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Legends of Tomorrow finally returned from hiatus with a midseason premiere that featured one of the most legendary filmmakers of all time. The Legends spend the episode trying to wrangle an amnesiac Rip Hunter in 1967, and they encountered a bearded film student destined to go on and produce the Star Wars and Indiana Jones sagas. As it turns out, George Lucas' movies inspired Ray Palmer and Nate Heywood to pursue their careers and eventually join the crew in the Waverider. Legends of Tomorrow co-showrunner Phil Klemmer has revealed just why the Legends team wanted to use a version of George Lucas, saying this:
The [Star Wars and Raiders] films shaped our own sensibilities and sent all of us writers into careers in Hollywood, so we are not looking to make fun of George Lucas. We are trying to send a love letter to this guy. We saw a way to explore that with Ray and Nate, and how George Lucas' body of work affected their lives. And I don't think that's hyperbole at all, because I fall into that category as well.
The midseason premiere made plenty of jokes about Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but they were more at the expenses of Ray and Nate than George Lucas as a person. In fact, the entire hour felt like an homage crafted by people who loved Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Two heroes who regularly work to save the world were so inspired by Star Wars and Indiana Jones as kids that they would have never become Legends if George Lucas never made his movies. Phil Klemmer's comments to TVLine about why they chose to honor George Lucas on Legends of Tomorrow explains why the episode was such a celebration of Lucas' accomplishments.
None of the characters mentioned even once that at least the disappearance of Star Wars meant that The Phantom Menace was never made, and that joke practically writes itself. The only time Legends really poked fun at George Lucas was when Ray and Nate refused to watch Howard the Duck, and even Lucas might have agreed with that one. Kudos to Phil Klemmer and Co. for bringing the laughs about George Lucas' body of work without actually poking fun at George Lucas.
Legends of Tomorrow has introduced its own versions of historical figures before, ranging from Ulysses S. Grant to Al Capone. George Lucas is somewhat different due to the simple fact that he's still alive and well in real life. The show's handling of young George Lucas in the Season 2 midseason premiere is proof that it can handle living legends as well as those that have passed away.
As somebody who wanted to be a paleobotanist after seeing Jurassic Park for the first time, I can definitely relate to Phil Klemmer and the rest of the Legends of Tomorrow team for wanting to honor Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Sure, the paleobotany thing never worked out for me, but George Lucas clearly inspired Klemmer and Co. to create something fantastical and fun for the small screen.
Tune in to The CW on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET to see what's next for the Legends on Legends of Tomorrow, and don't forget to take a look at our midseason TV premiere schedule.