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Star Wars

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This article is about the film series and media franchise. For the original 1977 film, see Star Wars (film). For other uses, see Star Wars (disambiguation).
Star Wars
Star Wars Logo.svg
The Star Wars logo as seen in all films.
Creator George Lucas
Original work Star Wars (1977)
Print publications
Novels List of novels
Comics List of comics
Films and television
Films

Saga:
Original trilogy

Prequel trilogy

Sequel trilogy

Anthology films

  • Rogue One (2016)
  • Untitled Han Solo Anthology film (2018)[1]
  • Untitled Anthology film (2020)[1]

Animated

Television series

Legends

Legends TV Specials

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

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

The franchise began in 1977 with the release of the film Star Wars (subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope in 1981[2][3]), by 20th Century Fox, which became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon. It was followed by the similarly successful sequels The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983); these three films constitute the original Star Wars trilogy (Episodes IV–VI). A prequel trilogy (Episodes I–III) was later released between 1999 and 2005, which received a more mixed reaction from critics and fans in comparison to the original trilogy. More recently, a sequel trilogy (Episodes VII–IX) began with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). All seven films were nominated for or won Academy Awards, and were commercial successes, with a combined box office revenue of $6.46 billion,[4] making Star Wars the fourth highest-grossing film series.[5] Additional theatrical films outside of the main saga include the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) and an upcoming series of anthology films, which will begin with the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016).

The series has spawned an extensive media franchise—the Star Wars expanded universe—including books, television series, computer and video games, and comic books, resulting in significant development of the series's 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 USD $41.9 billion, including box-office receipts as well as profits from their video games and DVD sales.[6]

In 2012, The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm for $4.06 billion and earned the distribution rights to all subsequent Star Wars films, beginning with the release of The Force Awakens in 2015.[7] 20th Century Fox retains the physical distribution rights to the first two Star Wars trilogies, owning permanent rights for the original 1977 film and holding the rights to Episodes IIII, V and VI until May 2020.[8][9] Walt Disney Studios owns digital distribution rights to all the Star Wars films, excluding A New Hope.[9][10]

Setting

"Star Wars galaxy" redirects here. For the video game, see Star Wars Galaxies. For the comic series named Star Wars Galaxy, see Star Wars (UK comics).

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

One of the prominent elements of Star Wars is "the Force", an omnipresent energy that can be harnessed by those with that ability, known as Force-sensitives. It is described in the first produced film as "an energy field created by all living things [that] surrounds us, penetrates us, [and] binds the galaxy together."[11] The Force allows users to perform various supernatural feats (such as telekinesis, clairvoyance, precognition, and mind control) and can amplify certain physical traits, such as speed and reflexes; these abilities vary between characters and can be improved through training. While the Force can be used for good, known as the light side, it also has a dark side that, when pursued, imbues users with hatred, aggression, and malevolence.

The seven films feature the Jedi, who adhere to the light side of the Force to serve as peacekeepers and guardians, and the Sith, who use the dark side of the Force for evil in an attempt to destroy the Jedi Order and the Republic and rule the galaxy for themselves.

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.[12]

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.[13] On August 15, 2008, 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 is set for release on December 16, 2016 as the first in an anthology series of films separate from the main episodic saga.

Re-releases and Special Edition director cuts

  • "1997 Special Edition": To correspond with the 20th anniversary of the original film, the Star Wars original trilogy was re-released to theaters and later VHS. The re-released films featured alterations, primarily motivated by the improvement of CGI and other special effects technologies, which allowed visuals that were not possible to achieve at the time of the original filmmaking. It also altered some scenes, which proved controversial among fans. The most debated alteration is a scene in A New Hope where the character Han Solo shoots and kills the character Greedo in cold blood, being altered so Solo would shoot in self-defense after Greedo shoots him and misses at point-blank range. This spawned the popular fan phrase, Han shot first![14][15]
  • "2004 DVD Edition": When the original trilogy received its first DVD release. Lucas made more alterations to the films in order to make them more consistent with the prequel trilogy.[16] For example, the redeemed Anakin Skywalker's ghost seen at the end of Return of the Jedi is played by Hayden Christensen (who played the young adult Anakin in the prequels) in this version instead of Sebastian Shaw.[17]
  • "2011 Blu-ray Edition": The first Blu-ray release of the original and prequel trilogies included further alterations for all films, albeit more minor than the previous re-releases; such as Yoda's puppet in The Phantom Menace being replaced by a CGI model, for consistency with the other prequels.
    • "3-D Edition": At a ShoWest convention in 2005, Lucas had demonstrated new technology and stated that he planned to release the six Star Wars films in a new 3D film format, beginning with A New Hope in 2007.[18] However, by January 2007, Lucasfilm stated on StarWars.com that "there are no definitive plans or dates for releasing the Star Wars saga in 3-D." But at Celebration Europe in July 2007, Rick McCallum confirmed Lucasfilm was "planning to take all six films and turn them into 3-D", but that they were "waiting for the companies out there that are developing this technology to bring it down to a cost level that makes it worthwhile for everybody".[19] In July 2008, Jeffrey Katzenberg, the CEO of DreamWorks Animation, revealed that Lucas planned to redo all six of the movies in 3D.[20] The Phantom Menace received a theatrical re-release in 3-D on February 10, 2012.[21][22] With the 3-D conversion process taking up to a year to complete for each film, the plan was to re-release yearly the remaining five films in order.[23] However, the 3D re-releases of episodes II and III and the 3D conversion of the original trilogy, was postponed to enable Lucasfilm to concentrate on The Force Awakens.[24] The 3-D releases were being edited exactly the same as the Blu-ray editions.

TV broadcast rights to the Star Wars movies, are currently owned by Turner since September 14, 2016.[25][26][27]

The theatrical unaltered cuts of the original trilogy have only been released on a limited edition DVD, but the picture quality and audio wasn't enhanced. Reception to the alterations of the various "Special Editions" has been mixed,[15][28][29][30] prompting petitions for Lucasfilm to produce an official remastered release of the unaltered theatrical cuts. In the absence of an official home media release, many fan-edits have attempted to create faithful remastered versions of the unaltered theatrical cuts.[31][32]

Main Saga films

Film Release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Producer(s) Distributor(s) Release history of director cuts
Original trilogy
Episode IV –
A New Hope
May 25, 1977 (1977-05-25) George Lucas Gary Kurtz 20th Century Fox

Theatrical Release,

1997 VHS,

2004 DVD,

2011 Blu-ray

Episode V –
The Empire Strikes Back
May 21, 1980 (1980-05-21) Irvin Kershner George Lucas, Leigh Brackett & Lawrence Kasdan
Episode VI –
Return of the Jedi
May 25, 1983 (1983-05-25) Richard Marquand George Lucas & Lawrence Kasdan Howard Kazanjian
Prequel trilogy
Episode I –
The Phantom Menace
May 19, 1999 (1999-05-19) George Lucas George Lucas Rick McCallum 20th Century Fox

Theatrical Release,

2011 Blu-ray

Episode II –
Attack of the Clones
May 16, 2002 (2002-05-16) George Lucas & Jonathan Hales
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 & Bryan Burk Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Theatrical Release

Episode VIII December 15, 2017 Rian Johnson Kathleen Kennedy & Ram Bergman Post-production
Episode IX May 24, 2019 (May 24, 2019) Colin Trevorrow Rian Johnson (story)
Colin Trevorrow & Derek Connolly (screenplay)
Kathleen Kennedy & Ram Bergman Pre-production[33]

Anthology films

Film Release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Producer(s) Distributor(s) Status
Rogue One:
A Star Wars Story
December 16, 2016 (December 16, 2016) Gareth Edwards John Knoll & Gary Whitta (story)
Chris Weitz & Tony Gilroy (screenplay)
Kathleen Kennedy Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Post-production
Untitled Han Solo Anthology film May 25, 2018 (2018-05-25)[34] Phil Lord and Christopher Miller Lawrence Kasdan & Jon Kasdan Kathleen Kennedy, Lawrence Kasdan, Jon Kasdan, Jason McGatlin & Will Allegra Pre-production
Untitled Anthology film 2020 (2020) TBA TBA Kathleen Kennedy In development

Animated film

Film Release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Producer(s) Distributor(s) Status
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. Released

Early development

In 1971, Universal Studios agreed to make American Graffiti and Star Wars in a two-picture contract, although Star Wars was later rejected in its early concept stages. American Graffiti was completed in 1973 and, a few months later, Lucas wrote a short summary called "The Journal of the Whills", which told the tale of the training of apprentice CJ Thorpe as a "Jedi-Bendu" space commando by the legendary Mace Windy.[35] Frustrated that his story was too difficult to understand, Lucas then began writing a 13-page treatment called The Star Wars on April 17, 1973, which had thematic parallels with Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress.[36] By 1974, he had expanded the treatment into a rough draft screenplay, adding elements such as the Sith, the Death Star, and a protagonist named Annikin Starkiller.

Original trilogy

"Original trilogy" redirects here. For the video game, see Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy.

A New Hope

Main article: Star Wars IV
George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, he directed A New Hope and the prequel trilogy and supervised the scripts of the original and prequel trilogies. Lucas ceased creative involvement with the franchise in 2014.

The tyrannical Galactic Empire is nearing completion of the Death Star, a space station with the power to destroy planets. The Emperor intends to use this deadly weapon to assert his dominance over the galaxy and crush the Rebel Alliance, an organized resistance movement. Near the orbit of the desert planet Tatooine, a Rebel ship escorts a secret member of the rebellion, Princess Leia Organa, whom intends to send stolen Death Star plans to her native planet Alderaan. However, the Rebel ship is intercepted by the Emperor's most deadly agent, Darth Vader, and his Stormtroopers. Before being captured, Leia hides the plans along with the message "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope" in the astromech droid R2-D2. R2, along the protocol droid C-3PO, escape to Tatooine. The droids are found by Luke Skywalker, an orphan farm boy raised by his step-uncle and aunt. While cleaning R2, he accidentally triggers Leia's message. Luke assists the droids in finding Obi-Wan, who now calls himself Ben Kenobi, and reveals himself as an exiled Jedi Knight living as an old hermit. Kenobi also tells Luke he knew his father Anakin Skywalker, a great Jedi who was betrayed and murdered by Vader (a Sith Lord who was Obi-Wan's former pupil).[37] Kenobi and Luke hire the smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca to take them aboard the Millennium Falcon to deliver R2 to the rebellion, but the Death Star destroys Alderaan before their arrival, resulting in an accidentally landing on the Death Star. There, Luke and Han rescue Leia while Kenobi faces Vader in a lightsaber duel; sacrificing himself to allow the others to escape. At the Rebels' secret base on the fourth moon of Yavin, the Rebels use the plans to find a weakness. During the Rebels' assault on the Death Star, Luke (trusting in the Force) fires the shot that destroys the deadly space station.[11]

For the second draft, Lucas made heavy simplifications, and introduced the young hero on a farm as Luke Starkiller. Annikin became Luke's father, a wise Jedi knight. "The Force" was also introduced as a mystical energy field. The next draft removed the father character and replaced him with a substitute named Ben Kenobi. Later, he realized the film would not in fact be the first in the sequence, but a film in the second trilogy in the saga. The second draft contained a teaser for a never-made sequel about "The Princess of Ondos", and by the time of the third draft some months later Lucas had negotiated a contract that gave him rights to make two sequels. Not long after, Lucas met with author Alan Dean Foster, and hired him to write these two sequels as novels.[38]

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.[39] At that point, Lucas was not expecting the film to become part of a series. The fourth draft of the script underwent subtle changes that made it more satisfying as a self-contained film, ending with the destruction of the Galactic Empire itself by way of destroying the Death Star. However, Lucas had previously conceived of the film as the first in a series of adventures. The intention was that if Star Wars was successful, Lucas could adapt the novels into screenplays.[40] He had also by that point developed an elaborate backstory to aid his writing process.[41]

"It wasn't long after I began writing Star Wars that I realized the story was more than a single film could hold. As the saga of the Skywalkers and Jedi Knights unfolded, I began to see it as a tale that could take at least nine films to tell—three trilogies—and I realized, in making my way through the back story and after story, that I was really setting out to write the middle story."

George Lucas, 1994, preface to the reissue of Splinter of the Mind's Eye

When Star Wars proved successful, Lucas decided to use the film as the basis for an elaborate serial, although at one point he considered walking away from the series altogether.[42] However, Lucas wanted to create an independent filmmaking center—what would become Skywalker Ranch—and saw an opportunity to use the series as a financing agent.[43] Alan Dean Foster had already begun writing the first sequel novel, but Lucas decided to abandon his plan to adapt Foster's work; the book was released as Splinter of the Mind's Eye the following year. At first, Lucas envisioned a series of films with no set number of entries, like the James Bond series. In an interview with Rolling Stone in August 1977, he said that he wanted his friends to each take a turn at directing the films and giving unique interpretations on the series. He also said that the backstory in which Darth Vader turns to the dark side, kills Luke's father and fights Ben Kenobi on a volcano as the Galactic Republic falls would make an excellent sequel.

The Empire Strikes Back

Main article: Star Wars V
Irvin Kershner directed The Empire Strikes Back.
John Williams, composer of the musical scores for the original and prequel trilogies and The Force Awakens.

Three years later, the Rebels new secret base on the ice planet Hoth is decimated by Vader and the Empire. Han and Leia fall in love, while Ben Kenobi's Force ghost leads Luke to the swamp-infested world of Dagobah, in a quest to find the exiled Jedi Master Yoda, to begin his Jedi training. However, Luke's training is interrupted by Vader, who lures him into a trap by capturing Solo and his friends at Cloud City, governed by Solo's old friend Lando Calrissian. During a fierce lightsaber duel, Vader reveals himself as Luke's father, and attempts to turn him to the dark side of the Force.[44] Luke barely escapes; while Han is betrayed by Lando, frozen in carbonite, captured by the bounty hunter Boba Fett, and sold to the gangster Jabba the Hutt.

Later that year, Lucas hired science fiction author Leigh Brackett to write Star Wars II with him. They held story conferences and, by late November 1977, Lucas had produced a handwritten treatment called The Empire Strikes Back. The treatment is similar to the final film, except that Darth Vader does not reveal he is Luke's father. In the first draft that Brackett would write from this, Luke's father appears as a ghost to instruct Luke.[45]

Brackett finished her first draft in early 1978; Lucas has said he was disappointed with it, but before he could discuss it with her, she died of cancer.[46] 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.[47] 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.[48] 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,[49] both in April 1978. He also took the script to a darker extreme by having Han Solo imprisoned in carbonite and left in limbo.[44]

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;[50] 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.[51]

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.[49] 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.[52]

Return of the Jedi

Main article: Star Wars VI
From left to right. Ben Burtt created many of the iconic noise effect of the saga, including the light-saber sounds, the beeps of R2-D2, and Chewbacca's growls. Ralph McQuarrie's sketches and conceptual art, defined the visual aesthetics of the original trilogy.

After rescuing Solo with the help of Calrissian, Luke returns to Dagobah to complete his Jedi training; only to find the 900-year-old Yoda on his deathbed, whom in his last words confirms that Vader is Luke's father, but that Luke must confront his father again in order to complete his training. Moments later, the Force ghost of Ben Kenobi reveals to Luke that he has a twin sister, whom turns out to be Leia, but Kenobi 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 and take him as their apprentice. During the duel, Luke succumbs to his anger and almost kills Vader, but controls himself at the last minute; realizing that he is about to suffer his father's fate, he forgives his father and proudly declares himself to be a Jedi like his father before him. Knowing Luke will never turn, the Emperor attempts to electrocute Luke to death with Force lightning, but is stopped by a redeemed Anakin Skywalker, who kills the Emperor while suffering mortal wounds in the process. After thanking Luke for bringing him back to the light side, Anakin dies in his son's arms while the Rebels succeed in destroying the Death Star II.[53]

By the time he 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.[54]

Prequel trilogy

After losing much of his fortune in a divorce settlement in 1987, Lucas had no desire to return to Star Wars, and had unofficially canceled the sequel trilogy by the time of Return of the Jedi.[55] 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 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.[56]

The Phantom Menace

Main article: Star Wars I

About 32 years before A New Hope, 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, where Qui-Gon discovers a nine-year-old slave named Anakin Skywalker. Qui-Gon helps liberate the boy from slavery, believing the boy to be the "Chosen One" foretold by a Jedi prophecy to bring balance to the Force. After Qui-Gon is later killed by Palpatine's first apprentice Darth Maul, the Jedi Council (led by Yoda) allows Obi-Wan to train Anakin as per Qui-Gon's dying wish, despite the Council's suspicions that the boy possesses too much fear and anger within him.[57]

By 1993, it was announced, in Variety among other sources, that he 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".[58] In 1994, Lucas began writing the screenplay to the first prequel, 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,[59]

Attack of the Clones

Main article: Star Wars II
The Boba Fett character was first incorporated in the Star Wars Expanded Universe television film Star Wars Holiday Special before appearing in The Empire Strikes Back. Picture of a cosplay.[60]

Ten years later, the galaxy gets thrown into 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. Palpatine secretly engineers the war to destroy the Jedi Order and achieve more political power.[61] At the same time, Anakin and Padmé fall in love and secretly wed.

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.[62] Unsure of a title, Lucas had jokingly called the film "Jar Jar's Great Adventure".[63] 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 Princess Leia in A New Hope;[64][65] 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.[66] The basic elements of that backstory became the plot basis for Episode II, with the new wrinkle added that Palpatine secretly orchestrated the crisis.[61]

Revenge of the Sith

Main article: Star Wars III
Darth Vader is one of the most iconic characters of the Star Wars franchise. A Vader costumed street performer in Amsterdam.[67]

Three years later, Padmé becomes pregnant. Anakin has prophetic visions of Padmé death in childbirth, and Palpatine convinces him that the dark side of the Force holds the power to save her 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 Obi-Wan on the volcanic planet Mustafar. Obi-Wan defeats his former apprentice and friend, severing his limbs and leaving him to burn to death on the shores of a lava flow. Palpatine, now The Emperor arrives in time to save Vader, whom now requires a permanent life support system to survive, contained within a suit of armor and a mechanical black mask. At the same time, Padmé dies while giving birth to twins Luke and Leia. Kenobi and Yoda, now the only remaining Jedi alive, agree to separate the twins and keep them hidden from both Vader and the Emperor; until the time comes when Anakin's children can be used to help overthrow the Empire.[68]

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.[69] As he reviewed the storyline that summer, however, he says he radically re-organized the plot.[70] 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.[71] 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.[72]

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.[68][73] When congratulating the producers of the TV series Lost in 2010, Lucas himself jokingly admitted, "when Star Wars first came out, I didn't know where it was going either. The trick is to pretend you've planned the whole thing out in advance. Throw in some father issues and references to other stories – let's call them homages – and you've got a series".[74]

Sequel trilogy

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.[75] 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.[76][77] 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."[78] 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 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?"[79]

Despite insisting that a sequel trilogy would never happen, George 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.[80] 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.[81]

The Force Awakens

Main article: Star Wars VII
Lawrence Kasdan co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. And the scripts for The Force Awakens and untitled Han Solo spin-off.

About 30 years after Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker, now the last Jedi, has vanished. The remnants of the Empire became The First Order, seeks to destroy Luke and the New Republic, while the Resistance opposes, led by princess turned general, Leia 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 Han Solo and Leia, 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 deflects the First Order, and frees Poe who dubs him "Finn", while both escape in a TIE fighter; whom crashes on Jakku, Poe seemingly dies. Finn finds Rey and BB-8, but the First Order does too, both escape Jakku in a stolen Millennium Falcon. Then Falcon is recaptured by Han and Chewbacca, smugglers again, since abandoning the Resistance. The five travel to Takodana to meet with Maz Kanata. There, Rey finds Anakin and Luke's former lightsaber, and upon touching it, has a Force Vision. Maz's castle is attacked by the First Order. Finn, Han, and Chewie are saved by an X-wing squadron led by Poe, who survived, but Rey is captured by Kylo and taken to Starkiller Base. Han reunites with Leia, and goes to the Resistance secret base on D'Qar. Han, Finn, and Chewiee travel to Starkiller Base and disable it's shields, to allow Poe's squad to destroy it. Kylo tortures Rey, she resists, and discovers she has the Force. Rey uses a Jedi mind trick on her guard, and escapes, then reunites with Han, Finn, and Chewie, but the group encounters Kylo. Han yells: "Ben!... come home, we miss you!" to his son, whom considers his father's advice, but resits, stabbing Han with his saber. Poe's pilots begin to bombard the base. Finn and Rey escape the base, but Kylo attacks, Finn defends with Anakin's saber, but is wounded. Rey Force pulls the saber, and duels, hurting Kylo, until a rift separates them. Rey, Finn, and Chewie escape the imploding planet on the Falcon and return to the Resistance base. An unconscious Finn stays, while Rey, Chewbacca, and R2-D2 travel to Ahch-To following Luke's map, Rey shows the Jedi his old saber.

The screenplay for Episode VII was originally set to be written by Michael Arndt,[82] but in October 2013 it was announced that writing duties would be taken over by Lawrence Kasdan and J. J. Abrams.[83] 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.[84]

Episodes VIII and IX

Main article: Star Wars VIII

On November 20, 2012, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg will write and produce Episodes VIII and IX.[85] Kasdan and Kinberg were later confirmed as creative consultants on those films, in addition to writing stand-alone 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.[86]

On March 12, 2015, Lucasfilm announced that Looper director Rian Johnson would direct Episode VIII with Ram Bergman as producer for Ram Bergman Productions.[87] Reports initially claimed Johnson would also direct Episode IX, but it was later confirmed he would write only a story treatment.[88][89] 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."[90] It was originally scheduled to be released on May 26, 2017, but it's delayed for December 15, 2017.[91][92] J. J. Abrams will serve as executive producer.[93]

Production on Episode IX is scheduled to begin sometime in 2017.[94]

Anthology series

On February 5, 2013, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed the development of two stand-alone films, each individually written by Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg.[95] On February 6, Entertainment Weekly reported that Disney is working on two films featuring Han Solo and Boba Fett.[96] Disney CFO Jay Rasulo has described the stand-alone films as origin stories.[97] Kathleen Kennedy explained that the stand-alone 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 stand-alone films) in and out of the saga episodes. Consequently, from the creative standpoint, it's a roadmap that George made pretty clear."[98] In April 2015, Lucasfilm and Kathleen Kennedy announced that the stand-alone films would be referred to as the Star Wars Anthology series.[99][100][101]

Rogue One

Main article: Rogue One

In May 2014, Lucasfilm announced that Gareth Edwards would direct the first anthology film, to be released on December 16, 2016, with Gary Whitta writing the first draft.[102] On March 12, 2015, the film's title was revealed to be Rogue One with Chris Weitz rewriting the script, with Felicity Jones, Ben Mendelsohn and Diego Luna starring.[103][104] On April 19, 2015, a teaser trailer was shown exclusively during the closing of the Star Wars Celebration. Lucasfilm also announced that filming would begin in the summer of 2015. The plot will revolve around a group of rebels on a mission to steal the Death Star plans; director Edwards stated, "It comes down to a group of individuals who don't have magical powers that have to somehow bring hope to the galaxy." Additionally, Kathleen Kennedy and Kiri Hart confirmed that the stand-alone films will be labeled as "anthology films". Edwards stated that the style of the film will be similar to that of a war film, stating, "It's the reality of war. Good guys are bad. Bad guys are good. It's complicated, layered; a very rich scenario in which to set a movie."[105][106]

Untitled Han Solo Anthology film

On July 7, 2015, Lucasfilm announced, via StarWars.com, that a second Anthology film, which "focuses on how young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief, and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina at Mos Eisley",[107] would be released on May 25, 2018. The project will be directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from a script by Lawrence and Jon Kasdan. Kathleen Kennedy will produce the film, Lawrence Kasdan and Jason McGatlin will executive produce, and Will Allegra will co-produce.[108] The Hollywood Reporter stated when reporting the story, that the film is separate to the film that was originally being developed by Josh Trank. That film has now been pushed back to an unconfirmed date.[1] The Wrap reported that Chewbacca will appear.[109][110] On May 5, 2016, Deadline reported that Alden Ehrenreich was cast as young Han Solo in the film.[111][112] Kasdan has stated that filming will start in January 2017.[113] In September 2016, Bradford Young was announced as the cinematographer for the film.[114] In October 2016, Donald Glover was cast to play a young Lando Calrissian.[115] In November 2016, the Star Wars official website announced that Emilia Clarke was cast.[116]

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]

Cast and crew

Cast

Crew and other

Crew and details by film
Film Director Producer Executive producer Editor Director of photography Music Writer Distributor Running time
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 20th Century Fox 121 minutes[119]
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
Story:
George Lucas
20th Century Fox [a] 124 minutes[120]
Episode VI –
Return of the Jedi
Richard Marquand Howard Kazanjian
Rick McCallum (1997 Special Edition)
Sean Barton
Marcia Lucas
Duwayne Dunham
George Lucas (uncredited)
T. M. Christo­pher (1997 Special Edition)
Alan Hume Screenplay:
Lawrence Kasdan
George Lucas
Story:
George Lucas
131 minutes[121]
Episode I –
The Phantom Menace
George Lucas Rick McCallum Ben Burtt
Paul Martin Smith
David Tattersall George Lucas 133 minutes[122]
Episode II –
Attack of the Clones
Ben Burtt
George Lucas (uncredited)
Screenplay:
George Lucas
Jonathan Hales
Story:
George Lucas
142 minutes[123]
Episode III –
Revenge of the Sith
Roger Barton
Ben Burtt
George Lucas 140 minutes[124]
The Clone Wars Dave Filoni Catherine Winder Jason Tucker Kevin Kiner
Themes:
John Williams
Henry Gilroy
Steven Melching
Scott Murphy
Warner Bros. 98 minutes[125]
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
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures 135 minutes[126]
Rogue One:
A Star Wars Story
Gareth Edwards Kathleen Kennedy
Allison Shearmur
Simon Emanuel
John Knoll
Jason McGatlin
Jabez Olssen Greig Fraser Michael Giacchino
Themes:
John Williams
Story:
John Knoll
Gary Whitta
Screenplay:
Chris Weitz
Tony Gilroy
133 minutes[127]
Episode VIII Rian Johnson Kathleen Kennedy
Ram Bergman
J. J. Abrams Bob Ducsay Steve Yedlin John Williams Rian Johnson
Untitled Han Solo film Phil Lord and Christopher Miller Kathleen Kennedy
Will Allegra (co-producer)
Lawrence Kasdan
Jason McGatlin
Bradford Young Lawrence Kasdan
Jon Kasdan
Episode IX Colin Trevorrow Kathleen Kennedy
Ram Bergman
J. J. Abrams John Williams Story:
Rian Johnson
Screenplay:
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.[128]

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.[129] Lucasfilm developed the THX sound reproduction standard for Return of the Jedi.[130] John Williams composed the scores for all seven films. Lucas' design for Star Wars involved a grand musical sound, with leitmotifs for different characters and important concepts. Williams' Star Wars title theme has become one of the most famous and well-known musical compositions in modern music history.[131]

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.[132][133] 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.[134]

Reception

Box office performance

Film Release date Budget Box office gross Box office ranking
North America Other
territories
Worldwide Adjusted for
inflation
(North America)[b]
All-time
North America
All-time
worldwide
Star Wars[136] May 25, 1977 $11 Million $460,998,007 $314,400,000 $775,398,007 $1,317,069,279 #8 #62
The Empire Strikes Back[137] May 21, 1980 $11 - $33 Million $290,475,067 $247,900,000 $538,375,067 $752,472,312 #71 #140
Return of the Jedi[138] May 25, 1983 $32.5–42.7 Million $309,306,177 $165,800,000 $475,106,177 $725,286,216 #54 #169
Original Star Wars trilogy total $54.5-86.7 Million $1,060,779,251 $728,100,000 $1,788,879,251 $2,794,827,807
Episode I – The Phantom Menace[139] May 19, 1999 $115 Million $474,544,677 $552,500,000 $1,027,044,677 $700,246,455 #7 #21
Episode II – Attack of the Clones[140] May 16, 2002 $310,676,740 $338,721,588 $649,398,328 $415,558,903 #52 #97
Episode III – Revenge of the Sith[141] May 19, 2005 $113 Million $380,270,577 $468,484,191 $848,754,768 $461,521,097 #25 #49
Prequel Star Wars trilogy total $343 Million $1,165,491,994 $1,359,705,779 $2,525,197,773 $1,577,326,455
Star Wars: The Clone Wars[142] August 15, 2008 $8.5 Million $35,161,554 $33,121,290 $68,282,844 $38,710,317 #1,942
Star Wars: The Force Awakens December 18, 2015 $200 million $936,662,225 $1,131,516,000 $2,068,178,225 $936,662,225 #1 #3
All Star Wars films total $405.5-438.2 Million $3,160,504,268 $3,225,327,069 $6,394,819,524 $5,347,526,804

Critical and public response

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Star Wars 93% (104 reviews)[143] 92 (20 reviews)[144]
The Empire Strikes Back 94% (88 reviews)[145] 80 (17 reviews)[146]
Return of the Jedi 80% (85 reviews)[147] 53 (15 reviews)[148]
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 55% (213 reviews)[149] 51 (36 reviews)[150] A−[151]
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones 65% (244 reviews)[152] 54 (39 reviews)[153] A−[151]
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith 79% (284 reviews)[154] 68 (40 reviews)[155] A−[151]
Star Wars: The Clone Wars 18% (164 reviews)[156] 35 (30 reviews)[157] B−[151]
Star Wars: The Force Awakens 92% (360 reviews)[158] 81 (52 reviews)[159] A[151]
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the information is not available for the film.

Academy Awards

The seven films together have been nominated for 27 Academy Awards, of which they won seven. The films were also awarded a total of three Special Achievement Awards.

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

Themes and influence on other films

Aside from its well known science fictional technology, Star Wars features elements such as knighthood, chivalry, and princesses that are related to archetypes of the fantasy genre.[160] 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,[161] 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.[57]

Historical inspirations and comparisons

Star Wars contains many themes of political science that mainly favor democracy over dictatorship. Political science has been an important element of Star Wars since the franchise first launched in 1977. The plot climax of Revenge of the Sith is modeled after the fall of the democratic Roman Republic and the formation of an empire.[162][163][164]

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).[165] 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.[166] The space battles in A New Hope were based on filmed World War I and World War II dogfights.[167]

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.[168]

In other media

The term Expanded Universe (EU) is an umbrella term for officially licensed Star Wars material outside of the feature films. The material expands the stories told in the films, taking place anywhere from 25,000 years before The Phantom Menace to 140 years after Return of the Jedi. While Lucasfilm strived to maintain internal consistency between the films and television content with the expanded universe, only the films and the second Clone Wars television series are regarded as absolute canon, since Lucas worked on them directly. On April 25, 2014—anticipating future film installments—the company announced that they had devised a "story group" to oversee and co-ordinate all creative development. The first new on-screen canon to be produced will be the television series Star Wars Rebels. Previous EU titles will be reprinted under the "Legends" banner.[169] In addition, Lucasfilm Licensing and the new Lucasfilm Story Group devote efforts to ensure continuity between the works of various authors across companies.[170]

Television

Films

Three films were produced for television.

  • Star Wars Holiday Special (1978) is a 2-hour television special, broadcast once on CBS and never released to home video. Set between the original Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, it focuses on Chewbacca visiting his family in time to celebrate the "Life Day". The special was critically panned, and Lucas is said to regret its production. However, an animated segment introducing Boba Fett was well-received and described as its highlight. The special became a cult classic, and bootleg recordings have been shared or sold among fans at conventions and later through digital file sharing.[171]
  • Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (1984), is a made-for-TV film, released theatrically in Europe. Set before Return of the Jedi, the film follows the Ewoks and a family whose ship crashes on Endor.[172]
  • Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985) is a made-for-TV film released theatrically in Europe. A sequel to the Caravan of Courage, the film depicts the Ewoks' defending Endor from mauraders.[173]

Animated series

Dave Filoni supervising director of The Clone Wars and Rebels first 2 seasons, after which he was promoted to oversee the development of all future Lucasfilm Animation projects.

Following the success of the Star Wars films and their subsequent merchandising, several animated television series have been produced:

Future:

  • Star Wars Detours is an unreleased animated comedy series written by Brendan Hay with creative consulting from Seth Green and Matthew Senreich. The series was intended to take place during the original trilogy and the set remotely from the front line of war.[185] Following the Disney purchase, the series was put on indefinite hold, though 39 episodes were completed.

In September 2016, Lucasfilm announced that Dave Filoni supervising director of The Clone Wars and Rebels, was promoted to oversee the development of all future Lucasfilm Animation projects. He remained producer of Rebels, but left his role as supervising director of Rebels for Season 3 to have more time to develop such new projects.[186]

Live-action series

A live-action television project has been in varying stages of development at Lucasfilm since 2005, when George Lucas announced plans for a television series set between the prequel and original trilogies.[187] The proposed series explores criminal and political power struggles in the aftermath of the fall of the Republic. Approximately fifty scripts have been written – Ronald D. Moore was one of the project's enlisted writers[187] – and, as of December 2015, are still in possible development at Lucasfilm.[188]

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.[189]

Novels

Timothy Zahn author of the Thrawn trilogy (1992-1994).

Foster's 1978 novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye, was the first Expanded Universe work to be released. In addition to filling in the time between the original 1977 film and The Empire Strikes Back, this additional content greatly expanded the Star Wars timeline before and after the film series. Star Wars fiction flourished during the time of the original trilogy (1977–1983) but slowed to a trickle afterwards. In the 90's Star Wars novels sparked new interest in the franchise, mainly because of the debut of Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy (1992-1994), but also ignited by Steve Perry's novel Shadows of the Empire (1996), set in between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and accompanying video game and comic book series.[190] Since then, several hundred tie-in novels have been published by Bantam and Del Rey.

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

Following Disney's purchase of the franchise, Disney Publishing Worldwide also announced that Del Rey would publish a new line of canon Star Wars books under the Lucasfilm Story Group being released starting in September on a bi-monthly schedule.[191] The Star Wars Legends banner would be used for those Extended Universe materials that are in print.[192]

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

Comics

Marvel Comics published Star Wars comic book series and adaptations from 1977 to 1986. A wide variety of creators worked on this series, including Roy Thomas, Archie Goodwin, Howard Chaykin, Al Williamson, Carmine Infantino, Gene Day, Walt Simonson, Michael Golden, Chris Claremont, Whilce Portacio, Jo Duffy, and Ron Frenz. The Los Angeles Times Syndicate published a Star Wars newspaper strip by Russ Manning, Goodwin and Williamson[193][194] 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,[195] to parody comics, like Tag and Bink.[196] On January 3, 2014, Marvel Comics —itself a Disney subsidiary since 2009— reclaimed from Dark Horse, the publishing rights toStar Wars with the first release arriving on January 14, 2015. All previously published works were re-branded as Legends.[197]

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.[198]

Video games

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

The most critically acclaimed is the first game in the Knights of the Old Republic series,[199] whom focuses on the Jedi Order 4000 years before the films. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and it's 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[200][201] 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[202][203] 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.

Disney Infinity 3.0, released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, iOS, PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2015, featuring characters from the Star Wars universe.[204]

In 2014, as with the books and comics all previous games became re-branded as Legends. Since Lucas Arts closed, the license was acquired by EA games, with Jade Raymond, and Amy Hennig heading the development of the upcoming games, that will be part of the cannon.[205][206]

Radio

A 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, followed by adaptations of The Empire Strikes Back(1983) and Return of the Jedi(1996). Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, reprised their roles from the films for the first two, while Anthony Daniels in all adaptations. It used John Williams' original score from the films and Ben Burtt's original sound designs. Background material created by Lucas but not used in the films as included.[207][208]

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

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

Star Wars was the first intellectual property to be licensed in Lego Group history, which has produced a Star Wars Lego theme.[209] 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.[210] The Lego Star Wars video games are critically acclaimed best sellers.

In 1977 with the board game Star Wars: Escape from the Death Star[211] (not to be confused with another board game with the same title, published in 1990).[212] The board game Risk has been adapted to the series in two editions by Hasbro: and Star Wars Risk: The Clone Wars Edition[213] (2005) and Risk: Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition[214] (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.[215] 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.[216] From 1995 until 2001, Decipher, Inc. had the license for, created and produced a collectible card game based on Star Wars; the Star Wars Collectible Card Game (also known as SWCCG).

Theme park attractions

The original Star Tours ride at Disneyland in 1996.

Star Tours and Star Tours – The Adventures Continue

Before Disney's acquisition of the franchise, George Lucas had established a partnership in 1986 with the company's Walt Disney Imagineering division to create Star Tours, an attraction that opened at Disneyland in 1987. The attraction also had subsequent incarnations at other Disney theme parks worldwide.[217][218]

The attractions at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios closed in 2010, at Tokyo Disneyland in 2012, and at Disneyland Paris in 2016 to allow the rides to be updated into Star Tours–The Adventures Continue. The new attraction randomly shuffles a number of scenes, allowing for the equivalent of 54 different adventures for visitors to experience. The successor attraction opened at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland in 2011, and Tokyo Disneyland in 2013.[219]

Live attractions

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

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

Star Wars Land

Since August 2014, after Disney acquired the Star Wars franchise, the company expressed plans to expand the franchise's presence in all of their theme parks, which was rumored to include a major Star Wars-themed expansion to Disney's Hollywood Studios.[220] When asked whether or not Disney has an intellectual property franchise that's comparable to Harry Potter at Universal theme parks, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger mentioned Cars and the Disney Princesses, and promised that Star Wars, "is going to be just that."[221] Iger formally announced a 14-acre Star Wars-themed land expansion at the D23 Expo in August 2015. The land—which will debut at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios at an unspecified date—will include two new attractions inspired by the Millennium Falcon and "a climactic battle between the First Order and the resistance".[222]

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.[223] Star Wars references are deeply embedded in popular culture;[224] Phrases like "evil empire" and "May the Force be with you" have become part of the popular lexicon.[225] The first Star Wars film in 1977 was a cultural unifier,[226] enjoyed by a wide spectrum of people.[227] 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.[228] This very impact also made it a prime target for parody works and homages, with popular examples including Spaceballs, Family Guy's "Blue Harvest" special, Seth Green's "Robot Chicken: Star Wars", and "Hardware Wars" by Ernie Fosselius, which Lucas himself has called "a cute little film".[229]

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."[230] Its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, was selected in 2010.[231][232] 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.[233][234]

Fan works

Main article: Star Wars fan films

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.[235] 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.[236] While many fan films have used elements from the licensed Expanded Universe to tell their story, they are not considered an official part of the Star Wars canon.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Theatrical and home media distribution rights will be transferred from 20th Century Fox to the Walt Disney Studios in May 2020.[8] The digital distribution rights belong to Disney, as Lucasfilm retained the film's digital distribution rights prior to its acquisition by Disney.[9]
  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.[135]

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Further reading

External links