‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Author Magaret Atwood Made An Awkward Connection Between ‘Star Wars’ And 9/11


It would be smart to preface this by saying that it is very likely that Margaret Atwood is joking when she says the 9/11 terrorists “got the idea” from Star Wars. When you see stories where it is implied Atwood thinks Luke Skywalker’s run against the Death Star “caused” the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon back in 2001, just take a step back. Breathe.

But you do need to realize that The Handmaid’s Tale author did seem to bring it up during a recent interview with Variety. While discussing an opera based on a book that was produced in Denmark back in 2000, Atwood points out that they used imagery of the Twin Towers blowing up to set the stage for the show. It was just doctored footage, but then the attacks happened and it had to be removed. From there she’s quick to point out that the terrorists didn’t get the idea from the opera performance, crediting that to Star Wars instead. When pressed by interviewer Ramin Setoodeh, Atwood provided this slight clarification:

Remember the first one? Two guys fly a plane in the middle of something and blow that up? The only difference is, in “Star Wars,” they get away. Right after 9/11, they hired a bunch of Hollywood screenwriters to tell them how the story might go next. Sci-fi writers are very good at this stuff, anticipating future events. They don’t all come true, but there are interesting “what if” scenarios.

It’s easy to say a film “inspired” a certain event in history, especially the terrible ones. There are plenty of examples out there, with a few even hinting at the events at 9/11 a little more explicitly than Star Wars ever would — looking at you Stephen King’s The Running Man. It would also bring into question how much the influences on Star Wars could now be counted as influences on terrorists if we go by what Atwood is saying. Did The Dam Busters predict 9/11 way back in 1955?

No matter what, it’s an awkward statement by a great author. She doesn’t owe an explanation to anybody, but it’s definitely one that will go down as a head-scratcher.

(Via Variety / Mashable)