“May The 4th Be With You!” How “Flash Gordon” Created “Star Wars!” Olivia Munn As Princess Leia! Han Solo Revelations!

“May The 4th Be With You!”

Yes, it’s “Star Wars” day – as fans around the world celebrate May 4th – you know: the classic line from the movie “May the force be with you” is now a national “Star Wars” holiday! I’m going to celebrate as well, sharing with you some of the best trivia about the franchise I can find – beginning with the guy who started it all: no, not George Lucas, but this guy!

Flash-Gordon-cult classic

“Flash, Flash, I love you, but we only have fourteen hours to save the Earth!”

Cult movie fans know that Sam Jones WAS “Flash Gordon!’ But did you know this: it is “Flash Gordon” himself that led to “Star Wars!”

Original Star Wars artwork

There, do I have your “fanboy” attention now? Time to tell a fascinating story about a classic sci-fi movie – and a classic “cult” film that was an inspiration…

Flash Gordon movie


How “Flash Gordon” Created “Star Wars!”

It’s a great story, almost as great as both movies are!

young-george-lucas


George Lucas Loves Flash Gordon!

George Lucas had hoped to remake the original Flash Gordon film from 1936 – in fact, “Flash Gordon” serials were very popular at that time…

flash-gordon-trip-to-mars

How “Flash” Became “Luke!”

George Lucas had already directed “THX-1138” and “American Graffiti” – and was eager to take on “Flash” – but when he learned that Dino De Laurentiis had already bought the rights, he wrote “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” instead!

George Lucas directing Star Wars

Can you imagine how “Flash Gordon” would have turned out under Lucas’s direction? And that is no disrespect to the team behind “Flash”, but clearly his love of science fiction would have made “Flash” a great success…

Flash Gordon movie


Introducing Sam Jones!

Sam J. Jones was cast in the role after being spotted by the mother-in-law of Dino De Laurentiis on an episode of “The Dating Game”! And let’s be honest, he looks and acts just like Han Solo!

SAM-JONES-FLASH-GORDON-facebook

Freddie Mercury Flash Gordon

Cue The Killer Queen!

One other classic aspect of “Flash Gordon” is the musical soundtrack, written and performed by Queen!

It is one of Queen’s great songs, even if it is very short…it has the perfect Queen sound, and it fits the style and tone of the movie perfectly! Here is the music video that captures the band recording the song:

Queen Flash Gordon


Unfortunately, “Flash” Was No Luke Skywalker…

“Flash Gordon” was not a huge box office success…but fans have found it over the years, and of course, “Star Wars” did OK for itself…and now fans love to role play by dressing up like characters such as Princess Leia – as Olivia Munn did for G4:

Olivia_Munn_as_Leia_striking

Thanks as always to Olivia for stepping up for the good of the galaxy!

OliviaMunnPrincessLeia2

The original Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher, has tragically passed away, but she left us with a hilariously insightful look at her “Star Wars” experience:

Yes, she spilled the beans on her “Alliance” with Han Solo and so much more, you can read about it here:

https://johnrieber.com/2016/11/15/star-wars-revelations-princess-leia-indeed-carrie-fishers-bold-new-memoir-the-princess-diarist-a-han-solo-ful-of-fun/

Finally, another piece of trivia: George Lucas cast “Star Wars” in conjunction with Brian DePalma’s “Carrie” casting!

1976-carrie-stepehen-king

Casting “Carrie” – AND Princess Leia!

Here’s great trivia: George Lucas and Brian De Palma held a joint audition for “Carrie” and “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”. There is a long-standing rumor that originally, Sissy Spacek was cast as Princess Leia, and Carrie Fisher as Carrie, but when Fisher refused to appear in nude scenes and Spacek was willing to do them, they switched parts.

carrie-fisher-princess-leia-iii-by-dave-daring

Princess Leia Says “NOT TRUE!”

However, Fisher refuted this story in a Premiere magazine article called “The Force Wasn’t With Them,” about actors who auditioned unsuccessfully for “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.” That article got into the “switched roles” legend, and quoted Fisher as saying:

“Not only do I love being nude, I would’ve been nude then… But anyway, it’s total bullshit that Fisher refused to play Carrie.”

carrie-nancy-allen-pj-soles-1976

Spielberg’s Set Visits!

In a 2010 interview with “The A.V. Club”, Actress P.J. Soles said that Steven Spielberg often came to the set at Brian De Palma’s invitation – because DePalma told him that there were “a lot of cute girls down here.”

Soles said that Spielberg asked out most of the women on the set, Soles included, and Amy Irving was the only one who accepted. Irving and Spielberg were married from 1985-1989 and had one son together.

Finally, I took a look at all of the stuff you can buy to celebrate the film – and of course Darth Vader as well! You can see it all here:


https://johnrieber.com/2015/10/19/the-force-awakens-final-trailer-is-here-amazing-star-wars-cup-clingers-darth-vader-cmas-tree-olivia-munn-is-sexy-princess-leia-darth-vader-on-violin/

So there you go: some “Star Wars” trivia to help you celebrate this intergalactic holiday!

May The 4th Be With You!



Categories: 70's Cinema, Academy Awards, Action Films, Art, Books / Media, Cult Movies, Film Fight Club, Great Films, Hollywood, Memoirs, Movies, Pop Culture, Talent/Celebrities, Technology

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9 replies

  1. As a fan I loved reading your article John. I remember enjoying Flash Gordon too and was sad that no other movies were made. Maybe Disney should do a remake 😄

  2. While Flash Gordon is no Star Wars, it’s still campy fun, and the theme song by Queen never gets old. Thanks for sharing all this great trivia John.

  3. I didn’t have a clue about any of this before. You do make me chuckle, John, and your choice of images is always spot on! Is now a bad time to say I really dislike Star Wars?

  4. I like the campy style of the Flash Gordon film. I watched it again last year, on TV. I confess that I also watched ‘Flesh Gordon’ on VHS once. Just the once though! https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068595/
    Best wishes, Pete.

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