On May 25, 1977, forty years ago today, a new movie named Star Wars opened at 42 theaters. No one knew it would become an unstoppable juggernaut, spawning seven sequels and prequels with another opening this year, plus video games, TV shows, million of toys, and even a theme park. In 1977, the idea of a "franchise" in filmmaking had been put on the back burner after the cheaply-made Saturday morning serials of the 1930-'50s. If Star Wars hadn't been such a moneymaker, there never would have been The Empire Strikes Back or any other sequel. And what would that have been like?
If no Star Wars sequels would have changed Lucas, think of how it would have changed Star Wars. Darth Vader is never Luke Skywalker’s father. We never meet Yoda. (Which has to affect Frank Oz’s career somehow, no? Do we still get What About Bob?) There’s no Jabba the Hutt, or Lando Calrissian, or Han Solo frozen in carbonite, or Ewoks. (Some of these changes, admittedly, would be greater losses than others.)We would have never known which hero gets the girl! And while there might still be the "special editions," even they would have been different. Read more about this fantasy at Screen Crush.
And since it is the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, here are some more articles paying tribute to Luke, Darth, and the galaxy far, far away.
When No Theater Wanted to Show the Movie in 1977.
The $11 million spent on Star Wars in 1977 was the best film investment ever made.
Revisiting Original Star Wars Reviews from 1977.
Why the blockbuster saga is the greatest soap opera in the galaxy.
Ranking the 40 greatest Star Wars quotes of all time, for the 40th anniversary.
Celebrities share their Star Wars memories.
That’s no moon ... but what if it were?
40 Years of Star Wars Anniversary Posters.
(Image credit: StarWars.com)