Star Wars has always had strong connections with World War II, from its storyline to the Empire's uniforms and the construction of the Millennium Falcon. However, it seems old World War II movies may have also had a role in inspiring some of Star Wars' most iconic action scenes.
In particular, it has been revealed that classic movie scenes of WWII aerial combat were copied almost exactly and transposed into a galaxy far, far away. This information isn't particularly new, as it was originally revealed way back in the 2004 documentary, Empire of Dreams, however the side-by-side comparisons shown in that documentary have now found a new audience on Reddit.
The story goes that Industrial Light and Magic were stumped about how to bring space battles to life,. To crack the problem Lucas turned to footage made for movies decades earlier. Lucas explained in the book The Making of Star Wars:
Every time there was a war movie on television, like 'The Bridges at Toko-Ri' (1954), I would watch it -- and if there was a dogfight sequence, I would videotape it. Then we would transfer that to 16mm film, and I’d just edit it according to my story of Star Wars.
Check out the original Star Wars scene, and the side-by-side comparisons, below:
As mentioned above, the Millennium Falcon itself also owes a lot to the pilots of WWII. As well as taking inspiration from previous science fiction films and television series, the iconic cockpit of the Falcon is based on the nose of the famous B-29 Superfortress, the US bombers which dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Of course, the Millennium Falcon is soon to make its triumphant return to the big screen in J.J. Abrams Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Will he also draw inspiration from the black and white war epics of the past?