Star Wars has been the holy grail of science fiction sagas for decades. Generation after generation has felt the power of The Force. From books to movies to video games, the groundbreaking Star Wars franchise has changed the pop culture landscape in ways that nothing else has, before or since. Although the franchise began with a series of books, the result has been a myriad of movies, comic books, collectible merchandise, and a legacy that has stood the test of time the way few other things of any genre ever have.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about Star Wars.
Star Wars Movies
The beginning of an era
Even people who aren’t fans of Star Wars (yes, these people do exist) know of the movies. The original movie, titled “Star Wars” written and directed by George Lucas, was released in 1977. The movie featured Mark Hamil as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Hans Solo, and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. Star Wars was originally only released in 42 theaters, but within the first week, it had garnered $3 million. By the end of the summer, it had pulled in a whopping $100 million. The movie Star Wars was later retitled, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
Lucas followed up with two sequels, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), to complete the original trilogy. Empire was directed by Irvin Kershner and written by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan. Return was directed by Richard Marquand, and written by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas.
In the 1990s, a prequel trilogy was released to theaters. These new movies, Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), and Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), featured a new cast of young actors and revived the franchise that had changed the world of science fiction forever. However, even though these new movies were huge blockbuster hits at the theater, they were never as highly acclaimed as the original trilogy.
All three movies were written and directed by George Lucas, though Jonathan Hales also wrote Episode II – Attack of the Clones.
The prequels were produced by Rick McCallum, and distributed by 20th Century Fox.
The Third Trilogy:
In 2015, the science fiction behemoth returned to the big screen with The Force Awakens, followed by Rogue One A Star Wars Story in 2016 and Episode VIII The Last Jedi in 2017.
Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), and Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017) are the first two movies of the third trilogy. The final installment will be Episode IX, and it is expected in theaters in 2019. These are the first Star Wars movies to be distributed by the Walt Disney Company instead of 20th Century Fox.
More movies in the genre
There have also been several offshoot movies from the original storyline, including Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), and the animated movie The Clone Wars (2008).
The Star Wars Series in the Correct Chronological Order (Warning: Spoilers Ahead)
The original trilogy was followed by a prequel trilogy, which was then eventually followed by a sequel trilogy. So, what the heck is the Star Wars series correct order? Which movie should you watch first? Clearly, production order does not follow the timeline of the movies.
According to Lucas, the episode numbers of the movies are the order in which they should be watched. Granted, not all fans agree that the movies should be viewed in this order. Some believe they should be watched in the order they were released, others have created their own preferred viewing order.
If you are a newbie, here is the best order to watch the series from start to finish, according to Lucas himself. We’ve also included links to any of these you may be missing from your collection:
Two Jedi warriors, Qui-Con Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi, flee an enemy blockade. While seeking allies, they come across a young Anakin Skywalker and the much-reviled Jar Jar Binks. That unfortunate character… Along with moments like this, in which an actor of Liam Neeson is forced to utter lines like “Patience, my blue friend,” explain why long-time Star Wars fans never fully embraced the prequels.
Still, the prequels shed light on how the fearsome villain from the original films turned to the dark side.
The Clone Wars TV series launched in 2008 and aired on the Cartoon Network. Although it’s not one of the movies, we’re mentioning it because this is where it sits in the Star Wars timeline: Between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
The plot grows more interesting and emotionally complex. Emperor Palpatine lures Anakin Skywalker to the dark side as Padmé Amidala mourns his fall from grace.
When the Empire tries to force scientist Galen Erso to help complete the Death Star, this wife is killed, he is taken, and his daughter Jyn escapes. She then falls in with rebels who promise to rescue her father if she travels to the Death Star with them and helps them steal data. What Jyn doesn’t know is that the rebel leader plans to kill her father instead of helping him escape.
Solo: A Star Wars Story explores Han Solo’s and Chewbacca’s shady adventures before they meet Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in the first films.
Believe it or not, Star Wars came perilously close to never getting made on many occasions. Why? Because everyone except for its creator, George Lucas, thought it would be a failure.
Luckily for us Star Wars fans, George Lucas doggedly followed his vision. This weirdly brilliant film employed a classic quest-driven story with a sci-fi twist. We also get to meet a host of unforgettable characters, which include: Brave, clever, and beautiful Princess Leia Organa; the force-sensitive Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker, the roguish Han Solo and his sidekick Chewbacca; the always-bickering robots, R2-D2 and C-3PO, and the great mega-villain Darth Vader.
Widely seen as among the best movies of all time, The Empire Strikes Back also earned the highest gross for 1980. While Luke Skywalker trains with Yoda to become a full Jedi Master, Darth Vader menaces his friends. Should he finish his training so he can confront Darth Vader on a more equal level? Or should he take his chances and save his friends?
Leia is captured and enslaved by Jabba the Hutt, who has no idea what he’s dealing with. Meanwhile, Luke comes face to face with the Dark Side and learns the truth about his parentage.
All ends well when Han Solo learns his perceived romantic rival is Leia’s brother. Meanwhile the Ewoks dance jubilantly.
30 years after the rebel forces defeat the Empire, the militant First Order poses a new threat. A new force-sensitive heroine teams up with General Leia Organa… But where is Luke?
The Last Jedi takes the Star Wars franchise to a whole new level with fascinating characters, an exciting story, and amazing special effects. Rey feels frustrated, sad, and alone… and finds an unexpected kindred spirit. But can she bring this vengeful soul into the light and still save everything she loves?
Star Wars Comics
It is no surprise that these comics have been widely sought after for years The franchise found a home with Marvel comics and they are every bit as awesome as you’d expect them to be. The original comic book series spanned 107 issues, running from 1977 to 1986.
Star Wars comics returned to Marvel in 2015.
Now, in addition to the regular comic book series, there are even different comics available for the various individual characters that we have all come to love. These series comics that focus on specific characters allow fans to learn more about their favorites, including the greatest villain ever, Darth Vadar.
Princess Leia has her own series of comics as well, proving what a hero she will always be to Star Wars fans throughout the world.
Star Wars Online Comics
The days where comic book lovers had to hope and pray that their local comic book store had the issue they were looking for in-stock are long gone. Today, you can find tens of thousands of comic books online. If you would like to read Star Wars online comics, there are several options available to you. Marvel’s website has them available to read online. Plus, there is Comixology, your one stop shop for all things online comics.
Best Star Wars Books
Like many movies, this series started off with books. The books have multiplied exponentially over the years and there are now hundreds in the full series of books. These books can be divided into several categories based on their timelines. According to Lucas, only the films, the Clone Wars series, and everything that came after the fall of 2014 are official canon. Anything that was released before this falls under legends.
- Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- Attack of the Clones
- The Clone Wars
- Dark Disciple
- Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- Rogue One: Catalyst
- Lords of the Sith
- A New Dawn
- Thrawn: Alliances
- Rogue One
- A New Hope
- Battlefront II: Inferno Squad
- Heir to the Jedi
- The Empire Strikes Back
- Battlefront: Twilight Company
- Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
- The Aftermath: Life Debt
- Aftermath: Empire’s End
- The Rebel Files
- The Force Awakens
- The Last Jedi
Star Wars Fan Fiction
The fan fiction that has come about in recent years may be one of the greatest gifts this legendary sci-fi franchise has given us. So much fanfiction exists for this epic saga including written works as well as art, that it is hard to even know where to start. You can find some of the best fan fiction available online at FanFiction.net and ArchiveOfOurOwn.org.
Star Wars Fan Art
Fans have also created comics and artwork based on the series. Pere Pérez, the artist behind Marvel’s Rogue & Gambit miniseries, created this little gem, which he shared on social media.
A lot of the artwork created by fans of this science fiction legend is just plain fun.
— Lucia (@heartpoised) January 21, 2018
… And many are incredible works of art in their own right.
— Star Wars (@starwars) January 20, 2018
If you thought the written word and works of art were all there was when it comes to fan fiction, man, have you got another thing coming. Just when you thought you had seen it all, fans use The Force create parodies of Christmas carols.
And let’s not forget the hilarious “Emo Kylo Ren” Twitter feeds, with lots of original memes, fan art, gifs, and videos.
i wish this program would stop marking my name in red on my homework
it is correctly spelled pic.twitter.com/4tLLCCF0NM
— Emo Kylo Ren (@KyloR3n) February 1, 2016
Star Wars Collectibles
No franchise has created better collectibles than Star Wars. The proof is in one word: Lightsaber. The days of the cheap plastic lightsabers went away with the 80s, although you can still find them easily enough if this is what you are looking for.
But some of the lightsabers that are on the market now are the real-life embodiment of stuff kids a few generations ago could only dream about. Prices for a lightsaber nowadays can cost anywhere from $10 to more than $2,000 for those that are particularly rare or of higher quality.
Star Wars Darth Maul Force FX Lightsaber with Removable Blade
But as cool as these are, this is far from the only collectible you need to have in your life. Action figures, POP figures, and figurines from the series abound. There is more merchandise to choose from than ever before.
R2-Q5 Sixth Scale Figure by Sideshow Collectibles – Star Wars
Star Wars Darth Vader Life-Size Vintage Kenner Monument Action Figure
Even action figures have come a long way over the years, take this life-size Darth Vadar for example. This “action figure” stands more than six feet tall and will show you the power of the dark side.
Stern Pinball Star Wars Premium
And there is also this collectible pinball machine that will propel your home gaming experience into a galaxy far, far away. However, it does admittedly come with a hefty price tag attached.
Best Star Wars Gifts
With so many items to choose from, what are the best gifts to buy for the Jedi in your life? Here are a few of the best Star Wars gifts money can buy for fans who aren’t kids anymore.
1. Sith vs. Jedi Wall Clock with Light Up Lightsaber Duel and Theme Song by The Bradford Exchange
2. Star Wars Inspired Death Star 3D Optical Illusion Lamp
3. Star Wars Storm Trooper Waffle Maker by Pangea Brands (other characters available)
4. Star Wars Darth Vader Anakin Luke Skywalker Rey And Finn Lightsaber Salt & Pepper Mills
5. Star Wars R2D2 Capacity Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
Best Star Wars Games
The first Star Wars video game hit arcades in 1983. They released the original game on early consoles such the Atari and Coleco Vision throughout the 80s before coming to Super Nintendo in the early 90s. New video games have followed each of the movies as they were released.
Episode IV: A New Hope
- Star Wars (1983–88) – Arcade
- Re-released for: Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit family, ColecoVision, BBC Micro, ZX Spectrum, Acorn Electron, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Apple II, DOS, Macintosh, Amiga.
- Star Wars (1987) – Famicom
- Attack on the Death Star (1991) – PC-9801, X68000
- Star Wars (1991–93) – NES, Game Boy, Master System, Game Gear
- Super Star Wars (1992) – SNES
- Re-released for: Wii Virtual Console, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
- Star Wars Arcade (1993) – Arcade
- Re-released for: 32X
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- The Empire Strikes Back (1982) – Atari 2600, Intellivision
- Empire Strikes Back (1985/88) – Arcade
- Re-released for: BBC Micro, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Amiga, Atari.
- The Empire Strikes Back (1992) – NES, Game Boy
- Super Empire Strikes Back (1993) – SNES
- Re-released: Wii Virtual Console
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
- Return of the Jedi – Death Star Battle (1983/84) – Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit family, Atari 5200, ZX Spectrum
- The Return of the Jedi (1984/88) – Arcade, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Amiga, Atari ST, GameCube
- Super Return of the Jedi (1994) – SNES, Game Boy, Game Gear
- Re-released: Wii Virtual Console
Canceled: Return of the Jedi – Ewok Adventure -Atari 2600 (unreleased)
Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) – Windows, PlayStation
- Episode I (1999) – Pinball
- Star Wars: Episode I: Jedi Power Battles (2000/01) – PlayStation, Dreamcast, Game Boy Advance
- Episode I: Battle for Naboo (2000/01) – Nintendo 64, Windows
- Star Wars: Episode I: Obi-Wan’s Adventures (2000) – Game Boy Color
- Obi-Wan (2001) – Xbox
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- The Clone Wars (2002) (Action) PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox
- Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) – Game Boy Advance
- The New Droid Army (2002) – Game Boy Advance
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
When it comes to video games that aren’t directly related to the movies, there are so many that they can’t all fit in a list here. So, how id a fan to know which of these many games are worth playing? According to gamers, here are the top 10 Star Wars video games.
Knights of the Old Republic
Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron 2
Star Wars Battlefront 2
Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast
The Old Republic
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
Super Star Wars (Trilogy)
Star Wars Battlefront 2
Battlefront II is the newest video game in the Star Wars family. This action shooter video game based on the sci-fi franchise was released in November of 2017. The game features a single-player story mode and a customizable character class system. Unlike the original Battlefront, the sequel also includes the option of a full campaign story mode as well as five multiplayer game modes.
The description of the game reads:
Heroes are born on the battlefront, and in Star Wars Battlefront 2, you’re able to experience it for yourself. Play as heroes from all three eras of Star Wars in massive battles across iconic locations, and take part in a thrilling single-player story as Iden Versio fights to avenge the Emperor.
You can watch the official gameplay trailer here:
Star Wars Online Games
There are also many online games that fans can play without having to spend an arm and a leg.There are plenty of Star Wars online free games available to keep fans busy and let them get their sci-fi fix without breaking the bank. StarWarsGamesOnline.com has a myriad of games that fans can play for free. StarWars.com also has a long list of online games that can be downloaded as apps The Old Republic can .be played online as well at SWTOR.com. And you can’t forget all of the LEGO games that can be played online at LEGO.com. And naturally, Disney has games available on their website as well.
Star Wars Conventions
Comicon has changed the way nerds gather to enjoy their passions. Conventions have become a way of life for today’s die-hard fans. The Star Wars Celebration, which took place in Orlando, Florida in December of 2017, is the largest (and most hardcore) gathering of the science fiction fanchise’s fans in the world. The first of these huge conventions was held in Denver, Colorado in 1999 to celebrate the upcoming release of The Phantom Menace. In total, there have been 12 of these Celebrations over the years. The next convention date is tentatively in 2019, although details are not yet public. To stay up to date on the latest events and make sure you know when the dates are set for Celebration 2019, follow the convention’s page on Facebook.
You can check out footage from the most recent Celebration in the video below:
Tribute to Princess Leia
Sadly, Carrie Fisher passed away in December of 2016, but she will live forever on the screen as Princess Leia. Likewise, Fisher’s fans love her, and that shows no signs of stopping in the future. In addition to being one of the strongest female stars of a science fiction franchise, she was also a powerful advocate for mental health.
“I have been Princess Leia exclusively. It’s been a part of my life for 40 years,” Fisher once said. Her time as the leading female star of the series, combined with her own personal battle with bipolar disorder, gave her a unique insight into the appeal of the franchise’s storyline.
“That’s why ‘Star Wars’ is appealing,” she explained. “You watch someone fight the perilous monster.”
Featured below is a moving tribute to Fisher that was created after her untimely passing.
Fans of Star Wars Can’t Get Enough
“The reason I’m making Star Wars is that I want to give young people some sort of faraway exotic environment for their imaginations to run around in,” Lucas once said in an interview. “I have a strong feeling about interesting kids in space exploration.” He continued, “I want them to want it. I want them to get beyond the basic stupidities of the moment and think about colonizing Venus and Mars. And the only way it’s going to happen is to have some dumb kid fantasize about it — to get his ray gun, jump in his ship and run off with this wooky into outer space. It’s our only hope in a way.”
Judging by the infuence the franchise has had on generation after generation, it seems that Lucas succeeded. Although fans seem to have an insatiable appetite for all things Star Wars, there are more ways for than ever for them to try to get their fill. After watching the movies an endless number of times, fans can turn to the myriad of books, comic books, and video games that have spawned from the original trilogy. The franchise not only revolutionized movie making and special effects, it also sparked a rebirth of the science fiction genre. For 40 years, Star Wars has captured the hearts and minds of fans across the world.
Featured image: Promotional image via the Star Wars Facebook page.