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19/07/2018    

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Star Wars

Star Wars is an American epic space opera media franchise, centered on a film series created by George Lucas. It depicts the adventures of characters "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away".

The franchise began in 1977 with the release of the film Star Wars (later subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope in 1981), which became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon. It was followed by the successful sequels The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983); these three films constitute the original Star Wars trilogy. A prequel trilogy was released between 1999 and 2005, which received mixed reactions from both critics and fans. A sequel trilogy began in 2015 with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and continued with the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). The first eight films were nominated for Academy Awards (with wins going to the first two films released) and have been commercial successes, with a combined box office revenue of over US$8.5 billion, making Star Wars the second highest-grossing film series. Spin-off films include Rogue One (2016) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).

The series has spawned an extensive media franchise including books, television series, computer and video games, theme park attractions and lands, and comic books, resulting in significant development of the series' fictional universe. Star Wars holds a Guinness World Records title for the "Most successful film merchandising franchise". In 2015, the total value of the Star Wars franchise was estimated at US$42 billion, making Star Wars the second-highest-grossing media franchise of all time.

In 2012, The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm for US$4.06 billion and earned the distribution rights to all subsequent Star Wars films, beginning with the release of The Force Awakens in 2015. The former distributor, 20th Century Fox, was to retain the physical distribution rights for the first two Star Wars trilogies, was to own permanent rights for the original 1977 film and was to continue to hold the rights for the prequel trilogy and the first two sequels to A New Hope until May 2020. Walt Disney Studios currently owns digital distribution rights to all the Star Wars films, excluding A New Hope. On December 14, 2017, the Walt Disney Company announced its pending acquisition of 21st Century Fox, including the film studio and all distribution rights to A New Hope.

Setting

The Star Wars franchise takes place in a distant unnamed fictional galaxy at an undetermined point in the ancient past, where many species of aliens (often humanoid) co-exist. People own robotic droids, who assist them in their daily routines, and space travel is common.

The spiritual and mystical element of the Star Wars galaxy is known as "the Force". It is described in the original film as "an energy field created by all living things [that] surrounds us, penetrates us, [and] binds the galaxy together". The people who are born deeply connected to the Force have better reflexes; through training and meditation, they are able to achieve various supernatural feats (such as telekinesis, clairvoyance, precognition, and mind control). The Force is wielded by two major factions at conflict: the Jedi, who harness the light side of the Force, and the Sith, who use the dark side of the Force through hate and aggression.

Original trilogy

In 1971, Lucas signed a contract with Universal Studios to direct two films. He intended one of them to be a space opera; however, knowing film studios were skeptical about the genre, Lucas decided to direct his other idea first, American Graffiti, a coming-of-age story set in the 1960s. In 1973, Lucas started work on his second film's script draft of The Journal of the Whills, a space opera telling the tale of the training of apprentice CJ Thorpe as a "Jedi-Bendu" space commando by the legendary Mace Windy. After Universal rejected the film, 20th Century Fox decided to invest in it. On April 17, 1973, Lucas felt frustrated about his story being too difficult to understand, so he began writing a 13-page script with thematic parallels to Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress; this draft was renamed The Star Wars. By 1974, he had expanded the script into a rough draft screenplay, adding elements such as the Sith, the Death Star, and a protagonist named Annikin Starkiller. Numerous subsequent drafts evolved into the script of the original film.

Lucas insisted that the movie would be part of a 9-part series and negotiated to retain the sequel rights, to ensure all the movies would be made. Tom Pollock, then Lucas' lawyer writes: "So in the negotiations that were going on, we drew up a contract with Fox's head of business affairs Bill Immerman, and me. We came to an agreement that George would retain the sequel rights. Not all the [merchandising rights] that came later, mind you; just the sequel rights. And Fox would get a first opportunity and last refusal right to make the movie." Lucas was offered $50,000 to write, another $50,000 to produce, and $50,000 to direct the film. Later the offer was increased. American Graffiti cast member Harrison Ford had given up on acting and become a carpenter whom Lucas hired for his home renovations, until Lucas decided to cast him as Han Solo within his film.

Star Wars was released on May 25, 1977. It was followed by The Empire Strikes Back, released on May 21, 1980; the opening crawl of the sequel disclosed it numbered as "Episode V". Though the first film in the series was simply titled Star Wars, with its 1981 re-release it had the subtitle Episode IV: A New Hope added to remain consistent with its sequel, and to establish it as the middle chapter of a continuing saga. Return of the Jedi, the final film in the original trilogy, was numbered as "Episode VI", and released on May 25, 1983. The sequels were all self-financed by Lucasfilm, and generally advertised solely under their subtitles. The plot of the original trilogy centers on the Galactic Civil War of the Rebel Alliance trying to free the galaxy from the clutches of the Galactic Empire, as well as on Luke Skywalker's quest to become a Jedi.

A New Hope

Near the orbit of the desert planet Tatooine, a Rebel spaceship is intercepted by the Empire. Aboard, the deadliest Imperial agent Darth Vader and his stormtroopers capture Princess Leia Organa, a secret member of the rebellion. Before her capture, Leia makes sure the astromech R2-D2, along with the protocol droid C-3PO, escapes with stolen Imperial blueprints stored inside and a holographic message for the retired Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, who has been living in exile on Tatooine. The droids fall under the ownership of Luke Skywalker, an orphan farm boy raised by his step-uncle and aunt. Luke helps the droids locate Obi-Wan, now a solitary old hermit known as Ben Kenobi, who reveals himself as a friend of Luke's absent father, the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. Obi-Wan confides to Luke that Anakin was "betrayed and murdered" by Vader (who was Obi-Wan's former Jedi apprentice) years ago, and he gives Luke his father's former lightsaber to keep. After viewing Leia's message, they both hire the smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca to, aboard their space freighter the Millennium Falcon, help them deliver the stolen blueprints inside R2-D2 to the Rebel Alliance with the hope of finding a weakness to the Empire's planet-destroying space station: the Death Star.

For The Star Wars second draft, Lucas made heavy simplifications. It added a mystical energy field known as "The Force" and introduced the young hero on a farm as Luke Starkiller. Annikin became Luke's father, a wise Jedi knight. The third draft killed the father Annikin, replacing him with mentor figure Ben Kenobi. Later, Lucas felt the film would not in fact be the first in the sequence, but a film in the second trilogy in the saga. The draft contained a sub-plot leading to a sequel about "The Princess of Ondos", and by that time some months later Lucas had negotiated a contract that gave him rights to make two sequels. Not long after, Lucas hired author Alan Dean Foster, to write two sequels as novels. In 1976, a fourth draft had been prepared for principal photography. The film was titled Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars. During production, Lucas changed Luke's name to Skywalker and altered the title to simply The Star Wars and finally Star Wars. At that point, Lucas was not expecting the film to have sequels. The fourth draft of the script underwent subtle changes it discarded "the Princess of Ondos" sub-plot, to become a self-contained film, that ended with the destruction of the Galactic Empire itself by way of destroying the Death Star. However, Lucas previously conceived of the film as the first of a series. The intention was that if Star Wars was successful, Lucas could adapt Dean Foster's novels into low-budget sequels. By that point, Lucas had developed an elaborate backstory to aid his writing process.

Before its release, Lucas considered walking away from Star Wars sequels, thinking the film would be a flop. However the film exceeded all expectations. The success of the film as well as its merchandise sales both led Lucas to make Star Wars the basis of an elaborate film serial, and use the profits to finance his film-making center, Skywalker Ranch. Alan Dean Foster was already writing the first sequel-novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye, released in 1978. But Lucas decided not to adapt Foster's work, knowing a sequel would be allowed more budget. At first, Lucas envisioned a series of films with no set number of entries, like the James Bond series. In an interview with Rolling Stone in August 1977, he said that he wanted his friends to each take a turn at directing the films and giving unique interpretations on the series. He added that the backstory in which Darth Vader turns to the dark side, kills Luke's father and fights Obi-Wan Kenobi on a volcano as the Galactic Republic falls would make an excellent sequel.

The Empire Strikes Back

Three years after the destruction of the Death Star, the Rebels are forced to evacuate their secret base on Hoth as they are hunted by the Empire. At the request of the late Obi-Wan's spirit, Luke travels to the swamp-infested world of Dagobah to find the exiled Jedi Master Yoda and begin his Jedi training. However, Luke's training is interrupted by Vader, who lures him into a trap by capturing Han and Leia at Cloud City, governed by Han's old friend Lando Calrissian. During a fierce lightsaber duel with the Sith Lord, Luke learns that Vader is his father.

After the success of the original film, Lucas hired science fiction author Leigh Brackett to write Star Wars II with him. They held story conferences and, by late November 1977, Lucas had produced a handwritten treatment called The Empire Strikes Back. It was similar to the final film, except that Darth Vader does not reveal he is Luke's father.

Brackett finished her first draft in early 1978; in it, Luke's father appeared as a ghost to instruct Luke. Lucas has said he was disappointed with it, but before he could discuss it with her, she died of cancer. With no writer available, Lucas had to write his next draft himself. It was this draft in which Lucas first made use of the "Episode" numbering for the films; Empire Strikes Back was listed as Episode II. As Michael Kaminski argues in The Secret History of Star Wars, the disappointment with the first draft probably made Lucas consider different directions in which to take the story. He made use of a new plot twist: Darth Vader claims to be Luke's father. According to Lucas, he found this draft enjoyable to write, as opposed to the yearlong struggles writing the first film, and quickly wrote two more drafts, both in April 1978. This new story point of Darth Vader being Luke's father had drastic effects on the series. After writing these two drafts, Lucas revised the backstory between Anakin Skywalker, Kenobi, and the Emperor.

With this new backstory in place, Lucas decided that the series would be a trilogy, changing Empire Strikes Back from Episode II to Episode V in the next draft. Lawrence Kasdan, who had just completed writing Raiders of the Lost Ark, was then hired to write the next drafts, and was given additional input from director Irvin Kershner. Kasdan, Kershner, and producer Gary Kurtz saw the film as a more serious and adult film, which was helped by the new, darker storyline, and developed the series from the light adventure roots of the first film.

Return of the Jedi

A year after Vader's shocking revelation, Luke leads a rescue attempt to save Han from the gangster Jabba the Hutt. Afterward, Luke returns to Dagobah to complete his Jedi training, only to find the 900-year-old Yoda on his deathbed. In his last words Yoda confirms that Vader is Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker, and that Luke must confront his father again in order to complete his training. Moments later, the spirit of Obi-Wan reveals to Luke that Leia is his twin sister, but Obi-Wan insists that Luke must face Vader again. As the Rebels lead an attack on the Death Star II, Luke engages Vader in another lightsaber duel as Emperor Palpatine watches; both Sith Lords intend to turn Luke to the dark side of the Force and take him as their apprentice.

By the time Lucas began writing Episode VI in 1981 (then titled Revenge of the Jedi), much had changed. Making Empire Strikes Back was stressful and costly, and Lucas' personal life was disintegrating. Burned out and not wanting to make any more Star Wars films, he vowed that he was done with the series in a May 1983 interview with Time magazine. Lucas' 1981 rough drafts had Darth Vader competing with the Emperor for possession of Luke--and in the second script, the "revised rough draft", Vader became a sympathetic character. Lawrence Kasdan was hired to take over once again and, in these final drafts, Vader was explicitly redeemed and finally unmasked. This change in character would provide a springboard to the "Tragedy of Darth Vader" storyline that underlies the prequels.

Prequel trilogy

After losing much of his fortune in a divorce settlement in 1987, George Lucas had no desire to return to Star Wars, and had unofficially canceled the sequel trilogy by the time of Return of the Jedi. At that point, the prequels were only still a series of basic ideas partially pulled from his original drafts of "The Star Wars". Nevertheless, technical advances in the late 1980s and 1990s continued to fascinate Lucas, and he considered that they might make it possible to revisit his 20-year-old material. The popularity of the franchise was reinvigorated by the Star Wars expanded universe storylines set after the original trilogy films, such as the Thrawn trilogy of novels written by Timothy Zahn and the Dark Empire comic book series published by Dark Horse Comics. Due to the renewed popularity of Star Wars, Lucas saw that there was still a large audience. His children were older, and with the explosion of CGI technology he was now considering returning to directing.

The prequel trilogy consists of Episode I: The Phantom Menace, released on May 19, 1999; Episode II: Attack of the Clones, released on May 16, 2002; and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, released on May 19, 2005. The plot focuses on the fall of the Galactic Republic, as well as the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker's turn to the dark side.

The Phantom Menace

About 32 years before the start of the Galactic Civil War, the corrupt Trade Federation sets a blockade around the planet Naboo. The Sith Lord Darth Sidious had secretly planned the blockade to give his alter ego, Senator Palpatine, a pretense to overthrow and replace the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic. At the Chancellor's request, the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, a younger Obi-Wan Kenobi, are sent to Naboo to negotiate with the Federation. However, the two Jedi are forced to instead help the Queen of Naboo, Padmé Amidala, escape from the blockade and plead her planet's crisis before the Republic Senate on Coruscant. When their starship is damaged during the escape, they land on Tatooine for repairs. Palpatine dispatches his first Sith apprentice, Darth Maul, to hunt down the Queen and her Jedi protectors. While on Tatooine, Qui-Gon discovers a nine-year-old slave named Anakin Skywalker. Qui-Gon helps liberate the boy from slavery, believing Anakin to be the "Chosen One" foretold by a Jedi prophecy to bring balance to the Force. However, the Jedi Council (led by Yoda) suspects the boy possesses too much fear and anger within him.

In 1993, it was announced, in Variety among other sources, that Lucas would be making the prequels. He began penning more to the story, now indicating the series would be a tragic one examining Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side. Lucas began to reevaluate how the prequels would exist relative to the originals; at first they were supposed to be a "filling-in" of history tangential to the originals, but he later realized that they could form the beginning of one long story that started with Anakin's childhood and ended with his death. This was the final step towards turning the film series into a "Saga". In 1994, Lucas began writing the screenplay to the first prequel, initially titled Episode I: The Beginning. Following the release of that film, Lucas announced that he would be directing the next two, and began work on Episode II.

Attack of the Clones

Ten years after the Battle of Naboo, former Queen of Naboo Padmé, is now serving as the Senator to her planet, until her duty is interrupted by an assassination attempt. Obi-Wan and his apprentice Anakin are assigned to her protect her; Obi-Wan goes on a mission to track the killer, while Anakin and Padmé go into hiding. They soon fall in love with each other, albeit secretly due to the Jedi Order's rule against attachment. At the same time, Chancellor Palpatine schemes to sweep the entire galaxy up into the conflict (known as the Clone Wars) between the armies of the Republic led by the Jedi Order, and the Confederacy of Independent Systems led by the fallen Jedi Count Dooku; the former master of Obi-Wan's deceased master Qui-Gon, and Palpatine's new Sith apprentice.

The first draft of Episode II was completed just weeks before principal photography, and Lucas hired Jonathan Hales, a writer from The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, to polish it. Unsure of a title, Lucas had jokingly called the film "Jar Jar's Great Adventure". In writing The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas initially decided that Lando Calrissian was a clone and came from a planet of clones which caused the "Clone Wars" mentioned by both Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in A New Hope; he later came up with an alternate concept of an army of clone shocktroopers from a remote planet which attacked the Republic and were repelled by the Jedi. The basic elements of that backstory became the plot basis for Episode II, with the new wrinkle added that Palpatine secretly orchestrated the crisis.

Revenge of the Sith

Three years after the start of the Clone Wars, Anakin and Obi-Wan lead a rescue mission to save the kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine from Count Dooku and the droid commander General Grievous. Later, Anakin begins to have prophetic visions of his secret wife Padmé dying in childbirth. Palpatine, who had been secretly engineering the Clone Wars to destroy the Jedi Order, convinces Anakin that the dark side of the Force holds the power to save Padmé's life. Desperate, Anakin submits to Palpatine's Sith teachings and is renamed Darth Vader. While Palpatine re-organizes the Republic into the tyrannical Empire, Vader participates in the extermination of the Jedi Order; culminating in a lightsaber duel between himself and his former master Obi-Wan on the volcanic planet Mustafar.

Lucas began working on Episode III before Attack of the Clones was released, offering concept artists that the film would open with a montage of seven Clone War battles. As he reviewed the storyline that summer, however, he says he radically re-organized the plot. Michael Kaminski, in The Secret History of Star Wars, offers evidence that issues in Anakin's fall to the dark side prompted Lucas to make massive story changes, first revising the opening sequence to have Palpatine kidnapped and his apprentice, Count Dooku, murdered by Anakin as the first act in the latter's turn towards the dark side. After principal photography was complete in 2003, Lucas made even more massive changes in Anakin's character, re-writing his entire turn to the dark side; he would now turn primarily in a quest to save Padmé's life, rather than the previous version in which that reason was one of several, including that he genuinely believed that the Jedi were evil and plotting to take over the Republic. This fundamental re-write was accomplished both through editing the principal footage, and new and revised scenes filmed during pick-ups in 2004.

The Clone Wars

On August 15, 2008, the standalone animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars was released theatrically as a lead-in to the animated TV series with the same name. The animated film and series are both set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, though Lucas used the film to introduce a huge retcon into the storyline, revealing Anakin to have trained a female padawan apprentice of his own, named Ahsoka Tano. Unlike the rest of the Star Wars films whose storylines are fully solved within the films series, the animated series is required to explain Ahsoka Tano's absence from the other films. The new character was originally criticized by fans, but by the end of the animated series the character became a fan favorite. The series ran 6 seasons, which were broadcast on Cartoon Network, with the exception of the last one. The final season was cut short following Disney's purchase of the franchise. There were also two more seasons in the works, but these were also cancelled.

Sequel trilogy

Over the years, Lucas often exaggerated the amount of material he wrote for the series; much of the exaggerations stemmed from the post-1978 period when the series grew into a phenomenon. Michael Kaminski explained that the exaggerations were both a publicity and security measure, further rationalizing that since the series' story radically changed throughout the years, it was always Lucas' intention to change the original story retroactively because audiences would only view the material from his perspective. The exaggerations created rumors of Lucas having plot outlines a sequel trilogy (Episodes VII, VIII, and IX), which would continue the story after 1983's Episode VI: Return of the Jedi Lucasfilm and George Lucas had denied plans for a sequel trilogy for many years, insisting that Star Wars was meant to be a six-part series, and that no further films would be released after the conclusion of the prequel trilogy in 2005. Although Lucas made an exception by releasing the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars film in 2008, while promoting it, Lucas maintained his status on the sequel trilogy: "I get asked all the time, 'What happens after Return of the Jedi?,' and there really is no answer for that. The movies were the story of Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker, and when Luke saves the galaxy and redeems his father, that's where that story ends."

In January 2012, Lucas announced that he would step away from blockbuster films and instead produce smaller arthouse films. Asked whether the criticism he received following the prequel trilogy and the alterations to the re-releases of the original trilogy had influenced his decision to retire, Lucas said: "Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?" Despite insisting that a sequel trilogy would never happen, Lucas began working on story treatments for three new Star Wars films in 2011. In October 2012, The Walt Disney Company agreed to buy Lucasfilm and announced that Star Wars Episode VII would be released in 2015. Later, it was revealed that the three new upcoming films (Episodes VII-IX) would be based on story treatments that had been written by George Lucas prior to the sale of Lucasfilm. The co-chairman of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, became president of the company, reporting to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. In addition, Kennedy would serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with franchise creator and Lucasfilm founder Lucas serving as creative consultant.

The sequel trilogy began with Episode VII: The Force Awakens, released on December 18, 2015. It was followed by Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, released on December 15, 2017. Episode IX is due to be released on December 20, 2019.

The Force Awakens

About 30 years after the destruction of the Death Star II, Luke Skywalker has vanished following the demise of the new Jedi Order he was attempting to build. The remnants of the Empire have become the First Order, and seek to destroy Luke and the New Republic, while the Resistance opposes, led by princess-turned-general Leia Organa and backed by the Republic. On Jakku, Resistance pilot Poe Dameron obtains a map to Luke's location. Stormtroopers under the command of Kylo Ren, the son of Leia and Han Solo, capture Poe. Poe's droid BB-8 escapes with the map, and encounters a scavenger Rey. Kylo tortures Poe and learns of BB-8. Stormtrooper FN-2187 defects from the First Order, and frees Poe who dubs him "Finn", while both escape in a TIE fighter that crashes on Jakku, seemingly killing Poe. Finn finds Rey and BB-8, but the First Order does too; both escape Jakku in a stolen Millennium Falcon. The Falcon is recaptured by Han and Chewbacca, smugglers again since abandoning the Resistance. They agree to help deliver the map inside BB-8 to the Resistance.

The screenplay for Episode VII was originally set to be written by Michael Arndt, but in October 2013 it was announced that writing duties would be taken over by Lawrence Kasdan and J. J. Abrams. On January 25, 2013, The Walt Disney Studios and Lucasfilm officially announced J. J. Abrams as Star Wars Episode VII's director and producer, along with Bryan Burk and Bad Robot Productions.

The Last Jedi

Right after the destruction of Starkiller Base, Rey goes to planet Ahch-To, and attempts to convince the reluctant last Jedi alive, Luke Skywalker to teach her the ways of the Jedi and the Force. Rey also seeks answers of her past and the origin of the conflict between Kylo Ren and Luke, with the help from Luke, while trough the Force and unbeknounst to Luke, she starts comunicatting with her nemesis Kylo Ren, who also is Luke's nephew and fallen Jedi apprentice, Ben Solo (who renamed himself Kylo Ren). Meanwhile, Ben Solo's mom and Luke's sister Leia leads Poe, Finn, BB-8, Rose Tico, and the rest of the Resistance, as they are pursued by the First Order leaded by Snoke, with Kylo Ren as his second in command. After hearing Kylo Ren's perspective, Rey disagrees with Luke and despite his warnings leaves him, in order to attempt to redeem Kylo Ren and achieve peace. To do this, Rey, unknowingly, helps Kylo Ren assassinate Supreme Leader Snoke, however unknown to her, Kylo Ren's true intentions were to replace Snoke as Supreme Leader of the First Order, believing destroying the Jedi and the Resistance the only way to achieve true peace. Rey must choose between Kylo Ren's offer to co-lead th First Order, and help him exterminate the Resistance and Luke, or helping an outnumbered and cornered Resistance survive on Criat, before it's too late.

On November 20, 2012, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg would write and produce Episodes VIII and IX. Kasdan and Kinberg were later confirmed as creative consultants on those films, in addition to writing standalone films. In addition, John Williams, who wrote the music for the previous six episodes, was hired to compose the music for Episodes VII, VIII and IX. On March 12, 2015, Lucasfilm announced that Looper director Rian Johnson would direct Episode VIII with Ram Bergman as producer for Ram Bergman Productions. Reports initially claimed Johnson would also direct Episode IX, but it was later confirmed he would write only a story treatment. Johnson later wrote on his Twitter that the information about him writing a treatment for Episode IX is old, and he's not involved with the writing of that film. When asked about Episode VIII in an August 2014 interview, Johnson said "it's boring to talk about, because the only thing I can really say is, I'm just happy. I don't have the terror I kind of expected I would, at least not yet. I'm sure I will at some point." Principal photography on The Last Jedi began in February 2016. Additional filming took place in Dubrovnik from March 9 to March 16, 2016, as well as in Ireland in May 2016. Principal photography wrapped in July 2016. On December 27, 2016, Carrie Fisher died after going into cardiac arrest a few days earlier. Before her death, Fisher had completed filming her role as General Leia Organa in The Last Jedi. The film was released on December 15, 2017.

Episode IX

Production on Episode IX was scheduled to begin sometime in 2017. Variety and Reuters reported that Carrie Fisher was slated for a key role in Episode IX. Now, Lucasfilm, Disney and others involved with the film have been forced to find a way to address her death in the upcoming film and alter her character's role. In January 2017, Lucasfilm stated they would not digitally generate Fisher's performance for the film. In April 2017, Fisher's brother Todd and daughter Billie Lourd gave Disney permission to use recent footage of Fisher for the film, but later that month, Kennedy stated that Fisher will not appear in the film. Principal photography of Star Wars: Episode IX is set to begin in July 2018.

Anthology films

Before selling Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, and parallel to his development of a sequel trilogy, George Lucas and his original trilogy co-scriptwriter Lawrence Kasdan started development on a film about a young Han Solo. On February 5, 2013, Disney CEO Bob Iger made public the development of the Lawrence Kasdan standalone film, along with an undisclosed film written by Simon Kinberg. On February 6, Entertainment Weekly reported Kasdan's film would focus on Han Solo, while the other on Boba Fett (the info on the later film was never confirmed). Disney CFO Jay Rasulo has described the standalone films as origin stories. Kathleen Kennedy explained that the standalone films will not cross over with the films of the sequel trilogy, stating,

George was so clear as to how that works. The canon that he created was the Star Wars saga. Right now, Episode VII falls within that canon. The spin-off movies, or we may come up with some other way to call those films, they exist within that vast universe that he created. There is no attempt being made to carry characters (from the standalone films) in and out of the saga episodes. Consequently, from the creative standpoint, it's a roadmap that George made pretty clear.

star-wars-carrie-fisher-and-wim-wenders

In April 2015, Lucasfilm and Kennedy announced that the standalone films would be referred to as the Star Wars Anthology films (albeit the word anthology has never been used on any of the films titles, instead choosing to carry the "A Star Wars Story" subtitle below the film's main title.) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released on December 16, 2016 as the first in an anthology series of films separate from the main episodic saga. The second film Solo: A Star Wars Story, was released on May 25, 2018. The still yet to be titled third film will be based on Boba Fett and will be released in 2020.

Rogue One

The story is about Rogue One, the group of rebels led by Jyn Erso, who stole the Death Star plans. The film ends moments before the start of Episode IV: A New Hope.

The idea for the film was conceived by John Knoll who worked as a visual effects supervisor of the prequel trilogy films. In May 2014, Lucasfilm announced Gareth Edwards as the director of the first anthology film, with Gary Whitta writing the first draft, for a release on December 16, 2016. On March 12, 2015, the film's title was revealed to be Rogue One, with Chris Weitz rewriting the script, and starring Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, with Ben Mendelsohn, and Diego Luna all playing characters original to the film, with suppoting roles for James Earl Jones voicing Darth Vader, and other character frm previous films, including Bail Organa and Mon Mothma. The film is the first of the series to include characters from the animated series, from The Clone Wars's Saw Gerrera is Jyn Erso's extremist mentor, and Chopper from Star Wars: Rebels has a cameo. In April 2015, a teaser trailer was shown during the closing of the Star Wars Celebration. Lucasfilm announced filming would begin in the summer of 2015 and released the plot synopsis. Director Edwards stated, "It comes down to a group of individuals who don't have magical powers that have to somehow bring hope to the galaxy."; and describing the style of the film as similar to that of a war film: "It's the reality of war. Good guys are bad. Bad guys are good. It's complicated, layered; a very rich scenario in which to set a movie." After its debut, Rogue One received generally positive reviews, with its performances, action sequences, soundtrack, visual effects and darker tone being praised. The film grossed over US$500 million worldwide within a week of its release.

Solo

Solo is a film focusing on a younger Han Solo and the beginning of his career as a smuggler, as well as his friendship with the Wookiee Chewbacca. A younger Lando Calrissian also appears as the owner of the Millenium Falcon. The film is set before the events of Rogue One and Han's appearance in Episode IV: A New Hope.

Before selling Lucasfilm to Disney, George Lucas started development on a film about a young Han Solo. Lucas hired Star Wars original trilogy veteran script writer Lawrence Kasdan, along his son Jon Kasdan, to write the script. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich as a young Han Solo, Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca (after serving as a double for the character in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi), Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, with Emilia Clarke and Woody Harrelson playing characters original to the film. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller began principal photography on the film, but due to creative differences, the pair left the project in June 2017 with three and a half weeks remaining in principal photography. Their replacement was Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard, who previously by saying, "George, you should do it!", had been one of the three directors to decline George Lucas offer to direct Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Howard had previously collaborated with Lucas prior to Star Wars existence, as an actor in the George Lucas directed film American Graffiti (1973), which featured Howard's character helped the character of original Han Solo actor Harrison Ford, after a car crash. Howard had also directed Willow (1988) for Lucasfilm, Warwick Davis, who played Howard's titular lead on that film, also appears on Solo.

Untitled Boba Fett film

A third anthology film is scheduled to be released in 2020. A writer for the film has been hired as of September 2016.

In February 2013, Entertainment Weekly reported that Lucasfilm hired Josh Trank to direct a Star Wars standalone film, with the news being confirmed soon after. However, in November 2016 Trank announced he had left the project. By 2017, it was reported that the film was still in early development at Lucasfilm, and with reports stating that the film would focus on bounty hunter Boba Fett. Lucasfilm never confirmed any details of the plot, but revealed that the film Josh Trank left was a different film from Solo and Rogue One. Simon Kinberg, the co-creator of animated series Star Wars Rebels, had previously been attached to produce the never officially confirmed Boba Fett-centered film. In March 2018, it was revealed by Deadline that Kinberg is writing the script to an as-of-yet undisclosed film within the franchise, that he was producing. By May 2018, it was announced that James Mangold had signed on to write and direct the untitled Boba Fett film, with Kinberg confirmed to be attached as producer and co-screenwriter.

Daniel Logan, who played Boba Fett as a child in Attack of the Clones and voiced him in The Clone Wars animated series, expressed interest in reprising his role in the rumored Boba Fett film. Temuera Morrison who voiced an adult Boba Fett in the 2004 special editions of the original trilogy, also expressed interest in portraying Boba Fett, he also had portrayed Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones (since Boba is an identical clone of Jango Fett, whom Jango raised as his son), and said he would also like to play clonetrooper Captain Rex (another Jango clone), noting the older version of Rex matched his own age.

Potential future Anthology films

In August 2016, Ewan McGregor, who played a younger Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel trilogy, stated that if Lucasfilm approached him, he would be open to return to the role in a spin-off Anthology film focused on the character's life in the time between Episode III and IV. The amount of fan-interest led to reports that a film was being made, while Lucasfilm clarified that it was not in development. In March 2017, McGregor again stated his interest in starring in the film, if Lucasfilm wanted him to. Later in 2017, when footage from the film Last Days in the Desert (which starred McGregor), was edited into a fan-trailer for an Obi-Wan film. The video was voted as the most wanted anthology film in a poll by The Hollywood Reporter. By August 2017, it was reported that an Obi-Wan Kenobi film was in development, with Stephen Daldry in early negotiations to co-write and direct the project. Liam Neeson expressed his interest in returning to the franchise, reprising his role as Qui-Gon Jinn. Joel Edgerton, who played Luke Skywalker's step-uncle Owen in the prequel trilogy, said he would like to reprise his role in an Obi-Wan standalone film, if it were to be made. As of 2018, McGregor has stated he would be open to reprising his role in the movie, while reports state the film may be released in 2020.

Alden Ehrenreich confirmed his contract deal to appear as Han Solo, extended for two additional films, giving the studio the option to pursue a sequel to Solo, or featuring him in other anthology films in a supporting capacity. Solo director Ron Howard, said that a while no sequel was in-development, it was up to the fans to decide. Critics noted the film intentionally left room open for sequels. Solo writer Jon Kasdan said, were he to write the sequel he would include bounty hunter Bossk (whom briefly appeared in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back). While Ehrenreich said he would like sequels to differentiate themselves from the previous Star Wars trilogies, by being standalone in the vein of Indiana Jones or the James Bond films, rather than direct follow ups.

Kennedy said a film focusing on Lando could also happen, but it would not be a priority at the time. Glover said he would imagine it as a Catch Me If You Can in space.

Additional reports stated Lucasfilm was considering various films about different characters including movies focusing on Boba Fett, as well as Jedi Master Yoda. In 2015, director Guillermo Del Toro pitched an idea to Lucasfilm for a film about Jabba the Hutt, and in 2017, it was reported that it is among the projects being considered by the studio.

Samuel L. Jackson has expressed interest in returning as Mace Windu, insisting that his character survived his apparent death. Ian McDiarmid has also expressed interest in returning as Emperor Palpatine. There is also a possibility of Ahsoka Tano appearing in a live-action film, with Rosario Dawson expressing interest in portraying the character.

Untitled trilogy by Rian Johnson

In November 2017, Lucasfilm announced that Rian Johnson, the writer/director of The Last Jedi, would be working on a new trilogy. The films will reportedly differ from the Skywalker-focused films in favor of focusing on new characters. Johnson is confirmed to write and direct the first film. On the same day, Disney announced that a live-action Star Wars television series was in development exclusively for their upcoming streaming service.

In other media

From 1977 to 2014, the term Expanded Universe (abbreviated as EU), was an umbrella term for all officially licensed Star Wars storytelling materials set outside the events depicted within the theatrical films, including television series, novels, comics, and video games. Lucasfilm maintained internal continuity between the films and television content and the EU material until April 25, 2014, when the company announced all of the EU works would cease production. Existing works would no longer be considered canon to the franchise and subsequent reprints would be rebranded under the Star Wars Legends label, with downloadable content for the massively multiplayer online game Star Wars: The Old Republic being the only Legends material to still be produced. The Star Wars canon was subsequently restructured to only include the existing six feature films, the animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), and its companion animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. All future projects and creative developments across all types of media would be overseen and coordinated by the Story Group, announced as a division of Lucasfilm created to maintain continuity and a cohesive vision on the storytelling of the franchise. Lucasfilm announced that the change was made "to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience"., The animated series Star Wars Rebels was the first project produced after the announcement, followed by multiple comics series from Marvel, novels published by Del Rey, and the sequel film The Force Awakens (2015).

Television

Early films and television specials

In the two-hour Star Wars Holiday Special produced for CBS in 1978, Chewbacca returns to his home planet of Kashyyyk to celebrate "Life Day" with his family. Along with the stars of the original 1977 film, celebrities Bea Arthur, Art Carney, Diahann Carroll, and Jefferson Starship appear in plot-related skits and musical numbers. Lucas loathed the special and forbade it to ever be aired again after its original broadcast, or reproduced on home video. An 11-minute animated sequence in the Holiday Special featuring the first appearance of bounty hunter Boba Fett, is considered to be the sole silver lining of the production, with Lucas even including it as a special feature on a 2011 Blu-ray release (making it the only part of the Holiday Special to ever receive an official home media release). The segment is the first Star Wars animation ever produced.

The television film Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure aired on ABC on Thanksgiving weekend in 1984. With a story by Lucas and a screenplay by Bob Carrau, it features the Ewok Wicket from Return of the Jedi as he helps two children rescue their parents from a giant known as Gorax. The 1985 sequel, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, finds Wicket and his friends protecting their village from invaders.

Animation

Nelvana, the animation studio that had animated the animated segment of the Holiday Special was hired to create two animated series. Star Wars: Droids (1985-1986), which aired for one season on ABC, follows the adventures of the droids C-3PO and R2-D2, 15 years before the events of the 1977 film Star Wars. Its sister series Star Wars: Ewoks (1985-1987) features the adventures of the Ewoks before Return of the Jedi and the Ewok movies.

After the release of Attack of the Clones, Cartoon Network animated and aired the micro-series Star Wars: Clone Wars from 2003 to weeks before the 2005 release of Revenge of the Sith, as the series featured event set between those films. It won the Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program in 2004 and 2005.

Lucas decided to invest in creating his own animation company, Lucasfilm Animation, and used it to create his first in-house Star Wars CGI-animated series. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2014) was introduced through a 2008 animated film of the same name, and set in the same time period as the previous Clone Wars series (albeit ignoring it). While all previous television works were reassigned to the Legends brand in 2014, Lucasfilm accepted The Clone Wars and its originating film, as part of the canon. All series released after would also be part of the canon. In 2014, Disney XD began airing Star Wars Rebels, the next CGI-animated series. Set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, it followed a band of rebels as they fight the Galactic Empire and helped close some of the arcs in The Clone Wars. The animated microseries Star Wars Forces of Destiny debuted in 2017, focusing on the female characters of the franchise. The animated series Star Wars Resistance will debut in fall 2018, it will be more anime inspired, and focus on resistance pilot Kazuda Zioni in the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

Untitled Star Wars series

Since 2005, when Lucas announced plans for a television series set between the prequel and original trilogies, the television project has been in varying stages of development at Lucasfilm Producer Rick McCallum revealed the working title, Star Wars: Underworld, in 2012, and said in 2013 that 50 scripts had been written. He called the project "The most provocative, the most bold and daring material that we've ever done." The proposed series explores criminal and political power struggles in the decades prior to A New Hope, and as of December 2015 was still in development at Lucasfilm. In November 2017, Bob Iger discussed the development of a Star Wars series for Disney's upcoming digital streaming service, due to launch in 2019. It is unknown if the series would be based on the Star Wars Underworld scripts or if it would follow an entirely new idea.

In February 2018, it was reported that there are multiple live action Star Wars TV series currently in development, with "rather significant" talent involved in the productions. Jon Favreau, who had previously voiced Pre Vizsla in The Clone Wars animated series, will produce and write the television series. In May 2018, Favreau confirmed the series would be set seven years after Return of the Jedi (23 years before The Force Awakens) and that the series would feature motion capture characters.

Print media

Star Wars-based fiction predates the release of the first film, with the December 1976 novelization of Star Wars, subtitled From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker. Credited to Lucas, it was ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster. The first Expanded Universe story appeared in Marvel Comics' Star Wars #7 in January 1978 (the first six issues of the series having been an adaptation of the film), followed quickly by Foster's novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye the following month.

Novels

Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker is a 1976 novelization of the original film by Alan Dean Foster, who followed it with the sequel Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1978), which Lucas decided not to film. The film novelizations for The Empire Strikes Back (1980) by Donald F. Glut and Return of the Jedi (1983) by James Kahn followed, as well as The Han Solo Adventures trilogy (1979-1980) by Brian Daley, and The Adventures of Lando Calrissian (1983) trilogy by L. Neil Smith.

Timothy Zahn's bestselling Thrawn trilogy (1991-1993) reignited interest in the franchise and introduced the popular characters Grand Admiral Thrawn, Mara Jade, Talon Karrde, and Gilad Pellaeon. The first novel, Heir to the Empire, reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list, and the series finds Luke, Leia, and Han facing off against tactical genius Thrawn, who is plotting to retake the galaxy for the Empire. In The Courtship of Princess Leia (1994) by Dave Wolverton, set immediately before the Thrawn trilogy, Leia considers an advantageous political marriage to Prince Isolder of the planet Hapes, but she and Han ultimately marry. Steve Perry's Shadows of the Empire (1996), set in the as-yet-unexplored time period between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, was part of a multimedia campaign that included a comic book series and video game. The novel introduced the crime lord Prince Xizor, another popular character who would appear in multiple other works. Other notable series from Bantam include the Jedi Academy trilogy (1994) by Kevin J. Anderson, the 14-book Young Jedi Knights series (1995-1998) by Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, and the X-wing series (1996-2012) by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston.

Del Rey took over Star Wars book publishing in 1999, releasing what would become a 19-installment novel series called The New Jedi Order (1999-2003). Written by multiple authors, the series was set 25 to 30 years after the original films and introduced the Yuuzhan Vong, a powerful alien race attempting to invade and conquer the entire galaxy. The bestselling multi-author series Legacy of the Force (2006-2008) chronicles the crossover of Han and Leia's son Jacen Solo to the dark side of the Force; among his evil deeds, he kills Luke's wife Mara Jade as a sacrifice to join the Sith. The story parallels the fallen son of Han and Leia, Ben Solo/Kylo Ren, in the 2015 film The Force Awakens. Three series were introduced for younger audiences: the 18-book Jedi Apprentice (1999-2002) chronicles the adventures of Obi-Wan Kenobi and his master Qui-Gon Jinn in the years before The Phantom Menace; the 11-book Jedi Quest (2001-2004) follows Obi-Wan and his own apprentice, Anakin Skywalker in between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones; and the 10-book The Last of the Jedi (2005-2008), set almost immediately after Revenge of the Sith, features Obi-Wan and the last few surviving Jedi. Maul: Lockdown by Joe Schreiber, released in January 2014, was the last Star Wars novel published before Lucasfilm announced the creation of the Star Wars Legends brand.

Though Thrawn had been designated a Legends character in 2014, he was reintroduced into the canon in the 2016 third season of Star Wars Rebels, with Zahn returning to write more novels based in the character, and set in the reworked canon.

Comics

Marvel Comics published a Star Wars comic book series from 1977 to 1986. Original Star Wars comics were serialized in the Marvel magazine Pizzazz between 1977 and 1979. The 1977 installments were the first original Star Wars stories not directly adapted from the films to appear in print form, as they preceded those of the Star Wars comic series. From 1985-1987, the animated children's series Ewoks and Droids inspired comic series from Marvel's Star Comics line.

In the late 1980s, Marvel dropped a new Star Wars comic it had in development, which was picked up by Dark Horse Comics and published as the popular Dark Empire sequence (1991-1995). Dark Horse subsequently launched dozens of series set after the original film trilogy, including Tales of the Jedi (1993-1998), X-wing Rogue Squadron (1995-1998), Star Wars: Republic (1998-2006), Star Wars Tales (1999-2005), Star Wars: Empire (2002-2006), and Knights of the Old Republic (2006-2010).

After Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm, it was announced in January 2014 that in 2015 the Star Wars comics license would return to Marvel Comics, whose parent company, Marvel Entertainment, Disney had purchased in 2009. Launched in 2015, the first three publications in were titled Star Wars, Star Wars: Darth Vader, and the limited series Star Wars: Princess Leia.

Audio dramas

Radio adaptations of the films were also produced. Lucas, a fan of the NPR-affiliated campus radio station of his alma mater the University of Southern California, licensed the Star Wars radio rights to KUSC-FM for US$1. The production used John Williams' original film score, along with Ben Burtt's sound effects.

The first was written by science fiction author Brian Daley and directed by John Madden. It was broadcast on National Public Radio in 1981, adapting the original 1977 film into 13-episodes. Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels reprised their film roles.

The overwhelming success, led to a 10-episode adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back in 1982. Billy Dee Williams joined the other two stars, reprising his role as Lando Calrissian.

In 1983, Buena Vista Records released an original, 30-minute Star Wars audio drama titled Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell, written by Daley. In the 1990s, Time Warner Audio Publishing adapted several Star Wars series from Dark Horse Comics into audio dramas: the three-part Dark Empire saga, Tales of the Jedi, Dark Lords of the Sith, the Dark Forces trilogy, and Crimson Empire (1998). Return of the Jedi was adapted into 6-episodes in 1996, featuring Daniels.

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