In the late ’70s and early ’80s, the iconic Freddie Mercury found himself entangled in an unexpected interstellar controversy involving none other than the cultural juggernaut, ‘Star Wars.’
The saga commenced in 1977 when the first ‘Star Wars’ film catapulted into the cultural zeitgeist. Soon, the franchise permeated various facets of media, including an unexpected cameo in the lyrics of Queen’s 1978 hit, ‘Bicycle Race.’ Mercury’s words, “I don’t like ‘Star Wars,'” sparked speculation, with some asserting that the flamboyant frontman was expressing his genuine sentiments about the beloved saga.
The intrigue deepened as a rift emerged between ‘Star Wars’ creator George Lucas and Queen. Adding fuel to the speculative fire, Freddie Mercury, during concerts in 1979 and 1980, donned a ‘Flash Gordon’ shirt while perched atop the shoulders of a Darth Vader impersonator. The symbolism was not lost on fans, given the historical rivalry between ‘Flash Gordon’ and ‘Star Wars.’ Some interpreted Mercury’s actions as a rebuke of Lucas’ work, particularly since the director had conceived ‘Star Wars’ following a rejection from ‘Flash Gordon’ producers in 1980.
According to Rock Celebrities – Freddie Mercury’s Darth Vader escapade, though a hit with audiences, drew the ire of George Lucas, who swiftly dispatched a cease-and-desist letter to Queen, demanding the cessation of Darth Vader appearances during their performances. Consequently, the iconic character vanished from the Queen stage, concluding the onstage clash between the rock legends and the galaxy far, far away.
The animosity between Queen and George Lucas, however, seemingly endured. At the premiere of ‘The Phantom Menace,’ Brian May’s attempt to extend congratulations to Lucas was met with indifference. Speculation ran rife, suggesting that the feud persisted even after Freddie Mercury’s untimely departure. Media reports fueled rumors of the late vocalist’s disdain for ‘Star Wars,’ perpetuating the notion that a cosmic battle lingered beyond the mortal realms.
Yet, amidst the cosmic turmoil, Brian May stepped forward to clarify Mercury’s true sentiments. In an interview discussing ‘Bicycle Race,’ May dispelled the myth that the song mirrored Mercury’s personal views, revealing that, contrary to the lyrics, the singer was, in fact, a fan of George Lucas’ intergalactic franchise.
Moreover, Mercury’s eclectic stage antics, which included sharing the limelight with characters like Superman and Santa Claus, hinted at a theatrical inclination rather than a specific vendetta against ‘Star Wars.’ Queen’s legacy, it appears, is intertwined not only with their musical prowess but also with an unexpected celestial drama that unfolded between the enigmatic Freddie Mercury and the galaxy’s most iconic space opera.