Star Wars Day
The 1977 release of “Star Wars” changed Hollywood forever. Four decades later we’re still enthralled. Just last December, “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker”, was released in theaters. Following the previous two movies of the sequel trilogy, “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi”, the main Star Wars film franchise has come to a conclusion. So — Happy Star Wars Day this May 4!
It’s party time on Tatooine.
The first organized Star Wars Day took place in Toronto back in 2011. The event included an Original Trilogy Trivia Game Show, a costume contest, and a showing of fan-made tribute films, mash-ups, parodies, and remixes. In late 2012, Disney purchased Lucasfilm and has officially observed the holiday at Disneyland and Walt Disney World ever since.
HISTORY OF STAR WARS DAY
The “Star Wars” universe is a massive achievement. It is hard to think of a time when “Star Wars” didn’t exist, given its extraordinary influence and popularity in pop culture. It all started with the book “Dune” by Frank Herbert. First published in 1965, it is widely regarded as the base inspiration for “Star Wars,” given the huge similarities between characters and the storyline of the two. Either way, George Lucas set his story in outer space and took the risk of producing a sci-fi movie in 1977, a time when the genre was pretty much dead in Hollywood. Nobody expected the first “Star Wars” movie to do as well as it did. Backed by a meager $9.5 million for production, it had a limited theatre release and was expected to bomb at the box office. There was no way that this sci-fi opus would be a hit. On May 25, 1977, “Star Wars” (later renamed to “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope”) was released.
Through word of mouth and raving reviews, “Star Wars” enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame and changed the entire landscape of cinema, leaving studios completely bewildered by its success. The world was introduced to the Skywalker-family saga, and beloved characters like Han Solo, Yoda, Chewbacca, and perhaps the darkest villain of all time — Darth Vader. Grossing over $100 million by the end of the summer, the first installment of “Star Wars” won six Academy Awards and a Special Achievement Award for groundbreaking accomplishments in special effects. For its time, and considering the limited budget, George Lucas pulled off a massive feat by creating advanced effects and filming impressive space sequences using only small-scale figures and setups.
The success of the first movie was followed by two sequels, “Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back,” in 1980 and “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi,” in 1983. The franchise branched out into different commercial lines as well.
20 years after the debut film, Lucas released the second trilogy of films, the ‘prequel trilogy.’ With a new cast of popular actors like Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor, “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” was released in 1999, followed by “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones” in 2002, and “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” in 2005. The storyline wasn’t as acclaimed as that of the original trilogy, but the digital technology and effects of the movies had significantly improved and, subsequently, they were overall box-office successes. The marketability of the franchise became more extensive, with a book series, animated TV series, action figures, video games, and clothing lines created for the new generation of “Star Wars” lovers.
Walt Disney Studios acquired the franchise in 2012, and set forth to produce a third trilogy, the ‘sequel trilogies.’ The seventh film, “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens,” was released in 2015. The universe was further expanded with new characters while staying faithful to the true essence of “Star Wars.” “Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi” was released in 2017, followed by “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” in 2019. Several stand-alone movies were also tied-in with the main story, “Star Wars: Rogue One” in 2016, and “Solo” in 2018.
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