Star Wars - The Story so far

Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits Odeoncinemas on 14th December. To warm you up, here’s our all-you-need-to-know guide to the action so far, recapping all seven films, the favourite scenes and most curious facts in less than 12 parsecs…


Star Wars Glossary

Are you getting into the Star Wars universe just now (seriously...)?  Or is your knowledge just a bit rusty? If you need to lear more, check out these helpful definitions before reading the recap!

  • The Force:  An energy field created by all living things that binds them together. It's the source of power of the Jedi. 
  • Jedi:  A member of the Jedi Order who studies and apprenticies in using the light side of the Froce to keep peace and order in the galaxy.
  • Jedi Knight: A Jedi who has completed the training and passed the trails to become a knight.
  • Jedi Master: The highest rank in the Jedi Order, reserved for only the most talented. 
  • Lightsaber: A blade made of pure energy wielded by Jedi. 
  • Dark Side: The other side of the Force, used by individuals who drew their power from darkest emotions such as fear, anger and hatred. 
  • Sith: An order of Force-sensitive beings who use the dark side. 
  • Darth: A title of the Sith,  signifying the transformation they underwent on their path to the dark side. 

EPISODE I - THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999)


The story

A political dispute on a planet called Naboo, covertly set by a shadowy villain, forces Jedi Qui Gon Jin (Liam Neeson) and his young trainee Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) to resolve the conflict and flee with the planet’s queen, Padme (Natalie Portman). They land on a remote desert planet called Tatooine, where they encounter a boy, Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), they think will fulfill a prophecy that will bring balance to the Force. After defeating the threat in Naboo, Obi-Wan Kenobi agrees to teach Anakin.

Overview

The first of the prequels is generally seen as the whipping boy and weak link amongst hardcore fans. Revisit Phantom, though, and you’ll find this tale of Anakin Skywalker’s early years has a fistful of ace scenes, from the white-knuckle pod race to the climactic lightsaber battle between the Jedi and sunburnt Sith Lord Darth Maul. The less said about a certain floppy-eared, grammar-mangling Gungan the better.

The cool facts

  • The film signaled a revolution in using digital effects along with real actors. There is only one shot in the film to which no visual effects were added at all: the shot of the dioxis gas pouring out of the vent in the meeting room.
  • Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Frank Oz (Yoda) and Ian McDiarmid(Palpatine) are the only actors to reprise their roles from the original "Star Wars" trilogy.
  • Darth Vader's breath can be heard at the end of the credits. 

Best quote

Qui-Gon Jinn: [before dying] He is the chosen one. He will bring balance. Train him.

The best scene

Taking hints from the chariot race in Ben-Hur (1959), Lucas directed a breathtaking all-digital pod race. Also, he added something completely new to the lightsaber battle mythology: a really cool double bladed lightsaber!


EPISODE II - ATTACK OF THE CLONES (2002)


The story

Ten years later, Anakin (Hayden Christensen) continues his Jedi training while the Galactic Senate fights against the separatist movement. Obi-Wan discovers a plot to create a clone army led by a former Jedi, Count Dooku (Christophr Lee). Emergency powers are granted to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) to defeat Dooku. The first battle is won, but the Clone War begins. Meanwhile, Padme and Anakin get married in secret…

Overview

Lucas raised his game with this second helping, in which Anakin slides grimly from button-nosed tot to murderous ponytailed egomaniac, and Chancellor Palpatine slithers from the shadows to tighten his grip. Next time the pub bore starts criticising Clones, remind him of the eye-popping showdown on Geonosis, and Samuel L. Jackson dripping streetwise cool as Jedi High Council badass, Mace Windu.

The cool facts

  • The film shows the origins of one of the utimate favourite characters, bounty hunter Boba Fett.
  • When Jango Fett (Boba's father) gets into his ship after his fight with Obi-Wan, he bangs his head on the partially open door. This was intentional, and is a reference to a famous goof from Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), where a stormtrooper accidentally bangs his head on a door.
  • This is the only Star Wars movie where the camera shot tilts up after the opening scroll to start the scene. In all other Star Wars movies, the camera shot tilts down after the scroll.

Best quote

Obi-Wan (to Anakin): Why do I get the feeling you're going to be the death of me?

The best scene

The moment that every Star Wars' lover have been dreaming of...seeing Yoda with a lightsaber kicking some ass! 


EPISODE III - REVENGE OF THE SITH (2005)

The story

War rages even after the death of Dooku. Palpatine is the enemy behind the scenes, a dark sith who influences Anakin to discredit the Jedi. Scared of losing Padme and convinced to gain more power to save her life, Anakin takes the name of Darth Vader after joining Palpatine.  The dark sith declares himself Emperor and orders all Jedis to be executed.  Obi-Wan battle and defeats Anakin, leaving him maimed and near death. Padme dies while giving birth to twins, who are split up for safety reasons. Obi-Wan and Yoda go into hiding.

Overview

The British Board Of Film Classification slapped an unprecedented ‘12A’ rating on Revenge Of The Sith, and you see their point. Between Padmé’s horrific death, Palpatine’s skincare issues and Anakin being dismembered and burnt alive in the fiery hell of lava planet Mustafar, this was the kind of violence that would make C-3PO have a pink fit. It was a strong end to the prequel series, setting us up for a not expected  (at that time) maddening 10-year wait for The Force Awakens.

Cool facts

  • Anthony Daniels (without C-3PO costume) and George Lucas appear in a cameo during the Opera scene, where Anakin and Palpatine discuss about the dark side.
  • The Duel on Mustafar (the final battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin), shows for the first time ever in Star Wars a fight between two lightsabers with the same color (blue). Also, the soundtrack mixes the most famous Star Wars’ themes together, ‘The Imperial March’ and ‘Force Theme’.
  • The scene of Darth Vader’s birth had between four and five hundred people on set, because everyone from the studio came to witness it. 

Best quote

Padme (after the proclamation of the Empire): So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause.

The best scene

Both final battles (Obi-Wan vs Anakin and Yoda vs Palpatine) are probably the most emotionally ever, but the legendary first steps of Darth Vader at the end of the film, is what the entire new trilogy was about. 


EPISODE IV - A NEW HOPE (1977)

The story

Years later, a rebellion springs up against the new Empire. Two droids carrying plans to destroy the Death Star — the Empire’s superweapon — crash-land on Tatooine, where Luke (Mark Hamill) lives. Luke, thinking his father was a Jedi who died in the Clone Wars, joins up with Obi-Wan (Alec Guiness) and two space mercenaries, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew),  to return the plans to princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), who leads the Rebellion. Obi-Wan teaches Luke the ways of the Jedi, then dies fighting Vader (David Prowse). Luke joins the Rebellion and destroys the Death Star.

Overview

The film that shook cinema. Mark Hamill nailed it as Luke Skywalker, the puppy-eyed farmboy with the murky gene-pool, but back in the playgrounds of the late-1970s, it was all about Han Solo: the cocksure, caddish smuggler who embodied outlaw cool (despite hanging around with a walking carpet). From the arm-slicing scene at the Cantina bar to the Death Star’s thrilling detonation, this was solid gold.  

Cool facts

  • George Lucas' decision to accept a lower salary on the film in exchange for full merchandising rights was considered a fool's gamble on his part. Star Wars, however, was such a phenomenon that it reached the holiday 1977 sales period in full swing, and changed the way movies were merchandised forever.
  • According to an interview with George Lucas, originally, Luke was a girl, Han Solo was an Alien, the wookiees were called Jawas, and R2-D2 and C-3PO were called A-2 and C-3.
  • The famous lightsaber buzzing whoosh was made by blending the hum of a 35mm film projector and passing a broken microphone cable by the tubes of an old TV set.

Best quote

Han Solo (as Luke walks away) : May the force be with you!

Chewbacca: Wuuuhahhaaaaa!

Best scene

The beginning and the end. The start of a New Hope tells us everything we need to know about the Empire and the Rebellion all in one huge, and grandeur shot that once again, is a mix between practical and special effects. Enough said, the assault on the Death Star not only is the ultimate climax in the film, but showed the idea of what technology could do in fiilms.


EPISODE V - THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)

The story

The battle against the Empire rages going on. At the request of Obi-Wan's ghost, Luke goes to find Yoda (Frank Oz) to continue his training. Han and Leia escape to Cloud City to find refuge with Han's old friend Lando (Billy Dee Williams) , and Luke leaves his training early because he senses that Han and Leia are in trouble. Betrayed by Lando, they're captured by Vader, and Han is frozen cryogenic carbonite and given to bounty hunter Boba Fett before Leia eventually escapes. Luke battles and is defeated by Vader, who reveals that he is actually Luke’s father.

Overview

The series broke into a swagger with Empire: a treasure-trove of iconic set pieces, from the Hoth battle to the Cloud City showdown, via that ice-cool exchange between Han and Leia as the smuggler is dipped in carbonite . Throw in a ravenous yeti (OK, Wampa), Boba Fett’s über-cool bounty hunter and the galaxy’s most dysfunctional father-son relationship and Empire was that rarest of beasts: a sequel that didn’t drop the ball.   

 Cool facts

  • Darth Vader’s secret was such that only five people out of the entire making of the film were aware of this development: Jones, who voiced Vader; director Irvin Kershner; writer Lawrence Kasdan; Mark Hamill, who played Luke; and Lucas himself. Not even Prowse, who physically portrayed Vader, knew the truth.
  • The entire Millennium Falcon was built life size for the first and only time for this installment . It measured 65 feet in diameter and 16 feet in height with a mandible giving it an overall length of 80 feet. The Falcon's weight was 23 tons.
  • The Empire Strikes Back was voted #3 on Empire’s 500 Greatest Movie of All Time.  

Best quote

Leia: I love you!

Han: I know.

Best scene

Often considered  the best episode in all the Star Wars saga, Episode V is full of legendary moments, but the shocking revelation from Darth Vader to Luke - before spoilers and social media ruined everything - was a real shock that changed the history of Star Wars and cinema.


EPISODE VII - RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983)

The story

Han Solo is still frozen in carbonite but has been brought to Jabba the Hut. Luke shows up and after letting himself be captured, saves Han and Leia along with Lando. Yoda dies, but confirms that Vader was telling the truth, and Obi Wan's spirit reveals that Leia is Luke’s twin sister.  Luke fights Vader and he finally becomes a Jedi resisting to The Emperor’s attempts to turn him to the dark side. Vader kills the Emperor to save Luke, he dies afterwards  while the second death Star is destroyed by a squad of ships. Vader's evil is gone and he becomes Anakin Skywalker, shown in spirit with Obi Wan and Yoda in celebration of the destruction of the Empire.

Overview

After the darkness of Empire, Return Of The Jedi was the rip-roaringest entry in the Star Wars catalogue, and is still your eight-year-old nephew’s hands-down favourite. There’s swashbuckling adventure, as the gang infiltrate Jabba The Hutt’s seedy Tatooine palace and escape the Sarlacc - the scariest potted plant since the Triffids. There’s redemption, as Darth Vader finally turns against the Emperor. Hell, there’s even a teddy bear on a hovering motorbike. Maybe your eight-year-old nephew has a point! 

Cool facts

  •  It took six people to work the full-sized animatronic of Jabba the Hutt.
  • Fake scripts were distributed to some cast members that were considered likely to leak information to the media. Some of these phony story elements were indeed leaked, such as Lando being revealed as the "last hope" for the Jedi mentioned by Obi-Wan and Yoda.
  • The word Ewok is never spoken in the movie and they’re never referred by name. But everyone knows what an Ewok is.

Best quote

Admiral Ackbar: It’s a trap!

Best scene

Luke fighting Vader and the Emperor. The last space battle to destroy the new Death Star. The speeder chase in Endor. There are several exciting moments in Return of the Jedi, but one of the most adventurous is the escape from the Sarlacc pit. Also, what we love most about Star Wars is when undoubtedly creates a culture. So when Jabba the Hutt reduces the regal Princess Leia to eye candy by forcing her to wear a golden bikini, that costume became iconic. An image that continues to help fan boys make it through puberty.


EPISODE VI - THE FORCE AWAKENS (2015)

Story

30 years after the defeat of the Empire, Rey, a scavenger from the planet Jakku, finds a BB-8 droid that knows the whereabouts of the long lost Luke Skywalker. Rey, as well as a rogue stormtrooper named Finn and Han Solo and Chewbacca, are thrown into the middle of a battle between the Resistance and the daunting legions of the First Order, where Han’s son Kylo Ren joined the Dark Side...

Overview

The greatest comeback in cinema history? Nobody was arguing back in 2015. Director J.J. Abrams was handed the mother of all challenges, but he played a blinder, breathing fresh mojo into the original cast while drafting a bunch of new faces – Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren, BB-8 – who already feel like old favourites. There wasn’t a neck-hair that didn’t tingle when the Falcon rose from its scrapyard grave, not a dry eye in the house when Han tumbled into the void – and not a punter alive who isn’t counting down the days until The Last Jedi.

Cool facts

  • This is the third movie in history to reach the two billion dollar mark after Avatar (2009) and Titanic (1997).
  • When Finn and Rey ask if he is THE Han Solo, the reply is "I used to be," which is a reply Ford regularly uses when fans ask if he is Harrison Ford.
  • The Force Awakens has a lot of hidden cameos: Daniel Craig plays a stormtrooper at Starkiller Base, while Simon Pegg cameos as Ungar the junk dealer. Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness both get brief turns as Obi-Wan Kenobi, thanks to some clever audio mixing, as does Frank Oz as Yoda. Star Wars alum Warwick Davis pops up as an alien in Maz Kanata’s castle, while Kevin Smith provides a voice for one of the First Order stormtroopers.

Best quote

Han: Chewie...we're home.

Best scene

The quote says itself: The Force Awakens took millions of fan back home to the Star Wars universe and a new generation has joined them. So when Han and Chewie make their entrance back into the Millenium Falcon meeting Rey and Finn, it's also when the old meets the new, bringing the legend back to life and a new story is ready to begin...

 


EPISODE VII - THE LAST JEDI (2017)

The story

Picking up right where ‘The Force Awakens’ left off, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ finds Rey, after finally discovering Luke Skywalker, beginning her training in the ways of the Force.  Starkiller Base may have been destroyed, but the First Order are far from defeated and the war between them and the Resistance grows ever more fierce. The Resistance could really use a Jedi Knight on their side – but Skywalker has decided that it’s time for the Jedi to end.  

Cool fact

  • It has been confirmed that prince William and Harry are in the film as Stormtroopers...
Jumanji
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