Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope became the hottest ticket in town when it hit cinemas in 1977. People were in love with the dynamic chemistry between the different characters. Everyone wanted a piece of the action. So much so that many movies jumped on the Star Wars bandwagon.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope broke records on the box office, and paved the foundation for a new era of science fiction movies. Sci-fi movies were considered ‘risky business’ back in the mid-’70s. But, Star Wars shattered through those perceptions and showed a revamped form of cinema to the audience.
From Han Solo to Chewie, from Luke to Leia, every character was loved by the audience, and they wanted more. This is why there was a rush to create a series of movies that tried to capitalise on the success of George Lucas and Star Wars, to jump on the bandwagon. They tried to step into the arena to claim some of the ongoing buzz for sci-fi movies.
Yet, there were those who tried to get on the bandwagon and claim some of the fame to their names as well. Here are our top 9 movies that jumped on the success of Star Wars in the hopes of gathering the same response as Star Wars did. There will probably be some you’ve NEVER heard of.
1. Starcrash (1978)
This movie wasn’t just inspired by Star Wars. It was Star Wars. Well, Starcrash was a cheap rip-off of Star Wars. The director, Luigi Cozzi, claimed that he actually dreamt the idea of this movie long before Star Wars even began production.
The plot was about a dynamic duo of an outlaw smuggler and her alien companion who are recruited by the Emperor of the Galaxy to rescue his son. Well, upon a cursory glance, everything gave a Star Wars vibe. From costume design to spaceship models, from dialogue delivery to the climax, it was a watered-down version of Star Wars.
Marjoe Gortner played the main role, and Caroline Munro was his alien companion, dressed in somewhat Leia-like costumes. Christopher Plummer played the Emperor, and David Hasselhoff played his son. The Starcrash end title was written and directed by John Barry at the time.
Caroline Munro later appeared on the cover of the science fiction fantasy magazine Starburst. In the same issue as Mark Hamill and Kirk Douglas.So, we can say ‘mission accomplished’. But, the audience didn’t like the movie, and it was taken off the cinemas just one week after its release.
2. Message from Space (1978)
Director Kinji Fukasaku jumped on the Star Wars bandwagon with one of his movies as he offered up ‘Message from Space’. It tanked immediately and received rather negative feedback from the audience.
The original plot of the movie was based on Japanese mythology. But, when Star Wars raced to the top of the box office, the Director ordered a re-write of the screenplay. It then incorporated elements from Star Wars to jazz up the mythology aspect.
The plot begins with the peaceful planet of Jillucia being terrorized by Ganvas, a terrible emperor. The king of this planet then chooses eight defenders to fight against the terror of Gnavas. The rest of the movie is basically a cheap CGI reiteration of sci-fi action scenes from Star Wars.
Viv Morrow played General Garuda in this movie, and the role of Prince Hans was played by Shin’ichi Chiba. The audience didn’t appreciate this movie at all. As the director tried to mix some of his style into the action scenes with flying monkeys and magical costumes.
3. The Humanoid (1979)
The Humanoid was yet another movie that tried to capitalise on this situation in 1978.
Moreover, the director, Aldo Lado, also directed this movie with a new moniker, George B. Lweis. This was to trick people into believing that this was a sequel of the original Star Wars trilogy. Well, people did fall for it, but immediately realized their mistake, and the movie was taken off cinemas within weeks of the first premiere.
The movie began with a similar style as Star Wars with a distant shot of our galaxy. In the movie, an evil alien Graal befriends an insane Dr Kraspin in hopes of taking over his brother as the ruler of the planet Metropolis.
Ivan Rassimov played the role of Graal, whereas the role of Golob was played by Richard Kiel. The estimated budget was around $7,000,000, and the movie did not even get a rating of 5 stars. It received mainly negative feedback from the audience and was shut down pretty quickly.
4. Star Trek: The Motion Picture 1979
Did you know that the release of the Star Trek movie journey was inspired by the success of George Lucas and Star Wars? The first picture in a long line of successful science fiction movies was released two years after the first Star Wars instalment, they jumped on the bandwagon.
Director Robert Wise was inspired by Star Wars and wanted to take a brand-new approach towards the Enterprise tale. So, he introduced a unique element of a futuristic world USS Enterprise and our beloved James T. Kirk.
William Shatner returned to the role and was accompanied by Leonard Nimoy playing Spock, and Sulu was played by George Takei.
The movie became an instant hit with the audiences, and thus began a life-long battle between the two fandoms. The estimated budget was $35,000,000, and the movie claimed $82,604,699 in the USA alone.
5. Battlestar Galactica (1978)
Battlestar Galactica is yet another big name that surfaced after the success of Star Wars. The movie was split into three parts forming the first three episodes of the TV series.
The movies focus on the destruction of the last twelve colonies of mankind. The movie shows the epic journey of how the last major fighter carrier helped humans find a new home, Earth. Richard Hatch played Captain Apollo, and Dirk Benedict was seen as Lieutenant Starbuck.
If you didn’t know, Universal Studios was sued by 20th Century Fox for this movie. 20th Century fox claimed that this movie had precisely 34 ideas from Star Wars. They claimed that the movie had shot-by-shot remakes of Star Wars, and the story was re-proposed with minor adjustments.
The estimated budget for the movie was $3,000,000, and it immediately gained a fan following among the audience. Moreover, it gained a somewhat cult-like following. People still talk about the original Battlestar Galactica being better than the sequels.
6. Space Raiders (1983)
Another one to jump onto the bandwagon was Director Howard R. Cohen who offered up Space Raiders. While the movie played poorly at the box office, the role of Hawk played by Vince Edwards was praised. The movie went on to gain a strong following in the coming decades.
In the movie, a 10-year-old boy is accidentally kidnapped by a spaceship filled with space pirates.
This movie was a rather sensitive approach to sci-fi and didn’t offer as many action scenes as other movies of the time. It was a rather sentimental tale between a young boy and a band of space pirates.
7. Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)
Battle Beyond the Stars would have been a good movie if it wasn’t just another rip-off.
In this movie, a young farmer enlists the help of mercenaries to help his peaceful planet against an evil tyrant, Sador, and his armada of aggressors.
Roger Corman, the director, did not have any success until then, and this is why he tried to hitch on the bandwagon of Star Wars. This movie was a weird mix of three different movies: Star Wars, The Magnificent Seven, and Seven Samurai. Well, too many cooks spoil the broth. This movie managed to gain only an average response from the audience, which later turned to other sci-fi movies and left it behind in the dust.
Moreover, the plot and cast for this movie were close to Star Wars. The plot followed the same story, and the allies of the main protagonist were also quite like Chewie, Leia, and Luke. Star Wars had Han, Yoda, Leia, C3PO, and this movie had a space cowboy, an elderly ancient warrior, a beautiful heroine, and a couple of robots. Do you start to see the similarities?
Richard Thomas played Shad, and Robert Vaughn played the role of Gelt. Yet, one good thing came out of this movie. Future director James Cameron and future producer Gale Anne Hurd met, and later gave us the amazing “Terminator.” The movie’s estimated budget was $2,000,000, and it only managed to gain one-third of the total budget before it was taken off.
8. The Man Who Saved the World (1980)
It was marketed as the Turkish Star Wars. Well, it literally was as it blatantly stole scenes from The New Hope and spliced them together to make new scenes. Moreover, this film borrowed from multiple movies to jump on the bandwagon, it took the score from Star Wars and mixed it with a native theme to make it look original. It also stole scenes and music from Battlestar Galactica.
This movie is about two space cadets who are on a desert planet, where an evil wizard is trying to take over the world. This movie had Kung-fu, monsters, ninjas, and telekinesis, and still failed to grab any attention from the audiences across the globe.
9. The Last Starfighter (1984)
The movie’s production was inspired by the success of George Lucas and Star Wars.
The movie plot is about Alex, who beats the Last Starfighter video game and is taken to another universe to beat an evil dictator. The game was just a test to see if he was fit for the recruitment. This movie also inspired the modern series ‘Future Man’, which is a rather comedic take on the plot.
The movie was not going to see the light of the day. The screenplay was shelved, but when Star Wars did so well on the box office, auditioning was resumed and this movie was fast-tracked due to Star Wars.
With an estimated budget of $15,000,000, this movie made $28,733,290 and became a hit at the box office. It is still remembered as an amazing tale of that era.
What’s The Bottom Line?
Every now and then, there are some directors and movies that set the tone of the industry and pave the way for a new era of cinematic experiences. Star Wars was such a movie. George Lucas gave us a story a universe and characters to root for. This is why Star Wars is as one of the best, if not the best, science fiction movies of all time. It’s not a suprise that other studios wanted to grab a slice of the pie.
And that’s our list. Did we miss any you think should’ve been on there? Any you’ve seen, what do you think of them? Leave us a comment below.
Read more of our movie articles HERE.
IMDB information about the Starcrash movie HERE.
Read IMDB information about the Message from Space movie HERE.
See IMDB information about The Humanoid movie HERE.
Read IMDB information about Star Trek: The Motion Picture HERE.
Find IMDB information about the Battlestar Galactica movie HERE.
Read IMDB information about the Space Raiders movie HERE.
IMDB information about Battle Beyond the Stars HERE.
Read IMDB information about The Man Who Saved the World movie HERE.
Check out IMDB information about The Last Startfighter movie HERE.
Hogwarts Houses For MCU Characters
Since its conception, Hogwarts houses have been a deciding factor in getting to know people. How someone answers “what Hogwarts house are you in?” can tell you a lot about a person. But where do some of our favourite MCU characters shape up when faced with the sorting hat?
Tony Stark/Iron Man- Ravenclaw
While Tony could be argued for almost any of the houses, Ravenclaw suits him best. Most of his development comes from the pursuit of knowledge. Aside from being one of the smartest characters in the MCU, he is constantly learning and improving upon his technology. He tends to approach large problems from a strategic and pragmatic standpoint, especially in his later films. Admittedly he can be brave and somewhat self-servingly ambitious. But who he is at the end of his arc and the way that he solves problems points to Iron Man being in Ravenclaw.
Steve Rogers/Captain America- Gryffindor
Is it even a question? Steve Rogers is definitely a Gryffindor. From day one, he has always strived to do what’s right. And he subtly wants a bit of glory for it too. He’s a natural leader and has always rushed into danger without a thought. He is undoubtedly driven by bravery and righteousness and is through and through a Gryffindor.
Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow- Hufflepuff
Natasha is tricky. She could truthfully swing in any direction. It may seem strange to put a spy in Hufflepuff, but if nothing else, Natasha is loyal. She cares deeply for those close to her and has shown that she’s willing to die for them. Her characterization throughout the MCU has been lacking, but her solo film has shown her to be fiercely loyal.
Bruce Banner/The Hulk- Ravenclaw
Another Ravenclaw. Similar to Tony, Bruce is very intelligent. While he seems to be less inclined to want to fight battles than Tony is, he is constantly learning. His relationship with the Hulk can even be characterized this way. By a desire to learn how to control him, then to understand him, then to become him. His arc is one that is driven by knowledge.
Thor is always looking to prove himself. Even though he can lift the hammer, he is constantly looking for validation that he is worthy. He’s not usually afraid of much, and when he is, he faces it anyway. What makes Thor a Gryffindor though is his desire to be the hero. He’s not in Slytherin because he doesn’t desire to rule. He’s not ambitious, he just wants validation.
Peter Parker/Spiderman- Gryffindor
Peter is another hard one. He’s intelligent like Bruce and Tony, which could throw him into Ravenclaw. He’s loyal to his friends, which could put him into Hufflepuff. But at his core, Peter is in Gryffindor. The proof is in one of his first lines in the MCU. In Civil War, he tells Tony, “if you can do the things I do, and you don’t, then bad things happen because of you. (paraphrased)” He feels that because he’s special, he has to act. And unlike Steve and Thor, Peter is almost always afraid. He faces his challenges in spite of that. And while he wants to have a normal life, and a typical High School experience, he selflessly puts himself on the line. Once again, Peter is not looking for recognition, he’s just trying to do the right thing.
Dr Strange- Ravenclaw
Lots of Ravenclaws in the MCU. For Dr Strange, there really isn’t any other option. He is completely driven by the pursuit of knowledge. And while recognition came with that, we see with his journey into the mystic arts that his true motivation comes from learning. He’s a very similar character to Tony Stark, and both of them are textbook Ravenclaws.
Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch- Hufflepuff
Like Natasha, Wanda is driven by her relationships. She is faithfully loyal to her brother, then Vision, then her family. She is definitely motivated to protect and care for those she loves. Including creating an entire alternate reality to be with them! Wanda is brave and intelligent, but at her core, she is loyal.
Finally, a Slytherin. Once again, was there any other option? Loki is characterized by his cunning and ambition. He wants to rule. And he doesn’t get there by rushing into battle. He gets there by being sneaky and clever. Loki is a Slytherin through and through.
Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel- Slytherin
This may not feel like the obvious choice for Carol, but she definitely portrays characteristics of a Slytherin. She’s the best, and she wants people to know it. She’s confident and clever, and she likes attention. We don’t know her very well yet, but from what we’ve seen, she seems to relish in the attention her efforts provide. She is good, helpful, and ambitious.
T’Challa/Black Panther- Hufflepuff
T’Challa is also driven by loyalty. But while he is protective of those he loves, his true loyalty is to Wakanda. He’s not king because of ambition, he’s king out of duty. Everything he does is through the lens of “what is best for Wakanda?” While it’s a bit unconventional, his loyalty to Wakanda characterizes him as a Hufflepuff.
Scott Lang/Ant-Man- Gryffindor
At first, it appears that Scott would be in Hufflepuff. After all, he is very motivated by his relationship with his daughter. But if he were truly 100% driven by that, he would have made different choices. He would not have betrayed Hope and Hank and teamed up with Captain America without their permission. He also would not have stolen from his company and landed in jail in the first place. But both of those above decisions do characterize him as a Gryffindor. He wants to be in the action, and he doesn’t always consider the consequences. Scott isn’t really looking for recognition and is not that ambitious, but he does want to be involved in the big events. He wants to help people, and he bravely faces battles. Sometimes without discretion.
Do you agree with our picks for these MCU characters in Hogwarts Houses? If not or if we’ve missed any out, leave us a comment below.
Check out our review of Black Widow HERE.
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