Exploring Star Wars – An American Cultural Phenomenon

Background

The space opera film series Star Wars was conceived by George Lucas and eventually became one of the most well-known and memorable movie franchises ever. The Star Wars films, which debuted in the 1970s and 1980s and culminated at the start of the twenty-first century, consistently revolutionized the field of motion picture special effects and grew into a hugely successful merchandising industry. [1]

However, in the 1970s, adult dramas about violence, sensuality, and the peril of dreams were the most widely watched films. These films include “The Godfather,” “The Deer Hunter,” and “Taxi Driver,” and most of the heroes in them are lost. On occasion, the entire plot managed to make the audience root for the villains, and on other occasions, they perished despite being victorious. George Lucas, however, disapproved of each of those films.

What George Lucas created was a synthesis of his favorite components, including the boy-hero-king chosen-one storylines, with the war films and Flash Gordon serials of his youth. In addition, there are swordfights, castles, swords, wizards, dragons, princesses, ships, airplanes, motorcycles, teddy bears, ray weapons, Nazis, gangsters, samurai, and hyper-speed robots in space. The Star Wars world was established by George Lucas, and as of this writing, it consists of nine major films, a half-dozen television series, hundreds of books and comic books, dozens of video games, and a hugely successful empire of licensed goods, including dolls and Lego sets. [2]

In a nutshell, Star Wars is a single, cohesive, enormous, well-known, and astonishingly well-executed plot that sprang from the thoughts of one director. It is now valued in billions of dollars, fuels entire sectors and sub industries, and has established itself as an apparent constant in contemporary culture. A great, nostalgic romance full of wisdom and love that three generations equate irrevocably with childhood, adventure, and the notion of good and evil, it is utterly ludicrous yet surprisingly profound.

The popularity of Star Wars films has influenced American culture in many ways. In this post, we are going to take a look at the success and popularity of Star Wars as an American cultural phenomenon.

The Major Star Wars Movies

Madalorian and a stormtrooper

There are nine major Star Wars films that were produced from 1977 to 2019. Every hardcore Star Wars fan probably has watched the Star Wars movies in chronological order. Star Wars has a timeline that jumps around a lot. Therefore, for those who are new to watching Star Wars movies, it can sometimes be confusing to decide which one to watch first. Therefore, in addition to giving you details about the 9 major Star Wars movies, we are also giving the list to you in chronological order. Below are the major Star Wars films.

The Major Star Wars Movies

Star Wars Movies in Chronological Order Release Date Cast
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace May 19, 1999 Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, and Natalie Portman
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones May 16, 2002 Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, and Ewan McGregor
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith May 19, 2005 Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, and Ewan McGregor
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope May 25, 1977 Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back May 21, 1980 Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi May 25, 1983 Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens December 18, 2015 Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi December 15, 2017 Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Mark Hamill
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker December 20, 2019 Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac

1. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

If you want to watch the Star Wars movies in chronological order, then Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace should be first on your list, even though it is not the first Star Wars movie released. This is the first chapter of the Star Wars prequel trilogy and the fourth Star Wars release overall. Chronologically, it is the first film in the Star Wars saga. It was released in theaters on May 19, 1999. It was the first Star Wars film since Star Wars: Episode IV Return of the Jedi, which was released sixteen years earlier.

The release of episode one was accompanied by extensive media coverage and great anticipation from fans. It was the catalyst for fifteen years of Star Wars storytelling that would primarily take place around the time of the prequel storyline. Its success allowed for the following two chapters of the prequel trilogy, along with the Star Wars: The Clone Wars film and TV series. [3]

2. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

The sequel to The Phantom Menace from 1999 is titled Attack of the Clones. It was released on May 16, 2002, and starred Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, and Ewan McGregor. It is the fifth installment in the Star Wars film series and the second chronological chapter of the “Skywalker Saga.”

It garnered mixed reviews as some thought it was an improvement over The Phantom Menace, while others said it was the weakest entry in the trilogy. Attack of the Clones received praise for its increased focus on action, special effects, costume design, soundtrack, and acting. But it received criticism for its storyline, romantic moments, Anakin’s portrayal, and the flat characters. [4]

3. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

Revenge of the Sith is the sequel to The Phantom Menace and Attack of the clones. It is the sixth film in the Star Wars film series and the final installment in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. It is also the third chronological chapter of the “Skywalker Saga.” It was released in the United States on May 19, 2005, and starred Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, and Ewan McGregor, the same actors from Attack of the Clones.

According to a lot of fans and critics, Revenge of the Sith is the best as it has all of the key ingredients that make the perfect Star Wars film. There are various reasons why they claim this. One is that it has the best lightsaber fights, which is like watching a firework show in space. In addition to that, it also has the most emotionally-resonant title in the franchise. Lastly, it dives deeper into the history of Star Wars. It explores more of the lore of the franchise, which fans had been dying for. [5]

4. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

A New Hope is the first film in the Star Wars film series and the fourth chronological chapter of the “Skywalker Saga.” Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher, it was released on May 25, 1977. When it originally hit theaters back in 1977, it was simply called Star Wars. It only had its subtitle, A New Hope, during its theatrical re-release in 1981.

A New Hope feels distinct from the other two films in the original trilogy. It is a packaged movie that has a beginning and ending, just like any other independent production would. After it was a hit, George Lucas discovered it was simpler to create the following two films, which were released in 1980 and 1983. [6]

Critics praised the movie’s plot, director, acting, editing, sound, musical score, costume design, screenplay, and especially its ground-breaking visual effects when it first came out. Additionally, it won numerous prizes at the Saturn Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Academy Awards, to name a few. Additionally, thanks to Lucas’ support, the movie has been reissued numerous times, with its 20th anniversary theatrical “Special Edition” being the most well-liked.

Many people consider Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope to be one of the best and most significant movies in cinematic history. It developed into a craze in mainstream culture that sparked a market for related goods like books, video games, comics, merchandise, and even amusement park attractions. In 1989, the US Library of Congress selected it as one of the first 25 movies to be conserved in the National Film Registry.

5. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

On May 21, 1980, The Empire Strikes Back premiered in theaters. It is the second part of the original Star Wars trilogy. It was directed by Irvin Kershner and written by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan from a story by George Lucas. It is the fifth chronological chapter of the “Skywalker Saga.” It still starred Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher.

The Empire Strikes Back established a new standard at a time when sequels rarely met expectations. As the tragic conclusion to the iconic trilogy, it added depth and emotion to the galaxy far, far away. It has a darker plot, introduces new characters like Master Yoda, who would go on to become a legend, and leaves the audience in shock with one of the biggest cliffhangers in movie history. [7]

6. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

Return of the Jedi is the third installment of the original Star Wars trilogy. It is the third film to be produced and the sixth chronological film in the “Skywalker Saga.” It was directed by Richard Marquand and written by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas. It was released on May 25, 1983, still starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher.

Even though the fifth episode failed to reach the cinematic heights of its predecessors, it continues to be a fun science fiction adventure and a satisfying conclusion to the first trilogy. It also became the highest-grossing film of 1983. Over the decades, several re-releases have followed. In 2021, it was chosen by the US Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry. After Lucas finished his six-film saga, Disney bought Lucasfilm and produced a sequel trilogy. [8]

7. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

The Force Awakens was released on December 18, 2015. It is the 7th installment in the long-running Star Wars franchise and the first installment in the sequel trilogy. Additionally, it is the first Star Wars motion picture to feature Disney. After Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, it started production on Episode VII. Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm, served as executive producer of the film, while George Lucas acted as a creative consultant.

The film was directed and produced by J.J. Abrams, and the screenplay was written by Michael Arndt. It starred Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is packed with action and populated by both familiar faces and fresh blood. It successfully recalls the former glory of the series while incorporating it with renewed energy. [9]

8. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi is the second installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy and the 8th episode of the nine-part “Skywalker Saga.” It was released in the United States on December 15, 2017, and starred Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Mark Hamill. It was directed by Rian Johnson, produced by Lucasfilm, and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

The ensemble cast, musical score, direction, action scenes, visual effects, and emotional weight of the movie all got positive reviews from critics. With these, it got four nominations at the 90th Academy Awards, including Best Visual Effects and Best Original Score. It also received two nominations at the 71st British Academy Film Awards. The Last Jedi is considered one of the best films of the 2010s. [10] While incorporating some unexpected turns, the movie paid homage to the saga’s long history. Additionally, it met fans’ expectations for emotionally charged action.

9. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

The Rise of Skywalker is the 9th episode of the Star Wars franchise and the third and last volume of the Skywalker Saga sequel trilogy. It was directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Kathleen Kennedy. Abrams also served as a writer together with Chris Terrio and George Lucas. It was produced by Lucasfilm and Bad Robot Productions and was released on December 20, 2019, by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. [11] It starred Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac.

Critics gave the movie a variety of ratings. All of the acting, music, visual effects and action scenes received high marks. But there were complaints about the narrative, pacing, and apparent deviations from The Last Jedi’s themes and premise. As a result, The Rise of Skywalker had the trilogy’s lowest box office earnings. However, despite this, it was nominated for three 73rd British Academy Film Awards and two 92nd Academy Awards. At the 46th Saturn Awards, it also took home five awards, including Best Science Fiction Film.

The Best Star Wars Spin-Offs

Star Wars comic books

Star Wars has long played a significant role in popular culture. That is why today, you will be able to find lots of Star Wars spin-offs, such as television series, animated series, books, novels, and video games. When George Lucas created the original trilogy, which started in 1977, it also kicked open the door to a flood of novels. As he continued to make movies, even more stories, comics, and video games followed. In 2014, the whole Star Wars universe shifted on its axis when the Legends/Canon split was born.

Star Wars Legends

When Lucasfilm was sold to the Walt Disney Company in 2012, a lot of things changed. With a more organized and unified timeline, Disney made the decision to start a new era of Star Wars storytelling. But they also understood that the previous epoch of stories was loved by Star Wars fans. Therefore, instead of letting these stories die, Disney chose to keep them alive and made a whole new classification for them, which is now known as Legends.

Legends pertain to the popular but unofficial tales that rise around people and events. These include Star Wars books, comics, and video games published before September 2014. Some examples are comics such as The Old Republic series and Tales of the Jedi, books such as the original Thrawn Trilogy, and games such as Rogue Squadron. [16]

Star Wars Canon

All of the Star Wars saga films, which are episodes 1-9, are Canon, as well as most of the television shows, such as Rebels and the Clone Wars. In addition to that, films and TV shows produced after the Disney purchase are also Canon, such as Rogue One, Solo, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. But not all films and television shows are Canon. The original Clone Wars micro-series and the 1980s Ewok Adventure movies are not strictly Canon.

A New Dawn was the first Canon novel to be released on September 14. Therefore, Star Wars books, comics, and games that were released after September 14 are also considered Canon. Some examples are TV shows like The Mandalorian and Obi-Wan Kenobi, comics such as Darth Vader (2020), books such as Dark Disciple, and games such as Jedi: Fallen Order. [16]

Now that you’ve learned about the difference between Star Wars Legends and Canon, below are some of the top Star Wars spin-offs that you should know about:

The Best Star Wars Spin-Offs

Title

Type

Release Date

Star Wars
Legends or Canon

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Film

December 13, 2016

Canon

The Mandalorian

TV Series

November 12, 2019

Canon

Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)

Animated Series

November 07, 2003

Legends

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Series)

Animated Series

October 03, 2008

Canon

Star Wars: Rebels

Animated Series

October 03, 2014

Canon

Heir to an Empire
(Thrawn Trilogy)

Book

May 01, 1991

Legends

Star Wars: Droids

Animated Series

September 07, 1985

Legends

Splinter of the Mind's Eye

Book

February 12, 1978

Legends

Star Wars Jedi: The Fallen Order

Video Game

November 15, 2019

Canon

Star Wars: Darth Vader

Comics

February 11, 2015

Canon

Rogue One: A Stars Wars Story

After Disney bought Star Wars, one of the things it did was create stories that could stand alongside the “Skywalker Saga.” One of those is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It tells the story of how the Rebellion gets the Death Star plans. It is something that fans back in 1977 did not need to know, but it tells it in a way that seamlessly fits in the Star Wars Universe. This Star Wars spin-off also created something completely unique from anything that people had seen in Star Wars. It has a strong cast and amazing visuals. [13]

The Mandalorian

Without this spin-off television show, the Star Wars landscape would be in a different place right now. The Mandalorian gave Lucasfilm a win when they needed it the most, and fans love the show passionately. Even while it isn’t flawless, the show has managed to unite a divided fanbase in a way that, following the flame wars between supporters and opponents of the sequel, appeared unthinkable. [12]

The first live-action television program set in the Star Wars universe is The Mandalorian. It was also the first original scripted series ordered for Disney’s new streaming platform Disney+. Just like the Star Wars Saga of films, each chapter of this television series is an episode that can stand alone but also connects to an even bigger story. [13]

Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)

Genndy Tartakovsky, an animator popular for his work on Samurai Jack, was hired by George Lucas to make a bitesize series that would bridge the gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

The episodes of Clone Wars were initially only a few minutes in length but offered an action-packed glimpse at battles unfolding across the galaxy. However, as the series progressed, installments grew longer and more ambitious, culminating in a thrilling storyline about the abduction of Chancellor Palpatine, which leads straight into the opening sequence of Revenge of the Sith. [14]

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Series)

There is also the Clone Wars series, which started in 2008 and ended in 2020. It benefited from being able to create its own long narrative following Obi-wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and young Padawan Ahsoka Tano through the events of the eponymous conflict. Aside from that, other Jedi Masters, such as Yoda and Mace Windu, also had significant roles in this series.

The Clone Wars series also explored many Jedi characters that fans only saw for short moments in the prequel films, which include Plo Koon, Kit Fisto, Shaak-Ti, and Ki-Adi-Mundi, among many others. The animated series introduced two of the most popular characters, which were Ahsoka and Mandalorian Death Watch leader Bo-Katan Kryze. [13]

Star Wars: Rebels

For a short period before the Force Awakens returned the franchise to the big screen, Star Wars: Rebels was aired. It was made by Dave Filoni of the Clone Wars and was inspired by the concept of the art of original trilogy designer Ralph McQuarrie. It aired from 2014 to 2018.

Star Wars: Rebels follows a ragtag band of freedom fighters taking on the Empire years before Luke Skywalker even picked up a lightsaber. The series quickly attracted many Star Wars fans when it debuted in 2014. Despite the cartoon visuals of the series, it has sophisticated storylines enough to satisfy both kids and adults. [14]

Heir to an Empire (Thrawn Trilogy)

In 1991, Lucasfilm partnered with Bantam Books to produce Heir to an Empire by Timothy Zahn. It was the first book in a new trilogy that took place roughly five years after the events of Return of the Jedi. It also kickstarted the creation of a new Expanded Universe. This novel gave new life into the Star Wars universe. It also introduced characters who became fan-favorites, including the main villain Grand Admiral Thrawn, the tactical genius from the planet Csilla, who went on to be a major villain in Star Wars Rebels.

During the time Heir to an Empire was hitting bookstores, Dark Horse Comics also started producing new Star Wars content, starting with Dark Empire. From Star Wars being pretty much dead back then, it suddenly became a good time to be a Star Wars fan again.

Star Wars: Droids

Star Wars: Droids – The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO is a cartoon from the mid-1980s that was produced by Nelvana for ABC. It follows the adventures of the two droids long before the original trilogy, which was four years after the Revenge of the Sith. Due to the Legends revamp, this show is no longer considered canon. But it is still worth checking out if you are a fan of 80s animation or if you want to compare how far animated adaptations of Lucasfilm properties have changed over the years. This cartoon show is available on Disney+. [15]

Splinter of the Mind’s Eye

Splinter of the Mind’s Eye is a book written by Alan Dean Foster as a potential sequel to A New Hope. This book is a fascinating look at the direction the Star Wars saga may have gone. It was originally published in 1978 by Del Rey, a division of Ballantine Books. The book is focused on Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker, who are marooned together in the world of Mimban. They encountered the locals there and struggled against the forces of the evil Galactic Empire, which included Darth Vader.

It was the first Star Wars novel that had an original storyline to be published after the release of the original film. It was considered to mark the start of the Star Wars Expanded Universe along with the Star Wars newspaper comic strip and Marvel’s 1977 comic series. Even though this novel was removed from canon, it still made its mark on the Star Wars universe. In 1997, it was turned into a 6-issue comic by Dark Horse. [13]

Star Wars Jedi: The Fallen Order

The Star Wars games released by Electronic Arts were not well-loved until recently when Star Wars Jedi: The Fallen Order was made. It is an action-adventure game that was developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts. It tells the story of Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis at the end of the Clone Wars, how he survived Order 66, and more.

The game was a success as it was filled with great gameplay, wonderful characters, and a story that takes fans through an underutilized time in the Star Wars universe. During the time when Star Wars was not doing very good, the release of the game was a breath of fresh air. [12]

Star Wars: Darth Vader

The new era of Marvel has made some amazing comics with great art telling great stories. The Star Wars: Darth Vader series has some of the best stories. The series was written by Kieron Gillen. It explored Darth Vader and his life during the Empire, paralleling the story of the original film and the Marvel Star Wars title from 2015. The series also featured the debut of Doctor Aphra, the morally ambiguous archaeologist for hire that turned into a fan favorite, together with her two droids, 0-0-0 and BeeTee-One. [13]

How Much Did Each Star Wars Movie Earn?

Star Wars Lego in front of a screen

The majority of Star Wars movies are successful, and most of them became the highest-grossing films during the time they were released. However, some of them did not do as good as others. But the adjusted grosses of the Star Wars movies both make early disappointments look more impressive and recent success stories look completely inferior. [17]

If you are wondering how much each of the major Star Wars movies earned, take a look at the graphic below and see how each of them performed during their opening weekends, along with their total domestic earnings and total domestic earnings adjusted for inflation.

How Much Did The Major Star Wars Movies Earn?

Rank

Star Wars Movie

Release Date

Opening Weekend

Opening Theater Count

Total Domestic Earnings

Total Domestic Earnings
Adjusted for Inflation

1

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

May 25, 1977

$1.6 million

43

$307.3 million

$3.80 billion

2

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

December 18, 2015

$248 million

4,134

$936.7 million

$2.59 billion

3

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

May 21, 1980

$4.9 million

126

$204.4 million

$1.94 billion

4

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

May 19, 1999

$64.8 million

2,970

$431.1 million

$1.83 billion

5

Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi

December 15, 2017

$220 million

4,232

$620.1 million

$1.62 billion

6

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

May 25, 1983

$23 million

1,002

$252.6 million

$1.41 billion

7

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

May 19, 2005

$108.4 million

3,661

$380.3 million

$1.32 billion

8

Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker

December 20, 2019

$117.4 million

4,406

$515.2 million

$1.24 billion

9

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

May 16, 2002

$80 million

3,161

$302.2 million

$1.08 billion

When you take a look at how much each of the movies earned on their opening weekends and their domestic total, you can see that The Force Awakens is the highest earner. However, since these movies were released during different years, it is better to look at their earnings that are adjusted for inflation. With this, the movie with the highest total domestic earnings adjusted for inflation is A New Hope, which is the very first Star Wars movie released in theaters. The Force Awakens is in the second spot, followed by The Empire Strikes Back. [17] [18]

How Much Did The Production of Each Star Wars Movie Cost?

at Star Wars land in Disney

Star Wars is among the most popular movie series of all time. The movies were able to break box office records and undoubtedly sparked the interest of many people around the world. In addition to knowing how much these movies earned, it is also interesting to learn about how much each of them spent on production. Take a look at the graphic below to see the budgets and production costs of all the nine major Star Wars movies.

The Production Cost of Each Major Star Wars Movie

Star Wars Movie Production Cost
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens $306 million
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker $275 million
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi $200 million
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones $120 million
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace $115 million
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith $113 million
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi $32.5 million
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back $18 million
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope $11 million

Based on the data given by ScreenRant, the Star Wars movie that has the biggest production cost is The Force Awakens (2015), which spent $306 million. It is followed by the most recent movie, The Rise of Skywalker (2019), with a $275 million total production cost. The Star Wars movie with the least production cost is A New Hope (1977), the very first Star Wars movie made. It only spent $11 million in production but was able to top the box office when it was released. [19]

The Popularity and Impact of Star Wars

Yoda in the forest

The very first original Star Wars movie was a low-budget sci-fi film that became a blockbuster hit. Since then, Star Wars movies have been extremely popular among many cultures, ages, and genders over many decades. This is very true, especially in the United States. In addition to being popular for the action on screen, the movies also convey a lot of themes. One of the popular themes throughout the movie is the classic adventure of a hero’s journey, which is a major part of stories and myths around the world. [20]

Since the release and success of Star Wars, its popularity has provided an astonishing cultural impact. With this, let us take a look at the popularity and impact of Star Wars in various aspects of American culture.

Impact of the Star Wars Franchise on Movie Making

the Millennium Falcon at Hollywood Studios

When Star Wars hit the big screen in 1977, George Lucas placed the “special” in special effects in a way that people had never seen before, and it has been imitated many times since. The year 1976 was the dawn of the computer age, and Star Wars was the movie that kickstarted Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI).

But aside from that, another thing that Star Wars has is substance, as well as style. Before the first Star Wars movie was released, most filmmakers branded their work based on specific genres. These led to standard tales of horror flicks, science fiction, coming-of-age adventures, or war movies. While it’s true that Star Wars has sci-fi at its heart, George Lucas was brave to incorporate other genres, as well, creating a multi-dimensional universe. Star Wars have influenced a lot of blockbuster movies that followed, such as the Star Trek franchise and even the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy. [21]

Impact of the Star Wars Franchise on Toys and Gaming

Star Wars Lego

Aside from being a huge inspiration for movies, Star Wars was also a pioneer when it came to merchandising and game spin-offs. Toys and collectibles entered the market with the release of the first film, and they remain as popular as ever. Over the decades, more than 140 games have been released, and there are more if you also include unofficial, fan-made freeware games.

In 1982, Parker Bros released the first officially licensed Star Wars game on Atari titled “The Empire Strikes Back.” It was a scrolling shooter game that formed the blueprints for hundreds of similar games to follow in the 1980s as home computers became popular. Since then, the creation of Star Wars games has continued to be trailblazers across various gaming genres on different platforms. [21]

Impact of the Star Wars Franchise on Music

Star Wars vinyl soundtrack

Even someone who legitimately claims to have “never watched Star Wars” would be familiar with John Williams’ famous music right away, which is the most well-known of all time. Although supporters of the James Bond series or The Godfather trilogy may disagree, it is unquestionably on par with those films.

In a way that hasn’t happened with any other series, Star Wars has drawn tributes, imitations, and parodies. Yoda by Weird Al Yankovic, which is based on Lola by The Kinks, and Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans by Dan Amrich are two of the more entertaining examples. Of course, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band served as the inspiration for the latter. You have to respect Amrich’s guts for making a mockery of both fandoms, given that Beatles fans can be just as passionate as Star Wars aficionados. [21]

Impact of the Star Wars Franchise on Space Exploration

the Millennium Falcon and Death Star

Star Wars has been able to keep things simple compared to other franchises. It did not need to explain the inner workings of the Millennium Falcon or how long the life of a lightsaber is. It stands in contrast to Star Trek, where the unfortunate cast members attempt to maintain a straight face as they describe yet another phase variance in the dilithium matrix.

The simplicity of Star Wars made it easier for real scientists to adopt and adapt concepts that were introduced by the film. For example, Elon Musk’s private space rocket was named Falcon 1 after the Millennium Falcon. Also, in 2007, NASA famously sent a lightsaber into orbit. [21]

Star Wars premiered more than 40 years ago, and it has maintained its popularity through spin-offs, a massive fandom, and cultural impact. There are also many reasons behind its success and popularity. These include its unique release format, successful spin-offs, new movie releases years later, and its massive cultural impact.

The impact of the Star Wars franchise is more than just toys, video games, and a huge fandom. The reasons for this are that its themes are likewise timeless. The movies offer so many teachings that hold worth and meaning for moviegoers now, just as they did back in 1977, ranging from the political conflicts in the galaxy that reflect the United States today to the significance of hope and courage and the age-old struggle between good and evil. [22] No wonder its popularity still lives on today.

More Interesting Facts About Star Wars

R2-D2

It is truly entertaining to learn about Star Wars. If you can’t get enough and still want to know more, below are some interesting facts about Star Wars that you might not know about yet:

  1. The original ending of Return of the Jedi saw Luke Skywalker turn evil. George Lucas considered an ending that was much darker, wherein Luke takes his mask off, after which Luke wears it and says, “Now I am Vader.” But Lucas changed his mind and thought that Luke becoming evil was a bit too dark as his franchise is for kids.
  2.     A monkey came close to performing as Yoda. The book titled “The Making of Star Wars” written by J.W. Rinzler stated that Yoda was supposed to be portrayed as a cute monkey carrying a cane and wearing a mask in George Lucas’ original vision.
  3. The word “Ewok” was never used in the first three films. However, the species is identified in the script and closing credits.
  4. In the original movies, Boba Fett’s face is actually visible. Jeremy Bulloch, the actor who played Fett, did stand in for an Imperial officer at the last minute.
  5. In every Star Wars film, the line “I have a bad feeling about this” or “I have a really bad feeling about this” is uttered.
  6. The boy band ‘NSync almost made a cameo in Attack of the Clones because George Lucas’ daughter requested it. However, they were edited out of the final cut.
  7. Yoda has a different number of toes depending on what movie you are watching. Yoda has three toes in The Phantom Menace, and four in Revenge of the Sith, Return of the Jedi, and The Empire Strikes Back.
  8. The Star Wars prequels utilized computer animations in making legions of Clone Troopers. This means that no physical suit armor was ever created for the Clone Troopers as all of them were computer animated.
  9. The voice of Chewbacca is an eclectic mix of animals, such as lions, bears, walruses, and badgers.
  10. The buzz of a film projector’s motor and the hum of an old TV’s picture tube are combined to create the sound of a lightsaber.
  11. On the first day of shooting The Last Jedi, Carrie Fisher slapped Oscar Isaac more than 40 times.
  12. In his closet, Adam Driver taped the final words he spoke as Kylo Ren.
  13. The first Star Wars movie almost caused an actual war. Lucas discovered the ideal location in Tunisia to create the desolate desert planet of Tatooine. According to reports, Muammar Gaddafi, who governed Libya at the time, threatened the Tunisian government, saying that if they didn’t withdraw a military truck from the Libyan border, the war would inevitably break out. Actually, a Jawa Sandcrawler was the “military vehicle” in question. Lucas agreed to move the prop.
  14. Chewbacca needed to be protected from bear hunters when they filmed in the Redwood forests of Northern California to make the forest moon of Endor for Return of the Jedi.
  15. Obi-Wan Kenobi actor Sir Alec Guinness disliked Star Wars.
  16. In The Last Jedi, the Porgs were last-minute additions to cover up scene-stealing puffins.
  17. The role of Princess Leila in A New Hope was almost played by sitcom star Cindy Williams.
  18. The communicator used by Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan in The Phantom Menace is actually a lady’s razor.
  19. The original name of Yoda was Buffy in the very early writing stages of The Empire Strikes Back.
  20. The small Polynesian island of Niue is the only place in this world that accepts collectible coins featuring C-3PO, Luke Skywalker, and other Star Wars characters to pay for goods and services. But these coins need to come from the New Zealand mint and should all have a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the other side.

Conclusion

Star Wars is indeed among the most popular movie franchises today. In fact, even those who haven’t watched a single Star Wars movie are familiar with the characters in the films. Star Wars films, as well as the spin-offs, are some of the things that bind different generations together. People may have different tastes when it comes to movie and music categories, but when it comes to Star Wars, no genre will divide their love for the franchise.

In addition to the spin-offs that we’ve mentioned in this post, there are many more lined up to be released soon on Disney+. This means that the popularity and relevance of Star Wars will continue. It will remain an American cultural phenomenon in the coming years. We hope this post helped you learn more about Star Wars.

References

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[15] TV Tropes, E. (n.d.). Droids. TV Tropes. Retrieved August 30, 2022, from https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WesternAnimation/Droids

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