With annual Star Wars movies hitting theaters for the foreseeable future, it's easy to forget just how long this franchise has been around. It's been forty years since A New Hope debuted in cinemas, and the franchise from a galaxy far, far away hasn't looked back ever since. Star Wars has never failed to amaze audiences all around the world, but as it turns out, certain members of the cast were even blown away when they first saw it. An episode of Parkinson featuring an interview with the late Sir Alec Guinness has resurfaced online, and in that interview, he gushed quite a bit, explaining how he felt upon seeing the fantastic world created by George Lucas for the first time . The Obi-Wan Kenobi actor said:
There's a sort of wonderful freshness about it... like a wonderful fresh air. When I came out of the cinema... I thought, 'London's sort of gritty, and dirty and sort of rubbish, isn't it?' Because this had all been so invigorating.
I think Alec Guinness' comments in the interview about the original Star Wars pretty much cut to the core of why many of us collectively fell in love with the franchise in the first place. Even at its grittiest, the Star Wars universe is a fantastical and lighthearted place where anything is possible. Think about it; it's a world populated by bizarre aliens, magical warriors, and spaceships that can travel faster than the speed of light. We go to the movies for a sense of escapism, and few franchises can capture that feeling in theaters more than the Star Wars franchise.
Based upon these comments, it seems that Alec Guinness really came around to George Lucas' franchise after it actually hit theaters. Although he eventually spoke kindly of the Star Wars franchise following the film's release, Guinness famously hated working on the first movie and often spoke quite negatively about the film. In fact, he even went so far as to refer to it as "fairy-tale rubbish." A New Hope was plagued with production problems (most of which were actually fixed in the editing room), so it makes quite a bit of sense that Guinness wouldn't realize how good these movies were until he saw the final product.
This is the sort of thing that the Star Wars franchise has always excelled at, and will likely continue to excel at for years to come. Technical world building is an essential facet of the Star Wars universe, and even when the series has faltered in storytelling (the prequel trilogy comes to mind), it has always managed to deliver a sense of escapism aided by the latest advances in modern technology. Peter Jackson even recently went so far as to refer to George Lucas as the Thomas Edison of filmmaking -- pointing out his distinct knack for creating vibrant worlds with the tools at his disposal. It's a tradition that dates back to the 1970s, and it's something that Alec Guinness quickly picked up on.
Alec Guinness pretty much nailed his assessment of the Star Wars franchise after seeing it back in 1977, and the franchise hasn't looked back ever since. The next installment in the iconic Skywalker saga will continue when Rian Johnson's upcoming sequel, The Last Jedi, hits theaters on December 15, 2017.