Some more random Starlog ramblings.

§ November 7th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Some more random Starlog ramblings.

So as you may have surmised from some recent postings, our store recently acquired a collection of early Starlog magazines in, shall we say, previously well-loved condition. My eventual plan was to do some kind of extended analysis of these Starlogs, in regards to their reflection of fan concerns of the mid-’70s, the occasionally off-the-mark speculation for forthcoming projects, the magazine’s increasing obsolescence to modern internet-savvy fandom…well, I don’t have much to say beyond what was typed there, really.

But, at least, I do want to quote from a couple issues. First up is an interview from issue #23 (June ’79) with Dave Prowse, the man inside Darth Vader’s costume:

“STARLOG: Have they signed you up for any of the future Star Wars sequels?

“PROWSE: They’ve offered me Star Wars II and III. As you probably know, Star Wars I, II and III are actually the fourth, fifth and sixth in the Empire’s chronology. And then they’re going back to do the first three. I’ll do the fifth and sixth, but I’ll probably miss the first because they’ll be going back in Empire history. Then I’ll likely do the second and third. So I could be Star Warsing for the next…ten years?

“STARLOG: Will the first film show us the young Darth Vader?

“PROWSE: No, I think two and three will. They might show Vader as he really was and I may get to be seen without my mask. […] …You’ll probably only see either the back of my head or my face hidden by breathing tubes.

“STARLOG: And is the face disfigured?

“PROWSE: Yes.”

I find that interesting if only for reflecting the expectations fans (and, apparently, the actors) had for the future of the Star Wars franchise and their places in it. Of course, George Lucas took twenty years to finally get around to the prequels, and Prowse had no part in those films.

That last bit about Vader’s face is a reminder about the mystery of the character’s true appearance beneath the mask…what was once a topic of interest and speculation is now just another memorable image from a fondly remembered movie of the past. Plus, it made me laugh that an interview would seriously include the question “Is the face disfigured?” Yeah, I realize people wanted to know, but still.

Issue #63 (October 1982) featured a lengthy editorial from the publisher, complaining that Steven Spielberg’s publicity department held back materials for E.T. The Extraterrestrial from Starlog, despite virtually every mainstream publication having access to those same materials:

“Spielberg gave an interview, photo shooting and E.T. photo to Andy Warhol’s Interview, a hip tabloid aimed at the ‘in’ creative crowd. He gave an interview to Film Comment, an excellent magazine that uses words like ‘cinema’ instead of ‘movies.’ Spielberg approved materials for People, Rolling Stone, Discover, Us, Time, Newsweek and countless other publications – even the Star (gasp!) had an interview with young Henry Thomas, which we were flatly denied.”

My guess is that the publicity department’s issue was the avoidance of pigeonholing E.T. as a “sci-fi” movie, trying to focus on getting eyeballs in more mainstream press rather than wasting time on some niche market genre ‘zine. To be honest, I don’t know what harm it would have done to throw Starlog a bone as long as the Spielberg people were getting plenty of publicity elsewhere. But, hey, Starlog eventually got their materials and, judging by the E.T. cover and feature article, I guess all was forgiven. Being allowed into the big boys’ club tends to gloss over any grudges.

From Starlog #7 (August ’77), a question about R2D2 and C3PO:

“Do the Lucas robots conform to Isaac Asimov’s famous laws of robotics?

“‘As George [Lucas] says,’ conveys [Lucas associate Charlie] Lippincott, ‘anybody who’s going to do robots nowadays is into science fiction and is going to be aware of Asimov’s laws. George was certainly aware of them, but he was determined to work around them. […] What is the case in Star Wars is humanoid robots with individual quirks, just like human beings have quirks. Both of our robots have their own ideas as to who their masters are and what their responsibilities are. So there can be conflicts between the two robots.”

“Determined to work around them?” How much work was necessary to say “I’m creating a story different from Asimov’s, therefore I’m not restricted by whatever concepts he created?” Was anyone really worried about this, aside from…um, Starlog‘s target audience?

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