Star Wars: The Enduring Legacy of a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

May 3, 2018 Movies & TV

The Star Wars franchise changed the face of Hollywood forever, to say nothing of the pop-cultural landscape. Its use of VFX to create a whole new universe was unprecedented at the time. Perhaps there’s no greater testament to the lasting legacy of this cinematic ‘galaxy far, far away’ than the fact that there’s scarcely a kid born in the last thirty years who hasn’t played with a lightsaber toy!

With a worldwide box office collection of over 1 billion USD, the latest instalment The Last Jedi, like many of its predecessors, set the global box office on fire. And it still pales in comparison to the highest grossing instalment of the series, The Force Awakens, which bagged more that 2 billion USD. These, and a host of other smashed records, demonstrate the relentless fan following that Star Wars commands all across the globe. And this fan following is indicative of a society that is largely obsessed with this universe and its mythology.

Star Wars has crept into our daily lives in ways that franchise creator George Lucas could scarcely have anticipated. Star Wars references are now part of our daily lexicon, with ‘May the force be with you.’, ‘Evil empire’ and ‘I’m your father’ being commonly used phrases.

How It All Began

The first Star Wars movie released in 1977 (and since retitled A New Hope) was a global cinematic event. It was one of the earliest instances of a sci-fi film smashing records and becoming a box office behemoth. The movie inspired a lot of other directors to work on sci-fi films, now that there was proof that the genre was a ‘safe’ box office draw. Indeed, Star Wars went on to influence the very art of filmmaking – influencing the aesthetics of countless movies that followed – particularly in terms of world-building through VFX.

20th Century Fox was the first ever production house to make a movie entirely on set, without moving the cameras and the crew out of the studios. Computer generated graphics took a great leap forward with A New Hope and made great strides in subsequent instalments – as did camera techniques.

But Star Wars’ contribution to the medium wasn’t about visuals alone. It did wonders for the evolution of cinematic storytelling as well – with lengthy moral parables being converted into short, appealing, and anecdotal snippets of dialogs.

On the strength of these innovations in storytelling and cinematography, all three installments of the Original Trilogy opened to rave reviews and massive box office collections – A New Hope in 1977, The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983.

The Future is the Past

The Star Wars prequel trilogy was released in the late 90’s and early 2000’s – The Phantom Menace in 1999, Attack of the Clones in 2002 and Revenge of the Sith in 2005. The mixed response they received only went to show that technical advancements alone don’t make for great cinema. But the prequels certainly didn’t dampen the enthusiasm for more Star Wars. And after years of Expanded Universe material kept the franchise going, the world was finally given the gift of a whole new Star Wars trilogy – The Force Awakens released in 2015, The Last Jedi released in 2017 and an as yet untitled concluding instalment to be released in 2019.

In addition, this latest Star Wars renaissance has seen the launch of the ‘Star Wars Anthology’ spin-off series – standalone films set in the past of the Star Wars universe. This new twist on the Star Wars of old thus far includes 2016’s Rogue One and the soon-to-be released Solo – an origin story for one of the most iconic Star Wars characters, Hans Solo.

For the fans, every single movie is a blessing – an incomparable journey that is more akin to traversing a galaxy than it is to watching a film.

So whether you’re a lifelong Star Wars fan (who’s got the specs of the Millenium Falcon memorized), or just a casual movie-goer who doesn’t know a lot more than who Luke Skywalker’s daddy is (because absolutely everyone knows that!), chances are that you’ll be eagerly awaiting the adventures of a young Han Solo and his future copilot Chewbacca in Solo, scheduled to hit theatres on May 25th.

May the Force be with you!