Unmasking Darth Vader
In the end of the original Star Wars trilogy, Darth Vader, the ominous masked big bad villain of the entire trilogy, receives fatal injuries after saving Luke Skywalker from an energizing death. Luke unmasks him and reveals a severely damaged face.
There’s a similar unmasking in Empire of a Thousand Planets. The authorities here are wearing white robes and a helmet, and one of them unmasks himself in the end, also revealing a severely damaged face.
Han Solo encapsulated in carbonite
One of many things The Empire Strikes Back is famous for is when Han Solo is encapsulated in carbonite. Valérian is actually placed in a similar situation in Empire of a Thousand Planets only he’s encapsulated in plastic and is still somewhat conscious. But even his hands is posed in the same way as in the movie.
The flapping merchant Watto
The junk store proprietor Watto seen primarily in The Phantom Menace could have been inspired by the Shingouz, a race that excels at selling information in Ambassador of the Shadows.
A temple entrance
In the beginning of the Star Wars movie Return of the Jedi, the two droids C-3PO and R2-D2 arrives in front of an enormous temple stone gate that slowly lifts up to reveal the dark inside. A similar temple gate can be found in the comic book Empire of a Thousand Planets.
The servant droid
This one is probably a long shot. In the rough bar that Laureline visits in Ambassador of the Shadows, there’s a small servant droid (or perhaps it’s just an alien that looks like one). R2-D2 has also been a servant droid on board Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge in Return of the Jedi.
Being underwater in a small sub only to be chased by a big lake monster.
The distant city in the clouds.
Even the idea of a clone army in the Star Wars prequel trilogy was also used in the comic book series.
Reaction and links
The story goes that the artist of the comic series, Jean-Claude Mézières, saw Star Wars back in the day and responded with being “dazzled, jealous… and furious!” In 1983, he even made the illustration below for the Pilote magazine which was noted for showcasing the talents of French and Belgian comics artists.
Want to know more?
- Valérian and Laureline on Kitbashed
- What Star Wars Owes to French Comics on YouTube
- From a Galaxy (Where Credit is) Far, Far Away on Core77
I hope you enjoyed reading my blog post, even if you don’t agree with the insinuations. Finding, scanning, snapshotting, adapting and combining all these pictures was quite a monumental task.
If you liked this blog post, I also recommend The Gravity Gun, 45 Years Prior to Half-Life 2.
4 comments on “How a French Comic Series Inspired Star Wars”
You might want to add Jack Kirby’s New Gods to this. There’s been various comparisons between the DC comic book series and Star Wars.
Another comparison I have made for years…E.E. ‘Doc’ Smiths Lensman series (which he started writing in the 1930s through the following couple decades) was I am sure foundational material for both Star Wars, Star Trek, and many other galaxy spanning stories. As you mention in your article I would not say that people deliberately have stolen stuff, but just like music, everything builds on everything else.