Why Star Wars is the Greatest Franchise of All Time
A Love Letter to a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Not so long ago, in a galaxy not so far away, George Lucas released Star Wars (retroactively titled Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope) to the world. In the years since, there have been 12 feature films, eight television shows, 100 plus video games, over 400 books, and countless other forms of media for the world to enjoy.
For many, Star Wars has served as the ultimate escapist fantasy. Set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars features no mention of Earth. Instead, fans can get lost among the stars as they explore countless planets, meet great heroes, and engage in bold battles. It has something for everyone. Whether you’re nine or 99-years old, you’ll find a story that speaks to you in the Star Wars canon.
Star Wars features several themes that we can relate to. Love, friendship, and family. Fear, anger, and temptation. At the crux of it, though, Star Wars’ central theme is hope. It’s about believing that good will triumph over evil and that balance will be restored to the galaxy. Whether it’s Princess Leia asking Obi-Wan Kenobi for help during The Rebellion’s most desperate hour or Lando Calrissian reminding Poe Dameron that hope is still alive in the galaxy, our protagonists’ faith is what keeps them alive even in the darkest of times. A feat which is easier said than done.
Themes are definitely a key aspect when discussing what makes Star Wars so great, but none of it would matter without the characters created by George Lucas, Dave Filoni, and the countless other creatives at Lucasfilm. Even if you have never seen Star Wars, you’re familiar with the iconic imagery of characters like Princess Leia, Darth Vader, R2-D2, and C-3PO. These characters, among others, are a key reason why Star Wars is loved by millions around the world.
Whether you’re captivated by Han Solo’s roguish charm or enamoured by Rey’s wide-eyed innocence, something about the characters in this space opera always finds a way to melt hearts. Even characters introduced in shows like Star Wars: The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian – that don’t appear in any of the feature films – have made an impact on the fandom. Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex, characters who debuted in The Clone Wars, have become two of the most beloved characters in the franchise’s history. The Child (aptly nicknamed Baby Yoda) from The Mandalorian became an overnight sensation, spawning a seemingly infinite number of memes. These characters are endearing, they set themselves apart by being unique and yet, at the same time, universal.
Star Wars is the ultimate escapist fantasy. It immerses you into a universe unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Through John Williams’ iconic score, Ben Burtt’s legendary sound effects, and the incredible world building, it won’t take long for you to find yourself attached to every wonderous frame that crosses your path. Few feelings can match the first time jumping into hyperspace onboard the Millennium Falcon or listening to the whispering hum of an ignited lightsaber, it’s almost euphoric.
Culturally speaking, Star Wars impacted our collective day-to-day lives more than we’ll ever know. When released, Star Wars single-handedly increased 20th Century Fox’s stocks from $6 a share to $25 a share. It fundamentally changed the way Hollywood films are made to this day, popularised the use of “The Hero’s Journey” in film, and pioneered modern visual effects. Industrial Light & Magic, the visual effects company behind the stunning visuals in films like Titanic, Avatar, Harry Potter, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was founded by George Lucas during the production of Star Wars in 1975. Without it, one can only imagine what modern cinema would look like…
Iconic filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan, Jon Favreau, and Peter Jackson have all openly discussed how Star Wars has influenced their careers. Nolan has even cited Lucas as the reason he got into film, saying:
“That first Star Wars, the one George Lucas directed, came out in 1977 when I was seven years old. It made a huge impression on me, in terms of the scope of it and the idea that you could create an entirely different experience for the audience, literally any world, more than one world, a galaxy. That experience was huge for me.”
It goes without saying that this piece serves as a love letter to Star Wars, but if you’ve reached the end and you’re still wondering why Star Wars is the greatest franchise of all time, here’s a condensed answer: Because it inspires creativity, it bolsters boldness, and it’s made by fans for fans.
We hope this has been an enjoyable, if not informative, read. Happy Star Wars Day and, as always, May the Fourth be with you.