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How A Medical Emergency Almost Destroyed Star Wars

George Lucas checked himself into the hospital as the iconic film was nearing completion, and was told he could have a heart attack if he didn't reduce his stress level immediately. He didn't listen.

Panic started to set in as George Lucas tried to oversee the Van Nuys warehouse of Industrial Light and Magic, just months before the release of Star Wars.

George Lucas was back from filming "Star Wars" in London, and his upstart special effects company Industrial Light and Magic was just taking its first steps.

This was a problem. George had over 350 shots planned for his film, and he learned only 3 of them were actually done — and ILM was way behind schedule.

It set off a panic, blasting George's stress level through the roof, as heard in Episode IV of the hit podcast series BLOCKBUSTER, available free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all other platforms.

George felt pain in his chest, and then palpitations. While "Star Wars" was falling apart, he was rushing to the hospital, worried he might have a heart attack.

It turned out he wasn't too far off. While it wasn't a heart attack, it was extreme stress exacerbating hypertension. The medical recommendation? Reduce stress levels immediately.

George and Marcia knew that could never happen. He had to see his film through just another few months, even if it meant risking his life.

Over the next few months, George would personally oversee much of ILM's operations, ensuring they could finish the minimum number of shots they needed. Still, during initial screenings of the film, he was forced to cut in footage of fighter jets in World War II.

The biggest test would be the screening George held for his friend Steven Spielberg, as well as Brian De Palma and a few others. That moment is highlighted in Episode V of BLOCKBUSTER, available free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all other platforms.

The creative relationship and long-running friendship between Spielberg, Lucas and Williams is explored in detail in BLOCKBUSTER. Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, as well as Spotify and all other podcast platforms.

BLOCKBUSTER has been painstakingly researched, compiled and referenced from thousands of sources, and details many of the events that led to the creation of JAWS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, and STAR WARS — and the very idea of "the blockbuster" film.

It's a story too incredible not to be told, with the richest, most immersive sound design ever created.

Put on your headphones, close your eyes, and enjoy.

This is a sonic experience that invites you into the offices, film sets and homes of the most influential dreamers, rebels and world builders in Hollywood film history. You won't just be listening; you'll feel like you're there.


It's free to listen. But please consider a donation!

We've made the decision to release Blockbuster for free and without ads interrupting the story. But this production did take about $80,000 to produce from start to finish, so if you enjoy the experience, please consider giving $10, and you'll earn some cool bonus perks in the process!

You can subscribe now at Apple Podcasts for weekly episodes, as well as Spotify and all other podcast platforms.


Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@Blockbuster_Pod), and Instagram @BlockbusterPod, and the show's creator Matt Schrader on Twitter (@mattschrader).



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