Star Wars is a sci-fi film franchise created by George Lucas and currently owned by Walt Disney. Its Skywalker saga includes seven films to date, with two in the works, and various spin-offs TV shows and movies. It follows the tales of various characters “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”.
The original trilogy began in 1977 with Episode IV: A New Hope, followed by Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983). These films covered the Rebel Alliance’s fight to take down the evil Galactic Empire.
The subsequent prequels, Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), focused on Anakin Skywalker’s transformation into the villainous Darth Vader of the original trilogy.
A trilogy of sequels to 1977-1983’s original trilogy began with 2015’s Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015), which follows the events of 1983s Return of the Jedi. The next episode, VIII: The Last Jedi will be released later in 2017, while the as-yet unnamed Episode IX is due in 2019. As well as the prequel and sequel trilogies, Star Wars has inspired spin-offs such as Rogue One (2016) and a ‘young Han Solo’ film due in 2018.
As a franchise, Star Wars has made over $7.5 billion at the box-office and won seven Academy Awards, while its characters such as Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Yoda and Princess Leia have become iconic pop culture figures. Star Wars is regarded a pop culture and media phenomenon and has an estimated worth of $41 billion, making it one of the most successful media franchises of all time.