Way back in 1977 I was writing my first animation script ever, for a show called SPACE SENTINELS. Majority of this episode took place in outer space, where the Big Bad du jour was an energy being.
Wrote the script, turned it in, got paid (Filmation was actually pretty good about that.) Then one day I got a call from Chuck Menville, the story editor. Chuck was troubled. Why? Because they were prepping to record my first script, and Chuck had misgivings about the name of the energy being.
“There’s this movie coming out in a week; I don’t know the plot, but there’s something in it kinda like your energy being. It even has the same name.”
“Okay,” I said, a trifle nervously. “What do you want me to do?”
“Can you at least come up a different name for the critter? Lou’s worried that we’re too on the nose with this.”
I promised I would. And I actually gave it a few minutes of thought. But every other name I thought of just sounded contrived. So I called Chuck back and told him that, in my professional (heh) opinion the name was perfect. “Besides,” I told him, “the movie is coming out next week. This cartoon won’t be finished for another six months. Believe me, by the time our show airs, everyone will have forgotten all about Star Wars, the Force, and everything else in it.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Chuck said. “They’re calling it a fairy tale in space. How good can it be?”
Every word, my hand to God.