In 1989, a 26-year-old Steven Soderbergh changed the landscape of indie cinema with his feature debut, Sex, Lies, and Videotape. That’s a pretty impressive accomplishment, and one he might not have achieved if Lucasfilm had hired him back in 1984. Instead, the iconic studio behind one of the world’s most popular franchises rejected Soderbergh, as evidenced by a letter recently unearthed by the multi-hyphenate.

Soderbergh can do it all: Directing, writing, editing, producing, scoring, importing delicious liquors, keeping meticulous lists of all the media he consumes annually…But there was one thing he couldn’t do as a young, aspiring filmmaker: Work for Lucasfilm. Back in 1984, a 21-year-old Soderbergh sent the studio a demo reel of his work, which, at the time, included some freelance editing and composing the scores for TV game shows.

Shortly after, in 1985, Soderbergh directed the music documentary Yes: 9012 Live, followed by two short films — Access All Areas and Winston — before making his Palme d’Or-winning feature debut. In the years since, Soderbergh has become an accomplished filmmaker with three Oscar nominations and one Best Picture win (for Traffic) and a successful television showrunner. He recently returned to feature directing (after taking a short hiatus) with this year’s Logan Lucky, and his upcoming projects include the long-percolating interactive HBO project Mosaic.

With all of that, who even needs a Star War?

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