The Star Wars franchise is one of the biggest media franchises in the history of entertainment and it chronicles the adventures people in an alternate universe where magic, science, and adventure are a big part of everyone’s lives. With over $9 billion generated from box office sales of all the movies, Star Wars ranks as the second most grossing film franchise of all time right after the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It is not uncommon for franchises to have by-lines they are recognized by or phrases from the franchise that is shared by fans regardless of race, age or location. The opening line of the first film is “A long time ago in a galaxy, far, far away…” and it has featured in all eleven films in the franchise, it is one of the most recognizable lines from this franchise. But this phrase is not the most popular phrase to have risen from the world of Star Wars. On May 4, 2019, when the fandom of the Star Wars franchise celebrated their love for the films, the phrase, “May the Force be with you” is said repeatedly in different parts of the world, with fans taking to social media to celebrate the franchise.
The biggest parts of the world of Star Wars are the eleven films that chronicle the adventures of the characters. The franchise is made up of all the Star Wars films, video games, television series, novels, and comic books, but the bulk of the events in the franchise happen in the films. To learn more about this franchise keep reading.
Episodes and Timeline
The story of Star Wars has at its helm the genius of George Lucas who had the desire to adapt a science fiction series, but he was unable to do so. This led to the creation of Star Wars and on the 25th of May, 1977 the first Star Wars film was released. In 1973, when Lucas wrote the first script he had intended that the film be a trilogy of trilogies, which makes a total of nine films but after the nine films were made, the storyline experienced an expansion leading to more sequels.
The first film in the first trilogy was titled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. In this first film, there is a civil war going on between the Galactic Empire and the Alliance to Restore the Republic. The Alliance, also known as The Rebellion is advocating for a government run by democracy while the Galactic Empire, with whom power resides, want to run an autocratic government. This civil war sets the political and general tone of the entire franchise.
It is in Episode VI that we are introduced to the concept of the “Force”, the Jedi and the Sith. The Jedi are masters of a range of topics including magic and are trained in combat. They are able to display magical prowess by harnessing the positive power for the Force. In this first film, the rebellion led by Princess Leia destroys the Galactic Empire Death Star, which is a super weapon used for the destruction of planets. This film is the foundation upon which the Star Wars franchise was built on. It has been remade a number of times, with slight alterations to the dialogue, action sequences, and special effects. The success it enjoyed paved the way for the next two films in the first trilogy.
The second film in the first trilogy is Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The temporal setting of the film is three years after the events in the first film and we see that the rebels have regrouped on the planet Hoth, where they make plans to defeat the empire once and for all. On the other hand, the empire led by Darth Vader is sending probes out into the galaxy to find where The Rebellion is operating from. Reaction to the film was mixed, with some critics bashing it but over time, the general feeling towards the film has evolved and it is currently considered the greatest film in the franchise.
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi is the third film and it is a continuation of the actions in the Star Wars Episode V. In this film, the rebels are able to defeat the Empire with the help of Darth Vader who makes a turnaround for the better and embraces the role a Jedi. Return of the Jedi is packed with revelations for different characters and is remembered for the redemption for most of its characters and the victory of The Rebellion.
The next three films were made in 1999, 2002 and 2005 respectively but the story precedes the happenings in the first trilogy. As a result of this, they were titled Episode I, Episode II and Episode III. The first in the trilogy, The Phantom Menace tells of the genesis of Anakin Skywalker. In this film, we are presented with a more peaceful atmosphere as the autocratic emperors have not taken over yet and the Sith Lords – who operate with the Force on a darker plane, had not yet fully taken control of the government.
Attack of the Clones is the second film in the prequel trilogy and of all the films in the franchise, it has had the least number of positive reviews, with most critics having mixed feelings about the events that took place in the film. Revenge of the Sith shows the beginning of the political conflict that sets off the actions in the first trilogy. Anakin Skywalker betrays the Jedi and embraces the ways of the Sith so that he can save his wife from dying by childbirth, although his plans fail he is able to bring to power Chancellor Palpatine, who is a Sith Lord.
In 2015, the storylines resumed from where it stopped in 1983 with Star Wars Episode VIII: The Force Awakens. There is an ongoing search for Luke Skywalker while the democratic government of the New Republic struggles to take back power from the First Order. It was the first film to make a billion dollars and was the first to be made after Disney bought the rights to the film. The Last Jedi had an equal amount of success as the first film in the trilogy and all these two films are responsible for making Star Wars the billion dollars franchise it is today. The standalone films that bring the total number of Star Wars films to ten are Rogue One and Solo.
Popular Star Wars Characters and Cast
For more than four decades this franchise has existed, and there have been different characters who have taken center stage in the happenings of the film and different actors as well. Here are the characters from the franchise as well as the people who have played them.
Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker has been played by David Prowse, Sebastian Shaw, Hayden Christensen, Jake Lloyd, and James Earl Jones. This character is easily considered one of the greatest villains in film history.
In what is considered one of his most iconic roles, Mark Hamill plays Luke Skywalker, the main protagonist of the original trilogy. He is essential to the Rebel Alliance struggle against the Galactic Empire.
Carrie Fisher plays Princess Leia who is Luke Skywalker’s twin sister. She is a formidable and iconic character who is best known as the Princess of the planet Alderaan and a formidable agent of Rebel Alliance.
Harrison Ford plays Han Solo, the love interest of Leia. Han Solo is a pilot from the planet Corellia, and the captain of the Millennium Falcon. Han and Leia, eventually have a child, Kylo Ren aka Ben Solo.
Kylo Ren is the son of Han and Leia who gives into the darkness of the Force, is played by Adam Driver. He becomes a leader in the First Order and a Master of the Knights of Ren.
The Jedi master, Obi-Wan Kenobi is played by Alec Guinness with Ewan McGregor. He serves as a mentor and friend to both Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker. Alec Guinness plays the character in the first trilogy while Ewan McGregor plays the character in the 2nd trilogy.
Yoda, another Jedi master is voiced by Frank Oz and Tom Kane. He also trains Luke Skywalker. he is also one of the most powerful members of the Jedi Order. He was also the oldest living character in Star Wars before the introduction of Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens.
In the recent films, the actress Daisy Ridley plays Rey, an orphan who is strong with The Force and fights with The Rebellion. She was scavenger before she became involved with the Resistance’s conflict with the First Order.
John Boyega plays Finn, a former Stormtrooper that decided to join The Rebellion. after witnessing their cruelty in his first combat mission. Finn is one of the lead characters of the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
Poe Dameron who is believed to be the best pilot in The Rebellion is played by Oscar Isaac. He is an X-wing fighter pilot for the Resistance who brings Finn and Rey into the fight against the First Order.
The mother of Luke and Leia, Padme Amidala is played by Natalie Portman and she appears in the Prequel trilogy. She serves as the Princess of Theed and later Queen of Naboo. She later becomes a senator in the Galactic Senate and co-founder of the Rebel Alliance.
Chewbacca is a Wookiee who is a loyal friend of Hans Solo and co-pilot of the Millenium Falcon. He is played by Peter Mayhew in the first set of films and in the more recent ones is played by Joonas Suotamo.
Other well-known characters in the franchise include the Sith Lords who are vying for an autocracy, among which are Darth Sidious, Darth Maul, and Count Dooku. Dooku was played by Christopher Lee, Darth Maul was played by Ray Park and Peter Serafinowicz while Sidious has been played by Ian McDiarmid, Clive Revill, and Marjorie Eaton.
The droids such as R2-P2, BB-8, and C-3PO, are also integral members of the cast and are voiced by a number of actors.
News And Updates
The next Star Wars film, Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is slated to be released on the 20th of December, 2019. But this is not the end of the saga as promised by George Lucas. Disney who now owns the rights to the films have decided to make more trilogies and they have announced the speculative dates of the movies in the first trilogy. All three films will be released in the month of December in the years 2022, 2024 and 2026.
The game, Star Wars Battlefront II is one of the many games that are based on the films and it will release an update very soon that features scenes from the film Attack of the Clones.