The franchise logo
|Created by||George Lucas|
|Original work||Star Wars[a] (1977)|
|Novel(s)||List of novels|
|Comics||List of comics|
|Films and television|
Untitled live-action series|
|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|
|Theme park attractions||List of theme park attractions|
The franchise began in 1977 with the release of the film Star Wars (later subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope in 1981), which became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon. It 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 both critics and fans. Another trilogy that continues the story from Return of the Jedi began in 2015 with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The first eight films were nominated for Academy Awards (with wins going to the first two films released) and have been commercial successes, with a combined box office revenue of over US$8.5 billion, making Star Wars the second highest-grossing film series. Spin-off cinematic films include Rogue One (2016) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).
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, making Star Wars the second-highest-grossing media franchise of all time.
- 1 Setting
- 2 Theatrical films
- 2.1 Main series
- 2.2 Original trilogy
- 2.3 Prequel trilogy
- 2.4 The Clone Wars
- 2.5 Sequel trilogy
- 2.6 Anthology films
- 2.7 Untitled trilogy by Rian Johnson
- 2.8 Untitled films by Benioff and Weiss
- 3 In other media
- 4 Themes
- 5 Cultural impact
- 6 Merchandising
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 Bibliography
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
The Star Wars franchise takes place in a distant unnamed fictional galaxy at an undetermined point in the ancient past, where many species of aliens (often humanoid) co-exist. People own robotic droids, who assist them in their daily routines, and space travel is common. The galaxy is ruled by various governments at different times, whose rises and falls are chronicled by the original, prequel, and sequel trilogies; these include the Old Republic, the Empire, the New Republic, and the First Order. Each of these governments find themselves in conflict with different rebel factions.
The spiritual and mystical element of the Star Wars galaxy is known as "the Force". It is described in the original film as "an energy field created by all living things [that] surrounds us, penetrates us, [and] binds the galaxy together". The people who are born deeply connected to the Force have better reflexes; through training and meditation, they are able to achieve various supernatural feats (such as telekinesis, clairvoyance, precognition, and mind control). The Force is wielded by two major factions at conflict: the Jedi, who harness the light side of the Force, and the Sith, who use the dark side of the Force through hate and aggression, and whose members are limited to two: a master and an apprentice.
Original trilogy Prequel trilogy Sequel trilogy
|Film||Release date||Director||Screenwriter(s)||Story by||Producer(s)||Composer||Initial distributor|
|06Episode IV –
A New Hope
|01May 25, 1977||George Lucas||Gary Kurtz||John Williams||20th Century Fox|
|07Episode V –
The Empire Strikes Back
|02May 21, 1980||Irvin Kershner||Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan||George Lucas|
|08Episode VI –
Return of the Jedi
|03May 25, 1983||Richard Marquand||Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas||Howard Kazanjian|
|02Episode I –
The Phantom Menace
|04May 19, 1999||George Lucas||Rick McCallum|
|03Episode II –
Attack of the Clones
|05May 16, 2002||George Lucas||George Lucas and Jonathan Hales||George Lucas|
|04Episode III –
Revenge of the Sith
|06May 19, 2005||George Lucas|
|10Episode VII –
The Force Awakens
|07December 18, 2015||J. J. Abrams||Lawrence Kasdan & J. J. Abrams and Michael Arndt||Kathleen Kennedy, J. J. Abrams and Bryan Burk||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
|11Episode VIII –
The Last Jedi
|08December 15, 2017||Rian Johnson||Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman|
|12Episode IX||09December 20, 2019||J. J. Abrams||J. J. Abrams & Chris Terrio||Kathleen Kennedy, J. J. Abrams|
and Michelle Rejwan
The main series of Star Wars movies (often called The Skywalker Saga or the Star Wars Saga) is composed of three trilogies, released out of sequence. This are the prequel (1999–2005, Episodes I–III), original (1977–83, Episodes IV–VI), and sequel (2015–19, Episodes VII–IX) trilogies. The first two trilogies were released on three year intervals, while the sequel in two year intervals. Each storyline of each trilogy focuses on a different generation of the Skywalker family, whom is strong with The Force. The prequel trilogy focuses on Anakin Skywalker, the original trilogy on his son Luke Skywalker, and the sequel trilogy features Kylo Ren, son of Anakin's daughter Leia and Han Solo, as the main antagonist.
In 1971, Lucas signed a contract with Universal Studios to direct two films. He intended one of them to be a space opera; however, knowing film studios were skeptical about the genre, Lucas decided to direct his other idea first, American Graffiti, a coming-of-age story set in the 1960s. In 1973, Lucas started work on his second film's script draft of The Journal of the Whills, a space opera telling the tale of the training of apprentice CJ Thorpe as a "Jedi-Bendu" space commando by the legendary Mace Windy. After Universal rejected the film, 20th Century Fox decided to invest in it. On April 17, 1973, Lucas felt frustrated about his story being too difficult to understand, so he began writing a 13-page script with thematic parallels to Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress; this draft was renamed The Star Wars. By 1974, he had expanded the script into a rough draft screenplay, adding elements such as the Sith, the Death Star, and a protagonist named Annikin Starkiller. Numerous subsequent drafts evolved into the script of the original film.
Lucas insisted that the movie would be part of a 9-part series and negotiated to retain the sequel rights, to ensure all the movies would be made. Tom Pollock, then Lucas' lawyer writes: "So in the negotiations that were going on, we drew up a contract with Fox’s head of business affairs Bill Immerman, and me. 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." Lucas was offered $50,000 to write, another $50,000 to produce, and $50,000 to direct the film. Later the offer was increased. 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 within his film.
Star Wars was released on May 25, 1977. It was followed by The Empire Strikes Back, released on May 21, 1980; the opening crawl of the sequel disclosed it numbered as "Episode V". Though the first film in the series was simply titled Star Wars, with its 1981 re-release it had the subtitle Episode IV: A New Hope added to remain consistent with its sequel, and to establish it as the middle chapter of a continuing saga. Return of the Jedi, the final film in the original trilogy, was numbered as "Episode VI", and released on May 25, 1983. The sequels were all self-financed by Lucasfilm, and generally advertised solely under their subtitles. 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.
A New Hope
Near the orbit of the desert planet Tatooine, a Rebel spaceship is intercepted by the Empire. 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 R2-D2, along with the protocol droid C-3PO, escapes with stolen Imperial blueprints stored inside and a holographic message for the retired Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, who has been living in exile on Tatooine. The droids fall under the ownership of Luke Skywalker, an orphan farm boy raised by his step-uncle and aunt. Luke helps the droids locate Obi-Wan, now a solitary old hermit known as Ben Kenobi, who 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 Obi-Wan's former Jedi apprentice) years ago, and he gives Luke his father's former lightsaber to keep. After viewing Leia's message, they both hire the smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca to, aboard their space freighter the Millennium Falcon, help them deliver the stolen blueprints inside R2-D2 to the Rebel Alliance with the hope of finding a weakness to the Empire's planet-destroying space station: the Death Star.
For The Star Wars second draft, Lucas made heavy simplifications. It added a mystical energy field known as "the Force " and introduced the young hero on a farm as Luke Starkiller. Annikin became Luke's father, a wise Jedi knight. The third draft killed the father Annikin, replacing him with mentor figure Ben Kenobi. Later, Lucas felt the film would not in fact be the first in the sequence, but a film in the second trilogy in the saga. The draft contained a sub-plot leading to a sequel about "The Princess of Ondos", and by that time some months later Lucas had negotiated a contract that gave him rights to make two sequels. Not long after, Lucas hired author Alan Dean Foster, to write two sequel novels, with the main creative restriction of plots that could be filmed on a low budget. In 1976, a fourth draft had been prepared for principal photography. The film was titled Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars. During production, Lucas changed Luke's name to Skywalker and altered the title to simply The Star Wars and finally Star Wars. At that point, Lucas was not expecting the film to have sequels. The fourth draft of the script underwent subtle changes it discarded "the Princess of Ondos" sub-plot, to become a self-contained film, that ended with the destruction of the Galactic Empire itself by way of destroying the Death Star. However, Lucas previously conceived of the film as the first of a series. The intention was that if Star Wars was successful, Lucas could adapt Dean Foster's novels into low-budget sequels. By that point, Lucas had developed an elaborate backstory to aid his writing process.
Before its release, Lucas considered walking away from Star Wars sequels, thinking the film would be a flop. However the film exceeded all expectations. The success of the film as well as its merchandise sales both led Lucas to make Star Wars the basis of an elaborate film serial, and use the profits to finance his film-making center, Skywalker Ranch.
The Empire Strikes Back
Three years after the destruction of the Death Star, the Rebels are forced to evacuate their secret base on Hoth as they are hunted by the Empire. 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 with the Sith Lord, Luke learns that Vader is his father.
Alan Dean Foster's Star Wars sequel-novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye, released in 1978, Han Solo and Chewbacca were notably excluded from the plot. But after the success of the original film, Lucas knew a sequel would be allowed 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.
Based on that, Brackett finished her first draft in early 1978; in it, Luke's father appeared as a ghost to instruct Luke. Lucas has said he was disappointed with it, but before he could discuss it with her, she died of cancer. With no writer available, Lucas had to write his next draft himself. It was this draft in which Lucas first made use of the "Episode" numbering for the films; Empire Strikes Back was listed as Episode II. As Michael Kaminski argues in The Secret History of Star Wars, the disappointment with the first draft probably made Lucas consider different directions in which to take the story. He made use of a new plot twist: Darth Vader claims to be Luke's father. According to Lucas, he found this draft enjoyable to write, as opposed to the yearlong struggles writing the first film, and quickly wrote two more drafts, both in April 1978. This new story point of Darth Vader being Luke's father had drastic effects on the series. After writing these two drafts, Lucas revised the backstory between Anakin Skywalker, Kenobi, and the Emperor.
With this new backstory in place, Lucas decided that the series would be a trilogy, changing Empire Strikes Back from Episode II to Episode V in the next draft. Lawrence Kasdan, who had just completed writing Raiders of the Lost Ark, was then hired to write the next drafts, and was given additional input from director Irvin Kershner. Kasdan, Kershner, and producer Gary Kurtz saw the film as a more serious and adult film, which was helped by the new, darker storyline, and developed the series from the light adventure roots of the first film.
Return of the Jedi
A year after Vader's shocking revelation, Luke leads 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. In his last words Yoda confirms that Vader is Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker, and that Luke must confront his father again in order to complete his training. Moments later, the spirit of Obi-Wan reveals to Luke that Leia is his twin sister, but Obi-Wan insists that Luke must face Vader again. As the Rebels lead an attack on the Death Star II, Luke engages Vader in another lightsaber duel as Emperor Palpatine watches; both Sith Lords intend to turn Luke to the dark side of the Force and take him as their apprentice.
Kurtz wanted the bittersweet ending they originally outlined that saw Han dead, Leia struggling with her new responsibilities, Luke walking off alone, and the rebel forces in pieces—an ending he felt was more nuanced—while Lucas wanted a happier ending. This led to tension between the two, which resulted in Kurtz leaving the production.
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. 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.
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. The plot focuses on the fall of the Galactic Republic, as well as the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker's turn to the dark side.
The Phantom Menace
About 32 years before the start of the Galactic Civil War, the corrupt Trade Federation sets a blockade around the planet Naboo. The Sith Lord Darth Sidious had secretly planned the blockade to give his alter ego, Senator Palpatine, a pretense to overthrow and replace the Supreme Chancellor of the 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.
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". 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.
Attack of the Clones
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. They soon fall in love with each other, albeit secretly due to the Jedi Order's rule against attachment. At the same time, Chancellor Palpatine schemes to sweep the entire galaxy up into the conflict (known as the Clone Wars) between the armies of the Republic led by the Jedi Order, and the Confederacy of Independent Systems led by the fallen Jedi Count Dooku; the former master of Obi-Wan's deceased master Qui-Gon, and Palpatine's new Sith apprentice.
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. Unsure of a title, Lucas had jokingly called the film "Jar Jar's Great Adventure". In writing The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas initially decided that Lando Calrissian was a clone and came from a planet of clones which caused the "Clone Wars" mentioned by both Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in A New Hope; he later came up with an alternate concept of an army of clone shocktroopers from a remote planet which attacked the Republic and were repelled by the Jedi. The basic elements of that backstory became the plot basis for Episode II, with the new wrinkle added that Palpatine secretly orchestrated the crisis.
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.
Lucas began working on Episode III before Attack of the Clones was released, offering concept artists that the film would open with a montage of seven Clone War battles. As he reviewed the storyline that summer, however, he says he radically re-organized the plot. Michael Kaminski, in The Secret History of Star Wars, offers evidence that issues in Anakin's fall to the dark side prompted Lucas to make massive story changes, first revising the opening sequence to have Palpatine kidnapped and his apprentice, Count Dooku, murdered by Anakin as the first act in the latter's turn towards the dark side. After principal photography was complete in 2003, Lucas made even more massive changes in Anakin's character, re-writing his entire turn to the dark side; he would now turn primarily in a quest to save Padmé's life, rather than the previous version in which that reason was one of several, including that he genuinely believed that the Jedi were evil and plotting to take over the Republic. This fundamental re-write was accomplished both through editing the principal footage, and new and revised scenes filmed during pick-ups in 2004.
The Clone Wars
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. 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 female padawan apprentice of his own, named Ahsoka Tano. Unlike the rest of the Star Wars films whose storylines are fully solved within the films series, the animated series is required to explain Ahsoka Tano's absence from the other films. The new character was originally criticized by fans, but by the end of the animated series the character became a fan favorite. The series ran 6 seasons, which were broadcast on Cartoon Network, with the exception of the last one. The final season was cut short following Disney's purchase of the franchise. There were also two more seasons in the works, but these were also cancelled.
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. 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. 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. 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."
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.
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?"
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. 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. 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 npn-canon expanded universe content would continue to be re-print 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.
The sequel trilogy began with Episode VII: The Force Awakens, released on December 18, 2015. It was followed by Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, released on December 15, 2017. Episode IX is due to be released on December 20, 2019. The plot so far contains no elements of the Whills microbiotic worlds and creatures described by Lucas, focusing instead on the journey of female scavenger Rey toward becoming a Jedi Knight with the aid of the reluctant last Jedi Luke Skywalker while she helps the Resistance, led by Luke's sister Leia, fight against the First Order, led by Supreme Leader Snoke and his apprentice Kylo Ren, who is Leia and Han Solo's son.
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. 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.
The Last Jedi
Right after the destruction of Starkiller Base, Rey goes to planet Ahch-To, and attempts to convince the reluctant last Jedi alive, Luke Skywalker to teach her the ways of the Jedi and the Force. Rey also seeks answers of her past and the origin of the conflict between Kylo Ren and Luke, with the help from Luke, while through the Force and unbeknownst to Luke, she starts communicating with her nemesis Kylo Ren, who also is Luke's nephew and fallen Jedi apprentice, Ben Solo (who renamed himself Kylo Ren). Meanwhile, Ben Solo's mom and Luke's sister Leia leads Poe, Finn, BB-8, Rose Tico, and the rest of the Resistance, as they are pursued by the First Order leaded by Snoke, with Kylo Ren as his second in command. After hearing Kylo Ren's perspective, Rey disagrees with Luke and despite his warnings leaves him, in order to attempt to redeem Kylo Ren and achieve peace. To do this, Rey, unknowingly, helps Kylo Ren assassinate Supreme Leader Snoke, however unknown to her, Kylo Ren's true intentions were to replace Snoke as Supreme Leader of the First Order, believing destroying the Jedi and the Resistance the only way to achieve true peace. Rey must choose between Kylo Ren's offer to co-lead the First Order, and help him exterminate the Resistance and Luke, or helping an outnumbered and cornered Resistance survive on Criat, before it's too late.
On November 20, 2012, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg would write and produce Episodes VIII and IX. 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. On March 12, 2015, Lucasfilm announced that Looper director Rian Johnson would direct Episode VIII with Ram Bergman as producer for Ram Bergman Productions. 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." Principal photography on The Last Jedi began in February 2016. Additional filming took place in Dubrovnik from March 9 to March 16, 2016, as well as in Ireland in May 2016. Principal photography wrapped in July 2016. 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. The film was released on December 15, 2017.
Reports initially claimed Johnson would also direct Episode IX, but it was later confirmed he would write only a story treatment. 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. Production on Episode IX was scheduled to begin sometime in 2017. Variety and Reuters reported that Carrie Fisher was slated for a key role in Episode IX. 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. In January 2017, Lucasfilm stated they would not digitally generate Fisher's performance for the film. In April 2017, Fisher's brother Todd and daughter Billie Lourd gave Disney permission to use recent footage of Fisher for the film, but later that month, Kennedy stated that Fisher will not appear in the film. Principal photography of Star Wars: Episode IX began on August 1, 2018. J.J. Abrams is set to return as director and co-writer alongside Chris Terrio. Most of the cast of the 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, for the first time on-screen since Return of the Jedi.
Before selling Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, and parallel to his development of a sequel trilogy, George Lucas and his original trilogy co-scriptwriter Lawrence Kasdan started development on a film about a young Han Solo. 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. On February 6, Entertainment Weekly reported Kasdan's film would focus on Han Solo, while the other on Boba Fett (the info on the later film was never confirmed). Disney CFO Jay Rasulo has described the standalone films as origin stories. Kathleen Kennedy explained that the standalone films will not cross over with the films of the sequel trilogy, stating,
George was so clear as to how that works. The canon that he created was the Star Wars saga. Right now, Episode VII falls within that canon. The spin-off movies, or we may come up with some other way to call those films, they exist within that vast universe that he created. There is no attempt being made to carry characters (from the standalone films) in and out of the saga episodes. Consequently, from the creative standpoint, it's a roadmap that George made pretty clear.
In April 2015, Lucasfilm and Kennedy announced that the standalone films would be referred to as the Star Wars Anthology films (albeit the word anthology has never been used on any of the films titles, instead choosing to carry the "A Star Wars Story" subtitle below the film's main title). Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released on December 16, 2016 as the first in an anthology series of films separate from the main episodic saga. The second film, Solo: A Star Wars Story, was released on May 25, 2018.
The story is about Rogue One, the group of rebels led by Jyn Erso, who stole the Death Star plans. The film ends moments before the start of Episode IV: A New Hope.
The idea for the film was conceived by John Knoll who worked as a visual effects supervisor of the prequel trilogy films. In May 2014, Lucasfilm announced Gareth Edwards as the director of the first anthology film, with Gary Whitta writing the first draft, for a release on December 16, 2016. On March 12, 2015, the film's title was revealed to be Rogue One, with Chris Weitz rewriting the script, and starring Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, with Ben Mendelsohn, and Diego Luna all playing characters original to the film, with suppoting roles for James Earl Jones voicing Darth Vader, and other character from previous films, including Bail Organa and Mon Mothma. The film is the first of the series to include characters from the animated series, from The Clone Wars's Saw Gerrera is Jyn Erso's extremist mentor, and Chopper from Star Wars: Rebels has a cameo. In April 2015, a teaser trailer was shown during the closing of the Star Wars Celebration. Lucasfilm announced filming would begin in the summer of 2015 and released the plot synopsis. Director Edwards stated, "It comes down to a group of individuals who don't have magical powers that have to somehow bring hope to the galaxy."; and describing the style of the film as similar to that of a war film: "It's the reality of war. Good guys are bad. Bad guys are good. It's complicated, layered; a very rich scenario in which to set a movie." After its debut, Rogue One 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.
Solo is a film focusing on a younger Han Solo and the beginning of his career as a smuggler, as well as his friendship with the Wookiee Chewbacca. A younger Lando Calrissian also appears as the owner of the Millenium Falcon. The film is set before the events of Rogue One and Han's appearance in Episode IV: A New Hope.
Before selling Lucasfilm to Disney, George Lucas started development on a film about a young Han Solo. Lucas hired Star Wars original trilogy veteran script writer Lawrence Kasdan, along with his son Jon Kasdan, to write the script. 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, with Emilia Clarke and Woody Harrelson playing characters original to the film. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller began principal photography on the film, but due to creative differences, the pair left the project in June 2017 with three and a half weeks remaining in principal photography. Their replacement was Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard, who previously had been one of three directors to decline George Lucas' offer to direct Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Howard had previously collaborated with Lucas prior to the production of Star Wars, as an actor in the Lucas-directed film American Graffiti (1973), which featured original Han Solo actor Harrison Ford. Howard had also directed Willow (1988) for Lucasfilm. Warwick Davis, who played Howard's titular lead within that film, also appears in a minor role in Solo.
Untitled third anthology film
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A third anthology film is scheduled to be released in 2020, albeit neither its plot or main character have been officially confirmed. A writer for the film has been hired as of September 2016.
In February 2013, Entertainment Weekly reported that Lucasfilm hired Josh Trank to direct a Star Wars standalone film, with the news being confirmed soon after. However, in November 2016 Trank announced he had left the project. By 2017, it was reported that the film was still in early development at Lucasfilm, with reports stating that the film would focus on bounty hunter Boba Fett. Lucasfilm never confirmed any details of the plot but revealed that the film Trank left was a different film from Solo and Rogue One. By May 2018, reports emerged that James Mangold had signed on to write and direct a Boba Fett film, with Simon Kinberg attached as producer and co-screenwriter. Daniel Logan, who played Boba Fett as a child in Attack of the Clones and voiced him in The Clone Wars animated series, expressed interest in reprising his role in the rumored film, going as far as making his own replica of Boba Fett's original trilogy armor and sharing pictures wearing it on social media. His portrayal of Boba had been abruptly cut short due to the cancelation of The Clone Wars animated series, Boba's unfinished arc would had seen him wear such armor for the first time and duel bounty hunter Cad Bane, however instead, the arc was left unfinished and never released, despite being voiced. Temuera Morrison, who voiced an adult Boba Fett in the 2004 special editions of the original trilogy, also expressed interest in portraying Boba Fett, he had previously portrayed Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones (Boba is a clone of Jango, whom Jango raised as his son). The author of the Legends story The Last Man Standing, said that Lucasfilm had sent him emails letting him know they had interest in adapting elements from his Boba Fett focused short story (which also involved Han Solo). However he noted, Lucasfilm might change plans.
In August 2016, Ewan McGregor, who played a younger Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel trilogy, stated that if Lucasfilm approached him, he would be open to return to the role in a spin-off anthology film focused on the character's life in the time between Episode III and IV. In March 2017, McGregor again stated his interest in starring in the film, if Lucasfilm wanted him to. Later in 2017, footage from the film Last Days in the Desert, which starred McGregor, was edited into a fan trailer for an Obi-Wan film. The video led to the proposed film being voted as the most wanted anthology film in a poll by The Hollywood Reporter. By August 2017, it was reported that an Obi-Wan Kenobi film was in development, with Stephen Daldry in early negotiations to co-write and direct the project. Liam Neeson expressed his interest in returning to the franchise, reprising his role as Qui-Gon Jinn. Joel Edgerton, who played Luke Skywalker's step-uncle Owen in the prequel trilogy, said he would like to reprise his role in an Obi-Wan standalone film, if it were to be made. As of 2018, McGregor has stated he would be open to reprising his role in the movie, while reports state the film may be released in 2020.
Other potential anthology films
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While the third anthology film had been officially confirmed for a 2020 release, no other anthology films beyond that have been officially announced. However, in June 2018, Lucasfilm told ABC News that there were multiple unannounced Star Wars films in development. This comes in response to a report from Collider which claimed that all stand-alone films had been put on hold. Making Star Wars reported that a previously unknown Mos Eisley Spaceport film was the source of the rumors and was postponed or cancelled, while all other previously reported yet unannounced films were still in active development.
In 2018, Alden Ehrenreich confirmed his contract deal to appear as Han Solo extended for two additional films, giving the studio the option to pursue a sequel to Solo, or featuring him in other anthology films in a supporting capacity. Solo director Ron Howard said that while no sequel was in development, it was up to the fans to decide. Critics noted the film intentionally left room open for sequels. Solo writer Jon Kasdan said, were he to write the sequel he would include bounty hunter Bossk (who briefly appeared in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back). While Ehrenreich said he would like sequels to differentiate themselves from the previous Star Wars trilogies, by being standalone in the vein of Indiana Jones or the James Bond films, rather than direct follow-ups.
In 2018, Kennedy said a film focusing on young Lando Calrissian could also happen, but it would not be a priority at the time. Donald Glover, who played Calrissian in Solo, said he would imagine it as "Catch Me If You Can in space".
In 2018, it was stated Lucasfilm had also considered a film focusing on the 900-year-old Jedi Master, Yoda. While not confirming any development, Frank Oz, who puppetered and voiced Yoda, opinionated that due to the difficulty of Yoda's puppetry along with the likely increased involvement of the character in action sequences, in order to be able to transition from a supporting character into the expanded role of a main character, the character would need to be portrayed through CGI like in the prequel trilogy and said he would be willing to voice the character again. However, later it was said that a Yoda film was not in development. Previously, in 2015, director Guillermo del Toro pitched an idea to Lucasfilm for a film about Jabba the Hutt.
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. On the same day, Disney announced that a live-action Star Wars television series was in development exclusively for their upcoming streaming service.
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.
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. 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 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 Star Wars: The Clone Wars. 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"., 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. 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.
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. The 1985 sequel, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, finds Wicket and his friends protecting their village from invaders.
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. Its sister series Star Wars: Ewoks (1985–1987) features the adventures of the Ewoks before Return of the Jedi and the Ewok movies.
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. 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. 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). 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. 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. The animated microseries Star Wars Forces of Destiny debuted in 2017, focusing on the female characters of the franchise. 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.
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  Producer Rick McCallum revealed the working title, Star Wars: Underworld, in 2012, and said in 2013 that 50 scripts had been written. He called the project "The most provocative, the most bold and daring material that we've ever done." The proposed series explores criminal and political power struggles in the decades prior to A New Hope, and as of December 2015 was still in development at Lucasfilm. 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. 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. Jon Favreau, who had previously voiced Pre Vizsla in The Clone Wars animated series, will produce and write one of the television series. 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.
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.
Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker is a 1976 novelization of the original film by Alan Dean Foster, who followed it with the sequel Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1978), which Lucas decided not to film. 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, and The Adventures of Lando Calrissian (1983) trilogy 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 in the as-yet-unexplored time period 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. The story parallels the fallen son of Han and Leia, Ben Solo/Kylo Ren, in the 2015 film The Force Awakens. 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.
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 reworked 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 sequence (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 in were titled Star Wars, Star Wars: Darth Vader, and the limited series Star Wars: Princess Leia.
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.
The overwhelming success, led to a 10-episode adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back in 1982. Billy Dee Williams joined the other two stars, reprising his role as Lando Calrissian.
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 first officially licensed Star Wars electronic game was Kenner's 1979 table-top Star Wars Electronic Battle Command. In 1982, Parker Brothers published the first licensed Star Wars video game, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, for the Atari 2600. 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. The next game, Return of the Jedi (1984), used more traditional raster graphics, with the following game The Empire Strikes Back (1985) returning to the 1983's arcade game vector graphics, but recreating the "Battle of Hoth" scene instead.
Lucasfilm had started its own video game company in the early 1980s, 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. X-Wing was one of the best-selling games of 1993, and established its own series of games. Released in 1995, Dark Forces was the first Star Wars first-person shooter video game. A hybrid adventure game incorporating puzzles and strategy, it featured new gameplay features and graphical elements not then common in other games, made possible by LucasArts' custom-designed game engine, called the Jedi. The game was well received and well reviewed, and was followed by four sequels. Dark Forces introduced the popular character Kyle Katarn, who would later appear in multiple games, novels, and comics. Katarn is a former Imperial stormtrooper who joins the Rebellion and ultimately becomes a Jedi, a plot arc similar to that of Finn in the 2015 film The Force Awakens.
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.
- Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (1996) is a Lucasfilm multimedia project set in the as-yet-unexplored time period 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 toys.
- The Force Unleashed (2008–2010) is a similar project, set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, that includes a 2008 novel, a 2008 video game and its 2010 sequel, a graphic novel, a role-playing game supplement, and action figures.
Theme park attractions
|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||–|
|Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge||Disneyland||2019||N/A||Under construction|
|Disney's Hollywood Studios||2019||N/A|
|Star Wars Hotel||Disney's Hollywood Studios||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. 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, 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.
Comparisons with historical events
Star Wars contains many themes of political science that mainly favor democracy over dictatorship. Political science has been an important element of Star Wars since the franchise first launched in 1977. The plot climax of Revenge of the Sith is modeled after the fall of the democratic Roman Republic and the formation of an empire.
The stormtroopers from the movies share a name with the Nazi stormtroopers (see also Sturmabteilung). Imperial officers' uniforms resemble some historical German uniforms of World War II and the political and security officers of the Empire resemble the black-clad SS down to the imitation silver death's head insignia on their officer's caps. World War II terms were used for names in Star Wars; examples include the planets Kessel (a term that refers to a group of encircled forces) and Hoth (Hermann Hoth was a German general who served on the snow-laden Eastern Front). Palpatine being Chancellor before becoming Emperor mirrors Adolf Hitler's role as Chancellor before appointing himself Dictator. The Great Jedi Purge alludes to the events of The Holocaust, the Great Purge, the Cultural Revolution, and the Night of the Long Knives. In addition, Lucas himself has drawn parallels between Palpatine and his rise to power to historical dictators such as Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Adolf Hitler. The final medal awarding scene in A New Hope, however, references Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will. The space battles in A New Hope were based on filmed World War I and World War II dogfights.
Continuing the use of Nazi inspiration for the Empire, J.J. Abrams, the director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has said that the First Order, an Imperial offshoot which serves as the main antagonist of the sequel trilogy, is inspired by another aspect of the Nazi regime. Abrams spoke of how several Nazis fled to Argentina after the war and he claims that the concept for the First Order came from conversations between the scriptwriters about what would have happened if they had started working together again.
The Star Wars saga has had a significant impact on modern popular culture. Star Wars references are deeply embedded in popular culture; 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 or mainstream. This very impact made it a prime target for parody works and homages, with popular examples including Spaceballs, Family Guy's Laugh It Up, Fuzzball, Robot Chicken's "Star Wars Episode I", "Star Wars Episode II" and "Star Wars Episode III", and Hardware Wars by Ernie Fosselius.
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." Its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, was selected in 2010. Despite these callings for archival, it is unclear whether copies of the 1977 and 1980 theatrical sequences of Star Wars and Empire—or copies of the 1997 Special Edition versions—have been archived by the NFR, or indeed if any copy has been provided by Lucasfilm and accepted by the Registry.
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 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, for the most part, has allowed but not endorsed the creation of these derivative fan fiction works, so long as no such work attempts to make a profit from or tarnish the Star Wars franchise in any way. While many fan films have used elements from the licensed Expanded Universe to tell their story, they are not considered an official part of the Star Wars canon.
As the characters and the story line of the original trilogy are so well known, educationalists have advocated the use of the films in the classroom as a learning resource. For example, a project in Western Australia honed elementary school students story-telling 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 light sabers. Similarly, psychiatrists in New Zealand and the US have advocated their use in the university classroom to explain different types of psychopathology.
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. 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 80's figures sell at extremely high prices in auctions. Since the 90's Hasbro holds the rights to create action figures based on the saga. Pez dispensers have been produced. Star Wars was the first intellectual property to be licensed in Lego Group history, which has produced a Star Wars Lego theme. Lego has produced animated parody short films to promote their sets, among them Revenge of the Brick (2005) and The Quest for R2-D2 (2009), the former parodies Revenge of the Sith, while the later The Clone Wars film. Due to their success, LEGO created animated comedy mini-series among them The Yoda Chronicles (2013-2014) and Droid Tales (2015) originally airing on Cartoon Network, but since 2014 moved into Disney XD. The Lego Star Wars video games are critically acclaimed best sellers.
In 1977 with the board game Star Wars: Escape from the Death Star (not to be confused with another board game with the same title, published in 1990). The board game Risk has been adapted to the series in two editions by Hasbro: and Star Wars Risk: The Clone Wars Edition (2005) and Risk: Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition (2006).
Three different official tabletop role-playing games have been developed for the Star Wars universe: a version by West End Games in the 1980s and 1990s, one by Wizards of the Coast in the 2000s, and one by Fantasy Flight Games in the 2010s.
Star Wars trading cards have been published since the first "blue" series, by Topps, in 1977. 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 Star Wars; the Star Wars Collectible Card Game (also known as SWCCG).
- Architecture of Star Wars
- Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy
- Jedi census phenomenon
- List of Star Wars creatures
- Physics and Star Wars
- 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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