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The Empire Strikes Bush

"Lucas, responding to a question from the Sun at a Cannes Film Festival press conference, said he first wrote the framework of Star Wars in 1971 when reacting to then U.S. President Richard Nixon and the on-going events of the Vietnam War. But the story still has relevance today, he said, and is part of a pattern he has noticed in his readings of history.

" 'I didn't think it was going to get quite this close,' he said of the parallels between the Nixon era and the current Bush presidency, which has been sacrificing freedoms in the interests of national security. 'It is just one of those re-occurring things. I hope this doesn't come true in our country. Maybe the film will awaken people to the situation of how dangerous it is.' "

David Germain writes for the Associated Press: "Lucas never mentioned the president by name but was eager to speak his mind on U.S. policy in Iraq, careful again to note that he created the story long before the Bush-led occupation there.

" 'When I wrote it, Iraq didn't exist,' Lucas said, laughing.

" 'We were just funding Saddam Hussein and giving him weapons of mass destruction. We didn't think of him as an enemy at that time. We were going after Iran and using him as our surrogate, just as we were doing in Vietnam . . . The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we're doing in Iraq now are unbelievable.' "

Lucas said he has long been interested in the transition from democracy to dictatorship.

"In ancient Rome, 'why did the senate, after killing Caesar, turn around and give the government to his nephew?' Lucas said. 'Why did France, after they got rid of the king and that whole system, turn around and give it to Napoleon? It's the same thing with Germany and Hitler.'

" 'You sort of see these recurring themes where a democracy turns itself into a dictatorship, and it always seems to happen kind of in the same way, with the same kinds of issues, and threats from the outside, needing more control. A democratic body, a senate, not being able to function properly because everybody's squabbling, there's corruption.' "

Harlan Jacobson writes in USA Today: "Since screenings began last month at Lucas' Skywalker Ranch, people have been discussing parallels between the final film in Lucas' six-film Star Wars saga and current political events. . . .

"Lucas said Darth Vader's saga is about how a good man turns himself into a bad one.

" 'Most of them think they're good people doing what they do for a good reason.' "

Marijke Rowland writes in the Modesto Bee: "Lucas' longtime producer Rick McCallum insists that the resemblances are coincidental.

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