If there’s something The Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood knows about, it’s life imitating art.
And now, in a wide-ranging interview with Variety, which recognized the celebrated author as one of its Power of Women honorees, Atwood has made a surprising claim about the way she thinks pop culture influenced another event: She said the 9/11 terrorists attacks were borne out of a plot point from Star Wars.
Atwood was recounting how a 2000 opera of her acclaimed novel (and now Emmy-winning Hulu series) began with “a film reel going across the top of the stage and showing various things blowing up” including the Twin Towers. She then said that, after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, this aspect of the production needed to be removed. “They didn’t get that idea from my opera, don’t worry,” she added, referring to the terrorists. “They got the idea from Star Wars.”
When Variety asked Atwood if she “really believes that,” she clarified why she, in fact, does. “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,” she said. “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.”
Atwood seems to be referring to a scene in the original Star Wars in which Luke Skywalker and fellow Rebel pilots launch an attack on Darth Vader’s planet-destroying weapon, the Death Star. Guided by the Force, Luke fires a proton torpedo that sets off a chain reaction and blows up the battle station; he then maneuvers away.
A representative for Atwood did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This is not the first time Atwood, who shared in The Handmaid’s Tale‘s PGA Award win for Episodic Drama as a supervising producer, has attracted controversy for her comments. She recently drew criticism for promoting Andrew Sullivan’s New York magazine essay railing against the #MeToo movement, as well as for her own article in which she asked if she was a “bad feminist” for, among other things, being concerned about the movement going too far.
You can read her full conversation with Variety here.