- 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.
- 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
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.
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
Gerorge Lucas has stated that he came up with the idea of "The Force" as he wanted to promote a vague idea of spirituality without referencing any recognizable religion. The portrayal of the force is inconsistent in the Original Trilogy and the prequels. In the original Star Wars trilogy, the force is referred to as a superstition and a "religion" by Han Solo, who is sceptical of the idea, and is characterised as a type of magic by Obi-Wan and Yoda; however, in the prequels, a scientific explanation is given for the force. Lucas describes himself as a "Buddhist Methodist".
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.