war of stars

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German title Star Wars
(Alternative title:
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope)
Original title Star Wars
(Alternative title:
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope )
Star Wars german logo.svg
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1977
length Theatrical Version:
121 minutes
Special Edition:
125 minutes
Age rating FSK 12 (original version) ,
FSK 6 (special edition)
Director George Lucas
script George Lucas
production Gary Kurtz
music John Williams
camera Gilbert Taylor
cut Paul Hirsch ,
Marcia Lucas ,
Richard Chew

←  Predecessor
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Successor  →
The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars (original English title: Star Wars ) is an American space opera film of the screenwriter and director George Lucas from the year 1977 . At the Academy Awards in 1978, it won six awards and is one of the most financially successful films of all time. Star Wars founded the still extensive franchise in film history and is the fourth episode of the Star Wars saga . The film was produced by Gary Kurtz , and it stars Mark Hamill , Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford .

Set in a fictional, distant galaxy , the film is about the Rebel Alliance, a resistance group led by Princess Leia Organa , who in her fight against the dictatorial empire led by Darth Vader seeks the Death Star, a giant space station that is capable of is to annihilate, destroy whole planets.

Filming took place in 1976 and premiered on May 25, 1977 in the United States . In West Germany and the neighboring German-speaking countries, the film was shown in cinemas several months later from February 10, 1978, while it was banned in the GDR . Contrary to expectations, the film broke numerous records and replaced The Jaws (1975) as the most financially successful film in history at the time and held this title for several years until the release of ET - The Extra Terrestrial (1982). It is considered one of the most important films in film history and started its own fictional universe with dozens of books, comics, short stories, video games, sequels, series and other accompanying works and is deeply rooted in modern pop culture .

Today the film is distributed exclusively under the alternative title Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (English original title: Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope ). The film was continued directly three years later by The Empire Strikes Back (1980).


For 19 years , the dictatorial empire has ruled the entire galaxy with an iron hand . In the meantime the empire has constructed a gigantic space station, the Death Star , with enough firepower to destroy an entire planet. But the rebel alliance managed to get to the Death Star's secret plans .

When Princess Leia wants to bring the secret construction plans of the Death Star to the rebels, her spaceship is intercepted by an imperial "Star Destroyer" under the command of Darth Vader . Before Leia is captured, she saves the plans and a call for help to Obi-Wan Kenobi in the droid R2-D2 . R2-D2 escapes together with the protocol droid C-3PO (a humanoid robot ). But on the desert planet Tatooine they are captured by the Jawas, a gang of junk dealers. The Jawas sell the two droids to Luke Skywalker's uncle. Following Princess Leia's instructions, R2-D2 goes in search of Obi-Wan Kenobi, a Jedi master and old friend of Leia's father.

Luke Skywalker follows R2-D2. When he finds him, he is attacked by Sandpeople, the native desert dwellers, and is finally rescued by Obi-Wan Kenobi, whom he previously only knew as Ben Kenobi. In his home, Luke learns more about his father. Kenobi gives Luke the lightsaber that once belonged to his father.

R2-D2 is now playing Leia's call for help, and Obi-Wan asks Luke to accompany him to Alderaan , Leia's home planet. But his uncle would never let that happen. They encounter the wrecked Jawas car and find them all dead. Obi-Wan suspects Imperial troops who want to retrieve the stolen plans and are looking for the droids. Luke now fears for his family because the Jawas sold them the droids. When he returns home, he finds his uncle and aunt dead. Now Luke is no longer holding anything, and he goes with Obi-Wan to the Mos Eisley spaceport . A patrol of the Imperial stormtroopers controls them, but Obi-Wan obtains permission to continue through a kind of suggestion , which is possible for him through the use of the Force . In a bar they meet the smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca , a Wookiee. Solo is the pilot of the Millennium Falcon , which he says is the fastest spaceship in the galaxy.

He agrees to bring the two and the droids to Alderaan. However, there is an exchange of fire after stormtroopers discover the droids through a spy. With the help of the falcon , the attackers can be driven away. On board, Luke begins Force-learning exercises under Obi-Wan's supervision. Meanwhile, Princess Leia is questioned by Darth Vader with the help of a torture droid on the Death Star to find out the location of the rebel base, but she does not reveal it.

However, if the station's governor and Vader interrogate them again, they threaten the destruction of their home planet. She gives a base, but Governor Tarkin has her home planet destroyed anyway to demonstrate the galaxy's firepower. But the indicated base has long been abandoned, so the governor orders her death.

When the falcon leaves hyperspace shortly afterwards in the Alderaan system, instead of the planet Alderaan there is only a debris field made up of the remains of the destroyed planet. A tractor beam then pulls the falcon aboard the Death Star, which is still there after Alderaan's destruction. The crew hides on board and then takes refuge in a Death Star control center. Obi-Wan goes out alone to deactivate the Death Star's tractor beam. R2-D2 finds out via the station computer that the princess is imprisoned on board. Luke and Han dress up as Imperial stormtroopers, Chewbacca plays a prisoner in order to get into the detention block and to free the princess.

Since their path is cut off in the detention block, they flee into a garbage can. Obi-Wan Kenobi has now deactivated the tractor beam and, while he is on his way back to the falcon , meets Darth Vader, who had already been waiting for him and intercepts him shortly before the entrance to the hangar. The duel between them is carried out with lightsabers. In the meantime, the garbage compactor has started moving. At the last moment, R2-D2 can turn off the compactor, instructed by Luke on his radio. Despite being followed, they get back to the falcon .

There they see Darth Vader and Obi-Wan in a duel. When Obi-Wan sees Luke, he deliberately allows Darth Vader to kill him. When Luke, shocked by the death of the old master, fires wildly at the stormtroopers present, he suddenly hears Obi-Wan's voice, who orders him to flee.

Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca and the two droids then manage to escape. However, this is only possible because the empire is planning a plot and therefore lets her escape: Darth Vader had previously had a transmitter attached to the Raging Falcon in order to find out the location of the hidden base of the rebels.

The trail leads to Yavin IV . There the rebels have already evaluated the captured plans and found a weakness - a ventilation shaft. When the decisive battle is to come, Han Solo decides not to take part. He accepts the reward promised by Luke to save the princess and runs away, because he is of the opinion, "... that this fight has nothing to do with courage, rather with suicide!" The rebels, however, immediately begin the attack in numerous one-man hunters as the Death Star approaches Yavin IV to destroy the moon. During the ensuing space battle, the military advisers signal to Governor Tarkin that the station is in danger, but he ignores this warning as he does not see small one-man hunters as a threat to the Death Star. Meanwhile, Darth Vader decides to fight the rebels directly and not just with station artillery and has his space fighter ready to go.

As a result, fire in the narrow flight shaft on the Death Star's surface is ceased and interceptors under Vader's leadership start chasing the rebel ships. These try to attack the Death Star at its weak point. A hit in the air shaft, which is only two meters in diameter, is said to trigger a chain reaction that is able to destroy the Death Star. After two unsuccessful attempts on the part of the rebels, Luke begins his approach in the ditch of the Death Star. However, Darth Vader chases him and is about to shoot Luke down when Han Solo intervenes with the Falcon . He incapacitates Vader and his two companions, and Luke has time to fire his torpedoes. He gets help from Obi-Wan, who instructs him to trust the Force. Skywalker turns off his target computer and trusts his intuition. He fires, hits and the Death Star is destroyed.

As a result of Solo’s attack, Vader's ship is catapulted into free space and after successfully stabilizing the space glider, Vader escapes unnoticed.

The rebel ships return to the main base on Yavin IV. Luke and Han receive a special award.

Classification in the Star Wars universe


Star Wars kicks off the first Star Wars trilogy, the 1980 The Empire Strikes Back and in 1983 with Return of the Jedi was completed and one of the most successful film franchises started all time. The plot of the film, more precisely the destruction of the first Death Star in the Battle of Yavin IV at the end of the film, is the central point of the fictional calendar of the later Star Wars universe . All events are always given in the number of years that took place before or after this point in time.

The plot of the film begins about 19 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005), at the end of which the galactic empire under the leadership of the Emperor and his disciple, Darth Vader , takes control of most of the worlds the galaxy has taken over. Immediately beforehand is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), the first offshoot film in the series in which the rebels deal with the procurement of the construction plans for the Death Star. The direct successor is The Empire Strikes Back , set about three years after Star Wars .

Timeline of films and series in the Star Wars universe
films and series fictitious calendar (in years)
33 32 31 30-24 23 22nd 21st 20th 19th 18th 17-15 14th 13 12 11 10 9 8-7 6th 5 4th 3 2 1 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6-7 8th 9 10 11-31 32 33 34 35 36
The Phantom Menace
Attack of the Clones.
Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars
The Empire Strikes Back
Return of the Jedi
The Force Awakens
The Last Jedi
The Rise of Skywalker
Rogue One
a R1
a S.
The Clone Wars (+ movie )
The Mandalorian
Rebels b
33 32 31 30-24 23 22nd 21st 20th 19th 18th 17-15 14th 13 12 11 10 9 8-7 6th 5 4th 3 2 1 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6-7 8th 9 10 11-31 32 33 34 35 36
Prequel Trilogy (Episodes I-III)
Original trilogy (Episodes IV – VI)
Sequel Trilogy (Episodes VII-IX)
A Star Wars Story Films

The consequences of the series The Powers of Fate take place at different times, so that a list in the table is not meaningful. Also not listed miniseries, short stories, comics, books and other ancillary works of the official Star Wars - canon and the theme park Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge (between VIII and IX). The fictitious calendar of the Star Wars universe is used for the schematic classification of the actions . This differentiates between the years before the Battle of Yavin (VSY) and after the Battle of Yavin (NSY). The Battle of Yavin IV marks the end of Star Wars (1977), in which Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance destroy the first Death Star .


main characters

  • Leia Organa ( Carrie Fisher ), the princess of her home planet Alderaan and a member of the rebel alliance that her adoptive father Bail Organa co-founded. As senator, she enjoys Alderaan's diplomatic immunity, which she tries to use to unite opponents of the empire.
  • Darth Vader ( David Prowse ), a Sith Lord and senior commander of the Galactic Empire. His job is to bring back the Death Star's plans and to find the base of the Rebel Alliance.
  • R2-D2 ( Kenny Baker ), an astromech droid. The plans of the Death Star are in his memory.


  • Alderaan , a peaceful planet, the landscape of which consists mostly of huge wildflower meadows and lakes, which are criss-crossed by high mountain ranges. The planet is home to Princess Leia.
  • Tatooine , a desert planet orbiting a pair of twin suns. It's a refuge for smugglers, criminals and people who don't want to be found.
  • Yavin IV , one of the many moons of the gas giant Yavin. Here is the secret base of the Rebel Alliance.

History of origin

Project development

Star Wars inventor George Lucas , 2011.

Idea and funding

Director and screenwriter George Lucas developed his first concrete thoughts on a fantasy space film after completing his debut film THX 1138 (1971). He originally planned to secure the rights to a film adaptation of the Flash Gordon comic book series , which he had been fascinated by since childhood. On the fringes of the Cannes International Film Festival , Lucas entered into a partnership with United Artists to ensure the production of two films for him. One of these films was American Graffiti , the other a space film based on Flash Gordon . However, since he could not get the rights to implement Flash Gordon , Lucas decided to develop his own space film, for which he took inspiration from Edgar Rice Burroughs works, especially the John Carter von Mars series, and Gulliver of Mars drew by Edwin Lester Arnold . However, United Artists rejected both the script for American Graffiti and Lucas' planned space film. The former film was eventually produced by Universal Pictures while he initially postponed the development of his space film.

Gary Kurtz , producer , 2002.

Initially, Lucas concentrated on American graffiti for the next few years, but even before the film started in August 1973, Lucas began work on the script for his space film in January of the same year. However , Lucas found a first two-page short version of the planned project, with the Journal of the Whills , to be too complex and cumbersome, so that he began working on a new concept. This ten-page treatise was called The Star Wars and was completed in April 1973. The search for a film studio that would be ready to implement the project turned out to be more difficult than expected. After the film studio United Artists refused to finance the film, Lucas and producer Gary Kurtz decided to use Universal Pictures again, which had already funded American Graffiti . But they also rejected Lucas' designs. Walt Disney Pictures also decided against a collaboration. The rejections by the studios were based on the one hand on skepticism towards Lucas' vision, which was "a bit strange", on the other hand, the trust of the studio bosses in science fiction films was muted at the time. They didn't believe that this genre would be successful in the near future, even though Lucas and Kurtz felt that Star Wars was much less science fiction than , say , 2001: A Space Odyssey and instead closer to the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales has been.

Another problem was the possibly too high budget of the film. Lucas and Kurtz classified it as “cheap” (“low-budget”), - originally about eight million US dollars were planned - in the end, however, the expenses ranked at about ten million dollars. Still not wanting to do without the support of a film studio, Lucas signed a contract with Alan Ladd Jr. , President of 20th Century Fox , in June 1973 , which guaranteed him $ 150,000 as a screenwriter and director of the film. The head studio 20th Century Fox approved a budget of 8.25 million US dollars, while Lucas secured the rights for any successors and control over possible merchandising .

As production planning progressed, Alan Ladd Jr. revisited the rising cost of the project. The studio had initially committed just under eight million US dollars, but producer Gary Kurtz realized after advanced planning that this budget would not be enough to realize the film in the planned manner. However, the studio was reluctant to agree to a budget increase as they were concerned about wasting the money on a mediocre film and were not convinced by Lucas' vision. The executives demanded that a plan be drawn up with the agreed budget. For about two weeks, Lucas and Kurtz focused solely on the financing and came to the conclusion that they would probably need just under ten million US dollars. After some hesitation, Ladd finally agreed to this calculation and production planning started from the beginning, this time with a higher budget.

“Maybe Star Wars should be classified in the fairy tale film category ? It is a fairy tale with no utopian promise. The script could come from the Brothers Grimm , with a time lag of several millennia. The over-engineering in space mixes with naive children's belief. A space fantasy in the style of Edgar Rice Burroughs . Should a handbook of film history ever appear again, I would like to know Star Wars referred to as a space opera. Until then, you can confidently classify it in the western , adventure or pirate films category . "

- George Lucas

Script development

Lucas began work on a first script in January 1973. A large number of these first drafts were fundamentally changed or completely discarded several years later until the final version. Narrative pieces and complicated storylines from previous drafts did not make it into the final script version and names of planets and characters were swapped back and forth. In the course of the creation process, in addition to numerous revisions and handwritten notes, four different script drafts for Star Wars were created , in each of which parts of the plot, the characters and locations were changed and expanded or completely deleted. Even before the first drafts, Lucas kept two lists, one for characters and one for planets, that he wanted to use in the film. Numerous names of the lists were completely discarded, but some were already almost in their final form, such as Leila, Bail or the Imperator, who as Emperor Ford Xerxes XII. was titled. Some of these names were also used in Lucas' later Star Wars films. Around the same time, in early 1973, a first two-page plot summary was created with the title Journal of the Whills , in which the adventures of the characters CJ Thorpe and Mace Windy were in the center. A few months later, in May 1973, a ten-page plot was created, which was titled The Star Wars and was very similar to Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress .

Lucas completed the first rough draft between May and July 1974. It already contained central elements of the later film, such as the Death Star , but there were also clear differences. The smuggler Han Solo , for example, was described as a large, green-skinned monster. In the course of the writing process, Lucas drew inspiration from other works in the science fiction genre, such as Joseph Campbell's The Hero in a Thousand Forms . The basic plot idea of ​​a Jedi knight who wants to have his son trained by a friend to do just that, was already part of the drafts, which were implemented in a slightly modified form in the finished film.

A second draft that Lucas made with Adventures of the Starkiller. Episode 1, titled The Star Wars , ended in January 1975. This simplified and shortened the plot significantly. The main character was now a young hero named Luke Starkiller. His father, Annikin, who was already included in the first draft, was shown as a wise Jedi knight. The power that was to become a central element of the entire Star Wars saga was also first listed in this draft. In this draft there was also the theme of a Jedi turning away from the light side, here in the form of the first Jedi to ever fall for the dark side.

The third draft, which was created between May and August 1975, was entitled The Star Wars: From the Adventures of the Starkiller and was largely identical to the final script. The Lukes siblings still included in the second draft were discarded, while his father was dead at the beginning of the film. His role was taken over by a character named Ben Kenobi . Princess Leia was also part of this design.

The fourth and final draft was titled The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga 1: The Star Wars . Darth Vader is now portrayed as the murderer of Luke's father, some characters are deleted from the previous drafts and Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru die at the beginning of the plot. Lucas revised this draft, completed in January 1976, in collaboration with Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck to create the final script, which was finally completed in March 1976, shortly before filming began. While filming, Lucas changed the main character's last name from Starkiller to Skywalker. The long title of the last draft script was largely discarded and changed back to The Star Wars . A short time later also rejected the definite article and the film now on simply as Star Wars (in German: Star Wars ) sold. Additional changes to the script during filming included the death of mentor character Ben Kenobi, as Lucas realized that he would have served no purpose for the ensuing storyline after escaping from the Death Star.


Concept art

Concept artist Ralph McQuarrie , 2008.

Several conceptual artists worked for Lucas during the early stages of project development, including Alex Tavoularis and Colin Cantwell , who was involved in 2001: A Space Odyssey . A particularly large part of the creation of Star Wars had Ralph McQuarrie , whom Lucas hired two years after the completion of American Graffiti as the first person for his planned space film. He designed almost all of the characters, costumes, props and sets and helped bring Lucas' visions closer to the head studio, 20th Century Fox, and secure funding for the film. "If words couldn't convey my ideas, I just had to point to one of his fabulous drawings and say, 'Make it like this.'" Lucas said years later of McQuarrie's contribution to the making of Star Wars , which was for the entire crew and the performers were the drive and inspiration. McQuarrie was also responsible for the numerous Matte Paintings , with which landscapes or planets on glass panes were inserted into the picture.

McQuarrie drawings, numerous non ultimately for Star Wars used served for Lucas and other further in the development of Star Wars -Medien persons involved for years and even decades later as an inspiration and template, even on McQuarrie's death.


In late 1975 a three month audition began in Los Angeles . For most of the roles, director George Lucas chose previously unknown actors without many years of experience. Mark Hamill , who got the role of Luke Starkiller (later Skywalker), was previously only seen in a few episodes of American television series, including Bill Cosby , Cannon , The Partridge Family , General Hospital , Owen Marshall - Defense Attorney and The Streets Of San Francisco . Also unknown was the then 19-year-old Carrie Fisher , who shortly before made a convincing appearance as Loma in Shampoo . Harrison Ford was actually not part of the actual audition , whose job was simply to serve as a dialogue partner for the auditioning actors and to explain the respective points in the dialogue to them. Lucas, however, was so convinced of Ford's sometimes arrogant and listless performance that he chose him for the role of the daring and self-confident Han Solo. Ford worked successfully with Lucas on American Graffiti (1973). Star Wars was in many ways Ford's stepping stone to one of the most successful film actors in the world, having previously only appeared in mostly supporting roles. In contrast, Sir Alec Guinness was an internationally respected actor even before Star Wars , winning an Oscar for Best Actor in 1958 for his performance in The Bridge on the Kwai . Luca's wish to focus exclusively on unknown actors was met with little enthusiasm by the studio in charge. For this reason too, Guinness was given the important role of the wise teacher Ben Kenobi, who also earned him a considerable fee through a percentage share in the film's net profit. British actor Peter Cushing was also able to celebrate successes as one of the greatest stars of the horror film genre before Star Wars , including in Dracula and the Frankenstein film series . He was originally supposed to play Obi-Wan Kenobi, but Lucas chose the role of the Imperial Commander of the Death Star, Grand Moff Tarkin, because of his slim build.

Anthony Daniels was selected for the role of the protocol droid C-3PO, which he was originally not supposed to lend his voice to. Lucas finally decided that Daniels should also be the voice of the humanoid robot, even though he had previously auditioned for dozens of professional voice actors. For the role of C-3PO's loyal companion, R2-D2, a robot about three feet tall, Lucas needed a small person who would fit into the model and control it. Kenny Baker , who was about four feet tall, was awarded the role after a brief meeting with Lucas in London . Initially, however, he had turned down the offer three times, hoping to have success with his stage program and television roles, he also had no text and his face would not have been seen in the entire film. In addition, Lucas was looking for two very great actors for the characters Chewbacca and the villain of the film, Darth Vader. When Peter Mayhew auditioned for the film and rose from his chair to greet him, Lucas glanced up at him and without hesitation offered him a role in the film. He had a choice between both roles. Preferring to play a hero, Mayhew chose Han Solo's co-pilot and boyfriend, while British actor and bodybuilder David Prowse thought the villain would be remembered longer and consequently signed up when Darth Vader. Little did Prowse know at the time, however, that both his face and voice were not intended for the final film due to his south-west English accent . For the voice of Darth Vader, Lucas Orson considered Welles and the lesser-known James Earl Jones . After initially offering the role to Welles, he decided to let Jones do the voice because the voice was too well known to Welles.

Phil Brown (Uncle Owen ) and Shelagh Fraser (Aunt Beru ) were hired to play Luke Skywalker's foster parents . Other, smaller supporting roles include Jack Purvis (nameless Chef-Jawa), Alex McCrindle (General Dodonna ), Eddie Byrne (General Willard), Denis Lawson ( Wedge Antilles ), Jeremy Sinden (Tex Tiree, "Gold Zwei"), Richard LeParmentier (General Motti) and Peter Sumner (Lieutenant Pol Treidum) as well as Peter Diamond (several roles) to be seen.

Production design

The ambitions that George Lucas had, based on McQuarrie's conceptual drawings, with regard to the necessary stage sets were enormous and had never before been realized on such a scale. He hired Jonathan Barry and Roger Christian who were working on Adventurer's sets on the Lucky Lady at the time. Lucas attached particular importance to the fact that the stage designs used should be less spectacular than realistic, in order to realize seemingly real places with a credible backdrop. With this, Lucas went a different way than other science fiction films of the time, which included mostly futuristic and high-gloss environments. Lucas wanted backdrops, spaceships and objects that were more advanced than the real ones, but that conveyed a used look and thus should appear more tangible.

The first stage sets were developed in the Elstree Studios. A total of 30 different stage sets were built, most of the studios in Borehamwood ( England took), including spaceships, control rooms, the canteen and the corridors and rooms of the Death Star. The Rebel Alliance secret base set was the largest in Europe to date and was built at Shepperton Studios .

For their work on Star Wars , production designers Jonathan Barry, Leslie Dilley , Norman Reynolds and Roger Christian were awarded an Oscar for Best Production Design at the 1978 Academy Awards .


For the costumes of the characters, Lucas chose the costume designer John Mollo , who had previously worked mainly as a consultant on historical films. Lucas wanted someone who was primarily familiar with military uniforms and equipment, and who could design costumes that looked like they belonged in the imaginary world rather than on a theater stage. Based on the concept art by Ralph McQuarrie, Mollo designed the costumes for the film. While working on the costumes, Mollo worked closely with production designer Jonathan Barry to create a consistent aesthetic between the costumes and the specific sets used. An equally close collaboration existed with Lucas, who continuously brought Mollo closer to his ideas, whereupon Mollo created drawings together with Lucas and designed the costumes.

Mollo designed the famous costume of the antagonist Darth Vader from a combination of clerical robe , parts of motorcycle protective equipment , a steel helmet of the German Wehrmacht from the Second World War and a gas mask . The uniforms of the imperial officers refused he aware of the historic uniforms of German officers from the Second World War, while the costumes of the heroes of the clothing of the Wild West should remember.


George Lucas based the aesthetics of the film on Gregg Toland , who became known as a cameraman for his high-contrast scene lighting and innovative camera work. Lucas wanted to portray alien worlds through overexposed colors, strong shadows and a surreal appearance, which nevertheless had an aesthetic quality and borrowings from a documentary film.

As a cameraman, he originally sought the services of Geoffrey Unsworth , who had previously worked on Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey . He was interested in a collaboration with the young director and initially accepted the offer from Lucas and producer Kurtz, but later withdrew the offer to work on the film A Matter of Time developed by Vincente Minnelli . Gilbert Taylor was subsequently hired as a cameraman, whose work on Dr. Strange and A Hard Day's Night Lucas convinced. The relationship between Taylor and Lucas, however, was marked from the beginning by tension and later also by open differences of opinion. Since Lucas immersed himself in the detailed work of the production, Taylor came up with his own ideas and ideas on how the film should look based on the script and also independently developed lighting concepts for the lightsabers and other props on the set. Since Lucas, as an independent filmmaker, was used to controlling every production process from his earlier projects, the already cool relationship between the two developed into ongoing creative differences. Taylor found Lucas' constant influence on the lighting and camera, some of which he even moved and changed independently on the set, as exceeding competence. Taylor rejected the soft focus optics and gauze wanted by Lucas and refused to implement Lucas' instructions, who requested them directly instead of bringing his ideas to Taylor in a creative exchange and discussing them.

The filming for the planet Tatooine was originally supposed to take place in the Philippines . For this, producer Gary Kurtz traveled to the archipelago to find suitable locations. However, Lucas changed his plans to portray Tatooine as a jungle planet after he disliked the idea of filming in tropical rainforests for months . Because of this, Tatooine emerged as a desert planet. Deserts in North America and the Middle East were considered as possible locations, and Tunisia was ultimately chosen . Filming in the Tunisian desert began on March 22, 1976 and problems were thwarted at the outset. This included faulty props, equipment destroyed by desert sand and heavy rain, which was less frequent for the region, which meant that Lucas and his team fell behind on schedule. In Tunisia, other differences of opinion developed between Lucas and Taylor. To compensate for the poor visibility in the desert region, Lucas suggested the use of strong filters and diffusers , sometimes with nets and other aids, which Taylor declined, since he assumed that the film should look absolutely clean. The dispute was eventually settled by 20th Century Fox, who supported Taylor's proposals.

Shooting began in Chott el Djerid in southern Tunisia. Here the scenes were filmed outside Luke's home. Around the same time, a construction team in Tozeur began building a set that took eight weeks to complete. Other locations were the sand dunes of the Tunisian desert near the city of Nefta . A scene was created here in which a huge skeleton is buried in the sand in the background of the passing robots R2-D2 and C-3PO . The costumes of the two robots presented the crew with constant problems. Actor Anthony Daniels was injured when wearing the C-3PO suit for the first time. In addition, it was extremely hot in the costume and Daniels could barely see through the gold-covered eyes of the costume. The controllable R2 units also only worked very irregularly, as radio interference caused the models to get out of control. After shooting several scenes against the gorges in front of Tozeur, the production moved to Matmata . Here the Hôtel Sidi Driss served as the backdrop for the interior shots in Luke's home. The hotel is largely underground and one of the region's traditional cave dwellings. Other scenes for Tatooine were filmed in Death Valley in North America.

After about two and a half weeks of filming in Tunisia, the cast and crew moved to Elstree Studios near London . Linked to this was the hope that the problematic start of the shooting in the controllable environment of the studios could be overcome and lost time could be made up. However, George Lucas and his crew faced new hurdles. This included the fact that due to strict British health and safety regulations, filming had to be completed by 5:30 pm at the latest, unless a current scene was in the middle of filming. Much of the interior was shot in London. During the filming, nine large stages were operated simultaneously, which hardly any other studio could have done at the time. During the shooting, hardly any crew member was convinced that the film would be a success, regardless of Lucas' commitment and dedication during this time. Many thought the dialogues, costumes, and plot were silly, involuntarily funny, and childish. Many of the actors involved were also not convinced by the project. Filming in the studios in Great Britain took just under 15 weeks.

While filming in the UK discovered Lucas stumbled a poster of a travel agency , which for Tikal in Guatemala promoted. This moved him to send a film team to Guatemala in March 1977 to shoot scenes for the rebel base on the moon Yavin IV. As a backdrop, the historical served Maya - Temple at Tikal.

Some of the actors complained on set about the very brief instructions from the director, which often only consisted of “faster” and “more intense”. Producer Kurtz described Lucas as a shy loner who often found it uncomfortable to be surrounded by large groups of people. He preferred to delve into the production of his film, often appearing depressed on the crew. The work was so demanding on Lucas that he was diagnosed with high blood pressure and exhaustion and asked to lower his stress levels. In order to keep to the tight schedule, the crew split into three units, led by Lucas, Kurtz and the production manager Robert Watts . With this system, they met the studio's requirements.

Post production


The original release date was Christmas 1976. However, the numerous production delays ensured that this deadline could not be kept. The summer of 1977 was targeted as the new start date. Post-production was just as strenuous as the production to date due to increased pressure from 20th Century Fox. The main actor Mark Hamill also suffered a car accident after the filming, which left permanent scars on his face, which made it difficult to re-shoot his role. In addition to the already great time pressure, Lucas faced another problem, because the director didn't like the first cut of the film by film editor John Jympson at all. After attempts failed to persuade Jympson to produce a new version to suit Lucas's taste, Lucas dismissed him and hired Paul Hirsch and Richard Chew as new editors . They developed new versions that only consisted of 60 to 70% material from the first version. George Lucas' then wife Marcia Lucas , who was working with their mutual friend Martin Scorsese on his film New York, New York at the time, also played a major role in the editing of the final version .

Jympson's original cut contained numerous scenes that were not used in the final film. Most of the changes were made to speed up the narrative pace of the film, which Chew in particular found too lethargic . Many of the scenes that originally served to introduce the main character Luke were removed, especially at the beginning of the film. They dealt with his everyday life among his friends, which was influenced by the space battle over the planet Tatooine. According to Chew, in the first five minutes of this version, the viewer was overwhelmed with a wealth of information that could hardly be processed. For this reason, Luke's scenes were completely removed at the beginning of the film. He only becomes part of the plot when his path crosses those of the droids C-3PO and R2-D2.

As the many delays during production threatened to exceed the budget of the film again and again, Lucas had to make numerous artistic compromises. Ladd again agreed to provide additional funds, but these were only sufficient for additional filming, for example in Death Valley and Guatemala , which were completed in early 1977. An originally planned scene between Han Solo and the gang boss Jabba the Hutten in the spaceport of the planet Tatooine, which was initially shot with the actor Declan Mulholland and was later to be replaced by a stop-motion model from Jabba, was completely removed by Lucas due to a lack of time and money .

Lucas and his team completed an early film cut in February 1977, which was shown to executives at 20th Century Fox, a few directors friend, and Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin. The latter were working for Marvel Comics at the time , working on a Star Wars adaptation. This early version showed big differences compared to the theatrical version, both in the sequence of the individual scenes and storylines, as well as in terms of the dubbing and special effects. In this version, David Prowse's voice was used for the character of Darth Vaders, most of the special effects were also missing. For example, hand-drawn arrows were faded in for the soldiers' blaster shots and the aerial battles in space were indicated by historical recordings from the Second World War . The cut version was mostly badly received by the guests present, which disappointed Lucas. Among them were the directors Brian De Palma , John Milius and Steven Spielberg , a close friend of Lucas'. Spielberg later said he was the only one in attendance who enjoyed Lucas' film. He pushed back mixed reactions to the film's unfinished special effects. Lucas later described the reactions as honest and confused. To Lucas' amazement and benevolence, Ladd Jr. and the other studio bosses took the film completely differently. Gereth Wigan, for example, described it as the greatest film he has ever seen. Since Lucas otherwise received little support from the studio, the reaction pleased him all the more.

The three editors Paul Hirsch, Marcia Lucas and Richard Chew also added a crucial detail in the third act of the film. The imminent attack by the Death Star on the rebel base on Yavin IV was not originally planned. The rebels should attack and destroy the Death Star regardless. The decision to change this storyline should add more tension and urgency to the final act, as the stakes are much higher for the rebels than before. This decision is easy to make out in the film, as any information that the viewer receives about the impending destruction of the base by the Death Star is transmitted via graphic overlays and radio messages that were easy to insert afterwards.

The introductory text, which runs from bottom to top through the picture at the beginning of the film, originally consisted of six paragraphs with four sentences each. When Lucas showed it during the first test demonstration, Brian De Palma offered to rework it for Lucas, because he thought it was clearly too long and incomprehensible. De Palma's version was ultimately used in the film.

Special effects

Film technician John Stears (lying) at work on a remote-controlled R2-D2 prop .

Since 20th Century Fox did not have its own visual effects studio, Lucas founded his own company called Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) for this purpose in May 1975 . For the project, Lucas won numerous young film technicians, including John Dykstra , Richard Edlund , Grant McCune and Robert Blalack , but also experienced specialists such as John Stears that is almost ten years ago for the special effects of the Bond film Thunderball with an Oscar Award . The studio, under the direction of John Dykstra, developed numerous novel technologies, such as motion control photography and the Dykstraflex system. These mainly worked with models and miniatures and created the illusion of great distances by means of cameras passing very slowly. ILM revolutionized the motion control process. Blue screens were mainly used for the numerous special effects . In addition, the first CGI effects were used, which at the time represented a completely new type of technology in film production that was only used by a few. For Star Wars , a computer-generated animation of the Death Star was created for almost 40 seconds . For this purpose, a wire frame model of the Death Star was entered into a PDP-11/45 mini-computer using a graphics tablet and then photographed from the screen with a 35-mm camera.

ILM had difficulties realizing the sometimes unprecedented special effects on time. The small company had spent almost half of its budget on just four scenes. Lucas also found out about the alleged lack of discipline on the part of some employees and was forced to intervene in the course of action several times so that the tight schedule could be met. The effects studio had to complete the work that was planned for a year within six months. This was the only way to complete the dozen incomplete recordings on time. For the space scenes in which fighter fighters fought, Lucas used footage of aerial battles from old war films to illustrate the intended pace of the scenes.

To realize the title sequence at the beginning of the film, Lucas hired the designer Dan Perri, who had previously developed the title sequences of The Exorcist and Taxi Driver . Lucas invited Perri in the studios of ILM in Van Nuys ( CA ) and gave him the instruction at the title sequences of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers to orient that Lucas had once inspired the creation of the film. Perri then developed a concept for a textual introduction of the audience into the plot of the film, as it was in the film Union Pacific (1939) by Cecil B. DeMille , in which the end credits become one by means of a distorted perspective through a railroad track from the lower edge of the picture distant point at the top of the picture rolled and disappeared there. Lucas agreed to the idea, whereupon Perri drafted several sketches and prototypes that eventually became the title sequence used in the film. Lucas made a conscious decision against the usual fade-ins of the most important people involved at the beginning of the film. Only the company logo of the two production companies can be seen at the beginning. The decision earned Lucas much criticism and, years later, resulted in his withdrawal from the Directors and Writers Guild of America after lawsuits and penalties .

Despite constant time pressure and numerous problems, the team managed to complete the visual effects on time and was subsequently awarded numerous prizes for their work.


Even during production, a team of sound engineers and sound designers under the direction of Ben Burtt was busy creating a kind of library of sounds that could be used for the final film. This was then combined with the finished, wacky material in post-production and the final soundscape was created. They had the difficult task of developing new tones for the numerous extraterrestrial sounds that were just as believable.

For example, the sound of the soldiers' rifles came from a picture of a tensioned steel cable that was attached to a metal object. The characteristic sound of the lightsabers was a combination of the hum of idle interlock motors from old film projectors and interference from a television on a screenless microphone, which Burtt discovered by chance. Burtt put Chewbacca's "voice" together from the sounds of various animals, including dogs , lions , tigers , walruses and bears , which he combined to get supposed sentences. The robot voice of R2-D2 comes from the voices of Burtt and Lucas, which Burtt filtered through a synthesizer . Burtt generated the breathing noises of the antagonist Darth Vader by breathing through the mask of a regulator connected to a microphone , such as that used by divers .

Film music

Composer John Williams at a concert by the Boston Pops Orchestra at Symphony Hall in Boston , 2011.

For the film music, George Lucas made a conscious decision to use classical orchestral music, but it was not initially planned to compose it specifically for the film. Instead, he collected classic works that he particularly liked and that he judged to be suitable for the film. The use of classical music instead of futuristic sounds should arouse familiar emotions in the viewer, which would contrast with the distant world setting of the film. Lucas' longtime friend Steven Spielberg finally recommended him to the composer John Williams , who had recently won his second Oscar for best film music for his work on Spielberg's Jaws . Williams convinced him of an original soundtrack that would give the film more individuality. Still, Williams was inspired by Lucas' compiled works. This included music from the film Kings Row (composed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold ) and Igor Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps , but also compositions by Richard Wagner. Williams created numerous leitmotifs for the film music , which gave individual characters or locations an individual sound.

Williams worked on the making of the score for almost a year. The almost 90-minute composition was recorded in March 1977 by the London Symphony Orchestra within a few days . The soundtrack was released by 20th Century Records in 1977 .

For the score for Star Wars , Williams won his third Oscar in 1978 for best score.

Film exploitation


The logo of the film designed by Dan Perri in 1976 in German translation.

Dan Perri, who already designed the title sequence of the film, came up with a logo to be used for marketing purposes and to be shown during the title sequence of the film. This consisted entirely of capital letters filled with stars and inclined towards a vanishing point, similar to the perspective of the words in the title sequence as they slide through the picture.

Star Wars logo designed by Suzy Rice and slightly redesigned by Joe Johnston in 1977 and used until today .

However, Lucas and Kurtz rejected the logo due to poor legibility and instead hired graphic designer Suzy Rice to develop a new logo. The logo she invented , with minor changes by Joe Johnston , was eventually used in the finished film. Since then, it has been used unchanged as the official logo of all Star Wars products. Even so, the logo, originally designed by Perri, has appeared in numerous print publications, including newspapers, brochures, advertisements and film posters. Lucas' offer to give Perri a share of the film's license income beyond the agreed fee , he turned down. He later regretted this decision.

20th Century Fox commissioned the advertising agency Smolen, Smith and Connolly to produce its first official advertising poster for the US publication. This poster known as " Style A " was designed by Tom Jung. It shows Luke Skywalker, who in a heroic pose stretches a lightsaber with his hands towards the sky. Princess Leia kneels next to him with a blaster in her hand, behind them you can see R2-D2 and C-3PO. The two droids were added at a later date, however, before the poster was released. Because the studio wanted the two droids on the poster, comic book artist Nick Cardy added them in as Jung wasn't available at the time. In the star-studded background, you can see Darth Vader's oversized mask and numerous X-wings flying in formation towards the Death Star. The poster is headlined with the words "Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away ... " (" A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ... "), which can also be read at the beginning of the film. The logo designed by Dan Perri can also be seen on this poster. Even if it is the film's official cinema poster, it is likely that the poster was not available due to its late release for the original US launch in May 1977 and was therefore not used until later.

However, this movie poster appeared too gloomy to some 20th Century Fox executives, whereupon they hired another. This " Style B " poster was made by brothers Greg and Tim Hildebrandt , who previously worked on illustrations for The Lord of the Rings . This poster, especially intended for the British market, was similar to Jung's poster and was basically only slightly changed. The logo was now clearly visible in light blue on the left side, while the rest remained almost unchanged.

However, since both Jung and the Hildebrandt brothers worked without photographs of the real actors and the leading studio later decided to advertise the film with less stylized posters and with the real faces of the actors, a third poster was commissioned. Gary Kurtz hired illustrator Tom Chantrell to create a third poster known as " Style C ". He designed the poster using still images from the film and advertising photos of the actors. It included a compilation of the most important figures, who look at the viewer in various poses in front of a starry sky in which the Death Star can be seen. The signature is " May the force be with you. " This poster also showed the Perris logo, this time in white letters on the right edge of the picture. In the UK, this version replaced the Style B poster that had previously been used after about two months in theaters.

To market the film, Lucas hired marketing expert Charles Lippincott as head of marketing. But 20th Century Fox did not support much further measures through the licensing of T-shirts and movie posters. Lippincott therefore tried on his own to promote the film, especially among fans of the science fiction genre. A comic book adaptation was developed together with Marvel Comics , while a novel adaptation was developed in cooperation with the Del Rey publishing house . He also promoted the film at San Diego Comic-Con and similar events.

World premiere and cinema run in the USA

Concerned that the film could go under in competition with other films that should also open in US theaters this summer, 20th Century Fox moved the release forward several weeks. The target now was May 25, 1977. However, the response of the cinemas to the new film was very restrained. After only 40 cinemas wanted to include the film in their programs, 20th Century Fox required all cinemas to show Star Wars if they wanted to show the film Beyond Midnight , which was much more promising at the time .

20th Century Fox also had doubts that Star Wars would be a success. Beyond midnight was considered her real favorite, which would hit big in summer business, while Star Wars was considered a B-movie . Fox requested the famous Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood to start, but assured the cinema that Star Wars would be shown for a maximum of two weeks. Lucas, meanwhile, was planning a vacation in Hawaii with his wife Marcia to escape the film's poor results and reactions that he feared.

Star Wars premiered on Wednesday, May 25, 1977. Almost 40 cinemas showed the film in the first three days. The response was overwhelming, the film broke records straight away and became one of the first blockbusters in modern cinema history, prompting 20th Century Fox to expand its release. George Lucas, believing that his film would not be a great success, had previously bet with his friend Steven Spielberg that his film Close Encounters of the Third Kind would beat the box office numbers of Star Wars . Spielberg bet against it and suggested that Lucas give the other 2.5% of the profits from their own film. Lucas agreed - Spielberg still has that percentage in Star Wars profits to this day .

The Star Wars creator spent the premiere of the film with his wife in a recording studio in Los Angeles . As they exited, they came across a long line that led to Mann's Chinese Theater to see Star Wars . Still, he remained skeptical about success. It was only when he turned on the evening news on CBS while on vacation in Hawaii , which reported the huge crowds who would have watched the new film, that Lucas realized what great success he seemed to have had with his film. The people involved in the film, themselves employees of the technology crew, suddenly became famous.

Footprints of the characters R2-D2, C-3PO and Darth Vader in the forecourt of Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood ( USA ).

After the previously agreed two weeks, Star Wars at Mann's Chinese Theater was replaced by William Friedkins Breathless with Fear and the film was only shown in a smaller room. After breathless fear had disappointed, however, Star Wars received a second unprecedented opening. For this new season on August 3, 1977, when the characters C-3PO, R2-D2 and Darth Vader solemnly immortalized their footprints in the concrete floor of the forecourt of the cinema, thousands of people turned up. At the time, Star Wars was running in over 1,000 theaters in the United States. Almost 60 of them showed the film continuously for over a year.

The film has been re-released in cinemas several times over the years, for example in 1978, 1979, 1981 and 1982. In 1997, 20 years after the premiere, it took place together with the successors The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi Ritter released the special edition in the cinema. This version used the latest CGI effects that Industrial Light & Magic had previously used for Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park . ILM processed the film digitally and mainly replaced model-based special effects from the original film with modern computer effects.

International theatrical release

The film opened in Great Britain on December 27, 1977. The news of the great popularity of the film passed down from America and long queues formed in front of the box offices of two London cinemas that showed the film first. From January 1978 the film was shown in twelve major cities. In West Germany and the neighboring German-speaking countries, the film started with a delay of a few months from February 10, 1978 in German dubbed version with the title Star Wars in cinemas. Here, too, he enjoyed great popularity and quickly broke box office records. A theatrical release was originally planned shortly after the US release, but the unexpected success ensured that the distributor 20th Century Fox ran out of copies, which is why the German release was postponed to February of the following year. In West Berlin , the film was shown in the Royal Palace . The film was also a complete success in Japan , even if Ladd Jr. initially had concerns because the audience had not shown any reactions or emotions during and after the premiere. His contacts in Japan assured him that silence after a screening was a form of recognition in Japan, which was confirmed by the results at the box office.

The film was never shown in the Soviet Union .In the GDR , a performance was also banned until the German reunification in 1990, which is why the film was never officially shown in the GDR cinema or television. Western films were also banned from showing in China at the time the film was released. For this reason, the first theatrical release came almost 40 years after the original premiere in the United States. Star Wars , along with the two successors to the classic trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi , was shown in cinemas in June 2015, and Star Wars was also shown at an international film festival in Shanghai . The film was received mixed to positive.

Home Publishing

A first release for private use took place in the United States, France, Germany, Italy and Japan on Super 8 , with only heavily shortened versions or individual scenes being published. International releases of the theatrical version followed in the 1980s and 1990s on Betamax , CED , Laserdisc , Video 2000 and VHS and were distributed by CBS / Fox .

The last release of the original cinema version took place in 1995 in VHS format. All subsequently published versions show differences compared to the theatrical version. See the Republication and Post Changes section for details on these releases .



Contemporary film review

Hans-Christoph Blumenberg took the film in 1978 in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit extremely critically and described it as "pretty boring and boring". Instead of a space fairy tale, he saw an "ice-cold speculative object that is as far removed from the beautiful traditions of Hollywood, which George Lucas is looting here without hesitation as the rebel cruiser 'Millennium Falcon' is from our Milky Way". Actor Alec Guinness seems "like a touching relic from friendlier times". In 1978, Der Spiegel also said that the film looked like a fairy tale, "in which good and evil are neatly separated and the princess to be redeemed [...] is as sexy as Sleeping Beauty". The science fiction genre shrinks in Star Wars "finally to the size of a child's 'gadget' fantasy, space becomes Disney Land, the adventure playground of the plastic society". However, George Lucas was credited with having understood "how to combine something like a general catalog of popular film genres with his harmless spectacle". Contrary to the opinions of other critics, Derek Malcolm did not consider the film to be the best film of the year or the best science fiction film ever shown in the cinema in The Guardian . However, the film is an "immense and exhilarating pleasure for all those who are already about to let themselves be showered by it in their seats".

In contrast to many media outside the USA, the film was received much more positively there. Vincent Canby, for example, wrote in his review for the New York Times that Star Wars was "the most sophisticated, expensive and beautiful film of all time". The US magazine Time described the film in its review as "an impressive and splendid film, which is possibly the huge success of 1977". The film is a "remarkable mixture of subliminal film history, wrapped in a gripping tale of tension and adventure, adorned with some of the most inventive special effects ever conceived for a film". The magazine also chose the film as Film of the Year 1977. Charles Champlin was also enthusiastic in the Los Angeles Times and described the film as "the craziest family film of the year, a thrilling and technically impressive space adventure". According to Cinefantastique , George Lucas "knew how to put together an entertaining package, but he didn't really care about other things." The dialogues were described as "fun, but sometimes downright wooden". Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness created the "only really strong character scenes". The editing of the action scenes, on the other hand, was praised as "invigorating".

Later reviews

source rating
Rotten tomatoes
IMDb (audience)

More than 40 years after its theatrical release, the film is featured on the Rotten Tomatoes film website with 108 positive reviews out of 116 English-language reviews, which corresponds to a positive rating rate of 93%. The average rating is 8.7 out of 10. The audience rating is 8.2 out of 10.

The film was initially rated rather cautiously positive by the trade press, but today it is considered a widely acclaimed classic and a milestone in film history. The film service praised George Lucas for combining “popular narrative patterns from trivial culture and the comic strip with revolutionary animation technology”. He achieved an "unprecedented cinema success that initiated a renaissance of the 'space opera'". Cinema simply summed up that Star Wars is the “big bang” of a “fabulous success story”. The Hollywood Reporter rated the film as one of the most important works of art in film history.

The German film and media rating awarded the film the rating “valuable”. The reasoning states, among other things, that the story told appears “old-fashioned” in a downright lovable way. It is not about a battle controlled and dominated by computer technology. Ultimately, it is always the person who is the focus and who makes the decisions. Good and bad wrestle with each other and so 'Star Wars' also shows a struggle for moral 'values'. "

Financial success

Production costs of about $ 11 million were offset by revenue of about $ 640 million after the initial release. With this grossing result, Star Wars replaced Steven Spielberg's Jaws as the world's most financially successful film . He was able to hold this position for six years until another Spielberg film replaced him in 1983 with ET - The Extra Terrestrial . With two re-releases in 1982 and 1997, total box office income rose to $ 892 million. The film is number 99 (as of August 8, 2020) among the world's most successful films of all time .

The great financial success was preceded by a rather weak US start. Star Wars was not even the most-watched film in the country on the first opening weekend, even if the first week broke first records overall. Even though the film was initially shown in just under 40 cinemas across the country, the film generated revenues of just under 11.5 million US dollars in the opening week alone. The great popularity ensured that the film was included in more and more cinemas and shown uninterruptedly in the USA for over a year. In December 1977 the film overtook the previous record holder Jaws . Spielberg congratulated Lucas on this with a full-page advertisement in Variety magazine , thus starting a tradition that continues to this day. Due to the great success of the film, 20th Century Fox had re-shows in 1978, 1979, 1981 and 1982. After the completion of the so-called Special Edition , a new performance took place in 1997.

In Germany, the film reached the golden screen for three million visitors after just 57 days . There were also numerous re-publications in Germany, which increased the number of visitors to over eight million.

For head studio 20th Century Fox, the film was a complete success and in some ways a kind of corporate revival. Within the first three weeks of the film's release, the studio's share price doubled to a record high. The largest annual profit that could be achieved to date was $ 37 million. The studio cracked this record result in 1977 with a profit of 79 million US dollars.

For George Lucas himself, Star Wars was a huge success too . The film suddenly made him world famous. His previously negotiated contract with 20th Century Fox turned out to be a true goldsmith, because at the time nobody had thought it possible that so much money could be made with licensed fan products and sequels, especially in the science fiction genre - Star Wars and The Star Wars universe built on the success made Lucas a multi-billionaire and one of the most powerful men in the history of the film business.

Awards (selection)

Overview of film awards won (selection)
Award category
Academy Awards
( 1978 )
Best Editing ,
Best Sound ,
Best Visual Effects ,
Best Film Music ,
Best Production Design ,
Best Costume Design ,
Special Achievement Award
British Academy Film Award
( 1979 )
Best score ,
best sound
Golden Globe Award
( 1978 )
Best film score
Saturn Award
( 1978 )
Best Science Fiction Film ,
Best Director ,
Artistic Director ,
Best Screenplay ,
Best Editing ,
Best Sound ,
Best Special Effects ,
Best Music ,
Best Equipment ,
Best Costume ,
Best Make-up ,
Best Supporting Actor ,
Special Prize for Outstanding Camera Work
Grammy Awards
( 1978 )
Best instrumental performance,
best instrumental composition,
best original music

Star Wars has received numerous awards, including six Oscars (and two special Oscars ), three Grammys , two British Academy Film Awards , a Golden Globe and 13 Saturn Awards , and has been nominated for many other awards. The film was particularly convincing in technical categories, with the score composed by John Williams and the portrayal of the character Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi by Alex Guinness, but it has also won several awards for best film, best director and best Original script nominated.

At the 1978 Academy Awards , Star Wars was one of the biggest winners. The film was able to convince in the technical categories, won six prizes and was nominated for four more. The film received the most awards of the evening, but had to admit defeat to Woody Allen's Der Stadtneurotiker in the important categories of Best Film , Best Director and Best Original Screenplay (each for George Lucas) . The award for Best Supporting Actor, for which Alec Guinness was nominated, went to Jason Robards ( Julia ). In addition, Ben Burtt and John Dykstra were each awarded a special Oscar. Burtt received the Special Achievement Award for the best sound effects, Dykstra, who had already received the Oscar for the best visual effects, an Oscar for science and development for the development of the Dykstraflex camera.

The film was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1978 in the important categories of Best Film - Drama and Best Director as well as Best Supporting Actor, but could only win the award for best film music . This also impressed at the presentation of the Grammy music prize in the same year, won a total of three prizes and was even nominated for the album of the year, which was previously only achieved by four film scores. The award is considered the highest international award for artists in the music business. In 2007 the score was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame. The film music composed by John Williams also impressed at the British Academy Film Awards . The film also won for Best Sound and was nominated for four other BAFTA Awards, including Best Picture. Star Wars won 13 awards at the Saturn Awards , including best film, best director, best screenplay and best film music, and was nominated for four more. This makes the film the most successful that has ever been recognized at the Saturn Awards.

The film is at the top of several lists published by the American Film Institute . On the list of the 100 best American films of all time in 1998 it was 15th and in 2007 13th. In the science fiction genre , he landed in 2008 in the 10 most important films in 10 classic genres behind 2001: A Space Odyssey in second place. The score, composed by John Williams, was named America's Best Score in 2005. In the list of the 100 best film quotes from US films of all time (2005), Alec Guinness's expression “May the Force be with you.” Came eighth, while Darth Vader In 2003 , she was voted number three of the 50 greatest villains in American cinema .

Other prizes that Star Wars won include two LAFCA awards (best film, best music), a People's Choice Award (best feature film), a Hugo Award and the golden screen for three million cinema-goers within 18 months . The Writers Guild of America , a merger of two unions of writers in the film and television industry of the United States , chose the screenplay by George Lucas in a list of 100 best screenplays of all time at number 68. The US National Library Library of Congress took the film in 1989 as one of the first in the National Film Registry , which contains American films considered particularly worthy of preservation. The film music was entered into the National Recording Registry in 2004 .


Influence on international cinema and modern pop culture

Despite the skepticism George Lucas received from almost every quarter prior to the release of Star Wars , the film was a huge hit. He had a profound influence on international cinema. Star Wars was instrumental in making 20th Century Fox one of the most important film studios in the United States. George Lucas was a film college graduate alongside Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese and was therefore familiar with every aspect of the production of a film. In this way he differed from many directors of the time, who mostly came from a specific area of ​​film development and were dependent on cooperation with other filmmakers. Lucas, on the other hand, was able to unite every aspect of the film under his leadership and thus ensured a different visual language than was common at the time. In addition to the film series , the Star Wars series became one of the first franchises in film history, which included numerous accompanying media and toys in addition to the films as primary media. In addition, the creation of its own universe opened the door for numerous sequels and extracts, which aroused particular interest among viewers due to the shared fictional world. This type of film exploitation is widespread and very successful today.

Star Wars and the original trilogy were also models for many film series that were conceived from the outset with a large number of films, regardless of the success of the films. Were sequels before Star Wars often weighed and only after the appearance of its predecessor produced, the success of the half Star Wars trilogy to put many film series in the decision on several parts. These include the film series The Hunger Games , The Lord of the Rings or the Marvel Cinematic Universe .

Another achievement often attributed to Star Wars , along with Jaws (1975) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, both by Steven Spielberg), is the breakthrough of the term used to describe films known as blockbuster cinema who have a high budget and focus on action and expensive visual effects and are financially very successful by addressing a large target group. Industrial Light & Magic , founded by Lucas, has developed into one of the leading names in the field of special effects and has been involved in over 200 films in the 30 years after the release of Star Wars and has won numerous awards, including 15 Oscars (at 38 Nominations), excellent.

Star Wars was one of the first films to sell merchandising for the film . After the film was surprisingly a great success, the need for merchandising also increased rapidly. During the Christmas business in 1977 in the USA there were delivery bottlenecks in some places, so that empty boxes were sold with a kind of promise of a finished product, as the sale of film merchandise was not common at the time and the production of toys and other products were still in the early stages of production. The potential of such sales surprised many studios and manufacturers.

Many elements of the film and the resulting film series have also found their way into modern pop culture . So Star Wars became one of the first fandoms that spread internationally and is now created for almost every type of medium, is lived out and developed primarily on the Internet and has a large share in the success of this media. Many characters and quotes (e.g. “May the force be with you.”) From the film are still very popular and are the basis of countless parodies (such as Mel Brooks' Spaceballs , (T) Spaceship Surprise - Period 1 or Hardware Wars ).

Classification in the career of the main actors

For Harrison Ford, Star Wars was a stepping stone on the path to becoming one of the most successful actors in the world, having previously only played supporting roles. After Ford had been able to convince as Han Solo, although the actual leading role had gone to Mark Hamill, he succeeded, alongside the successors of Star Wars , especially with his roles as Indiana Jones ( Raiders of the Lost Ark , 1981) and Rick Deckard in Blade Runner (1982) two more highly regarded acting appearances that finally made him an international star. He also played the role of Han Solo in the three sequel films The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi (1983) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), which also became great box office hits . Ford made about one movie a year after the Star Wars trilogy ended and became one of the most trusted box office stars of the 1980s and 1990s. In addition to Han Solo, the role of Indiana Jones is probably one of his most famous roles, which he embodied in a total of three sequels ( The Temple of Doom , The Last Crusade and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ). A final appearance in this role is planned for 2020. Harrison Ford was one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood after his breakthrough, and his films achieved a gross profit of 8.9 billion US dollars. This puts him in second place on the list of actors whose films have achieved the highest gross box office income (as of March 2019).

In contrast to Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher played increasingly in smaller productions in addition to the Star Wars sequels. Despite the success of Star Wars , which made her a star, her roles remained rather small and the character of Princess Leia her most famous role. Even if she continued to appear regularly as an actress in films and series, she was rarely able to build on the success of Star Wars . In addition to films such as the Blues Brothers , Hannah and their sisters , Harry and Sally or My Devilish Neighbors , Fisher also made a name for herself as a writer. So in 1987 appeared Postcards From the Edge (German title: Postcards From the Edge ) her first novel , which two years later with Meryl Streep , Shirley MacLaine and Dennis Quaid under the book title filmed was. In the book, which contains autobiographical elements, Fisher also highlighted her drug addiction . From her stage program Wishful Drinking , which ran successfully for several months on Broadway at the end of 2006 , another book was created in 2008, which was published in German under the title Princess Leia strikes back . With this, Fisher re-described her drug problems and bipolar disorder . In addition, Fisher worked as a script doctor for several Hollywood films for many years . In 2015 she returned to her role as Leia Organa for the sequel trilogy of the Star Wars saga , along with Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill . Shortly before her death, she published another book, The Princess Diarist (German title: The Diary of Princess Leia ), which largely revolves around her life in the years of the original trilogy. Her open way of talking about her problems and the downside of success earned her great recognition.

Like Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill was also prevented for a long time from celebrating any great success outside of his role as Luke Skywalker. In addition to his appearances in numerous Star Wars films and accompanying media, he also appeared in John Carpenter's horror flick The Village of the Damned . In 1998 he starred in the Swedish action film Commander Hamilton . He was also active as a stage actor and starred in several theater performances on Broadway, including the drama Amadeus . This earned him a nomination for a Drama Desk Award . His cinematic involvement as an actor, however, was limited and usually did not extend beyond short supporting roles, such as in Kingsman: The Secret Service . However, his appearances as Luke Skywalker in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi attracted a lot of attention . Although he was unable to match the success of his most famous role, Hamill was just making a name for himself as a voice actor. His appearances as the Joker , one of Batman's most famous opponents , in numerous DC series and video games were critically received very positively and earned him several awards.

Establishment of the Star Wars universe

Star Wars started a completely new franchise with many different stories, the Star Wars universe . The film was continued directly three years later with The Empire Strikes Back and another three years later with The Return of the Jedi . These three films, known as the Original Trilogy, started a hitherto unprecedented fictional universe that today includes countless books, comics, video games, series, sequels, and spin-offs. In addition, Lucas used his film to develop merchandising , which boosted the film's revenues and became very popular. Today, Star Wars and the entire Star Wars universe deeply rooted in modern pop culture. The twelve films released so far, including three film trilogies and the Star Wars offshoots , grossed more than 9.4 billion US dollars. This makes the film universe the second most financially successful after the Marvel Cinematic Universe , which includes 28 films.

In 2005, the financial magazine estimated Forbes by Star Wars - Merchandising US dollar and called earned up to that revenue to around 20 billion Star Wars here as the most financially successful film project of all time. Revenue from licensing the Star Wars brand increased to approximately $ 27 billion in 2012, of which George Lucas received approximately $ 3 billion until the licensing rights to Disney were sold . The Fortune Magazine estimated the total revenue of the brand Star Wars was achieved, up to 42 billion US dollars. Other estimates came to similar results. The biggest items were the toys and the box office results.

Republication and subsequent changes

Logo of the film in the style of the prequel trilogy (1999–2005).

Star Wars was republished and subsequently changed several times in the years after it was first published. Often small things were changed with each subsequent release on a home medium. Over the years, several different editions were published for different media, each with slightly different additional content or cover, but film versions with the same content. The first change came with the re-release of the film in 1981. After the successor The Empire Strikes Back had left many viewers astonished with the additional title "Episode V" a year earlier , Lucas decided to publish Star Wars with the subtitle " Episode IV - A New Hope ”. Later, Lucas often stated that he had planned a six-part film series from the start, but nine to twelve possible parts were also discussed. Production company 20th Century Fox banned Lucas from having a subtitle (and number) for its 1977 release, feared it would confuse audiences as there had been no other Star Wars film before. A more obvious reason for the episode number of the sequel, however, arose from the fact that while working on the script for The Empire Strikes Back a storyline was being considered in which Darth Vader was in fact Luke Skywalker's father. This made Lucas realize that Star Wars must therefore have a prehistory, which is why he made the first film the fourth episode of a film series, which at that time consisted of only one or, with the release of the successor, of two films. The German title Eine neue Hoffnung only prevailed years later when a THX -remastered trilogy version was released in 1995 . Besides the title change in the scrolling text and the sound processing, no changes were made.

In 1997 a new version of the film called Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope - Special Edition was released . This version, often briefly referred to as the Special Edition , also contained a number of adjustments in terms of content. With the help of current film technology, the original film was expanded to include several digital special effects , in particular model-based effects of the original were replaced by computer-generated ones. Among other things, the human Jabba in the original version (which was cut from the original version) was replaced by the oversized worm shown in the third film in 1983 and reinserted into the film. Due to many minor changes, this version was also rated for the first time by the FSK from 6 years (previously FSK 12), which is due, for example, to the fact that a scene with Han Solo and the bounty hunter Greedo was given a new context. In the original version, Han Solo shot his opponent unannounced during the conversation, while in the digitally revised version the scene was supplemented by the subsequent insertion of a shot by Greedo and an evasive movement by Solos. This was harshly criticized by fans, from which the well-known saying among Star Wars fans was formed: “Han shot first!” - “Han shot first!”, Which also found its way into pop culture.

The film was digitally edited again for the DVD release in 2004, and the term Special Edition was dropped for marketing purposes . Nevertheless, the term Special Edition is still unofficially used for all film versions since 1997, in order to distinguish these digitally revised versions from the previous versions. Furthermore, the title "was in the German version first Star Wars " finally dropped and by " Star Wars " is replaced. The 2004 version was bundled with the 1981 theatrical re-release version in 2006 as a limited edition on DVD. This was the last time that George Lucas published the non-digitally revised version in a current home video format, although no digital processing or adaptation of the film material to the conditions of the DVD data carrier was carried out. Instead, the footage from earlier Laserdisc releases was simply transferred to DVD.

For release of the entire Star Wars saga on Blu-ray Disc in 2011, the film was digitally remastered in several places one more time, and provides the resulting fourth version of Star Wars is. George Lucas announced a year earlier also that all six films of the two previously published trilogies would be re-released in theaters in a 3D conversion. The Phantom Menace was released as a 3D version in 2012, but a 3D conversion of the remaining films was put on hold due to the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012 and will not be pursued further. Star Wars has been available from various streaming providers and for download since 2015 , for the first time since the takeover of Disney without the original recording from the production studio 20th Century Fox at the beginning of the film.

The frequent subsequent changes to the original theatrical version from 1977 earned Lucas strong criticism. Many fans were dissatisfied with what they saw as unnecessary changes and always demanded that the original theatrical version be retained. The criticism of the fans even went so far that a project was launched that set itself the task of restoring the original versions of the first trilogy. This version of the original trilogy, known as Hamy's Despecialised Edition , is not officially available, even if the project has not yet been banned by Disney or Lucasfilm. The US National Library, the Library of Congress , was one of the first to include the film in the National Film Registry in 1989 . The library received the original version of the film in 35mm format in 1977 , digitized the film almost 40 years later, and is probably the only place where it is possible to view the original version of the film.

In December 2016 it was announced that Lucasfilm had completed a 4K restoration of the film. However, it was unclear whether this was based on the original theatrical version or the later released versions. It is also unknown whether a release of this 4K version is planned. With the start of the streaming service Disney + is Star Wars since 12 November exclusively available there. In this version, minor changes have been made to the film, which is offered in 4K. At the beginning of the film, the original Fox fanfare is back after Disney took over the studio in early 2019. The same applies to all other films in the original and prequel trilogy. The scene in which Han Solo shoots a bounty hunter, which has become famous over the years, has been changed again. In the current version, both shoot at the same time. The change was made by George Lucas himself even before he sold the rights to the brand to Disney.


The German synchronization was done by Berliner Synchron GmbH , based on a dialogue book and dialogue direction by Rolf Karrer-Kharberg .

The Emperor does not appear in the film, but is mentioned twice. The name "Emperor" used in English was translated into German with "Kaiser". In all other films and accompanying media that appeared after Star Wars , the translation was made with the Latin title “ Imperator ”.

role actor German voice actor
Luke Skywalker Mark Hamill Hans-Georg Panczak
Han Solo Harrison Ford Wolfgang Pampel
Leia Organa Carrie Fisher Susanna Bonaséwicz
Darth Vader David Prowse
( James Earl Jones , voice)
Heinz Petruo
Obi Wan Kenobi Sir Alec Guinness Ernst Wilhelm Borchert
C-3PO Anthony Daniels Joachim Tennstedt
Wilhuff Tarkin Peter Cushing Friedrich Schoenfelder
Wedge Antilles Denis Lawson
(David Ankrum, voice)
Ingolf Gorges
Owen Lars Phil Brown Manfred Grote
Beru Lars Shelagh Fraser Inge Wolffberg
Jan Dodonna Alex McCrindle Kurt Mühlhardt
Admiral Motti Richard LeParmentier Claus Jurichs
Captain Antilles Peter Geddis Karl Schulz
Biggs Darklighter Garrick Hagon Lutz Riedel
Dr. Cornelius Evazan Alfie Curtis Rolf Marnitz

Other language roles included a. to hear: Norbert Langer , Wolfgang Völz , Bodo Wolf , Klaus Sonnenschein , Thomas Petruo , Toni Herbert , Uwe Paulsen and Hans-Jürgen Dittberner . Helmut Krauss spoke the Death Star loudspeaker voice.


Novel adaptations (selection)

  • George Lucas , Alan Dean Foster ( ghostwriter ): Star Wars . 1st edition. Goldmann Verlag, Munich 1978, ISBN 3-442-36315-2 (English: Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker . 1976. Translated by Tony Westermayr).
  • Alexandra Bracken: Star Wars: A New Hope - Three against the Empire . 1st edition. Panini Books, Stuttgart 2015, ISBN 3-8332-3023-1 (English: Star Wars: A New Hope - The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy . 2015. Translated by Andreas Kasprzak).

further reading

Web links

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