Marvel Boss Kevin Feige’s love for the Star Wars saga has always permeated the MCU. One Empire Strike Back moment even became an MCU tradition.
The Star Wars saga had a tremendous impact on pop culture and the film industry. A New Hope was also among the first blockbuster films in the late ’70s that revolutionalized Hollywood films’ narratives by utilizing dazzling effects and cutting-edge technology. As a Star Wars mega-fan, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has openly discussed the direct and indirect influences of Star Wars on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The imprint of Star Wars also exists at every corner of the Infinity Saga.
It’s no secret that George Lucas’s portrayal of the heroes’ journey across the Star Wars saga was hugely inspired by Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero With a Thousand Faces, which explored the fundamental values, similarities and roots of successful narratives. The success of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, among others, aligned with the mythological patterns demonstrated in Campbell’s book. According to Feige, the complexity within the MCU films to ensure a good experience even after several viewings was also directly inspired by Star Wars.
Star Wars essentially defined the cinematic portrayal of space travel. The MCU’s galaxy also shared a striking resemblance to Star Wars. For example, Star Wars‘ most iconic moment of jumping into light speed came in a refined form in the MCU. The orchestrated film scores of the ’80s that evoked a sense of seriousness also found their way into the Infinity Saga, especially toward the end of Phase Three, with Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War. Several beloved characters shared similar backstories and traits with the fan-favorite rebel group in Star Wars original trilogy.
Through the journey of defeating dark and evil forces, the story of a group of strangers finding their family in the galaxy also resonated with the original trilogy. The Guardians of the Galaxy, in particular, resembled the Han Solo and Princess Leia-led rebel group in countless ways. Star-Lord himself is a space cowboy who is not unlike Han Solo. The group also featured a furry animal (Rocket Raccoon), an intellectual android (Nebula) and a tattooed figure (Drax the Destroyer). Additionally, their goofy and family-like vibe also reminded audiences of the similar warmth in Star Wars. In a Q&A in 2018, director Jame Gunn revealed that Feige initially asked him to add Star Wars figures into the film.
Amusingly, halfway through MCU’s Phase Two, Feige also discussed his obsession with characters having their arms cut off, directly referencing Darth Vader cutting off Luke’s hand in The Empire Strikes Back. In turn, this tradition continued throughout MCU’s Phase Two and even in the current Phase Four. Nearly every movie had one character’s arm/hand chopped off. Groot, Bucky, the President Loki variant, and Aldrich Killian had their hands/arms chopped off. Even the most recent Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had Doctor Strange chop off Garganto’s tentacle in the fight scene. Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: No Way Home also featured a Lego Death Star, and Peter Parker directly referenced The Empire Strikes Back as the “really old movie” in Civil War.
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, Star Wars had an undeniable impact on the MCU and its characters. Many details have hinted at the connection to a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars‘ imprints, scattered across the multiverse, are worth exploring.
Katrina Yang is a TV/movies features writer at CBR.