A long time ago, in a small town far, far away, a young man named George Lucas had an idea for a story:

A simple young farmboy gets a magic sword from an old wizard so he can defeat an evil knight, rescue a princess, and save the world.

Actually Lucas wasn’t the first person to have that idea. Everybody has that idea. Granted, they don’t always do it with knights. Sometimes it’s cowboys; sometimes it’s samurai. Sometimes the farmboy is a farmgirl. Sometimes the wizard is a scientist and sometimes the evil knight is a dragon or a cyborg. Sometimes it’s guns instead of swords.

But Lucas knew all that. He was a Northern California kid who grew up watching movies and racing cars, a tyro moviemaker at a moment when American film had become very serious. The 1970s had genre goofs like The Exorcist and Rocky, but the gold-standard movies were adult stories about violence, sexuality, and the treachery of dreams. Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, The Godfather. Heroes in these movies lost—like, all the time. Sometimes the whole movie got you to like bad guys, and sometimes they died anyway!

Lucas rebelled against all that. He looked back to the Flash Gordon serials and war movies of his youth, and mixed in all his favorite irreducible elements from boy-hero-king chosen-one stories—a historian named Joseph Campbell had helpfully assembled a list. Lucas kept the swords, the magic, and the knights.

Then—and this was, perhaps, his greatest innovation—Lucas kept everything else, too. Wizards, dragons, princesses, horses, cars, motorcycles, airplanes, ships, ray guns, teddy bears, his family dog, pirates, car chases, Nazis, gangsters, samurai, dogfights, gunfights, swordfights, fist fights, gladiators, spies, castles, and robots. In space, traveling at hyperspeed.

Star Wars, the universe George Lucas created, covers as of this writing 11 feature films, with more in various stages of production, as well as at least a half-dozen television series, hundreds of books and comic books, dozens of computer games, and a vastly profitable empire of licensed merchandise, including, perhaps mostly famously, dolls and Lego sets whose popularity literally rescued that beloved toy company from bankruptcy.

3 Smart Things About Star Wars Music

  • The movies are actually musicals. Or rather, they’re paced like musicals, with solos (Luke staring at Tatooine’s twin setting suns) and duets (“I Love You”/ “I Know”), and big Busby Berkeley/Gene Kelly–Stanley Donen numbers (Death Stars, pod races).

  • In 1978, a disco version of the Cantina theme went platinum.

  • In Force Awakens, the sprightly Huttese rap number called “Jabba Flow,” was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton. Star Wars is musicals! The secret is out at last.

The timeline for all these stories is rigid, vast, and confusing. The fourth, fifth, and sixth movies take place, timeline-wise, before the first, second, and third. The eighth movie takes place between the sixth and first. A spaceship from the animated television show Star Wars Rebels appears in the movies Rogue One (which takes place immediately before the first movie) and in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (the eleventh movie, last in the current timeline). The television show The Mandalorian takes place between the third movie and the seventh. The various ancillary stories in books, comics, and games tell stories from a history spanning tens of thousands of years and an entire galaxy, but the official position of Walt Disney Studios, which bought Lucasfilm in 2012, is that almost everything other than the movies produced up to that point is non-canonical—apocrypha among holy texts, albeit still beloved by some fans.

Star Wars is, in short, a single, unified, vast, familiar, astonishingly well-executed story that emerged from the mind of one filmmaker. It is now worth billions of dollars, drives entire industries and subindustries, and has become a seemingly permanent facet of global culture. It’s profoundly silly, yet also strangely profound—a grand, nostalgic romance full of wisdom and love that three generations equate inextricably with childhood, adventure, and the definition of good and evil.

Star Wars The Complete WIRED Guide

Source: Star Wars: The Complete WIRED Guide

By Adam Rogers

Techylawyer and its authors do not claim to have written this article, we acknowledge the works of the original author


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