Star Wars is an American epic space opera franchise, centered on a film series created by George Lucas. It depicts the adventures of characters a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The franchise began in 1977 with the release of the film Star Wars and it was followed by the successful sequels The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, these three films constitute the original Star Wars trilogy. A prequel trilogy was released between 1999 and 2005, which received mixed-to-negative reactions, a sequel trilogy began in 2015 with the release of Star Wars, The Force Awakens. All seven films were nominated for Academy Awards and have been successes, with a combined box office revenue of over $7.5 billion. Spin-off films include Star Wars, The Clone Wars and Rogue One, Star Wars also holds a Guinness World Records title for the Most successful film merchandising franchise. In 2015, the value of the Star Wars franchise was estimated at USD $42 billion. In 2012, The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm for $4.06 billion and earned the rights to all subsequent Star Wars films. Walt Disney Studios owns digital distribution rights to all the Star Wars films, the events depicted in the Star Wars franchise take place in an unnamed fictional galaxy at an undetermined point in the distant past. Many species of creatures are depicted. Robotic droids are also commonplace and are built to serve their owners. Space travel is common, and many planets in the galaxy are members of a single galactic government. In the prequel trilogy, this is depicted in the form of the Galactic Republic, at the end of the trilogy and throughout the original trilogy. Preceding and during the trilogy, this government is the New Republic. One of the prominent elements of Star Wars is the Force and it is described in the first produced film as an energy field created by all living things surrounds us, penetrates us, binds the galaxy together. While the Force can be used for good, known as the side, it also has a dark side that, when pursued, imbues users with hatred, aggression. The sequel trilogy introduces the Knights of Ren, an order of practitioners of the side of the Force aligned with the First Order. The first film in the series, Star Wars, was released on May 25,1977 and this was followed by two sequels, The Empire Strikes Back, released on May 21,1980, and Return of the Jedi, released on May 25,1983
George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, the director of A New Hope and the prequel trilogy, and the script supervisor of both the original and prequel trilogies. His work in the original film earned him Academy Award nominations, for best director, screenplay and film. In 2014, Lucas ceased creative involvement with the franchise.
The main cast members of the original Star Wars trilogy, who reprised their characters in supporting roles on the sequel trilogy; from left: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford (SDCC, July 2015).
Lawrence Kasdan co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
John Williams composed the scores for the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.