Star Wars is not just another name for another movie. It is one movie that has tremendous influence since its debut in 1977. Star Wars ushered in a wide stream of interest into the science fiction genre, making it a mainstream genre in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The movie also created an identity for 20th Century Fox in the American movie industry by doubling the company’s annual profit in 1977. As film critic Ebert Robert stated:
“Star Wars was a technical watershed that influenced many of the movies that came after.”
The movie was famous enough to tempt producers into using the word ” Star” in their movie name to attract such interest. Movies such as Battlestar Galactica fell in this circle, with critics making a mockery of the movie as a replica of Star Wars. All popular movies such as Terminator, Aliens, and others had some concepts to adopt from Star Wars.
Star Wars is a science fiction movie genre created by George Lucas, one of the most significant figures of America’s movie industry in the 20th century. The Star Wars franchise is also the fifth highest-grossing media franchise of all time. The original movie came out in 1977. Then, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) followed it. George Lucas later considered directing other prequels, but none maintained the significance of the original movie in 1977. However, the movie was relevant enough to spawn comic books and video games.
Join us on a retrospective on the Star Wars movies from the originals to the prequels:
Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
A very interesting script was necessary to produce one of the most famous movie franchises of all time. George Lucas wrote and directed Star Wars: A New Hope. 20th Century Fox distributed the film which financially impacted by the studio.
Star Wars is a science fiction movie, particularly giving prominence to a new space opera subgenre. George Lucas admits that he drew major inspiration from the Flash Gordon Serials and movies of Akira Kurosawa.
The movie began after the establishment of the Galactic Empire. The leader of the rebel alliance, Princess Leia Organa, lays hold of the plans to the Death Star. However, the empire caught Leia after Darth Vader and his men intercepted her ship. In the process, Leia manages to hide the plan in the memory of droids who were able to devise their escape route.
Local traders sold the droids to farmers, and coincidentally, the recording of Leia’s plea for help falls in the hands of Luke Skywalker, who believed that Vader murdered his father. Obi-Wan Kenobi, a member of the Jedi knights who was a colleague of Luke’s father, enlightens Luke and takes him on a journey to Alderaan. The reluctant Luke had no option as the empire killed his entire family and ransacked their farm. The team sets out and rescues Leia before eventually destroying the Death Star.
The reception of the movie was highly positive, and that reflected in its huge commercial success. The movie was the most commercially successful film of all time at the time of its release.
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
The Empire Strikes Back is the first sequel of the Star Wars franchise based on the story written by George Lucas. Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan wrote this sequel while and Irvin Kershner directed it. The sequel also retained a similar storyline and similar characterization to the first and achieved as much success as the first.
Luke, Han, and Princess Leia achieved the rare feat of nullifying the threat of their foes by destroying the Death Star, using a massive weapon with no limit to its destructive capacity.
With a real thirst for vengeance, Darth Vader sets out to find the rebels and get his revenge. However, the spirit of Obi-wan Kenobi led Luke to a highly skilled Jedi master Yoda. Although the journey was not the type that Luke enjoyed, he eventually finds the man under whose protégé he must acquire sufficient training to be able to stand a chance against Vader.
With Vader able to locate Han and Leia, he was able to use the two to lure out Luke, who he intended to convince into seeing the darker side of his powers. An obstinate Luke ignores the advice of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s spirit and his new tutor and goes after Vader. Vader capitalizes on his inexperience and severs his right hand, although they managed to escape right on time.
While it was very common for movie sequels not to live up to the standard of the original franchise, this movie lived up to the ratings of the 1977 Star Wars and even some of the movie’s audience regard it as the best in the original trilogy of the Star Wars.
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
George Lucas wrote Return of the Jedi, the second sequel to Star Wars, while Richard Marquand directed it. Notably, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, David Lynch, and David Cronenberg, some of the most important directors of the 20th century, had earlier worked on this movie before Richard Marquand took charge of the directing.
In the second sequel, Luke rescued his friends Han and Leia, who Jabba, a crime lord, had captured. Despite the fierce oppositions he encountered, Luke was successful with the assignment of freeing his friends before he decided to return to his training under his aging and dying Jedi master Yoda.
Obi-Wan takes a few minutes to reveal his secrets to Luke, including the fact that Darth Vader is his father and Leia is his twin sister. Obi-Wan Kenobi’s spirit appears and instructs Luke that he must kill his father to complete his training. At the time, the empire was at the completion stage of another Death Star. The group goes in search of the emperor to destroy the Death Star. Although they had to capitalize on the internal divisions of the empire, the group soon found a way.
Meanwhile, Luke confronted his father with the emperor promising to reward him with his father’s position should he wins. After a lengthy battle, Luke finally struck him down, but the emperor intervened when Luke refused to kill his father. Vader grew concerned over Luke’s plight and eventually betrayed the emperor. Even though Vader knew he would not survive, he put his son’s life over the dark side. The team destroys the weapon and asserts their victory.
The movie, like the first sequel and the original franchise, enjoyed a wide scale of success. The movie was the highest-grossing film of 1983.
Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
Following the completion of the original trilogy of Star Wars and Lucas’s unwillingness to continue the franchise along that line, he returned in 1999 to launch a prequel titled “The Phantom Menace.” George Lucas wrote and directed the film, and it is the first of the Star Wars prequel trilogy.
Years before the event that unfolded in episode IV, the Galactic Republic was involved in a brutal trade disagreement with the Trade Federation. The Republic sends two Jedi to negotiate a truce between the two parties. However, rather than honestly negotiating, the trade federations attacked the two jedi with poison in an attempt to kill them. The Jedi made their return despite overcoming several hurdles and attempt the next mission of rescuing the queen.
The warm reception of the movie created the needed inspiration for the two remaining prequels.
Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
Lucas returned to write and direct the second prequel, Attack of the Clones. This film also did not fall short of the standard the franchise had set.
Former Jedi Master Count Dooku seems to have gone rogue by creating an army of clones. Obi-Wan’s original mission was to investigate the assassination attempt on the life of Senator Padme Amidala. While the Jedi master left his apprentice in charge of the senator, he went in search of the bounty hunter who wanted the senator killed. Obi-wan transmits his findings to the senate, but it was too late as droids intercepted and capture him.
Meanwhile, since visions of his mother’s death have been troubling Anakin, he traveled back to Tatooine. To his dismay, he discovered that Tuscan Raiders had captured his mother before he had arrived. Even though he managed to locate her, he arrived to late to save her life, so he slaughtered the raiders.
Upon discovering Obi-Wan’s capture, Anakin and Padame rush to Genosis to save him. Unfortunately, Jango Fett disarms then captures the pair. However, Yoda, Mace, and Windu lead a large team of clone troopers and secures their release.
The movie also received positive reactions following its release. It finished the year as the fourth highest-grossing film of the year. Although it was the first time a Star Wars movie was not number one, the movie was still a huge commercial success.
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
George Lucas wrote the final prequel, Revenge of the Sith, in 2005. It is also the last prequel of Star Wars. As expected, the prequel ends with a link to the original franchise released in 1977 and aligns with the original trilogy of the movie.
Obi-Wan’s trusted apprentice goes rogue in the movie and joins forces with Palpatine. Palpatine knighted Anakin with the dark force, so Anakin became Darth Vader. His early move was to ensure the death of the Jedi and their council.
Upon discovering his new dark path, his pregnant wife became heartbroken. She later gave birth to Luke and Leia just before she died.
Obi-wan engaged Anakin in a fierce battle and severed his arm, but Palpatine restored the new dark force. Obi-wan takes the twin and flees from the planet.
The Star Wars franchise was, for many reasons, one of the best movie franchises in history. Aside from its financial success, the movie had a profound legacy on America’s movie industry.
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About the author
Author: Chris Ingledue
Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!