Star Wars is an American epic space-opera media franchise created by George Lucas. The franchise began with the eponymous 1977 film and quickly became a worldwide pop-culture phenomenon. The original film, later subtitled Episode IV – A New Hope, was followed by the sequels Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), forming what is collectively referred to as the original trilogy. A prequel trilogy was later released, consisting of Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) and Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005). Years later, a sequel trilogy began with Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), continued with Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), and will conclude with Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019). The first eight films were nominated for Academy Awards (with wins going to the first two released) and were commercially successful. Together with the theatrical anthology films Rogue One (2016) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), the combined box office revenue of the films equates to over US$9 billion, and is currently the second-highest-grossing film franchise.
|Created by||George Lucas|
|Original work||Star Wars (1977)[a]|
|Owned by||The Walt Disney Company|
|Book(s)||List of reference books|
|Novel(s)||List of novels|
|Short stories||See list of novels|
|Comics||List of comics|
|Films and television|
|Short film(s)||Reflections (2018)|
|Animated series||List of animated series|
|Television special(s)||Holiday Special|
|Television film(s)||List of TV films|
|Role-playing||List of RPGs|
|Video game(s)||List of video games|
|Radio program(s)||List of radio dramas|
|Theme park attraction(s)||List of attractions|
The film series was expanded into other media, including television series, video games, novels, comic books, theme park attractions and themed areas, resulting in an all-encompassing fictional universe. In 2012, Lucas sold his company to Disney, and in 2014, most existing spin-off media was made non-canon and rebranded as "Star Wars Legends". The episodic 'Skywalker saga' and the TV series The Clone Wars (2008–2014) define the canon, along with most other works released after April 2014, though a few Legends-universe media are still released, and some Legends characters are sometimes re-introduced into the canon, for example the titular character from Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy of novels. The franchise holds a Guinness World Records title for the "Most successful film merchandising franchise." In 2018, the total value of the Star Wars franchise was estimated at US$65 billion, and it is currently the fifth-highest-grossing media franchise of all-time.
- 1 Premise
- 2 Film
- 3 Television series
- 4 In other media
- 4.1 Print media
- 4.2 Audio
- 4.3 Video games
- 4.4 Theme park attractions
- 4.5 Multimedia projects
- 4.6 Merchandising
- 5 Themes
- 6 Cultural impact
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
The Star Wars franchise depicts the adventures of characters "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away", in which humans and many species of aliens (often humanoid) co-exist with robots, or 'droids', who may assist them in their daily routines; space travel between planets is common due to hyperspace technology. Unlike science fiction that features sleek and futuristic settings, the Star Wars galaxy is portrayed as dirty and grimy in George Lucas's concept of a "used future".
A mystical power known as 'the Force' is described in the original film as "an energy field created by all living things ... [that] binds the galaxy together." Through training and meditation, those whom "the Force is strong with" are able to perform various superpowers (such as telekinesis, precognition, telepathy, and manipulation of physical energy). The Force is wielded by two major knighthood orders at conflict with each other: the Jedi, peacekeepers of the Old Republic ruthlessly hunted by Imperial authorities, who act on the light side of the Force through non-attachment and arbitration, and the Sith, ancient enemies of the galactic democracy, who use the dark side by manipulating fear and aggression. While Jedi Knights can be numerous, the Dark Lords of the Sith (or 'Darths') are intended to be limited to two: a master and their apprentice.
Force-wielders are very limited in numbers in comparison to the rest of the average population. The Jedi and Sith prefer the use of a weapon called lightsaber, which is the cylinder-like hilt of a sword (when turned off), but when turned on ignites a laser blade that can cut through virtually any surface. Fights between the two factions result in duels, which are a mix between sword skills and the use of the Force. The rest of the average population, as well as renegades and soldiers, use laser-powered blaster firearms, which Force-users can deflect using lightsabers.
The rises and falls of different regimes are chronicled throughout the saga, which is split into three fictional eras:
- The Age of Republic: The era of the prequel trilogy, in which the democratic Galactic Republic is corrupted by its Supreme Chancellor, Palpatine—secretly the dark lord Darth Sidious. After orchestrating the Clone Wars between the government and a Separatist confederation, Palpatine overthrows the Republic, and establishes the Galactic Empire, declaring himself Emperor.
- The Age of Rebellion: The era of the original trilogy, in which the Empire is fought by the Rebel Alliance in a Galactic Civil War that spans several years, climaxing with the apparent death of the Emperor. The surviving Rebellion gives rise to the New Republic.
- The Age of Resistance: The era of the sequel trilogy, in which the remnants of the Empire reform as the First Order. Heroes of the former rebellion lead the Resistance against the oppressive dictatorship.
The Star Wars film series centers around three sets of trilogies, which is collectively referred to as the "Skywalker saga". They were produced non-chronologically, with Episodes IV–VI (the original trilogy) being released between 1977 and 1983, Episodes I–III (the prequel trilogy) being released between 1999 and 2005, and Episodes VII–IX (the sequel trilogy), being released between 2015 and 2019. Each trilogy focuses on a generation of the Force-sensitive Skywalker family. The original trilogy depict the heroic development of Luke Skywalker, the prequels tell of the downfall of his father Anakin, while the sequels feature Luke's nephew, Kylo Ren.
An anthology series set between the main episodes entered development in parallel to the production of the sequel trilogy, described by Disney CFO Jay Rasulo as origin stories. The first entry, Rogue One (2016), tells the story of the rebels who steal the Death Star plans directly before Episode IV. Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) focuses on Han Solo's backstory, also featuring Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian.
Lucasfilm has a number of Star Wars movies in development, including a trilogy of films produced and written by Game of Thrones creators/showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. The installments are scheduled to be released in December 2022, 2024, and 2026. Another trilogy will be written by The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson. Both trilogies will be independent from the Skywalker saga.
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Screenwriter(s)||Story by||Producer(s)|
|Star Wars: Episode IV –
A New Hope
|May 25, 1977||George Lucas||Gary Kurtz|
|Star Wars: Episode V –
The Empire Strikes Back
|May 21, 1980||Irvin Kershner||Leigh Brackett & Lawrence Kasdan||George Lucas|
|Star Wars: Episode VI –
Return of the Jedi
|May 25, 1983||Richard Marquand||Lawrence Kasdan & George Lucas||Howard Kazanjian|
|Star Wars: Episode I –
The Phantom Menace
|May 19, 1999||George Lucas||Rick McCallum|
|Star Wars: Episode II –
Attack of the Clones
|May 16, 2002||George Lucas||George Lucas & Jonathan Hales||George Lucas|
|Star Wars: Episode III –
Revenge of the Sith
|May 19, 2005||George Lucas|
|Star Wars: Episode VII –
The Force Awakens
|December 18, 2015||J. J. Abrams||Lawrence Kasdan & J. J. Abrams and Michael Arndt||Kathleen Kennedy, J. J. Abrams and Bryan Burk|
|Star Wars: Episode VIII –
The Last Jedi
|December 15, 2017||Rian Johnson||Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman|
|Star Wars: Episode IX –
The Rise of Skywalker
|December 20, 2019||J. J. Abrams||J. J. Abrams & Chris Terrio||Kathleen Kennedy, J. J. Abrams and Michelle Rejwan|
A Star Wars Story
|December 16, 2016||Gareth Edwards||Chris Weitz & Tony Gilroy||John Knoll & Gary Whitta||Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur and Simon Emanuel|
A Star Wars Story
|May 25, 2018||Ron Howard||Jonathan Kasdan & Lawrence Kasdan|
|Untitled future trilogy|
|Untitled first film||December 16, 2022||TBA||David Benioff & D. B. Weiss||Kathleen Kennedy, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss|
|Untitled second film||December 20, 2024||TBA||David Benioff and D. B. Weiss|
|Untitled third film||December 18, 2026|
In 1971, George Lucas wanted to film an adaptation of the Flash Gordon serial, but could not obtain the rights, so he began developing his own space opera.[b] After directing American Graffiti (1973), he wrote a two-page synopsis, which 20th Century Fox decided to invest in. By 1974, he had expanded the story into the first draft of a screenplay. The subsequent movie's success led Lucas to make it the basis of an elaborate film serial. With the backstory he created for the sequel, Lucas decided that the series would be a trilogy of trilogies. Most of the main cast would return for the two additional installments of the original trilogy, which were self-financed by Lucasfilm.
Star Wars was released on May 25, 1977 and first subtitled Episode IV – A New Hope in the 1979 book The Art of Star Wars. Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back was released on May 21, 1980, also achieving wide financial and critical success. The final film in the trilogy, Episode VI – Return of the Jedi was released on May 25, 1983. The story of the original trilogy focuses on Luke Skywalker's quest to become a Jedi, his struggle with the evil Imperial agent Darth Vader, and the struggle of the Rebel Alliance to free the galaxy from the clutches of the Empire.
According to producer Gary Kurtz, loose plans for a prequel trilogy were developed during the outlining of the original two films. In 1980, Lucas confirmed that he had the nine-film series plotted, but due to the stress of producing the original trilogy, he had decided to cancel further sequels by 1981. In 1983, Lucas explained that "There was never a script completed that had the entire story as it exists now ... As the stories unfolded, I would take certain ideas and save them ... I kept taking out all the good parts, and I just kept telling myself I would make other movies someday."
Technical advances in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including the ability to create computer-generated imagery, inspired Lucas to consider that it might be possible to revisit his saga. In 1989, Lucas stated that the prequels would be "unbelievably expensive." In 1992, he acknowledged that he had plans to create the prequel trilogy. A theatrical rerelease of the original trilogy in 1997 "updated" the 20-year-old films with the style of CGI envisioned for the new trilogy.
Episode I – The Phantom Menace was released on May 19, 1999, and Episode II – Attack of the Clones on May 16, 2002. Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, the first PG-13 film in the franchise, was released on May 19, 2005. The first two movies were met with mixed reviews, with the third being received somewhat more positively. The trilogy begins 32 years before Episode IV and follows the Jedi training of Anakin Skywalker, Luke's father, and creation of the Sith lord Darth Vader, as well as the corruption of the Galactic Republic and rise of the Empire of Darth Sidious. Together with the original trilogy, Lucas has collectively referred to the first six episodic films of the franchise as "the tragedy of Darth Vader".
In 2004, for their DVD release, the original trilogy films were furtherly altered in order to bring continuity with the prequels, for example replacing Palpatine's depiction in The Empire Strikes Back and Anakin's in Return of the Jedi to match their prequel selves, using their prequel portrayers.
Prior to releasing the original film, and made possible by its success, Lucas planned "three trilogies of nine films." He announced this to Time in 1978, and confirmed that he had outlined them in 1981. At various stages of development, the sequel trilogy was to focus on the rebuilding of the Republic, the return of Luke in a role similar to that of Obi-Wan in the original trilogy, Luke's sister (not yet determined to be Leia), Han, Leia, R2-D2 and C-3PO. However, after beginning work on the prequel trilogy, Lucas insisted that Star Wars was meant to be a six-part series and that there would be no sequel trilogy.
Lucas decided to leave the franchise in the hands of other filmmakers, announcing in January 2012 that he would make no more Star Wars films. In October of that year, The Walt Disney Company agreed to buy Lucasfilm and announced that Episode VII would be released in 2015. The co-chairman of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, became president of the company and served as executive producer of new Star Wars feature films. Lucas provided Kennedy his story treatments for the sequels during the 2012 sale, but in 2015 it was revealed Lucas's sequel outline had been discarded. The sequel trilogy also meant the end of the existing Star Wars expanded universe, which was discarded to give "maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience."
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 was met with both critical and box office success, and Episode VIII, while also meeting critical and financial success, had a mixed reception from audiences. The sequel trilogy starts 30 years after Episode VI and focuses on the journey of the Force-sensitive orphan Rey, guided by Luke Skywalker. Along with ex-stormtrooper Finn and ace X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron, Rey helps the Resistance led by Leia fight the First Order commanded by Han and Leia's son (Luke's nephew), Kylo Ren.
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. On February 5, 2013, Disney CEO Bob Iger made public the development of the Kasdan film. Disney CFO Jay Rasulo has described the standalone films as origin stories.
Lucasfilm and Kennedy have stated that the standalone films would be referred to as the Star Wars anthology series (albeit the word anthology has not been used in any of the titles, instead carrying the promotional "A Star Wars Story" subtitle). Focused on how the Rebels obtained the Death Star plans introduced in the 1977 film, the first anthology film, Rogue One, was released on December 16, 2016 to favorable reviews and box office success. The second, Solo: A Star Wars Story, centered on a young Han Solo with Chewbacca and Lando as supporting characters, was released on May 25, 2018 to mixed reviews and underperformance at the box office. Despite this, more anthology films are expected to be released, following a hiatus after 2019's The Rise of Skywalker.
TV films and specials
The franchise has three television spin-off films, including a 1978 holiday TV special, and two live-action TV films created in the mid-1980s featuring the Ewoks from Return of the Jedi. Though all three were originally considered semi-canonical to the franchise, they were discarded from the film canon after Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm.
|The Star Wars Holiday Special||November 17, 1978||David Acomba and Steve Binder||Bruce Vilanch||CBS|
|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
A two-hour Holiday Special focusing on Chewbacca's family was produced for CBS in 1978. Along with the stars of the original film, celebrity guest stars appear in plot-related skits and musical numbers. The special has been widely met with extremely negative reception; Lucas himself loathed it, forbidding it to be reaired or released on home video. An 11-minute animated sequence features the first appearance of bounty hunter Boba Fett.
The Ewoks were featured in two spin-off television films, The Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. They were based on stories by Lucas, aired on ABC on the Thanksgiving weekends of 1984 and 1985, respectively, and had international theatrical releases. Warwick Davis reprised his debut role as the main Ewok, Wicket, in a story by Lucas and a screenplay by Bob Carrau. Wicket helps two children rescue their parents from a giant creature. In the sequel, the Ewoks protect their village from invaders, while one of the children from the first film tries to escape.
Lucasfilm produced two animated series in the 1980s. The first, Ewoks, focused on the furry creatures, while the other series, Droids, depicts the adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO before the original film. Further animated series began to be released in the 2000s, the first two of which focused on the Clone Wars. Two additional half-hour animated series were ordered, one of which, Star Wars Rebels, ties into the original trilogy, the other, Star Wars Resistance, to the sequel trilogy. All three live-action Star Wars series will be released on Disney+, with its first series, The Mandalorian will premiere on November 12, 2019.
Additionally, following the conclusion of the first two trilogies in 2005, Lucas continued developing spin-offs in the form of various television series. The only project to be developed and released under his leadership was an animated TV series in late 2008. A theatrical feature, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which was a compilation of episodes, was released "almost [as] an afterthought" and was poorly received both critically and financially. The plot introduces the idea that Anakin trained an apprentice between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith and additionally explains Padawan Ahsoka Tano's absence from the latter film. While the character was initially criticized, she had become a fan favorite by the end of the series.
|Series||Season||Episodes||Originally aired / released||Showrunner(s)||Network(s)|
|First aired||Last aired|
The Clone Wars
|Film pilot||August 15, 2008||Dave Filoni||Theatrical release|
|1–5||108||October 3, 2008||March 2, 2013||Cartoon Network|
|6||13||February 15, 2014||March 7, 2014||Netflix|
|1–4||75||October 3, 2014||October 16, 2017||Disney XD|
|1–2||21||October 7, 2018||2020||Justin Ridge||Disney Channel|
|1||8||November 12, 2019||December 31, 2019||Jon Favreau||Disney+|
Nelvana, the animation studio that had animated the animated segment of the Holiday Special was hired to create two animated series. Droids (1985–1986), which aired for one season on ABC, follows the adventures of C-3PO and R2-D2 before the events of A New Hope. Its sister series Ewoks (1985–1987) features the Ewoks before Return of the Jedi and the Ewok movies.
After the release of Attack of the Clones, Cartoon Network produced and aired the micro-series Clone Wars from 2003 to weeks before the 2005 release of Revenge of the Sith, as the series featured events set between those films. It won the Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program in 2004 and 2005.
Lucas decided to invest in creating his own animation company, Lucasfilm Animation, and used it to create his first in-house Star Wars CGI-animated series. The Clone Wars (2008–2014) was introduced through a 2008 animated film of the same name. Though originally dubbed "T ("Television")-Canon", both were accepted to the highest level of canonicity in 2014; all series released afterwards would also be canon. In 2014, Disney XD began airing Star Wars Rebels, the first CGI-animated series produced in the new era. Set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, it follows a band of rebels as they fight the Galactic Empire and helped close some of the arcs in The Clone Wars.
The animated micro-series Star Wars Forces of Destiny debuted in 2017, focusing on the female characters of the franchise. The animated series Star Wars Resistance debuted in late 2018, is anime-inspired, and focuses on a young Resistance pilot shortly before The Force Awakens.
When Lucasfilm was sold to Disney, this reportedly included 50 written scripts for a proposed live-action television series with the working title Star Wars: Underworld. The series was to be set between the prequel and original trilogies and focus on the criminal and political power struggles as the Empire took over the galaxy. As of late 2018, no news has come of that project, but Disney has announced multiple live-action Star Wars series for their upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming service, Disney+.
Visual effects studio Industrial Light & Magic, a subsidiary of Lucasfilm, opened a new division in November 2018 targeted for streaming and episodic television called ILM TV. Based in London with support from the company's locations in San Francisco, Vancouver, and Singapore, it is expected that the new division will work extensively on any current and future live-action Star Wars television series, starting with The Mandalorian.
- The Mandalorian: It was announced in March 2018 that Jon Favreau, who previously voiced characters in The Clone Wars and Solo, will serve as creator, writer, showrunner, and chief executive producer on one of multiple television shows in development for Disney+. The Mandalorian, starring Pedro Pascal as a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy and takes place five years after Return of the Jedi. Production on the first season, which includes 10 episodes, began in October 2018 with a budget of $100 million.
- Untitled Cassian Andor series: In November 2018, Lucasfilm announced that development on a live-action Cassian Andor "spy thriller" series for Disney+ had also begun. Diego Luna will reprise his role from Rogue One, and production is planned to begin in 2019 with Stephen Schiff as the showrunner.
- Untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi series: It was reported in August 2019 that Ewan McGregor will reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a upcoming television series on Disney+. On August 23, 2019, at the D23 Expo, Lucasfilm officially announced the as-yet untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi series for Disney+, with McGregor confirmed to return as Kenobi. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy stated that the show's scripts had been completed and that shooting would begin in 2020. It is set eight years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, and 11 years before the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope. Initially announced in August 2017 as a feature film, written and directed by Stephen Daldry, the project was delayed following the lower-than-expected box office returns from Solo: A Star Wars Story.
In other media
From 1976 to 2014, the term Expanded Universe (EU) was an umbrella term for all officially licensed Star Wars storytelling material set outside the events depicted within the theatrical films, including novels, comics, and video games. Lucasfilm maintained internal continuity between the films and television content and the EU material until April 25, 2014, when the company announced all of the EU works would cease production. Existing works would no longer be considered canon to the franchise and subsequent reprints would be rebranded under the Star Wars Legends label, with downloadable content for the massively multiplayer online game The Old Republic the only Legends material to still be produced. The Star Wars canon was subsequently restructured to only include the existing six feature films, the animated film The Clone Wars (2008), and its companion animated series. All future projects and creative developments across all types of media would be overseen and coordinated by the story group, announced as a division of Lucasfilm created to maintain continuity and a cohesive vision on the storytelling of the franchise. Multiple comics series from Marvel and novels published by Del Rey were produced after the announcement.
Star Wars in print predates the release of the first film, with the December 1976 novelization of Star Wars, initially subtitled "From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker". Credited to Lucas, it was ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster. The first "Expanded Universe" story appeared in Marvel Comics' Star Wars #7 in January 1978 (the first six issues being an adaptation of the film), followed by Foster's sequel novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye the following month.
After penning the novelization of the original film, Foster followed it with the sequel Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1978). The novelizations of The Empire Strikes Back (1980) by Donald F. Glut and Return of the Jedi (1983) by James Kahn followed, as well as The Han Solo Adventures trilogy (1979–1980) by Brian Daley, and The Adventures of Lando Calrissian trilogy (1983) by L. Neil Smith.
Timothy Zahn's bestselling Thrawn trilogy (1991–1993) reignited interest in the franchise and introduced the popular characters Grand Admiral Thrawn, Mara Jade, Talon Karrde, and Gilad Pellaeon. The first novel, Heir to the Empire, reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list, and the series finds Luke, Leia, and Han facing off against tactical genius Thrawn, who is plotting to retake the galaxy for the Empire. In The Courtship of Princess Leia (1994) by Dave Wolverton, set immediately before the Thrawn trilogy, Leia considers an advantageous political marriage to Prince Isolder of the planet Hapes, but she and Han ultimately marry. Steve Perry's Shadows of the Empire (1996), set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, was part of a multimedia campaign that included a comic book series and video game. The novel introduced the crime lord Prince Xizor, another popular character who would appear in multiple other works. Other notable series from Bantam include the Jedi Academy trilogy (1994) by Kevin J. Anderson, the 14-book Young Jedi Knights series (1995–1998) by Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, and the X-wing series (1996–2012) by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston.
Del Rey took over Star Wars book publishing in 1999, releasing what would become a 19-installment novel series called The New Jedi Order (1999–2003). Written by multiple authors, the series was set 25 to 30 years after the original films and introduced the Yuuzhan Vong, a powerful alien race attempting to invade and conquer the entire galaxy. The bestselling multi-author series Legacy of the Force (2006–2008) chronicles the crossover of Han and Leia's son Jacen Solo to the dark side of the Force; among his evil deeds, he kills Luke's wife Mara Jade as a sacrifice to join the Sith. Although no longer canon, the story is paralleled in The Force Awakens with Han and Leia's son Ben Solo, who has become the dark Kylo Ren.
Three series set in the prequel era were introduced for younger audiences: the 18-book Jedi Apprentice (1999–2002) chronicles the adventures of Obi-Wan Kenobi and his master Qui-Gon Jinn in the years before The Phantom Menace; the 11-book Jedi Quest (2001–2004) follows Obi-Wan and his own apprentice, Anakin Skywalker in between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones; and the 10-book The Last of the Jedi (2005–2008), set almost immediately after Revenge of the Sith, features Obi-Wan and the last few surviving Jedi.
Although Thrawn had been designated a Legends character in 2014, he was reintroduced into the canon in the 2016 third season of Rebels, with Zahn returning to write more novels based in the character, and set in the new canon.
Marvel Comics published a Star Wars comic book series from 1977 to 1986. Original Star Wars comics were serialized in the Marvel magazine Pizzazz between 1977 and 1979. The 1977 installments were the first original Star Wars stories not directly adapted from the films to appear in print form, as they preceded those of the Star Wars comic series. From 1985–1987, the animated children's series Ewoks and Droids inspired comic series from Marvel's Star Comics line.
In the late 1980s, Marvel dropped a new Star Wars comic it had in development, which was picked up by Dark Horse Comics and published as the popular Dark Empire series (1991–1995). Dark Horse subsequently launched dozens of series set after the original film trilogy, including Tales of the Jedi (1993–1998), X-wing Rogue Squadron (1995–1998), Star Wars: Republic (1998–2006), Star Wars Tales (1999–2005), Star Wars: Empire (2002–2006), and Knights of the Old Republic (2006–2010).
After Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm, it was announced in January 2014 that in 2015 the Star Wars comics license would return to Marvel Comics, whose parent company, Marvel Entertainment, Disney had purchased in 2009. Launched in 2015, the first three publications were titled Star Wars, Darth Vader, and the limited series Princess Leia.
Soundtracks and singles
John Williams composed the soundtracks for the nine episodic films; he has stated that he will retire from the franchise following The Rise of Skywalker. He also composed the theme "The Adventures of Han" for Solo: A Star Wars Story, which John Powell composed the rest of the score of. Michael Giacchino composed the score of Rogue One.
Radio adaptations of the films were also produced. Lucas, a fan of the NPR-affiliated campus radio station of his alma mater the University of Southern California, licensed the Star Wars radio rights to KUSC-FM for US$1. The production used John Williams' original film score, along with Ben Burtt's sound effects.
The first was written by science-fiction author Brian Daley and directed by John Madden. It was broadcast on National Public Radio in 1981, adapting the original 1977 film into 13-episodes. Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels reprised their film roles.
In 1983, Buena Vista Records released an original, 30-minute Star Wars audio drama titled Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell, written by Daley. In the 1990s, Time Warner Audio Publishing adapted several Star Wars series from Dark Horse Comics into audio dramas: the three-part Dark Empire saga, Tales of the Jedi, Dark Lords of the Sith, the Dark Forces trilogy, and Crimson Empire (1998). Return of the Jedi was adapted into 6-episodes in 1996, featuring Daniels.
The Star Wars franchise has spawned over one hundred computer, video, and board games, dating back to some of the earliest home consoles. Some are based directly on the movie material, while others rely heavily on the non-canonical Expanded Universe (rebranded as Star Wars Legends and removed from the canon in 2014). Star Wars games have gone through three significant development eras, marked by a change in leadership among the developers: the early licensed games, those developed after the creation of LucasArts, and those created after the closure of the Lucasfilm division by Disney and the transfer of the license to Electronic Arts.
Early licensed games (1979–1993)
The first era began with the first officially licensed electronic Star Wars game: Kenner's 1979 table-top Star Wars Electronic Battle Command. In 1982, Parker Brothers published the first Star Wars video game for the Atari 2600, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. It was followed in 1983 by Atari's rail shooter arcade game Star Wars, which used vector graphics to replicate the Death Star trench run scene from the 1977 film. The next game, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1984), used more traditional raster graphics, while the following Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1985) returned to vector graphics. Star Wars was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991, followed by a sequel the following year. Super Star Wars was also released in 1992, followed by two sequels over the next two years.
LucasArts and modern self-published games (1993–2014)
The beginning of the second era is marked by the prominence of LucasArts and modern self-published games. LucasArts was founded after Star Wars creator George Lucas took interest in the increasing success of the video game market. Wanting to have more creative control over the games and their narratives, Lucas founded his own video-game development company, LucasArts. During this era, improved video game graphics allowed games to tell complex narratives, which allowed for the retelling of the films, and eventually original narratives set in the same continuity as the films, with voice overs and CGI cutscenes. Lucasfilm had founded its own video game company in 1982, becoming best known for adventure games and World War II flight combat games. In 1993, LucasArts released Star Wars: X-Wing, the first self-published Star Wars video game and the first space flight simulator based on the franchise. It was one of the best-selling video games of 1993 and established its own series of games. The Rogue Squadron series was released between 1998 and 2003, also focusing on space battles set during the films.
Dark Forces (1995), a hybrid adventure game incorporating puzzles and strategy, was the first Star Wars first-person shooter. It featured gameplay and graphical features not then common in other games, made possible by LucasArts' custom-designed game engine, the Jedi. The game was well received, and it was followed by four sequels. The series introduced Kyle Katarn, who would appear in multiple games, novels, and comics. Katarn is a former stormtrooper who joins the rebellion and becomes a Jedi, a plot arc similar to that of Finn in The Force Awakens. A massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Star Wars Galaxies, was in operation from 2003 until 2011. After Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, the games developed during the first two eras were discarded from the canon in 2014 and reassigned to the non-canonical Star Wars Legends label. LucasArts ceased its role as a developer in 2013, although it still operates as a licensor.
EA Star Wars (2014–present)
After its acquisition by Disney, LucasArts ceased being a developer and video game rights were reassigned to Electronic Arts, marking the start of the third era. Games made during this era are considered canonical, and feature more influence from the Star Wars filmmakers. Disney partnered with Lenovo to create the augmented reality video game Jedi Challenges, released in November 2017. In August 2018, it was announced that Zynga would publish free-to-play Star Wars mobile games. The Battlefront games received a canonical reboot in 2017. Jedi: Fallen Order will be release in late 2019.
Theme park attractions
In addition to the Disneyland ride Star Tours (1987) and its renovation as Star Tours – The Adventures Continue (2011), many live attractions have been held at Disney parks, including the travelling exhibition Where Science Meets Imagination, the Space Mountain spin-off Hyperspace Mountain, a walkthrough Launch Bay, and the night-time A Galactic Spectacular. An immersive themed area called Galaxy's Edge (2019) opened at Disneyland and is due to open at Walt Disney World in mid 2019,. A themed hotel, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, is currently under construction at Walt Disney World.
|Title||Park(s)||Opening date||Closing date||Status|
|Star Tours||Disneyland||January 9, 1987||July 27, 2010||Closed|
|Tokyo Disneyland||July 12, 1989||April 2, 2012|
|Disney's Hollywood Studios||December 15, 1989||September 7, 2010|
|Disneyland Paris||April 12, 1992||March 16, 2016|
|Star Wars Weekends||Disney's Hollywood Studios||1997||2015|
|Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination||Multiple locations||October 19, 2005||March 23, 2014|
|Jedi Training Academy||Disneyland||July 1, 2006||November 15, 2015|
|Disney's Hollywood Studios||October 9, 2007||October 5, 2015|
|Star Tours – The Adventures Continue||Disney's Hollywood Studios||May 20, 2011||–||Operating|
|Disneyland||June 3, 2011||–|
|Tokyo Disneyland||May 7, 2013||–|
|Disneyland Paris||March 26, 2017||–|
|Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain||Disneyland||November 14, 2015||May 31, 2017||Closed|
|Hong Kong Disneyland||June 11, 2016||–||Operating|
|Disneyland Paris||May 7, 2017||–|
|Star Wars Launch Bay||Disneyland||November 16, 2015||–|
|Disney's Hollywood Studios||December 4, 2015||–|
|Shanghai Disneyland Park||June 16, 2016||–|
|Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple||Disney's Hollywood Studios||December 1, 2015||–|
|Disneyland||December 8, 2015||–|
|Disneyland Paris||July 11, 2015||–|
|Hong Kong Disneyland||June 25, 2016||–|
|Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular||Disney's Hollywood Studios||June 17, 2016||–|
|Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run||Disneyland||May 31, 2019||–|
A multimedia project involves works released across multiple types of media. Shadows of the Empire (1996) was a multimedia project set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi that included a novel by Steve Perry, a comic book series, a video game, and action figures. The Force Unleashed (2008–2010) was a similar project set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope that included a novel, a 2008 video game and its 2010 sequel, a graphic novel, a role-playing game supplement, and toys.
The success of the Star Wars films led the franchise to become one of the most merchandised franchises in the world. While filming the original 1977 film, George Lucas decided to take a $500,000 pay cut to his salary as director in exchange for full ownership of the franchise's merchandising rights. The first six films produced approximately US$20 billion in merchandising revenue.
Kenner made the first Star Wars action figures to coincide with the release of the film, and today the original figures are highly valuable. Since the 1990s, Hasbro holds the rights to create action figures based on the saga. Pez dispensers began to be produced in 1997. Star Wars was the first intellectual property to be licensed in Lego history. Lego has produced animated parody short films and mini-series to promote their Star Wars sets. The Lego Star Wars video games are critically acclaimed bestsellers.
In 1977, the board game Star Wars: Escape from the Death Star was released, not to be confused with the board game with the same name published in 1990. A Star Wars Monopoly and themed versions of Trivial Pursuit and Battleship were released in 1997, with updated versions released in subsequent years. The board game Risk has been adapted in two editions by Hasbro: The Clone Wars Edition (2005) and the Original Trilogy Edition (2006). Three Star Wars tabletop role-playing games have been developed: 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. 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. From 1995 until 2001, Decipher, Inc. had the license for, created and produced a collectible card game based on the franchise.
Star Wars features elements such as knighthood, chivalry, and Jungian archetypes such as 'the shadow'. There are also many references to Christianity, such as in the appearance of Darth Maul, whose design draws heavily from traditional depictions of the devil. Anakin was conceived of a virgin birth, and is assumed to be the "Chosen One", a messianic individual. However, unlike Jesus, Anakin falls from grace, remaining evil until Return of the Jedi. George Lucas has said that the theme of the saga is redemption.
The saga draws heavily from the hero's journey, an archetypical template developed by comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell. Each character—primarily Anakin, Luke, and Rey—follows the steps of the cycle or undergoes its reversal, becoming the villain. The final scene in The Last Jedi depicts servant children playing with a toy of Luke, and one boy using the Force to grab a broom. According to Inverse, this symbolizes that "the Force can be found in people with humble beginnings."
Political science has been an important element of Star Wars since the franchise launched in 1977, focusing on a struggle between democracy and dictatorship. Darth Vader's design, initially inspired by Samurai armor, also incorporated a German military helmet. Originally, Lucas conceived of the Sith as a group that served the Emperor in the same way that the Schutzstaffel served Adolf Hitler; this was condensed into one character in the form of Darth Vader. Stormtroopers borrow the name of Nazi "shock" troopers. Imperial officers wear uniforms resembling those of German forces during World War II, and political and security officers resemble the black-clad SS down to the stylized silver death's head on their caps. World War II terms were used for names in the films; e.g. the planets Kessel (a term that refers to a group of encircled forces) and Hoth (after a German general who served on the snow-laden Eastern Front). Shots of the commanders looking through AT-AT walker viewscreens in The Empire Strikes Back resemble tank interiors, and space battles in the original film were based on World War I and World War II dogfights.
Palpatine being a chancellor before becoming the Emperor in the prequel trilogy alludes to Hitler's role before appointing himself Führer. Lucas has also drawn parallels to historical dictators such as Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, and politicians like Richard Nixon.[d] The Great Jedi Purge mirrors the events of the Night of the Long Knives. The corruption of the Galactic Republic is modeled after the fall of the democratic Roman Republic and the formation of an empire.
On the inspiration for the First Order formed "from the ashes of the Empire", The Force Awakens director J. J. Abrams spoke of conversations the writers had about how the Nazis could have escaped to Argentina after WWII and "started working together again."
The Star Wars saga has had a significant impact on popular culture, with references to its fictional universe deeply embedded in everyday life. Phrases like "evil empire" and "May the Force be with you" have become part of the popular lexicon. The first Star Wars film in 1977 was a cultural unifier, enjoyed by a wide spectrum of people. 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 and mainstream. The widespread impact made it a prime target for parody works and homages, with popular examples including Hardware Wars, Spaceballs, The Family Guy Trilogy and Robot Chicken: Star Wars.
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." The Empire Strikes Back, was selected in 2010. 35mm reels of the 1997 Special Editions were the versions initially presented for preservation because of the difficulty of transferring from the original prints, but it was later revealed that the Library possesses a copyright deposit print of the original theatrical releases.
The original Star Wars film was a huge success for 20th Century Fox, and was credited for reinvigorating the company. Within three weeks of the film's release, the studio's stock price doubled to a record high. Prior to 1977, 20th Century Fox's greatest annual profits were $37 million, while in 1977, the company broke that record by posting a profit of $79 million. The franchise helped Fox to change from an almost bankrupt production company to a thriving media conglomerate.
Star Wars fundamentally changed the aesthetics and narratives of Hollywood films, switching the focus of Hollywood-made films from deep, meaningful stories based on dramatic conflict, themes and irony to sprawling special-effects-laden blockbusters, as well as changing the Hollywood film industry in fundamental ways. Before Star Wars, special effects in films had not appreciably advanced since the 1950s. The commercial success of Star Wars created a boom in state-of-the-art special effects in the late 1970s. Along with Jaws, Star Wars started the tradition of the summer blockbuster film in the entertainment industry, where films open on many screens at the same time and profitable franchises are important. It created the model for the major film trilogy and showed that merchandising rights on a film could generate more money than the film itself did.
The original Star Wars trilogy is widely considered one of the best film trilogies in history. Numerous filmmakers have been influenced by Star Wars, including Damon Lindelof, Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, John Lasseter, David Fincher, Joss Whedon, John Singleton, Kevin Smith, and later Star Wars directors J. J. Abrams and Gareth Edwards. Lucas's concept of a "used future" particularly influenced Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982) and Alien (1979), James Cameron's Aliens (1986) as well as The Terminator (1984), George Miller's Mad Max 2, and Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Christopher Nolan cited Star Wars as an influence when making the 2010 blockbuster film Inception.
Regarding the return and expansion of the franchise, Lawrence Kasdan noted that the spin-offs were expanding the franchise into more of a shared universe beyond the previously linear saga, adding that one of the strengths of the franchise was how it all fell under the same continuity in comparison to other franchises. Kasdan also contrasted Star Wars to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, noting that Star Wars features less comedy than the latter, and adding that he felt a more comedic approach would "not be Star Wars" to him.
Film critic Roger Ebert wrote in his book The Great Movies, "Like The Birth of a Nation and Citizen Kane, Star Wars was a technical watershed that influenced many of the movies that came after." It began a new generation of special effects and high-energy motion pictures. The film was one of the first films to link genres together to invent a new, high-concept genre for filmmakers to build upon. Finally, along with Steven Spielberg's Jaws, it shifted the film industry's focus away from personal filmmaking of the 1970s and towards fast-paced, big-budget blockbusters for younger audiences.
Some critics have blamed Star Wars and Jaws for "ruining" Hollywood by shifting its focus from "sophisticated" films such as The Godfather, Taxi Driver, and Annie Hall to films about spectacle and juvenile fantasy, and for the industry shift from stand-alone, one and done films, towards blockbuster franchises with multiple sequels and prequels. One such critic, Peter Biskind, complained, "When all was said and done, Lucas and Spielberg returned the 1970s audience, grown sophisticated on a diet of European and New Hollywood films, to the simplicities of the pre-1960s Golden Age of movies... They marched backward through the looking-glass." In an opposing view, Tom Shone wrote that through Star Wars and Jaws, Lucas and Spielberg "didn't betray cinema at all: they plugged it back into the grid, returning the medium to its roots as a carnival sideshow, a magic act, one big special effect", which was "a kind of rebirth".
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. Lucasfilm has allowed but not endorsed the creation of fan fiction, as long as it does not attempt to make a profit.
As the characters and the storyline of the original trilogy are so well known, educators have used the films in the classroom as a learning resource. For example, a project in Western Australia honed elementary school students storytelling skills by role-playing action scenes from the movies and later creating props and audio/visual scenery to enhance their performance. Others have used the films to encourage second-level students to integrate technology in the science classroom by making prototype lightsabers. Similarly, psychiatrists in New Zealand and the US have advocated their use in the university classroom to explain different types of psychopathology.
- Architecture of Star Wars
- Jedi census phenomenon
- List of Star Wars creatures
- Physics and Star Wars
- Wookieepedia: The Star Wars Wiki
- 501st Legion
- Star Wars Celebration
- Star Wars Day
- Music of Star Wars
- Star Wars documentaries
- The Story of Star Wars
- Technology in Star Wars
- List of space science fiction franchises
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I came on board, and Disney had already decided they didn't want to go that direction. So the mandate was to start from scratch.
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