“That was the whole point”: George Lucas Revealed the Real Meaning of Star Wars to James Cameron Who Compared The Good Guys to Terrorists

George Lucas and James Cameron reflected upon the real-life allegories that Star Wars represents.

George Lucas(Left) and James Cameron(Right)
Credits: Wikimedia Commons/Steven Walling and Chin tin tin


  • George Lucas' original Star Wars trilogy is one of the best sci-fi films ever made.
  • In an enlightening conversation with James Cameron, Lucas revealed his real-life inspiration for the overall plot of the franchise.
  • Lucas pointed out that the Viet Cong from the Vietnam War inspired the Rebel Alliance in the franchise.
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The original Star Wars films changed the landscape of sci-fi films, being a blockbuster franchise that contained sensible storytelling mixed with impressive sci-fi elements. George Lucas pushed the boundaries of the genre and narrated the lives of the relatable Rebels who fought against the totalitarian Empire that threatened their existence.

Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia fights the Stormtroopers
The iconic trio of the Star Wars franchise

Another master in the sci-fi- genre is none other than James Cameron, having made iconic sci-fi films such as Aliens and the Terminator franchise. When they came together to discuss the allegory behind the characters of the Star Wars world, they both connected on how the conflict between the Resistance and the Empire mirrors real-life wars including the Vietnam War.

George Lucas Based The Characters and Story of Star Wars on The Vietnam War

Luke faces off against Darth Vader in Empire Strikes Back
Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader’s fight in Empire Strikes Back is the ultimate Good vs Evil symbolism

The original Star Wars trilogy was the classic tale of Good vs Evil with George Lucas’s grand vision and sci-fi treatment elevating the proceedings of the franchise. Audiences follow the efforts of the Rebel Alliance led by Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo against the tyrannical Empire led by Darth Vader.


Lucas’ idea of a small group of freedom fighters going against a powerful organization seems to have stemmed from the real-life happenings in the Vietnam War. He talked about this big inspiration behind his iconic franchise in an interview with James Cameron, the Avatar director first pointed out how the good guys in the franchise are rebels who try to overthrow a highly powerful empire.

Cameron further claimed that the rebels would be considered terrorists in the real world. For Lucas, the rebels mirrored the Viet Cong group which was a significant force in the Vietnam War from the mid-50s to the 70s. He said (via X),

“When I did it they were Vietcong. That was the whole point.”

The Viet Cong fought against the South Vietnamese government who were already supported by the United States. For Lucas, the smaller but determined Viet Cong group inspired the Rebel Alliance and the powerful presence of the US in South Vietnam manifested as the Empire in the franchise.


Carrie Fisher Was Drawn to Star Wars Due to George Lucas’ Treatment of Princess Leia

Princess Leia gets captured by the Stormtroopers
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in 1977’s Star Wars

Star Wars‘s Princess Leia became Carrie Fisher’s most recognizable role ever since she started playing her in the first Star Wars in 1977. George Lucas put together an ambitious world filled with strong characters and motivations. While the film was very much testosterone-heavy, Lucas ensured that Fisher’s Princess Leia did not get stuck as the damsel in distress.

In an interview with BBC, Fisher claimed that Lucas’s unique treatment of the character drew her to the film. She was glad that Leia was not the stereotypical princess who always needed a man to protect her in moments of danger. Lucas wanted Leia to be a fighter who could hold her own and this immediately sold her to join the film. She said,

“George Lucas didn’t want a damsel in distress, didn’t want your stereotypical princess, you know, sort of victim, frightened, incapable of dealing with the situation without the guys. He wanted a fighter – he wanted someone who was independent, and that’s what appealed to me about that part.”

The success of the original Star Wars trilogy spawned the prequel trilogy and the modern sequel trilogy. While the reputation of the franchise has deteriorated over the years, the original trilogy remains the gold standard that the current Star Wars projects aim to achieve.


Fans can watch every Star Wars film and TV show on Disney+. 


Written by Rahul Thokchom

Articles Published: 1038

Rahul Thokchom is a content writer at Fandomwire who is passionate about covering the world of pop culture and entertainment. He has a Masters Degree in English that contributes to the richness and creativity in his works.