Icons Unearthed, Marcia Lucas, and Me

I’m so glad to see Marcia Lucas — wife of George, and the Oscar-winning, ace editor who put together the original Star Wars trilogy–finally going on the record about her life and experiences for Vice’s Icons Unearthed docuseries. (I tried like heck for three years to get her to talk with me, and never cracked it.)

There’s a reason everyone refers to her as the heart of Star Wars, as well as George Lucas’s secret weapon. Apart from being a terrific editor, Marcia had an uncanny ability to see any film they were working on from the point of view of an audience. That sounds like it should be obvious, but it’s actually an often overlooked superpower of seeing the forest for the trees.

It was Marcia, for example, who, during the trench run sequence in Star Wars, used recycled footage to insert the ‘ticking clock’ of the Death Star moving into position to destroy the rebel base. It was a plot point that was NOT in the original script, but Marcia understood it made the stakes much higher–and therefore that much more exciting for the audience. She also told George Lucas, just before the film’s first showing to a real audience (SPOILER, I GUESS): “If the crowd doesn’t cheer when the Millennium Falcon comes back at the end, the film doesn’t work.” And boy, was she right (and yes, the audience cheered).

It was also Marcia who, after watching the first cut of Raiders of the Lost Ark, pointed out that the audience needed to see Indy with Marion again after their experience with the Ark–and Steven Spielberg, realizing she was right, brought Harrison Ford and Karen Allen back to film the two of them together on the steps of the local courthouse, giving the audience a sigh of relief and a bit of closure.

Anyway, we’re long overdue to hear her story in her words (I did the best I could to get her voice into George Lucas: A Life, but there’s nothing like the real thing). You can find this five-part docuseries on the VICE channel. I watched it using Sling, but as they say, YMMV.

Oh yeah — while I’m not in this particular episode, you’ll see plenty of footage of me running my mouth as the series progresses. Hang in to the end, and you may even see me doing my impression of the infamous Darth Vader “NOOOOOOOOOOO!” Maybe.

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