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The Star Wars franchise has spawned multiple films and television series. The franchise started with a film trilogy set in medias res—beginning in the middle of the story—which was later expanded to a trilogy of trilogies. The original trilogy was released between 1977 and 1983, the prequel trilogy between 1999 and 2005, and a sequel trilogy began in 2015, and will end in 2019.

Star Wars films
SW opening crawl logo.svg
Official logo
Produced by
Based onCharacters created
by George Lucas
Distributed by
Release date
1977–2019 (Skywalker saga)
  • 1977–present
CountryUnited States
BudgetTotal (12 films):
$1.308 billion
Box officeTotal (12 films):
$9.323 billion

The first spin-off film produced was a holiday TV special aired in 1978. In 1984 and 1985, two live-action films featuring the Ewoks were televised in the United States and released theatrically in Europe. Three other theatrical spin-off films have been released, and plans for additional Star Wars films set outside the original saga have been announced.

Skywalker sagaEdit

The Star Wars film series centers around a trilogy of trilogies, colloquially referred to as the "Skywalker saga",[a][1] which was released beginning with the middle trilogy (Episodes IV, V, VI, 1977–1983), and followed by the prequel (Episodes I, II, III, 1999–2005) and sequel trilogy (Episodes VII, VIII, IX, 2015–2019).[b] Each trilogy centers on a generation of the Force-sensitive Skywalker family. The prequels focus on Anakin Skywalker, the original trilogy on his son Luke, and the main antagonist of the sequel trilogy is Anakin's grandson/Luke's nephew Kylo Ren.

      Original trilogy       Prequel trilogy       Sequel trilogy

Film Release date Director Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s)
Episode IV – A New Hope May 25, 1977 (1977-05-25) George Lucas Gary Kurtz
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 Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas Howard Kazanjian
Episode I – The Phantom Menace May 19, 1999 (1999-05-19) George Lucas Rick McCallum
Episode II – Attack of the Clones May 16, 2002 (2002-05-16) George Lucas George Lucas and Jonathan Hales George Lucas
Episode III – Revenge of the Sith May 19, 2005 (2005-05-19) George Lucas
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
Episode VIII – The Last Jedi December 15, 2017 (2017-12-15) Rian Johnson Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman
Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker December 20, 2019 (2019-12-20) J. J. Abrams J. J. Abrams and Chris Terrio Kathleen Kennedy, J. J. Abrams and Michelle Rejwan

The episodic films begin with an opening crawl, accompanied by the main Star Wars theme by John Williams, who composes the scores for each film. The first six films have had retroactive changes made after their initial releases, most notably the original trilogy.

Original trilogyEdit

Immediately after directing American Graffiti (1973), Lucas wrote a two-page synopsis for the space opera he had been planning, which 20th Century Fox invested in.[2] Lucas expanded his treatment into an overview called The Star Wars,[3] and by 1974, he had written the screenplay's first draft.[4] Lucas negotiated to retain the sequel rights,[5] and cast American Graffiti actor Harrison Ford as Han Solo.[6]

Star Wars was released on May 25, 1977, followed by The Empire Strikes Back on May 21, 1980, and Return of the Jedi on May 25, 1983. 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.

Episode IV – A New HopeEdit
The central trio of the original trilogy was played by Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia).

The original eponymous Star Wars film opens with a Rebel spaceship being intercepted by the Empire above the desert planet of Tatooine. Aboard, the deadly Imperial agent Darth Vader and his stormtroopers capture Princess Leia Organa, a secret member of the rebellion. Before her capture, Leia makes sure the droid R2-D2 will escape with stolen Imperial blueprints and a holographic message for the Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, who has been living in exile on Tatooine. Along with C-3PO, R2-D2 falls under the ownership of Luke Skywalker, a farmboy who has been raised by his aunt and uncle. Luke helps the droids locate Obi-Wan, now a solitary old hermit known as Ben Kenobi. He reveals himself as a friend of Luke's absent father, Anakin Skywalker, who was Obi-Wan's Jedi apprentice until being murdered by Vader. He tells Luke he must also become a Jedi. After discovering his family's homestead has been destroyed by the Empire, they hire the smuggler Han Solo, his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca and their space freighter, the Millennium Falcon. They discover that Leia's homeworld of Alderaan has been destroyed, and are soon captured by the planet-destroying Death Star. While Obi-Wan disables its tractor beam, Luke and Han rescue the captive Princess Leia. Finally, they deliver the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance with the hope of exploiting a weakness.[7]

The first rough draft, titled The Star Wars, introduced "the Force" and the young hero Luke Skywalker. Annikin [sic] appeared as Luke's father, a wise Jedi knight. The third draft replaced (a deceased) Annikin with Ben Kenobi.[4] Some months later, Lucas had negotiated a contract that gave him rights to two sequels. By 1976, a fourth draft had been prepared for principal photography. The film was titled The 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 shortened the title to The Star Wars, and finally just Star Wars.[4] At that point, Lucas was not expecting the film to warrant full-scale sequels. The fourth draft of the script underwent subtle changes to become a self-contained story ending with the destruction of the Empire in the Death Star. The intention was that if the film was successful, Lucas could adapt Foster's novels into low-budget sequels.[8] By that point, Lucas had developed a tentative backstory to aid in developing the saga.[9]Star Wars exceeded all expectations. The success of the film and its merchandise sales led Lucas to make Star Wars the basis of an elaborate film serial,[10] and use the profits to finance his filmmaking center, Skywalker Ranch.[11] After the release of the first sequel, the original film was subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope for a rerelease in 1981.[12][13][14]

Episode V – The Empire Strikes BackEdit
Peter Mayhew and actor Kenny Baker portrayed Chewbacca and R2-D2, respectively, until The Force Awakens. Chewbacca is absent from Episode I, II, and Rogue One, while R2-D2 appears in every Star Wars film except Solo.

Set three years after the destruction of the Death Star,[15] The Empire Strikes Back begins with the Empire forcing the Rebel Alliance to evacuate its secret base on Hoth. Instructed by Obi-Wan's spirit, Luke travels to the swamp world of Dagobah to find the exiled Jedi Master Yoda. Luke's Jedi 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. During a fierce duel, Vader reveals a shocking truth about Luke's father.[16]

Owing to financial concerns, Alan Dean Foster's sequel novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1978), restricted the story to Luke, Leia, and Darth Vader.[17][18] But after the success of the original film, Lucas knew a sequel would be granted a reasonable budget, and hired Leigh Brackett to write it from scratch. She finished a draft by early 1978, but died of cancer before Lucas was able discuss changes he wanted made to it.[19] His disappointment with the first draft may have made him consider new directions.[20] Lucas penned the next draft, the first screenplay to feature episodic numbering for a Star Wars story.[21] Lucas found this draft enjoyable to write, as opposed to the yearlong struggle writing the first film, and quickly wrote two more[22] in April 1978. The plot twist of Vader being Luke's father had drastic effects on the series.[23] After writing these drafts, Lucas fleshed out the backstory between Anakin, Obi-Wan, and the Emperor.[24]

With this new backstory in place, Lucas decided that the series would be a trilogy of trilogies,[25] designating the first sequel Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back in the next draft.[22] Lawrence Kasdan, who had just completed writing Raiders of the Lost Ark, was hired to write the next drafts, and given additional input from director Irvin Kershner. Kasdan, Kershner, and producer Gary Kurtz saw the film as a more serious and adult story, and developed the sequel from the light adventure roots of the first film.[26]

Episode VI – Return of the JediEdit

Set about a year after Vader's revelation,[15] Return of the Jedi sees Luke joining Leia and Lando in 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 Yoda on his deathbed.[27] In his last words, Yoda confirms the truth about Luke's father, and that Luke must confront Vader again in order to complete his training. As the rebels lead an attack on the second Death Star, Luke engages Vader in another lightsaber duel as Emperor Palpatine watches; both Sith Lords intend to turn Luke to the dark side and take him as their apprentice.[28]

Kurtz wanted a bittersweet and nuanced ending they had outlined that saw Han dead, the Rebel forces in pieces, Leia struggling as a queen, and Luke walking off alone (like in a Spaghetti Western)—while Lucas wanted a happier ending, partly to encourage toy sales. This led to tension between the two, resulting in Kurtz leaving the production.[29]

Prequel trilogyEdit

Loose plans for a prequel trilogy were developed during the outlining of the original trilogy.[30] Technical advances in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including the ability to create computer-generated imagery, inspired him to consider that it might be possible to revisit his saga.[31]

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.[32] 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 heroes of the prequels were played by Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan), Natalie Portman (Padmé), and Jake Lloyd (Anakin, in the first film only), respectively.
Episode I – The Phantom MenaceEdit

Set 32 years before the original film,[15] The Phantom Menace begins with two Jedi who, acting as negotiators of the Republic, discover that the corrupt Trade Federation has formed a blockade around the planet Naboo. Sith Lord Darth Sidious has secretly caused the blockade to give his alter ego, Senator Palpatine, a pretense to overthrow and replace the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, the young Obi-Wan Kenobi, encounter a native of Naboo who helps them find the Queen of Naboo. With Queen Padmé Amidala, they escape the blockade, but not without their starship being damaged. Landing on Tatooine for repairs, they meet a nine-year-old slave named Anakin Skywalker. Qui-Gon helps liberate the boy by betting with his master in a podrace, believing him to be the "Chosen One" prophesied by the Jedi to bring balance to the Force. Sidious dispatches his Sith apprentice, Darth Maul, to attack the queen's Jedi protectors. Arriving on Coruscant so the queen can plead Naboo's crisis before the Republic Senate, Anakin is brought before the Jedi Council, where Yoda senses that he possesses too much fear to be trained. The Jedi are ordered to accompany the queen back to Naboo, where she pleads to the natives for their help in the battle against the droid army.[33]

The prequels were originally planned to fill in history tangential to the original trilogy, but Lucas realized that they could form the first half of one long story focusing on Anakin.[34] This would shape the film series into a self-contained saga. In 1994, Lucas began writing the screenplay for the first prequel, initially titled Episode I: The Beginning. Following the film's release, Lucas announced that he would be directing the next two.[35]

Episode II – Attack of the ClonesEdit
Hayden Christensen plays Anakin in Episodes II and III. Puppeteer Frank Oz and actor Ian McDiarmid play Yoda and Palpatine, respectively, in all three trilogies. McDiarmid was added into the 2004 release of The Empire Strikes Back, while Christensen appears as Anakin's Force ghost in Return of the Jedi.

Ten years after the Battle of Naboo,[15] Attack of the Clones opens with an assassination attempt upon former Queen Padmé Amidala, who is serving as the Senator of Naboo. Obi-Wan and his apprentice Anakin are assigned to protect her; Obi-Wan tracks the killer, while Anakin and Padmé retreat to Naboo. They soon fall in love with each other, albeit secretly due to the Jedi Order's rule against attachment. Meanwhile, Chancellor Palpatine schemes to draw the entire galaxy into the "Clone War" between the Republic army led by the Jedi, and the Confederacy of Independent Systems led by Count Dooku (the former master of Obi-Wan's deceased master Qui-Gon, and Palpatine's new Sith apprentice).[36]

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.[37] Lucas used the basic backstory developed for earlier Star Wars films in the concept of an army of clone shock troopers from a remote planet which attacked the Republic and were resisted by the Jedi.[38]

Episode III – Revenge of the SithEdit

Revenge of the Sith begins three years into the Clone Wars,[15] with Anakin and Obi-Wan leading a rescue mission to save Chancellor Palpatine from Count Dooku and the droid commander General Grievous. 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 and is renamed Darth Vader. Palpatine orders the clone army to fire on their Jedi generals, and declares the former Republic an Empire. Vader participates in the extermination of the Jedi, culminating in a lightsaber duel with Obi-Wan on the volcanic planet Mustafar.[39]

Work on Episode III began before Episode II was released, with one scene shot during the earlier film's production. The climactic duel has its basis in the Return of the Jedi novelization, in which Obi-Wan recounts his battle with Anakin that ended with the latter falling "into a molten pit".[40] A rough draft screenplay includes a scene of Palpatine revealing to Anakin that he had willed his conception through the Force.[41]

Sequel trilogyEdit

The main cast of the sequel trilogy is played by Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), respectively.

Prior to releasing the original film, Lucas planned "three trilogies of nine films",[25][42] but after beginning work on the prequels, insisted that Star Wars was meant to be a six-part series and that there would be no sequel trilogy.[43][44][45] However, in late 2012, Disney agreed to buy Lucasfilm and announced a new trilogy, beginning with Episode VII in 2015.[46]

The sequel trilogy focuses on the journey of the orphaned scavenger Rey following in the footsteps of the Jedi with the guidance of Luke Skywalker. Along with ex-stormtrooper Finn, she helps the Resistance led by Leia fight the First Order commanded by Supreme Leader Snoke and his pupil Kylo Ren (Han Solo and Leia's son). Episode VII: The Force Awakens was released on December 18, 2015, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi on December 15, 2017, and Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is due to be released on December 20, 2019.

Episode VII – The Force AwakensEdit

The Force Awakens is set 30 years after the destruction of the second Death Star,[15] by which time Luke Skywalker has gone missing. The remnants of the Empire have become the First Order, who seek to destroy Luke and the New Republic. They are opposed by the Resistance, led by princess-turned-general Leia Organa. On the planet of Jakku, Resistance pilot Poe Dameron obtains a map to Luke's location, but is captured by stormtroopers under the command of Kylo Ren. Poe's droid BB-8 escapes with the map, and encounters a scavenger girl, Rey. Kylo tortures Poe and learns of BB-8. A defecting stormtrooper, FN-2187, frees Poe, who dubs him "Finn", and both escape in a TIE fighter. Poe is seemingly killed in a crash-landing upon Jakku. Finn finds Rey and BB-8, as the First Order pursues them; they escape together in the impounded Millennium Falcon. The Falcon is recaptured by Han Solo and Chewbacca, working as smugglers again. They agree to help deliver the map inside BB-8 to the Resistance.

In early 2013, 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.[47] 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.[48][49]

Warwick Davis and Anthony Daniels have appeared in the most Star Wars films, with Daniels playing C-3PO in all except Solo.
Episode VIII – The Last JediEdit

After a battle scene which overlaps with the end of the previous film, The Last Jedi follows Rey's attempt to convince Luke Skywalker to teach her the ways of the Force. She also seeks answers about her past and the conflict between Luke and his nephew Kylo Ren. Unbeknownst to Luke, Rey starts using the Force to communicate with Ren. Meanwhile, Leia leads Poe, Finn, Rose Tico, BB-8, and the rest of the Resistance as they are pursued by the First Order, led by Snoke with Kylo as his second in command. After hearing Ren's perspective, Rey disagrees with Luke and leaves him in an attempt to redeem Kylo and achieve peace. In doing this, Rey unwittingly helps Kylo kill Snoke. However, Ren's intentions are to replace Snoke as Supreme Leader, believing that destroying the Jedi and the Resistance is the only way to achieve peace. Rey must choose between Kylo's offer to rule the galaxy with him, or helping the outnumbered Resistance survive on Crait.

In late 2012, it was reported that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg would write and produce Episodes VIII and IX.[50] Kasdan and Kinberg were later confirmed as consultants on those films. In addition, John Williams, who wrote the music for the previous six episodes, was hired to compose the music for Episodes VII, VIII and IX.[51] On March 12, 2015, Lucasfilm announced that Looper director Rian Johnson would direct Episode VIII with Ram Bergman as producer for Ram Bergman Productions.[52] When asked about Episode VIII in mid-2014, Johnson said "I'm just happy. I don't have the terror I kind of expected I would... I'm sure I will at some point."[53] Principal photography began in February 2016[54] and wrapped in July 2016.[55][56][57] Carrie Fisher had finished filming her scenes, but died on December 27, 2016,[58] approximately a year before the film's release.

Episode IX – The Rise of SkywalkerEdit

The Rise of Skywalker will be the final film of the Skywalker saga,[59] featuring a climactic clash between the Resistance and the First Order, and the Jedi and the Sith.[60][61]

Production on Episode IX was scheduled to begin in 2017.[62] After Carrie Fisher's death, it was announced that her role would be created from unreleased footage from the previous two films.[63] By September 2017, original director Colin Trevorrow had left the project following creative differences.[64] J. J. Abrams returned to direct, and co-wrote the film alongside Chris Terrio. Principal photography began on August 1, 2018.[65] Most of the cast of The Last Jedi is set to return, including Star Wars veterans Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels. They will be joined by Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian,[66] returning to the franchise onscreen for the first time since Return of the Jedi.[67]

Standalone filmsEdit

As Lucas was outlining his trilogy of trilogies, he also imagined making "a couple of odd movies ... [that] don't have anything to do with the Star Wars saga."[68] The first theatrical films set outside the main episodic series were the Ewok spin-off films Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (1984)[69] and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985), which were screened internationally after being produced for television.

After the conclusion of his then six-episode saga in 2005, Lucas returned to spin-offs in the form of television series. An animated film, The Clone Wars (2008), was released as a pilot to a TV series of the same name. An anthology series set between the main episodes entered development in parallel to the production of the sequel trilogy,[70] described by Disney CFO Jay Rasulo as origin stories.[71] The first entry, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), tells the story of the rebels who steal the Death Star plans directly before Episode IV.[72][73] Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) focuses on Han's backstory, also featuring Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian.

Animated filmEdit

Film Release date Director Screenwriter(s) Producer(s)
Star Wars: The Clone Wars August 15, 2008 (2008-08-15) Dave Filoni Henry Gilroy, Steven Melching and Scott Murphy Catherine Winder

The Clone WarsEdit

Preceding the airing of the animated TV series in late 2008, the theatrical feature Star Wars: The Clone Wars was compiled from episodes "almost [as] an afterthought."[74][75] It reveals that Anakin trained an apprentice between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith; the series explains Padawan Ahsoka Tano's absence from the latter film. The character was originally criticized by fans, but by the end of the series the character had become a fan favorite.[76][77] The film and series exist in the same level of canon as the episodic and anthology films.[78]

Anthology filmsEdit

Before selling Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, and parallel to his development of a sequel trilogy, George Lucas and original trilogy co-screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan started development on a standalone film about a young Han Solo.[70] In February 2013, Disney CEO Bob Iger made public the development of a Kasdan film[79] and Entertainment Weekly reported that it would focus on Han Solo.[80] Disney CFO Jay Rasulo has described the standalone films as origin stories.[71] Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that there was "no attempt being made to carry characters (from the standalone films) in and out of the saga episodes."[81] The standalone films are subtitled "A Star Wars Story".[72][82]

Film Release date Director Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s)
Rogue One December 16, 2016 (2016-12-16) Gareth Edwards Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy John Knoll and Gary Whitta Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur and Simon Emanuel
Solo May 25, 2018 (2018-05-25) Ron Howard Jonathan Kasdan and Lawrence Kasdan

Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryEdit

Felicity Jones, the lead of Rogue One, and John Knoll, who supervised the visual effects of the prequels and pitched the plot of Rogue One.

Rogue One is set directly before Episode IV: A New Hope and focuses on the eponymous group of rebels who obtain the plans to the Death Star.[15] Its laser was developed by scientist Galen Erso (played by Mads Mikkelsen) after the Empire forcibly abducted him, separating him from his daughter Jyn. Galen secretly sends a defecting Imperial pilot, Bodhi Rook, to deliver a message warning of the weapon's existence and revealing its weakness to his rebel friend Saw Gerrera. Under the false promise of her father's liberation, Jyn agrees to help Rebel Alliance intelligence officer Cassian Andor and his droid K-2SO retrieve the message from Saw, now the paranoid leader of an extremist cell of rebels.

The idea for the movie came from John Knoll, the chief creative officer of Industrial Light & Magic.[83] In May 2014, Lucasfilm announced Gareth Edwards as the director of an anthology film, with Gary Whitta writing the first draft for a release on December 16, 2016.[84] The film's title was revealed to be Rogue One, with Chris Weitz rewriting the script, and Felicity Jones in the starring role.[85] Ben Mendelsohn and Diego Luna also play new characters,[86] with James Earl Jones returning to voice Darth Vader.[87] 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."[88] The film was the first to feature characters introduced in animated Star Wars TV series, namely The Clone Wars' Saw Gerrera, portrayed by Forest Whitaker in the film. The movie 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.[89]

Solo: A Star Wars StoryEdit

Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote Episodes VVII and Solo, and Alden Ehrenreich, who plays Han Solo.

Solo, the second anthology film, focuses on Han Solo about 10 years before A New Hope.[15] After an escape attempt from his Imperial-occupied home planet of Corellia goes wrong, a young Han vows to return to rescue his girlfriend Qi'ra. Han "Solo" joins the Imperial Academy; however, he is expelled for his reckless behavior. Han and his newfound Wookiee friend Chewbacca resort to a criminal life, mentored by veteran smuggler Beckett. After angering gangster Dryden Vos, Han and his company's lives depend on pulling a heist for him. Without a ship to travel, they hire Lando Calrissian, the captain and owner of the Millennium Falcon.

Before selling Lucasfilm to Disney, George Lucas had hired Star Wars original trilogy veteran Lawrence Kasdan to write a film about a young Han Solo.[70] The film 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, Emilia Clarke as Qi'ra, and Woody Harrelson as Beckett. Lucasfilm originally hired Phil Lord and Christopher Miller to direct, but they were fired during principal photography, and replaced by Ron Howard. A twist ending acknowledges one of the major story arcs of The Clone Wars and Rebels animated series, while leaving the story open ended for sequels.[90]

Future filmsEdit

Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss will write and produce a trilogy of Star Wars films scheduled to be released in December 2022, 2024, and 2026.[91][92] The installments were first announced to be in development in February 2018.[93]

Similarly, Rian Johnson, the writer/director of The Last Jedi, is confirmed to write and direct the first film of a new trilogy he is currently outlining[94][95] and will start working on after completing his Knives Out and possibly another film.[96][97] Both trilogies will differ from the Skywalker-focused films in favor of focusing on new characters and possibly different eras than the main film franchise. According to Kathleen Kennedy, Benioff and Weiss are "working very closely with Rian."[98]

On September 25, 2019, it was announced that Marvel Cinematic Universe producer Kevin Feige was developing a new Star Wars film with Kathleen Kennedy.[99]

Produced for televisionEdit

The first spin-off film (also the first sequel to be released) was a holiday TV special aired in 1978. Two live-action TV films created in the mid-1980s feature the Ewoks; these both had limited international theatrical runs.

Star Wars Holiday SpecialEdit

Film Release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Network
Star Wars Holiday Special November 17, 1978 David Acomba and Steve Binder Bruce Vilanch CBS

Produced for CBS in 1978, the Star Wars Holiday Special was a two-hour television special, in the format of a variety show. Stars of the original film and archive footage from the original Star Wars film appeared alongside celebrity guest stars in plot-related skits, musical numbers, and an animated segment, all loosely tied together by the premise of Chewbacca's family waiting for his arrival for the "Life Day" celebration on his home planet, Kashyyyk. George Lucas loathed the special and forbade it to be re-aired or released on home video, with the sole exception of the 11-minute animated sequence that featured the first appearance of bounty hunter Boba Fett, which was eventually included as a bonus feature in some of the films' Blu-ray releases.[100]

Ewok filmsEdit

The Ewoks from Return of the Jedi were featured in two spin-off television films, The Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. Both aired on ABC on the Thanksgiving weekends of 1984 and 1985, respectively.[101] Warwick Davis reprised his debut role as the main Ewok, Wicket, in both.[102][103] They are set between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.[104] Both films were released on VHS, Laser Disc, and on a double-feature DVD. Although based on story ideas from Lucas, they do not bear Star Wars in their titles, and were considered to exist in a lower level of canon than the episodic films. Following Disney's acquisition of the franchise, they were excluded from the canon.[105][69] The Battle for Endor would be the last live-action Star Wars television project produced by Lucasfilm until 2019's The Mandalorian.

Film Release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Network
The Ewok Adventure November 25, 1984 John Korty Bob Carrau
Story by: George Lucas
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor November 24, 1985 Jim Wheat and Ken Wheat Jim Wheat and Ken Wheat
Story by: George Lucas

Caravan of Courage: An Ewok AdventureEdit

In a story by Lucas and a screenplay by Bob Carrau, the Towani family spaceship shipwrecks on the forest moon of Endor. While trying to repair their ship, the castaway family is split, when a giant creature known as the Gorax kidnaps the parents. Taking pity on the kids, a group of native Ewoks led by Wicket decides to help little Cindel Towani and her older brother Mace, rescue their parents.[102][103] Among other stylistic choices making the film unique from the Star Wars episodes is the inclusion of a narrator.[106]

Ewoks: The Battle for EndorEdit

The sequel focuses on the Ewoks protecting their village from marauders led by the evil Lord Terak, who kill all the members of the Towani family except for Cindel, in search of a power battery.[102]

Technical informationEdit

All films of the Star Wars series were mostly filmed with an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 in mind. The original and sequel trilogies were filmed with anamorphic lenses. Episodes IV, V, VII, and VIII were filmed in Panavision, while Episode VI was filmed in Joe Dunton Camera (JDC) scope. Episode I was filmed with Hawk anamorphic lenses on Arriflex cameras, and Episodes II and III were filmed with Sony CineAlta high-definition digital cameras.[107] Episode VII and VIII had select footage filmed with 65mm IMAX film cameras, with one scene in Episode VII presented in an aspect ratio of either 1.43:1 or 1.90:1 in most IMAX theaters. Rogue One and Solo were filmed with ARRI Alexa 65 cameras with the former using the Ultra Panavision 70 format.

Music and sound effectsEdit

John Williams, composer of the scores for the film trilogies

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.[108] Lucasfilm developed the THX sound reproduction standard for Return of the Jedi.[109] John Williams composed the scores for all nine films. Lucas's design for Star Wars involved a grand musical sound, with leitmotifs for different characters and important concepts. Williams's Star Wars title theme has become one of the most famous and well-known musical compositions in modern music history.[110]


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.[111][112] 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.[citation needed] 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.[113]


Box office performanceEdit

The Star Wars films are the second-highest-grossing film franchise of all time worldwide, behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having grossed over $9.2 billion at the global box office.[114]

Film U.S. release date Box office gross All-time ranking Budget Ref(s)
U.S. and Canada Other territories Worldwide U.S. and Canada Worldwide
Skywalker saga
Star Wars May 25, 1977 $460,998,007 $314,400,000 $775,398,007 16 90 $11 million [115]
The Empire Strikes Back May 21, 1980 $290,475,067 $247,900,000 $538,375,067 91 183 $18 million [116]
Return of the Jedi May 25, 1983 $309,306,177 $165,800,000 $475,106,177 75 220 $32.5 million [117]
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace May 19, 1999 $474,544,677 $552,500,000 $1,027,044,677 15 35 $115 million [118]
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones May 16, 2002 $310,676,740 $338,721,588 $649,398,328 73 130 $115 million [119]
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith May 19, 2005 $380,270,577 $468,484,191 $848,754,768 39 69 $113 million [120]
Star Wars: The Force Awakens December 18, 2015 $936,662,225 $1,131,561,399 $2,068,223,624 1 4 $245 million [121]
Star Wars: The Last Jedi December 15, 2017 $620,181,382 $712,358,507 $1,332,539,889 9 12 $317 million [122]
Spin-off films
Star Wars: The Clone Wars August 15, 2008 $35,161,554 $33,121,290 $68,282,844 2,370 $8.5 million [123]
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story December 16, 2016 $532,177,324 $523,879,949 $1,056,057,273 12 30 $200 million [124]
Solo: A Star Wars Story May 25, 2018 $213,767,512 $179,157,295 $392,924,807 180 295 $275 million [125]
Total $4,564,221,242 $4,667,884,219 $9,232,105,461 2 2 $1.450 billion [126][114]

Critical and public responseEdit

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Skywalker saga
Star Wars 93% (118 reviews)[127] 90 (24 reviews)[128] N/A
The Empire Strikes Back 95% (96 reviews)[129] 82 (25 reviews)[130] N/A
Return of the Jedi 81% (90 reviews)[131] 58 (24 reviews)[132] N/A
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 54% (222 reviews)[133] 51 (36 reviews)[134] A−[135]
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones 65% (250 reviews)[136] 54 (39 reviews)[137] A−[135]
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith 80% (293 reviews)[138] 68 (40 reviews)[139] A−[135]
Star Wars: The Force Awakens 93% (418 reviews)[140] 81 (55 reviews)[141] A[135]
Star Wars: The Last Jedi 91% (451 reviews)[142] 85 (56 reviews)[143] A[135]
Spin-off films
Star Wars: The Clone Wars 18% (170 reviews)[144] 35 (30 reviews)[145] B−[135]
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 84% (430 reviews)[146] 65 (51 reviews)[147] A[135]
Solo: A Star Wars Story 70% (453 reviews)[148] 62 (54 reviews)[149] A−[135]
Television films
Star Wars Holiday Special 30% (10 reviews)[150] N/A N/A
The Ewok Adventure 25% (12 reviews)[151] N/A N/A


Academy AwardsEdit

The ten live-action films together have been nominated for thirty-four Academy Awards, of which they have won seven. The films were also awarded a total of three Special Achievement Awards. The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi received Special Achievement Awards for their visual effects,[152][153] and Star Wars received a Special Achievement Award for its alien, creature and robot voices.[154][155]

Film Best Picture Best Director Best Supporting Actor Best Original Screenplay Best Costume Design Best Film Editing Best Makeup Best Original Score Best Production Design Best Sound Editing Best Sound Mixing Best Visual Effects Ref.
Star Wars Nominated Nominated Nominated[i] Nominated Won Won   Won Won   Won Won [154]
The Empire Strikes Back               Nominated Nominated   Won   [152]
Return of the Jedi               Nominated Nominated Nominated Nominated   [153]
The Phantom Menace                   Nominated Nominated Nominated [156]
Attack of the Clones                       Nominated [157]
Revenge of the Sith             Nominated           [158]
The Force Awakens           Nominated   Nominated   Nominated Nominated Nominated [159]
Rogue One                     Nominated Nominated [160]
The Last Jedi               Nominated   Nominated Nominated Nominated [161]
Solo                       Nominated [162]

Grammy AwardsEdit

The franchise has received a total of fourteen Grammy Award nominations, winning six.[163]

Film Album of the Year Best Pop Instrumental Performance Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media Best Instrumental Composition Ref.
Star Wars Nominated Won Won Won[ii] [164]
The Empire Strikes Back   Nominated[iii] Won Won[iv] [164]
Return of the Jedi     Nominated   [164]
The Phantom Menace     Nominated   [164]
Revenge of the Sith     Nominated Nominated[v] [164]
The Force Awakens     Won   [164]
  1. ^ Alec Guinness for his performance as Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  2. ^ For "Star Wars – Main Title"
  3. ^ For "Yoda's Theme"
  4. ^ For The Empire Strikes Back. Also nominated for "The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme) and "Yoda's Theme".
  5. ^ For "Anakin's Betrayal"

Library of CongressEdit

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."[165] The Empire Strikes Back, was selected in 2010.[166][167] 35mm reels of the 1997 Special Editions were the versions initially presented for preservation because of the difficulty of transferring from the original prints,[168][169] but it was later revealed that the Library possessed a copyright deposit print of the original theatrical releases. By 2015, Star Wars had been transferred to a 2K scan which can be viewed by appointment.[170]

Emmy AwardsEdit

Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure was one of four films to be juried-awarded Emmys for Outstanding Special Visual Effects at the 37th Primetime Emmy Awards.[171] The film was additionally nominated for Outstanding Children's Program but lost in this category to an episode of American Playhouse.[172]

At the 38th Primetime Emmy Awards, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor and the CBS documentary Dinosaur! were both juried-awarded Emmys for Outstanding Special Visual Effects.[173] The film additionally received two nominations for Outstanding Children's Program and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or a Special.[174][175]


Lucas Licensing's managing editor Sue Rostoni said in 2001, "Our goal is to present a continuous and unified history of the Star Wars galaxy, insofar as that history does not conflict with, or undermine the meaning of Mr. Lucas's Star Wars saga of films and screenplays."[176] Director of Fan Relations Steve Sansweet clarified:

When it comes to absolute canon, the real story of Star Wars, you must turn to the films themselves—and only the films. Even novelizations are interpretations of the film, and while they are largely true to George Lucas' vision (he works quite closely with the novel authors), the method in which they are written does allow for some minor differences ... The further one branches away from the movies, the more interpretation and speculation come into play. LucasBooks works diligently to keep the continuing Star Wars expanded universe cohesive and uniform, but stylistically, there is always room for variation.[177]

The novelizations offer an alternate take on the events of the movie, many time including discarded or slightly alternate plot-lines.

Unproduced and rumored filmsEdit

In early 2013, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced the development of a spin-off film written by Simon Kinberg,[178] reported by Entertainment Weekly to focus on bounty hunter Boba Fett during the original trilogy.[179] In mid-2014, Josh Trank was officially announced as the director of an undisclosed spin-off film,[180] but had left the project a year later due to creative differences,[181] causing a teaser for the film to be scrapped from Star Wars Celebration.[182] In May 2018, it was reported that James Mangold had signed on to write and direct a Fett film, with Kinberg attached as producer and co-writer.[183][184] By October, the Fett film[c] was reportedly no longer in production, with the studio instead focusing on the upcoming The Mandalorian series, which utilizes a similar character design.[186]

In August 2017, it was rumored that films focused on Jabba the Hutt, Jedi Masters Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi were being considered or were in development.[187]Stephen Daldry was reportedly in early negotiations to co-write and direct the Obi-Wan movie.[188] At D23 Expo in August 2019, it was announced that the project would be produced as a streaming series.[189]

In 2018, critics noted that Solo was intentionally left open for sequels.[190] Alden Ehrenreich and Emilia Clarke confirmed that their contracts to play Han Solo and Q'ira extended for additional films, if required.[191][192] Felicity Jones, who played Jyn Erso in Rogue One, also has the option of another Star Wars film in her contract; notwithstanding her character's fate in Rogue One, it has been speculated that she could return in other anthology films.[193][194] Kathleen Kennedy expressed being open to making a spin-off about the younger Lando Calrissian as seen in Solo, but confirmed that none was currently in development.[195]

An unannounced film centered around the Mos Eisley Spaceport was reportedly put on hold or cancelled in mid-2018,[196][197] leading to rumors of the cancellation or postponement of the anthology series.[197] Lucasfilm swiftly denied the rumors as "inaccurate", confirming that multiple unannounced films were in development.[198]

Additionally, though unconfirmed by Lucasfilm, Buzzfeed has reported that Laeta Kalogridis is writing the script for the first film in a potential Knights of the Old Republic trilogy.[199]

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit



  1. ^ By Lucasfilm, while promoting The Rise of Skywalker in 2018
  2. ^ The first two trilogies were released on three year intervals, the sequel trilogy films two years apart.
  3. ^ Reported to have also featured the other bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back[185]


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