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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


Anthology films:

Animated films:

Television series


TV Specials:

Video game(s) List of video games
Radio program(s) Star Wars
Original music Music of Star Wars
  • Action figures
  • Die-casts and model toys
  • Chess and soldiers
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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 US$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 a planned 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 US$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 US$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]


The Star Wars franchise takes place in a distant unnamed fictional galaxy at an undetermined point in the ancient past, where many species of aliens (often humanoid) co-exist. People own robotic droids, who assist them in their daily routines, and Space travel is common.

Additionally one of the most recognizable and spiritual elements of the Star Wars galaxy, is known as "The Force". Described in the original film, as "an energy field created by all living things [that] surrounds us, penetrates us, [and] binds the galaxy together".[12] The people who are born deeply connected to the Force, have better reflexes; and through training and meditation are able to achieve, various supernatural feats (such as telekinesis, clairvoyance, precognition, and mind control). The Force is wielded by two major factions; the Jedi and the Sith. The Jedi Order harness the light side of the Force, entirely devoted to their duty, as guardians and peacekeepers, forbid attachments such as marriage. In contrast, the Sith always only two a master and an apprentice, use the dark side of the force through hate and aggression, to further their goals of controlling the galaxy for themselves and destroying the Jedi Order. The Knights of Ren replace the Sith, in the sequel trilogy, and one Jedi remains.

In the prequel trilogy, the government is depicted in the form of all planets being part of a Galactic Republic were each planet has its own individual government, and is represented by its own senator at the capital city-planet of Coruscant. However the Galaxy enters in conflict when some planets, known as the Separatists, decide they no longer want to be part of the Republic. The Jedi along with a Clone army support the Republic, while the Sith along with a droid army support the Separatists, this conflict is known as The Clone Wars and ends with the government turning into a Galactic Empire ruled by the Emperor (secretly a Sith), and the Jedi all but extinct to restore peace. Set twenty years later, the original trilogy focuses on the Rebel Alliance as the only one who opposes the Empire. By the time of the sequel trilogy, thirty years after the Rebels restored the galaxy into a New Republic, peace is disrupted by the First Order (aided by the Knights of Ren).

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 124 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] Ron Howard 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 made a contract for George Lucas to direct two films. In 1973, American Graffiti was completed, and released to critical acclaim including Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Original Screenplay for George Lucas. Months later, Lucas started work on his second film, by starting the script draft, The Journal of the Whills told the tale of the training of apprentice CJ Thorpe as a "Jedi-Bendu" space commando by the legendary Mace Windy. After Universal rejected the film, 20th Century Fox decided to invest on it.[25] On April 17, 1973, Lucas felt frustrated about his story being too difficult to understand, so he began writing a 13-page script with thematic parallels to Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, this draft was renamed The Star Wars.[26] By 1974, he had expanded the script 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. In 2014, Lucas ceased creative involvement with the franchise.
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 has constructed 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 spaceship is intercepted by the Empire. Aboard, the Emperor's deadliest agent Darth Vader and his stormtroopers capture Princess Leia Organa, a secret member of the rebellion. Before she is captured, Leia makes sure the astromech R2-D2, along with the protocol droid C-3PO, escapes with stolen Death Star blueprints stored inside and a holographic message for the retired Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, who has been living in exile on Tatooine. The droids fall under the ownership of Luke Skywalker, an orphan farm boy raised by his step-uncle and aunt. Luke helps the droids locate Obi-Wan, now a solitary old hermit known as Ben Kenobi, who reveals himself as a friend of Luke's absent father, the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. Obi-Wan confides to Luke that Anakin was "betrayed and murdered" by Vader (who was Obi-Wan's former Jedi apprentice) years ago, and he gives Luke his father's former lightsaber to keep.[27] After viewing Leia's message, they both hire the smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca to, aboard their space freighter the Millennium Falcon, smuggle them along with the droids off Tatooine; in order to deliver the Death Star's blueprints to the rebellion and help them find a way to destroy the deadly space station.[12]

For The Star Wars second draft, Lucas made heavy simplifications. It added a mystical energy field known as "The Force" and introduced the young hero on a farm as Luke Starkiller. Annikin became Luke's father, a wise Jedi knight. The third draft killed the father Annikin, replacing him with mentor figure Ben Kenobi. Later, Lucas felt the film would not in fact be the first in the sequence, but a film in the second trilogy in the saga. The draft contained a sub-plot leading to a sequel about "The Princess of Ondos", and by that time some months later Lucas had negotiated a contract that gave him rights to make two sequels. Not long after, Lucas hired author Alan Dean Foster, to write two low-budget 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 have sequels. The fourth draft of the script underwent subtle changes that made it more satisfying as a self-contained film, it discarded "the Princess of Ondos" sub-plot, and ended 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 of a series. The intention was that if Star Wars was successful, Lucas could adapt Dean Foster's novels into screenplays.[30] By that point, Lucas had developed an elaborate backstory to aid his writing process.[31]

Before its release, Lucas considered walking away from Star Wars sequels, thinking the film would be a flop. However the film exceeded all expectations. The success of the film, as well as its merchandise sales, and Lucas desire to create an independent film-making center. Both led Lucas to make Star Wars the basis of an elaborate film serial,[32] and use the profits to finance his film-making center, Skywalker Ranch.[33] Alan Dean Foster was already writing the first sequel-novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye, released in 1978. But Lucas decided not to adapt Foster's work. Knowing a sequel, would be allowed more budget. 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. Also adding 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

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.
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.[34] 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.

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.[35]

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. It was similar to the final film, except that Darth Vader does not reveal he is Luke's father.

Brackett finished her first draft in early 1978; in it, Luke's father appeared as a ghost to instruct Luke.[36] Lucas has said he was disappointed with it, but before he could discuss it with her, she died of cancer.[37] 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.[38] 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.[39] 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,[40] both in April 1978. He also took the script to a darker extreme by imprisoning Han Solo in carbonite and left in limbo.[35] 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;[41] 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.[42]

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.[40] 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.[43]

Return of the Jedi

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 Kennedy announced that the standalone films would be referred to as the Star Wars Anthology films.[104][105][106]

Rogue One

The story about the group of rebels who stole the Death Star plans, ending directly before Episode IV: A New Hope.

The idea for the film was conceived by John Knoll who worked as a visual effects supervisor of the prequel trilogy films.[107] In May 2014, Lucasfilm announced Gareth Edwards as the director of the first anthology film, with Gary Whitta writing the first draft, for a release on December 16, 2016.[108] 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.[109][110] 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 the plot synopsis. 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."; and describing the style of the film as similar to that of a war film: "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."[111][112] 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 US$500 million worldwide within a week of its release.[113] Characters from the animated series appear, Saw Gerrera (from The Clone Wars) in a pivotal role in the plot and Chopper (from Star Wars: Rebels) in a cameo.[114]

Untitled Han Solo film

A film focusing on Han Solo before the events of Episode IV: A New Hope.

The script was written by Star Wars veteran Lawrence Kasdan, and his son Jon Kasdan. The film also stars Alden Ehrenreich as a young Han Solo, Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca (after serving as a double for the character in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi), Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, and also Emilia Clarke and Woody Harrelson. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller began principal photography on the film, but due to creative differences, the pair left the project in June 2017 with three and a half weeks remaining in principal photography. Academy Award winning director Ron Howard was announced as their replacement, while his first Star Wars film, Howard had previously collaborated with producing company Lucasfilm as an actor (in the George Lucas directed film American Graffiti (1973) and its sequel) and director (Willow (1988),[115] additionally Howard, along Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis was one of the three persons to whom George Lucas asked to direct Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Lucas only decided to direct the prequels himself after his top three choices all declined, by in Howard's words saying: "George, you should do it!").[116] The film is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and will be released on May 25, 2018.

Untitled Anthology film

A third Anthology film will be released in 2020.[117] A writer for the film has been hired as of September 2016.[118]

On February 6, 2013, Entertainment Weekly reported that Lucasfilm hired Josh Trank to direct a Star Wars stand-alone film, with the news being confirmed soon after.[119] However in November 2016, Disney announced that their contract with Trank was terminated due to the overwhelmingly negative reviews of the Fantastic Four.[120] It was reported that the film was still in early development at Lucasfilm, and it was rumored that the film would focus on bounty hunter Boba Fett. However Lucasfilm never confirmed what the plot was about, however it confirmed the film Josh Trank left, was a different film from the 'Han Solo spin-off.[121]

On August 18, 2016, Ewan McGregor told a fan on Twitter, that he would be open to return to the role of Obi-Wan, albeit for an Obi-Wan spin-off film, should he be approached; wanting to tell a story between Episode III and IV.[122] Fans have shown interest in the idea; a fan-trailer for an Obi-Wan film, with footage from the film Last Days in the Desert became viral and widely praised by fans.[123] Lucasfilm and McGregor have denied the development of such film, despite fans' continued interest, and rumors. The film was voted as the most wanted anthology film in a pool by The Hollywood Reporter despite being only rumors.[124] Days before the Star Wars Rebels episode "Twin Suns" (where Obi-wan appeared) aired, McGregor said again, that he would like to do it, if Lucasfilm wanted him to.[125] Fellow cast member Joel Edgerton who played Luke Skywalker's step uncle Owen in the prequel trilogy, said he would like to reprise his role of Uncle Owen, in an Obi-Wan standalone film, if it were to be made, and also expressed interest on also playing Boba Fett without taking off the mask, in the also rumored Boba Fett film.[126] Samuel L. Jackson has also expressed interest in returning as Mace Windu, insisting that his character survived his death.[127] Rosario Dawson expressed interest playing Ahsoka Tano in a live-action Movie.[128]

Cast and 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)
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
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)
George Lucas
Jonathan Hales
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
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
John Williams
John Knoll
Gary Whitta
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
Ron Howard[129]
Kathleen Kennedy
Allison Shearmur
Simon Emanuel
Lawrence Kasdan
Jason McGatlin
Chris Dickens
Pietro Scalia
Bradford Young TBA 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.[130]

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.[131] Lucasfilm developed the THX sound reproduction standard for Return of the Jedi.[132] 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.[133]

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.[134][135] 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.[136]


Box office performance

Film Release date Budget Box office revenue Box office ranking
North America Other
Worldwide Adjusted for
(North America)[b]
North America
Star Wars[138] May 25, 1977 US$11 million $460,998,007 $314,400,000 $775,398,007 $1,330,752,155 #11 #68
The Empire Strikes Back[139] May 21, 1980 $11–$33 Million $290,475,067 $247,900,000 $538,375,067 $760,289,658 #76 #151
Return of the Jedi[140] 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[141] May 19, 1999 US$115 million $474,544,677 $552,500,000 $1,027,044,677 $707,521,232 #10 #24
Episode II – Attack of the Clones[142] May 16, 2002 US$115 million $310,676,740 $338,721,588 $649,398,328 $419,876,095 #58 #104
Episode III – Revenge of the Sith[143] May 19, 2005 US$113 million $380,270,577 $468,484,191 $848,754,768 $466,315,785 #29 #54
Prequel trilogy total US$343 million $1,165,491,994 $1,359,705,779 $2,525,197,773 $1,593,713,112
Star Wars: The Clone Wars[144] August 15, 2008 US$8.5 million $35,161,554 $33,121,290 $68,282,844 $39,112,474 #2,187
Star Wars: The Force Awakens[145] December 18, 2015 US$200 million $936,662,225 $1,131,516,000 $2,068,178,225 $936,662,225 #1 #3
Rogue One[146] December 16, 2016 US$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% (105 reviews)[147] 92 (20 reviews)[148]
The Empire Strikes Back 94% (88 reviews)[149] 81 (17 reviews)[150]
Return of the Jedi 80% (85 reviews)[151] 53 (15 reviews)[152]
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 55% (213 reviews)[153] 51 (36 reviews)[154] A−[155]
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones 65% (244 reviews)[156] 54 (39 reviews)[157] A−[155]
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith 79% (284 reviews)[158] 68 (40 reviews)[159] A−[155]
Star Wars: The Clone Wars 18% (164 reviews)[160] 35 (30 reviews)[161] B−[155]
Star Wars: The Force Awakens 92% (367 reviews)[162] 81 (54 reviews)[163] A[155]
Rogue One 85% (345 reviews)[164] 65 (51 reviews)[165] A[155]
List indicator(s)
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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. Star Wars received seven awards and four nominations,[166] The Empire Strikes Back received one awards, one Special Achievement Award, and two nominations,[167] Return of the Jedi received one Special Achievement Award and four nominations,[168] The Phantom Menace received three nominations,[169] Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith received one nomination each,[170][171] The Force Awakens received five nominations,[172] and Rogue One received two nominations.[173]

Four films in the franchise, Return of the Jedi,[168] The Phantom Menace,[169] The Force Awakens,[172] and Rogue One,[173] were nominated for Best Sound Mixing; two films, Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back,[167] won the award. Four films, The Phantom Menace,[169] Attack of the Clones,[170] The Force Awakens,[172] and Rogue One,[173] were nominated for Best Visual Effects; Star Wars won the award, while The Empire Strikes Back[167] and Return of the Jedi[168] received Special Achievement Awards for their visual effects and Star Wars received a Special Achievement Award for its alien, creature and robot voices. Three films, The Empire Strikes Back,[167] Return of the Jedi,[168] and The Force Awakens,[172] were nominated for Best Original Score; Star Wars won the award. The Force Awakens was nominated for Best Film Editing,[172] and Star Wars won the award. The Empire Strikes Back[167] and Return of the Jedi[168] were nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, and Star Wars won the award. Three films, Return of the Jedi,[168] The Phantom Menace,[169] and The Force Awakens,[172] were nominated for Best Sound Editing. Star Wars won Best Costume Design, and it also received nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Alec Guinness), Best Director (Lucas), Best Picture, and Best Original Screenplay. Revenge the Sith also received a nomination for Best Makeup.[171]

In other media

The defunct term Star Wars Expanded Universe (1977-2014, abbreviated as EU), was an umbrella term for all officially licensed Star Wars storytelling materials set outside the events depicted within the theatrical films, it including television specials, animated series, video-games, novels and comics. Lucasfilm maintained internal continuity between the films and the EU material until Lucasfilm declared in April 25, 2014, that EU would be rebranded as Star Wars Legends, no longer be considered canon to the franchise, and cease production (reprints under the Legends label are non-canon,[174] downloadable content for the massively multiplayer online game Star Wars: The Old Republic is the only Legends material still in production). The change was made "to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience" on the development of the sequel trilogy and anthology films.[174] The restructured Star Wars canon only included the original six feature films and the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, along with its animated "pilot episode" film Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008). All creative developments across all types of media would be overseen and coordinated by the Story Group (a Lucasfilm branch, in charge of the storytelling maintaining continuity and a cohesive vision). The animated series Star Wars Rebels was the first project released in the revised canon, followed by multiple comics series from Marvel, novels published by Del Rey, and the sequel film The Force Awakens (2015).


Dave Filoni supervising director on Star Wars animated series, since the beginning of The Clone Wars until Rebels second season, where he left his position, due to being promoted to oversee the development of all future Lucasfilm Animation projects.[175]

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.[176][177] A pair of television films centered on the Ewok Wicket from Return of the JediCaravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (1984)[178] and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985)[179]—were followed by the animated TV series Star Wars: Droids (1985–1986)[180][181] and Star Wars: Ewoks (1985–1986).[182] 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 both films.[183] All of those programs were declared non-canon, in April 2014.

The next animated series all are considered canonical, to the franchise, and 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.[184][185] 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.[186][187] The 2D-animated micro-series Star Wars Forces of Destiny (2017–present) focuses 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 eight more episodes airing in Fall 2017.[188]

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.[189] The proposed series explores criminal and political power struggles in the decades prior to A New Hope,[189] and as of December 2015 was still in development at Lucasfilm.[190]

The Star Wars website produces web shows featuring behind the scenes interviews with directors, producers, cast-members, and writers involved with the franchise.[191][192]

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.[193]


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

Foster's 1978 novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye, was the first EU novel to be released, set between the original 1977 film and The Empire Strikes Back. The EU novels additional content greatly expanded the Star Wars timeline before and after the film series. Star Wars EU fiction flourished during the time of the original trilogy (1977–1983) but slowed to a trickle until the 1990s, when Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy (1992-1994) sparked new interest in the franchise. Followed by Shadows of the Empire (1996) a multimedia project consisting of a novel by Steve Perry, a video game, and a comic book; set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.[194] Since then, several hundred tie-in novels have been published by Bantam and Del Rey. The events 20 years after Return of the Jedi were explored in New Jedi Order series, focusing on EU characters alongside series originals. For younger audiences, three other series, 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 Star Wars franchise, the EU was rebranded as Star Wars Legends and declared non-canonical. The Legends banner is used for non-canon materials in re-print.[195]

Disney Publishing Worldwide also announced that from September 2014, onwards Del Rey would publish a canonical line of Star Wars books, guided by the Lucasfilm Story Group, and releasing on a bi-monthly schedule.[196]

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


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[197][198] 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,[199] to parody comics, like Tag and Bink.[200]

On January 3, 2014, all previously published works were re-branded as Legends,[201], Dark Horse publishing rights to Star Wars were transferred to Marvel —since 2009, also a Disney subsidiary—, to publish a series that would be considered canonical to the franchise, the first release arrived on January 14, 2015. In 2017, IDW acquired rights to publish Star Wars Adventures a single comic series for all ages, published in parallel to Marvel publications.[202]

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.[203]

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 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.

The most critically acclaimed is the first game in the Knights of the Old Republic series,[204] 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[205][206] 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[207][208] 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.


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.[209][210][211] 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.[210][212] In 1983, Buena Vista Records released an original, 30-minute Star Wars audio drama titled Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell, written by Daley.[211][212] In the 1990s, Time Warner Audio Publishing adapted several Star Wars series from Dark Horse Comics into audio dramas.[212]

Theme parks and park attractions

The original Star Tours ride at Disneyland in 1996.

Before Disney's acquisition of the franchise, George Lucas had established a partnership in 1986 with the company's Imagineering division to create an attraction at Disney parks. The first such attraction, Star Tours, opened at Disneyland in 1987, with several versions opening at other Disney theme parks over the following years.[213][214] The Star Tours rides at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios closed in 2010, while Tokyo Disneyland's version closed in 2012 and Disneyland Paris' in 2016. All of the original Star Tours rides were then refurbished into Star Tours–The Adventures Continue. The new attraction randomly shuffles several scenes, allowing up to 54 combinations of different adventures. The successor attraction opened at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland in 2011, at Tokyo Disneyland in 2013, and at Disneyland Paris in 2017.[215]

Disney, which now owns the Star Wars franchise, expressed plans to expand the franchise's presence in all of their theme parks since August 2014. At that time, there were rumors to include a major Star Wars-themed expansion to Disney's Hollywood Studios.[216] 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, Disney Princesses, and promised that Star Wars, "is going to be just that."[217] Iger formally announced a 14-acre Star Wars-themed land expansion at the 2015 D23 Expo. In the 2017 D23, it was revealed that the area would be named Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.[218] The area 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".[219] A Star Wars-themed hotel, a deluxe resort to be built near Disney's Hollywood Studios, was also announced at the 2017 D23 Expo.[220][221][222][218]

From 1997 to 2015, Disney's Hollywood Studios park hosted Star Wars Weekends, an annual festival, during specific dates from May to June.[223][224] Since 2007, the parks include the live show Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, 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.[225][226] Since November 2015, Disneyland hosts a seasonal Star Wars-themed event entitled Season of the Force, which also runs in Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World. An exhibition called Star Wars Launch Bay, featuring exhibits and meet-and-greets was also added.[227][228][229]


The success of the Star Wars films led the franchise to become one of the most merchandised franchises in the world. In 1977, while filming the original film, George Lucas decided to take a 500,000-dollar pay-cut to his own salary as director, in exchange for fully owning the merchandising rights of the franchise to himself. Over the franchise's lifetime, such exchange cost 20th Century Fox, more than US$20 billion in merchandising revenue profits.[230] Disney acquired the merchandising rights when part of purchasing Lucasfilm.

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.[231] 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.[232] The Lego Star Wars video games are critically acclaimed best sellers.

In 1977 with the board game Star Wars: Escape from the Death Star[233] (not to be confused with another board game with the same title, published in 1990).[234] The board game Risk has been adapted to the series in two editions by Hasbro: and Star Wars Risk: The Clone Wars Edition[235] (2005) and Risk: Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition[236] (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.[237] 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.[238] 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).

Themes, comparisons and influences on other franchises

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.[239] 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,[240] 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]

Comparisons with historical events

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.[241][242][243]

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).[244] 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.[245] The space battles in A New Hope were based on filmed World War I and World War II dogfights.[246]

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.[247]

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.[248] Star Wars references are deeply embedded in popular culture;[249] Phrases like "evil empire" and "May the Force be with you" have become part of the popular lexicon.[250] The first Star Wars film in 1977 was a cultural unifier,[251] enjoyed by a wide spectrum of people.[252] 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.[253] 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."[254] Its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, was selected in 2010.[255][256] 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.[257][258]

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.[259] 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.[260] 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


  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.[137]


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  • Arnold, Alan (1980). Once Upon a Galaxy: A Journal of the Making of The Empire Strikes Back. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-29075-5. 
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  • Rinzler, Jonathan W (2005). The Making of Star Wars, Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Del Rey. ISBN 0-345-43139-1. 
  • ——— (2007). The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film (Star Wars). Del Rey. ISBN 0-345-49476-8. 

Further reading

External links