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Star Wars has become a franchise that many fans take incredibly seriously. There are still real debates among fans over the relative quality of the three trilogies, with many capable of getting quite heated over the problems they have with the various sequels. What's clear is that when George Lucas was creating Star Wars, he never intended it to become quite so serious. And one way that we can be quite sure of that is the fact that Lucas literally wanted the first Star Wars movie to open with a cartoon.
Mark Hamill recently posted on Twitter, confirming that George Lucas originally tried to get the clearance to use the Looney Tunes short Duck Dodgers in the 24th-and-a-half Century before all screenings of the original Star Wars. Hamill explains that George Lucas specifically didn't want to take the movie too seriously, and so he thought opening with the cartoon would help set a proper tone and expectation for the audience.
Duck Dodgers in the 24th-and-a-half Century was originally released in 1953, so it was a classic cartoon already in 1977. And as the original tweet points out, it's one of the more popular animated cartoons ever made. It's a send up of Buck Rodgers that sees Daffy Duck as a spaceman in what's designed to feel like a classic movie serial. It's probably one of the reasons that Lucas was interested in using this particular cartoon. Beyond simply being science fiction in theme, both the cartoon and Star Wars were inspired by the same source material.
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Of course, Looney Tunes belongs to Warner Bros. and Star Wars was being released by 20th Century Fox, which is likely the reason that the deal couldn't be made to put Daffy Duck in front of a Star Wars movie. Getting different studios to work together like that isn't completely unheard of, but it is rare, and one wonders how much either studio really would have wanted to make this happen. It was likely all George Lucas' personal desire, and the director didn't have the pull in Hollywood before the release of Star Wars that he would have after.
In the grand scheme of things, it seems unlikely that sticking a Daffy Duck cartoon in front of Star Wars would have changed anything. It likely still would have become the massive hit that it did, and the cartoon would likely just be a footnote in history. Still, who knows? Maybe that simple decision would have changed the way people considered that movie, and all those that came after. Maybe we wouldn't be taking Star Wars so seriously today if we knew it paired well with a cartoon.