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Jake didn’t think he’d become a writer when he was growing up in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, but fate had another idea. After barely squeaking through grade 9 English, by the luck of the draw Jake found himself with the most inspiring literature instructor his small town had ever known, and grade 10 English changed his life! Suddenly, evenings once spent at the hockey rink were spent curled up on the couch with the best of Hemingway, Dickens, and John Grisham. A valedictorian address and English degree at the University of Regina later, Jake is proud to call Heywise his favorite place to pen informative quizzes about all his passion projects. If you’re reading a post and pick up a hint of classic English literature, you’re probably reading something by Jake - especially if you come away feeling like a slightly better person for it.
The Star Wars franchise, a brainchild of George Lucas, is a rich tapestry of influences, with the films of Akira Kurosawa being a significant thread. Kurosawa's work, particularly films like "The Hidden Fortress," "Seven Samurai," and "Yojimbo," have left an indelible mark on the Star Wars universe.
One of the most striking influences is seen in the 1958 film "The Hidden Fortress." Lucas borrowed story elements and character archetypes from this film, most notably in the characters of C-3PO and R2-D2. These characters mirror the two peasants from "The Hidden Fortress," who bicker and navigate perilous situations, providing a unique perspective to the narrative. The character of Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi also draws parallels with Rokurota Makabe, a general of a now-defeated noble family from the same film. The duel between Rokurota and his rival, Hyoe Tadokoro, is mirrored in OObi-Wan'sbattle with Darth Vader on Mustafar, where he spares the Sith Lord but leaves him disfigured.
Kurosawa's 1954 epic "Seven Samurai" has also influenced Star Wars, with its story template adapted three times in the franchise. The tale of a small group of Ronin defending a helpless farming village from marauders is echoed in Marvel's Star Wars comics, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and The Mandalorian.
Beyond these two films, other Kurosawa films have also found their way into the Star Wars universe. A scene from 11961's" Yojimbo" is referenced in "New Hope," where Ben Kenobi dispatches a pair of criminals, including cutting off the arm of one, mirroring a similar scenario in "Yojimbo." The Star Wars franchise's non-movie material also references Kurosawa's 1949 crime drama, "Stray Dog, in the Clone Wars episode "Lightsaber Lost." While the Star Wars franchise is a unique creation, it is impossible not to see the ways Akira Kurosawa inspired Star Wars. The homage to Kurosawa's films is a testament to the enduring influence of his work on global cinema and a tribute to his storytelling genius.
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