The Other Science Fiction Movie that Inspired the Special Effects of Star Wars #SciFiSunday

It’s impossible to underestimate the sheer quantity of special effects innovations that went into making 2001. On a technical level, 2001 influenced Star Wars more than any other movie — but Silent Running takes a close second. And as much as R2D2 and C3PO owe the bickering peasants in Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress, they owe just as much to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Huey, Dewey, and Louie, Bruce Dern’s lovable buddies in Silent Running. Here’s more from Kitbashed:

Silent Running upends the cold austerity of 2001, with a sentimental story about the preciousness of life, natural or artificial. In it Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern) commandeers a space freighter carrying geodesic domes of plant and animal life set to be destroyed. Lowell kills his cynical fellow crew members to rescue the cargo, and sets a heading away from Earth, accompanied only by three robot drones, Huey, Dewey and Louie. The drones play as central a role to the film as Dern’s character, and are clear forerunners to R2-D2, even in-so-far that they had people inside of them, making them walk and driving their manipulator arms.

[George Lucas]: “I showed Ralph the Metropolis robot and the Silent Runningrobot, and I said I want something like this,” Lucas adds. “And we’re still putzing with it. I knew I wanted one via Metropolis; it’s in the script, I wrote it that way. I wanted one to be a stubby little robot and I wanted one to be a kind of human robot. One is a public relations guy and one is just a standard robot robot.”

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