New Albany writer for ‘Star Wars’ to release documentary – WDRB

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) — The world of Star Wars that fans love was written in part by one southern Indiana man. Now, he’s hoping his hometown where he got his start will help him with his newest venture. 

He designed how the light saber worked, explained the spaceship and David West Reynolds’ neighbors would never know of his trip around the galaxy.

“Mostly they just decide he’s lying about all this,” Reynolds said.

New Albany was once the setting for that Indiana hopeful.

It was the original 1977 Star Wars movie that told the story of a regular kid.

“There’s all the fancy special effects in that movie but the one scene of Luke Skywalker standing at the edge of his home and watching the sunset and wishing that his life were more than it was. That’s something I think most of us have felt sometime in our lives. That’s what really connected with me.”

He was finishing his PhD in archaeology in ’95 when he decided to visit North Africa to find the original film site. This was before the internet and GPS was brand new. What he found went beyond his wildest expectations.

“The additions to the door frame that the crew had done, a ceiling mural that the art director had painted, it was all still there. Like they had just left. It blew my mind. I had no idea that we were going to find that much still there.”

Twenty years had passed. Set design and props were untouched.

“It was so extraordinary. I felt like I was walking on the moon. To see these things that I worked so hard to find, my partner, Michael was saying, ‘how are we doing to get all this stuff boxed up? I mean, this is a lot of stuff’ and I said, ‘you know, I don’t think I want to take it.’”

So, instead of retiring off his findings, he wrote an article and the right people, George Lucas and his producer, saw it at the right time.

“Miraculously needed to know, where were those locations where Star Wars was filmed?”

He convinced the crew they needed a guide. “And off we went to Tunisia. I was a location scout for Star Wars suddenly, so it worked out.” 

He eventually worked at Skywalker ranch in California, writing five best-selling books.

“Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman are standing around because we’re shooting the movie and the assistant director says, ‘uh George, we’re ready any time you are’ and George has been talking to me for character backgrounds for my books.”

He took inspiration from a class drawing of a light saber at 13. 

“So many creative people have put so much brilliant work into this that there is that depth, but where it didn’t exist, they gave a license to create it.”

He eventually left the “Star Wars” universe, but came back to his search that started it all.

“It keeps speaking to new generations and I thought if there are people still interested in this, then I can share that documentary now that I’m no longer an employee.”

For the next three weeks, fans can contribute to his documentary, “Journey to Tataouine” on his Kickstarter page.

It’s the latest adventure for this small town kid.

“I want people to see look, a kid who grew up here who came from no special background made this documentary and you guys helped make it because your pledges helped build that thing. It doesn’t matter where you come from. Any of us here. You can fulfill your dreams here. You don’t have to be Luke Skywalker, you don’t have to be in California or in Hollywood. Your dreams can come true right here.”

The documentary is expected to be released by December. He hopes to reach $25,000 for bonus features and extra production.

Copyright 2017. WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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