Star Wars (film)

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Star Wars
StarWarsMoviePoster1977.jpg
North American theatrical poster by Tom Jung[1]
Directed by George Lucas
Produced by Gary Kurtz
Written by George Lucas
Starring
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Gilbert Taylor
Editing by
Studio Lucasfilm
Distributed by 20th Century Fox1
Release dates
  • May 25, 1977 (1977-05-25)
Running time 121 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $11 million[3]
Box office $775,398,007 (Worldwide)[3]

Star Wars, later retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,[4] is a 1977 American epic space opera film[5] written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first installment in the Star Wars series. The film stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing and Sir Alec Guinness. In the film, a group of freedom fighters known as the Rebel Alliance plot to destroy the powerful Death Star space station, a devastating weapon created by the evil Galactic Empire. This conflict disrupts the isolated life of farmboy Luke Skywalker when he inadvertently acquires the droids carrying the stolen plans to the Death Star. After the Empire begins a cruel and destructive search for the droids, Skywalker decides to accompany Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi on a daring mission to rescue the owner of the droids, rebel leader Princess Leia, and save the galaxy.

Lucas began writing the script to Star Wars after completing his previous film American Graffiti and based the plot outline on Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress and the 40's Flash Gordon serials. Lucas approached Alan Ladd, Jr. after United Artists and Universal Pictures rejected his script and the project was planned to be financed and released through 20th Century Fox. During this time, the script underwent numerous changes and Lucas founded Industrial Light & Magic to create the visual effects for the film. Filming began on March 22, 1976, and was shot in various locations in Tunisia, England and Guatemala. During production, Lucas and the crew encountered numerous problems such as weather problems, malfunctioning equipment, as well as budgetary concerns. Eventually, Lucas, along with producer Gary Kurtz and production supervisor Robert Watts, split the crew into three units to meet the studio's deadlines. During post production, sound designer Ben Burtt used various animal roars, cables and other sound effects to create an "organic soundtrack" and composer John Williams used leitmotifs in his score at Lucas' requests.

Star Wars was released theatrically in the United States on May 25, 1977. The film earned $460 million in the United States and $314 million overseas, surpassing Jaws as the nominal highest-grossing film, and it remained that way until being surpassed by E.T. the Extra Terrestrial in 1983. When adjusted for inflation, it is the second-highest-grossing film in the US and Canada and is the third-highest-grossing in the world as of 2013. Among the many awards the film received, it gained ten Academy Award nominations, winning six; the nominations included Best Supporting Actor for Alec Guinness and Best Picture. The film is often ranked as one of the best films of all time. The film has since been preserved into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in its first year of opening (being the most recent one to do so at the time), with its accompanying soundtrack joining it into the National Recording Registry 15 years later, both being called "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Lucas has re-released the film on several occasions, sometimes with significant changes; the most notable versions are the 1997 Special Edition, the 2004 DVD release, and the 2011 Blu-ray release, which have modified computer-generated effects, altered dialogue, re-edited shots, remixed soundtracks, and added scenes. Following the film's massive success in 1977, it spawned two sequels, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), both of which became box office successes and received positive reviews. A prequel trilogy was released between 1999 and 2005. A sequel trilogy is in development, with most of the film's main cast planned to return for Star Wars Episode VII in 2015.

Plot[edit]

The galaxy is in a civil war and spies for the Rebel Alliance have stolen plans to the Galactic Empire's Death Star, a heavily armed and armored space station capable of destroying an entire planet. Rebel leader Princess Leia is in possession of the plans, but her ship is captured by Imperial forces under the command of the evil lord Darth Vader. Before she is captured, Leia hides the plans in the memory of an Astromech droid called R2-D2, along with a holographic recording. The small droid flees to the surface of the desert planet Tatooine with fellow protocol droid C-3PO.

The droids split up and are later captured by Jawa traders, who sell the pair to moisture farmers Owen and Beru Lars and their nephew, Luke Skywalker. While Luke is cleaning R2-D2, he accidentally triggers part of Leia's message, in which she requests help from Obi-Wan Kenobi. The only "Kenobi" Luke knows of is an old hermit named Ben Kenobi who lives in the nearby hills. The next morning, Luke finds R2-D2, who fled the night before to seek Obi-Wan, and meets Ben Kenobi, who reveals himself to be Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan tells Luke of his days as a Jedi Knight, one of a faction of former galactic peacekeepers with supernatural powers derived from an energy field called The Force who were wiped out by the Empire. Contrary to his uncle's statements, Luke learns that his father Anakin Skywalker fought alongside Obi-Wan as a Jedi Knight before he was betrayed and killed by Vader, Obi-Wan's former pupil who turned to the "dark side of the Force". Ben then offers Luke his father's lightsaber.

Obi-Wan views Leia's complete message in which she begs him to take the Death Star plans to her home planet of Alderaan for her father to retrieve and analyze. He then asks Luke to accompany him and learn the ways of the Force. Luke initially declines, but changes his mind after discovering that Imperial stormtroopers have destroyed his home and killed his aunt and uncle in search of C-3PO and R2-D2. Obi-Wan and Luke hire smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee first mate Chewbacca to transport them on their ship, the Millennium Falcon.

Upon the Falcon's arrival at Alderaan, they find out that the planet has been destroyed under the orders of the Death Star's commanding officer Grand Moff Tarkin to intimidate Leia into revealing the hidden base of the Rebellion and to demonstrate the Death Star's power. The Falcon is captured by the nearby Death Star's tractor beam and brought into its hangar bay. While Obi-Wan goes to disable the tractor beam, Luke discovers that Leia is imprisoned on board and, with the help of Han and Chewbacca, rescues her. After several harrowing escapes, they make their way back to the Falcon, but Obi-Wan engages in a lightsaber duel with Vader at the expense of his own life. The Falcon escapes the Death Star but the Empire has placed a tracking device on the ship to follow them to the rebels' hidden base on Yavin IV.

The rebels analyze the Death Star plans, disclosing a vulnerable exhaust port leading to the station's main reactor. Luke joins the assault team, but Han collects his reward for the rescue and plans to leave despite Luke asking him to stay. During the Battle of Yavin, the rebels begin to deplete and suffer heavy losses after several unsuccessful attack runs, leaving Luke one of the few surviving pilots. Vader and a group of TIE fighters are about to attack Luke's ship, but Han Solo returns and destroys the TIE Fighters and the blast sends Vader spiraling away. Luke (with spiritual guidance from Obi-Wan to use the Force) successfully destroys the Death Star seconds before it can fire on the rebel base. Luke and Han are later awarded medals by Leia for their heroism.

Cast[edit]

The three lead protagonists of Star Wars, from left to right: Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Han Solo (Harrison Ford)

History[edit]

Writing[edit]

Elements of the history of Star Wars are commonly disputed, as Lucas' statements about it have changed over time.[a 1] George Lucas completed directing his first full-length feature, THX 1138, in 1971. He has said that it was around this time that he first had the idea for Star Wars,[6] though he has also claimed to have had the idea long before then.[7] One of the most influential works on Lucas's early concepts was the Flash Gordon space adventure comics and serials.[8] Lucas even made an attempt to purchase the rights to remake Flash Gordon at one point, but could not afford them.

Following the completion of THX 1138, Lucas was granted a two-film development deal with United Artists at the Cannes Film Festival in May of that year for American Graffiti, and an idea for a space opera he called The Star Wars. He showed United Artists the script for American Graffiti, but they passed on the film. Universal Studios picked the film up,[9] and Lucas spent the next two years completing it. Only then did he turn his attention to The Star Wars. He began writing the treatment on April 17, 1973, unsure what would come of Graffiti, and still very much in debt.[9]

Lucas began his creation process by taking small notes, inventing odd names and assigning them possible characterizations. Lucas would discard many of these by the time the final script was written, but he included several names and places in the final script or its sequels (such as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo). He revived others decades later when he wrote his prequel trilogy (such as Mace Windy, renamed Windu). He used these initial names and ideas to compile a two-page synopsis titled "The Journal of the Whills", which bore little resemblance to the final story.[10] The Journal told the tale of the son of a famous pilot who is trained as a "padawaan" apprentice of a revered "Jedi-Bendu".[10] Frustrated after being told that his story was too difficult to understand,[11] Lucas started again on a completely new outline, this time borrowing heavily from Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress,[12] so much so that he at one time considered buying the rights to the film.[13] He relied on a plot synopsis from Donald Richie's book The Films of Akira Kurosawa and wrote a 14-page draft that paralleled The Hidden Fortress, with names and settings reminiscent of the science fiction genre.[14]

Both United Artists and Universal passed on their options for the film later that year, citing the risk involved in the project's potentially high budget. Lucas pursued Alan Ladd, Jr., the head of 20th Century Fox, and in June 1973 closed a deal to write and direct the film. Although Ladd did not grasp the technical side of the project, he believed that Lucas was talented. Lucas later stated that Ladd "invested in me, he did not invest in the movie."[15] The deal afforded Lucas $150,000 to write and direct.

An Alaskan Malamute dog. George Lucas based Chewbacca on his dog, Indiana, which happened to be an Alaskan Malamute. The dog's name would later be used as inspiration for Indiana Jones.

Later that year, Lucas began writing a full script of his synopsis, which he would complete in May 1974. In this script he reintroduced the Jedi, which had been absent in his previous treatment, as well as their enemies, the Sith. He changed the protagonist, who had been a mature General in the treatment, to an adolescent boy, and he shifted the General into a supporting role as a member of a family of dwarfs.[15][16] Lucas envisioned the Corellian smuggler, Han Solo, as a large, green-skinned monster with gills (this would turn out to be Greedo, whom Han would shoot in the Mos Eisley Cantina when we first meet his character). He based Chewbacca on his Alaskan Malamute dog, Indiana, (whom he would later use as namesake for his next hero Indiana Jones), who often acted as the director's "co-pilot" by sitting in the passenger seat of his car.[16]

Many of the final elements in the film began to take shape, though the plot[17] was still far removed from the final script. It did, however, begin to diverge from The Hidden Fortress and take on the general story elements that would comprise the final film. Lucas began researching the science fiction genre, both watching films and reading books and comics.[18] His first script incorporated ideas from many new sources. The script would also introduce the concept of a Jedi master father and his son, training to be a Jedi under the father's Jedi friend, which would ultimately form the basis for the film and even the trilogy. However, in this draft, the father is a hero who is still alive at the start of the film.[19] The script was also the first time Darth Vader appeared in the story, though other than being a villain, he bore little resemblance to the final character.

Lucas grew distracted by other projects, but he would return to complete a second draft of The Star Wars by January 1975; while still having some differences in the characters and relationships. For example, the protagonist Luke (Starkiller in this draft) had several brothers, as well as his father who appears in a minor role at the end of the film. The script became more of a fairy tale quest as opposed to the more grounded action-adventure of the previous versions. This version ended with another text crawl which previewed the next story in the series. This draft was also the first to introduce the concept of a Jedi turning to the dark side; a historical Jedi that became the first to ever fall to the dark side, and then trained the Sith to use it. Lucas hired conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie to create paintings of certain scenes around this time. When Lucas delivered his screenplay to the studio, he included several of McQuarrie's paintings.[20]

A third draft, dated August 1, 1975, was titled The Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Starkiller which now had most of the elements of the final plot, with only some differences in the characters and settings. Luke was again an only child, and his father was, for the first time, written as dead. This script would be re-written for the fourth and final draft, dated January 1, 1976 as The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as taken from the Journal of the Whills. Saga I: Star Wars. Lucas worked with his friends Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck to revise the fourth draft into the final pre-production script.[21] 20th Century Fox approved a budget of $8,250,000; American Graffiti, having been released in 1973 to positive reviews, allowed Lucas to renegotiate his deal with Alan Ladd, Jr. and request the sequel rights to the film. For Lucas, this deal protected Star Wars' unwritten segments and most of the merchandising profits.[15][22] Lucas would continue to tweak the script during shooting, most notably adding the death of Kenobi after realizing he served no purpose in the ending of the film.[23][24]

Lucas has often stated that the entire original trilogy was, in essence, intended as one film. However, he said that his story material for The Star Wars was too long for one film, so he opted to split the story into multiple films.[15][25][26] He also stated the story evolved over time and that "There was never a script completed that had the entire story as it exists now [1983]... As the stories unfolded, I would take certain ideas and save them[...] I kept taking out all the good parts, and I just kept telling myself I would make other movies someday."[27] Lucas's second draft is often cited as the script he is referring to in relation to this issue[28] and in The Secret History of Star Wars, Michael Kaminski argues that this draft is structurally very similar to the final film in plot arrangement, although the only elements from it that were saved for the sequels were an asteroid field space chase (moved to The Empire Strikes Back) and a forest battle involving Wookiees (moved to Return of the Jedi, with Ewoks in place of Wookiees).[28]

Casting[edit]

Lucas shared a joint casting session with long-time friend Brian De Palma, who was casting his own film Carrie. As a result, Carrie Fisher and Sissy Spacek auditioned for both films in each other's respective roles. Lucas favored casting young actors without long-time experience. While reading for Luke Skywalker (then known as "Luke Starkiller"), Hamill found the dialogue to be extremely odd because of its universe-embedded concepts. He chose to simply read it sincerely and was selected instead of William Katt, who was subsequently cast in Carrie.[15][29]

Anthony Daniels, the chosen actor to portray C-3PO, was convinced to take the role after seeing a design drawing of the character's face

Lucas initially rejected the idea of using Harrison Ford, as he had previously worked with him on American Graffiti, and instead asked Ford to assist in the auditions by reading lines with the other actors and explaining the concepts and history behind the scenes that they were reading. Lucas was eventually won over by Ford's portrayal and cast him instead of Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte,[29] Sylvester Stallone,[30] Christopher Walken, Billy Dee Williams (who would later play Lando Calrissian in the sequels), and Perry King, who wound up playing Han Solo in the radio plays.[15][31]

Many young actresses in Hollywood auditioned for the role of Princess Leia, including Cindy Williams[15] and Jodie Foster. Foster turned down the role because she was already under contract with Disney and she was busy working on two movies at the time.[32] Carrie Fisher was cast under the condition that she lose 10 pounds for the role. Aware that the studio disagreed with his refusal to cast big-name stars, Lucas signed veteran stage and screen actors Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Peter Cushing as Tarkin.[15] Additional casting took place in London, where Mayhew was cast as Chewbacca after he stood up to greet Lucas.[33] Lucas immediately turned to Gary Kurtz, and requested that Mayhew be cast. Daniels auditioned for and was cast as C-3PO; he has said that he wanted the role after he saw a McQuarrie drawing of the character and was struck by the vulnerability in the robot's face. When the role of R2-D2 was being cast, the approximately eighty-pound costume negated the idea of children being able to make it move. Three-foot-five-inches tall stage comedian Kenny Baker was in London, England, performing a musical comedy act with his friend Jack Purvis, and heard that some American people were looking for a small person to fit inside a robot suit. After going to the London office of Twentieth Century Fox, Baker was immediately cast after meeting George Lucas. He was measured and left the studio, only finding out more about the part later on. He initially turned down the role three times, hesitant to appear in a film where his face would not be shown and hoping to continue the success of his comedy act, which had recently started to appear on television. He acquiesced upon being told by Lucas that R2-D2 was a great character and essentially the narrator of the film and a great droid counterpart for C-3PO.[15][34]

Production[edit]

In 1975, Lucas founded the visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) after discovering that 20th Century Fox's visual effects department had been disbanded. ILM began its work on Star Wars in a warehouse in Van Nuys, California. Most of the visual effects used motion control photography, which creates the illusion of size by employing small models and slowly moving cameras. Model spaceships were constructed on the basis of drawings by Joe Johnston, input from Lucas, and paintings by McQuarrie. Lucas opted to abandon the traditional sleekness of science fiction by creating a "used universe" in which all devices, ships, and buildings looked aged and dirty.[15][35][36]

A traditional underground building in Matmâta, Tunisia was used as a set for Luke's home on Tatooine.

When principal photography began on March 22, 1976 in the Tunisian desert for the scenes on the planet Tatooine, the project faced several problems.[37] Lucas fell behind schedule in the first week of shooting due to a rare Tunisian rainstorm, malfunctioning props, and electronic breakdowns.[37][38] When actor Anthony Daniels wore the C-3PO outfit for the first time, the left leg piece shattered down through the plastic covering his left foot, stabbing him. After completing filming in Tunisia, production moved into the more controlled environment of Elstree Studios, near London.[38] However, significant problems, such as a crew that had little interest in the film, still arose.[15][38] Most of the crew considered the project a "children's film", rarely took their work seriously, and often found it unintentionally humorous.[15][39] Actor Kenny Baker later confessed that he thought the film would be a failure. Harrison Ford found the film "weird" in that there was a Princess with buns for hair and what he called a "giant in a monkey suit" named Chewbacca.

Lucas clashed with cinematographer Gilbert Taylor, BSC, whom producer Gary Kurtz called "old-school" and "crotchety". Moreover, with a background in independent filmmaking, Lucas was accustomed to creating most of the elements of the film himself. His lighting suggestions were rejected by an offended Taylor, who felt that Lucas was overstepping his boundaries by giving specific instructions and sometimes even moving lights and cameras himself. Taylor refused to use the soft-focus lenses and gauze Lucas wanted after Fox executives complained about the look.[40] Lucas eventually became frustrated that the costumes, sets and other elements were not living up to his original vision of Star Wars. He rarely spoke to the actors, who felt that he expected too much of them while providing little direction. His directions to the actors usually consisted of the words "faster" and "more intense".[15]

Fox executive Alan Ladd, Jr. offered Lucas some of the only support from the studio; he dealt with scrutiny from board members over the rising budget and complex screenplay drafts. After production fell two weeks behind schedule, Ladd told Lucas that he had to finish production within a week or he would be forced to shut down production. The crew split into three units, led by Lucas, Kurtz, and production supervisor Robert Watts. Under the new system, the project met the studio's deadline.[15][38]

Mayan ruins at Tikal, Guatemala, which were used in the film as the rebel base.

During production, the cast attempted to make Lucas laugh or smile as he often appeared depressed. At one point, the project became so demanding that Lucas was diagnosed with hypertension and exhaustion and was warned to reduce his stress level.[15][38] Post-production was equally stressful due to increasing pressure from 20th Century Fox. Moreover, Mark Hamill's car accident left his face visibly scarred, which suppressed re-shoots.[38]

Post-production[edit]

Star Wars was originally slated for release in Christmas 1976; however, delays pushed the film's release to summer 1977. Already anxious about meeting his deadline, Lucas was shocked when editor John Jympson's first cut of the film was a "complete disaster". According to an article in Star Wars Insider No. 41 by David West Reynolds, this first edit of Star Wars contained about 30–40% different footage from the final version. This included scenes that have never been seen elsewhere along with alternate takes of existing scenes. After attempting to persuade Jympson to cut the film his way, Lucas replaced him with Paul Hirsch and Richard Chew. He also allowed his then-wife Marcia Lucas to aid the editing process while she was cutting the film New York, New York with Lucas's friend Martin Scorsese. Richard Chew found the film had an unenergetic pace; it had been cut in a by-the-book manner: scenes were played out in master shots that flowed into close-up coverage. He found that the pace was dictated by the actors instead of the cuts. Hirsch and Chew worked on two reels simultaneously; whoever finished first moved on to the next.[15]

Meanwhile, Industrial Light & Magic was struggling to achieve unprecedented special effects. The company had spent half of its budget on four shots that Lucas deemed unacceptable.[38] Moreover, theories surfaced that the workers at ILM lacked discipline, forcing Lucas to intervene frequently to ensure that they were on schedule. With hundreds of uncompleted shots remaining, ILM was forced to finish a year's work in six months. Lucas inspired ILM by editing together aerial dogfights from old war films, which enhanced the pacing of the scenes.[15]

During the chaos of production and post-production, the team made decisions about character voicing and sound effects. Sound designer Ben Burtt had created a library of sounds that Lucas referred to as an "organic soundtrack". Blaster sounds were a modified recording of a steel cable, under tension, being struck. For Chewbacca's growls, Burtt recorded and combined sounds made by dogs, bears, lions, tigers and walruses to create phrases and sentences. Lucas and Burtt created the robotic voice of R2-D2 by filtering their voices through an electronic synthesizer. Darth Vader's breathing was achieved by Burtt breathing through the mask of a scuba regulator implanted with a microphone.[41] Lucas originally intended for Orson Welles to voice the part (having dismissed the voice-work of the actor who had played Vader in costume, 6' 7" inch (2.01m) bodybuilder and actor David Prowse, due to his English West Country accent), but felt that Welles' voice would be too recognizable, so he cast the lesser-known James Earl Jones instead.[29] Nor did Lucas intend to use Anthony Daniels' voice for C-3PO. Thirty well-established voice actors read for the voice of the droid. According to Daniels, one of the major voice actors, believed by some sources to be Stan Freberg, recommended Daniels' voice for the role.[15][16]

In February 1977 Lucas screened an early cut of the film for Fox executives, several director friends, as well as Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin of Marvel Comics who were preparing a Star Wars comic book. The cut had a different crawl from the finished version and used Prowse's voice for Darth Vader. It also lacked most special effects; hand-drawn arrows took the place of blaster beams, and when the Millennium Falcon fought TIE Fighters, the film cut to footage of World War II dogfights.[42] The reactions of the directors present, such as Brian De Palma, John Milius, and Steven Spielberg, disappointed Lucas. Spielberg, who claimed to have been the only person in the audience to have enjoyed the film, believed that the lack of enthusiasm was due to the absence of finished special effects. Lucas later said that the group was honest and seemed bemused by the film. In contrast, Ladd and the other studio executives loved the film: Gareth Wigan told Lucas, "This is the greatest film I've ever seen", and cried during the screening. Lucas found the experience shocking and rewarding, having never gained any approval from studio executives before.[15] The delays increased the budget from $8 million to $11 million.[43]

Cinematic and literary allusions[edit]

War films such as the The Dam Busters and 633 Squadron which used aircraft like the Avro Lancaster (top) and the De Havilland Mosquito (bottom), respectively, were inspirations for the battle sequences.

According to Lucas, the film was inspired by numerous sources, such as Beowulf and King Arthur for the origins of myth and world religions.[15] Lucas originally wanted to rely heavily on the 1930s Flash Gordon film serials; however, he resorted to Akira Kurosawa's film The Hidden Fortress and Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces because of copyright issues with Flash Gordon.[44] Star Wars features several parallels to Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, such as the conflict between Rebels and Imperial Forces, the "wipes" between scenes, and the famous opening crawl that begins each film. A concept borrowed from Flash Gordon—a fusion of futuristic technology and traditional magic—was originally developed by one of the founders of science fiction, H. G. Wells. Wells believed the Industrial Revolution had quietly destroyed the idea that fairy-tale magic might be real. Thus, he found that plausibility was required to allow myth to work properly, and substituted elements of the Industrial Era: time machines instead of magic carpets, Martians instead of dragons, and scientists instead of wizards. Wells called his new genre "scientific fantasia".[45]

Star Wars was influenced by the 1958 Kurosawa film The Hidden Fortress; for instance, the two bickering peasants evolved into C-3PO and R2-D2, and a Japanese family crest seen in the film is similar to the Imperial Crest. Star Wars also borrows heavily from another Kurosawa film, Yojimbo. In both films, several men threaten the hero, bragging how wanted they are by authorities. The situation ends with an arm being cut off by a blade. Kuwabatake Sanjuro (portrayed by Toshiro Mifune) is offered "twenty-five ryo now, twenty-five when you complete the mission", whereas Han Solo is offered "Two thousand now, plus fifteen when we reach Alderaan." Lucas's affection for Kurosawa may have influenced his decision to visit Japan in the early 1970s, leading some to believe he borrowed the name "Jedi" from jidaigeki (which in English means "period dramas", and refers to films typically featuring samurai).[45]

Tatooine is similar to Arrakis from Frank Herbert's book Dune. Arrakis is the only known source of a longevity drug called the Spice Melange. References to "spice", various illegal stimulant drugs, occur throughout the last three films of the Star Wars saga. In the original film, Han Solo is a spice smuggler who has been through the spice mines of Kessel. In the conversation at Obi-Wan Kenobi's home between Obi-Wan and Luke, Luke expresses a belief that his father was a navigator on a spice freighter. Other similarities include those between Princess Leia and Princess Alia /əˈlə/, and between Jedi mind tricks and "The Voice", a controlling ability used by Bene Gesserit. In passing, Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru are "moisture farmers"; in Dune, dew collectors are used by Fremen to "provide a small but reliable source of water."[46] Frank Herbert reported that, "David Lynch, [director of 1984 film Dune] had trouble with the fact that Star Wars used up so much of Dune." The pair found "sixteen points of identity" and they calculated that, "the odds against coincidence produced a number larger than the number of stars in the universe."[47]

The Death Star assault scene was modeled after the film The Dam Busters (1955), in which Royal Air Force Lancaster bombers fly along heavily defended reservoirs and aim "bouncing bombs" at their man-made dams to cripple the heavy industry of the Ruhr. Some of the dialogue in The Dam Busters is repeated in the Star Wars climax; Gilbert Taylor also filmed the special effects sequences in The Dam Busters. In addition, the sequence was partially inspired by the climax of the film 633 Squadron (1964) directed by Walter Grauman,[48] in which RAF Mosquitos attack a German heavy water plant by flying down a narrow fjord to drop special bombs at a precise point while avoiding anti-aircraft guns and German fighters. Clips from both films were included in Lucas's temporary dogfight footage version of the sequence.[8]

The opening shot of Star Wars, in which a detailed spaceship fills the screen overhead, is a nod to the scene introducing the interplanetary spacecraft Discovery One in Stanley Kubrick's seminal 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The earlier big-budget science fiction film influenced the look of Star Wars in many other ways, including the use of EVA pods and hexagonal corridors. The Death Star has a docking bay reminiscent of the one on the orbiting space station in 2001.[49] The film also draws on The Wizard of Oz (1939): similarities exist between Jawas and Munchkins; the main characters disguise themselves as enemy soldiers; and when Obi-Wan dies, he leaves only his empty robe, similar to the melting of the Wicked Witch of the West. Also of note is that Luke lives on a farm with his uncle and aunt like Dorothy.[50] Although golden and male, C-3PO is inspired by the robot Maria, the Maschinenmensch from Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metropolis. His whirring sounds were speculated to be inspired by the clanking noises of The Wizard of Oz character the Tin Woodsman and C-3PO has an arc throughout the Star Wars saga that is similar to the arc of the Cowardly Lion.[51]

Soundtrack[edit]

Original vinyl release

On the recommendation of his friend Steven Spielberg, Lucas hired composer John Williams, who had worked with Spielberg on the film Jaws, for which he won an Academy Award. Lucas felt that the film would portray visually foreign worlds, but that the musical score would give the audience an emotional familiarity. In March 1977, Williams conducted the London Symphony Orchestra to record the Star Wars soundtrack in twelve days.[15]

Lucas wanted a grand musical sound for Star Wars, with leitmotifs to provide distinction. Therefore, he assembled his favorite orchestral pieces for the soundtrack, until John Williams convinced him that an original score would be unique and more unified. However, a few of Williams' pieces were influenced by the tracks given to him by Lucas. The "Main Title Theme" was inspired by the theme from the 1942 film Kings Row, scored by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and the track "Dune Sea of Tatooine" drew from the soundtrack from Bicycle Thieves, scored by Alessandro Cicognini. The American Film Institute's list of best scores lists the Star Wars soundtrack at number one.[52]

The original soundtrack was released as a double LP in 1977 by 20th Century Records.[53] 20th Century Fox released another album that same year featuring a narrated story with music, dialogue and sound effects from the original film.[54]

Releases[edit]

Charles Lippincott was hired by Lucas's production company, Lucasfilm Ltd., as marketing director for Star Wars. As 20th Century Fox gave little support for marketing beyond licensing T-shirts and posters, Lippincott was forced to look elsewhere. He secured deals with Marvel Comics for a comic book adaptation and with Del Rey Books for a novelization. A fan of science fiction, he used his contacts to promote the film at the San Diego Comic-Con and elsewhere within fandom. Worried that Star Wars would be beaten out by other summer films, such as Smokey and the Bandit, 20th Century Fox moved the release date to the Wednesday before Memorial Day: May 25, 1977. However, fewer than forty theaters ordered the film to be shown. In response, 20th Century Fox demanded that theaters order Star Wars if they wanted an eagerly anticipated film based on a best-selling novel titled The Other Side of Midnight.[15] Lucas himself was not able to predict how successful Star Wars would be. After visiting the set of the Steven Spielberg–directed Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Lucas was sure Close Encounters would outperform the yet-to-be-released Star Wars at the box office. Spielberg disagreed, and felt Lucas's Star Wars would be the bigger hit. With each Lucas and Spielberg confident that the other's film would be the bigger hit, Lucas proposed they trade 2.5% of the profit on each other's films. Spielberg took the trade, and still receives 2.5% of the profits from Star Wars.[55]

Within three weeks of the film's release, 20th Century Fox's stock price doubled to a record high. Before 1977, 20th Century Fox's greatest annual profits were $37,000,000; in 1977, the company earned $79,000,000. Although the film's cultural neutrality helped it to gain international success, Fox executive Alan Ladd, Jr. became anxious during the premiere in Japan. After the screening, the audience was silent, leading him to fear that the film would be unsuccessful. Ladd was later told by his local contacts that, in Japan, silence was the greatest honor to a film and the subsequent strong box office returns confirmed its popularity. When Star Wars made an unprecedented second opening at Mann's Chinese Theatre on August 3, 1977 after Sorcerer failed, thousands of people attended a ceremony in which C-3PO, R2-D2, and Darth Vader placed their footprints in the theater's forecourt.[56][15]

By August 1977 Star Wars was playing in 1,096 theaters in the United States.[57] Remarkably, approximately 60 theaters played the movie continuously for over a year.[58] LucasFilm distributed a "Birthday Cake" poster to those theaters for special events on May 25, 1978, the one-year anniversary of its release.

In 1978, at the height of the film's popularity, Smith-Hemion Productions approached Lucas with the idea of Star Wars Holiday Special. The result is often considered a failure; Lucas himself disowned it.[59]

The film was originally released as Star Wars, without "Episode IV" or the subtitle A New Hope[citation needed]. The 1980 sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, was numbered "Episode V" in the opening crawl. When the original film was re-released on April 10, 1981, Episode IV: A New Hope was added above the original opening crawl. In early interviews, it was suggested the series might comprise nine or twelve films.[60] The film was re-released theatrically in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, and with additional scenes and enhanced special effects in 1997.

Fox owned full rights to the original film until they sold it to Lucas in 1998 in exchange for a lower distribution fee for the prequels and broadcast rights to Episode I.[61] On October 30, 2012, The Walt Disney Company announced a deal to acquire Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, with approximately half in cash and half in shares of Disney stock.[62] Although Disney will now own the rights to all Star Wars films, under a previous deal with Lucasfilm, the distribution rights to the first film will remain with Fox "in perpetuity" while the distribution arrangements for the remaining films are set to expire in 2020. This could affect future video box set releases unless Disney and Fox come to an arrangement.[63]

Special Edition[edit]

"Han Shot First" T-shirts were inspired after a change in the special edition of the film that was controversial for some fans.

After ILM used computer-generated effects for Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park, Lucas concluded that digital technology had caught up to his original vision for Star Wars.[15] For the film's 20th anniversary in 1997, A New Hope was digitally remastered and re-released to movie theaters, along with The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, under the campaign title The Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition. The Special Edition versions contained visual shots and scenes that were unachievable in the original release due to financial, technological, and time constraints; one such scene involved a meeting between Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt.[15] The process of creating the new visual effects for A New Hope was featured in the Academy Award-nominated IMAX documentary film, Special Effects: Anything Can Happen, directed by veteran Star Wars sound designer, Ben Burtt. Although most changes were minor or cosmetic in nature, some fans believe that Lucas degraded the movie with the additions.[64] For instance, a particularly controversial change in which a bounty hunter named Greedo shoots first when confronting Han Solo has inspired T-shirts brandishing the phrase "Han Shot First".[65]

Although the Special Edition's changes were artistic, A New Hope required extensive restoration before Lucas could even attempt his modifications. It had been discovered that in addition to the negative motion picture stocks commonly used on feature films, Lucas had also used internegative film, a reversal stock which deteriorated faster than negative stocks did. This meant that the entire printing negative had to be disassembled, and the CRI (color reversal internegative) portions cleaned separately from the negative portions. Once the cleaning was complete, the film was scanned into the computer for restoration. In many cases, entire scenes had to be reconstructed from their individual elements. Fortunately, digital compositing technology allowed them to correct for problems such as alignment of mattes, "blue-spill", and so forth.[66]

The film was then color-corrected and digitally printed onto a new negative, from which prints would be struck.

Home video releases[edit]

The film was released on VHS, Betamax, V2000 and Laserdisc during the 1980s and 1990s by CBS/Fox Video.[67][68] The first Star Wars was released on video tape in 1982, but only to rental customers by 20th Century Fox Video and reissued in 1983 on CBS/FOX video. It was made available for purchase in 1984.[69] It was subsequently re-released in 1985, and again every year from 1987–1990. In 1990 it was released in its original widescreen format on VHS in a box set and 1991 for European markets. A further release in 1993 on Laserdisc entitled "The Definitive Collection" which was initially issued with a timing error missing a few seconds of The Empire Strikes Back and then re-pressed correcting the error. A European digitally remastered re-release in 1994 followed and finally a THX remastered tape got on the market in 1995 which featured a censored version of A New Hope removing a few frames of blast hits to officers and troops to reduced the impact and flare. The THX remasters with a brand new sound mix by Ben Burtt were the last time the original theatrical trilogy would be issued with the tag lines "The Original Star Wars Trilogy - One Last Time" and "Get them before they're gone". However the very final release of the theatrical trilogy came in the form of a metal tin box set that was limited to 30,000 copies worldwide and entitled the ISD: Executor box set which was to be released in the September of 1995 - but the release had to be put back due to a shipping problem where a large number of the tins were damaged in transit and recalled. The limited number that weren't damaged were shipped and sold at a very high price at retail.

Then after the loss of the original theatrical trilogy - it followed two years later by the reworked versions in a Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition box set.[70]

A New Hope was released on DVD on September 21, 2004, in a box set with The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and a bonus disc of supplementary material. The movies were digitally restored and remastered, and more changes were made by George Lucas. The DVD features a commentary track from George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher. The bonus disc contains the documentary Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy, three featurettes, teasers, theatrical trailers, TV spots, still galleries, an exclusive preview of Revenge of the Sith, a playable Xbox demo of the LucasArts game Star Wars: Battlefront, and a "Making Of" documentary on the Episode III video game.[71] The set was reissued in December 2005 as part of a three-disc "limited edition" boxed set without the bonus disc.[72]

The trilogy was re-released on separate two-disc Limited Edition DVD sets from September 12 to December 31, 2006, and again in a limited edition tin box set on November 4, 2008;[73] the original versions of the films were added as bonus material. Controversy surrounded the release because the unaltered versions were from the 1993 non-anamorphic Laserdisc masters, and were not re-transferred with modern video standards. The transfer led to problems with colours and digital image jarring[74] A further box set was released including slimline versions of the 2004 Special Edition in a white box set with Luke Skywalker on the cover.

All six Star Wars films were released on Blu-ray Disc on September 16, 2011 in three different editions, with A New Hope available in both a box set of the original trilogy,[75][76] and with the other five films on Star Wars: The Complete Saga, which includes nine discs and over 40 hours of special features.[77] The original theatrical versions of the films were not included in the box set. The new 2011 edits of the trilogy were however leaked a month prior to release and caused mass controversy over new changes made to these movies and an online uproar against Lucas.

The trilogy was made available again on DVD of the Blu-ray 2011 editions which were released on DVD for the first time.

Reaction[edit]

"On opening day I ... did a radio call-in show ... this caller, was really enthusiastic and talking about the movie in really deep detail. I said, 'You know a lot about the film.' He said, 'Yeah, yeah, I've seen it four times already.'"

—Producer Gary Kurtz, on when he realized Star Wars had become a cultural phenomenon[78]

Star Wars debuted on Wednesday, May 25, 1977, in 32 theaters, and eight more on Thursday and Friday. It immediately broke box-office records, effectively becoming one of the first blockbuster films, and Fox accelerated plans to broaden its release.[56] Fearing that Star Wars would fail, Lucas had made plans to be in Hawaii with his wife Marcia. Having forgotten that the film would open that day,[79] he spent most of Wednesday in a sound studio in Los Angeles. When Lucas went out for lunch with Marcia, they encountered a long line of people along the sidewalks leading to Mann's Chinese Theatre, waiting to see Star Wars.[38] Still skeptical of the film's success despite Ladd and the studio's enthusiastic reports, not until he, while in Hawaii, watched Walter Cronkite discuss the gigantic crowds for Star Wars on the CBS Evening News did Lucas realize that he had become very wealthy. (Francis Ford Coppola, who needed money to finish Apocalypse Now, sent a telegram to Lucas' hotel asking for funding.)[79] Even technical crew members, such as model makers, were asked for autographs, and cast members became instant household names;[15] when Ford visited a record store to buy an album, enthusiastic fans tore half his shirt off.[79]

The Special Edition was released on January 31, 1997 to a highly anticipated audience. However, the newly enhanced digital effects and new changes were a diversive addition to a large number of long serving fans which have been heavily debated ever since.

Box office[edit]

Star Wars remains one of the most financially successful films of all time. The film earned $1,554,475 through its opening weekend ($6.05 million in today's terms), building up to $7 million weekends as it entered wide release ($27.2 million in today's terms).[3] It replaced Jaws as the highest-earning film in North America just six months into release,[80] eventually earning over $220 million during its initial theatrical run ($856 million in today's terms).[81] Star Wars entered international release towards the end of the year, and in 1978 added the worldwide record to its domestic one,[82] earning $410 million in total.[83] Reissues in 1978, 1979, 1981, and 1982 brought its cumulative gross in Canada and the U.S. to $323 million,[84] and extended its global earnings to $530 million.[85] The film remained the highest-grossing film of all time until E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial broke that record in 1983.[86]

Following the release of the Special Edition in 1997,[87] Star Wars briefly reclaimed the North American record before losing it again the following year to Titanic.[88] In total, the film has earned $775,398,007 worldwide (including $460,998,007 in North America alone).[3] Adjusted for inflation, it has earned over $2.5 billion worldwide at 2011 prices, making it the most successful franchise film of all time.[89] According to Guinness World Records, the film ranks as the third-highest-grossing film when adjusting for inflation;[90] at the North American box office, it ranks second behind Gone with the Wind on the inflation-adjusted list.[91]

Critical response[edit]

Star Wars was critically acclaimed. The film review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes sampled 70 reviews and judged 93% of them to be positive. Its consensus states in summary, "A legendary expansive and ambitious start to the sci-fi saga, George Lucas opens our eyes to the possibilities of blockbuster film-making and things have never been the same."[92] In his 1977 review, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called the film "an out-of-body experience", compared its special effects to those of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and opined that the true strength of the film was its "pure narrative".[93] Vincent Canby called the film "the movie that's going to entertain a lot of contemporary folk who have a soft spot for the virtually ritualized manners of comic-book adventure".[94] A.D. Murphy of Variety described the film as a "magnificent film" and furthermore claimed that the memories of serials along with older action epics that George Lucas set out to make as one of the biggest possible adventure fantasies as a brilliant success.[95] Derek Malcolm of The Guardian concluded that the film "plays enough games to satisfy the most sophisticated."[96]

Conversely, Pauline Kael of The New Yorker criticized the film, stating that "there's no breather in the picture, no lyricism", and that it had no "emotional grip".[97] Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader stated, "None of these characters has any depth, and they're all treated like the fanciful props and settings."[98] Peter Keough of the Boston Phoenix said "Star Wars is a junkyard of cinematic gimcracks not unlike the Jawas' heap of purloined, discarded, barely functioning droids."[99]

Awards[edit]

Star Wars won six competitive Academy Awards at the 50th Academy Awards, including Best Art Direction, which went to John Barry, Norman Reynolds, Leslie Dilley and Roger Christian. Best Costume Design was awarded to John Mollo; Best Film Editing went to Paul Hirsch, Marcia Lucas and Richard Chew; John Stears, John Dykstra, Richard Edlund, Grant McCune and Robert Blalack all received awards for Best Visual Effects. John Williams was awarded his third Oscar for Best Original Score; the Best Sound went to Don MacDougall, Ray West, Bob Minkler and Derek Ball; and a Special Achievement for Sound Effects Editing went to Ben Burtt.[100] Additional nominations included Alec Guinness for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, George Lucas for Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture, which instead went to Annie Hall.[101]

At the 35th Golden Globe Awards, the film was nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Alec Guinness), and it won the award for Best Score.[101] It received six BAFTA nominations: Best Film, Best Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Production/Art Design, Best Sound, and Best Score; the film won in the latter two categories.[101] John Williams' soundtrack album won the Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score for a Motion Picture or Television Program,[101] and the film was awarded the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.[101] In 1997, the MTV Movie Awards awarded to Chewbacca character the lifetime achievement award for his work in the Star Wars trilogy.[101]

The film also received twelve nominations at the Saturn Awards, the oldest film-specialized awards to reward science fiction, fantasy, and horror achievements,[101] including a double nomination for Best Actor for Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford and Best Actress for Carrie Fisher. It won nine: Best Science Fiction Film, Best Direction and Best Writing for George Lucas, Best Supporting Actor for Alec Guinness, Best Music for John Williams, Best Costume for John Mollo, Best Make-up for Rick Baker and Stuart Freeborn, Best Special Effects for John Dykstra and John Stears and Outstanding Editing for Paul Hirsch, Marcia Lucas and Richard Chew.[101]

Cinematic influence[edit]

The famous Tatooine sunset sequence from the film.[102]

Critic Roger Ebert wrote, "Like The Birth of a Nation and Citizen Kane, Star Wars was a technical watershed that influenced many of the movies that came after."[103] It began a new generation of special effects and high-energy motion pictures. The film was one of the first films to link genres—such as space opera and soap opera—together to invent a new, high concept genre for filmmakers to build upon.[35][103] Finally, along with Steven Spielberg's Jaws it shifted the film industry's focus away from personal filmmaking of the 1970s and towards fast-paced big-budget blockbusters for younger audiences.[15][103][104]

After seeing Star Wars, director James Cameron quit his job as a truck driver to enter the film industry. Other filmmakers who have said to have been influenced by Star Wars include Peter Jackson, Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, Christopher Nolan, John Lasseter, David Fincher, Kevin Smith, John Singleton, and Ridley Scott.[35] Scott was influenced by the "used future" (where vehicles and culture are obviously dated) and extended the concept for his science fiction horror film Alien and science fiction noir film Blade Runner (which also starred Harrison Ford). Jackson used the concept for his production of The Lord of the Rings trilogy to add a sense of realism and believability.[35] Nolan cited Star Wars as an influence when making the blockbuster Inception.[105]

Some critics have blamed Star Wars and also Jaws for ruining Hollywood by shifting its focus from "sophisticated" films such as The Godfather, Taxi Driver, and Annie Hall to films about spectacle and juvenile fantasy.[106] One such critic was Peter Biskind, who complained, "When all was said and done, Lucas and Spielberg returned the 1970s audience, grown sophisticated on a diet of European and New Hollywood films, to the simplicities of the pre-1960s Golden Age of movies… They marched backward through the looking-glass."[106][79]

In an opposing view, Tom Shone wrote that through Star Wars and Jaws, Lucas and Spielberg "didn't betray cinema at all: they plugged it back into the grid, returning the medium to its roots as a carnival sideshow, a magic act, one big special effect", which was "a kind of rebirth".[104]

Honors[edit]

In 1989, the U.S. National Film Registry of the Library of Congress selected the film as a "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important" film.[107] In 2002, Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back were voted as the greatest films ever made on Channel 4's 100 Greatest Films poll.[108] In 2006, Lucas's original screenplay was selected by the Writers Guild of America as the 68th greatest of all time.[109]

American Film Institute lists:

In 2011, ABC aired a primetime special, Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time, that counted down the best movies chosen by fans based on results of a poll conducted by ABC and People magazine. Star Wars was selected as the No. 1 Best Sci-Fi Film. In 2012, the film was included in Sight and Sound's Critics' Top 250 Films list, ranking at no. 171 on the list.[118]Empire magazine ranked Star Wars #22 on its list of the 500 Greatest Movies of All Time in 2008.

Marketing[edit]

Novelization[edit]

The novelization of the film was published in December 1976, six months before the film was released. The credited author was George Lucas, but the book was revealed to have been ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster, who later wrote the first Expanded Universe novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye. The book was first published as Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker; later editions were titled simply Star Wars (1995) and, later, Star Wars: A New Hope (1997), to reflect the retitling of the film. Certain scenes deleted from the film (and later restored or archived in DVD bonus features) were always present in the novel (since it had been based on the screenplay), such as Luke at Tosche Station with Biggs and the encounter between Han and Jabba the Hutt in Docking Bay 94. Other deleted scenes from the movie, such as a close-up of a stormtrooper riding on a dewback, were included in a photo insert added to later printings of the book.

Smaller details were also different from the film version; for example, in the Death Star assault, Luke's callsign is Blue Five instead of Red Five as in the film. Also Obi-Wan does not sacrifice himself; Vader actually defeats and executes him in the lightsaber duel. Charles Lippincott secured the deal with Del Rey Books to publish the novelization in November 1976 (1976-11). By February 1977 (1977-02), a half-million copies had been sold.[15]

Toys[edit]

Little Star Wars merchandise was available for several months after the film's debut; only Kenner Toys had accepted Lippincott's licensing offers. Kenner responded to the sudden demand for toys by selling boxed vouchers in its "empty box" Christmas campaign. Television commercials told children and parents that vouchers within a "Star Wars Early Bird Certificate Package" could be redeemed for 4 action figures "between February 1 and June 1".[15]

Following the limted sales of the Early Bird Certificate sets - a further 17 action figures were released between April 1978 – 1979. And a multitude of vehicles from the movie with action playsets.

Comic book[edit]

Marvel Comics adapted Star Wars as the first six issues of its licensed Star Wars comic book, with the first issue dated May 1977. Roy Thomas was the writer and Howard Chaykin was the artist of the adaptation; like the novelization, it contained certain elements, such as the scene with Luke and Biggs, that appeared in the screenplay but not in the finished film.[42] The book was so successful that, according to Jim Shooter, it "single-handedly saved Marvel".[119]

In 2013, Dark Horse Comics began to publish a comic adaption of the plot of the original screenplay.

Book-and-record sets[edit]

The children's read-along book-and-record set was released in 1979.

Lucasfilm adapted the story for a children's book-and-record set. Released in 1979, the 24-page Star Wars read-along book was accompanied by a 33⅓ rpm 7-inch gramophone record. Each page of the book contained a cropped frame from the movie with an abridged and condensed version of the story. The record was produced by Buena Vista Records, and its content copyrighted by Black Falcon, Ltd., a subsidiary of Lucasfilm "formed to handle the merchandising for Star Wars".[120]

The Story of Star Wars was a 1977 record album presenting an abridged version of the events depicted in Star Wars, using dialogue and sound effects from the original film. The recording was produced by George Lucas and Alan Livingston, and was narrated by Roscoe Lee Browne. The script was adapted by E. Jack Kaplan and Cheryl Gard.

Radio drama[edit]

A radio drama adaptation of the film was written by Brian Daley, directed by John Madden, and produced for and broadcast on the American National Public Radio network in 1981. The adaptation received cooperation from George Lucas, who donated the rights to NPR. John Williams' music and Ben Burtt's sound design were retained for the show; Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) reprised their roles as well. The radio drama featured scenes not seen in the final cut of the film, such as Luke Skywalker's observation of the space battle above Tatooine through binoculars, a skyhopper race, and Darth Vader's interrogation of Princess Leia. In terms of Star Wars canon, the radio drama is given the highest designation (like the screenplay and novelization), G-canon.[121][122]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Although theatrical and home media distribution rights to all other Star Wars films will be transferred respectively to Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment by May 2020,[123] 20th Century Fox will continue to control their interest to the first film for the foreseeable future.[124]

Annotations[edit]

  1. ^ The Secret History of Star Wars has, as its basis, a goal of determining the true history of Star Wars, and offers numerous examples of interviews, quotes, and official publications from the 1970s to present which contradict other statements or evidence.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Baxter, John (1999). Mythmaker: The Life and Work of George Lucas (1st edition). New York: William Morrow. ISBN 978-0-380-97833-5.
  • Bouzereau, Laurent (1997). Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays. New York: Del Rey. ISBN 0-345-40981-7.
  • Kaminski, Michael (2008). The Secret History of Star Wars: The Art of Storytelling and the Making of a Modern Epic. Kingston, Ont.: Legacy Books Press. ISBN 978-0-9784652-3-0.
  • Pollock, Dale (1999). Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80904-4.
  • Rinzler, J. W. (2007). The Making of Star Wars. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-49476-4.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Star Wars (1977) – Poster #2. IMP Awards. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "STAR WARS". British Board of Film Classification. June 30, 1977. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Star Wars". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 2, 2012. 
  4. ^ Lucas, George (writer/director). (2004). DVD commentary for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. [DVD]. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
  5. ^ Hilton, Beth (August 13, 2008). "Lucas: 'Star Wars' is not sci-fi". Digital Spy. Retrieved October 18, 2008.
  6. ^ Love, B. "George Lucas The Well Rounded Interview (Archived)". Well Rounded Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2008-06-09. Retrieved June 9, 2008. 
  7. ^ Rinzler, p. 2
  8. ^ a b Zito, Stephen (April 1977). "George Lucas Goes Far Out". American Film.
  9. ^ a b Vallely, Jean (June 12, 1980). "The Empire Strikes Back and So Does Filmmaker George Lucas With His Sequel to Star Wars". Rolling Stone.
  10. ^ a b Rinzler, p. 8
  11. ^ Baxter, p. 142
  12. ^ Kaminski, p. 50
  13. ^ Baxter, p. 158
  14. ^ Kaminski, p. 53
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy. Star Wars Trilogy Box Set DVD documentary. [2005]
  16. ^ a b c The Characters of Star Wars. Star Wars Original Trilogy DVD Box Set: Bonus Materials. [2004]
  17. ^ Clouzot, Claire (September 15, 1977). "The morning of the Magician: George Lucas and Star Wars". Ecran.
  18. ^ Pollock, pp. 141–142
  19. ^ "The development of Star Wars as Seen Through the Scripts of George Lucas". March 1997. Archived from the original on December 24, 2007. Retrieved May 26, 2008. 
  20. ^ "Star Wars Biography: Ralph McQuarrie". Starwars.com. Archived from the original on August 22, 2006. Retrieved October 1, 2006. 
  21. ^ Bouzereau, p. 7
  22. ^ "Star Wars (Film Series)". Allmovie. Retrieved October 1, 2006.
  23. ^ Scanlon, Paul (May 25, 1977). "The Force Behind Star Wars". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 19, 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2008. 
  24. ^ Star Wars Definitive Edition laserdisc interview, 1993. "In the process of re-writing [Star Wars], and thinking of it as only a film and not a whole trilogy, I decided that Ben Kenobi really didn't serve any useful function after the point he fights with Darth Vader... I said, 'you know, he just stands around for the last twenty-five percent of the film, watching this air battle go on.'"
  25. ^ "George Lucas: Mapping the mythology". CNN. May 8, 2002. Retrieved May 26, 2008. 
  26. ^ "Thank the Maker: George Lucas". Starwars.com. April 19, 2005. Archived from the original on November 12, 2006. Retrieved October 1, 2006. 
  27. ^ Worrell, Denise. Icons: Intimate Portraits. p. 185.
  28. ^ a b Kaminski, p. 73
  29. ^ a b c "The Force Wasn't With Them". Premiere. Archived from the original on May 8, 2006. Retrieved October 3, 2006. 
  30. ^ Alison, Nastasi (August 5, 2010). "Imagine That: Sly Stallone Auditioned for Han Solo". Moviefone. Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Is it true about Burt Reynolds and Han Solo?". About.com. Archived from the original on December 25, 2005. Retrieved October 3, 2006. 
  32. ^ "Princess Jodie and the Haunting of Carrie Fisher". Star Wars Aficionado Magazine. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Peter Mayhew - Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved October 3, 2006. 
  34. ^ "Biography: Anthony Daniels". Starwars.com. Archived from the original on November 11, 2006. Retrieved October 3, 2006. 
  35. ^ a b c d The Force Is With Them: The Legacy of Star Wars. Star Wars Original Trilogy DVD Box Set: Bonus Materials, [2004]
  36. ^ "Star Wars Biography: Industrial Light & Magic". Starwars.com. Archived from the original on August 22, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-01. 
  37. ^ a b Hearn, Marcus. "A Galaxy Far, Far Away". The Cinema of George Lucas. New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. p. 102. ISBN 0-8109-4968-7.
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h Author unknown (May 25, 2006). "How Star Wars Surprised the World". AmericanHeritage.com. Retrieved October 2, 2006. 
  39. ^ "Star Wars – The Legacy Revealed". The History Channel. May 2007. Archived from the original on May 27, 2005. 
  40. ^ Pollock, pp. 161–162
  41. ^ "Interview with Benn Burtt". Silicon Vally Radio. Retrieved October 3, 2006. 
  42. ^ a b Thomas, Roy (2007-06-01). "Star Wars: The Comic Book That Saved Marvel!". starwars.com. Archived from the original on 2009-12-18. Retrieved December 5, 2012. 
  43. ^ "Star Wars – Box Office History". The Numbers. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  44. ^ Verbeeck, Muriel. "Campbell, Star Wars and the Myth". Archived from the original on October 4, 2006. Retrieved October 2, 2006. 
  45. ^ a b "Before A New Hope: THX 1138". Starwars.com. Archived from the original on September 10, 2006. Retrieved September 3, 2006. 
  46. ^ "Star Wars is Dune". D. A. Houdek. Retrieved October 1, 2006. 
  47. ^ Herbert, Frank (1985). Eye. Byron Preiss Publications. p. 13
  48. ^ "Summer 2005 Film Music CD Reviews". Film, Music on the Web. Retrieved September 2, 2006. 
  49. ^ Martin Belam (February 18, 2009). "How accurate was Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" about the future?". Retrieved December 10, 2011. 
  50. ^ Elisa Kay Sparks. "Female Hero in Wizard of Oz Compared to Male Hero in Star Wars". Retrieved September 3, 2006. 
  51. ^ "Star Wars Databank: C-3PO". Starwars.com. Retrieved October 3, 2006. 
  52. ^ a b "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Film Scores". American Film Institute. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
  53. ^ "Star Wars Vinyl Soundtrack". Etsy. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  54. ^ "The Story of Star Wars Vinyl Soundtrack (1977)". Etsy. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  55. ^ "Spielberg still reaping profits from Star Wars bet with Lucas". Dailyindia.com. Archived from the original on June 29, 2007. Retrieved August 2, 2007. 
  56. ^ a b Coate, Michael (September 21, 2004). "May 25, 1977: A Day Long Remembered". The Screening Room. Retrieved May 11, 2007. 
  57. ^ http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekly&id=starwars4.htm
  58. ^ Celebrating the Original STAR WARS on its 35th Anniversary
  59. ^ "Star Wars on TV". TV Party. Retrieved September 2, 2006. 
  60. ^ "George Lucas' Galactic Empire – Get ready for Star Wars II, III, IV, V ...". Time. March 6, 1978. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
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Further reading[edit]

  • Bailey, T. J. (2005). Devising a Dream: A Book of Star Wars Facts and Production Timeline. Louisville, Ky.: Wasteland Press. ISBN 1-933265-55-8.
  • Blackman, W. Haden (2004). The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology, Revised Edition (Star Wars). New York: Del Rey. ISBN 0-345-44903-7.
  • Sansweet, Stephen (1992). Star Wars: From Concept to Screen to Collectible. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-0101-2.

External links[edit]