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Star Wars

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

Trilogies:

Anthology films:

Animated film:

TV films:

Television series
  • Untitled live-action series (2019)[2]
Animated series
Games
Role-playing List of role-playing games
Video game(s) List of video games
Audio
Radio program(s) Star Wars radio dramas
Original music Music of Star Wars
Miscellaneous
Toys Star Wars toys
Theme park attractions Star Wars theme park attractions

Star Wars is an American epic space opera media 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),[3][4] 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 released) and have been commercial successes, with a combined box office revenue of over US$7.5 billion,[5] making Star Wars the third highest-grossing film series.[6] 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, theme park attractions and lands, and comic books, resulting in significant development of the series' fictional universe. 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,[7][8] 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.[9] The former distributor, 20th Century Fox, was to retain the physical distribution rights for the first two Star Wars trilogies, was to own permanent rights for the original 1977 film and was to continue to hold the rights for the prequel trilogy and the first two sequels to A New Hope until May 2020.[10][11] Walt Disney Studios owns digital distribution rights to all the Star Wars films, excluding A New Hope.[11][12] On December 14, 2017, the Walt Disney Company announced it is acquiring most of Fox's parent company, 21st Century Fox, including the film studio and all distribution rights for A New Hope.[13]

Setting

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.

The spiritual and mystical element of the Star Wars galaxy is known as "the Force". It is described in the original film as "an energy field created by all living things [that] surrounds us, penetrates us, [and] binds the galaxy together".[14] The people who are born deeply connected to the Force have better reflexes; through training and meditation, they are able to achieve various supernatural feats (such as telekinesis, clairvoyance, precognition, and mind control). The Force is wielded by two major factions at conflict: the Jedi, who harness the light side of the Force, and the Sith, who use the dark side of the Force through hate and aggression.

Theatrical films

Film trilogies
Film Release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s) Distributor(s)
Original trilogy
Episode IV –
A New Hope
May 25, 1977 (1977-05-25) George Lucas Gary Kurtz 20th Century Fox[a]
Episode V –
The Empire Strikes Back
May 21, 1980 (1980-05-21) Irvin Kershner Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan George Lucas
Episode VI –
Return of the Jedi
May 25, 1983 (1983-05-25) Richard Marquand
George Lucas[15]
Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas Howard Kazanjian
Prequel trilogy
Episode I –
The Phantom Menace
May 19, 1999 (1999-05-19) George Lucas George Lucas Rick McCallum 20th Century Fox[a]
Episode II –
Attack of the Clones
May 16, 2002 (2002-05-16) George Lucas
and Jonathan Hales
George Lucas
Episode III –
Revenge of the Sith
May 19, 2005 (2005-05-19) George Lucas
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 and Bryan Burk Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Episode VIII –
The Last Jedi
December 15, 2017 (2017-12-15) Rian Johnson Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman
Episode IX December 20, 2019 (2019-12-20)[16] J. J. Abrams J. J. Abrams & Chris Terrio[17][18] Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan and J. J. Abrams
Standalone films
Film Release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s) Distributor(s)
Animated film
Star Wars:
The Clone Wars
August 15, 2008 (2008-08-15) Dave Filoni Henry Gilroy, Steven Melching and Scott Murphy George Lucas and Catherine Winder Warner Bros.
Anthology films
Rogue One:
A Star Wars Story
December 16, 2016 (2016-12-16) Gareth Edwards Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy John Knoll and Gary Whitta Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur & Simon Emanuel Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Solo:
A Star Wars Story
May 25, 2018 (2018-05-25)[19] Phil Lord &
Christopher Miller

Ron Howard
Lawrence Kasdan & Jon Kasdan
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. His work in the original film earned him Academy Award nominations, for best director, screenplay and film. In 2014, Lucas ceased creative involvement with the franchise.

Original trilogy

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.[20] 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.[21] 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. Numerous subsequent drafts would go through numerous drastic changes, before evolving into the script of the original film.

Lucas insisted that the movie would be part of a 9-part series and negotiated to retain the sequel rights, to ensure all the movies would be made. Tom Pollock, then Lucas' lawyer writes: "So in the negotiations that were going on, we drew up a contract with Fox’s head of business affairs Bill Immerman, and me. We came to an agreement that George would retain the sequel rights. Not all the [merchandising rights] that came later, mind you; just the sequel rights. And Fox would get a first opportunity and last refusal right to make the movie."[22]

Lucas was offered $50,000 to write, another $50,000 to produce, and $50,000 to direct the film.[22] Later the offer was increased.[23]

Star Wars was released on May 25, 1977. It was followed by The Empire Strikes Back, released on May 21, 1980, and Return of the Jedi, released on May 25, 1983. The sequels were all self-financed by Lucasfilm.[22]

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.[24] The plot of the original trilogy centers on the Galactic Civil War of the Rebel Alliance trying to free the galaxy from the clutches of the Galactic Empire, as well as on Luke Skywalker's quest to become a Jedi.

A New Hope

The main cast members of the original Star Wars trilogy, who reprised their characters in supporting roles on the sequel trilogy; from left: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford (SDCC, July 2015).
Cosplays of bounty hunter Boba Fett (left) and Sith lord Darth Vader (right), antagonist characters in the original trilogy (Fett has been digitally inserted into all director cuts of A New Hope since 1997). Vader's backstory became a central plot point in Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and the basis of the prequel trilogy.

Near the orbit of the desert planet Tatooine, a Rebel spaceship is intercepted by the Empire. Aboard, the deadliest Imperial agent Darth Vader and his stormtroopers capture Princess Leia Organa, a secret member of the rebellion. Before her capture, Leia makes sure the astromech R2-D2, along with the protocol droid C-3PO, escapes with stolen Imperial 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.[25] 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, help them deliver the stolen blueprints inside R2-D2 to the Rebel Alliance with the hope of finding a weakness to the Empire's planet-destroying space station: the Death Star.[14]

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 sequels as novels.[26] 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.[27] At that point, Lucas was not expecting the film to have sequels. The fourth draft of the script underwent subtle changes it discarded "the Princess of Ondos" sub-plot, to become a self-contained film, that 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 low-budget sequels.[28] By that point, Lucas had developed an elaborate backstory to aid his writing process.[29]

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,[30] and use the profits to finance his film-making center, Skywalker Ranch.[31] 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

The Empire Strikes Back

Lawrence Kasdan co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
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.[32] Right: Ben Burtt created many of the iconic sound effects of the franchise, among them 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 Hoth as they are hunted by the Empire. At the request of the late Obi-Wan's spirit, Luke travels to the swamp-infested world of Dagobah to find the exiled Jedi Master Yoda and begin his Jedi training. However, Luke's training is interrupted by Vader, who lures him into a trap by capturing Han and Leia at Cloud City, governed by Han's old friend Lando Calrissian. During a fierce lightsaber duel with the Sith Lord, Luke learns that Vader is his father.[33]

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.[citation needed]

Brackett finished her first draft in early 1978; in it, Luke's father appeared as a ghost to instruct Luke.[34] Lucas has said he was disappointed with it, but before he could discuss it with her, she died of cancer.[35] 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.[36] 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.[37] 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,[38] both in April 1978. This new story point of Darth Vader being Luke's father had drastic effects on the series.[39] After writing these two drafts, Lucas revised the backstory between Anakin Skywalker, Kenobi, and the Emperor.[40]

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.[38] 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.[41]

Return of the Jedi

A year after Vader's shocking revelation, Luke leads a rescue attempt to save Han 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 reveals to Luke that 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 Emperor Palpatine watches; both Sith Lords intend to turn Luke to the dark side of the Force and take him as their apprentice.[42]

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.[43]

Prequel trilogy

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

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.[44] 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. The popularity of the franchise was reinvigorated by the Star Wars expanded universe storylines set after the original trilogy films, such as the Thrawn trilogy of novels written by Timothy Zahn and the Dark Empire comic book series published by Dark Horse Comics. Due to the renewed popularity of Star Wars, 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.[45]

The prequel trilogy consists 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.[46] The plot focuses on the fall of the Galactic Republic, as well as the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker's turn to the dark side.

The Phantom Menace

About 32 years before the start of the Galactic Civil War, the corrupt Trade Federation sets a blockade 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 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.[47]

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".[48] 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.[49]

Attack of the Clones

Ten years after the Battle of Naboo, Anakin is reunited with Padmé, 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.[50]

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.[51] Unsure of a title, Lucas had jokingly called the film "Jar Jar's Great Adventure".[52] 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;[53][54] 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.[55] The basic elements of that backstory became the plot basis for Episode II, with the new wrinkle added that Palpatine secretly orchestrated the crisis.[50]

Revenge of the Sith

Three years after the start of the Clone Wars, Anakin and Obi-Wan lead a rescue mission 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 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.[56]

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.[57] As he reviewed the storyline that summer, however, he says he radically re-organized the plot.[58] 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.[59] 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.[60]

The Clone Wars

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.

Sequel trilogy

Over the years, Lucas often exaggerated the amount of material he wrote for the series; much of the exaggerations stemmed from the post‐1978 period when the series grew into a phenomenon. Michael Kaminski explained that the exaggerations were both a publicity and security measure, further rationalizing 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.[56][61] The exaggerations created rumors of Lucas having plot outlines a sequel trilogy of (Episodes VII, VIII and IX), which would continue the story after 1983's Episode VI: Return of the Jedi[62] Lucasfilm and George Lucas had denied plans for a sequel trilogy for many years, insisting that Star Wars was meant to be a six-part series, and that no further films would be released after the conclusion of the prequel trilogy in 2005.[63][64] Although Lucas made an exception by releasing the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars film in 2008, while promoting it, 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."[65]

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?"[66] 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.[67] 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.[68]

The sequel trilogy began with Episode VII: The Force Awakens, released on December 18, 2015.

The Force Awakens

About 30 years after the destruction of the Death Star II, Luke Skywalker has vanished following the demise of the new Jedi Order he was attempting to build. 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. They agree to help deliver the map inside BB-8 to 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.[69][70] 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.[71]

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.[72] 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.[73]

On March 12, 2015, Lucasfilm announced that Looper director Rian Johnson would direct Episode VIII with Ram Bergman as producer for Ram Bergman Productions.[74] Reports initially claimed Johnson would also direct Episode IX, but it was later confirmed he would write only a story treatment.[75][76] 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.[77] 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."[78]

Principal photography on The Last Jedi began in February 2016.[79] Additional filming took place in Dubrovnik from March 9 to March 16, 2016,[80][81] as well as in Ireland in May 2016.[82] Principal photography wrapped in July 2016.[83][84][85] 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.[86] The film was released on December 15, 2017.[87]

Episode IX

Production on Episode IX is scheduled to begin sometime in 2017.[88] Variety and Reuters reported that Carrie Fisher was slated for a key role in Episode IX.[89] 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.[90][91][92] In January 2017, Lucasfilm stated they would not digitally generate Fisher's performance for the film.[93] In April 2017, Todd Fisher and Billie Lourd gave Disney permission to use recent footage of Fisher for the film,[94] but later that month, Kennedy stated that Fisher will not appear in the film.[95][96] Principal photography of Star Wars: Episode IX is set to begin in June 2018.[97]

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.[98] On February 6, Entertainment Weekly reported that Disney is working on two films featuring Han Solo and Boba Fett.[99] Disney CFO Jay Rasulo has described the standalone films as origin stories.[100] 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."[101]

In April 2015, Lucasfilm and Kennedy announced that the standalone films would be referred to as the Star Wars Anthology films.[102][103][104] 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.

Rogue One

Warwick Davis, left, and Anthony Daniels, right, both have appeared in films across all trilogies, as well as in the anthology films. Daniels has portrayed C-3PO in all theatrical films released to date, as well as voicing all animated appearances of the character.

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.[105] 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.[106] 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.[107][108] 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."[109][110] 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.[111] 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.[112]

Solo

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 as director of Willow (1988).[113] Howard was one of the three directors George Lucas asked to direct Episode I: The Phantom Menace, though Howard declined, saying, "George, you should do it!".[114] 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.[115] A writer for the film has been hired as of September 2016.[116]

In February 2013, Entertainment Weekly reported that Lucasfilm hired Josh Trank to direct a Star Wars standalone film, with the news being confirmed soon after.[117] However, in November 2016 Disney announced that their contract with Trank was terminated due to the overwhelmingly negative reviews of Fantastic Four.[118] 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. Lucasfilm never confirmed what the plot was about, but confirmed that the film Josh Trank left was a different film from the Han Solo spin-off.[119]

Future

In August 2016, Ewan McGregor stated he would be open to return to the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, albeit for a spin-off film on the character, should he be approached, wanting to tell a story between Episode III and IV.[120] Fans showed interest in the idea; a fan-trailer for an Obi-Wan film, with footage from the film Last Days in the Desert (which starred McGregor) became viral and widely praised by fans.[121] The film was voted as the most wanted anthology film in a poll by The Hollywood Reporter despite there being only rumors of the film's production.[122] Lucasfilm and McGregor have denied the development of such film, despite fans' continued interest and rumors. Days before the airing of the Star Wars Rebels episode "Twin Suns" (where Obi-Wan appeared), McGregor again stated his interest in starring in a solo film, if Lucasfilm wanted him to.[123] Joel Edgerton, who played Luke Skywalker's step-uncle Owen in the prequel trilogy, said he would like to reprise his role in an Obi-Wan standalone film, if it were to be made. Edgerton also expressed interest in playing Boba Fett without taking off the mask, in the rumored Boba Fett film.[124]

Additional reports stated Lucasfilm was considering various films about different characters including movies focusing on Boba Fett, as well as Jedi Master Yoda.[125][126] In 2015, director Guillermo Del Toro pitched an idea to Lucasfilm for a film about Jabba the Hutt,[127] and in 2017, it was reported that it is among the projects being considered by the studio.[128][129]

Samuel L. Jackson has expressed interest in returning as Mace Windu, insisting that his character survived his death.[130] Fans have also expressed interest towards the possibility of Ahsoka Tano appearing in a live-action film, with Rosario Dawson expressing interest in the role.[131] Temuera Morrison has also expressed interest in portraying clone Captain Rex.[132] Ian McDiarmid has also expressed interest in returning as Emperor Palpatine.[133] However, Lucasfilm still has not given an official confirmation on any of the rumored projects.

Future trilogy

In November 2017, Lucasfilm announced that Rian Johnson, the writer/director of The Last Jedi, would be working on a new trilogy. The films will reportedly differ from the Skywalker-focused films in favor of focusing on new characters.[134] On the same day, Disney announced that a live-action Star Wars television series was also in development exclusively for their upcoming streaming service.[135]

In other media

From 1977 to 2014, the term Expanded Universe (abbreviated as EU), was an umbrella term for all officially licensed Star Wars storytelling materials set outside the events depicted within the theatrical films, including television series, novels, comics, and video games. Lucasfilm maintained internal continuity between the films and television content and the EU material until April 25, 2014, when the company announced all of the EU works would cease production. Existing works would no longer be considered canon to the franchise and subsequent reprints would be rebranded under the Star Wars Legends label,[136] with downloadable content for the massively multiplayer online game Star Wars: The Old Republic being the only Legends material to still be produced. The Star Wars canon was subsequently restructured to only include the existing six feature films, the animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), and its companion animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. All future projects and creative developments across all types of media would be overseen and coordinated by the Story Group, announced as a division of Lucasfilm created to maintain continuity and a cohesive vision on the storytelling of the franchise. Lucasfilm announced that the change was made "to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience".[136] The animated series Star Wars Rebels was the first project produced after the announcement, followed by multiple comics series from Marvel, novels published by Del Rey, and the sequel film The Force Awakens (2015).

Television

Dave Filoni, supervising director on Star Wars animated series, later promoted to oversee the development of all future Lucasfilm Animation projects.[137]

In the two-hour Star Wars Holiday Special produced for CBS in 1978, Chewbacca returns to his home planet of Kashyyyk to celebrate "Life Day" with his family. Along with the stars of the original 1977 film, celebrities Bea Arthur, Art Carney, Diahann Carroll, and Jefferson Starship appear in plot-related skits and musical numbers. Lucas loathed the special and forbade it to ever be aired again after its original broadcast, or reproduced on home video.[138] An 11-minute animated sequence in the Holiday Special featuring the first appearance of bounty hunter Boba Fett, is considered to be the sole silver lining of the production, with Lucas even including it as an special feature on a 2011 Blu-ray release (making it the only part of the Holiday Special to ever receive an official home media release). The segment is the first Star Wars animation ever produced.[139]

The television film Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure aired on ABC on Thanksgiving weekend in 1984. With a story by Lucas and a screenplay by Bob Carrau, it features the Ewok Wicket from Return of the Jedi as he helps two children rescue their parents from a giant known as Gorax.[140][141] The 1985 sequel, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, finds Wicket and his friends protecting their village from invaders.[142][140][143]

Nelvana, the animation studio that had animated the animated segment of the Holiday Special was hired to create two animated series. Star Wars: Droids (1985–1986), which aired for one season on ABC, follows the adventures of the droids C-3PO and R2-D2, 15 years before the events of the 1977 film Star Wars.[142][144][145] Its sister series Star Wars: Ewoks (1985–1987) features the adventures of the Ewoks before Return of the Jedi and the Ewok movies.[142][145]

After the release of Attack of the Clones, Cartoon Network animated and aired Star Wars: Clone Wars from 2003 to weeks before the 2005 release of Revenge of the Sith, as the series featured event set between those films.[146][147] It won the Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program in 2004 and 2005.[148][149]

Lucas decided to invest in creating his own animation company, Lucasfilm Animation, and used it to create his first in-house Star Wars CGI-animated series. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008–2014) was introduced through a 2008 animated film of the same name, and set in the same time period as the previous Clone Wars series (albeit ignoring it).[150][151][152][153] While all previous television works were reassigned to the Legends brand in 2014, Lucasfilm accepted The Clone Wars and its originating film, as part of the canon. All series released after would also be part of the canon.[136][154] In 2014, Disney XD began airing Star Wars Rebels, the next CGI-animated series. Set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, it followed a band of rebels as they fight the Galactic Empire and also helped close some of the arcs in The Clone Wars.[155][156][157][158][159] Another animated series debuted in 2017, Star Wars Forces of Destiny focused in the female characters of the franchise.[160]

Untitled Star Wars series

Since 2005, when Lucas announced plans for a television series set between the prequel and original trilogies, the television project has been in varying stages of development at Lucasfilm [161] Producer Rick McCallum revealed the working title, Star Wars: Underworld, in 2012,[162] and said in 2013 that 50 scripts had been written.[163] He called the project "The most provocative, the most bold and daring material that we've ever done."[163] The proposed series explores criminal and political power struggles in the decades prior to A New Hope,[161] and as of December 2015 was still in development at Lucasfilm.[164] In November 2017, Bob Iger discussed the development of a Star Wars series for Disney's upcoming digital streaming service, due to launch in 2019.[165] It is unknown if the series would be based on the Star Wars Underworld scripts or if it would follow an entirely new idea.

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.[166]

Novels

Timothy Zahn, author of the Thrawn trilogy (1991–1993), which was widely credited with revitalizing the dormant Star Wars franchise

Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, the 1976 novelization of the original film by Alan Dean Foster,[167] whom followed it with sequel Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1978), which Lucas decided no to film.[168] The film novelizations for The Empire Strikes Back (1980) by Donald F. Glut and Return of the Jedi (1983) by James Kahn followed, as well as The Han Solo Adventures trilogy (1979–1980) by Brian Daley,[169] and The Adventures of Lando Calrissian (1983) trilogy by L. Neil Smith.[170][142]

Timothy Zahn's bestselling Thrawn trilogy (1991–1993) reignited interest in the franchise and introduced the popular characters Grand Admiral Thrawn, Mara Jade, Talon Karrde, and Gilad Pellaeon.[171][172][173][174] The first novel, Heir to the Empire, reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list,[175] and the series finds Luke, Leia, and Han facing off against tactical genius Thrawn, who is plotting to retake the galaxy for the Empire.[176] Though Thrawn was designated a Legends character in 2014, he was reintroduced into the canon in the 2016 third season of Star Wars Rebels.[177][178] In The Courtship of Princess Leia (1994) by Dave Wolverton, set immediately before the Thrawn trilogy, Leia considers an advantageous political marriage to Prince Isolder of the planet Hapes, but she and Han ultimately marry.[179][180] Steve Perry's Shadows of the Empire (1996), set in the as-yet-unexplored time period between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, was part of a multimedia campaign that included a comic book series and video game.[181][182] The novel introduced the crime lord Prince Xizor, another popular character who would appear in multiple other works.[181][183] Other notable series from Bantam include the Jedi Academy trilogy (1994) by Kevin J. Anderson,[184][185] the 14-book Young Jedi Knights series (1995–1998) by Anderson and Rebecca Moesta,[185][186] and the X-wing series (1996–2012) by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston.[187][188][189]

Del Rey took over Star Wars book publishing in 1999, releasing what would become a 19-installment novel series called The New Jedi Order (1999–2003). Written by multiple authors, the series was set 25 to 30 years after the original films and introduced the Yuuzhan Vong, a powerful alien race attempting to invade and conquer the entire galaxy.[190][191] The bestselling multi-author series Legacy of the Force (2006–2008) chronicles the crossover of Han and Leia's son Jacen Solo to the dark side of the Force; among his evil deeds, he kills Luke's wife Mara Jade as a sacrifice to join the Sith. The story parallels the fallen son of Han and Leia, Ben Solo/Kylo Ren, in the 2015 film The Force Awakens.[192][193][194][195] Three series were introduced for younger audiences: the 18-book Jedi Apprentice (1999–2002) chronicles the adventures of Obi-Wan Kenobi and his master Qui-Gon Jinn in the years before The Phantom Menace; the 11-book Jedi Quest (2001–2004) follows Obi-Wan and his own apprentice, Anakin Skywalker in between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones; and the 10-book The Last of the Jedi (2005–2008), set almost immediately after Revenge of the Sith, features Obi-Wan and the last few surviving Jedi.

Maul: Lockdown by Joe Schreiber, released in January 2014, was the last Star Wars novel published before Lucasfilm announced the creation of the Star Wars Legends brand.[196][197][198]

Comics

Marvel Comics published a Star Wars comic book series from 1977 to 1986.[199][200][201][202] Original Star Wars comics were also serialized in the Marvel magazine Pizzazz between 1977 and 1979. The 1977 installments were the first original Star Wars stories not directly adapted from the films to appear in print form, as they preceded those of the Star Wars comic series.[203] From 1985–1987, the animated children's series Ewoks and Droids inspired comic series from Marvel's Star Comics line.[204][205][206]

In the late 1980s, Marvel dropped a new Star Wars comic it had in development, which was picked up by Dark Horse Comics and published as the popular Dark Empire sequence (1991–1995).[207] Dark Horse subsequently launched dozens of series set after the original film trilogy, including Tales of the Jedi (1993–1998), X-wing Rogue Squadron (1995–1998), Star Wars: Republic (1998–2006), Star Wars Tales (1999–2005), Star Wars: Empire (2002–2006), and Knights of the Old Republic (2006–2010).[208][209]

After Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm, it was announced in January 2014 that in 2015 the Star Wars comics license would return to Marvel Comics,[210] whose parent company, Marvel Entertainment, Disney had purchased in 2009.[211] Launched in 2015, the first three publications in were titled Star Wars, Star Wars: Darth Vader, and the limited series Star Wars: Princess Leia.[212][213][214]

Audio dramas

Radio adaptations of the films were also produced. Lucas, a fan of the NPR-affiliated campus radio station of his alma mater the University of Southern California, licensed the Star Wars radio rights to KUSC-FM for US$1. The production used John Williams' original film score, along with Ben Burtt's sound effects.[215][216]

The first was written by science fiction author Brian Daley and directed by John Madden. It was broadcast on National Public Radio in 1981, adapting the original 1977 film into 13-episodes.[217][215][216] Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels reprised their film roles.[217][215]

The overwhelming success, led to a 10-episode adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back in 1982. Billy Dee Williams joined the other two stars, reprising his role as Lando Calrissian.

In 1983, Buena Vista Records released an original, 30-minute Star Wars audio drama titled Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell, written by Daley.[216][218] In the 1990s, Time Warner Audio Publishing adapted several Star Wars series from Dark Horse Comics into audio dramas: the three-part Dark Empire saga, Tales of the Jedi, Dark Lords of the Sith, the Dark Forces trilogy, and Crimson Empire (1998).[218] Return of the Jedi was adapted into 6-episodes in 1996, featuring Daniels.[215][218]

Video games

The first officially licensed Star Wars electronic game was Kenner's 1979 table-top Star Wars Electronic Battle Command.[219][220] In 1982, Parker Brothers published the first licensed Star Wars video game, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, for the Atari 2600.[221] It was followed in 1983 by Atari's rail shooter arcade game Star Wars, which used vector graphics and was based on the "Death Star trench run" scene from the 1977 film.[222] The next game, Return of the Jedi (1984), used more traditional raster graphics,[223] with the following game The Empire Strikes Back (1985) returning to the 1983's arcade game vector graphics, but recreating the "Battle of Hoth" scene instead.[224]

Lucasfilm had started its own video game company in the early 1980s, which became known for adventure games and World War II flight combat games. In 1993, LucasArts released Star Wars: X-Wing, the first self-published Star Wars video game and the first space flight simulation based on the franchise.[225] X-Wing was one of the best-selling games of 1993, and established its own series of games.[225] Released in 1995, Dark Forces was the first Star Wars first-person shooter video game.[226] A hybrid adventure game incorporating puzzles and strategy,[227] it also featured new gameplay features and graphical elements not then common in other games, made possible by LucasArts' custom-designed game engine, called the Jedi.[226][227][228][229][230][231] The game was well received and well reviewed,[232][233][234] and was followed by four sequels.[235][236] Dark Forces introduced the popular character Kyle Katarn, who would later appear in multiple games, novels, and comics.[237] Katarn is a former Imperial stormtrooper who joins the Rebellion and ultimately becomes a Jedi,[226][238][239] a plot arc similar to that of Finn in the 2015 film The Force Awakens.[192]

Disney has partnered with Lenovo to create the Augmented Reality game 'Star Wars: Jedi Challenges' that works with a Lenovo Mirage AR headset, a tracking sensor and a Lightsaber controller that will launch in December 2017.[240]

Multimedia projects

Theme park attractions

Title Park(s) Opening date Closing date Status
Live attractions
Star Tours Disneyland January 9, 1987 (1987-01-09) July 27, 2010 (2010-07-27) Closed
Tokyo Disneyland July 12, 1989 (1989-07-12) April 2, 2012 (2012-04-02)
Disney's Hollywood Studios December 15, 1989 (1989-12-15) September 7, 2010 (2010-09-07)
Disneyland Paris April 12, 1992 (1992-04-12) March 16, 2016 (2016-03-16)
Star Wars Weekends Disney's Hollywood Studios 1997 (1997) 2015 (2015)
Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination Multiple locations October 19, 2005 (2005-10-19) March 23, 2014 (2014-03-23)
Jedi Training Academy Disneyland July 1, 2006 (2006-19-01) November 15, 2015 (2015-11-15)
Disney's Hollywood Studios October 9, 2007 (2007-10-09) October 5, 2015 (2015-10-05)
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue Disney's Hollywood Studios May 20, 2011 (2011-05-20) Operating
Disneyland June 3, 2011 (2011-06-03)
Tokyo Disneyland May 7, 2013 (2013-05-07)
Disneyland Paris March 26, 2017 (2017-03-26)
Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain Disneyland November 14, 2015 (2015-11-14) May 31, 2017 (2017-05-31) Closed
Hong Kong Disneyland June 11, 2016 (2016-06-11) Operating
Disneyland Paris May 7, 2017 (2017-05-07)
Star Wars Launch Bay Disneyland November 16, 2015 (2015-11-16)
Disney's Hollywood Studios December 4, 2015 (2015-12-04)
Shanghai Disneyland Park June 16, 2016 (2016-06-16)
Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple Disney's Hollywood Studios December 1, 2015 (2015-12-01)
Disneyland December 8, 2015 (2015-12-08)
Disneyland Paris July 11, 2015 (2015-07-11)
Hong Kong Disneyland June 25, 2016 (2016-06-25)
Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Disney's Hollywood Studios June 17, 2016 (2016-06-17)
Future
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Disneyland[243] 2019 (2019)[243] N/A Under construction[244]
Disney's Hollywood Studios[243] 2019 (2019)[243] N/A
Star Wars Hotel Disney's Hollywood Studios[245] TBA N/A Proposed

Themes

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.[246] 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,[247] 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.[47]

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.[248][249][250]

The stormtroopers from the movies share a name with the Nazi stormtroopers (see also Sturmabteilung). Imperial officers' uniforms also resemble some historical German uniforms of World War II 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) and Hoth (Hermann Hoth was a German general who served on the snow laden Eastern Front).[251] 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.[252] The space battles in A New Hope were based on filmed World War I and World War II dogfights.[253]

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 serves 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.[254]

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.[255] Star Wars references are deeply embedded in popular culture;[256] Phrases like "evil empire" and "May the Force be with you" have become part of the popular lexicon.[257] The first Star Wars film in 1977 was a cultural unifier,[258] enjoyed by a wide spectrum of people.[259] 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.[260] 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."[261] Its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, was selected in 2010.[262][263] 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.[264][265]

Industry

The original Star Wars film was a huge success for 20th Century Fox, and was credited for reinvigorating the company. Within three weeks of the film's release, the studio's stock price doubled to a record high. Prior to 1977, 20th Century Fox's greatest annual profits were $37 million, while in 1977, the company broke that record by posting a profit of $79 million.[253] The franchise helped Fox to change from an almost bankrupt production company to a thriving media conglomerate.[266]

Star Wars fundamentally changed the aesthetics and narratives of Hollywood films, switching the focus of Hollywood-made films from deep, meaningful stories based on dramatic conflict, themes and irony to sprawling special-effects-laden blockbusters, as well as changing the Hollywood film industry in fundamental ways. Before Star Wars, special effects in films had not appreciably advanced since the 1950s.[267] The commercial success of Star Wars created a boom in state-of-the-art special effects in the late 1970s.[266] Along with Jaws, Star Wars started the tradition of the summer blockbuster film in the entertainment industry, where films open on many screens at the same time and profitable franchises are important.[268][259] It created the model for the major film trilogy and showed that merchandising rights on a film could generate more money than the film itself did.[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.[269] 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.[270] 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.

Academia

As the characters and the story line of the original trilogy are so well known, educationalists have advocated the use of the films in the classroom as a learning resource. For example, a project in Western Australia honed elementary school students story-telling skills by role playing action scenes from the movies and later creating props and audio/visual scenery to enhance their performance.[271] Others have used the films to encourage second-level students to integrate technology in the science classroom by making prototype light sabers.[272] Similarly, psychiatrists in New Zealand and the US have advocated their use in the university classroom to explain different types of psychopathology.[273][274]

Merchandising

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.[23] 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.[citation needed] Star Wars was the first intellectual property to be licensed in Lego Group history, which has produced a Star Wars Lego theme.[275] 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.[276] The Lego Star Wars video games are critically acclaimed best sellers.[citation needed]

In 1977 with the board game Star Wars: Escape from the Death Star[277] (not to be confused with another board game with the same title, published in 1990).[278] The board game Risk has been adapted to the series in two editions by Hasbro: and Star Wars Risk: The Clone Wars Edition[279] (2005) and Risk: Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition[280] (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.[281] 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.[282] 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).

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Until 2020

References

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  3. ^ James Ryan. "When did Star Wars become known as A New Hope? - In A Far Away Galaxy". 
  4. ^ ScreenPrism. "Why was "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" originally released under another title - ScreenPrism". 
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  6. ^ "Movie Franchises". The Numbers. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
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Bibliography

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Further reading

External links