Buster Crabbe and Carol Hughes in Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940)
Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940)
A New Hope includes many elements derived from the 1936 Universal serial Flash Gordon—the original property George Lucas had sought to license before making the first Star Wars film—and its sequel, Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe. The basic plot involving the infiltration of a megalomaniacal outer-space Emperor's fortress by two heroes disguised in uniforms of soldiers of his army is drawn from Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, with Luke Skywalker and Han Solo filling the roles of Flash Gordon and Prince Barin, respectively, and Ming the Merciless the Emperor. The Emperor's deadly, hostile planet (the Death Star/Mongo), a sexy, sometimes scantily-clad brunette space Princess whom the hero defends (Princess Leia/Princess Aura), a big, strong, hairy, animal-like ally (Chewbacca/Prince Thun of the Lion Men), a fearsome monster found underground and/or fought in an arena by the hero (the Rancor/the Gocko or Orangopoid) a city in the sky ruled by someone who originally works with the villains but later joins the heroes, ray-guns, and dogfighting spaceships were all elements retained from the first Universal Flash Gordon serial. The opening text crawl of Star Wars is in the same style as the text openings of each chapter of the Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe serial.