George Lucas Has Another, Less Successful Cinematic Universe
We all think of George Lucas as the Star Wars guy, but maybe that’s not entirely fair. After all, he’s directed other movies, including THX 1138 and something called La Guerre des Etoiles which sounds pretty clas-- oh no, wait, that’s just Star Wars in French. But surprisingly, Lucas did create another cinematic universe that, again, in no way involved spaceships or space-incest, but hardly anyone noticed ...
One Lucasfilm project that most of us (and you have to imagine every single person at Disney) forgot all about is Radioland Murders, the 1994 comedy-mystery set in an old-timey radio studio.
While it was ultimately directed by Mel Smith, Radioland Murders was one of the earliest movies Lucas developed. It all happened while he was making American Graffiti, the classic coming-of-age story about a bunch of entitled rich kids who spend their nights aimlessly pumping carbon monoxide into the air. The AM radio-centric film got Lucas thinking about the old mystery shows he’d listened to on the radio as a kid, which led to him making notes for a story that eventually became Radioland Murders, which then remained stagnant “due to the other film and television projects George was involved in.”
When it finally came out, Radioland Murders was a big flop, but weirdly, it may be the first example of Lucas prequelizing one of his ‘70s films. Reportedly the film’s protagonists, squabbling husband and wife Roger and Penny Henderson, are supposed to be the parents of Curt Henderson, the doughy, lovesick youth played by Richard Dreyfuss in American Graffiti, which, like Radioland Murders, was also penned by frequent Lucas collaborators Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck.
If we include More American Graffiti, that makes a whole trilogy of interconnected movies -- though sadly, Lucas never bothered to tether Howard the Duck or Willow to this fictional reality.
Top Image: Universal Pictures