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Star Wars

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Star Wars
Star wars2.svg
The franchise logo
Created by George Lucas
Original work Star Wars (1977)[a]
Owner Lucasfilm
Print publications
Novel(s) List of novels
Comics List of comics
Films and television
Film(s) full list...
Animated series List of animated series
Role-playing List of role-playing games
Video game(s) List of video games
Radio program(s) List of radio dramas
Original music Music
Toys Toys
Theme park attractions List of theme park attractions

Star Wars is an American-produced epic space opera franchise, created by George Lucas and centered around a film series that began with the eponymous 1977 movie. The saga quickly became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon.

The first film was followed by two successful sequels, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983); these three films constitute the original Star Wars trilogy. A prequel trilogy was released between 1999 and 2005, albeit to mixed reactions from critics and fans. A sequel trilogy concluding the main story of the nine-episode saga began in 2015 with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.[1] The first eight films were nominated for Academy Awards (with wins going to the first two films released) and have been commercially successful, with a combined box office revenue of over US$8.5 billion.[2] Together with theatrical spin-off films The Clone Wars (2008), Rogue One (2016) and Solo (2018), Star Wars is the second highest-grossing film series ever.[3]

The film series has spawned into other media, including books, television shows, computer and video games, theme park attractions and lands, and comic books, resulting in significant development of the series' fictional universe. Star Wars holds a Guinness World Records title for the "Most successful film merchandising franchise". In 2015, the total value of the Star Wars franchise was estimated at US$42 billion,[4][5] and it is currently the third-highest-grossing media franchise of all time.


George Lucas, who created the franchise, directed and wrote
Episodes I–IV, and supervised scripts of Episodes V and VI, has limited involvement with it since 2012.

The Star Wars franchise depicts the adventures of characters "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away."[6] Many species of aliens (often humanoid) co-exist with droids who may assist them in their daily routines, and space travel between planets is common.[7][8][9] The rises and falls of different governments are chronicled throughout the saga: the democratic Galactic Republic is corrupted and overthrown by the Empire,[10] which is fought by the Rebel Alliance; the New Republic rebuilds society, but the remnants of the Empire form the First Order.[11] Heroes of the former rebellion lead the Resistance against the evil dictatorship.

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."[6] Those whom "the Force is strong with" have quick reflexes; through training and meditation, they are able to perform various superpowers (such as telekinesis, precognition, telepathy, and manipulation of physical energy).[12] The Force is wielded by two major factions at conflict with each other: the Jedi, who act on the light side of the Force through non-attachment and arbitration, and the Sith Order, who use the dark side through fear and aggression. The latter's members are intended to be limited to two: a master and their apprentice.[13]

Theatrical films

The Star Wars film series centers around a "trilogy of trilogies" (also referred to as the "Skywalker saga"[1] or the "Star Wars saga"). They were released out of sequence: the original (Episodes IV–VI, 1977–83), prequel (Episodes I–III, 1999–2005), and sequel (Episodes VII–IX, 2015–19) trilogy. The first two trilogies were released on three year intervals, the sequel trilogy films two years apart. 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 sequels on Luke's nephew Kylo Ren (the son of Han Solo and Leia).

A theatrical animated film, The Clone Wars (2008), was released as a pilot to a TV series of the same name. They were among the last projects overseen by George Lucas before the franchise was sold to Disney in 2012.

An anthology series set between the main episodes entered development in parallel to the production of the sequel trilogy.[14] The first entry, Rogue One (2016), tells the story of the rebels who steal the Death Star plans directly before Episode IV. Solo (2018) focuses on Han's backstory, also featuring Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian.

An untitled trilogy by Episode VIII's director Rian Johnson has been announced, with an additional film series by Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss also in development.

      Original trilogy       Prequel trilogy       Sequel trilogy

Film Release date Director Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s) Composer Initial distributor
06 01May 25, 1977 (1977-05-25) George Lucas Gary Kurtz John Williams 20th Century Fox
07 02May 21, 1980 (1980-05-21) Irvin Kershner Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan George Lucas
08 03May 25, 1983 (1983-05-25) Richard Marquand Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas Howard Kazanjian
02 04May 19, 1999 (1999-05-19) George Lucas Rick McCallum
03 05May 16, 2002 (2002-05-16) George Lucas George Lucas and Jonathan Hales George Lucas
04 06May 19, 2005 (2005-05-19) George Lucas
10 07December 18, 2015 (2015-12-18) J. J. Abrams Lawrence Kasdan & J. J. Abrams and Michael Arndt Kathleen Kennedy, J. J. Abrams and Bryan Burk Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
11 08December 15, 2017 (2017-12-15) Rian Johnson Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman
12 09December 20, 2019 (2019-12-20) J. J. Abrams J. J. Abrams & Chris Terrio[15][16] Kathleen Kennedy, J. J. Abrams
and Michelle Rejwan

Original trilogy

The central three characters of the original trilogy were played by, from left to right, Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia).

In 1971, Lucas wanted to film an adaptation of the Flash Gordon serial, but couldn't obtain the rights. He began developing his own story inspired by the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs.[17] Immediately after directing American Graffiti (1973), Lucas wrote a two-page synopsis for his space opera, titled Journal of the Whills. After Universal Studios rejected the film, 20th Century Fox decided to invest in it.[18] Lucas felt his original story was too difficult to understand, so on April 17, 1973, he began writing a 13-page script titled The Star Wars, sharing strong similarities with Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress (1958).[19] By 1974, he had expanded the script into the first draft of a screenplay, adding elements such as the Sith and the Death Star. Subsequent drafts evolved into the script of the original film.[20]

Lucas negotiated to retain the sequel rights. Tom Pollock, then Lucas' lawyer writes: "We came to an agreement that George would retain the sequel rights. Not all the [merchandising rights] that came later, mind you; just the sequel rights. And Fox would get a first opportunity and last refusal right to make the movie."[21] Lucas was offered $50,000 to write, another $50,000 to produce, and $50,000 to direct the film.[21] The offer was later increased.[22] American Graffiti cast member Harrison Ford had given up on acting and become a carpenter whom Lucas hired for his home renovations, until Lucas decided to cast him as Han Solo.[23]

Star Wars was released on May 25, 1977. It was followed by The Empire Strikes Back on May 21, 1980, and Return of the Jedi on May 25, 1983. The sequels were self-financed by Lucasfilm, and generally advertised without the episodic number distinction present in the opening crawl of the films introduced with Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.[21] 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 Hope

Conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie (left) and sound designer Ben Burtt (right) defined the iconic aesthetic and soundscape of the original trilogy.

The film opens with a Rebel spaceship being intercepted by the Empire above the desert planet of Tatooine. Aboard, the deadliest Imperial agent Darth Vader and his stormtroopers capture Princess Leia Organa, a secret member of the Rebellion. Before her capture, Leia makes sure the astromech 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 protocol droid 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, the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. Obi-Wan confides to Luke that Anakin was "betrayed and murdered" by Vader, who was his apprentice years ago. He gives Luke his father's old lightsaber and tells him he must become a Jedi. After viewing Leia's message, they hire the smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca to help them avoid Imperials aboard 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.[6]

The first rough draft, known as The Star Wars, introduced "the Force" and the young hero Luke Starkiller. Annikin [sic] appeared as Luke's father, a wise Jedi knight. The third draft replaced (a deceased) Annikin with Ben Kenobi.[20] Some months later, Lucas had negotiated a contract that gave him rights to two sequels. Lucas hired Alan Dean Foster, who was ghostwriting the novelization of the first film, to write them — with the main creative restriction that they could be filmed on a low budget.[24] 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.[20] 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.[25] By that point, Lucas had developed a tentative backstory to aid in developing the saga.[26]

A fan cosplays as Darth Vader, the antagonist of the original trilogy. His backstory became the basis of the prequels and The Clone Wars animated series. He also appeared in the anthology film Rogue One and the Rebels animated series.

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,[27] and use the profits to finance his filmmaking center, Skywalker Ranch.[28] After the release of the first sequel, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, the original film was subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope for a rerelease in 1981.[29][30][31]

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Lawrence Kasdan co-wrote Episodes V, VI and VII, and Solo.

The film begins three years after the destruction of the Death Star, when the Rebels are forced by the Empire to evacuate their secret base on Hoth. At the request of the late Obi-Wan's spirit, Luke travels to the swamp-infested world of Dagobah to find the exiled Jedi Master Yoda and begin his Jedi training. However, Luke's training is interrupted by Vader, who lures him into a trap by capturing Han and Leia at Cloud City, governed by Han's old friend Lando Calrissian. During a fierce lightsaber duel, Vader reveals a shocking truth about Luke's father.[12]

In Alan Dean Foster's sequel to the novelization of Star Wars, Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1978), Han Solo and Chewbacca were notably absent. But after the success of the original film, Lucas knew a sequel would be granted his desired budget. Knowing this, he decided not to adapt Foster's work, and instead Lucas hired science fiction author Leigh Brackett to write Star Wars II from scratch with him. Han Solo and Chewbacca were included, but the main character was Luke.[32]

Brackett finished her first draft in early 1978; in it, Luke's father appeared as a ghost to instruct Luke.[33] Lucas was not satisfied with it, but before he could discuss it with her, she died of cancer.[34] With no writer, Lucas had to pen the next draft himself. It was this draft that first featured episodic numbering for the films; The Empire Strikes Back was designated Episode II.[35] As is argued in The Secret History of Star Wars, the disappointment with the first draft may have made Lucas consider different directions in which to take the story.[36] According to Lucas, he found this draft enjoyable to write, as opposed to the yearlong struggle writing the first film, and quickly wrote two more drafts[37] in April 1978. The new plot point of Vader being Luke's father had drastic effects on the series.[38] After writing these two drafts, Lucas fleshed out the backstory between Anakin, Obi-Wan, and the Emperor.[39]

With this new backstory in place, Lucas decided that the series would be a trilogy of trilogies, changing The Empire Strikes Back from Episode II to Episode V in the next draft.[37] Lawrence Kasdan, who had just completed writing Raiders of the Lost Ark, was hired to write the next drafts, and was given additional input from director Irvin Kershner. Kasdan, Kershner, and producer Gary Kurtz saw the film as a more serious and adult film, which was helped by the new, darker storyline, and developed the series from the light adventure roots of the first film.[40]

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Puppeteer Frank Oz (left) and actor Ian McDiarmid (right) portrayed Yoda and Palpatine, respectively, in the original trilogy and returned to play the roles in the prequel trilogy.

The final chapter of the original trilogy takes place a year after Vader's revelation to Luke, who joins 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 the 900-year-old Yoda on his deathbed.[41] 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.[42]

Kurtz wanted a bittersweet and nuanced ending they had outlined that saw Han dead, Leia struggling with her new responsibilities, Luke walking off alone (like in a Western), and the Rebel forces in pieces—while Lucas wanted a happier ending. This led to tension between the two, resulting in Kurtz leaving the production.[43]

Prequel trilogy

The central trio of the prequel trilogy was played by, from left to right, Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker), Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), and Natalie Portman (Padmeé Amidala).

After losing much of his fortune in a divorce settlement in 1987, George Lucas had no desire to return to Star Wars, and had unofficially canceled the sequel trilogy by the time of Return of the Jedi.[44] At that point, the prequels were only still a series of basic ideas partially pulled from his original drafts of "The Star Wars". Nevertheless, technical advances in the late 1980s and 1990s continued to fascinate Lucas, and he considered that they might make it possible to revisit his 20-year-old material. The popularity of the franchise was reinvigorated by the Star Wars expanded universe storylines set after the original trilogy films, such as the Thrawn trilogy of novels written by Timothy Zahn and the Dark Empire comic book series published by Dark Horse Comics. Due to the renewed popularity of Star Wars, Lucas saw that there was still a large audience. His children were older, and with the explosion of CGI technology he was now considering returning to directing.[45]

The prequel trilogy consists of Episode I: The Phantom Menace, released on May 19, 1999; Episode II: Attack of the Clones, released on May 16, 2002; and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, released on May 19, 2005.[46] The plot focuses on the fall of the Galactic Republic, as well as the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker's turn to the dark side.

Episode I: The Phantom Menace

The first prequel is set 32 years before the original film's story. The corrupt Trade Federation has set a blockade around the planet Naboo. Sith Lord Darth Sidious had secretly planned the blockade to give his alter ego, Senator Palpatine, a pretense to overthrow and replace the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic. At the Chancellor's request, the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, a younger Obi-Wan Kenobi, are sent to Naboo to negotiate with the Federation. However, the two Jedi are forced to instead help the Queen of Naboo, Padmé Amidala, escape from the blockade and plead her planet's crisis before the Republic Senate on Coruscant. When their starship is damaged during the escape, they land on Tatooine for repairs. Palpatine dispatches his first Sith apprentice, Darth Maul, to hunt down the Queen and her Jedi protectors. While on Tatooine, Qui-Gon discovers a nine-year-old slave named Anakin Skywalker. Qui-Gon helps liberate the boy from slavery, believing Anakin to be the "Chosen One" foretold by a Jedi prophecy to bring balance to the Force. However, the Jedi Council (led by Yoda) suspects the boy possesses too much fear and anger within him.[13]

Lucas began to reevaluate how the prequels would exist relative to the originals; at first they were supposed to be a "filling-in" of history tangential to the originals, but he later realized that they could form the beginning of one long story that started with Anakin's childhood and ended with his death. This was the final step towards turning the film series into a "saga".[47] In 1994, Lucas began writing the screenplay to the first prequel, initially titled Episode I: The Beginning. Following the release of that film, Lucas announced that he would be directing the next two, and began work on Episode II.[48]

Warwick Davis (left) and Anthony Daniels (right) have appeared in films across all three trilogies as well as in anthology films.

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

The second prequel opens ten years after the Battle of Naboo. Former Queen of Naboo Padmé is now serving as the Senator to her planet, until her duty is interrupted by an assassination attempt. Obi-Wan and his apprentice Anakin are assigned to her protect her; Obi-Wan goes on a mission to track the killer, while Anakin and Padmé go into hiding on 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 army of the Republic led by the Jedi Order, 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).[49]

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.[50] Unsure of a title, Lucas had jokingly called the film "Jar Jar's Great Adventure".[51] In writing The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas initially considered that Lando Calrissian was a clone from a planet of clones which caused the "Clone Wars" mentioned by Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in A New Hope.[52][53] He later came up with an alternate concept of an army of clone shock troopers from a remote planet which attacked the Republic and were repelled by the Jedi.[54] The basic elements of that backstory, as well as Palpatine's rise in power, became the basis for Episode II.

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Three years after the start of the Clone Wars, Anakin and Obi-Wan lead a rescue mission to save the kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine from Count Dooku and the droid commander General Grievous. Later, Anakin begins to have prophetic visions of his secret wife Padmé dying in childbirth. Palpatine, who had been secretly engineering the Clone Wars to destroy the Jedi Order, convinces Anakin that the dark side of the Force holds the power to save Padmé's life. Desperate, Anakin submits to Palpatine's Sith teachings and is renamed Darth Vader. While Palpatine re-organizes the Republic into the tyrannical Empire, Vader participates in the extermination of the Jedi Order; culminating in a lightsaber duel between himself and his former master Obi-Wan on the volcanic planet Mustafar.[10]

Work on Episode III began before Attack of the Clones was released, with one scene shot during the earlier film's production. Lucas originally told concept artists that the film would open with a montage of the Clone Wars,[55] and included a scene of Palpatine revealing to Anakin that he had willed his conception through the Force.[56] Lucas reviewed and radically reorganized the plot,[57] having Anakin execute Dooku in the first act to foreshadow his fall to the dark side.[58] After principal photography was completed in 2003, Lucas made more changes, rewriting Anakin's arc. He would now primarily turn to the dark side in a quest to save Padmé, rather than just believing that the Jedi are plotting to take over the Republic. The rewrite was accomplished both through editing principal footage, and filming new and revised scenes during pick-ups in 2004.[59]

The Clone Wars

Film Release date Director Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s) Composer Initial distributor
August 15, 2008 (2008-08-15) Dave Filoni Henry Gilroy & Steven Melching & Scott Murphy George Lucas and Catherine Winder Kevin Kiner Warner Bros. Pictures

On August 15, 2008, the standalone animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars was released theatrically as a lead-in to the animated TV series with the same name.[60] The animated film and series are both set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, though Lucas used the film to introduce a retcon into the storyline, revealing Anakin to have trained a Padawan apprentice of his own, Ahsoka Tano. Unlike the rest of the Star Wars films whose storylines are fully resolved within the film series, watching the animated series is required to explain Ahsoka Tano's absence from the other films. The character was originally criticized by fans, but by the end of the animated series the character became a fan favorite.[61][62]

Sequel trilogy

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

Over the years, Lucas often exaggerated the amount of material he wrote for the series; many of the exaggerations stemmed from the post‐1978 period when the series grew into a phenomenon. Michael Kaminski explained that the exaggerations were both a publicity and security measure, further rationalizing that since the series' story radically changed over the years, it was always Lucas's intention to change the original story retroactively because audiences would only view the material from his perspective.[10][63] The exaggerations created rumors of Lucas having outlines of a sequel trilogy (Episodes VII, VIII, and IX) that would continue the story after 1983's Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.[64] Lucasfilm and Lucas had denied plans for a sequel trilogy for many years, insisting that Star Wars was meant to be a six-part series and that no further films would be released after the conclusion of the prequel trilogy in 2005.[65][66] Although Lucas made an exception by releasing the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars film in 2008, while promoting it he maintained his position on the sequel trilogy: "I get asked all the time, 'What happens after Return of the Jedi?,' and there really is no answer for that. The movies were the story of Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker, and when Luke saves the galaxy and redeems his father, that's where that story ends."[67]

Despite insisting that a sequel trilogy would never happen, in 2011 Lucas secretly began working on story treatments for three new Star Wars films. His plans for the sequel trilogy were about the characters being reduced to microscopic size and encountering creatures known as the Whills, a microscopic lifeform that control the Star Wars universe and feed off The Force. The story was apparently inspired by Lucas's own perception that the Earth would not be saved from human overpopulation and climate change, ending up like Mars, which while unfit for humans could sustain macrobiotic life. But Lucas later decided to cease involvement with the franchise he created and leave the sequel trilogy in the hands of other filmmakers.[68]

Fisher, Hamill, and Ford reprised their characters in supporting roles in the sequel trilogy.

In January 2012, Lucas announced that he would step away from blockbuster films and instead produce smaller arthouse films. Asked whether the criticism he received following the prequel trilogy and the alterations to the rereleases of the original trilogy had influenced his decision to retire, Lucas said: "Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?"[69]

In October 2012, The Walt Disney Company agreed to buy Lucasfilm and announced that Star Wars Episode VII would be released in 2015. Later, it was revealed that the three new upcoming films (Episodes VII–IX) would be based on story treatments Lucas had written before the sale.[70] The co-chairman of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, became president of the company, reporting to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. Kennedy also served as executive producer of new Star Wars feature films, with Lucas serving as creative consultant.[71] As announced by Lucasfilm, the sequel trilogy also meant the end of the existing Star Wars expanded universe (SWEU or EU) which ceased publication and consisted of every storytelling material that was not the theatrical films Episodes I-VI; with the animated 2008 The Clone Wars film and animated series being the sole EU exceptions that remained canon. The EU was discarded to give "maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience". The non-canon expanded universe content would continue to be re-printed under the Star Wars: Legends brand, which was created to brand the non-canonical works of the franchise. Every Star Wars storytelling material published after April 2014, is considered canon.[72]

The sequel trilogy focuses on the journey of the orphaned scavenger Rey following in the footsteps of the Jedi with the guidance of the reluctant last Jedi, Luke Skywalker. Along with ex-stormtrooper Finn, she helps the Resistance led by Leia fight the First Order led 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 is due to be released on December 20, 2019.

Episode VII: The Force Awakens

About 30 years after the destruction of the Death Star II, Luke Skywalker has vanished following the demise of the new Jedi Order he was attempting to build. The remnants of the Empire have become the First Order, and seek to destroy Luke and the New Republic, while the Resistance opposes, led by princess-turned-general Leia Organa and backed by the Republic. On Jakku, Resistance pilot Poe Dameron obtains a map to Luke's location. Stormtroopers under the command of Kylo Ren, the son of Leia and Han Solo, capture Poe. Poe's droid BB-8 escapes with the map, and encounters a scavenger Rey. Kylo tortures Poe and learns of BB-8. Stormtrooper FN-2187 defects from the First Order, and frees Poe who dubs him "Finn", while both escape in a TIE fighter that crashes on Jakku, seemingly killing Poe. Finn finds Rey and BB-8, but the First Order does too; both escape Jakku in a stolen Millennium Falcon. The Falcon is recaptured by Han and Chewbacca, smugglers again since abandoning the Resistance. They agree to help deliver the map inside BB-8 to the Resistance.

The screenplay for Episode VII was originally set to be written by Michael Arndt, but in October 2013 it was announced that writing duties would be taken over by Lawrence Kasdan and J. J. Abrams.[73][74] On January 25, 2013, The Walt Disney Studios and Lucasfilm officially announced J. J. Abrams as Star Wars Episode VII's director and producer, along with Bryan Burk and Bad Robot Productions.[75]

John Williams, composer of the scores for the film trilogies, stated that Episode IX will be his last involvement with the franchise.

Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

After an opening battle which overlaps with the denouement of the previous film, Rey attempts to convince Luke Skywalker to teach her the ways of the Force. She also seeks answers of her past and the origin of the conflict between Luke and his nephew Ben Solo (now Kylo Ren). Unbeknownst to Luke, Rey starts using the Force to communicate with Ren. Meanwhile, Kylo's mother (and Luke's sister) Leia leads Poe, Finn, Rose Tico, BB-8, and the rest of the Resistance as they are pursued by the First Order, led by Supreme Leader Snoke with Kylo as his second in command. After hearing Ren's perspective, Rey disagrees with Luke and despite his warnings leaves him in an attempt to redeem Kylo and achieve peace. To do this, Rey unknowingly helps Kylo assassinate 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 and cornered Resistance survive on Crait.

On November 20, 2012, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg would write and produce Episodes VIII and IX.[76] Kasdan and Kinberg were later confirmed as creative consultants on those films, in addition to writing standalone films. In addition, John Williams, who wrote the music for the previous six episodes, was hired to compose the music for Episodes VII, VIII and IX.[77] On March 12, 2015, Lucasfilm announced that Looper director Rian Johnson would direct Episode VIII with Ram Bergman as producer for Ram Bergman Productions.[78] When asked about Episode VIII in an August 2014 interview, Johnson said "it's boring to talk about, because the only thing I can really say is, I'm just happy. I don't have the terror I kind of expected I would, at least not yet. I'm sure I will at some point."[79] Principal photography on The Last Jedi began in February 2016.[80] Additional filming took place in Dubrovnik from March 9 to March 16, 2016,[81][82] as well as in Ireland in May 2016.[83] Principal photography wrapped in July 2016.[84][85][86] On December 27, 2016, Carrie Fisher died after going into cardiac arrest a few days earlier. Before her death, Fisher had completed filming her role as General Leia Organa in The Last Jedi.[87] The film was released on December 15, 2017.[88]

Episode IX

Reports initially claimed Johnson would also direct Episode IX, but it was later confirmed he would write only a story treatment.[89][90] Johnson later wrote on his Twitter that the information about him writing a treatment for Episode IX is old, and he's not involved with the writing of that film.[91] Production on Episode IX was scheduled to begin sometime in 2017.[92] Variety and Reuters reported that Carrie Fisher was slated for a key role in Episode IX.[93] Now, Lucasfilm, Disney and others involved with the film have been forced to find a way to address her death in the upcoming film and alter her character's role.[94][95][96] In January 2017, Lucasfilm stated they would not digitally generate Fisher's performance for the film.[97] In April 2017, Fisher's brother Todd and daughter Billie Lourd gave Disney permission to use recent footage of Fisher for the film,[98] but later that month, Kennedy stated that Fisher will not appear in the film.[99][100] Principal photography of Star Wars: Episode IX began on August 1, 2018.[101] J.J. Abrams is set to return as director and co-writer alongside Chris Terrio. Most of the cast of The Last Jedi is set to return, including veteran actors Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, and the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia (using unreleased footage from the first two films of the sequel trilogy). They will be joined by Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, on screen for the first time since 1983's Return of the Jedi.

Anthology films

Film Release date Director Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s) Composer Initial distributor
02 01December 16, 2016 (2016-12-16) Gareth Edwards Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy John Knoll and Gary Whitta Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur and Simon Emanuel Michael Giacchino Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
01 02May 25, 2018 (2018-05-25) Ron Howard Jon Kasdan & Lawrence Kasdan John Powell
John Williams

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 film about a young Han Solo.[14] On February 5, 2013, Disney CEO Bob Iger made public the development of the Lawrence Kasdan standalone film, along with an undisclosed film written by Simon Kinberg.[102] The next day, Entertainment Weekly reported Kasdan's film would focus on Han Solo, the other on Boba Fett during the original trilogy (never officially confirmed).[103] Disney CFO Jay Rasulo has described the standalone films as origin stories.[104] Kathleen Kennedy explained how the spin-off films would stay independent from the episodic saga, stating:

George was so clear as to how that works. The canon that he created was the Star Wars saga... The spin-off movies ... they exist within that vast universe that he created. There is no attempt being made to carry characters (from the standalone films) in and out of the saga episodes. Consequently, from the creative standpoint, it's a roadmap that George made pretty clear.[105]

In April 2015, Lucasfilm and Kennedy announced that the standalone films would be referred to as the Star Wars anthology series. However, the word "anthology" has not been used in any of the titles, which are instead promotionally subtitled "A Star Wars Story".[106][107][108] Rogue One was released on December 16, 2016. The second film, Solo, was released on May 25, 2018.

Rogue One

Actors Diego Luna and Felicity Jones and director Gareth Edwards appear at the Rogue One premiere red carpet in Japan.

The film is set directly before Episode IV: A New Hope and focuses on "Rogue One", a group of rebels who obtain the plans to the Death Star, a space station capable of destroying planets. Its laser was developed by scientist Galen Erso (played by Mads Mikkelsen) after the Empire forcibly abducted him, separating him from his daughter Jyn Erso. Galen secretly sends deflecting Imperial pilot Bodhi Rook to deliver a message warning of the weapon's existence and revealing its weakness to his rebel friend Saw Gerrera, whom raised Jyn in Galen's absence. Under the false promise of her father's liberation, Jyn agrees to use her ties to help the Rebel Alliance retrieve the message from Saw, now the paranoid leader of an extremist cell of rebels.

The idea for the movie came from John Knoll, who was a visual effects supervisor on the prequel trilogy and the chief creative officer of Industrial Light & Magic.[109] 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.[110] On March 12, 2015, the film's title was revealed to be Rogue One, with Chris Weitz rewriting the script, and Felicity Jones in the starring role.[111] Ben Mendelsohn and Diego Luna also play new characters.[112] Supporting roles for characters from the original films include James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader, and prequel actors as Bail Organa and Mon Mothma.[113] In April 2015, a teaser was shown at Star Wars Celebration, where Lucasfilm announced filming would begin that summer and revealed the plot synopsis.[114] Edwards stated, "It comes down to a group of individuals who don't have magical powers that have to somehow bring hope to the galaxy," and, "It's the reality of war. Good guys are bad. Bad guys are good. It's complicated, layered."[115] The film was the first to feature characters introduced in animated Star Wars TV series: The Clone Wars's Saw Gerrera, portrayed by Forest Whitaker, and Rebels' Chopper in a cameo appearance.[116] 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.[117]


The second anthology film focuses on Han Solo and Chewbacca before their appearance in the original trilogy. 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. To achieve his goal of becoming the best pilot in the galaxy, 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. A twist ending reveals Vos' employer, acknowledging one of the major story arcs of The Clone Wars.[118]

Before selling Lucasfilm to Disney, George Lucas had hired Star Wars original trilogy veteran Lawrence Kasdan, along with his son Jon Kasdan, to write a film about a young Han Solo.[14] 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 the pair were asked to leave the project in June 2017 due to creative differences; three and a half weeks remained in principal photography. They were replaced by Ron Howard, who had collaborated with Lucas prior to Star Wars as an actor in Lucas' American Graffiti (1973), which also featured original Solo actor Harrison Ford.[119] Howard also directed Willow (1988) for Lucasfilm; Warwick Davis, who played the titular lead of that film, also has a small role in Solo.[120][121] His character was first seen in The Phantom Menace, which Howard had previously declined to direct.[122]

Critics noted the film was intentionally left open for sequels.[123] Alden Ehrenreich confirmed his contractual obligation to play the character for two additional films.[124] Emilia Clarke, who played Qi'ra, also signed on for future installments.[125]

Other anthology films

In June 2014, Josh Trank was officially announced as the director of an unknown spin-off film,[126] but by May 2015, had left the project.[127] Lucasfilm confirmed in 2016 that the film Trank left was unique from Solo and Rogue One.[128] No other stand-alone films have been officially announced.

By May 2018, reports emerged that James Mangold had signed on to write and direct a film rumored to focus on Boba Fett, with Simon Kinberg attached as producer and co-screenwriter.[129][130] The author of the saga-spanning[131] Legends story The Last One Standing stated that Lucasfilm had considered adapting elements of his Fett-focused story, but didn't know if such a project was in the works.[132]

By August 2017, it was rumored that an Obi-Wan Kenobi film was in development, with Stephen Daldry in early negotiations to co-write and direct the project.[133] Ewan McGregor has expressed his interest in reprising the role, but as of mid-2018 had no knowledge of plans for him to do so.[134][135] In June 2018, a Collider report claimed that all stand-alone films including the rumored Obi-Wan spin-off had been put on hold.[136] Lucasfilm quickly countered by confirming that there were multiple unannounced Star Wars anthology films in development.[137] On the same day, Making Star Wars, known for divulging leaks for the series,[138] reported that a previously unknown Mos Eisley Spaceport film was the source of the rumors and was postponed or cancelled.[139]

Spin-off series

Untitled trilogy by Rian Johnson

In November 2017, Lucasfilm announced that Rian Johnson, the writer/director of The Last Jedi, would be working on a new trilogy. The films will reportedly differ from the Skywalker-focused films in favor of focusing on new characters. Johnson is confirmed to write and direct the first film.[140]

Untitled films by Benioff and Weiss

In February 2018, it was announced that David Benioff and D. B. Weiss would write and produce a series of Star Wars films that are not Skywalker-focused films, similar to (but separate from) Rian Johnson's upcoming installments in the franchise.[141]

In other media

From 1977 to 2014, the term Expanded Universe (abbreviated as EU), was an umbrella term for all officially licensed Star Wars storytelling materials set outside the events depicted within the theatrical films, including television series, novels, comics, and video games.[142] 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,[142] with downloadable content for the massively multiplayer online game Star Wars: The Old Republic being the only Legends material to still be produced. The Star Wars canon was subsequently restructured to only include the existing six feature films, the animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), and its companion animated series. All future projects and creative developments across all types of media would be overseen and coordinated by the Story Group, announced as a division of Lucasfilm created to maintain continuity and a cohesive vision on the storytelling of the franchise. Lucasfilm announced that the change was made "to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience."[143] The animated series Star Wars Rebels was the first project produced after the announcement, followed by multiple comics series from Marvel, novels published by Del Rey, and the sequel film The Force Awakens (2015).


Early films and television specials

In the two-hour Star Wars Holiday Special produced for CBS in 1978, Chewbacca returns to his home planet of Kashyyyk to celebrate "Life Day" with his family. Along with the stars of the original 1977 film, celebrities Bea Arthur, Art Carney, Diahann Carroll, and Jefferson Starship appear in plot-related skits and musical numbers. Lucas loathed the special and forbade it to ever be aired again after its original broadcast, or reproduced on home video.[144] An 11-minute animated sequence in the Holiday Special featuring the first appearance of bounty hunter Boba Fett, is considered to be the sole silver lining of the production, with Lucas even including it as a special feature on a 2011 Blu-ray release (making it the only part of the Holiday Special to ever receive an official home media release). The segment is the first Star Wars animation ever produced.[145]

The television film Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure aired on ABC on Thanksgiving weekend in 1984. With a story by Lucas and a screenplay by Bob Carrau, it features the Ewok Wicket from Return of the Jedi as he helps two children rescue their parents from a giant known as Gorax.[146][147] The 1985 sequel, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, finds Wicket and his friends protecting their village from invaders.[148][146][149]


Dave Filoni, supervising director on two Star Wars animated series, was later promoted to oversee the development of all future Lucasfilm Animation projects.[150]

Nelvana, the animation studio that had animated the animated segment of the Holiday Special was hired to create two animated series. Star Wars: Droids (1985–1986), which aired for one season on ABC, follows the adventures of the droids C-3PO and R2-D2, 15 years before the events of the 1977 film Star Wars.[148][151][152] Its sister series Star Wars: Ewoks (1985–1987) features the adventures of the Ewoks before Return of the Jedi and the Ewok movies.[148][152]

After the release of Attack of the Clones, Cartoon Network animated and aired the micro-series Star Wars: Clone Wars from 2003 to weeks before the 2005 release of Revenge of the Sith, as the series featured event set between those films.[153][154] It won the Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program in 2004 and 2005.[155][156]

Lucas decided to invest in creating his own animation company, Lucasfilm Animation, and used it to create his first in-house Star Wars CGI-animated series. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008–2014) was introduced through a 2008 animated film of the same name, and set in the same time period as the previous Clone Wars series (albeit ignoring it).[157][158][159][160] While all previous television works were reassigned to the Legends brand in 2014, Lucasfilm accepted The Clone Wars and its originating film, as part of the canon. All series released after would also be part of the canon.[143][161] In 2014, Disney XD began airing Star Wars Rebels, the next CGI-animated series. Set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, it followed a band of rebels as they fight the Galactic Empire and helped close some of the arcs in The Clone Wars.[162][163][164][165][166] The animated microseries Star Wars Forces of Destiny debuted in 2017, focusing on the female characters of the franchise.[167] The animated series Star Wars Resistance will debut in fall 2018, it will be more anime inspired, and focus on resistance pilot Kazuda Zioni in the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.[168]

Untitled Star Wars series

Since 2005, when Lucas announced plans for a television series set between the prequel and original trilogies, the television project has been in varying stages of development at Lucasfilm [169] Producer Rick McCallum revealed the working title, Star Wars: Underworld, in 2012,[170] and said in 2013 that 50 scripts had been written.[171] He called the project "The most provocative, the most bold and daring material that we've ever done."[171] The proposed series explores criminal and political power struggles in the decades prior to A New Hope,[169] and as of December 2015 was still in development at Lucasfilm.[172] In November 2017, Bob Iger discussed the development of a Star Wars series for Disney's upcoming digital streaming service, due to launch in 2019.[173] It is unknown if the series would be based on the Star Wars Underworld scripts or if it would follow an entirely new idea.

In February 2018, it was reported that there are multiple live action Star Wars television series currently in development, with "rather significant" talent involved in the productions.[174][175] Jon Favreau, who had previously voiced Pre Vizsla in The Clone Wars animated series, will produce and write one of the television series.[176] In May 2018, Favreau confirmed his series would be set three years after Return of the Jedi (27 years before The Force Awakens) and that the series would feature motion capture characters.[177]

Print media

Star Wars-based fiction predates the release of the first film, with the December 1976 novelization of Star Wars, subtitled From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker. Credited to Lucas, it was ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster. The first Expanded Universe story appeared in Marvel Comics' Star Wars #7 in January 1978 (the first six issues of the series having been an adaptation of the film), followed quickly by Foster's novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye the following month.[178]


Timothy Zahn authored the Thrawn trilogy, which was widely credited with revitalizing the dormant Star Wars franchise.

Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker is a 1976 novelization of the original film by Alan Dean Foster,[179] who followed it with the sequel Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1978), which Lucas decided not to film.[180] The film novelizations for The Empire Strikes Back (1980) by Donald F. Glut and Return of the Jedi (1983) by James Kahn followed, as well as The Han Solo Adventures trilogy (1979–1980) by Brian Daley,[181] and The Adventures of Lando Calrissian (1983) trilogy by L. Neil Smith.[182][148]

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.[183][184][185][186] The first novel, Heir to the Empire, reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list,[187] and the series finds Luke, Leia, and Han facing off against tactical genius Thrawn, who is plotting to retake the galaxy for the Empire.[188] 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.[189][190] 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.[191][192] The novel introduced the crime lord Prince Xizor, another popular character who would appear in multiple other works.[191][193] Other notable series from Bantam include the Jedi Academy trilogy (1994) by Kevin J. Anderson,[194][195] the 14-book Young Jedi Knights series (1995–1998) by Anderson and Rebecca Moesta,[195][196] and the X-wing series (1996–2012) by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston.[197][198][199]

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.[200][201] The bestselling multi-author series Legacy of the Force (2006–2008) chronicles the crossover of Han and Leia's son Jacen Solo to the dark side of the Force ; among his evil deeds, he kills Luke's wife Mara Jade as a sacrifice to join the Sith. The story parallels the fallen son of Han and Leia, Ben Solo/Kylo Ren, in the 2015 film The Force Awakens.[202][203][204][205] Three series were introduced for younger audiences: the 18-book Jedi Apprentice (1999–2002) chronicles the adventures of Obi-Wan Kenobi and his master Qui-Gon Jinn in the years before The Phantom Menace; the 11-book Jedi Quest (2001–2004) follows Obi-Wan and his own apprentice, Anakin Skywalker in between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones; and the 10-book The Last of the Jedi (2005–2008), set almost immediately after Revenge of the Sith, features Obi-Wan and the last few surviving Jedi. Maul: Lockdown by Joe Schreiber, released in January 2014, was the last Star Wars novel published before Lucasfilm announced the creation of the Star Wars Legends brand.[206][207][208]

Though Thrawn had been designated a Legends character in 2014, he was reintroduced into the canon in the 2016 third season of Star Wars Rebels, with Zahn returning to write more novels based in the character, and set in the new canon.[209][210]


Marvel Comics published a Star Wars comic book series from 1977 to 1986.[211][212][213][214] 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.[215] From 1985–1987, the animated children's series Ewoks and Droids inspired comic series from Marvel's Star Comics line.[216][217][218]

In the late 1980s, Marvel dropped a new Star Wars comic it had in development, which was picked up by Dark Horse Comics and published as the popular Dark Empire sequence (1991–1995).[219] 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).[220][221]

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,[222] whose parent company, Marvel Entertainment, Disney had purchased in 2009.[223] Launched in 2015, the first three publications in were titled Star Wars, Star Wars: Darth Vader, and the limited series Star Wars: Princess Leia.[224][225][226]

Audio dramas

Radio adaptations of the films were also produced. Lucas, a fan of the NPR-affiliated campus radio station of his alma mater the University of Southern California, licensed the Star Wars radio rights to KUSC-FM for US$1. The production used John Williams' original film score, along with Ben Burtt's sound effects.[227][228]

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.[229][227][228] Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels reprised their film roles.[229][227]

The overwhelming success, led to a 10-episode adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back debuted in 1983.[230] Billy Dee Williams joined the other two stars, reprising his role as Lando Calrissian.[231]

In 1983, Buena Vista Records released an original, 30-minute Star Wars audio drama titled Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell, written by Daley.[228][232] 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).[232] Return of the Jedi was adapted into 6-episodes in 1996, featuring Daniels.[227][232]

Video games

The first officially licensed Star Wars electronic game was Kenner's 1979 table-top Star Wars Electronic Battle Command.[233][234] In 1982, Parker Brothers published the first Star Wars video game for the Atari 2600, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.[235] It was followed in 1983 by Atari's rail shooter arcade game Star Wars, which used vector graphics and was based on the Death Star trench run scene from the 1977 film.[236] The next game, Return of the Jedi (1984), used more traditional raster graphics,[237] with the following game The Empire Strikes Back (1985) returning to the 1983's arcade game vector graphics, recreating the Battle of Hoth scene.[238]

Lucasfilm had started its own video game company in 1982, which became known for adventure games and World War II flight combat games. In 1993, LucasArts released Star Wars: X-Wing, the first self-published Star Wars video game and the first space flight simulation based on the franchise.[239] X-Wing was one of the best-selling games of 1993, and established its own series of games.[239] Released in 1995, Dark Forces was the first Star Wars first-person shooter video game.[240] A hybrid adventure game incorporating puzzles and strategy,[241] it featured new gameplay features and graphical elements not then common in other games, made possible by LucasArts' custom-designed game engine, the Jedi.[240][241][242][243] The game was well received and reviewed,[244][245][246] and followed by four sequels.[247][248] Dark Forces introduced Kyle Katarn, who would later appear in multiple games, novels, and comics.[249] Katarn is a former stormtrooper who joins the Rebellion and becomes a Jedi,[240][250][251] a plot arc similar to that of Finn in The Force Awakens.[202]

Disney has partnered with Lenovo to create the augmented reality game Star Wars: Jedi Challenges that works with a Lenovo Mirage AR headset, a tracking sensor and a lightsaber controller that will launch in December 2017.[252] In August 2018, it was announced that Zynga had partnered with Disney to publish free-to-play mobile games.[253]

Multimedia projects

Theme park attractions

Title Park(s) Opening date Closing date Status
Live attractions
Star Tours Disneyland January 9, 1987 (1987-01-09) July 27, 2010 (2010-07-27) Closed
Tokyo Disneyland July 12, 1989 (1989-07-12) April 2, 2012 (2012-04-02)
Disney's Hollywood Studios December 15, 1989 (1989-12-15) September 7, 2010 (2010-09-07)
Disneyland Paris April 12, 1992 (1992-04-12) March 16, 2016 (2016-03-16)
Star Wars Weekends Disney's Hollywood Studios 1997 (1997) 2015 (2015)
Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination Multiple locations October 19, 2005 (2005-10-19) March 23, 2014 (2014-03-23)
Jedi Training Academy Disneyland July 1, 2006 (2006-19-01) November 15, 2015 (2015-11-15)
Disney's Hollywood Studios October 9, 2007 (2007-10-09) October 5, 2015 (2015-10-05)
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue Disney's Hollywood Studios May 20, 2011 (2011-05-20) Operating
Disneyland June 3, 2011 (2011-06-03)
Tokyo Disneyland May 7, 2013 (2013-05-07)
Disneyland Paris March 26, 2017 (2017-03-26)
Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain Disneyland November 14, 2015 (2015-11-14) May 31, 2017 (2017-05-31) Closed
Hong Kong Disneyland June 11, 2016 (2016-06-11) Operating
Disneyland Paris May 7, 2017 (2017-05-07)
Star Wars Launch Bay Disneyland November 16, 2015 (2015-11-16)
Disney's Hollywood Studios December 4, 2015 (2015-12-04)
Shanghai Disneyland Park June 16, 2016 (2016-06-16)
Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple Disney's Hollywood Studios December 1, 2015 (2015-12-01)
Disneyland December 8, 2015 (2015-12-08)
Disneyland Paris July 11, 2015 (2015-07-11)
Hong Kong Disneyland June 25, 2016 (2016-06-25)
Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Disney's Hollywood Studios June 17, 2016 (2016-06-17)
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Disneyland[256] 2019 (2019)[256] N/A Under construction[257]
Disney's Hollywood Studios[256] 2019 (2019)[256] N/A
Star Wars Hotel Disney's Hollywood Studios[258] TBA N/A Proposed


Aside from its well-known science fictional technology, Star Wars features elements such as knighthood, chivalry, and princesses that are related to archetypes of the fantasy genre.[259] The Star Wars world, unlike fantasy and science-fiction films that featured sleek and futuristic settings, was portrayed as dirty and grimy. Lucas' vision of a "used future" was further popularized in the science fiction-horror films Alien,[260] which was set on a dirty space freighter; Mad Max 2, which is set in a post-apocalyptic desert; and Blade Runner, which is set in a crumbling, dirty city of the future. Lucas made a conscious effort to parallel scenes and dialogue between films, and especially to parallel the journeys of Luke Skywalker with that of his father Anakin when making the prequels.[13]

Comparisons with historical events

Political science has been an important element of Star Wars since the franchise launched in 1977, focusing on a struggle between democracy and dictatorship. Space battles in A New Hope were based on World War I and World War II dogfights[261] and stormtroopers share a name with Nazi stormtroopers. Imperial officer uniforms resemble German uniforms of World War II and the 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 (Hermann Hoth was a German general who served on the snow-laden Eastern Front).[262]

Palpatine being a chancellor before becoming the Emperor in the prequel trilogy alludes to Adolf Hitler's role as chancellor before appointing himself Führer. Lucas has also drawn parallels to historical dictators such as Julius Caesar and Napoleon Bonaparte.[263] The Great Jedi Purge mirrors the events of the Great Purge, the Cultural Revolution, and the Night of the Long Knives. The climax of Revenge of the Sith is modeled after the fall of the democratic Roman Republic and the formation of an empire.[264][265][266]

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."[11]

Cultural impact

The lightsaber and the blaster have become an iconic part of the franchise and have appeared throughout popular culture.

The Star Wars saga has had a significant impact on popular culture,[267] with references to its fictional universe deeply embedded in everyday life.[268] Phrases like "evil empire" and "May the Force be with you" have become part of the popular lexicon.[269] The first Star Wars film in 1977 was a cultural unifier,[270] enjoyed by a wide spectrum of people.[271] 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.[272] The widespread impact made it a prime target for parody works and homages, with popular examples including Hardware Wars, Spaceballs, The Family Guy Trilogy, Robot Chicken: Star Wars, and its sequels Star Wars – Episode II and Star Wars – Episode III.

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."[273] The Empire Strikes Back, was selected in 2010.[274][275] 35mm reels of the 1997 Special Editions were the versions presented for preservation because of the difficulty of transferring from the original prints.[276][277]


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.[261] The franchise helped Fox to change from an almost bankrupt production company to a thriving media conglomerate.[278]

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.[279] The commercial success of Star Wars created a boom in state-of-the-art special effects in the late 1970s.[278] 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.[280][271] 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.[270]

Fan works

The Star Wars saga has inspired many fans to create their own non-canon material set in the Star Wars galaxy. In recent years, this has ranged from writing fan fiction to creating fan films. In 2002, Lucasfilm sponsored the first annual Official Star Wars Fan Film Awards, officially recognizing filmmakers and the genre. Because of concerns over potential copyright and trademark issues, however, the contest was initially open only to parodies, mockumentaries, and documentaries. Fan fiction films set in the Star Wars universe were originally ineligible, but in 2007, Lucasfilm changed the submission standards to allow in-universe fiction entries.[281] Lucasfilm has allowed but not endorsed the creation of fan fiction, as long as it does not attempt to make a profit.[282]


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.[283] Others have used the films to encourage second-level students to integrate technology in the science classroom by making prototype lightsabers.[284] Similarly, psychiatrists in New Zealand and the US have advocated their use in the university classroom to explain different types of psychopathology.[285][286]


The success of the Star Wars films led the franchise to become one of the most merchandised franchises in the world. In 1977, while filming the original film, George Lucas decided to take a 500,000-dollar pay-cut to his own salary as director, in exchange for fully owning the merchandising rights of the franchise to himself. Over the franchise's lifetime, such exchange cost 20th Century Fox, more than US$20 billion in merchandising revenue profits.[22] Disney acquired the merchandising rights as part of purchasing Lucasfilm.

Kenner made the first Star Wars action figures to coincide with the release of the film, and today the remaining 1980s figures sell at extremely high prices in auctions. Since the 1990s Hasbro holds the rights to create action figures based on the saga. Pez dispensers have been produced.[287] Star Wars was the first intellectual property to be licensed in Lego Group history, which has produced a Star Wars Lego theme.[288] Lego has produced animated parody short films and comedy mini-series on Cartoon Network and Disney XD to promote their sets.[289] The Lego Star Wars video games are critically acclaimed best sellers.[290][291]

In 1977 the board game Star Wars: Escape from the Death Star was released,[292] not to be confused with the board game with the same name published in 1990.[293] The board game Risk has been adapted to the series in two editions by Hasbro: and Star Wars Risk: The Clone Wars Edition (2005) [294] and Risk: Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition (2006).[295] 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.[296] 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.[297] From 1995 until 2001, Decipher, Inc. had the license for, created and produced a collectible card game based on Star Wars; the Star Wars Collectible Card Game (also known as SWCCG).

See also


  1. ^ Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, the novelization of the film, was ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster and released in November 1976.


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Further reading

External links