The beginning of the Star Wars franchise was a moment that would change film history with a force. At the time films were simply another form of entertainment during the early 20th century but George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, created something unique, a community of fans coming together for a common interest and an experience that was out of this world. The day Star Wars was release, May 25, 1977, thousands of fans waited outside limited theaters in long lines to see what would become the greatest space opera of all time. A film that will depict a tale of one’s coming of age, hosting relatable characters and expanding young minds to a galaxy not so far away.
Director George Lucas sought to change the norm of traditional 1970 Hollywood movies which were a reflection of American politics and the big emphasis on the anti-hero (Making StarWars). He sought out to create a masterpiece that would reignite imagination and wonder. The task would prove difficult since it was a gamble to get a film green lighted from executives who were looking for a down to earth realistic film and the challenges to promote the film to the public. Lucas hired Charles Lippincott as marketing director for Star Wars and with his help, they secured deals with Marvel Comics for a comic book adaptation and the Del Rey Books for a novelization of the film prior to its release date. Going one step forward, Lippincott used his connections to advertise at San Diego Comic-Con 1976 and other science fiction communities to build up a fan base (Parker). With the assistance of conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie, it was possible to share the general visualization of what the Star Wars galaxy was like. The shooting and visual effects to bring Star Wars to life prove to be another troubling task that George Lucas had no idea how to tackle but with effort of his time, money and his crew he was able to pull off such a stunt. On that faithfull wednesday afternoon, May 25, 1977, the staff and crew were blown away like Alderaan by the long lines of the thirty-two theaters that was showing Star Wars. “It was an electric atmosphere” exhaled Carrie Fisher, who plays Princess Leia of Alderaan of the Star Wars universe, at her experience of the screening (Marovilches). The visual effects department, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), were astonished by the outcome of the film. The staff were congratulating one another on the certain pieces they worked on and received request from fans to sign props or merchandise. It was an extraordinary moment for the crew and fans, Ralph McQuarrie recalls the “halloring and cheering”people did in the front of the theater (Marovilches).
The film kicked off a series that would change the meaning of the term blockbuster, revolutionize special effects, and bring modern movie merchandising to the world (Jackson). 20th Century Fox board had little interest in merchandising a film, especially Star Wars, since it was mainly supported by Fox executive Alan Ladd Jr. Ladd who had Lucas’s back for the promotion of the film despite all the claims the film might flop. In 1975 George Lucas founded the Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) since the technology of special effects was not commonly use and not up to his standards. This branch team would be incharge of creating visual effects and sounds for the film. “Star Wars also featured cutting-edge sounds. Whether it was the hum of the lightsabers, the pew-pew of the blasters, the roar of the engines, or the incredible music (Jackson). The crew built their own processors and camera equipment since they wanted to get an angle of wonder to be portrayed. Industrial Light and Magic sought out to find organic sounds of this world to sound like things out of this world. For example, the iconic breathing of Darth Vader, the villain and iconic evil of the franchise, was base on putting a microphone inside a scuba tank and merely breathing within it to create the sound (Barone). The department was “Revolutionary” explains Mark Hamill, who plays the farm boy of Tatooine Luke Skywalker the relatable protagonist, while he was visiting the mini sets of the scenes that would look extraordinary in the film (Marovilches). With the success of the film George Lucas lightspeed the way of expanding the visual effects department. In 1984 he revolutionize motion picture editing with editdroid and soundroid, the world’s first nonlinear digital editing systems (Making StarWars). For the first time filmmakers were able to access any frame and audio track with a push of a button. Later in 1985 his computer division invented the pixar computer which helped create a new form of animation which were characterized by 3-D dimensional realism. This division would later be sold to form the now Pixar Animation Studio, the creators of many instant classic like Toy Story. Eventually with this new line of work, it became full circle for Lucas to once again visit Star Wars in 1993. This time believing the digital age has finally caught up to his original vision and will now perfect the Star Wars trilogy. In 1997 he released the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition, which includes the visual piece he sought out to do in the first place. This would continue to flame the fan base of the now trilogy, bringing it to a new age of movies and merchandise.
“May The Force Be With You” was the only phrase you would hear among the many other phrases fans used and sayings that brought a community together. It was sort of a connection for fans to identify who has seen the film and share the common interest. Even today the Star Wars Universe still lingers and sway culture and pop culture. The film gave many fans an list of relatable character who many can associate to. Carrie Fisher’s heavy role portraying the independent Princess Leia, gave young audiences the view that she is not merely a damsel in distress but a princess who is willing to take command and act incharge. Mark Hamill portraying the role of Luke Skywalker, a farm boy who simple life took a turn for adventure gives the audience a sense of we are the heroes of our own story and adventure awaits us. Harrison Ford acting as the experience smuggler Han Solo, along with his trusty co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca who was brought to life by Peter Mayhew, taught audiences to strive to be an inspiration of leading and trusting in a friendship that can be a lifetime. The film has such an influence that many fans have consider May 4th an official holiday to celebrate Star Wars, “May the 4th be with you.” The Star Wars films inspired many groups of people to change the world for the better. Such as the 501st Legion who are a fan based organization who make appearances as Star Wars characters at casual, promotional, or charitable events to bring smiles to the children.
The influence of Star Wars surely have spread far and wide across the stars giving many a new found of inspiration to create wonderfully new things and brought a community closer together under a banner. George Lucas has created a masterpiece that led to a legacy that would possibly out live our time leading to new wonders for the next generation. Creating the now called Original Trilogy, Episodes IV, V, VI gives any new fans to experience an introduction to the Star Wars Galaxy. Then traveling backwards in time to explore the lore of Star Wars in the Sequel Trilogy, Episode I, II, II, and finally see the end of the Skywalker Saga in the Prequel Trilogy, Episode VII, VIII, IX. George Lucas revolutionized the film industry to what it is today switching the focus of Hollywood made films from deep, meaningful stories based on dramatic conflict themes and irony to sprawling special effects laden blockbusters. The day that Star War was released, May 25, 1977, truly changed the world to strive for wonder and adventure till this day.
Barone, Jennifer. “THE SCIENCE OF STAR WARS. (Cover Story).” Science World, vol. 72, no. 6, Dec. 2015, p. 8. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspxdirect=true&db=sch&AN=111147432&site=scirc-live.
Cultural impact of Star Wars. (2018, March 02). Retrieved Feb 07, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_impact_of_Star_Wars
Deyneka, Leah, and Douglas Brode. Sex, Politics, and Religion in Star Wars : An Anthology.
Scarecrow Press, 2012. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebsco
Hassler-Forest, Dan, and Sean A. Guynes. Star Wars and the History of Transmedia Storytelling.
Amsterdam University Press, 2017. EBSCOhost,chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http:/
Jackson, Brad 40 Years Ago, Star Wars Changed Movies Forever. 2017, May 25, http://thefederalist.com/2017/05/25/40-years-ago-star-wars-changed-movies-forever
Marovilches. “When Star Wars Ruled The World.” YouTube, YouTube, 20 Sept. 2012,
Parker, Ryan. “Comic-Con’s First ‘Star Wars’ Panel in 1976 Was a Sleepy Affair.” The
Hollywood Reporter, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 Feb. 2019, www.hollywoodreporte
SanchezDelCampoVideo. “The Making of Star Wars – 1977 Documentary.” YouTube, YouTube,15 Apr. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSuDjjlIPak