|Far, far beyond the vastness of the vast...
In 1977, those unforgettable words first burst forth from movie screens, nearly injuring several small children in the front row, and the world was introduced to "Star Saga," the most popular sci-fi series of all time. But even today, with rumors already spreading about next year's "Star Saga: Episode I: Part 2," the inside story of the "Star Saga" phenomenon has never been told.
For the first time ever, the people behind the "Star Saga" films have participated in a series of in-depth interviews, which we have assembled into a seamless oral history, thereby creating the illusion that these people would actually agree to be together in the same room that isn't the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. As a bonus, reclusive "Star Saga" creator Jim Loomis has agreed to share never-before-seen "Star Saga" memorabilia, including story boards, shooting scripts and studio memoranda. Modern Humorist proudly presents exclusive excerpts from the forthcoming glossy coffee table book, "Inside the Making of the 'Star Saga' Saga."
1975-1976: The "Heaven's Gate" of science fiction
Jim Loomis (creator, "Star Saga"): You have to understand that Hollywood in the '70s was the white-hot center of revolutionary activity. Nobody in the world was more revolutionary. Nobody. Okay, maybe Nicaragua, because they were having an actual revolution, weren't they? And I guess El Salvador too. And Iran was, what, '79? But in their own way, the films that were coming out during that time"Gangland," "Let it Ride," "Ragnorok Now"they changed people's perceptions of the world. That's the truest kind of revolution there can be. Unless you want to count Cambodia, of course.
Martin Santini (director, "Vicious Alleys"): Jim had made "DTS 2112," this weird succèss d'estime, and then, of course, "Memory Lane." Only two films, but the right two films. After that he was convinced he could do no wrong.
Antony Adam Corleone (director, "Gangland," "Ragnorok Now"): He always knew better than everybody. That I had ten years of filmmaking on him, that I got him where he was, put myself on the line for him, none of that meant anything to him. He was right and the rest of us were wrong. Okay, so in this case he actually was right, but who could have known? When he started telling us about "Space Fight"he was calling it that thenwe all said, Jesus, this turkey is going to be the "Heaven's Gate" of science fiction. Which you have to understand was remarkable, because "Heaven's Gate" wouldn't even be made for another three or four years.
Jim Loomis: And Uganda. I forgot Uganda.
Antony Adam Corleone: This was back in '75 or '76. We were all stoned one night and Jim was spinning out his plot. I said, "What the fuck, that doesn't make any sense. It sounds like you left out the beginning or something." There was this long silence and Jim says, "Uh, yeah, I did. This film is part three." I said, "What about part fucking one," and he said he'd do that after. I told him that if he's gonna do a sequel to part three, it'll have to be part four, because people want to know what happens nextwhat kind of asshole makes a sequel that takes place before the first movie? But Loomis said he'd make part four and then part five and that would be one trilogy, then he'd go back and make the first trilogy, starting with episode one. I think it was Marty said, "If you start with part one, and it's a trilogy, it would go up to part three." Jim says, "Yeah." And Marty's like, "Look, you said the first movie was part three." Jim says, "Fine, so the second trilogy will start with episode one, and then I'll make episode one: part two." We all told him that didn't make any sense, but he said by then he'd be so rich and famous he could do whatever he wanted. I laughed in his face and he took a swing at me. We didn't talk for a month.
Alvin Kidd, Jr. (president, Wolf Studios): The "Star Saga" treatment was making the rounds, and it had developed a reputation as unreadable. MGM even fired a kid from the mailroom because they assumed it was his own crap that he'd slipped into the pile. So by the time Jim showed up at my office, yeah, I did want to hide under the desk. I would have too, but, you know, there was already a D-girl down there.
Joe Bern (Loomis's agent): I tried to get Jim to tone down some of the mythological elements. He was drawing heavily on Castaneda, Joseph Campbell, "The Little Engine That Could." I told him flat out it would never fly with the studios. He took a swing at me and we didn't talk for six weeks.
Alvin Kidd, Jr.: What finally sold me on the project was Jim's pitch. I mean, he was going on and on and on about the mythology, and the morality and the merchandising, and finally I say, "Jim, twenty words or less." You know I invented that phrase? "Twenty words or less"? True story. I used it on Bobby Towne when he couldn't explain "Chinatown" to me in less than an hour, so I passed on it. Anyway, Jim's sitting there, I say, "Come on, twenty words or less, I've got a tennis match." Jim stops for a second, gets this look in his eye, and says to me: "'Flash Gordon' in outer space." That was it, just "'Flash Gordon' in outer space." I mean, I was just blown away. Bang. Yeah, sure, "Flash Gordon" already was in outer space, but I got what he meantthe old adventure serial. I greenlighted it on the spot.