In Memory of Akira Kurosawa
These words appeared on TV screens just prior to the start of the recent episode of The Clone Wars, Bounty Hunters. To those in the know, the dedication was obvious. George Lucas's respect and admiration for the late great Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa has been well documented over the years, and there are many references to Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress (1958) in A New Hope.
Now, Kurosawa's influence has spread throughout the Star Wars galaxy to The Clone Wars in the form of Bounty Hunters. As we discuss on this weeks edition of The Clone Wars Roundtable, there are plenty of nods in Bounty Hunters to Kurosawa's legendary film The Seven Samurai(1954). Roundtable panelist and resident ForceCast Kurosawa expert, Paul Bateman of RalphMcQuarrie.com, was kind enough to provide some screen caps from both trilogies alongside with their Kurosawa counterparts. Check out these fantastic comparisons between the world of Kurosawa and the galaxy of Star Wars.
Coincidence? I think not! George knew exactly what he was doing when he incorporated a Kurosawa influence into Star Wars, much like he included many different references from the history of storytelling. If you never have seen a Kurosawa film like The Hidden Fortress or The Seven Samurai, then do yourself a favor and dedicate some of your time to watching those films. You might even find some other elements of Kurosawa's work that influenced Star Wars. Let us know what you find with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul also lets us know that last month would have been Akira Kurosawa's 100th birthday so the timing of the premiere of Bounty Hunters might also have been more than a coincidence!
And, Paul's artistic eye provides us with some other outside-the-box iinsights into Bounty Hunters:
Was it just the angle or did Ahsoka suddenly look a little older at the start?
I thought I recognized Embo's species from the old movies, then I realized what I was thinking of appeared in an old episode of the Logan's Run TV show!
You remember this is not the first time a Star Wars Seven Samurai story has been tried, remember The 8 from Abduba 3?
So, thank you Akira Kurosawa for providing such fantastic inspiration for the Star Wars Universe. All these years later, his influence is still making shockwaves in the Galaxy Far, Far Away. And while were at it, thank you Paul Bateman for the great analysis of an incredible episode of The Clone Wars!