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.
Book To Movie Adaptations Coming Soon
It seems that Hollywood is on an adaptation bender these days. With the upcoming Dune film to the To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before Netflix franchise, there is a lot of money to be made in book to screen adaptations. And there are a ton of them in the works. Here’s 15 book to movie adaptations that will soon be coming to a screen near you.
1. The House of Gucci – November 24th, 2021
You don’t have to wait long to watch this true story unfold. Written by Sara Gay Forden, the book goes into the real-life whodunnit of the murder of Maurizio Gucci. Starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver, this film is coming out this November.
2. Where the Crawdads Sing – June 24, 2022
This bestseller is going to premiere next summer on Netflix. The book, written by Delia Owens follows Kya; a young woman with a turbulent life, who becomes the prime suspect in a mysterious murder. Daisy Edgar-Jones is set to play Kya.
3. The Nightingale – December 23, 2022
The Nightingale, written by Kristin Hannah, follows the lives of two French sisters after their lives are torn apart by World War Two. The film stars sisters Elle and Dakota Fanning and is set to be released on 23 December 2022.
4. The School for Good and Evil – 2022
Written by Soman Chianani, The School for Good and Evil is a middle-grade standout. It takes place at twin schools that kidnap two children every year. Alongside the children of famous fairy-tale heroes and villains, these children are then trained at either the School for Good or the School for Evil. Eventually becoming the next generation of fairy tales. This film has big names in the cast, such as Charlize Theron, Laurence Fishburne, and Kerry Washington. The main characters Sophie and Agatha will be played by Sophia Ann Caruso and Holly Sturton. Shadow and Bone mainstay Kit Young will also be in this adaptation. It has wrapped filming and will come out sometime in 2022.
5. All Quiet on the Western Front – 2022
Who else remembers reading this in school? The classic was written by Erich Maria Remarque and chronicles the horrors of World War One. The book is being adapted as a film by Netflix. It’s going to be directed by Edward Berger and will star Daniel Bruhl. This is actually the third time the book has been adapted for the screen and will premier in 2022.
6. House of the Dragon/ Fire and Blood – 2022
Rejoice Game of Thrones fans, there’s more coming your way. Based on the book Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin, this Game of Thrones spin-off follows the Targaryens 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones. It’s being produced by HBO and will be a ten-part limited series. It’s set to premiere in 2022.
7. Bridgerton (Season 2) – 2022
The pandemic hit Bridgerton has also been renewed for season two. The second season will cover The Viscount Who Loved Me, by Julia Quinn. This love story will centre around Anthony Bridgerton. There’s no official release date, but speculation puts it at 2022.
8. A Discovery of Witches (Season 3) – 2022
AMC +’s Discovery of Witches has been renewed for season three. The show is based on Deborah Harkness’All Souls Trilogy. It centres around actors Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer as a vampire and witch who fall in love. It’s set to premiere sometime in 2022.
9. Shadow and Bone (Season 2) – 2022/2023
Netflix’s Shadow and Bone has been confirmed for a second season. It will cover the events of the second book, Siege and Storm. It’s also unclear if it will dip into the Six of Crows duology. You can read more of our coverage of season two of Shadow and Bone here.
10. Ninth House – TBD
Written by the same author of Shadow and Bone, Ninth House is Leigh Bardugo’s adult fiction series. It follows Yale freshman Alex Stern, who has the ability to see ghosts. She is hired to oversee the dark magical dealings of Yale’s secret societies and gets caught up in forces beyond her imagination. Picked up less than two days after its release in 2019, Ninth House is in the works for an Amazon series adaptation. The show does not have a release date yet and is still in pre-production. Leigh Bardugo is currently writing both the sequel and the show, according to her Instagram.
11. They Both Die at the End – TBD
When Mateo and Rufus are told that they will die, they befriend each other to enjoy their last day. After the project fizzled out at HBO, They Both Die at the End has now been picked up for a tv show by Entertainment One. The show will also be written by the author of the book, Adam Silvera. There is no release date yet.
12. The Selection – TBD
A staple of 2010s dystopian fiction, The Selection by Kiera Kass is right up there with Divergent and the Maze Runner. The Selection follows America Singer, who is selected to compete in a Bachelor-like competition to select the next Queen. What feels frivolous quickly becomes a high-stakes competition for the fate of the country. The Selection is set to premiere on Netflix as a movie. Haifaa Al-Mansour is attached to direct. You can expect to be able to watch The Selection in mid-2021.
13. The Red Queen – TBD
Another mainstay of mid-2010’s dystopia is the Red Queen series, by Victoria Aveyard. The Red Queen is set in a world divided by blood colour. The silver-blooded have superpowers and rule over the kingdom. The red-blooded are powerless; living in poverty and serving as cannon fodder to the war. But when red-blooded Mare Barrow reveals the power to manipulate lightning, everything changes. Elizabeth Banks is executive producing and directing The Red Queen for a TV series at Peacock. She will also play a key role. We’re still waiting on a release date, but Aveyard has co-written the pilot.
14. Blackout – TBD
Blackout is a collection of short stories following black teenagers who stumble upon love in the middle of a blackout in New York City. Authors include Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Nicola Yoon, and Ashley Woodfolk. The collection is going to be adapted into a six-part anthology on Netflix. The Obamas are actually producing Blackout under their flagship Higher Ground banner and Temple Hill. There is no release date yet.
15. Long Way Down – TBD
Written by Jason Reynolds, Long Way Down takes place in the sixty seconds the main character decides whether or not to murder the man who killed his brother. It’s being adapted into a feature film by Universal and is produced by John Legend and Michael De Luca. There is no release date yet.
That’s our list of 15 book to movie adaptations coming out soon. Which one are you most looking forward to seeing? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out the five things you missed in Bridgeton Season One HERE.
Read iMDB information on The House of Gucci HERE.
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