So ... the John Carter movie.
Sorry, sorry! I didn't realize there were any Hollywood executives in here!
Yeah, one of the most hyped-up movies of 2012 really failed to deliver, didn't it? Somehow, the tale of a hopping Taylor Kitsch fighting Martians like a more deranged Bugs Bunny received really mixed reviews and didn't even come close to making back all the money sunk into it, despite its incredibly badass source material.
Edgar Rice Burroughs' 1917 book A Princess of Mars, which inspired the movie, was actually one of the first and greatest examples of the Swords and Sandals in Space genre, eventually influencing some of the most famous examples of modern science fiction. And you can bet that that also includes Star Wars, to an almost uncomfortable degree.
In fact, when you listen to a basic summary of Burroughs' world, it almost sounds like a drunken, typo-prone 13-year-old trying to describe Lucas' movies. For example, in the [Something] of Mars books, Martian chieftains were given the title of "jed," while the equivalent of their lieutenant was referred to as a "padwar." (The movie, shockingly, never uses those terms.) You can already see the amazing similarity between that and Star Wars with its warrior Jedi and their student padawans, and that's not even mentioning the Sith, which in Burroughs' world was the name of an evil species of giant hornets.
Which in Lucas Land were made into evil, sentient prunes.
But that's not all: The Star Wars banthas seem to be named after the Martian banth, a sort of hairless alien lion (alion). Conversely, the yeti-like wampa from The Empire Strikes Back is based entirely on a Martian creature called an apt in everything but its name, from their white, hairy appearance to their snowy environments and the two horns/tusks on their heads:
Michael Whelan, Lucasfilm, Disney
Finally, there are the boobs.
The most famous boobs in Star Wars obviously belong to Princess Leia while in her Slave Girl outfit (though in all fairness, her only mammary competition was probably Porkins). Well, even that design traces back to the John Carter novels and the heroine Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins in the movie) as depicted in the art of Frank Frazetta.
Who sadly and thankfully never learned what the real purpose of armor is.
George Lucas never tried to deny that without Burroughs' books, Star Wars would never have that distinctive feeling of an archaic-futuristic world of science and sorcery, teaching the world a valuable lesson that the only difference between "ripping off" and "being inspired by" is about 60 years.
Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a Cracked columnist and editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.