How a French Comic Series Inspired Star Wars

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This is a blog post I’ve wanted to write ever since I started my first blog in 2011. After the news got out about Luc Besson releasing a movie in 2017 based on the comic, I thought it would be a good idea to get it done some time in advance. Similar blog posts have since been published by others especially in 2015, but I’m still going to release my version as I have new comparisons I believe no one else have had, and I’m also using original material from both the graphic novels and the movies that I have acquired myself.

I’ve always loved the original Star Wars trilogy and thought these movies have really earned the status as some of the finest science fiction of all time. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve rewatched the trilogy. The first time I saw the first movie, I got minor Flash Gordon comic book vibes, especially as our heroes discovered the Death Star for the very first time.

But after a closer inspection, it turns out that the movies actually owes a French science fiction comic series a whole lot more than Flash Gordon, a series called Valérian and Laureline that originated in 1967. And I’m not talking about just mere fleeting similarities or obvious coincidences. In this blog post, I will show you various comic pane extracts from the series and compare them to photos of the Star Wars movies. I think you will be quite surprised how much some of them match each other.

Associations: Task III vs Omikron

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Task III (C64) and Omikron: The Nomad Soul (PC)
Task III (Commodore 64) and Omikron: The Nomad Soul (PC and Dreamcast).

With my past as a composer on the Commodore 64, naturally I was interested in all games with unique music back in the day. One of these was Task III from 1987 with great SID music by Frank Endler. Especially the high score tune had a special “mashing” style that I really liked:

It may be a little odd to begin with, but hang in there. There are a few cute changes here and there, especially at 0:41 and 1:00.

In 2001, I completed Omikron: The Nomad Soul on the PC. The game was actually released in 1999 on PC and was a bold attempt at creating a hybrid of third person adventure, fighting, as well as first person shooter. It was quite atmospheric and even had in-game music by David Bowie.

Associations: Australia in Rift

In a previous post I claimed that Freemarch (starter zone for Defiants in Rift) looks a lot like Australia. Maybe I’m just lying on my back spotting clouds looking like rabbits and I actually have no case. But still, I think it’s funny how many similarities there are. Allow me to demonstrate:

Freemarch / Australia
I'm convinced the map designers were inspired by Planet Earth.

When I bought the box and unfolded the big map poster, I immediately thought Freemarch looked like Australia. Am I crazy? Out of my mind? Perhaps the world designers didn’t even mean to do it but still did it subconsciously. If it turns out that I was right all along, another question pops up – are there any other parts of the continent that was inspired by Planet Earth?

Associations: Fringe vs Shogun

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I’m watching Fringe these days, a TV show that started in 2008 and is now in the middle of its third season. Currently I’m almost finished with the second season. The show is somewhat inspired by the old X-Files show. A special unit is pursuing and unraveling supernatural accidents or crime scenes. Usually the episodes are more or less isolated, but sometimes they also return to a main storyline that slowly unfolds and intrigues. Just like X-Files.

I must admit that I wasn’t completely won over by the show in the first season. Walter Bishop is a bit too eccentric and they repeat too many of his odd habits. In the second season there are too many episodes where he dominates completely, leaving the other protagonists as mere bystanders. Nevertheless the show is still starting to grow on me as the episodes in the second half of the second season got better. Especially the episode with a younger Walter Bishop was magnificent.

Sam Weiss

In the second season, Nina Sharp suggests Olivia Dunham visits Sam Weiss, a bowling alley owner that also helped Nina regain use of her new cybernetic prosthetic arm. Olivia goes to him but finds his advice oblique and frustrating, although often helpful.

Almost immediately as soon as Sam Weiss (Kevin Corrigan) appeared on the screen, he reminded me of Father Martin Alvito (Damien Thomas) in the old Shogun TV mini-series from 1980.

Sam Weiss (Fringe) and Father Alvito (Shogun)
Sam Weiss in Fringe and Father Alvito in Shogun.

The resemblance is almost uncanny. Not just because the two actors look so much like each other, but also in the way they act. Both Sam Weiss and Father Alvito have this stoic way about them.