Marcia Lucas won the Academy Award for Best Editing for her work on Star Wars: A New Hope. Previously, she had also worked as the editor of American Graffiti (1973) and several Martin Scorsese films, including Taxi Driver (1976); she would go on to also edit The Empire Strikes Back (1980, uncredited) and The Return of the Jedi (1983). Despite recognition from the Academy for her work on Star Wars, Marcia Lucas's influence on the original trilogy cannot be overstated. In addition to weaving together the final films that fans know today, she was also involved throughout the creative process to a greater extent than would be typical of an editor because she was married to filmmaker George Lucas.
A number of people involved in the production of the original trilogy acknowledge the creative decisions that Marcia Lucas contributed to, including actor Mark Hamill. Hamill noted in an interview that the difference between the original films and the prequel films is likely due to Marcia Lucas's absence (George and Marcia divorced in 1983), because she wasn't afraid to speak her mind and tell George he was wrong. Marcia Lucas has been credited with ensuring that George kept small, playful moments including Leia's "kiss for luck" in A New Hope. George Lucas also said in an interview with Rolling Stone that Marcia Lucas was the first person to suggest that Obi-Wan Kenobi die in A New Hope.
Leigh Brackett is the only woman to be created with writing or directing a Star Wars film; the credits of The Empire Strikes Back identify her as one of the screenwriters, along with Lawrence Kasdan. Brackett wrote the original screenplay for The Empire Strikes Back, but passed away from cancer before the script was finalized. Lucas and Kasdan worked from Brackett's script to develop the final film.
Brackett was a famous science fiction writer, writing both screenplays and science fiction novels. Her novel The Long Tomorrow (1956) was shortlisted for the Hugo Award for Best Novel, making her the first woman to be nominated for the famed science fiction award. Brackett would posthumously win a Hugo Award for The Empire Strikes Back.
Because Lucas greatly admired Brackett's science fiction contributions, he reached out to her to write the script for the second Star Wars film. However, since her death and the film's release, Lucas has contested how much Brackett actually contributed. Comparing Brackett's script with the final film illustrates similar plot points, settings, and structure, although there are also noticeable changes. Darth Vader's famed reveal is not present, and the love triangle between Luke, Leia, and Han is more pronounced.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019