I just recently finished reading J.W. Rinzler's AMAZING behind-the-scenes chronicle of the first Star Wars film. While I've picked up nearly every piece of the Star Wars back story and mythology over the past three decades, there were many stories, conflicts, and developments even I was unaware of. (I mean Rinzler's got updates and interviews on EVERY single day of the project.) What was most surprising though was how much similarity I noticed between the creation of Star Wars and my experience on The Mercury Men.
The first Star Wars film has always been my favorite (though Empire is a better film) because of the scrappy nature of it's creation. Here was a director trying to tell an epic imaginative story with limited resources while fighting stunted imaginations the entire way. Plastic armor costumes, miniature models, tape, glue, and the oddest dialogue ever committed to paper ("But I was gonna go to Toshi Station to pick-up some power converters!") somehow combined to create absolute magic. It's partly for this reason that Star Wars has been the chief inspiration for The Mercury Men. We've got a grand story to tell and push our meager resources to the absolute limits and beyond to capture as much of that world as possible. We transform everything from PVC pipes and broken kerosene heaters in an attempt to create a unique universe viewers will want to take part in. Furthermore, we're attempting to do this in a new medium, the web series, which has yet to garner the respect of film or television ("Wait...so you watch this...online?").
Throughout all this I was most surprised by how much I related to the feelings George Lucas was experiencing while creating Star Wars. Trying to see something that isn't there and figure out a way to bring it to life, be it a swooping TIE Fighter, an angry Astromech droid, a glowing alien from the planet Mercury, or a sinister brain-in-a-jar. The constant battle between gleeful excitement and self-doubt. The combination of excitement and worry. And oddly enough I share one strange characteristic with Lucas: we both eat a Hershey bar every day.
Please don't be mistaken that I'm making any claims that I'm as gifted as George Lucas or that The Mercury Men will be even a fraction as successful as his great trilogy (there were only three right?). It was just nice to notice a few similarities between one of the great films that inspired me to make The Mercury Men or any film at all.
Now on to the Making of Empire Strikes Back :)