Star Wars inspired 9/11 attacks, Margaret Atwood says

The author of The Handmaid's Tale says the only difference is the terrorists didn't get away.

Nicholas Tufnell Associate Editor
2 min read
Well-known still from Star Wars showing Luke, Leia and Han on the Death Star.

Atwood: "Remember the first one? Two guys fly a plane in the middle of something and blow that up?"


Star Wars is guilty of many terrible things: Jar Jar Binks, Midi-chlorians, Ewoks.

But now, according to writer Margaret Atwood, the franchise is also guilty of inspiring the 9/11 attacks.

The terrorists "got the idea from Star Wars," the author of The Handmaid's Tale said in an interview with Variety on Tuesday.  

"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," Atwood said.

It's unclear whether the author was joking.

Atwood went on to say that "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."

It's true science-fiction writers can help plan for an uncertain future and have been hired by the Pentagon in the past. Their creativity can help governments think more laterally about terror attacks and the changing face of warfare.

But Atwood's remarks about Star Wars have largely been mocked on Twitter, with one user tweeting, "Rubbish. If anything, perhaps Independence Day."

This isn't the first time Atwood has courted controversy.

In January, the author questioned the efficacy of the #MeToo movement in an op-ed for the Globe and Mail newspaper. Her comments resulted in a fierce backlash on social media from supporters of the cause.

And back in 2016, Atwood signed an open letter condemning the University of British Columbia for firing novelist Steven Galloway after allegations of sexual assault. Her support of Galloway was widely criticised.

The author's own science-fiction success, The Handmaid's Tale, a dystopian novel in which women are forced to bear children for a wealthy elite patriarchy, was adapted for TV in 2017 and will return to Hulu for a second season on April 26.

Representatives for Atwood didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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