Star Wars is an American epic space opera franchise centered on a film series created by George Lucas. The film series, consisting of two trilogies (and an upcoming third), has spawned an extensive media franchise called the Expanded Universe including books, television series, computer and video games, and comic books. These supplements to the franchise resulted in significant development of the series' fictional universe, keeping the franchise active in the 16-year interim between the two film trilogies. The franchise depicts a galaxy described as far, far away in the distant past, and it commonly portrays Jedi as a representation of good, in conflict with the Sith, their evil counterpart. Their weapon of choice, the lightsaber, is commonly recognized in popular culture. The franchise's storylines contain many themes, with strong influences from philosophy and religion.
The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year intervals. Sixteen years after the release of the trilogy's final film, the first in a new prequel trilogy of films was released. The three prequel films were also released at three-year intervals, with the final film of the trilogy released on May 19, 2005. In 2012, The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion and announced that it would produce three new films, with the first film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, planned for release in 2015. 20th Century Fox still retains the distribution rights to the first two Star Wars trilogies, owning permanent rights for the original film Episode IV: A New Hope, while holding the rights to Episodes I-III, V and VI until May 2020.
StarWars Prequel Trilogy 2001-2005
Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is a 1999 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas, produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is the fourth installment in the Star Wars saga and stars Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Pernilla August and Frank Oz. Set 32 years before the original film, the story follows Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi as they protect Queen Amidala, in hopes of securing a peaceful end to a large-scale interplanetary trade dispute. Joined by Anakin Skywalker (a young slave with unusually inherent powers of the Force) they simultaneously contend with the mysterious return of the Sith.
Lucas began production of this film after he concluded that film special effects had advanced to the level he wanted for the fourth film in the saga. Filming started on June 26, 1997, at locations including Leavesden Film Studios and the Tunisian desert. Its visual effects included extensive use of computer-generated imagery (CGI); some of its characters and settings were completely computerized and did not exist in the real world. The film was Lucas' first directorial effort after a 22-year hiatus following Star Wars in 1977.
The Phantom Menace was released to theaters on May 19, 1999, sixteen years after the premiere of the previous Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi. The film's premiere was extensively covered by media and was greatly anticipated because of the large cultural following the Star Wars saga had cultivated. Despite mixed reviews by critics, who tended to praise the visuals and action sequences but criticized the writing, characterization and acting, it grossed more than US$924.3 million worldwide during its initial theatrical run, making it the second-highest-grossing film worldwide at the time — behind Titanic. It became the highest-grossing film of 1999, the highest-grossing Star Wars film, and is currently the seventeenth-highest-grossing film in North America unadjusted for inflation. A 3D reissue, which has earned an additional US$102.7 million at the box office and brought the film's overall worldwide takings to over US$1 billion, was released in February 2012. The film was followed by two sequels, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones in 2002 and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in 2005.
Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is a 2002 American epic space opera[discuss] film directed by George Lucas and written by Lucas and Jonathan Hales. It is the second installment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, and stars Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, and Frank Oz.
The film is set 10 years after the events in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, when the galaxy is on the brink of civil war. Under the leadership of a renegade Jedi named Count Dooku, thousands of planetary systems threaten to secede from the Galactic Republic. When an assassination attempt is made on Senator Padmé Amidala, the former Queen of Naboo, Jedi apprentice Anakin Skywalker is assigned to protect her, while his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi is assigned to investigate the assassination attempt. Anakin, Padmé, and Obi-Wan are drawn into the heart of the Separatist territories and the beginning of a new threat to the galaxy, the Clone Wars.
Development of Attack of the Clones began in March 2000, after the release of The Phantom Menace. By June 2000, Lucas and Hales completed a draft of the script and principal photography took place from June to September 2000. It was primarily shot at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney, Australia, with additional footage filmed at Tunisia, Spain and Italy. It was one of the first motion pictures to be shot completely on a high definition digital 24-frame system.
The film was released on May 16, 2002. It garnered better reviews from critics than the first prequel and was a financial success; however, it also became the first Star Wars film to be out-grossed in its year of release, placing only third domestically and fourth internationally. The film was released on DVD and VHS on November 12, 2002 and was later released on Blu-ray on September 16, 2011. A sequel, titled Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, was released in 2005.
Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is a 2005 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. It is the third and final installment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy and stars Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker and Frank Oz.
In Revenge of the Sith, set three years after the onset of the Clone Wars, the Jedi Knights are spread out across the galaxy leading a massive clone army in the war against the Separatists. The Jedi Council dispatches Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi to eliminate the notorious General Grievous, leader of the Separatist Army. Meanwhile, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, separated from his former master, grows close to Palpatine, the Chancellor of the Galactic Republic and, unknown to the public, a Sith Lord. Their deepening friendship threatens the Jedi Order, the Republic and Anakin himself, who eventually yields to the dark side of the Force and becomes Darth Vader.
Lucas began writing the script before production of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones began. Production of Revenge of the Sith began in September 2003 and it was shot in Australia with additional locations in Thailand, Switzerland, China, Italy and the United Kingdom. Revenge of the Sith premiered on May 15, 2005 at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France and had its general release on May 19, 2005, six years after the premiere of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, especially in contrast to the mixed reviews of the previous two prequels. It is the last film in the Star Wars franchise to be distributed by 20th Century Fox before the acquisition of Lucasfilm by The Walt Disney Company in 2012.
Revenge of the Sith broke several box office records during its opening week and went on to earn over $848 million worldwide, making it the second-highest-grossing film in the Star Wars franchise, unadjusted for inflation. It was the highest-grossing film of 2005 in the U.S. and the second-highest-grossing film of 2005 behind Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. As of 2015, it is the 44th highest-grossing film.
Original StarWars Trilogy 1977-1983
Star Wars IV: A New Hope (1977)
Star Wars (later retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) is a 1977 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. The first release in the Star Wars saga, it stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Alec Guinness. David Prowse, Anthony Daniels, Peter Cushing, Kenny Baker and Peter Mayhew co-star in supporting roles.
The plot focuses on the Rebel Alliance, led by Princess Leia (Fisher), and its attempt to destroy the Galactic Empire's space station, the Death Star. This conflict disrupts the isolated life of farmhand Luke Skywalker (Hamill) who inadvertently acquires a pair of droids that possess stolen architectural plans for the Death Star. When the Empire begins a destructive search for the missing droids, Skywalker agrees to accompany Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Guinness) on a mission to return the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance and save the galaxy from the tyranny of the Galactic Empire.
Star Wars was released theatrically in the United States on May 25, 1977. It earned $461 million in the US and $314 million overseas, totaling $775 million. It surpassed Jaws (1975) to become the highest-grossing film of all time; its gross was later surpassed by that of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). When adjusted for inflation as of 2013, Star Wars was the second-highest-grossing film in the United States and Canada, and the third-highest-grossing film in the world. It received 10 Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture), winning seven. It was selected to become part of the US National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in its first year of opening as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant"; at the time, it was the newest film to be selected, and it was the only film from the 1970s to be chosen. The film's soundtrack was added to the US National Recording Registry 15 years later. Today, it is often regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, and is also considered by many to be one of the most important films in the history of motion pictures.
Lucas has re-released Star Wars a number of times, incorporating many changes including modified computer-generated effects, altered dialogue, re-edited shots, remixed soundtracks, and added scenes. The film's massive success led to the production of two sequels: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), both of which became critically and commercially successful. A prequel trilogy was later released between 1999 and 2005; all three films were again commercially successful, but did not match the level of critical and fanatical acclaim of the original trilogy. In early 2014 a sequel trilogy began production with a majority of the cast members from the original trilogy returning for the seventh installment, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was released on December 17, 2015.
Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The Empire Strikes Back (also known as Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back) is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan wrote the screenplay, with George Lucas writing the film's story and serving as executive producer. The second release in the Star Wars franchise, it was produced by Gary Kurtz for Lucasfilm Ltd. and stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew and Frank Oz.
The film is set three years after Star Wars. The Galactic Empire, under the leadership of the villainous Darth Vader and the Emperor Palpatine, is in pursuit of Luke Skywalker and the rest of the Rebel Alliance. While Vader chases a small band of Luke's friends—Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa, and others—across the galaxy, Luke studies the Force under Jedi Master Yoda. When Vader captures Luke's friends, Luke must decide whether to complete his training and become a full Jedi Knight or to confront Vader and save them.
Following a difficult production, The Empire Strikes Back was released on May 21, 1980. It received mixed reviews from critics initially but has since grown in esteem, becoming the most critically acclaimed chapter in the Star Wars saga; it is now widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. It became the highest-grossing film of 1980 and, to date, has earned more than $538 million worldwide from its original run and several re-releases. When adjusted for inflation, it is the 12th-highest-grossing film in North America. A sequel, titled Return of the Jedi, was released in 1983.
In 2010, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant."
Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Return of the Jedi (also known as Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand. The screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas was from a story by Lucas, who was also the executive producer. It was the third film released in the Star Wars saga and the first film to use THX technology. The film is set one year after The Empire Strikes Back and was produced by Howard Kazanjian for Lucasfilm Ltd. The film stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew and Frank Oz.
The evil Galactic Empire, under the direction of the ruthless Emperor Palpatine, is constructing a second Death Star in order to crush the Rebel Alliance once and for all. Since Palpatine plans to personally oversee the final stages of its construction, the Rebel Fleet launches a full-scale attack on the Death Star in order to prevent its completion and kill Palpatine, effectively bringing an end to the Empire's hold over the galaxy. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker, the Rebel leader and Jedi apprentice, struggles to bring Darth Vader, whom he has learned is actually his father Anakin and himself a fallen Jedi, back from the Dark Side of the Force.
David Lynch and David Cronenberg were considered to direct the project before Marquand signed on as director. The production team relied on Lucas' storyboards during pre-production. While writing the shooting script, Lucas, Kasdan, Marquand, and producer Howard Kazanjian spent two weeks in conference discussing ideas to construct it. Kazanjian's schedule pushed shooting to begin a few weeks early to allow Industrial Light & Magic more time to work on the film's effects in post-production. Filming took place in England, California, and Arizona from January to March 1982. Strict secrecy surrounded the production and the film used the working title Blue Harvest to prevent price gouging.
The film was released in theaters on May 25, 1983, receiving mostly positive reviews. The film grossed over $572 million worldwide. Several home video and theatrical releases and revisions to the film followed over the next 20 years. Star Wars continued with Episode I: The Phantom Menace as part of the film series' prequel trilogy. A sequel, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released on December 18, 2015.
StarWars Sequel Trilogy 2015-2020!!!
The Star Wars sequel trilogy is the third film trilogy in the American space opera franchise Star Wars, created by George Lucas. It is being produced by Lucasfilm Ltd. The trilogy will consist of episodes VII through IX and will follow after Return of the Jedi (1983) in the saga's chronology. Lucas originally planned a sequel trilogy in the mid-1970s, but had abandoned these plans by the late 1990s. In 2012, The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm and announced production of a sequel trilogy.
The first installment, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, began pre-production on October 30, 2012 and was released on December 18, 2015 in the U.S., following a special premiere screening in Los Angeles on December 14. The film is directed by J. J. Abrams who co-wrote the screenplay with Lawrence Kasdan. Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and other main characters from the original trilogy returned to reprise their roles and co-star alongside John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac.
Episode VIII is planned to be released on May 26, 2017, with filmmaker Rian Johnson writing and directing it. Johnson is also to write a story treatment for Episode IX, which will be directed by Colin Trevorrow.
Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a 2015 American epic space opera film directed, co-produced, and co-written by J. J. Abrams. The seventh installment in the main Star Wars film series, it stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Max von Sydow. The Force Awakens is set approximately 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi (1983), and follows Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron's fight with the Resistance, formerly the Rebel Alliance, against Kylo Ren and the First Order, formely the Galactic Empire.
The Force Awakens is the first film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, announced after The Walt Disney Company's acquisition of Lucasfilm in October 2012. The film is produced by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Abrams, and his long-time collaborator Bryan Burk. Lawrence Kasdan, co-writer of the original trilogy films The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi, and Abrams rewrote an initial script by Michael Arndt. John Williams, composer for the previous six films, returned to compose its score. Star Wars creator George Lucas served as creative consultant during the film's early production stages. The Force Awakens is produced by Lucasfilm and Abrams' Bad Robot Productions and will be distributed worldwide by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Filming began in April 2014 in Abu Dhabi and Iceland, with principal photography also taking place in Ireland and Pinewood Studios in England.
The Force Awakens premiered in Los Angeles on December 14, 2015, and was released on December 18, 2015, in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D, more than 10 years after the release of the franchise's last major installment, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005). Critics compared it favorably to the original trilogy, praising its action sequences, characters, acting, and emotional drama, though some criticized it as derivative. Disney backed the film with an extensive marketing campaign, and it is expected to break box office records with projected profits exceeding $1 billion. Two sequels are scheduled for release in 2017 and 2019 respectively.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (December 16, 2016) takes us to a time before Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first met on Tattoine, giving a behind-the-scenes look at how Princess Leia, R2-D2 and company came to possess the Death Star plans. Described as a "heist" movie, it will be directed by Godzilla's Gareth Edwards and star Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Forest Whitaker and more.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, or simply Rogue One, is an American epic space opera film directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz, from an idea by visual effects supervisor John Knoll. The film stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, and Alan Tudyk.
Rogue One is the first film in the Star Wars Anthology series, a collection of stand-alone stories set in the Star Wars universe. The story is set in between the events of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) and Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), and centers on a group of rebel fighters who come together to carry out the mission of stealing the plans for the Death Star.
The plot will revolve around a group of rebels on a mission to steal the Death Star plans; 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." Additionally, Kathleen Kennedy and Kiri Hart confirmed that the stand-alone films will be labeled as "anthology films". Edwards stated that the style of the film will be similar to that of a war film, stating, "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." On May 4, 2015, it was confirmed that the film would surround the origins of Boba Fett, a bounty hunter in the original trilogy.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Dec. 15, 2017)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (also known as Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi) is an upcoming American epic space opera film written and directed by Rian Johnson. It is the second film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). The film is produced by Lucasfilm and will be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, and Gwendoline Christie in returning roles. New cast members include Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio del Toro. Fisher died in December 2016, making The Last Jedi her final film role.
The film was announced after Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm in October 2012. It is produced by Ram Bergman and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. John Williams, composer for the previous 7 films, returns to compose the score. Scenes that required shooting at Skellig Michael in Ireland were filmed during pre-production in September 2015, with principal photography beginning at Pinewood Studios in England in February 2016 and ending in July 2016. Post-production wrapped up in September 2017. The Last Jedi is scheduled for release on December 15, 2017.
Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25, 2018)
Solo: A Star Wars Story, or simply Solo, is an upcoming American space Western film centered on Han Solo, a character from the Star Wars franchise. The film is being produced by Lucasfilm from a screenplay by Lawrence and Jon Kasdan and will be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film will be the second Star Wars anthology film, following the 2016 film Rogue One. It is a standalone installment, set prior to the events of the original 1977 film, following a young Han Solo. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich as Solo, alongside Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Joonas Suotamo.
Themed as a Space Western, the film is centered on a young Han Solo, the roguish smuggler who later meets Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker in the Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars (1977), and his adventures with his Wookiee partner Chewbacca, including their encounter with Lando Calrissian.
Star Wars: Episode IX (Dec. 20, 2019)
In June 2014, Johnson was announced as writing a story treatment for Episode IX, though by April 2017, he stated he would not be involved with writing the film. In August 2015, Colin Trevorrow was announced as the director of Episode IX. Trevorrow, along with Derek Connolly, began writing the script.
On February 10, 2016, Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger confirmed that pre-production of Episode IX had begun. Cinematographer John Schwartzman is planning on using 65 mm film. In late December 2016, media outlets reported that Carrie Fisher was slated for a key role in Episode IX. In January 2017, Lucasfilm stated they would not digitally generate Fisher's performance for the film. In April 2017, it was confirmed by Kathleen Kennedy that Fisher will not be in Episode IX. In August 2017, it was announced that Jack Thorne would rewrite the script. On September 5, 2017, Lucasfilm announced that Trevorrow had stepped down as director of the film. A week later, it was announced that Abrams would return to direct Episode IX. Abrams will also co-write the film with Chris Terrio, in addition to producing the film through his company Bad Robot Productions, with Kennedy and Michelle Rejwan.
Principal photography is set to begin in June 2018. The film is scheduled to be released on December 20, 2019, replacing the original May 2019 date.
Star Wars Anthology: Boba Fett (2020)
Star Wars Anthology: Boba Fett (2020) is still not officially confirmed as a third Anthology film to be released in 2020. A writer for the film has been hired as of September 2016. On February 6, 2013, Entertainment Weekly reported that Lucasfilm hired Josh Trank to direct a Star Wars stand-alone film, with the news being confirmed soon after. However, in November 2016, Disney announced that their contract with Trank was terminated due to the overwhelmingly negative reviews of Fantastic Four. It was reported that the film was still in early development at Lucasfilm, and it was rumored that the film would focus on bounty hunter Boba Fett. Lucasfilm never confirmed what the plot was about, but confirmed that the film Josh Trank left was a different film from the Han Solo spin-off.
Expanded Star Wars Universe
Brian Daley wrote a series of novels, the first published in 1979, exploring Han Solo and Chewbecca's smuggling adventures, and Ann C. Crispin's The Han Solo Trilogy (1997–1998) further develops the character's backstory. Crispin's books depict Solo as a beggar and pickpocket throughout much of his youth. He becomes a pilot and, in the process of undermining a religious fraud, falls in love with Bria Tharen, who disappears before Solo joins the Imperial Navy.
Solo loses his commission and is cashiered when he refuses an order to skin Chewbacca for commandeering a ship carrying Wookiee children destined for slavery; Chewbacca, in turn, swears a "life-debt" to Solo. The two become smugglers, and help repel an Imperial blockade of a Hutt moon. Solo soon thereafter wins the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in a card tournament. Tharen, now a Rebel agent, reappears and asks for Solo, Chewbacca and Calrissian's help in attacking a slave colony. After succeeding, Tharen's troopers steal the smuggler's valuables to aid the Rebel Alliance. To compensate their losses, Solo and Chewbacca accept a smuggling job from Jabba the Hutt; but Imperial ships force the smugglers to jettison their cargo, invoking the debt Solo and Chewbacca owe the Hutt at the beginning of Star Wars.
Solo plays a central role in a couple Star Wars stories set after Return of the Jedi. In The Courtship of Princess Leia (1995), he resigns his commission to pursue Leia, whom he eventually marries. Solo and Leia have three children: twins Jaina and Jacen and son Anakin. Han Solo was the general in command of the New Republic task force assigned to track down Imperial Warlord Zsinj and his forces, in the 1999 novel Solo Command. Chewbacca dies saving Anakin's life in Vector Prime (1999), sending Solo into a deep depression. In Star by Star (2001), Anakin dies as well, compounding Solo's despair. At the end of the series, however, Solo accepts the deaths of his son and his best friend, and reconciles with his family.
In the Legacy of the Force series, Jacen Solo becomes the Sith Lord Darth Caedus and plunges the galaxy into a bloody civil war. Solo disowns Jacen, but is still devastated by each new outrage his son commits. He and Leia adopt Allana (Jacen's daughter) after Jacen's death in the novel Invincible.