Star Wars (1977)

“Star Wars” (or “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”) was written and directed by George Lucas. The film stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Peter Cushing, David Prowse, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, James Earl Jones and Alex Guinness. This would be the first film Lucas’s original trilogy that would spawn 2 more trilogies, 2 spin-offs and a number of TV specials and animated series.

On a galaxy far, far away, Princess Leia (Fisher) is kidnapped by the Empire and their leader, the Sith Lord known as Darth Vader, (played by Prowse but voiced by Jones), but before she sends a message through her special mech droid, R2-D2 (Baker) asking for the aid of a “Obi-Wan Kenobi”. R2-D2 escape with another protocol droid, C-3PO (Daniels) to the desert planet, Tatooine. There, a local farm boy, Luke Skywalker (Hamill) and his uncle Owen, are buying supplies for their and end up purchasing the 2 droids. While repairing and cleaning R2-D2, he is shown Leia’s message. Luke thinks something might be wrong with the droid but he can tell anyone, he is ambushed by Sand People, who are scavenging across the way. Luke is saved by an elder man, Ben (Guinness). Luke and Ben have a look at R2’s message and hearing the name, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ben reveals to Luke that that is his true identity. Obi-Wan was his name when he was a Jedi Master, a group of peacekeepers for the Galactic Republic that were disbanded by the Empire and mercilessly hunted down until they were extinct. Obi-Wan must aid Leia but can’t without Luke’s help. Luke declines at first but after his aunt and uncle are murdered by Stormtroopers in search of R2, he agrees to join Obi-Wan. They need a ship and a crew and end up meeting Han Solo (Ford) and his wookie companion, Chewbacca (Mayhew). Luke, Kenobi, R2 and C-3PO join Han and Chewy aboard their ship, the Millennium Falcon as they learn that Han is a wanted fugitive by Jabba The Hut. The group escape Tatooine and begin their mission to rescue the Princess before the Empire destroy what’s left of the Republic and establish dominance over the galaxy.

This film revolutionized the movie industry forever. It was an amazing movie that had stood the test of time. While it is dated at some points, the adventure and enjoyment is still there. The cast was fantastic along with the writing and storytelling. George Lucas really tapped in to something new at the time and took it to a whole new level in the genre of science fiction and fantasy. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are forever associated with their titular characters. Harrison Ford as the cunning and charismatic Han Solo made him a house hold name and was near perfect casting. Although David Prowse plays Darth Vader on set, people think of James Earl Jones when Darth Vader comes to mind. That character redefined the role of the antagonist. This was such a compelling character with little to no background or depth but made a lasting impression that further developed in the later films.

Star Wars was ahead of its time and really became of pop culture forever. Lucas would release 2 more sequels following this film, 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back” and 1983’s “The Return of the Jedi” with all the main cast returning and some new faces. In 1999, Lucas would release a prequel trilogy following the origins of Darth Vader with the first film, “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace”. The sequels would come out in 2002 and 2005 following a slew of animated TV shows and graphic novels. 2015 saw the release of the first film in the new trilogy however, George Lucas would not write or direct serving only as executive producer. “The Force Awakens” would be the first film in the new trilogy with 2017 & 2019 releasing those sequels. “Star Wars” has been a main stay of pop culture since the very first film and in 1989 it was the first of 25 films hat was selected by the U.S. Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Treasury for being “culturally, historically & aesthetically significant”.

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