Novelist Margaret Atwood, who wrote the book upon which Hulu’s hit series The Handmaid’s Tale is based, just gave a fascinating interview to Variety about her book, the future of the series, her thoughts on the political landscape, and, interestingly, her belief in the prophetic nature of sci-fi writers. “We used to have a race going on, to see which would win, between 1984 and Brave New World,” she said. “It looked as if Brave New World had won. That turned out not to be true.”
She went on to describe an opera adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale that premiered in Denmark in 2000, and the “creepy feeling” she gets when recollecting it. “It started with a film reel going across the top of the stage and showing various things blowing up. And one of the things that blew up was the Twin Towers. But it hadn’t blown up yet. They did the opera again, and they had to take it out, because it was no longer in the future. Does that give you a creepy feeling?”
For no apparent reason, she continued, “They didn’t get that idea from my opera, don’t worry. They got the idea from Star Wars.” Yes, it seems the author is convinced that the 9/11 terrorist got their idea from George Lucas’ original sci-fi epic.
When pressed on whether or not she really believed that, Atwood recalled how, in A New Hope, “two guys fly a plane in the middle of something and blow that up.” She adds, “The only difference is, in Star Wars, they get away.”
Well, that’s not really the only difference. Atwood seems to be referring to the finale of A New Hope when Luke Skywalker fires a pair of proton torpedoes into the Death Star’s reactor core, destroying it. He has to fly “in the middle of” a trench to do so, and Han Solo helps him out by getting Darth Vader off his tail, but no one actually flies into anything. Now, she could be talking about Return of the Jedi where Wedge and Lando have to fly into the center of the unfinished second Death Star to get to the reactor, but again, no one is on a suicide run. Atwood may have been better off referencing Independence Day, where the only way humanity can take down the attacking City Destroyers was for a pilot to sacrifice themselves by flying straight into the underbelly of the ship. (Dropping some nerd knowledge on ya, Atwood.)
Atwood kept going, too, referencing a Pentagon meeting with Hollywood creatives that actually occurred post-9/11. “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.”
“Interesting” is one word for Atwood’s Star Wars: 9/11 theory.