Star Wars is an American epic space opera franchise, created by George Lucas and centered around a film series that began with the eponymous 1977 movie. The saga quickly became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon.
The first film was followed by two successful sequels, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983); these three films constitute the original Star Wars trilogy. A prequel trilogy was released between 1999 and 2005, albeit to mixed reactions from critics and fans. Finally, a sequel trilogy to conclude the nine-episode saga began in 2015 with The Force Awakens ( directed by
Jeffrey Jacob Abrams ). The first eight films were nominated for Academy Awards (with wins going to the first two released) and were commercially successful, with a combined box office revenue of over US$8.5 billion. Together with the theatrical spin-off films The Clone Wars (2008), Rogue One (2016), and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), Star Wars is the second-highest-grossing film series of all time.
The film series has spawned into other media, including books, television shows, computer and video games, theme park attractions and lands, and comic books, resulting in significant development of the series’ fictional universe. Star Wars holds a Guinness World Records title for the “Most successful film merchandising franchise”. In 2018, the total value of the Star Wars franchise was estimated at US$65 billion, and it is currently the fifth-highest-grossing media franchise.
A mystical power known as “the Force” is described in the original film as “an energy field created by all living things … [that] binds the galaxy together.” Those whom “the Force is strong with” have quick reflexes; through training and meditation, they are able to perform various superpowers (such as telekinesis, precognition, telepathy, and manipulation of physical energy). The Force is wielded by two major knighthood orders at conflict with each other: the Jedi, who act on the light side of the Force through non-attachment and arbitration, and the Sith, who use the dark side through fear and aggression. The latter’s members are intended to be limited to two: a master and their apprentice.
The central three characters of the original trilogy were played by Mark Hamill ( Luke Skywalker – a farmboy who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever known ), Harrison Ford ( Han Solo ), and Carrie Fisher ( Princess Leia ). The central trio of the prequel trilogy was played by Hayden Christensen ( Anakin Skywalker ), Ewan McGregor ( Obi-Wan Kenobi ), and Natalie Portman ( Padmé Amidala ). The main cast of the sequel trilogy is played by Daisy Ridley ( Rey ), John Boyega ( Finn ), Adam Driver ( Kylo Ren ), and Oscar Isaac ( Poe Dameron )