"Star Wars" is a nickname for Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, a laser-based anti-ballistic missile defense system. The plan, though revised, is still a model for George W. Bush's Missile Defense Shield. Currently Mr. Bush has, in preparation for testing of the still in-development technology, withdrawn the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) with Russia.
Star Wars is also a 'space opera' conceived by writer/director George Lucas that tells a mythological tale of the struggle between good and evil, told among an epic story about the fight between the Rebels and the Empire to dominate the Galaxy. The story is set 'A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away' (i.e., once upon a time). The story has been presented in a series of American films, which spawned dozens of books. The Star Wars mythos is also the basis of countless toys and games. Though the films and books are set in outer space and employ common science-fiction motifs, the plots are humanistic in nature. Star Wars is an outstanding example of the so-called space opera sub-genre of science fiction.
It has been noted that it is almost impossible in the United States to go for a full day without hearing some reference to Star Wars. This is a testament to the extraordinary popularity that the Star Wars films have enjoyed. The strong human appeal of the Star Wars story probably accounts for its enduring popularity.
The Star Wars films show considerable similarity to Asian Wu Xia "Kung Fu" films, as well as Greek Mythology. Lucas has stated that his intention was to create in Star Wars a modern mythology, based on the studies of his friend Joseph Campbell. Lucas has also stated that Akira Kurosawa's 1958 film The Hidden Fortress (USA release 1962) was a strong influence. The resemblance between the two buffoon farmers in The Hidden Fortress and the two talkative droids in Star Wars is striking.
A notable feature of the Star Wars films is that they portray a world full of grime and hokey technology, not the sleek, futuristic world typical of earlier science fiction film. In one of his many interviews on the making of Star Wars, Lucas told of rubbing the new props with dirt to make them look weatherworn. It is tempting to speculate that this break from traditional science fiction film influenced the cyberpunk genre that emerged around 1984.
The Star Wars franchise goes beyond the four, already released, films. Bantam Books has been, for quite sometime, been publishing officially-sanctioned Star Wars novels. The novels are officially part of the Star Wars universe and they feature characters from the films, and others that are not from the film. The legacy of Star Wars is continued in this manner in between the release of the box-office busting films, and have, as many claim, a better story.
- Star Wars movies:
- The Phantom Menace---movie released 1999.
- Attack of the Clones---scheduled release May 2002
- Episode 3---scheduled release 2005
- A New Hope---movie title was Star Wars; the first Star Wars movie to be released, in 1977
- The Empire Strikes Back---movie released 1980
- Return of the Jedi---movie released 1983
- Star Wars characters:
4-LOM Adi Gallia Admiral Ackbar Admiral Daala Admiral Piett Anakin Skywalker Aurra Sing Barada Bib Fortuna Biggs Darklighter Boba Fett Boss Nass Bossk C-3PO Callista Captain Panaka Chewbacca Crix Madine Darth Maul Darth Sidious Darth Vader Dengar Droids General Veers Grand Admiral Thrawn Grand Moff Tarkin Greedo Han Solo IG-88 Jabba the Hutt Jar Jar Binks Jek Porkins Lando Calrissian Lobot Luke Skywalker Mace Windu Mara Jade Mon Mothma Nute Gunray Obi-Wan Kenobi Oola Palpatine Plo Koon Princess Leia Queen Amidala Qui-Gon Jinn R2-D2 Salacious Crumb Sebulba Shmi Skywalker Stormtroopers Watto Wedge Antilles Wicket W. Warrick Yoda Zuckuss
- Planets and moons:
Alderaan Bespin Coruscant Dagobah Death star...wait...that's no moon... Endor Hoth Naboo Tatooine Yavin 4