In a lengthy interview with Variety, Margaret Atwood, the celebrated author of The Handmaid’s Tale, hinted that she thought Star Wars’ destruction of the Death Star in 1977 was a foreshadowing of the bombing of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.
Speaking to Variety, Atwood looked back at her career, her success with The Handmaid’s Tale, and how she thinks President Donald Trump has intersected with her fiction. But during the long-ranging discussion, Atwood seemed to admit that she thinks the George Lucas blockbuster, Star Wars, somehow foretold the terror attacks that occurred more than 20 years after the film’s 1977 debut.
After a question about her participation in the Women’s March in January, Atwood noted that these sorts of societal upheavals come in waves. “They hit the shore, and then they recede, and then they hit the shore again,” she said.
“We used to have a race going on, to see which would win, between 1984 and Brave New World. It looked as if Brave New World had won,” Atwood quipped. She then noted that in the year 2000, a stage treatment of her book appeared in Denmark, where a video of the Twin Towers being destroyed was projected upon the stage.
Atwood, though, carefully noted that she did not come up with the image of the Twin Towers falling the year before it happened, but that the opera “got the idea from Star Wars.”
She went on to explain that claim:
Remember the first one? Two guys fly a plane in the middle of something and blow that up? The only difference is, in “Star Wars,” they get away. 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.
Concerning Tump, Atwood said she was not surprised that he got elected, adding that she thinks the country will get over his presidency.
“I’m too old to really be surprised,” she said of Trump’s election. “Think of how long I’ve been on the planet. I’ve seen a lot of regime changes in different countries. The people who were devastated were young people who had never experienced anything of the kind. And some of them were quite upset. But it’s not the end of the world, although it’s pretty bad for the environment.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.