As the world awaits the decade’s most anticipated film, Will Bond tells [smiths] and its readership everything you should remember about the Star Wars franchise before Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theatres on December 17th.
‘I’ve never seen Star Wars’ are words that subtly pain me to my very core. From my own experience of watching old VHS copies of A New Hope (Episode IV, 1977) or playing a pod-racing game on my godparents’ Playstation, I for one cannot see a way in which anyone has never seen Star Wars in one way or another. However, I was asked to boil down the multi-billion-dollar franchise for people who’ve never seen it, and I must oblige…*sigh*…
Star Wars was originally a trilogy of science fiction fantasy films set ‘A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away’ where spaceships light speed travel; lightsabers (basically laser swords) and telekinesis all exist as commonplace. Starring the incredible cast of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Alec Guinness (to name but a few), it became a cultural touchstone for many young and old. In fact, the merchandising of said trilogy has become the most successful part of it (see literally ANY conventional toy store…or your nerd friend’s bedroom).
The story is that of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) finding his place in the galaxy as he discovers he has the ability to control ‘The Force,’ a mystical and universal entity which controls all things. Alongside his mentor, Obi Wan Kenobi (Guinness) and his new friends Han Solo (Ford), Princess Leia Organa (Fisher) and others, they seek to destroy the evil Galactic Empire, watched over by Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones) and his Emperor (played by Ian McDiarmid in Episode VI), who are also capable of manipulating The Force, but only ‘The Dark Side’, as they call it. Eventually becoming a Jedi (as they are called), Luke must learn to control himself in his abilities, otherwise fall to the same dark side as his evil counterparts.
That is all I am going to tell you about the plot of Star Wars. Why? Because it is SO MUCH MORE than that! I cannot begin to explain how much detail and amazing stuff happens in these three movies. Just watch them, damn you.
However, you may have heard there is a sequel to these movies coming out… tomorrow in fact. This is true. And all of us here in Nerd Town are FLAILING IN EXCITEMENT, YOU HAVE NO IDEA! Ahem, sorry…inside voices…
Yes, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is the seventh official instalment of the franchise, since we got that prequel trilogy which got people like me interested as a kid, but eventually we learnt how movies work and…we got sad. Really sad. Compared to the original trilogy, they just don’t hold up well. They just don’t. Episode III was kind of OK, I guess, but…meh.
Here’s what you should know about Star Wars as a whole:
- There are lightsabers in it. And we all want them to be real, regardless of safety.
- The entire franchise teaches us that good and evil must be balanced. Since the bad guys never really go away.
- Star Wars spawned a religion, ‘Jediism,’ which has been used on census forms in 10 different countries, including the UK.
- The franchise made so much money for LEGO, you would not believe.
- It can potentially go on making films indefinitely.
Here’s what you shouldn’t know:
- Jar Jar exists. See that name? Now delete it from your memory. Everything is fine.
- Disney purchased the franchise from Lucasfilm for roughly $4 billion. Let’s hope it was worth it.
- There is a thing called the Expanded Universe, which some fans created to explore what happened before and after the events of the movies. However, not even I wanted to dive into it, as it contains so much wish-fulfilment and self-indulgent fanfiction, that it becomes unpleasant. Also ignore the erotica. Please.
- The producers and writers of Episode VII practically ignored the Expanded Universe. Which I find utterly hilarious.
Lastly, here is a concise rundown of each film, in the order they were released:
A New Hope (Episode IV, 1977): A superb introduction to a rich sci-fi world. Fine actors, amazing sets and fight scenes. What’s not to love?
The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V, 1980): The best of the series to many people. New, lovable characters and obeys the rules of the world it is set perfectly. Best sequel to any movie and the greatest of plot developments.
The Return Of The Jedi (Episode VI, 1983): A fine closer to the trilogy but lacks the overall excitement IV and V had. Still, great action. The equivalent of a christmas special.
The Phantom Menace (Episode I, 1999): Why? WHY?! Vader as a kid? Fish people? POLITICS?!
Attack Of The Clones (Episode II, 2002): Worst. Love Story. Ever.
Revenge Of The Sith (Episode III, 2005): It’s ok, it just has an extremely moody Anakin Skywalker.
To hear Will talk more Star Wars check out the latest episode of his show Wisdom Teeth on Wired Radio here.