Star Wars

Star Wars

Synopsis of Movie

”A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”

Try to remember this was once just a movie. It’s hard, living in a world of Star Wars sequels, action figures, Special Editions, sleeping bags, comic books, novels, video games, toothbrushes, Halloween costumes, Pez dispensers, trading cards, role playing games, backpacks, model kits, bedsheets, wallpaper, salt and pepper shakers, toy light sabers, alarm clocks, banks...

For those who were there when the first notes of John Williams’ score blasted over the theater speakers, when the first Imperial Destroyer rumbled into view, no reminder is necessary. The world had never seen anything like Star Wars. Not that the film didn’t have its influences—everything from Samurai films to Flash Gordon serials—but George Lucas packaged these into a special effects extravaganza that blew audiences out of their seats.

Here’s the story, for that one village elder from the isle of Falama’opavi who still hasn’t seen it: There’s an evil Empire (bad guys), and a small but determined Rebellion (good guys). Princess Leia Organa (good) gets captured by black-masked and respiratory-impaired Darth Vader (bad). The captive princess dispatches a comic duo of droids—prissy C-3PO and plucky little R2-D2—to a desert planet called Tatooine to find a man named Obi-Wan Kenobi.

On Tatooine, the droids fall into the hands of scavenging Jawas, who sell them to farmer Owen and his nephew, Luke Skywalker. When Artoo wanders off to complete his mission, Luke follows and gets whacked by a pack of Tusken Raiders. “Old Ben” Kenobi (really Obi-Wan) saves Luke, and Artoo delivers Leia’s holographic message. Luke comes home to find the place destroyed by Imperial Stormtroopers out looking for the droids. With no more ties to Tatooine, Luke goes with Obi-Wan and the droids to find the next starship off this planet.

Obi-Wan and pals hook up with rogue smuggler Han Solo and his hairy Wookie co-pilot Chewbacca, who sell them passage on Solo’s Millenium Falcon. The group takes a hyperspace jaunt to the planet Alderaan, which has been destroyed by the Empire’s new superweapon, the moon-sized Death Star. A tractor beam sucks the Falcon aboard the Death Star, where Leia is being held captive. While Obi-Wan shuts down the tractor beam, Han, Luke and Chewie rescue the Princess. After blaster fights, a trash compactor scare, a light saber duel and a noble sacrifice, the group escapes to the Rebels’ hidden base, where squadrons of pilots prepare for a climactic assault on the Death Star.

Star Wars was by no means a pre-ordained blockbuster, the object of a multi-million dollar advertising campaign, fast food tie-ins and a hit soundtrack. It opened like any other movie in the summer of ’77, but within weeks, it had blossomed into a phenomenon. Lines formed around the block to buy tickets. Box office records were shattered. Star Wars became a rite of passage for young Jedi wannabes. Before long, Vader and the Droids had their feet imprinted in the cement in front of Hollywood’s famous Chinese Theater.

But ticket sales are only a small part of the Star Wars story. The movie was filled with vehicles, creatures and gadgets, each of which became available in toy form. And so began the torrent of action figures, bedsheets, games and the like. Merchandising had never been so profitable, and fans of all ages begged for more.

With the success of this first film, George Lucas announced plans for eight more episodes (since lowered to five). The original Star Wars, subtitled “A New Hope,” would serve as the fourth installment, and re-release prints were re-titled accordingly. The Empire Strikes Back followed in 1980, with Episode Six, Return of the Jedi, arriving in 1983. In 1997, the three films were released as Special Editions, with a few new scenes and new effects in some older ones. Then in 1999, amid a blaze of fan hysteria and media hoopla, Lucas debuted the long-awaited first installment, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. And a new generation of Star Wars fanatics was born.

Movie Release History

1977 - Star Wars
1980 - The Empire Strikes Back
1983 - Return of the Jedi
1999 - Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

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Movie Studio

Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox


Luke Skywalker Mark Hamill
Han Solo Harrison Ford
Princess Leia Organa Carrie Fisher
Grand Moff Wilhuf Tarkin Peter Cushing
Jedi Knight Obi-Wan (Ben) Kenobi Alec Guinness
C-3PO Anthony Daniels
R2-D2 Kenny Baker
Chewbacca Peter Mayhew
Darth Vader David Prowse
Uncle Owen Lars Phil Brown
Aunt Beru Lars Shelagh Fraser
Nebit Jack Purvis
Kitik Keed'kak Jack Purvis
Power Droid Jack Purvis
General Jan Dodonna Alex McCrindle
Commander Vanden Willard Eddie Byrne
Garven 'Dave' Dreis (Red Leader) Drewe Henley

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