The Star Wars Phenomenon

The Star Wars Phenomenon
It was thirty-three years ago today, May 25, 2010 that director George Lucas captivated America and the world with a movie that forever changed generations to this day. On May 25, 1977 the box office blockbuster ”Star Wars” opened in theaters around the world. A brand new generation of sci-fi fans slept in sleeping bags and camped out in front of theaters to see this phenomenon. It would later spawn five more feature films, three of which were made as prequels, a host of comic books, toys, five television series, novels, and video games as well as other things.

The movie made stars out of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill and had people trying to imitate Chewbacca’s rebel yell. The film, in itself, made George Lucas a household name. The next two sequels, ”The Empire Strikes Back” and ”Return of the Jedi” came out in three year intervals after the original box office beast. Jedi also came out on May 25 but in 1983. After the “prequels” were in development, the original three movies became numbers 4, 5 and 6 respectively. In fact, the original Star Wars movie was given the new title Star Wars IV: A New Hope”.

In 1997, George Lucas, re-released the original three movies to theaters after he made some CGI and other special effects changes. Changes that was just not available during the making of the three movies. In 2004, for the very first time, all three movies were released together on DVD with the changes in them. When the first two sequels were released originally in the theater, they had the sub-titles as Episode V and Episode VI but were still commonly referred to as The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

By now, everyone knows the premise of the story of Star Wars and how “the Force” is a form of energy that could be harnessed by those who had the ability to. In the first movie, the Force was described as “"an energy field created by all living things that surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.”. The Jedi used the Force for good while the Sith used the Force for evil to try and control the galaxy. In the first series of movies, we found out that Darth Vader was the Lord of the Sith and was also Luke Skywalker’s father, Anakin Skywalker. We would meet Anakin and learn of his origin as Darth Vader in the three prequel films: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Episode II: The Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

President Ronald Reagan loved the series so much that in 1983, he named his new Strategic Defense Initiative, Star Wars. The SDI was formed to use ground and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles.

Star Wars was an absolute phenomenon to pop culture and still is today. In fact there is a television series planned between now and 2012 which will be set between Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope. Lucas will write and produce the first season of the series.

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