The Culture Club: Alternate Pop Culture

Note: This thread is for posting alternate TV shows, movies, books, music, etc. I've got quite a few ideas down and I'm looking to see what people think of them. Feel free to contribute your own stories.

So far I got 1 alt. show complete, but I'll list some of the others I am working on. These will all take place in the same ATL to prevent confusion. Constructive criticism is always appreciated.

Update - 1/27/12: Star Wars update. Well, more like how Lucas failed then redeemed himself. Either way. Also, going to expand list of planned stories into Major and Minor (i.e. minor will be done if I got spare time, will include OTL parallel/similarities in brackets [])

1) Flash Gordon - Complete
2) Star Wars and Lucas - Complete
3) Star Trek and Roddenberry - NC
4) Stargate - NC

1) APO 923 [MASH]
2) Francais Ford Coppola's The Heart of Darkness [Apocalypse Now]
3) Delta Green [The X-Files]

Flash Gordon: the Comic, the Series, the Legacy
A Special DuMont Broadcasting Company Documentary
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Many of us remember the heroic Flash with his fellow adventurers traveling through the universe of Mongo, solving mysteries and going where no Earthman has gone before. But few remember the humble beginning this of this epic cultural giant.[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Starting as a small comic strip in 1934 by Alex Raymond, this simple comic followed the adventures of Steven “Flash” Gordon, a handsome and likeable polo player and Yale graduate who adventures with his companions Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov as they travel to the planet Mongo to stop the Emperor Ming the Merciless from destroying Earth. The story began as a simple science fiction strip which quickly grew in popularity by the early 1940s, eventually causing it to be printed daily and even score several film serials. Despite the Second World War going on, the British and American governments decided that morale was more important than paper rations and allowed publication to continue. Many families would send their family members fighting against the Axis little homemade collections, which would be read around the campfire. Soldiers, American and British, eagerly ate up each new adventure. However, with competing with such giants as Detective Comics, Flash faded into the background after the war’s end. But all hope was not lost, for in the making was a television series that would change the face of science fiction everywhere.[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Universal Studios had held the production rights to Flash Gordon but allowed them to lapse. Former Universal executives Edward Gruskin and Matty Fox struck a deal with Flash Gordon owners King Features Syndicate to produce the first 26 episodes of the series. While the writers wanted to edit some of the story line, Alex Raymond was called in by the executives to provide a helping hand. Producing the series in West Germany, it is considered a well done adaptation that did not stray far from the original comic, thanks in part to Raymond’s intervention. The series quickly attracted the attention of many investors, who liked Raymond’s interesting story and the resourcefulness that the show could run on a 15,000 dollar budget per episode, and proceeded to fund it. This boost of funding provided all the support the DuMont Television Network needed to assimilate its long time rival NBC, becoming DMBC and dominating the network. The show ran originally for 7 seasons, overshadowing almost every other series on DMBC and gaining much support for its pro-science and capitalism ideals and the intrigue of Alex Raymond. However, it ended in 1961 after the stunning conclusion of the Skorpii War storyline ended with a cliffhanger that left many fans hungry for more. A 9th season was in production when Steve Holland was killed in an automobile accident and DMBC had no choice but to leave it at that. Raymond, in a retrospectively bad choice, left to work on his autobiography and disappeared from the front pages soon after. Many thought the series would not be resurrected and quickly turned to other ventures as the great hero Flash left their minds. Perhaps is would have stayed dead if not for a man named William Shatter.[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]In 1967, Shatter was currently looking for work and was surprised by who arrived on his doorstep. Alex Raymond had watched Shatter's performance in the “Twilight Zone” and the “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and thought him perfect for the role of Flash. Meeting with the remaining members of the original series, Raymond had been spending the past 5 years working on a new Flash series, hoping to outdo his original. He quickly visited many other actors including Leonard Nimoy, Vincent Price, Adam West, Paul Newman, and Rod Sterling for various roles. While Sterling, flattered by the proposal, turned down the offer, Adam West took time off working on Batman to guest star as various people on the show. Leonard Nimoy accepted the contract as Ming, while Price was cast as the slightly off Professor Zarkov. Irene Champlin returned as Dale, and Paul Newman served as the new Prince Barin. Brian Blessed, fresh off “The Avengers”, impressed Raymond with his bombastic performance in the audition and was offered the role as Prince Vultan. DMBC was quick to throw money into the show, making a great publicizing act that caused many a dormant fan to reawaken. [/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]The new series, dubbed “Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe”, began with a recap of the old series along with a boost into the new storyline. While many of the previous series writers returned to the show, several new additions to the team were brought on, including a former LAPD police officer named Gene Roddenberry. The show was a ground-breaker, and somewhat controversial, for it's philosophical depictions war and peace, the value of personal loyalty, authoritarianism, imperialism, class warfare, economics, racism, religion, human rights, sexism and feminism, and the role of technology. Critics raved over the excellent writing, praising it as the best science fiction series created. Many fans and critics alike saw it as a return to the old series they knew and loved, citing that the complete overhaul by Raymond made it extremely better. The running lasted over 10 seasons; almost double that of its predecessor and twice as good. In 1978 the series ended on an upbeat note, leaving many satisfied with the conclusion.[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]In the middle of the 6th season, the producers decided to try and create a movie out of it, which became known as “Flash Gordon: The Motion Picture”. Roddenberry, having worked his way to a major writer on the show, was put in charge of the directing the movie. However, many critics were disappointed with the movie; a 2001 retrospective by DMBC described the film as a critical failure. Gary Arnold and Judith Martin of The Washington Post felt that the plot was too thin to support the length of the film, although Martin felt that compared to similar films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek, and Alien, The Motion Picture's pretense was "slightly cleverer”. Following this lukewarm reception, Roddenberry left to work with DMBC on his new series, APO 923.[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Around 1981, Raymond was struck by inspiration to make a second movie that recapped the original film serials. Director George Lucas, infamous for the box office failure “Star Wars”, offered to redo the whole original film serial as an update for fans everywhere. Despite the notoriety surrounding Lucas's bomb, Raymond persuaded DMBC to give him a shot. Given an extremely liberal budget, Lucas set about creating what is considered to be the best Flash film ever: Flash Gordon: Saviour of the Universe, starring Mark Hamilton as Flash Gordon, Carrie Fisher as Dale, Chaim Topal as Dr. Zarkov, Leonard Nimoy recast as Ming, Timothy Dalton as Prince Barin, and Brian Blessed returning as his beloved character Prince Vultan. The movie was a box office hit, grossing over $2,151,105,836 worldwide and redeeming George Lucas for his previous science fiction bomb. Critics raved over the well developed story, bringing back to the traditional comic look while updating it with advanced special effects and some truly great writing. In his 1978 review, Roger Ebert called the film "an out-of-body experience," compared its special effects to those of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and opined that the true strength of the film was its "pure narrative." Vincent Canby called the film "the movie that's going to entertain a lot of contemporary folk who have a soft spot for the comic-book and television adventures." [/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]But Raymond was not finished with his work. He reunited the cast and did five more movies during the production of the show, all that related to the death of Dale in the third movie “Flash Gordon III: The Prince’s War” and her eventual resurrection. While none of these were the giant blockbuster that the Lucas film was, the hype behind Flash Gordon cemented their place in history. By the time of the 1990s, the Flash Gordon franchised expand into the realm of comics, toys fan productions, and more. Around 1991 Raymond approaches DMBC and proposed a final series to give fans a close up look at the Skorpii War. Bringing in a almost entirely new cast of characters including the unknown actor Matt Damon as the new Flash, Patrick Stewart as Ming, Ian McKellen plays Zarkov, Rachel Weisz as Dale, Peirce Brosnan as Barin, and Brian Blessed still playing Vultan. The series ran for only 4 seasons until the unfortunate death of Raymond in early 1995. His death led to Paramount to to cancel the show due to falling ratings.[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]The seventh film in the series, "Flash Gordon VII: The Revenge of Ming", was released in the summer of 1994. The film was met with critical response. Although, the Box office performance wasn't the highest in the series, fans still accepted the film. Years later, Paramount released a press statement saying they thought the film under performed in theaters. Although the seventh film concluded the overall series up to that point, Raymond was hard at work on another squeal which he said "it would bring closure to the characters I've created". In early 1995 Raymond, finished his first draft of the eight films. However, days after finishing the first draft, Raymond, at 86 years old, died peacefully in his home from a heart attack during his sleep. Pre-Production on the untitled eighth film stopped for a hiatus of six weeks in order to reassign the role of head writer to someone else. The DuMont Television Network, which still continued to air various re-runs of the original "Flash Gordon" 50s serials and the TV series, found themselves in hard financial difficulties. Funding for the station ended abruptly in the spring of 1995. The Paramount Pictures Corporation took full right of the franchise and, with major fan disapproval, stopped the production of the eighth film entirely. Following the cancellation of the eight film, Raymond's death, and DuMont ending their broadcast, the Flash Gordon franchise seemed to be all but dead. There wouldn't be one single re-run of the two Flash Gordon TV series for almost five years. Until, in early 2000, the original and squeal TV series began to air once more on its new home of UPN on Saturday evenings. During the late 1990s, there were rumors about Paramount Pictures continuing production on the eighth film; however this never came to happen. [/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] The ratings for the re-runs continued to be strong for such an old show that UPN deiced to start airing back-to-back episodes of both the original and new shows. In late 2001/ early 2002, Paramount Pictures thought it was time to bring back Flash Gordon to television. However, Paramount wanted to do things differently. First off, they wanted an all new young cast for the new TV series. Also, to make the show fit in with the current times and have a much more 21st century feel to it, Paramount did the unthinkable. When the show was officially announced at the 2002 San Diego Comic-Con International, Paramount said the new TV series would be a complete reboot, discarding of all previous continuity in the franchise. Paramount was expecting a fan out rage; however, even the most diehard fans saw the aging of the actors from the film series and welcomed the change. [/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] All seemed well and the show was on track until the main male lead who was supposed to play the new Steven "Flash" Gordon opted out. Ben Affleck, who was going to be the new Flash on-board until his agents connived him to pull out and do the 2003 film "Batman: the Caped Crusader". Rumors were spreading that Affleck would come back to the series after he finished up on "Batman". The series was put on hold for almost ten months. By that time, Paramount did not want to wait any longer as they were "simply wasting time on waiting for Affleck's return to the show". So, Paramount went back in production with casting and writing. [/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Another hitch up came up in late 2003, when head writers Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper left the show. The reason for their unexpected leaving was that they felt "their creative ideas were being constantly being shot down by the execs from Paramount." Paramount then had to put the hold on the series for a second time with time for find new writers. Paramount then turned to up and coming writer/ director J. J. Abrams. Abrams, who was known for the successful prime-time TV drama Felicity on The WB Network, came on board with great enthusiasm. Abrams also agreed to direct the first three episodes of the first season to give the show a boost. [/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Like Abrams, Paramount wanted to find unknowns or relatively not so famous actors and actress for the new series. J. J. Abrams came across unknown actor Chris Pine, to up to that point only had cameos in "ER" and "CSI: Miami". Abrams was very impressed with Pine and got him on-board with the project to play Flash Gordon. For the role of Ming the Merciless, Abrams thought it would be "a cool idea" to bring back Leonard Nimoy as the arch enemy. The role of Dr. Hans Zarkov went to Jack Coleman, known for the 1980s soap opera "Dynasty". He was the first actor to not portray Dr. Zarkov as a Russian and as an American. The main female lead of Dale Arden went to first time actress Gina Holden. Ming's daughter, Princess Aura, went to Mila Kunis. For the Princes, the role of Prince Barin went to Daniel Craig. Prince Vultan went to Steve Bacic. Several other veterans of the old Flash series returned for cameo and limited roles, such as Brian Blessed returning for a time travel episode and Chaim Topal recast as one of Ming’s advisers. There was originally going to be a Prince Thun character, however, Paramount felt they already had a good cast of characters. [/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] By the end of 2004, the first three episodes were completed and Paramount finally, after almost three years of production, aired "Flash Gordon: Uprising" on Thursday, March 10, 2005 at 9 pm as a mid-season replacement on UPN. The two hour series premiere was met with high praise and the ratings were so excellent that Paramount ordered a full 22 episode season with pre-production of a second season to begin soon. Since there hadn't been a new Flash Gordon series since 1978 and a new film since 1994, the new series was favored by old and new fans alike. The viewership was incredible for the show. The first season served as a sort of prequel to the story and introduced many of its main characters later on in the season. Dale was introduced in the middle of the season, Ming the Merciless in the second to last episode of the season, and Barin and Vultan came into the series during the last episode. [/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] The second season, which consisted of 20 episodes, finally introduced the planets of Mongo, Arboria, and the Sky City of the Hawkmen. The second season was transferred to it's new home and time. It moved to the new CW Television Network, a combination of both the UPN and WB networks, on October 5, 2006 at 8 pm. The second season also introduced the Skorpii War, which was a previously done story arc in the original Flash Gordon TV series. Paramount and The CW renewed the series for a third season. The third season focused on the Aftermath of Ming's death and how Princess Aura became the new ruler of Mongo. Writer J. J. Abrams temporary left the show to direct "Mission: Impossible: The Quantum Solace". After the show's third season ended on May 2, 2008 with the death of Prince Barin, Paramount wanted the end the show. They were not done, however, with the series. Paramount wanted Abrams to write and direct a new Flash Gordon film with the same cast as the current TV series. Abrams agreed and began production immediately. The title was simply named "Flash Gordon" to appeal to new and old fans alike. The film was released on May 8, 2009. The film was went on to make $584,953,671 dollars at the box office. It was highly praised for its special effects and great story telling. With the film completed, The CW wanted to continue with the series and went on to make a fourth season, which took place after the events of the film. The fourth season premiered on Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 8 pm. The premiere had the highest ratings for The CW Network's broadcast history. Although, J. J. Abrams has stated that the fourth season may be the last season, he has reported that Paramount Pictures is currently on production of another Flash Gordon film, under the title of "Flash Gordon: Universe", and is set to be released in the Summer of 2011.[/FONT]

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So glad this thread appeared at least. I will try to venture into literature, movies and TVseries. Maybe on Flaubert writing his novel on the Thermopylae, Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon, Aronofsky's Batman, Boorman's Lord Of the Rings... Wait and See.
Ah, so the pop culture timelines are slowly starting to take over the board...:D

Interesting stuff, man.
Ah, so the pop culture timelines are slowly starting to take over the board...:D

Interesting stuff, man.

Thanks. While I got mad love for all the CSA, WWII, and slew of other timelines, I also enjoy looking at how modern culture could be influenced by some different decisions.

And be careful, Vultan. Ming's got a bone to pick with you...
Thanks. While I got mad love for all the CSA, WWII, and slew of other timelines, I also enjoy looking at how modern culture could be influenced by some different decisions.

And be careful, Vultan. Ming's got a bone to pick with you...

I know, right?:D
A pop culture anthology series! How delightful. I especially look forward to your take on an alternate Star Trek :D

Consider me subscribed!
Yet I don't understand. In this thread, can anyone contribute with their own cultural TLs, or has it to share the same POD than these stories?
Alright, good to know my writing isn't completely horrible. Working on the Star Wars bit, should be very interesting. I will warn fanboys that it's not going to end well for the series. But rest assured that it won't end poorly for Lucas. Hopefully I'll have it up by tomorrow, maybe early Saturday.

Yet I don't understand. In this thread, can anyone contribute with their own cultural TLs, or has it to share the same POD than these stories?

Anyone can contribue a story or idea, it doesn't have to be in this timeline.
And here is our second installment: Star Wars! Fanboys, please finish reading before you go for the tar and feathers. Also, updated my planned stories on the first post.
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Star Wars: A Thousand Problems, One[/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Film[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] From the success of the Flash Gordon franchise, many producers sought to imitate or create their own successful science fiction. Many, such as the remakes of Buck Rogers and the Stargate film series, I consider to be fine and original additions to the genre. But as many people know, there is always one bad seed in the family. For the sci-fi genre, this is was the disaster known as "Star Wars".[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Following the completion of the cult-classic science fiction film THX 1138, George Lucas was granted a two-film development deal with United Artists at the Cannes Film Festival in May of that year for American Graffiti. He showed United Artists the script for American Graffiti, but they passed on the film. Universal Studios picked the film up, and Lucas spent the next two years completing it. He began working on the preliminary script for what would become Star Wars in January 1973, unsure what would come of Graffiti, and still very much in debt. [/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] American Graffiti turned out to be a bigger hit than most thought it would be. With a $750,000 budget, it grossed over $140 million it the box office. Universal acclaim brought Lucas into the limelight as the next big director. Universal, giddy about the large amounts of money they were making, quickly offered to fund his next film. Lucas later said in an interview:[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] "Success has a funny way of going to your head. It's one of the oldest stories in the book, but it's true. I had just made it big with Graffiti. How could I not feel good about the next film? Looking back, I probably should have gone with the horror film."[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Lucas had two choices in his mind: he had begun work on both a horror film and a personal sci-fi script and needed to choose one. He eventually chose the science fiction script, which he referred to as Gray Harvest. The basic plot was one about a young man in a faraway planet that discovered he was a prince in another planet and went on to fight an evil empire. But production was stopped before it even began. The script was plagiarized in a sense. A very similar plot had been found in the Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe two part special titled The Unknown Prince. This led to a halt in development as Lucas and his scriptwriters scrambled to change as much as they could. The final script was, as described by an Universal executive, a "half-assed piece of crap that could not make sense even if you were on an acid trip". The basic plot was that the last general in the Imperial Army had to defend the final stronghold of the Empire from the renegade clone army, led by the evil Lord Darthus. Despite the ridiculous plot, Universal gave the green light to begin filming. While it was not as Lucas planned, things began to look up for him. But the fates conspired to destroy his dream.[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Analysis of the development of Star Wars has show several factors that contributed to it's critical failure. Universal Studios had given Lucas a budget of $10 million to work on the project. But after the revision due to plagiarism concerns, Universal slashed the budget to $8 million, with little before hand notice to Lucas. This resulted in many of the locations and special effects being cheaply improvised. "The studio took away our budget after the script changes." Lucas recollected. "How the hell was I supposed to make this movie good with all the bullshit they gave me?"[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Getting actors proved to be more difficult than Lucas had imagined. Despite Lucas's fame from Graffiti, he was forced to get actors who proved to less than ideal. Sam J. Jones played General Lucas Walker, a career military man stationed on the planet of Tatooin. Melody Anderson starred as the love interest Princess Leia. Chaim Topol served as the green-skinned, alien smuggler Hans Solo. Alec Guinness was cast as the mysterious Obiwan Koonobi. Max von Sydow portrayed Lord Darthus, the leader of the Clone Army. Morale among the production team dropped to a low when the budget cut hit, resulting in very shoddy work. Many of the cast members began to treat the film as a joke. "I had high hopes for the original script." Alec Guinness remembered in a 1990 interview. "But the plagiarism claims and subsequent changes turned it to crap. The budget cuts didn't help either. It was like watching the bloody Titanic go down."[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] The final nail in the coffin was the advance screening of the 2nd to last cut. Universal executives got first view of the film. Needless to say, many were horrified that they had put so much money into this movie. Lucas recalls the preview. "It was not good. The execs just sat in their seats, watching the film with blank eyes. After it was finished and the lights came on, one of them came over to me and said 'Mr. Lucas, this is a bad film'. It was devastating to hear that." Despite this, Universal wanted to try and get as much cash back as possible. It was decided that a mass-marketing campaign would be used to drum up as much hype for the film as possible, hoping that the sales of tickets would at least make up a little bit. To prevent bad reviews from leaking out, Universal paid off reviewers to praise the film. By the time Star Wars was to hit theaters, $15 million had been spent in total on the film.[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] The marketing campaign had worked it's magic. On Wednesday, May 25, 1977, people were lined up to see the film. After the first show, the movie was universally panned by critics. As Roger Ebert famously put it in the opening sentence of his review. "If I could go back in time and destroy one movie from existence, it would have to be Star Wars." In total, the film made less than $2 million dollars, a miracle even with all the marketing put into the movie. Most of the production team and cast were quick to disown the film. Rumors abound that several executives actively bet again the company and the film, making millions in hedge funds. [/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Lucas, now labeled as a pariah in the film industry, fell into a depression following the bomb. Having invested a considerable amount of his own money in obtaining the product licensing for Star Wars, the only thing keeping him from falling into bankruptcy was a small amount of money from American Graffiti. For the next three years, Lucas began to develop an drinking problem that left him isolated from his friends and family. During this time, Lucas worked on several other screenplays including the horror movie Black Harvest, the Korean War film Seoul, and the pilot episode for Indian Jones, but never sent them to a studio. "I figured that after Star Wars, I had no right to even try and get back into directing. My self-esteem was crap." It was only the help of his friend Francis Ford Coppola.[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Coppola had just finished up production of At the Mountains of Madness and was just beginning to work on the adaptation for The Heart of Darkness. Having seen Lucas in such a rut, Coppola decided that it was time to get his friend back into the business. After arriving at Lucas's house, he reportedly said "George, you made a shit movie. It happens. Time to put the bottle down and get back to the work you love." Inspired by his friend Lucas accepted the role of co-director, though he asked that his name not be billed on the posters for the film. Following the critical success of Heart of Darkness, Lucas received an offer to work as the writer on Gene Roddenberry's hit World War II series, APO 923, in 1979. While working on the show, Lucas met Alex Raymond, the creator of the Flash Gordon series. Still hurting over the plagiarism suit, Lucas was not very receptive to Raymond at first. "I could see that he held me with great hostility," Raymond said in a 1993 interview, "Personally, I can't blame him. He'd worked so hard and then the company [Paramount] had to go and suit him over similarities. I felt bad for the kid; his work was brilliant, but he got some bad luck." Despite Lucas's hostility, Raymond worked to mend the bridges between the two. Lucas, finding it hard to hate one of his idols, was quick to forgive him and the two became good friends. Then, one fateful day, Raymond approached Lucas with an idea that would redeem his name.[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Lucas remembers the day clearly. "I remember Alex handing me the script and saying 'Read this and tell me what you think.' I read it over once. Then a second time. Then a third time. Finally, I looked up at him and said 'Yes.' He didn't even ask me to direct yet. I knew as soon as he gave it to me, this was my chance to make the film I had wanted to." The script Lucas had been handed was a rewrite of the original Flash Gordon serials into one movie, aptly titled Flash Gordon: Saviour of the Universe. It would also prove to be Lucas's savior. Despite his work on Heart of Darkness and APO 923, many critics in Hollywood still held him accountable for the travesty known as Star Wars. Even DuMont Broadcasting Company had doubts in Raymond's pick for director. But Raymond refused to even consider any other director, saying that despite Lucas's flop, he had a very good track record otherwise. Eventually, the company executives caved and gave the film a budget of $50 million. But they made it very clear to Raymond and Lucas that if this film bombed, they would never work in show business again. Lucas knew that he would not only have to make a great film, it would have to rival the science fiction epic 2001: A Space Odyssey. [/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Lucas wanted his film to include visual effects that had never been seen on film before. In order to do this, Lucas first approached Douglas Trumbull, famous for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Trumbull declined due to Lucas's infamy, but suggested his assistant John Dykstra. Dykstra brought together a small team of college students, artists and engineers who became the Special Visual Effects department for Flash Gordon. Alongside Dykstra, other leading members of the team were Ken Ralston, Richard Edlund, Joe Johnston, Phil Tippett Steve Gawley, and Jeff Mann. This small group would later form Industrial Light & Magic, a special effects company owned by Lucas, in 1982. Casting proved to be a slight problem for Lucas. Not wanting to scare off potential actors with his name, Lucas used Raymond for auditions, only viewing them while hidden. Mark Hamill remembers his audition distinctly "After finishing up my lines, the director came up to me and said 'Mark, how'd you like to be Flash?'. I remember agreeing and saying 'Thank you very much, Mr...?'. 'Lucas. George Lucas.' At first I thought it was some sort of joke. But when I realized he was serious, I considered running away as fast as possible. Glad I didn't." With Hamill as Flash Gordon, Carrie Fisher as Dale, Chaim Topal as Dr. Zarkov, Leonard Nimoy recast as Ming, Timothy Dalton as Prince Barin, and Brian Blessed returning as his beloved character Prince Vultan, Lucas had all his ducks in a row.[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Production proceeded smoothly. While Lucas and Raymond tried to keep a calm exterior, all the actors and workers understood that if this film was not one of the greatest ever, it would be the end of most of their careers. "The filming was very light-hearted, with plenty of fun on and off the set. But a very tense vibe was in the air. We all knew that Lucas got a big break with this film and he could not afford to mess it up. None of us could, for his sake and our own careers." The filming was not without it's share of problems. Mark Hamill was involved in a car accident that left him scarred and unable to work. A stunt double was required to film several key scenes in his place. Several key props went missing, later to be found stolen by one of the extras and sold. He was arrested and all the props recovered. By the time filming was wrapping up, this seemed to be an epic in the making. Several of the executives got to watch the final cut before any critics. Several left the theater amazed by the film. "When you first saw those special effects... it blew everything we knew about SFX out of the water. That film is a milestone in movie history." But before Lucas could get his dream realized, he had to overcome one final hurdle: the critics.[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] His worst enemy ever since Star Wars, Lucas had become deathly afraid of film critics. Despite his recent improvements, critics still labeled him as 'the one who almost ruined sci-fi'. But with Flash Gordon, he was determined to prove them wrong. A marketing campaign was already underway to promote the film. But a problem occured when critics got wind that Lucas was directing. Many already began to call the film "the 2[/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman, serif]nd[/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Titanic" and "$50 mill down the drain". Desperate to prevent negative press, Lucas made the decision to do a advance screening for critics, on the condition that they signed a non-disclosure form and not discuss specifics until after the film was released. To say that it shocked the critics is an understatement. Roger Ebert's one sentance blurb was featured as the LA Times headliner two days before the opening. "George Lucas has created a masterpiece and redeemed himself 12 times over." Tickets sold out almost immediately in theaters across the country. On opening week, the film sold over $700,000,000 in tickets; worldwide, it made $2,151,105,836.[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Lucas had finally cleared his name. That black mark on his record was gone, replaced by thousands of gold stars. He would later go on to do more successful projects including Indian Jones, LOST, and Delta Green. The company he help founded, Industrial Light & Magic, is now the premier special effects provider in Hollywood. He is currently estimated at having a net worth of over $3 billion. But what about Star Wars? Could it have been a success? George said that it could have. "I think that without the suits, the cuts, and all the bullshit that Star Wars could have been a game changer. I felt it in my heart. But... I don't regret it; the failures, the drinking, the sadness. It allowed me to make a film that revolutionized the way we see movies. It made me a better man. And that's worth the $15 mill I wasted on that piece of crap!"[/FONT]
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CaptainJoel, I will just say, WOW!

You have some amazing AU thinking for movies and tv series. I will want to follow more that you create for us. THANKS. :)
CaptainJoel, I will just say, WOW!

You have some amazing AU thinking for movies and tv series. I will want to follow more that you create for us. THANKS. :)

Thanks. Updates might take a little longer now (school and other crap), but I'll try and get them up at regular intervals. No more than a week between each.
I can understand how that can be so work when you can, create us some fun and interesting times, and we can all have fun with it.

Good luck again with the writing when you can devote time for it.
Michael Grade.

The man who joined the BBC1 in 1984.

Infamous for such decisions as deciding to stop screening Dallas, forcing Doctor Who into the 18-month hiatus in 1985, and getting Colin Baker fired (while sleeping with his ex-wife no less).

I'd like to see a mini-TL where he never got the job.
Thanks for the ATL

I like these cultural alternate timelines. It brings up some interesting discussion.