Who’s excited for the new Star Wars movie to come out this month? I know we are! Well did you know that George Lucas, the screenplay writer of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and many other works, is one of the most notable alumni of Modesto Junior College?
George Lucas was raised in Modesto, California on a walnut ranch with his father and three siblings. He attended Downey High School, during which he had an incredible interest in drag car racing and even planned to become a professional racecar driver himself. However, just after his high school graduation he was in a terrible car accident which quickly ended that dream forever. This event changed many of his former views on life and decided to attend Modesto Junior College before enrolling in the University of Southern California film school.
At Modesto Junior College he studied anthropology, sociology, and literature, amongst other subjects and began shooting with an 8 mm camera, which also included filming some car races. Once Lucas transferred to the University of California, School of Cinematic Arts he became a part of a young clique of film students known as The Dirty Dozen and later became good friends with fellow student filmmaker, Steven Spielberg. As a film student he created several short films. In 1967 he was awarded a scholarship by Warner Brothers to observe the making of Finian’s Rainbow, a film being directed by Francis Ford Coppola. From this, Lucas became really good friends with Coppola and just two years after meeting they formed a company together called American Zoetrope in 1969. However, the company didn’t last very long. Soon after, Coppola went into the production of The Godfather in 1971, and Lucas decided to create his own company, Lucasfilm Ltd.
In 1973 he wrote and directed American Graffiti, which won a Golden Globe and earned five Academy Award nominations. Not too long after, he began writing Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, which was the film that would change his life forever. After having several companies turn down his movie, Twentieth Century Fox gave him a chance and the movie went on to break all the box office records and received seven Academy Awards. Lucas then made the other Star Wars films and along with his old friend, Steven Spielberg, created the Indiana Jones series.
Today, Lucas works as a creative consultant on the Star Wars sequel trilogy which includes: Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and soon to reach theaters Star Wars: The Last Jedi.