrier Reef, in the May 30th, 1974 issue of The Wilmington Star News but it appears this was never made.

Meteor – Released October 1979

Timescape – Not Made. You can read more about this one in my blog post about it.

Capricorn One – Released June 1978

The Late Great Plant Earth – Released January 1979

End of the World – Release August 1977. You can actually watch this one over at

Spawn Of the Slithis –  Released July 1978

Alien Encounter – Released October 1977 as Starship Invasions in the US.

Gift From a Red Planet – Released May 1978 as The Alpha Incident in the US.

The Incredible Adventure - Unknown

Rocket Ship X Flies Again - Unknown

Skywatch - Unknown