With sold out screenings, ticket buyers lining up early, and fans going to rewatch the movie multiple times, describing the magic of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” to those who have never seen a “Star Wars” movie in their life is a bit hard to explain. And yet, even for those who don’t know a lightsabre from a Jedi, likely know the pop culture language of the franchise, from John Williams‘ iconic score, to the name Luke Skywalker. So what exactly makes “Star Wars,” well, “Star Wars”?
That’s what Oscar Boyson asked himself as he created a video essay for Time in anticipation of ‘The Force Awakens.’ And it’s a terrific look at the cinematic influences George Lucas mined for his space tale, and then brewed into something uniquely his own. Sure, the fingerprints of Akira Kurosawa, Fritz Lang, and more can be found all over “Star Wars,” and yet it has turned into something undeniably special to moviegoers around the world. Dive into Boyson’s video below to see how it happened.