- Note: This article deals with the science fiction saga, not the American Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).
For the original Star Wars film, see Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
Star Wars is a science fiction film saga and fictional universe created by American director George Lucas. The original Star Wars movie (Episode IV) came out on May 25th, 1977. The earlier set of Star Wars movies (Episodes IV, V, and VI) are renowned as classics of cinema, and were some of the first "summer blockbusters" ever made. Episodes I, II and III were released in 1999, 2002 and 2005 respectively. All six movies are among the top 50 highest grossing films of all time. In 1984 and 1985, two spinoff movies to the original trilogy (Episode IV, V, and VI) were made featuring the Ewok characters seen in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. An animated film called Star Wars: The Clone Wars was released in 2008. In 2012, George Lucas sold the franchise to Disney, which plans to make three more movies  Star Wars: The Force Awakens currently has a release date of December 18, 2015, making it second film (the first being The Clone Wars) and the first in the main series, to not be released in May. Episode VIII will be written and directed by Rian Johnson and currently has a release date set for May 26, 2017, just one day after the 40th anniversary of the release of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Episode IX has a tentative release date of 2019.
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- Star Wars Episode VIII
- Star Wars Episode IX
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
- Rogue One
- Untitled Han Solo spinoff (2018)
- Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
- Caravan of Courage (1984)
- The Battle for Endor (1985)
- Droids (1985-1986)
- Ewoks (1985-1986)
- Clone Wars (2003-2005)
- The Clone Wars (2008-2014)
- Rebels (2014-Current)
Development of the Monomyth
George Lucas built on the idea of the monomyth - a dominant mythic structure that resounds strongly with the human psyche - in structuring his narrative. He consulted closely with Joseph Campbell, author of the book, "Hero of a Thousand Faces," in his utilizing of the monomyth structure for the movie. In Star Wars (now known as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope), the reluctant hero is Luke Skywalker, the teacher Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the archetype villain Darth Vader.
There have been many short films created by Star Wars Fans. One major website is www.fanfilms.com; which contains many fanfilms including TROOPS, The Essense of The Force, The Jedi Hunter, the Pink Five trilogy, Revelations, and Ryan Vs. Dorkman 1 and 2. One major high-quality fan based movie is I.M.P.S: The Relentless; which can be found at www.impstherelentless.com, and is the first chapter of a future full-length, chapter-based movie based on the Imperial Starship Relentless and her crew.
Since the success of the film franchise, Lucasfilm has licensed a number of novels, comic books, and video games that take place in the Star Wars universe, otherwise known as the Expanded Universe (EU). Hundreds of novels and comics and dozens of video games have been, and continue to be produced. Although these spin-off media often take place before, after or inbetween the films, some take place in "alternate realities." A major focus of the EU is to feature characters not on-screen or only briefly shown in the films. All officially licensed works are considered canon, except in places where they contradict the films. There are also two cartoon series and three TV movies, two about the Ewoks and the Star Wars Holiday Special, which represented a secularized version of Christmas for Wookiees known as "Life Day." The last has been disowned by Lucas due to its incredibly poor quality, however an animated sequence from the special featuring Boba Fett was released as an easter egg on the Star Wars Blu-ray collection.
Of note is Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the only part of the Expanded Universe to reach the big screen.
After the franchise was bought out by The Walt Disney Company, a new expanded universe was established, with the old one being designated as "Legends" material.
From 1999-2005, George Lucas released Episodes I, II, and III of the Star Wars saga. Although released after the original films, they take place prior to them. The films tell the story of Anakin Skywalker, from being discovered on Tatooine, his Jedi training, his romance with Padme Amidala, role in the Clone Wars, and ultimately, how he becomes Darth Vader. The films have been met with mixed reaction. Out of the three, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, is generally considered the best of the prequels.
The Star Wars film series and its expanded universe has been a large revenue producer. As of 2005 the Star Wars franchise has produced over $20 billion. With the release of the expanded universe series it has increased.
Portrayal of religion
George Lucas has stated that he came up with the idea of "The Force" as he wanted to promote a vague idea of hollow Hollywood-style spirituality without referencing any recognizable religion. Despite this, the depiction of the philosophy and beliefs of the Jedi seem to be a way to promote eastern mysticism (in particular Buddhism) and undermine Christianity in the movie's western audience. This is typical of the New Age movement's tendency to use parts of different religions willy-nilly without any structure of sense, and shows the influence of Lucas growing up in 1960's California, which he had briefly referenced in an interview regarding his film Red Tails. Lucas is strongly liberal and actually describes himself as a "Buddhist Methodist".
Similar to other works, Star Wars fell under some controversy at some points. When covering Return of the Jedi in Empire of Dreams, George Lucas admitted that he based the Ewoks on the Vietnamese National Liberation Front, otherwise known as the Viet Cong, while implying that the Galactic Empire was intended to be based on America's involvement in the Vietnam War.
Star Wars became forever linked to politics when a missile-defense plan, devised under the Reagan administration, was nicknamed Star Wars. Attempts to bring back such a system are still referred to by this name.