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07.01.2016by: Alex Maidy

Top 10 Movies That Tried To Copy Star Wars But Failed

Every year, we see franchises hit it big and the imitators come out of the woodwork. Since the release of the original STAR WARS in 1977, countless copycats have tried to make their own space operas but have found middling success. Here is our ranking of the ten "best" imitators that failed to capture the magic of STAR WARS. Some actually came pretty close!

#10 - BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

Why technically a television series, Battlestar Galactica was so much a copy of STAR WARS that it wasn't even funny. Running only for one season starting in 1978, Galactica was rebooted in 2004 as a popular military scifi series. While critically acclaimed, that series veered far from the STAR WARS-esque origins of the original show. A new reboot is in the works as a feature film which tells me studios are ready to imitate THE FORCE AWAKENS.

#9 - STARCHASER: THE LEGEND OF ORIN

One of the earliest animated films to blend traditional and CGI animation, STARCHASER was also a 3D rip-off of George Lucas' film. From lightsabers to the Force, it is such a blatant copy of STAR WARS that it amazes me they weren't sued. Maybe it is because the quality is so bad that legal action was never taken, but someone has bought the rights to remake this as a live action film and may have to deal with their own lawsuits.

#8 - STARCRASH

This Italian film claims to have been conceived and written before the 1977 release of STAR WARS. Somehow I doubt that is the truth seeing as this film hit screens in 1978, but with a cast that includes a young David Hasselhoff and Christopher Plummer as the coincidentally named villain The Emperor, STARCRASH comes across more like a softcore B-movie version of STAR WARS rather than a true imitator. Still, boobies make this one worth watching.

#7 - SPACE RAIDERS

A Roger Corman production, SPACE RAIDERS is not just a rip-off of STAR WARS but actually re-uses footage and sets from another Corman copy of George Lucas' film, BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS. SPACE RAIDERS feels more like a Han Solo movie rather than a true STAR WARS film, but it is still nowhere near as good as the real films. Still, fans of Corman's brand of cheese should enjoy this flick quite a bit.

#6 - MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE

It still baffles me why this movie turned out the way it did. He-Man was one of the hottest toys and animated series of the 1980s and should have been a home run as a feature film. For whatever reason, the decision was made to change the film from a fantasy epic to a STAR WARS clone and the results were disastrous. I have a soft spot for this movie from my childhood, but reflecting as an adult, the STAR WARS influences are embarrassingly obvious.

#5 - SATURN 3

A massive bomb when it was released in 1980, SATURN 3 had the A-list cast made up of Kirk Douglas, Harvey Keitel, and Farrah Fawcett and yet was unable to overcome the weak special effects that paled in comparison to the STAR WARS films. Actually aimed to imitate Ridley Scott's ALIEN, SATURN 3 shares more in common with STAR WARS despite being a violent and dark R-rated thriller.

#4 - THE BLACK HOLE

Disney tried to cash in on STAR WARS four decades before they got to buy the real deal. This is another cult classic that has a growing fan-base. THE BLACK HOLE may be the darkest and most disturbing Disney movie ever released with an ending that will be very difficult to explain to younger children. Somehow, despite having cute robots that emulate R2-D2 and C-3PO, this film still failed in every way to capture what made STAR WARS so good.

#3 - KRULL

A cross between DUNE and STAR WARS, KRULL is another one of those films that 80s kids love despite not being very good. What KRULL managed to do to stay relevant was create a cool weapon as memorable as the lightsaber.The Glaive is pretty damn cool for being a starfish with knives sticking out of it and may be the one thing most people remember about this movie. I recommend revisiting this movie simply for nostalgia reasons.

#2 - BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS

One of the best reviewed films on this list, Roger Corman's BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS is actually a pretty fun flick. If George Lucas used Akira Kurosawa's HIDDEN FORTRESS as inspiration for STAR WARS, this film is the SEVEN SAMURAI inspired film. BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS features a script from John Sayles, music by James Horner, and special effects from a very young James Cameron.

#1 - THE LAST STARFIGHTER

Possibly the best movie on this list, THE LAST STARFIGHTER is very similar to STAR WARS: a young boy dreaming of being a pilot is whisked away to an interstellar war that only he can help win. He has a mentor who is a mysterious alien and a love interest he must rescue. Sound familiar? Now throw in video games, clones, and some very early CGI and you have a great time at the movies.

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9:42AM on 11/06/2016
Most of these movies are better than the coporate monstrosity of Star
Most of these movies are better than the coporate monstrosity of Star
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5:50PM on 07/03/2016
My favorite film on this list, and it had pretty good practical effects! The creatures were pretty cool, and the bounty hunter creatures (Zando-Zan) were great!
My favorite film on this list, and it had pretty good practical effects! The creatures were pretty cool, and the bounty hunter creatures (Zando-Zan) were great!
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5:45PM on 07/03/2016
another fun 80's film!
another fun 80's film!
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5:44PM on 07/03/2016
This is still a fun film though!
This is still a fun film though!
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5:42PM on 07/03/2016
one of my guilty pleasures of 80's films! I love it!
one of my guilty pleasures of 80's films! I love it!
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6:18PM on 07/01/2016
You are exactly right that '80s kids love Krull. I saw it a whole bunch of times in the theater, and I played the arcade game constantly. The Blu-Ray and comic book are both in my respective collections. You might have noticed, but Krull includes the future Jedi Master Liam Neeson. So, there is a connection.

Your list mentions Saturn 3. As you note, it is not a complete Star Wars copy, but the movie certainly rides the wave of sci-fi popularity created by Lucas' films. Your list also
You are exactly right that '80s kids love Krull. I saw it a whole bunch of times in the theater, and I played the arcade game constantly. The Blu-Ray and comic book are both in my respective collections. You might have noticed, but Krull includes the future Jedi Master Liam Neeson. So, there is a connection.

Your list mentions Saturn 3. As you note, it is not a complete Star Wars copy, but the movie certainly rides the wave of sci-fi popularity created by Lucas' films. Your list also mentions The Black Hole. You know, I have never seen the entire picture, but I did have the Black Hole lunchbox at school. So, Disney imitated Lucas in that way--successful merchandising.
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6:09PM on 07/01/2016
Battlestar Galactica was very cool back in its day. Thank you for remembering it on this list. I watched the TV show, had the comics, had the action figures. And, I remember seeing a Battlestar Galactica movie at the theater. However, theaters were perhaps only showing the TV pilot. The movie was the origin story for the series. Anyway, BG is known mainly as a show, but it was a movie too.
Battlestar Galactica was very cool back in its day. Thank you for remembering it on this list. I watched the TV show, had the comics, had the action figures. And, I remember seeing a Battlestar Galactica movie at the theater. However, theaters were perhaps only showing the TV pilot. The movie was the origin story for the series. Anyway, BG is known mainly as a show, but it was a movie too.
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+0
3:21PM on 07/01/2016
I have to disagree with a few on this list. While Star Wars did set the bar high, films like Krull and The Last Starfighter tied with it in my mind...especially as a kid. When referring to "capturing the magic", Last Starfighter eclipsed Star Wars for me when I was a kid. I loved Atari, and played constantly. Thinking I could be recruited to space because I was badass at a video game made my young imagination race! Plus, I loved the design of the Starfighter ship. Krull was also one that I was
I have to disagree with a few on this list. While Star Wars did set the bar high, films like Krull and The Last Starfighter tied with it in my mind...especially as a kid. When referring to "capturing the magic", Last Starfighter eclipsed Star Wars for me when I was a kid. I loved Atari, and played constantly. Thinking I could be recruited to space because I was badass at a video game made my young imagination race! Plus, I loved the design of the Starfighter ship. Krull was also one that I was completely spellbound by when I saw it in the theater. I will take a Glaive over a lightsaber anyday!
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6:11PM on 07/01/2016
Yeah, i think I have to agree. Krull and Starfighter weren't so much Star Wars knock offs as just other films made in the same genre.
Yeah, i think I have to agree. Krull and Starfighter weren't so much Star Wars knock offs as just other films made in the same genre.
12:14PM on 07/01/2016
The Force Awakens should top this list.
The Force Awakens should top this list.
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3:16PM on 07/01/2016
Ha! Totally!
Ha! Totally!
12:13PM on 07/01/2016
Battlestar didn't attempt to copy Star Wars, so much as it was merely the second property in the new Diesel Punk genre of sci-fi. In fact, many of the same designers including Ralph McQuarrie worked on both productions. And the core storyline follows the biblical Exodus, whereas the core of the Star Wars trilogy has always followed the hero of greek mythology, so there were significant differences narrative-wise. In fact the screenplay for Battlestar was written about years earlier, but
Battlestar didn't attempt to copy Star Wars, so much as it was merely the second property in the new Diesel Punk genre of sci-fi. In fact, many of the same designers including Ralph McQuarrie worked on both productions. And the core storyline follows the biblical Exodus, whereas the core of the Star Wars trilogy has always followed the hero of greek mythology, so there were significant differences narrative-wise. In fact the screenplay for Battlestar was written about years earlier, but could never get a greenlight until Star Wars made sci-fi profitable again. It should also be noted that the show had the highest ratings of any television show up to that point in time, and indeed, even higher ratings than its remake. The failure to renew to a second season was due more to the 1 million dollars per episode price tag which was obscene in 1978.
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11:04AM on 07/01/2016

Lost all credibility...

....when you start bashing The Last Starfighter and Battle Beyond the Stars. Both were/are great.

Comparing those movies to Star Wars is like comparing Titanic to Jaws because most of both movies were on a ship.
....when you start bashing The Last Starfighter and Battle Beyond the Stars. Both were/are great.

Comparing those movies to Star Wars is like comparing Titanic to Jaws because most of both movies were on a ship.
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