40 years ago today, on May 25, 1977, Star Wars debuted from George Lucas and 20th Century Fox, altering cinematic history forever, along with other media, like TV, books, comics, video games, and much more.
While there was eventually a trilogy and a prequel trilogy, it all goes back to the first Star Wars, rebranded Episode IV: A New Hope. This was the movie that thrilled audiences and set new box office records a mere two years after Steven Spielberg’s Jaws opened. It sent the careers of Lucas, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford into the stratosphere, and launched plenty of imitators (The Last Starfighter, Battlestar Galactica) or space films that otherwise might not have gotten made (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Alien, etc.). It changed the way movies were made and marketed, Visual FX via ILM, and more.
And very few films had the same impact the first Star Wars had on audiences. What I mean is, that feeling of being completely transported to another universe and becoming a major pop culture hit. Perhaps the closest were Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, and The Matrix, just to name three. Obviously there are a few more, but those always spring to mind.
In fact, I was very young when Star Wars came out, so I didn’t see it until a few years later. For me the ‘one big movie’ that changed everything for me, ‘my Star Wars,’ if you will, is the original Jurassic Park. Man, I saw that film at least 17 times in theaters before it hit home video in late 1994, and again when the 3D version debuted in 2013.
For my money, there is nothing more pure when it comes to the Star Wars universe than the original ‘Holy Trilogy,’ as Kevin Smith once coined it. After Rogue One opened last December, my wife and I dug out the original cut trilogy on DVD – from the laser discs, so the quality wasn’t quite as good, and it was letterboxed and stretched on our 4K TV – and watched all three movies again. It truly transported us, and reminded me that despite all the merchandising, at its core, the Holy Trilogy is a magnificent story, especially without the Special Editions and subsequent tinkerings.
After Disney bought Lucasfilm in late October 2012, quite possibly the biggest movie news story we’ve run on doddleNEWS (this article and this one, too have been the most popular, both related to Star Wars), the company released two films (Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One). In addition, they have The Last Jedi opening in December, the Han Solo prequel debuting May 2018, and Episode IX premiering in 2019. Add to that a new TV show, video games, comic books, and more, and you have a massive universe.
Here’s the original trailer, restored by The ReDiscovered Future: