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Historian: Look To Lucas' Central Valley Roots When Analyzing Star Wars

Dec 20, 2016

There's a new Star Wars film out in theaters this month, Rogue One. While George Lucas sold the franchise to Disney for billions several years ago, the California native will forever be associated with the Star Wars brand.

There’s been no shortage of attempts by critics and film buffs to discover the inspiration behind Lucas’ original creation. Some point to the Flash Gordon films of the 1930’s – while others say it was the Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress the ultimately inspired Star Wars. Our next guest though has another interpretation on the series – and it involves the Central Valley, where Lucas grew up as a teen. 

Richard Ravalli is an assistant professor of history at William Jessup University in Rocklin, California. He’s written extensively about local history and has published an article about the influence the valley had on Lucas and the original Star Wars films. He joined us to talk about Lucas' early life in Modesto and his family's ties to Merced and Fresno.