Today is Star Wars Day, an unofficial holiday that celebrates the Star Wars franchise. With the announcement of a new Star Wars cast and a release date, it seems that everyone is looking forward to the future of the series and re-looking at the past Space opera. With the new information about the upcoming Star Wars film, Disney attraction and things and the numerous stories of the expanded universe, it is hard not to get interested in this imaginative series. So in May 4th, watch the film or the animated series and just have fun. May the Fourth be with you.
Star Wars: Original
Star Wars: A New Hope premiered in 1977 and was soon followed by The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983). It starred Mark Hamill as Jedi Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa and Harrison Ford as Han Solo. In addition, the original cast featured Peter Mayhew as wookie Chewbacca, droids R2D2 (Kenny Baker) and C3PIO (Anthony Daniels). The Original Trilogy captured the hearts and imagination of many as viewers watched how the heroes fought and won against Darth Vader.
Star Wars: Prequel Trilogy
The Prequel Triology explained the background of the formidable Sith Lord, starting from his childhood in The Phantom Menace (1999). It introduced characters Obi Wan Kenobi (played by Ewan McGregor in the Prequel, Alec Guinnes in the Original), Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) and the little boy who would become Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker (played by Jake Llyod). Later, in 2002 Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones would further explain Anakin's turn to the dark side until his final transformation into Darth Vader in Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (2005).
In 1987, Tomorrowland premiered the Star Wars-themed attraction, Star Tours. This motion simulator ride took Disney guests into the far galaxy and experience the jump into Lightspeed. Guests would escape a comet cluster and encounter a Star Destroyer only to have contact with the Death Star before safely landing the Starspeeder into a spaceport. Anthony Daniels reprised his role as C3P0 and Warwick Davis makes a cameo as Wicket the Ewok and the pilot Captain RX-24 was voiced by Paul Reubens. For twenty-three years, Star Tours was enjoyed by many and was always a fan favorite.
Star Tours-The Adventure Continues
In 2011, Star Tours-The Adventure Continues premiered at WDW, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland. This new version featured updated technology and effects. Now Disneyland guests can experience 54 different ride versions. Star Wars locations Naboo, Tatooine and Coruscant and more are seen more in depth. Star Tours-The Adventure Continues also brings the audience into the spotlight as a person could be identified as a Rebel Spy and helpful to the Rebellion.
Star Wars products seem to be everywhere. From action figures and toys to household items, even kitchen aprons! Some of these items such as a Lightsaber creation center and action figures could be found at Tomorrowland's Star Trader.
Books and Comics
In addition to the film series, Star Wars has been expanded through book series. The Star Wars book and comic series continues the epic tale of the Universe after the Rebellion and those it affects. There are also stories of the events that occurred before. Books and comics have expanded the Universe greatly.
Star Wars television series such as Star Wars: Clone Wars (2008-2013) and Star Wars:Droids (1985-1986) have become fan favorites. Just as the book series told many stories of the characters of the franchise, the television movies and series as well as animated series have done the same. There is even the notorious Star Wars Holiday Special which has only been aired once and features the original cast.
In 2012, Disney bought Lucasfilms at $4.06 billion dollars. With the acquisition, plans were being set in place for new projects involving the Star Wars series. According to the article How Disney Bought Lucasfilm-and Its Plans For Star Wars by Devin Leonard, "Disney sent excitable Star Wars fans into a frenzy by unveiling a plan to release the long-promised final trilogy starting in 2015." Now with the announcement of this new film with a tentative premiere date in 2015, there is some casting news. In addition to the original trilogy Star Wars actors such as Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford returning, new faces have been added such as John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow.
Jedi Training Academy
Tomorrowland's Jedi Training Academy allows children to be stars of the show as they are taught to be Padawans, take the sacred Jedi Oath and even duel with a Star Wars Villain!
Star Wars and Video Games seems to be a natural fit. Since 1983, Star Wars games have been released and have not only been entertaining and have added to the Star Wars Universe with such games as Star Wars: The Force Unleased and Knights of the Old Republic. There is even a Star Wars Lego game series which is pretty fun!