Episode 1 of 6: How STAR WARS Brought Us A NEW HOPE by Chris Salce
Starting in 1977, just a couple years after the Vietnam War, with innovative story telling, along with visually striking imagery , a very creative young man took millions of us on a journey. A journey that involved outer space dog fights, princesses in distress, creatures of all walks of a brand new universe, & intergalactic wars of it’s own. That young man was named George Lucas & that journey was known as Star Wars.
In Star Wars, set “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away” we followed an adventurous young Luke Skywalker & other now iconic characters, on their journey that would take us from the far reaches of the galaxy. A galaxy that seems limitless & yet to be discovered. Luke’s adventures of learning the ways of the Force, possibly following his father’s foot steps, & a constant battle between good & evil which would make for one of the greatest trilogies ever created.
With only an $11 million budget for A New Hope, George Lucas made the impossible, possible. He combined the likes of Flash Gordon, Hamlet, Wizard of Oz & Mythology into a sci-fi genre. He brought effects to the screen in likes which were never seen before. With the help of revolutionary special effects, things like hovering space crafts, holograms, swords made of laser type light beams, & an energy that combines all living things that binds the galaxy together. Which can be used for both good & evil. George Lucas’s stylistic vision made it seem that a future has a past. By that I mean, it had ships, droids, worlds that looked like they were beat up, used & have been around for ages. Yet it was all brand new to us & we gladly accepted it & believed it. A New Hope opened up as the highest grossing film in history making over 100,000,000 dollars world wide & would stay at the top for another 5 years.
Just 3 years after A New Hope, the Sequel Empire Strikes back would come out. Empire Strikes Back continued with the revolutionary vision. We saw even more undiscovered worlds filled with giant walking dog like robots known as AT-ATs, bounty hunter Boba Fett along with his & Vader’s infamous Carbonite trap & a vice versa talking little green Grand Jedi Master Yoda. Along with these contraptions & characters, Empire Strikes Back was storytelling at it’s best. We learned the true relationship between Luke Skywalker & Darth Vader with one simple phrase, “I am your Father.” A phrase that all of us know to this day. & for the first time, we saw that the bad guys would win at the the end of the film. Which was pretty much unheard of & still is. Even though the title itself gave it away, people still watched it because of it’s amazing visuals & storytelling.
1983 would bring us to the end of our newly discovered universe with Return of the Jedi. In Return of the Jedi, we realized that it was not only about Luke’s journey but also Darth Vader’s. We watched both of them struggle between the light side & dark side of the Force & finally put a conclusion to where they would stand. Together, along with the rebel alliance & furry little warriors, the Ewoks, they defeated the evil Emperor Sidious & the Empire. They would finally bring balance to the Force.
For years we’ve watched this trilogy over & over from Vhs to dvd From the original version to the newly revised versions. Whether we thought they needed to be revised or not, we still watched. This trilogy would gave us “a new hope” for the future. It would continue to inspire us, spark excitement & imagination for generations to come. George Lucas would do so again 22 years later when he would announce an unheard of type of sequels called “Prequels”.
(Next Article: Episode 2: the Hits & Misses of the Prequels)