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Star Wars

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Star Wars
Star Wars Logo.svg
The Star Wars franchise's logo, introduced in the original film A New Hope
Created by George Lucas
Original work Star Wars (1977)
Print publications
Novel(s) List of novels
Comics List of comics
Films and television
Film(s)

Saga:

Anthology films:

Animated films:

Television series

Legends:

TV Specials:

Games
Video game(s) List of video games
Audio
Radio program(s) Star Wars
Original music Music of Star Wars
Miscellaneous
Toys
  • Action figures
  • Die-casts and model toys
  • Chess and soldiers
  • Other
Theme parks

Star Wars is an American epic space opera franchise, centered on a film series created by George Lucas. It depicts the adventures of various characters "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away".

The franchise began in 1977 with the release of the film Star Wars (later subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope in 1981),[2][3] which became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon. It was followed by the successful sequels The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983); these three films constitute the original Star Wars trilogy. A prequel trilogy was released between 1999 and 2005, which received mixed reactions from both critics and fans. A sequel trilogy began in 2015 with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. All seven films were nominated for Academy Awards (with wins going to the first two films) and have been commercial successes, with a combined box office revenue of over $7.5 billion,[4] making Star Wars the third highest-grossing film series.[5] Spin-off films include the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) and Rogue One (2016), the latter of which is the first in an upcoming series of anthology films.

The series has spawned an extensive media franchise including books, television series, computer and video games, and comic books, all of which take place within the same continuity as the films, resulting in significant development of the series's fictional universe, with the non-canonical works falling under the defunct Star Wars Legends label. Star Wars also holds a Guinness World Records title for the "Most successful film merchandising franchise. In 2015, the total value of the Star Wars franchise was estimated at USD $42 billion,[6][7] making Star Wars the second highest-grossing media franchise of all time.

In 2012, The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm for $4.06 billion and earned the distribution rights to all subsequent Star Wars films, beginning with the release of The Force Awakens in 2015.[8] The former distributor, 20th Century Fox, retains the physical distribution rights for the first two Star Wars trilogies, owns permanent rights for the original 1977 film and continues to hold the rights for the prequel trilogy and the first two sequels to A New Hope until May 2020.[9][10] Walt Disney Studios owns digital distribution rights to all the Star Wars films, excluding A New Hope.[10][11]

Setting

The events depicted in the Star Wars franchise take place in an unnamed fictional galaxy at an undetermined point in the distant past. Many species of alien creatures (often humanoid) are depicted. Robotic droids are also commonplace and are generally built to serve their owners. Space travel is common, and many planets in the galaxy are members of a single galactic government. In the prequel trilogy, this is depicted in the form of the Galactic Republic; at the end of the prequel trilogy and throughout the original trilogy, this government is the Galactic Empire. Preceding and during the sequel trilogy, this government is the New Republic.

One of the prominent elements of Star Wars is "the Force", an omnipresent energy that can be harnessed by those with that ability, known as Force-sensitives. It is described in the first produced film as "an energy field created by all living things [that] surrounds us, penetrates us, [and] binds the galaxy together."[12] The Force allows users to perform various supernatural feats (such as telekinesis, clairvoyance, precognition, and mind control) and can amplify certain physical traits, such as speed and reflexes; these abilities vary between characters and can be improved through training. While the Force can be used for good, known as the light side, it also has a dark side that, when pursued, imbues users with hatred, aggression, and malevolence.

The films feature the Jedi, who adhere to the light side of the Force to serve as peacekeepers and guardians, and the Sith, who use the dark side of the Force for evil in an attempt to destroy the Jedi Order and the Republic and rule the galaxy for themselves. The sequel trilogy introduces the Knights of Ren, an order of practitioners of the dark side of the Force aligned with the First Order.

Theatrical films

The first film in the series, Star Wars, was released on May 25, 1977. This was followed by two sequels: The Empire Strikes Back, released on May 21, 1980, and Return of the Jedi, released on May 25, 1983. The opening crawl of the sequels disclosed that they were numbered as "Episode V" and "Episode VI" respectively, though the films were generally advertised solely under their subtitles. Though the first film in the series was simply titled Star Wars, with its 1981 re-release it had the subtitle Episode IV: A New Hope added to remain consistent with its sequel, and to establish it as the middle chapter of a continuing saga.[13]

More than two decades after the release of the original film, the series continued with a prequel trilogy; consisting of Episode I: The Phantom Menace, released on May 19, 1999; Episode II: Attack of the Clones, released on May 16, 2002; and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, released on May 19, 2005.[14] On August 15, 2008, the animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars was released theatrically as a lead-in to the animated TV series with the same name.

A decade after the release of the final prequel film, the series continued again with Episode VII: The Force Awakens, released on December 18, 2015, beginning a new sequel trilogy. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released on December 16, 2016 as the first in an anthology series of films separate from the main episodic saga.

Film trilogies
Film Release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Producer(s) Distributor(s) Running time
Original trilogy
Episode IV –
A New Hope
May 25, 1977 (1977-05-25) George Lucas Gary Kurtz 20th Century Fox[a] 121 minutes[15]
Episode V –
The Empire Strikes Back
May 21, 1980 (1980-05-21) Irvin Kershner George Lucas, Leigh Brackett & Lawrence Kasdan 131 minutes[16]
Episode VI –
Return of the Jedi
May 25, 1983 (1983-05-25) Richard Marquand George Lucas & Lawrence Kasdan Howard Kazanjian 133 minutes[17]
Prequel trilogy
Episode I –
The Phantom Menace
May 19, 1999 (1999-05-19) George Lucas George Lucas Rick McCallum 20th Century Fox[a] 133 minutes[17]
Episode II –
Attack of the Clones
May 16, 2002 (2002-05-16) George Lucas and Jonathan Hales 142 minutes[18]
Episode III –
Revenge of the Sith
May 19, 2005 (2005-05-19) George Lucas 140 minutes[19]
Sequel trilogy
Episode VII –
The Force Awakens
December 18, 2015 (2015-12-18) J. J. Abrams Lawrence Kasdan & J. J. Abrams and Michael Arndt Kathleen Kennedy, J. J. Abrams & Bryan Burk Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures 135 minutes[20]
Episode VIII –
The Last Jedi
December 15, 2017 Rian Johnson Kathleen Kennedy & Ram Bergman TBA
Episode IX May 24, 2019[21] Colin Trevorrow Colin Trevorrow & Derek Connolly TBA
Stand-alone theatrical releases
Film Release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Producer(s) Distributor(s) Running time
Star Wars:
The Clone Wars
August 15, 2008 (2008-08-15) Dave Filoni Henry Gilroy, Steven Melching & Scott Murphy George Lucas & Catherine Winder Warner Bros. Pictures 98 minutes[22]
Anthology films
Rogue One:
A Star Wars Story
December 16, 2016 (December 16, 2016) Gareth Edwards John Knoll and Gary Whitta (story)
Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy (screenplay)
Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur & Simon Emanuel Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures 133 minutes[23]
Untitled Han Solo film May 25, 2018 (2018-05-25)[24] Phil Lord and Christopher Miller Lawrence Kasdan & Jon Kasdan Kathleen Kennedy, Lawrence Kasdan, Jon Kasdan, Jason McGatlin & Will Allegra TBA
Untitled Anthology film 2020 (2020) TBA TBA Kathleen Kennedy TBA

Early development

In 1971, Universal Studios agreed to make American Graffiti and Star Wars in a two-picture contract with George Lucas, although Star Wars was later rejected in its early concept stages. American Graffiti was completed in 1973 and, a few months later, Lucas wrote a short summary called "The Journal of the Whills", which told the tale of the training of apprentice CJ Thorpe as a "Jedi-Bendu" space commando by the legendary Mace Windy.[25] Frustrated that his story was too difficult to understand, Lucas then began writing a 13-page treatment called The Star Wars on April 17, 1973, which had thematic parallels with Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress.[26] By 1974, he had expanded the treatment into a rough draft screenplay, adding elements such as the Sith, the Death Star, and a protagonist named Annikin Starkiller.

Original trilogy

A New Hope

George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, the director of A New Hope and the prequel trilogy, and the script supervisor of both the original and prequel trilogies. Lucas ceased creative involvement with the franchise in 2014.
The main cast members of the original Star Wars trilogy, from left: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford (SDCC, July 2015).

The Galactic Empire is nearing completion of the Death Star, a space station with the power to destroy entire planets. Emperor Palpatine intends to use this deadly weapon to enforce his control over the galaxy and crush the Rebel Alliance, an organized resistance movement. Near the orbit of the desert planet Tatooine, a Rebel ship escorts a secret member of the rebellion, Princess Leia Organa, who intends to use stolen Death Star plans to help the rebellion find a way to destroy the space station. However, Leia's ship is intercepted by the Emperor's deadliest agent, Darth Vader, and his stormtroopers. Before being captured, Leia hides the Death Star plans inside the astromech droid R2-D2 along with a message for the legendary Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi. R2, along with the protocol droid C-3PO, escapes to Tatooine. The droids are found by Luke Skywalker, an orphan farm boy raised by his step-uncle and aunt. While cleaning R2, he accidentally triggers Leia's message. Luke assists the droids in finding Obi-Wan, who has been living in exile on Tatooine as an old hermit called Ben Kenobi. Obi-Wan also tells Luke he knew Luke's father Anakin Skywalker, a great Jedi who was "betrayed and murdered" by Vader (a Sith Lord who was Obi-Wan's former Jedi apprentice), and he gives Luke his father's lightsaber.[27] After viewing Leia's message for assistance in delivering R2 to the rebellion, Obi-Wan and Luke hire the smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca to provide them transport aboard their space freighter, the Millennium Falcon.[12]

For the second draft, Lucas made heavy simplifications, and introduced the young hero on a farm as Luke Starkiller. Annikin became Luke's father, a wise Jedi knight. "The Force" was also introduced as a mystical energy field. The next draft removed the father character and replaced him with a substitute named Ben Kenobi. Later, he realized the film would not in fact be the first in the sequence, but a film in the second trilogy in the saga. The second draft contained a teaser for a never-made sequel about "The Princess of Ondos", and by the time of the third draft some months later Lucas had negotiated a contract that gave him rights to make two sequels. Not long after, Lucas met with author Alan Dean Foster, and hired him to write these two sequels as novels.[28]

In 1976, a fourth draft had been prepared for principal photography. The film was titled Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars. During production, Lucas changed Luke's name to Skywalker and altered the title to simply The Star Wars and finally Star Wars.[29] At that point, Lucas was not expecting the film to become part of a series. The fourth draft of the script underwent subtle changes that made it more satisfying as a self-contained film, ending with the destruction of the Galactic Empire itself by way of destroying the Death Star. However, Lucas previously conceived of the film as the first in a series of adventures. The intention was that if Star Wars was successful, Lucas could adapt the novels into screenplays.[30] He had also by that point developed an elaborate backstory to aid his writing process.[31]

When Star Wars proved successful, Lucas decided to use the film as the basis for an elaborate serial, although at one point he considered walking away from the series altogether.[32] However, Lucas wanted to create an independent filmmaking center—what would become Skywalker Ranch—and saw an opportunity to use the series as a financing agent.[33] Alan Dean Foster had already begun writing the first sequel novel, but Lucas decided to abandon his plan to adapt Foster's work; the book was released as Splinter of the Mind's Eye the following year. At first, Lucas envisioned a series of films with no set number of entries, like the James Bond series. In an interview with Rolling Stone in August 1977, he said that he wanted his friends to each take a turn at directing the films and giving unique interpretations on the series. He also said that the backstory in which Darth Vader turns to the dark side, kills Luke's father and fights Obi-Wan Kenobi on a volcano as the Galactic Republic falls would make an excellent sequel.

The Empire Strikes Back

Three years after the destruction of the Death Star, the Rebels are forced to evacuate their secret base on the ice planet Hoth as they are hunted by the Empire. At the request of the late Obi-Wan Kenobi's spirit, Luke Skywalker travels to the swamp-infested world of Dagobah, in a quest to find the exiled Jedi Master Yoda and begin his Jedi training. However, Luke's training is interrupted by Darth Vader, who lures him into a trap by capturing Han Solo and his friends at Cloud City, governed by Han's old friend Lando Calrissian. During a fierce lightsaber duel with the Sith Lord, Luke learns a terrible revelation about his parentage.[34]

After the success of the original film, Lucas hired science fiction author Leigh Brackett to write Star Wars II with him. They held story conferences and, by late November 1977, Lucas had produced a handwritten treatment called The Empire Strikes Back. The treatment is similar to the final film, except that Darth Vader does not reveal he is Luke's father. In the first draft that Brackett would write from this, Luke's father appears as a ghost to instruct Luke.[35]

Brackett finished her first draft in early 1978; Lucas has said he was disappointed with it, but before he could discuss it with her, she died of cancer.[36] With no writer available, Lucas had to write his next draft himself. It was this draft in which Lucas first made use of the "Episode" numbering for the films; Empire Strikes Back was listed as Episode II.[37] As Michael Kaminski argues in The Secret History of Star Wars, the disappointment with the first draft probably made Lucas consider different directions in which to take the story.[38] He made use of a new plot twist: Darth Vader claims to be Luke's father. According to Lucas, he found this draft enjoyable to write, as opposed to the yearlong struggles writing the first film, and quickly wrote two more drafts,[39] both in April 1978. He also took the script to a darker extreme by having Han Solo imprisoned in carbonite and left in limbo.[34]

Boba Fett (left) was introduced in the television film Star Wars Holiday Special before appearing in The Empire Strikes Back. Darth Vader (right) is one of the most iconic characters of the franchise.

This new story point of Darth Vader being Luke's father had drastic effects on the series. Michael Kaminski argues in his book that it is unlikely that the plot point had ever seriously been considered or even conceived of before 1978, and that the first film was clearly operating under an alternate storyline where Vader was separate from Luke's father;[40] there is not a single reference to this plot point before 1978. After writing the second and third drafts of Empire Strikes Back in which the point was introduced, Lucas reviewed the new backstory he had created: Anakin Skywalker was Ben Kenobi's brilliant student and had a child named Luke, but was swayed to the dark side by Emperor Palpatine (who became a Sith and not simply a politician). Anakin battled Ben Kenobi on the site of a volcano and was wounded, but then resurrected as Darth Vader. Meanwhile, Kenobi hid Luke on Tatooine while the Republic became the Empire and Vader systematically hunted down and killed the Jedi.[41]

With this new backstory in place, Lucas decided that the series would be a trilogy, changing Empire Strikes Back from Episode II to Episode V in the next draft.[39] Lawrence Kasdan, who had just completed writing Raiders of the Lost Ark, was then hired to write the next drafts, and was given additional input from director Irvin Kershner. Kasdan, Kershner, and producer Gary Kurtz saw the film as a more serious and adult film, which was helped by the new, darker storyline, and developed the series from the light adventure roots of the first film.[42]

Return of the Jedi

Ralph McQuarrie's sketches and conceptual art defined the aesthetics of the original trilogy, including the definitive designs of characters like Darth Vader, R2-D2, C-3PO, Chewbacca and sets like the Death Star, Dagobah, Bespin.[43] Right: Ben Burtt created many of the iconic noise effects of the saga, among them the lightsaber sounds, the beeps of R2-D2, and Chewbacca's growls.

A year after barely escaping the clutches of Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker leads a rescue mission to save Han Solo from the gangster Jabba the Hutt. Afterward, Luke returns to Dagobah to complete his Jedi training, only to find the 900-year-old Yoda on his deathbed. In his last words Yoda confirms that Vader is Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker, and that Luke must confront his father again in order to complete his training. Moments later, the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi reveals to Luke that Princess Leia is his twin sister, but Obi-Wan also insists that Luke must face Vader again. As the Rebels lead an attack on the Death Star II, Luke engages Vader in another lightsaber duel as the Emperor watches; both Sith Lords intend to turn Luke to the dark side of the Force and take him as their apprentice.[44]

By the time Lucas began writing Episode VI in 1981 (then titled Revenge of the Jedi), much had changed. Making Empire Strikes Back was stressful and costly, and Lucas' personal life was disintegrating. Burned out and not wanting to make any more Star Wars films, he vowed that he was done with the series in a May 1983 interview with Time magazine. Lucas' 1981 rough drafts had Darth Vader competing with the Emperor for possession of Luke—and in the second script, the "revised rough draft", Vader became a sympathetic character. Lawrence Kasdan was hired to take over once again and, in these final drafts, Vader was explicitly redeemed and finally unmasked. This change in character would provide a springboard to the "Tragedy of Darth Vader" storyline that underlies the prequels.[45]

Prequel trilogy

After losing much of his fortune in a divorce settlement in 1987, George Lucas had no desire to return to Star Wars, and had unofficially canceled the sequel trilogy by the time of Return of the Jedi.[46] At that point, the prequels were only still a series of basic ideas partially pulled from his original drafts of "The Star Wars". Nevertheless, technical advances in the late 1980s and 1990s continued to fascinate Lucas, and he considered that they might make it possible to revisit his 20-year-old material. After Star Wars became popular once again, in the wake of Dark Empire and other comics in Dark Horse's comic book line and Timothy Zahn's trilogy of novels, Lucas saw that there was still a large audience. His children were older, and with the explosion of CGI technology he was now considering returning to directing.[47]

The Phantom Menace

John Williams composed the musical scores for the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

About 32 years before the beginning of the Galactic Civil War, the corrupt Trade Federation sets a blockade of battleships around the planet Naboo. The Sith Lord Darth Sidious had secretly planned the blockade to give his alter ego, Senator Palpatine, a pretense to overthrow and replace the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. At the Chancellor's request, the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, a younger Obi-Wan Kenobi, are sent to Naboo to negotiate with the Federation. However, the two Jedi are forced to instead help the Queen of Naboo, Padmé Amidala, escape from the blockade and plead her planet's crisis before the Republic Senate on Coruscant. When their starship is damaged during the escape, they land on Tatooine for repairs. Palpatine dispatches his first Sith apprentice, Darth Maul, to hunt down the Queen and her Jedi protectors. While on Tatooine, Qui-Gon discovers a nine-year-old slave named Anakin Skywalker. Qui-Gon helps liberate the boy from slavery, believing Anakin to be the "Chosen One" foretold by a Jedi prophecy to bring balance to the Force. However, the Jedi Council (led by Yoda) suspects the boy possesses too much fear and anger within him.[48]

By 1993, it was announced, in Variety among other sources, that Lucas would be making the prequels. He began penning more to the story, now indicating the series would be a tragic one examining Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side. Lucas also began to change how the prequels would exist relative to the originals; at first they were supposed to be a "filling-in" of history tangential to the originals, but now he saw that they could form the beginning of one long story that started with Anakin's childhood and ended with his death. This was the final step towards turning the film series into a "Saga".[49] In 1994, Lucas began writing the screenplay to the first prequel, initially titled Episode I: The Beginning. Following the release of that film, Lucas announced that he would also be directing the next two, and began work on Episode II.[50]

Attack of the Clones

From Right to Left: Anthony Daniels has portrayed C-3PO in all the theatrical films released to date, while Warwick Davis has appeared in films in all three trilogies.

Ten years after the Battle of Naboo, Anakin Skywalker is reunited with Padmé Amidala, now serving as the Senator of Naboo, and they fall in love despite Anakin's obligations to the Jedi Order. At the same time, the entire galaxy gets swept up in the Clone Wars between the armies of the Republic, led by the Jedi Order, and the Confederacy of Independent Systems, led by the fallen Jedi Count Dooku.[51]

The first draft of Episode II was completed just weeks before principal photography, and Lucas hired Jonathan Hales, a writer from The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, to polish it.[52] Unsure of a title, Lucas had jokingly called the film "Jar Jar's Great Adventure".[53] In writing The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas initially decided that Lando Calrissian was a clone and came from a planet of clones which caused the "Clone Wars" mentioned by both Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in A New Hope;[54][55] he later came up with an alternate concept of an army of clone shocktroopers from a remote planet which attacked the Republic and were repelled by the Jedi.[56] The basic elements of that backstory became the plot basis for Episode II, with the new wrinkle added that Palpatine secretly orchestrated the crisis.[51]

Revenge of the Sith

Three years after the start of the Clone Wars, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi lead a rescue attempt to save the kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine from Count Dooku and the droid commander General Grievous. Later, Anakin begins to have prophetic visions of his secret wife, Padmé Amidala, dying in childbirth. Palpatine, who had been secretly engineering the Clone Wars to destroy the Jedi Order, convinces Anakin that the dark side of the Force holds the power to save Padmé's life. Desperate, Anakin submits to Palpatine's Sith teachings and is renamed Darth Vader. While Palpatine re-organizes the Republic into the tyrannical Empire, Vader participates in the extermination of the Jedi Order; culminating in a lightsaber duel between himself and his former master Obi-Wan on the volcanic planet Mustafar.[57]

Lucas began working on Episode III before Attack of the Clones was released, offering concept artists that the film would open with a montage of seven Clone War battles.[58] As he reviewed the storyline that summer, however, he says he radically re-organized the plot.[59] Michael Kaminski, in The Secret History of Star Wars, offers evidence that issues in Anakin's fall to the dark side prompted Lucas to make massive story changes, first revising the opening sequence to have Palpatine kidnapped and his apprentice, Count Dooku, murdered by Anakin as the first act in the latter's turn towards the dark side.[60] After principal photography was complete in 2003, Lucas made even more massive changes in Anakin's character, re-writing his entire turn to the dark side; he would now turn primarily in a quest to save Padmé's life, rather than the previous version in which that reason was one of several, including that he genuinely believed that the Jedi were evil and plotting to take over the Republic. This fundamental re-write was accomplished both through editing the principal footage, and new and revised scenes filmed during pick-ups in 2004.[61]

Sequel trilogy

George Lucas' departure from Star Wars

Lucas often exaggerated the amount of material he wrote for the series; much of it stemmed from the post‐1978 period when the series grew into a phenomenon. Michael Kaminski explained that these exaggerations were both a publicity and security measure. Kaminski rationalized that since the series' story radically changed throughout the years, it was always Lucas' intention to change the original story retroactively because audiences would only view the material from his perspective.[57][62]

A sequel trilogy was reportedly planned (Episodes VII, VIII and IX) by Lucasfilm as a sequel to the original Star Wars trilogy (Episodes IV, V and VI), released between 1977 and 1983.[63] While the similarly discussed Star Wars prequel trilogy (Episodes I, II and III) was ultimately released between 1999 and 2005, Lucasfilm and George Lucas had for many years denied plans for a sequel trilogy, insisting that Star Wars is meant to be a six-part series.[64][65] In May 2008 (2008-05), speaking about the upcoming Star Wars: The Clone Wars film, Lucas maintained his status on the sequel trilogy: "I get asked all the time, 'What happens after Return of the Jedi?,' and there really is no answer for that. The movies were the story of Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker, and when Luke saves the galaxy and redeems his father, that's where that story ends."[66]

In January 2012, Lucas announced that he would step away from blockbuster films and instead produce smaller arthouse films. Asked whether the criticism he received following the prequel trilogy and the alterations to the re-releases of the original trilogy had influenced his decision to retire, Lucas said: "Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?"[67]

Despite insisting that a sequel trilogy would never happen, Lucas began working on story treatments for three new Star Wars films in 2011. In October 2012, The Walt Disney Company agreed to buy Lucasfilm and announced that Star Wars Episode VII would be released in 2015. Later, it was revealed that the three new upcoming films (Episodes VII–IX) would be based on story treatments that had been written by George Lucas prior to the sale of Lucasfilm.[68] The co-chairman of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy became president of the company, reporting to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. In addition, Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with franchise creator and Lucasfilm founder Lucas serving as creative consultant.[69]

The Force Awakens

Lawrence Kasdan has co-written The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and the scripts for The Force Awakens and an untitled Han Solo spin-off.

About 30 years after the destruction of the Death Star II, Luke Skywalker, now the last Jedi once again, has vanished. The remnants of the Empire have become the First Order, and seek to destroy Luke and the New Republic, while the Resistance opposes, led by princess-turned-general Leia Organa and backed by the Republic. On Jakku, Resistance pilot Poe Dameron obtains a map to Luke's location. Stormtroopers under the command of Kylo Ren, the son of Leia and Han Solo, capture Poe. Poe's droid BB-8 escapes with the map, and encounters a scavenger Rey. Kylo tortures Poe and learns of BB-8. Stormtrooper FN-2187 defects from the First Order, and frees Poe who dubs him "Finn", while both escape in a TIE fighter that crashes on Jakku, seemingly killing Poe. Finn finds Rey and BB-8, but the First Order does too; both escape Jakku in a stolen Millennium Falcon. The Falcon is recaptured by Han and Chewbacca, smugglers again since abandoning the Resistance.

The screenplay for Episode VII was originally set to be written by Michael Arndt, but in October 2013 it was announced that writing duties would be taken over by Lawrence Kasdan and J. J. Abrams.[70][71] On January 25, 2013, The Walt Disney Studios and Lucasfilm officially announced J. J. Abrams as Star Wars Episode VII's director and producer, along with Bryan Burk and Bad Robot Productions.[72]

The Last Jedi

On November 20, 2012, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg will write and produce Episodes VIII and IX.[73] Kasdan and Kinberg were later confirmed as creative consultants on those films, in addition to writing standalone films. In addition, John Williams, who wrote the music for the previous six episodes, has been hired to compose the music for Episodes VII, VIII and IX.[74]

On March 12, 2015, Lucasfilm announced that Looper director Rian Johnson would direct Episode VIII with Ram Bergman as producer for Ram Bergman Productions.[75] Reports initially claimed Johnson would also direct Episode IX, but it was later confirmed he would write only a story treatment.[76][77] Johnson later wrote on his Twitter that the information about him writing a treatment for Episode IX is old, and he's not involved with the writing of that film.[78] When asked about Episode VIII in an August 2014 interview, Johnson said "it's boring to talk about, because the only thing I can really say is, I'm just happy. I don't have the terror I kind of expected I would, at least not yet. I'm sure I will at some point."[79]

Principal photography on The Last Jedi began in February 2016.[80] Additional filming took place in Dubrovnik from March 9 to March 16, 2016,[81][82] as well as in Ireland in May 2016.[83] Principal photography wrapped in July 2016.[84][85][86] On December 27, 2016, Carrie Fisher died after going into cardiac arrest a few days earlier. Before her death, Fisher had completed filming her role as General Leia Organa in The Last Jedi.[87] The film is to be released on December 15, 2017.[88]

Episode IX

Production on Episode IX is scheduled to begin sometime in 2017.[89] Variety and Reuters reported that Carrie Fisher was slated for a key role in Episode IX.[90] Now, Lucasfilm, Disney and others involved with the film will need to find a way to address her death and what will become of her character.[91][92][93] In January 2017, Lucasfilm stated they would not digitally generate Fisher's performance for the film.[94] In April 2017, Todd Fisher and Billie Lourd gave Disney permission to use recent footage of Fisher for the film,[95] but later that month, Kennedy stated that Fisher will not appear in the film.[96][97] Principal photography of Star Wars: Episode IX is set to begin in January 2018.[98][99]

Anthology films

On February 5, 2013, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed the development of two standalone films, each individually written by Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg.[100] On February 6, Entertainment Weekly reported that Disney is working on two films featuring Han Solo and Boba Fett.[101] Disney CFO Jay Rasulo has described the standalone films as origin stories.[102] Kathleen Kennedy explained that the standalone films will not crossover with the films of the sequel trilogy, stating, "George was so clear as to how that works. The canon that he created was the Star Wars saga. Right now, Episode VII falls within that canon. The spin-off movies, or we may come up with some other way to call those films, they exist within that vast universe that he created. There is no attempt being made to carry characters (from the standalone films) in and out of the saga episodes. Consequently, from the creative standpoint, it's a roadmap that George made pretty clear."[103]

In April 2015, Lucasfilm and Kathleen Kennedy announced that the standalone films would be referred to as the Star Wars Anthology films.[104][105][106]

Rogue One

In May 2014, Lucasfilm announced that Gareth Edwards would direct the first anthology film, to be released on December 16, 2016, with Gary Whitta writing the first draft.[107] On March 12, 2015, the film's title was revealed to be Rogue One, with Chris Weitz rewriting the script, and starring Felicity Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, and Diego Luna.[108][109] In April 2015, a teaser trailer was shown during the closing of the Star Wars Celebration. Lucasfilm also announced filming would begin in the summer of 2015, and that the plot would revolve around a group of rebels on a mission to steal the Death Star plans. Director Edwards stated, "It comes down to a group of individuals who don't have magical powers that have to somehow bring hope to the galaxy." Edwards stated that the style of the film would be similar to that of a war film, stating, "It's the reality of war. Good guys are bad. Bad guys are good. It's complicated, layered; a very rich scenario in which to set a movie."[110][111]

After its debut, Rogue One received generally positive reviews, with its performances, action sequences, soundtrack, visual effects and darker tone being praised. The film grossed over $500 million worldwide within a week of its release.[112]

Untitled Han Solo film

A film featuring Han Solo before the events of the 1977 film is currently in production. Actor Alden Ehrenreich is portraying Han Solo in the film, which is directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and written by Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan. The film is produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film also stars Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, and Woody Harrelson.

Untitled Anthology film

A third Anthology film will be released in 2020.[113] A writer for the film has been hired as of September 2016.[114]

Cast and crew

Cast

Crew

Crew by film
Film Director Producer Executive producer Editor Director of photography Music Writer
Episode IV –
A New Hope
George Lucas Gary Kurtz
Rick McCallum (1997 Special Edition)
George Lucas Paul Hirsch
Richard Chew
Marcia Lucas
George Lucas (uncredited)
T. M. Christopher (1997 Special Edition)
Gilbert Taylor John Williams George Lucas
Episode V –
The Empire Strikes Back
Irvin Kershner Paul Hirsch
Marcia Lucas (uncredited)
George Lucas (uncredited)
T. M. Christo­pher (1997 Special Edition)
Peter Suschitzky Screenplay:
Leigh Brackett
Lawrence Kasdan
George Lucas (uncredited)
Story:
George Lucas
Episode VI –
Return of the Jedi
Richard Marquand Howard Kazanjian
Rick McCallum (1997 Special Edition)
Sean Barton
Marcia Lucas
Duwayne Dunham
George Lucas (uncredited)
T. M. Christo­pher (1997 Special Edition)
Alan Hume Screenplay:
Lawrence Kasdan
George Lucas
Story:
George Lucas
Episode I –
The Phantom Menace
George Lucas Rick McCallum Ben Burtt
Paul Martin Smith
David Tattersall George Lucas
Episode II –
Attack of the Clones
Ben Burtt
George Lucas (uncredited)
Screenplay:
George Lucas
Jonathan Hales
Story:
George Lucas
Episode III –
Revenge of the Sith
Roger Barton
Ben Burtt
George Lucas
Star Wars:
The Clone Wars
Dave Filoni Catherine Winder Jason Tucker Kevin Kiner
Themes:
John Williams
Henry Gilroy
Steven Melching
Scott Murphy
Episode VII –
The Force Awakens
J. J. Abrams Kathleen Kennedy
J. J. Abrams
Bryan Burk
Jason McGatlin
Tommy Harper
Mary Jo Markey
Maryann Brandon
Daniel Mindel John Williams Lawrence Kasdan
J. J. Abrams
Michael Arndt
Rogue One:
A Star Wars Story
Gareth Edwards Kathleen Kennedy
Allison Shearmur
Simon Emanuel
John Knoll
Jason McGatlin
John Gilroy
Colin Goudie
Jabez Olssen
Greig Fraser Michael Giacchino
Themes:
John Williams
Story:
John Knoll
Gary Whitta
Screenplay:
Chris Weitz
Tony Gilroy
Episode VIII –
The Last Jedi
Rian Johnson Kathleen Kennedy
Ram Bergman
J. J. Abrams
Jason McGatlin
Tom Karnowski
Bob Ducsay Steve Yedlin John Williams Rian Johnson
Untitled Han Solo film Phil Lord and Christopher Miller Kathleen Kennedy
Allison Shearmur
Simon Emanuel
Lawrence Kasdan
Jason McGatlin
Chris Dickens Bradford Young Lawrence Kasdan
Jon Kasdan
Episode IX Colin Trevorrow Kathleen Kennedy
Ram Bergman
J. J. Abrams Kevin Stitt John Schwartzman John Williams Colin Trevorrow
Derek Connolly

Technical information

All seven films of the Star Wars series were shot in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1. The original and sequel trilogies were shot with anamorphic lenses. Episodes IV, V, and VII were shot in Panavision, while Episode VI was shot in Joe Dunton Camera (JDC) scope. Episode I was shot with Hawk anamorphic lenses on Arriflex cameras, and Episodes II and III were shot with Sony's CineAlta high-definition digital cameras.[115]

Lucas hired Ben Burtt to oversee the sound effects on the original 1977 film. Burtt's accomplishment was such that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented him with a Special Achievement Award because it had no award at the time for the work he had done.[116] Lucasfilm developed the THX sound reproduction standard for Return of the Jedi.[117] John Williams composed the scores for all seven films. Lucas's design for Star Wars involved a grand musical sound, with leitmotifs for different characters and important concepts. Williams's Star Wars title theme has become one of the most famous and well-known musical compositions in modern music history.[118]

Lucas hired 'the Dean of Special Effects' John Stears, who created R2-D2, Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder, the Jedi Knights' lightsabers, and the Death Star.[119][120] The technical lightsaber choreography for the original trilogy was developed by leading filmmaking sword-master Bob Anderson. Anderson trained actor Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and performed all the sword stunts as Darth Vader during the lightsaber duels in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, wearing Vader's costume. Anderson's role in the original Star Wars trilogy was highlighted in the film Reclaiming the Blade, where he shares his experiences as the fight choreographer developing the lightsaber techniques for the movies.[121]

Reception

Box office performance

Film Release date Budget Box office revenue Box office ranking
North America Other
territories
Worldwide Adjusted for
inflation
(North America)[b]
All-time
North America
All-time
worldwide
Star Wars[123] May 25, 1977 $11 Million $460,998,007 $314,400,000 $775,398,007 $1,330,752,155 #11 #68
The Empire Strikes Back[124] May 21, 1980 $11–$33 Million $290,475,067 $247,900,000 $538,375,067 $760,289,658 #76 #151
Return of the Jedi[125] May 25, 1983 $32.5–42.7 Million $309,306,177 $165,800,000 $475,106,177 $732,821,128 #60 #180
Original trilogy total $54.5–86.7 Million $1,060,779,251 $728,100,000 $1,788,879,251 $2,823,862,941
Episode I – The Phantom Menace[126] May 19, 1999 $115 Million $474,544,677 $552,500,000 $1,027,044,677 $707,521,232 #10 #24
Episode II – Attack of the Clones[127] May 16, 2002 $115 Million $310,676,740 $338,721,588 $649,398,328 $419,876,095 #58 #104
Episode III – Revenge of the Sith[128] May 19, 2005 $113 Million $380,270,577 $468,484,191 $848,754,768 $466,315,785 #29 #54
Prequel trilogy total $343 Million $1,165,491,994 $1,359,705,779 $2,525,197,773 $1,593,713,112
Star Wars: The Clone Wars[129] August 15, 2008 $8.5 Million $35,161,554 $33,121,290 $68,282,844 $39,112,474 #2,187
Star Wars: The Force Awakens[130] December 18, 2015 $200 million $936,662,225 $1,131,516,000 $2,068,178,225 $936,662,225 #1 #3
Rogue One[131] December 16, 2016 $200 million $532,091,909 $523,762,890 $1,055,854,799 $532,091,909 #7 #20
All films total $806–838.2 Million $3,546,178,698 $3,489,843,069 $7,036,021,767 $5,741,434,426

Critical and public response

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Star Wars 93% (104 reviews)[132] 92 (20 reviews)[133]
The Empire Strikes Back 94% (88 reviews)[134] 81 (17 reviews)[135]
Return of the Jedi 80% (85 reviews)[136] 53 (15 reviews)[137]
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 55% (213 reviews)[138] 51 (36 reviews)[139] A−[140]
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones 65% (244 reviews)[141] 54 (39 reviews)[142] A−[140]
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith 79% (284 reviews)[143] 68 (40 reviews)[144] A−[140]
Star Wars: The Clone Wars 18% (164 reviews)[145] 35 (30 reviews)[146] B−[140]
Star Wars: The Force Awakens 92% (367 reviews)[147] 81 (54 reviews)[148] A[140]
Rogue One 85% (344 reviews)[149] 65 (51 reviews)[150] A[140]
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the information is not available for the film.

Academy Awards

The eight live-action films together have been nominated for 29 Academy Awards, of which they won seven. The films were also awarded a total of three Special Achievement Awards.

Category Awards won
Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back Return of the Jedi The Phantom Menace Attack of the Clones Revenge of the Sith The Force Awakens Rogue One
Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
(Alec Guinness)
Art Direction-Set Decoration Win Nominated Nominated
Costume Design Win
Director Nominated
(George Lucas)
Film Editing Win Nominated
Makeup Nominated
Music (Original Score) Win Nominated Nominated Nominated
Picture Nominated
Screenplay – Original Nominated
Sound Editing Nominated Nominated Nominated
Sound (Mixing) Win Win Nominated Nominated Nominated Nominated
Visual Effects Win Nominated Nominated Nominated Nominated
Special Achievement Award Win
(Alien, Creature and Robot Voices)
Win
(Visual Effects)
Win
(Visual Effects)

Themes and influence on other films

Aside from its well-known science fictional technology, Star Wars features elements such as knighthood, chivalry, and princesses that are related to archetypes of the fantasy genre.[151] The Star Wars world, unlike fantasy and science-fiction films that featured sleek and futuristic settings, was portrayed as dirty and grimy. Lucas' vision of a "used future" was further popularized in the science fiction-horror films Alien,[152] which was set on a dirty space freighter; Mad Max 2, which is set in a post-apocalyptic desert; and Blade Runner, which is set in a crumbling, dirty city of the future. Lucas made a conscious effort to parallel scenes and dialogue between films, and especially to parallel the journeys of Luke Skywalker with that of his father Anakin when making the prequels.[48]

Star Wars expanded universe

From 1977 to 2014, the term Expanded Universe ( abbreviated as EU), was an umbrella term for all officially licensed Star Wars storytelling materials set outside the events depicted within the theatrical films, including novels, comics, and video games. Lucasfilm maintained internal continuity between the films and television content and the EU material until April 25, 2014, when the company announced all of the EU works would cease production. Existing works would no longer be considered canon to the franchise and subsequent reprints would be rebranded under the Star Wars Legends label,[153] with downloadable content for the massively multiplayer online game Star Wars: The Old Republic being the only Legends material to still be produced.

The Star Wars canon was subsequently restructured to only include the existing six feature films, the animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), and its companion animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. All future projects and creative developments across all types of media would be overseen and coordinated by the Story Group, announced as a division of Lucasfilm created to maintain continuity and a cohesive vision on the storytelling of the franchise. Lucasfilm announced that the change was made "to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience".[153] The animated series Star Wars Rebels was the first project produced after the announcement, followed by multiple comics series from Marvel, novels published by Del Rey, and the sequel film The Force Awakens (2015).

Television

Dave Filoni served as supervising director on Star Wars animated series, since the beginning of The Clone Wars until the 2nd Season of Rebels. He left his position after being promoted to oversee the development of all future Lucasfilm Animation projects.[154]

The popularity of the 1977 film spawned a two-hour Star Wars Holiday Special which aired on CBS in 1978, chronicling Chewbacca's return to his home planet of Kashyyyk to celebrate "Life Day" with his family. Lucas loathed the special and forbade it to ever be aired again after its original broadcast, or reproduced on home video.[155][156] A pair of television films centered on the Ewok Wicket from Return of the JediCaravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (1984)[157] and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985)[158]—were followed by the animated TV series Star Wars: Droids (1985–1986)[159][160] and Star Wars: Ewoks (1985–1986).[161]

The animated micro-series Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003–2005) debuted after the release of Attack of the Clones and ended before the release of Revenge of the Sith, and depicts events occurring between the films.[162] The next animated series produced were CGI-animated. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008–2014) premiered with an animated film of the same name and was set within the same time period as the previous series.[163][164] Star Wars Rebels (2014–present) is set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, and follows a band of rebels as they fight the Galactic Empire.[165][166] The upcoming 2D-animated micro-series Star Wars Forces of Destiny (2017–present) will focus on female characters including Princess Leia, Rey, Jyn Erso, Ahsoka Tano, and Padmé Amidala. The first eight episodes will premiere on YouTube in July 2017, with an additional eight episodes airing on Disney Channel in Fall 2017.[167]

A live-action television project has been in varying stages of development at Lucasfilm since 2005, when Lucas announced plans for a television series set between the prequel and original trilogies.[168] The proposed series explores criminal and political power struggles in the decades prior to A New Hope,[168] and as of December 2015 was still in development at Lucasfilm.[169]

Audio

A 13-episode radio adaptation of the original 1977 film written by science fiction author Brian Daley and directed by John Madden was first broadcast on National Public Radio in 1981.[170][171][172] The broadcast was an overwhelming success, and a 10-episode adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back followed in 1982. Return of the Jedi was adapted into six episodes in 1996.[171][173] In 1983, Buena Vista Records released an original, 30-minute Star Wars audio drama titled Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell, written by Daley.[172][173] In the 1990s, Time Warner Audio Publishing adapted several Star Wars series from Dark Horse Comics into audio dramas.[173]

Print media

Star Wars-based fiction predates the release of the first film, with the 1976 novelization of Star Wars (ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster and credited to Lucas). The first Expanded Universe story appeared in Marvel Comics' Star Wars #7 in January 1978 (the first six issues of the series having been an adaptation of the film), followed quickly by Alan Dean Foster's novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye the following month.[174]

Novels

Timothy Zahn is the author of the Star Wars Legends books known as the Thrawn trilogy (1991–1993), and the canonical novel Star Wars: Thrawn (2017).

Foster's 1978 novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye, was the first Expanded Universe work to be released. In addition to filling in the time between the original 1977 film and The Empire Strikes Back, this additional content greatly expanded the Star Wars timeline before and after the film series. Star Wars fiction flourished during the time of the original trilogy (1977–1983) but slowed to a trickle afterwards. In the 1990s, Star Wars novels sparked new interest in the franchise, primarily Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy (1992-1994) but also Steve Perry's novel Shadows of the Empire (1996), set in between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and accompanying video game and comic book series.[175] Since then, several hundred tie-in novels have been published by Bantam and Del Rey.

LucasBooks changed the face of the Star Wars universe with the introduction of the New Jedi Order series, which took place 20 years after Return of the Jedi focusing on a host of new characters alongside series originals. During that time three series were introduced for younger audiences, the Jedi Apprentice told adventures of Obi-Wan Kenobi and his master Qui-Gon Jinn in the years before The Phantom Menace. While The Jedi Quest followed Obi-Wan as the master of Anakin Skywalker in between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. The Last of the Jedi was about Obi-Wan and the last few surviving Jedi set almost immediately after Revenge of the Sith.

Following Disney's purchase of the franchise, the Star Wars Expanded Universe was rebranded as Star Wars Legends, and a Legends banner would be used for such materials in re-print.[176] Disney Publishing Worldwide also announced that Del Rey would publish a new line of canon Star Wars books under the Lucasfilm Story Group being released starting in September on a bi-monthly schedule.[177]

George Lucas adopted elements from the novels in the films, such as the name of capital planet Coruscant, in The Phantom Menace, while Dave Filoni adopted the villain character of Grand Admiral Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels, both first appeared in Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy of novels.

Comics

Marvel Comics published Star Wars comic book series and adaptations from 1977 to 1986. A wide variety of creators worked on this series, including Roy Thomas, Archie Goodwin, Howard Chaykin, Al Williamson, Carmine Infantino, Gene Day, Walt Simonson, Michael Golden, Chris Claremont, Whilce Portacio, Jo Duffy, and Ron Frenz. The Los Angeles Times Syndicate published a Star Wars newspaper strip by Russ Manning, Goodwin and Williamson[178][179] with Goodwin writing under a pseudonym. In the late 1980s, Marvel announced it would publish a new Star Wars comic by Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy. However, in December 1991, Dark Horse Comics acquired the Star Wars license, and used it to publish a large number of original adventures set in the Star Wars universe, varying from ambitious sequels to the original trilogy like the popular Dark Empire,[180] to parody comics, like Tag and Bink.[181] On January 3, 2014, all previously published works were re-branded as Legends,[182] and Marvel Comics —itself a Disney subsidiary since 2009— reclaimed the publishing rights to Star Wars from Dark Horse, with the first release arriving on January 14, 2015.

George Lucas adopted elements from the comics in the films, such as the character Aayla Secura, who was introduced in Dark Horse Comics' Star Wars series, Lucas liked the character so much, that he included her in Attack of the Clones.[183]

Video games

Star Wars videogames commercialization started in 1982 with Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back published for the Atari 2600 by Parker Brothers. Since then, Star Wars has opened the way to a myriad of space-flight simulation games, first-person shooter games, role-playing video games, RTS games, and others released on all consoles including PS3, PSP, PS2, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, Wii, and the current Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

The most critically acclaimed is the first game in the Knights of the Old Republic series,[184] which focuses on the Jedi Order 4000 years before the films. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and its sequel focused on Darth Vader's "secret apprentice" hunting down the remaining Jedi, 3 years before A New Hope, also proved popular among fans, they released[185][186] for the PS3, Xbox 360, with ports for the other consoles.

The best-selling games so far are the Lego Star Wars and the Battlefront series, with 12 million and 10 million units respectively[187][188] both have recent installments. The Battlefront series focuses on recreating the wars depicted on the films, while The Lego Star Wars series recreates: The Original 6 films, The Clone Wars, and The Force Awakens on LEGO.

The mobile game Star Wars: Uprising, as well as the upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront II to be released for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are the only canonical videogames to the franchise.

Action figures, LEGO, board games, trading cards, and role-playing games

Kenner made the first Star Wars action figures to coincide with the release of the film, and today the remaining 80's figures sell at extremely high prices in auctions. Since the 90's Hasbro holds the rights to create action figures based on the saga. Pez dispensers have been produced.

Star Wars was the first intellectual property to be licensed in Lego Group history, which has produced a Star Wars Lego theme.[189] Lego has produced animated parody short films to promote their sets, among them Revenge of the Brick (2005) and The Quest for R2-D2 (2009), the former parodies Revenge of the Sith, while the later The Clone Wars film. Due to their success, LEGO created animated comedy mini-series among them The Yoda Chronicles (2013-2014) and Droid Tales (2015) originally airing on Cartoon Network, but since 2014 moved into Disney XD.[190] The Lego Star Wars video games are critically acclaimed best sellers.

In 1977 with the board game Star Wars: Escape from the Death Star[191] (not to be confused with another board game with the same title, published in 1990).[192] The board game Risk has been adapted to the series in two editions by Hasbro: and Star Wars Risk: The Clone Wars Edition[193] (2005) and Risk: Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition[194] (2006).

Three different official tabletop role-playing games have been developed for the Star Wars universe: a version by West End Games in the 1980s and 1990s, one by Wizards of the Coast in the 2000s, and one by Fantasy Flight Games in the 2010s.

Star Wars trading cards have been published since the first "blue" series, by Topps, in 1977.[195] Dozens of series have been produced, with Topps being the licensed creator in the United States. Some of the card series are of film stills, while others are original art. Many of the cards have become highly collectible with some very rare "promos", such as the 1993 Galaxy Series II "floating Yoda" P3 card often commanding US$1 000 or more. While most "base" or "common card" sets are plentiful, many "insert" or "chase cards" are very rare.[196] From 1995 until 2001, Decipher, Inc. had the license for, created and produced a collectible card game based on Star Wars; the Star Wars Collectible Card Game (also known as SWCCG).

Theme park attractions

The original Star Tours ride at Disneyland in 1996.

Star Tours and Star Tours – The Adventures Continue

Before Disney's acquisition of the franchise, George Lucas had established a partnership in 1986 with the company's Walt Disney Imagineering division to create Star Tours, an attraction that opened at Disneyland in 1987. The attraction also had subsequent incarnations at other Disney theme parks worldwide.[197][198]

The attractions at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios closed in 2010, at Tokyo Disneyland in 2012, and at Disneyland Paris in 2016 to allow the rides to be updated into Star Tours–The Adventures Continue. The new attraction randomly shuffles a number of scenes, allowing for the equivalent of 54 different adventures for visitors to experience. The successor attraction opened at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland in 2011, Tokyo Disneyland in 2013, and Disneyland Paris in 2017.[199]

Live attractions

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple is a live show where children are selected to learn the teachings of the Jedi Knights and the Force to become Padawan learners. The show is present at Disney's Hollywood Studios and at the Tomorrowland Terrace at Disneyland. The two parks hosted a seasonal Star Wars-themed event entitled Season of the Force, with Disneyland's version beginning in November 16, 2015. The event featured the debut of a new scene in Star Tours–The Adventures Continue set on Jakku, Star Wars Launch Bay, an attraction featuring exhibits and meet-and-greets, and a seasonal overlay for Space Mountain entitled "Hyperspace Mountain" for Disneyland.

From 1997 to 2015, Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios park hosted an annual festival, Star Wars Weekends, during specific dates from May to June.

Star Wars Land

Since August 2014, after Disney acquired the Star Wars franchise, the company expressed plans to expand the franchise's presence in all of their theme parks, which was rumored to include a major Star Wars-themed expansion to Disney's Hollywood Studios.[200] When asked whether or not Disney has an intellectual property franchise that's comparable to Harry Potter at Universal theme parks, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger mentioned Cars and the Disney Princesses, and promised that Star Wars, "is going to be just that."[201] Iger formally announced a 14-acre Star Wars-themed land expansion at the D23 Expo in August 2015. The land—which will debut at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios at an unspecified date—will include two new attractions inspired by the Millennium Falcon and "a climactic battle between the First Order and the resistance".[202]

Historical inspirations and comparisons

Star Wars contains many themes of political science that mainly favor democracy over dictatorship. Political science has been an important element of Star Wars since the franchise first launched in 1977. The plot climax of Revenge of the Sith is modeled after the fall of the democratic Roman Republic and the formation of an empire.[203][204][205]

The stormtroopers from the movies share a name with the Nazi stormtroopers (see also Sturmabteilung). Imperial officers' uniforms also resemble some historical German Army uniforms (see Wehrmacht) and the political and security officers of the Empire resemble the black clad SS down to the imitation silver death's head insignia on their officer's caps. World War II terms were used for names in Star Wars; examples include the planets Kessel (a term that refers to a group of encircled forces), Hoth (Hermann Hoth was a German general who served on the snow laden Eastern Front), and Tatooine (Tataouine - a province south of Tunis in Tunisia, roughly where Lucas filmed for the planet; Libya was a WWII arena of war).[206] Palpatine being Chancellor before becoming Emperor mirrors Adolf Hitler's role as Chancellor before appointing himself Dictator. The Great Jedi Purge alludes to the events of The Holocaust, the Great Purge, the Cultural Revolution, and the Night of the Long Knives. In addition, Lucas himself has drawn parallels between Palpatine and his rise to power to historical dictators such as Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Adolf Hitler. The final medal awarding scene in A New Hope, however, references Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will.[207] The space battles in A New Hope were based on filmed World War I and World War II dogfights.[208]

Continuing the use of Nazi inspiration for the Empire, J. J. Abrams, the director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has said that the First Order, an Imperial offshoot which will possibly serve as the main antagonist of the sequel trilogy, is also inspired by another aspect of the Nazi regime. Abrams spoke of how several Nazis fled to Argentina after the war and he claims that the concept for the First Order came from conversations between the scriptwriters about what would have happened if they had started working together again.[209]

Cultural impact

Just like the franchise, its fictional weapons, such as the lightsaber and the blaster, have been used in popular culture and have been an iconic part of the franchise.

The Star Wars saga has had a significant impact on modern popular culture.[210] Star Wars references are deeply embedded in popular culture;[211] Phrases like "evil empire" and "May the Force be with you" have become part of the popular lexicon.[212] The first Star Wars film in 1977 was a cultural unifier,[213] enjoyed by a wide spectrum of people.[214] The film can be said to have helped launch the science fiction boom of the late 1970s and early 1980s, making science fiction films a blockbuster genre or mainstream.[215] This very impact also made it a prime target for parody works and homages, with popular examples including Spaceballs, Family Guy's Laugh It Up, Fuzzball, Robot Chicken's "Star Wars Episode I", "Star Wars Episode II" and "Star Wars Episode III", and Hardware Wars by Ernie Fosselius.

In 1989, the Library of Congress selected the original Star Wars film for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry, as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."[216] Its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, was selected in 2010.[217][218] Despite these callings for archival, it is unclear whether copies of the 1977 and 1980 theatrical sequences of Star Wars and Empire—or copies of the 1997 Special Edition versions—have been archived by the NFR, or indeed if any copy has been provided by Lucasfilm and accepted by the Registry.[219][220]

Fan works

The Star Wars saga has inspired many fans to create their own non-canon material set in the Star Wars galaxy. In recent years, this has ranged from writing fan-fiction to creating fan films. In 2002, Lucasfilm sponsored the first annual Official Star Wars Fan Film Awards, officially recognizing filmmakers and the genre. Because of concerns over potential copyright and trademark issues, however, the contest was initially open only to parodies, mockumentaries, and documentaries. Fan-fiction films set in the Star Wars universe were originally ineligible, but in 2007 Lucasfilm changed the submission standards to allow in-universe fiction entries.[221] Lucasfilm, for the most part, has allowed but not endorsed the creation of these derivative fan-fiction works, so long as no such work attempts to make a profit from or tarnish the Star Wars franchise in any way.[222] While many fan films have used elements from the licensed Expanded Universe to tell their story, they are not considered an official part of the Star Wars canon.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Until 2020
  2. ^ Adjusting for inflation is complicated by the fact that the first four films have had multiple releases in different years, so their earnings cannot be simply adjusted by the initial year of release. Inflation adjusted figures for 2005 can be found in Block, Alex Ben; Wilson, Lucy Autrey, eds. (2010). George Lucas's Blockbusting: A Decade-By-Decade Survey of Timeless Movies Including Untold Secrets of Their Financial and Cultural Success. HarperCollins. p. 519. ISBN 978-0061778896.  Adjustment to constant dollars is undertaken in conjunction with the United States Consumer Price Index provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, using 2005 as the base year.[122]

References

  1. ^ Kit, Borys. "'Star Wars' Han Solo Spinoff In the Works With 'Lego Movie' Directors (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 7, 2015. 
  2. ^ James Ryan. "When did Star Wars become known as A New Hope? - In A Far Away Galaxy". 
  3. ^ ScreenPrism. "Why was "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" originally released under another title - ScreenPrism". 
  4. ^ "Star Wars – Box Office History". The Numbers. Retrieved June 17, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Movie Franchises". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  6. ^ Chew, Jonathan (December 24, 2015). "Star Wars Franchise Worth More Than Harry Potter and James Bond, Combined". Fortune. Retrieved November 29, 2016. 
  7. ^ Detrick, Paul (November 20, 2015). "The Star Wars Economy is Bigger Than You Think". Reason. Retrieved April 5, 2017. 
  8. ^ Schou, Solvej (December 21, 2012). "Mickey meets 'Star Wars': Walt Disney Co. completes acquisition of Lucasfilm". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 22, 2012. 
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Further reading

External links

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