Making Star Wars

The first Star Wars movie, later titled “A New Hope”, is the classic story of a hero’s journey set in space.  George Lucas wrote, produced, and filmed it.  Although the film became a huge hit, it was not easy to make.

The film’s main character, Luke Skywalker, is introduced as a bored teenager who yearns for adventure.  After a series of events, he is swept up in a rebellion against the evil Galactic Empire and the film’s main villain, Darth Vader.  He makes new friends and they work together to rescue a princess and join the rebel forces.  During a tense space battle, Luke blows up the “Death Star”, the empire’s deadly space station that can destroy entire planets.  He becomes a hero.

Star Wars was instantly successful.  The movie was immensely popular upon its release in 1977, eventually becoming the highest earning film in the world by the following year.  Its success spawned two movie sequels in the 1980s. More than twenty years after the first Star Wars movie was released, George Lucas made three “prequels”, which deal with the events before the first three Star Wars movies.   The Star Wars movies have also been very profitable due to the sale of Star Wars merchandise.  Millions of Star Wars toys, shirts, costumes, and video games are sold around the world every year.

Despite the great success of Star Wars, however, it was not an easy film to make.  Lucas has said that filming the movie’s early scenes in the Tunisian desert in 1976 was very difficult.  Rainstorms prevented filming while props often broke and electronics failed to work in the harsh climate. Crewmembers sometimes quarreled over details of the filming.  Lucas didn’t agree with others about lighting and was unhappy with the costumes. He pressed on, however, and Star Wars became a massive hit.