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John Wayne’s Surprising Connections To ‘Star Wars’ – My Blog

It’s no secret to anyone how John Wayne influenced the original Star Wars. Just look at the whole Wild West vibe in Tatooine and other Outer Rim planets, or the way Harrison Ford imprinted an aura of cowboy coolness in Han Solo, and his dynamics with his sidekick Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). Westerns have always played an important part in creating George Lucas‘ galaxy far, far away, and remain so even today, with series like The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett still attempting to emulate the same spirit as Wayne’s classic movies.But what’s even cooler about Wayne’s relationship with Star Wars is that it goes way beyond mere inspiration and influence, and he and his legacy play an important role in the franchise to this day. Many scenes in A New Hope were modeled after moments in Wayne’s classic The Searchers, like Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) arriving at the Lars Homestead to find it in flames, and, later, in Attack of the Clones, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) kills a whole Tusken Raider tribe much like the Comanche camp battle in Wayne’s classic Western. And while many may think John Wayne himself was never in Star Wars, that’s not quite true — from a certain point of view, of course.

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Feature Image of John Wayne

How can you think of a desert planet and not populate it with Western-inspired lore? Well, Star Wars goes a little beyond that, really, as the Duke has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo in A New Hope, something revealed by legendary sound engineer Ben Burtt himself a few years back, in Star Wars Celebration IV in 2007.Burtt needs no introduction to Star Wars fans, but we’ll cut everyone else some slack: he’s the genius behind every iconic sound in the franchise under Lucas’ command. From Chewbacca’s roar to R2-D2’s (Kenny Baker) beeping, from blaster shots to lightsaber humming and, of course, Darth Vader’s (James Earl Jones) breathing — it’s all him. And John Wayne’s part was only possible because of him, too. Wayne voices Garindan, a Kubaz spy in Tatooine’s Docking Bay 94. Okay, but who’s Garindan, and what’s a Kubaz? The character itself is an insectoid alien that looks like a hooded mosquito. He’s working for the Empire and tips them on the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), and R2-D2. If you’re still having trouble, think of The Mandalorian, and its very first episode: the alien who calls the cab for Mando (Pedro Pascal) and the Mythrol (Horatio Sanz) by playing a flute. That’s a Kubaz, and Garindan looks like that.

Garindan in 'Star Wars: A New Hope' Image via 
The realization came when Burtt was working on Attack of the Clones, looking for inspiration for the voice of Poggle the Lesser (Matthew Wood), who’s an insectoid. The only other insectoid character before him was Garindan, and Burtt remembered how he did it by going through his notes at that time: “I discovered it was an electronic buzzing which had come off of my synthesizer that was triggered by a human voice. And I listened to it and realized it was John Wayne — I had found some loop lines in the trash from the studio that had been thrown away. So the buzzing was triggered by some dialog like ‘All right, what are you doing in this town’ or something like that.”As Burtt revealed this information only in 2007, it’s likely that Wayne never knew about his part in A New Hope. He died in 1979, two years after the movie came out. Officially, his last role was in The Shootist, which came out a year before the original Star Wars. He’s uncredited for Garindan’s voice in the movie, but that’s also not his last contribution to the franchise…
The Wayne Legacy Continues in ‘The Mandalorian’
brendan-wayne-as-the-mandalorianImage via Disney+
While John Wayne’s avatar in Star Wars may indeed be Han Solo, recently another character arose with the same principle. Anyone who has ever watched The Mandalorian can see how the main character is based on multiple Western heroes, and John Wayne is one of those. But it goes way beyond that, actually, as there’s an actual member of his family under the armor. While Mando is voiced and generally credited to Pedro Pascal, it’s Brendan Wayne, John’s grandson, who we see most of the time.Mando is a rather complex character, so it takes three people to properly portray him. Pascal is in extremely high demand in Hollywood, so he shares the role with Brendan Wayne and Lateef Crowder. Each of them brings a different aspect of the single character we know as Din Djarin, and those three performances are complimentary to one another. Pascal is his voice and face, while Brendan Wayne is the one who handles guns and weapons and Crowder takes over for fight scenes.In a recent interview with Vulture, Brendan revealed that much of his work as Din Djarin is based on his grandfather’s iconic presence. Whenever we see John Wayne on-screen, we can’t help but notice his signature posing, from the way he walks to how he stands. According to Brendan, that’s all because, while he was a very strong man, he had tiny feet. “So he walked on his toes, like a dancer,” he says. He picked that up for his own portrayal of Din, who’s really a space gunslinger at heart.
For Seasons 1 and 2 of The Mandalorian, Din Djarin’s character was credited only to Pedro Pascal, but that changed for Season 3. Brendan and Lateef finally have their names up there along with Pascal’s in the credits for the episodes, and it’s about time! A bounty hunter by trade, Mando has those three sides of his character very active all the time, so each of the actors brings a very important contribution to the part. Still, since guns are his main way of doing business, Brendan is the one who spends the most time with the helmet on. Luckily for us, a beskar helmet fits him just as right as a cowboy hat did his grandfather.

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Restoration of John Wayne’s ‘The Searchers’ to Premiere at 2024 TCM Classic Film Festival – My Blog

John Wayne’s 1956 Western “The Searchers” will debut a new restoration as part of the 2024 TCM Classic Film Festival in April.This marks the second Wayne film to receive a premiere of a restored print at the yearly event that takes place on Hollywood Boulevard. Last year’s opening night feature was a 4K restoration of Wayne’s 1959 film “Rio Bravo.”This year’s festival theme is “Most Wanted: Crime and Justice in Film.” Alongside “The Searchers,” TCM announced that Frank Capra’s 1934 film “It Happened One Night,” Elia Kazan’s “On the Waterfront” and the 1974 musical documentary “That’s Entertainment!” will also screen as part of the four-day festival in April.It’s unknown if “The Searchers” will be the film’s opening night movie, though considering “Rio Bravo” was also a restoration last year it would make sense that Warner Bros. would continue to debut new 4K prints of their films as part of the event’s opening night.This year’s TCM Classic Film Festival marks the return of the event after the classic film network underwent significant changes behind the scenes this year. In June, TCM’s senior vice president of programming and content strategy Charles Tabesh, vice president of studio production Anne Wilson, vice president of marketing and creative Dexter Fedor and TCM Enterprises vice president Genevieve McGillicuddy were all laid off, alongside TCM’s general manager Pola Chagnon leaving the company after 25 years.From there, stories started to tumble out that the network was in the crosshairs of a series of cost-cutting measures implemented by Warner Bros. Discovery. In the wake of widespread outcry from fans, both Tabesh and McGuillicuddy were offered their positions back. It was also announced soon after that Warner Bros. Pictures heads Pamela Abdy and Michael De Luca would be overseeing the network, with input from world-class directors including Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.The TCM Classic Film Festival enters its 15th year in 2024 and will also take place during the network’s 30th anniversary.The TCM Classic Film Festival will take place in Hollywood April 18-21.

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John Wayne’s spanking of co-star ‘so authentic she had bruises for a week’ – My Blog

Back in 1963, John Wayne starred in a Western comedy loosely based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.Duke played an ageing rancher called George Washington McLintock, a wealthy self-made man facing a number of issues.High-ranking government officials, his own sons and local Native Americans all want a piece of his huge farmstead.Meanwhile, his wife (played by regular collaborator Maureen O’Hara) who separated from him two years prior, is back on the scene demanding custody of their daughter.McLintock! celebrates its 60th anniversary this week, as celebrated by the John Wayne estate on Instagram.A recent post read: “Did you know? Although often seen as simply a knockabout comedy, John Wayne also intended the film to be a statement on his disapproval of the negative representation of Native Americans in previous westerns he had no creative-control over, and his disapproval of wife-beating and marital abuse from either spouse.”A film of its time, McLintock famously has a scene, as captured on its poster, of Wayne’s George publicly spanking his wife played by O’Hara.According to his co-star’s autobiography, this scene was “completely authentic” with Duke carrying it out with “such gusto”, that she “had bruises for a week.”

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Martin Scorsese’s Favorite John Wayne Western – My Blog


 Martin Scorsese considers John Wayne’s The Searchers to be the best Western ever made, describing it as a masterpiece with a deeply painful core. The Searchers has had a significant influence on Scorsese’s movies, inspiring scenes and characters in films like Taxi Driver and Mean Streets. The Searchers is also a favorite among the “movie brats,” a group of influential directors including Spielberg and Lucas, who cited it as a major influence.

Martin Scorsese’s favorite Western starring John Wayne has had a big influence on his career. Scorsese hasn’t made his passion for cinema or filmmaking a secret, and he is essentially a living archive of the medium’s history. He loves everything from the trashiest B-movie to the most highbrow drama, which is something that’s reflected in Martin Scorsese’s own movies. He has helmed everything from gangster epics to psychological horrors to biopics and everything in between.
One genre he hasn’t really dipped a toe into is a Western, which is likely down to the decline of the genre itself than Scorsese avoiding the genre. About the closest he’s come is his 2023 epic Killers of the Flower Moon, though far from being a black-and-white adventure about cowboys righting wrongs, it’s a devastating true-life drama. Scorsese has professed his admiration for a few classic Westerns (via Far Out) such as Ride the High Country or Marlon Brando’s sole directorial outing One-Eyed Jacks, but there’s one that holds a truly special place in his heart.Scorsese Believes John Wayne’s The Searchers Is The Best Western Ever Made
In 2013, Scorsese guest-reviewed a book about John Wayne Western The Searchers for THR, where he proclaimed it a masterpiece but that “Like all great works of art, it’s uncomfortable. The core of the movie is deeply painful.” The premise of the movie sees Wayne’s Civil War vet Ethan Edwards and his nephew Martin (Jeffrey Hunter) setting out to rescue his kidnapped niece. It might sound like the setup for a classic Western adventure, but John Ford’s The Searchers deals with some dark themes, with Wayne portraying the most ruthless character of his career as the deeply prejudiced and revenge-addicted Ethan.
Scorsese has often called The Searchers one of his favorite Westerns, in addition to being one of the greatest movies of all time, period. From the gorgeous cinematography, the evergreen themes and Wayne’s haunting central turn, it’s a film the director finds himself coming back to decades after he first watched it. The Searcher’s ending has been much discussed among film scholars too, with Scorsese himself feeling the shot of Ethan turning and leaving through the door turns it into a “ghost story;” the character has fulfilled his purpose but is now doomed to wander the deserts alone, like a spirit.The Searchers Inspired Scorsese’s Own Movies
Travis Bickle at the movies in Taxi Driver
The film made a major impression on Scorsese when he saw it as a boy, and its influence can be spotted in his own work. His debut Who’s That Knocking at My Door features a scene where protagonist J.R. (Harvey Keitel) talks about both John Wayne and The Searchers in great detail, while the Ford movie appears again in Scorsese’s crime drama Mean Streets from 1973. The Searchers was a direct influence on Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, with the journey of Robert De Niro’s Travis being a mirror of Ethan’s. He’s another loner filled with anger and hatred, looking to rescue a young girl in Jodie Foster’s Iris.The movie ends with Travis rescuing Iris in the bloodiest manner possible, and like Ethan, the movie leaves him on an ambiguous note. The influence of The Searchers can also be felt in the director’s attraction to anti-heroes and flawed protagonists, who may see themselves as fundamentally good men or heroic, despite the appalling acts of violence they commit or the selfishness they display.The Searchers Is A Favorite Of The “Movie Brats”
Steven Spielberg leaning against a camera with George Lucas standing beside him on the cover of Indiana Jones bonus material DVD
The Searchers was well-received upon its initial release, but it soon came to be recognized as an American classic. The late ’60s and ’70s saw the rise of the so-called “movie brats,” who were a group of talented young directors who were also nerds for the medium. Members of this group include Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, John Milius, Paul Schrader and many more. What’s notable about this group is how many of them cited The Searchers as a favorite.
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan also cited The Searchers as a major influence on Breaking Bad’s finale.
According to The Telegraph, Spielberg claims he rewatches The Searchers before starting work on a new movie, while Milius and Schrader – who penned Taxi Driver – have also sung its praises. The movie was a huge influence on Lucas’ Star Wars, which can be found in its basic promise – a young man and older mentor set out to rescue a young woman – its desert vistas and the sequence where Luke (Mark Hamill) discovers his burnt-out family homestead. Star Wars was a mash-up of many influences from samurai epics to movie serials, but Westerns like The Searchers played a particularly large role in the movie.
Source: Far Out, THR, The Telegraph
the searchers poster
The SearchersRelease Date:1956-03-13Director:John FordCast:John WayneRating:pg-13Runtime:119minutesGenres:Western, DramaWriters:John FordBudget:$3.75millionStudio(s):Warner Bros. PicturesDistributor(s):Warner Bros. Pictures

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