Star Wars is an American space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film Star Wars was originally released on May 25th, 1977 and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon. It was followed by two sequels, released at three-year intervals, in 1980 and 1983. Three prequel films were released in 1999, 2002 and 2005 respectively.
The first three Star Wars films take place after the events in the final three Star Wars films, known as the “prequel trilogy.”
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released in 1999. It was the start of a three-part prequel to the original Star Wars trilogy. The film follows the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi. While escorting and protecting Queen Amidala they meet Anakin Skywalker, a young slave boy who seems to be unusually strong with The Force. Along the way they must contend with the mysterious return of the Sith and the Sith apprentice Darth Maul.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones was released in 2002 as part two of the prequel trilogy. The film is set ten years after the events in Episode I, when the galaxy is on the brink of civil war. The film follows Anakin Skywalker, who has become an adult, and his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was released in 2005 and is the third part in the prequel trilogy, but the final film that was released of the saga. The film takes place three years after the onset of the Clone Wars. It connects the prequel trilogy with the start of the original trilogy, showing the the rise of the Sith and the defeat of the Jedi. This film features the creation of Darth Vader and birth of the Skywalker twins, Luke and Leia
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was originally released in 1977 under the title Star Wars is a space opera that followed the adventures of Luke Skywalker and his quest to escape from his home-world and join the Rebel Alliance, becoming a Jedi and mastering the force in the process.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was originally released in 1980 under the title The Empire Strikes Back. It is set 3 years after the events after A New Hope and again follows the story of Luke Skywalker.
Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi was originally released in 1984 under the title Return of the Jedi. The plot revolves around Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance defeating the Galactic Empire. It is set one year after the events of The Empire Strikes Back.
On October 30th, 2012, The Walt Disney Company announced in a press release that it had acquired the Lucasfilms production company for $4.05 billion and planned to release a new Star Wars trilogy with the first installment, Episode 7, set for release sometime in 2015. According to the Associated Press, the new trilogy would continue where Return of the Jedi left off, following the stories of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia. Shortly after the announcement was made, The Daily What published a post titled “In Light of Recent Events of the Day,” which featured an image macro of Princess Leia with caption “Disney Princess” (shown below).
The same day, posts about the acqusition reached the front page of the /r/scifi, /r/StarWars and /r/movies subreddits. Also on October 30th, the tech news blog Mashable published a post titled “This is What a Disney Star Wars Universe Looks Like,” which included a slideshow of image macros mocking the Disney purchase (shown below).
On October 31st, the Internet news blog The Daily Dot published a post titled “The ‘Nooooo!’ Heard Round the Internet: Disney Buys Lucasfilm,” which included a round-up of Internet activity surrounding the announcement.
Following the Disney acquisition, the films in the Star Wars franchise that original creator George Lucas had planned, Episodes VII, VIII and IX, were cancelled. However, on June 11th, 2018, Twitter user @LivioRamondelli tweeted that Lucas had published some of the ideas for the unproduced sequels in the companion book to James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction television series. Lucas said,
“[The next three Star Wars films] were going to get into a microbiotic world. But there’s this world of creatures that operate differently than we do. I call them the Whills. And the Whills are the ones who actually control the universe. They feed off the Force.
“If I’d held onto the company I could have done it, and then it would have been done. Of course, a lot of the fans would have hated it, just like they did Phantom Menace and everything, but at least the whole story from beginning to end would be told.”
The tweet (shown below) received more than 600 retweets and 1,700 likes in two days.
Reaction to the news was mixed as some fans preferred Lucas’s ideas to the Disney Star Wars films, while other believed they would have been too reminiscent of the prequel trilogy, which received a mostly negative reception. Twitter user @suellentrop tweeted, “George Lucas was going to make a midichlorians trilogy.” The post (shown below, left) received more than 420 retweets and 1,500 likes in 24 hours.
Twitter user @stumpt_rik tweeted, “Holy moly, Star Wars fans dodged a bullet! This gives me a newfound appreciation for TLJ.” The post (shown below, center) received more than 100 retweets and 750 likes in 24 hours.
Twitter user @ianmtaylor tweeted more positively. They wrote, “Sorry we were so hard on you George. I would have vastly preferred to see your version over what they’ve done to Star Wars.” The post (shown below, right) received more than 75 retweets and 1,000 likes in 24 hours.
On June 13th, Twitter published a Moments page about the reaction to the news.
Several media outlets reported the news, including Esquire, The AV Club, Den of Geek, and more.
As of June 2008, the overall box office revenue generated by the six Star Wars films has totalled approximately $4.49 billion, making it the third-highest-grossing film series behind only the Harry Potter and James Bond films. Aside from the box office revenue, the franchise has generated about $33 billion, nearly half of which comes from the Star Wars toy lines.
The Star Wars film series has spawned a media franchise selling a wide variety of merchandise, including books, television series, video games and comic books. These supplements have resulted in significant development of the series’ fictional universe, in addition to keeping the franchise going in the interim between the film trilogies.
In 2008, Star Wars: The Clone Wars was released in theaters as the first-ever worldwide theatrical Star Wars film outside of the main trilogies. The first animated film in the franchise, it was intended as an introduction to the Expanded Universe series of the same name.
The term Expanded Universe (EU) is an umbrella term for officially licensed Star Wars material outside of the six feature films. The material expands the stories told in the films, taking place anywhere from 25,000 years before The Phantom Menace to 140 years after Return of the Jedi. This included various other films, animated series, books, games and action figures.
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. The fan-driven expansion of the original canon also encouraged by Lucasfilm when, in 2002, it 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 initially ineligible for competition, but in 2007 Lucasfilm changed the submission standards to allow in-universe fiction entries.
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. However, the lead character from the Pink Five series was incorporated into Timothy Zahn’s 2007 novel Allegiance, marking the first time a fan-created Star Wars character has ever crossed into the official canon. 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.
On April 25th, 2014, Star Wars’ official website released a statement titled “The Legendary Star Wars Expanded Universe Turns a New Page,” which announced that Star Wars Episode VII and the subsequent new films would not necessarily adhere to the rules and timelines as laid out in the Expanded Universe, essentially downgrading its stature to a non-canonical alternate universe. The same day, the official Star Wars YouTube channel uploaded a video titled “The Star Wars Expanded Universe: Past, Present, and Future,” which features members of the Lucas Film staff discussing the meaning and importance of the Expanded Universe. In less than one week, the video gained over 570,000 views.
On March 11th, 2017, Reddit user Itscoldandwet posted a GIF of Emperor Palpatine from the original trilogy fighting Emperor Palpatine from Episode III: Revenge of the Sith to /r/prequelmemes. The original emperor, representing /r/sequelmemes, is tossed to his death by the prequel emperor, representing /r/prequelmemes. The post, shown below, gained over 11,000 karma.
This kickstarted a wave of memes being posted to /r/prequelmemes and /r/sequelmemes with the express purpose of making fun of the other subreddit. The ensuing “meme war” became a topic of inquiry on /r/OutOfTheLoop on March 13th, 2017. Motherboard also covered the meme war.
May the 4th, also known as Star Wars day, was chosen as the series’ unofficial holiday because the date sounds like, “May the force.” One of the original uses of the phrase can be traced back Margaret Thatcher’s May 4th, 1979, victory in England’s Prime Minister race. To celebrate her victory her conservative party put out an ad in the London Evening News which read:
“May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations.
One of the first mentions of May the 4th as Star Wars day online appeared in a post titled “Why go out?” published in The Guardian on May 4th, 2006. By 2009 it was common for websites to devote entire pieces to Star Wars day, with New York Daily News publishing a post titled “Star Wars fans celebrate unofficial holiday, May the Fourth Be With You,” and The Daily Mail publishing a post titled “May the fourth be with you: Sci-fi film fanatics tie the knot in Star Wars themed ceremony.”
The franchise is crammed with cult one-liners that are still abused as pop culture references up to these days. It also found its place on Internet as a generator of many famous memes. These pop culture impacts have shown up on commercials as well as forums and television. It is one of the primary sources for parody reference when referring to cliches in the television and movie landscape. The other impact that it has had is the expanded universe which has spawned multiple fan novella.
Originally quoted by Admiral Ackbar in The Return of the Jedi, “It’s a Trap” is often used as a reaction to photos of people or things that have a deceptive appearance. The snowclone “It’s a X!” is also used to caption image macros (sometimes accompanied by a picture of Admiral Ackar ) in which the name of subject rhymes with “trap.”
A popular game on forums and image-boards coming from a scene in Episode IV: A New Hope. it involves relay-posting images that are explicitly red, or more ambiguous items associated with the word “red”. It comes from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope where the rebel alliance is launching their assault on the Death Star.
Star Wars Kid is a viral video featuring Ghyslain Razaa, a Canadian teenager who filmed himself fighting against imaginary sentries with a golf-ball retriever, as though it were a double-sided light saber such as the one Darth Maul uses in Star Wars: Episode I.
A scene from Episode III: Revenge of the Siths where Darth Vader finds out that his wife, Padme, has been killed has become a widespread phenomenon both for its anti-climactic shout and because of a Chinese mistranslation.
Do Not Want and Do Want are catchphrases typically used in image macros to express ones displeasure, or yearning. It spawned from a poorly translated copy of Episode 3: Revenge Of The Sith blogger Jeremy Winterson purchased in Shanghai. The scene where Darth Vader shouts “Nooo!” has been translated in the subtitles as “Do Not Want”. In addition, Darth Vader’s Noooo! is used to emphasize a situation where other cries of regret or distaste.
I Am Your Father (Often misquoted as “Luke, I Am Your Father”) is quote from Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader Informs Luke that he is his son. The quote is subject to much parody and use in 4panes.
I find your lack of faith disturbing is a response phrase originally used by Darth Vader, in Star Wars: A New Hope, to denote disapproval, with a sinister edge and implications.
The first lightsaber duel ever made appeared on Star Wars (a new hope, 1977) between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi and fans of Star Wars have been creating their own ever since. Many of these fan duels use video effects to achieve the visuals needed to resemble the originals found in the movies.
“May the Force Be With You” is a famous quote said by numerous characters as an expression of good luck throughout the Star Wars film series. Since making its first appearance in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, the quote has gained cult status among the fans and served as an inspiration for the Star Wars Day, an unofficial holiday honoring the franchise on May 4th.
Dancing Stormtrooper (a.k.a StormHumper) is a short video clip starring a Star Wars fan dressed as Imperial Stormtrooper and dancing to an acapella rendition of Johann Strauss’ waltz composition The Blue Danube. Since its debut on YouTube in March 2007, the clip has been viewed over 26 million times and generated over 100 response videos.
Force Push started as a YTMND fad using an exploitable scene taken from the 1999 film Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The animated gifs used in many of these YTMNDs have also spread to 4chan, and a number of the YTMND Compilation videos can be found on YouTube.
Vadering is a photo fad that involves two people recreating the Star Wars scene in which Darth Vader uses the Force to grab an opposing character in a choke hold.
You Were the Chosen One is a quote from the 2005 science fiction film Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith that is used to express disappointment in someone or something that was once previously seen as promising.
Yodaspeak refers to sentences in which the logical syntax of the sentence has been inverted, mimicking the speech of the Star Wars Jedi Master Yoda.
“Han Shot First” is a notable phrase used by fans of the Star Wars franchise to state their opinion in a scene in Episode IV: A New Hope, in which one of the main characters, Han Solo, is in a standoff with the bounty hunter Greedo. In the original 1977 version of the film, Han is the only one that fires a shot, whereas the 1997 altered version of Star Wars depicts Greedo firing a shot at Han Solo shortly before Han responds in kind. The difference in these scenes has resulted in discussion amongst the fans regarding who actually shot first.
Star Wars opening crawl parodies refers to parodies of the opening sequence featured in the Star Wars franchise which features a prologue slowly scrowling up towards the top of the screen before dissapearing into the horizon.
Grieve-tan is an alternate interpretation of the character General Grievous from the Star Wars franchise as a Japanese schoolgirl. The character has risen in popularity on 4chan’s /co/ (Comics and Cartoons) board.
I Am Altering the X is an exploitable phrase used as a response to someone’s disapproval of change, in a similar fashion to Deal With It.