Star Wars Celebrates its 40th Anniversary

first_imgStay on target Mattel Unveils Fashionable ‘Star Wars’ x Barbie Dolls‘Star Wars: Resistance’ Finale Sets Up ‘The Rise of Sk… On May 25, 1977, a weird little sci-fi movie no one believed in opened in a very small number of movie theaters around the country. 20th Century Fox actually had to threaten to withhold an eagerly anticipated summer flick to get movie theaters to carry it. It opened on a Wednesday in only 32 theaters, and eight more picked up the movie for its opening weekend. The film was essentially shoved out the door to die. I think we all know what happened next.40 years later, it’s unthinkable that Star Wars was ever anything but the biggest movie of the year, every year. That movie nobody thought would amount to anything turned into the biggest hit Hollywood had ever seen. It pioneered special effects techniques copied by everyone for decades to come. Most people didn’t even know it was possible for a movie to look like that. Audiences went back to see the movie again and again. In some movie theaters, it ran for more than a year. In others, the movie was re-released every year until its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, came out in 1980.The cast instantly became huge stars, and Star Wars became a gigantic franchise with its own novels, comics, toys, video games, bed sheets and pretty much every other product you can think of. Now, a new Star Wars movie comes out every year, and judging by the most recent two; there’s still a reason to get excited about that. So far, the new movies have been fantastic. Almost as good as the 1977 experiment that started it all. And from the looks of things, the next one is shaping up to be pretty great as well. Vanity Fair released this behind the scenes video yesterday of photographer Annie Leibovitz’s time on the set. It doesn’t show a whole lot, but the sets and costumes sure look amazing. Though George Lucas sadly got away from practical effects as the years went on, this behind the scenes video reminds us how amazing they can still be.Star Wars has grown from a small risk that everyone was sure would fail into an important piece of cinematic history that has inspired generations of fans and creators. For many of us, it was our first taste of science fiction. It set us down the path of voracious genre reading, late night dinner debates, fan fiction, cosplay, film criticism, filmmaking… whatever we’re doing now, Star Wars is undeniably part of the reason we’re doing it. We can all remember feeling like Luke, wanting something bigger than the life we saw in front of us. We all remember trying to imitate the lightsaber battle between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi with our friends. We certainly remember watching that Death Star explode for the first time. It was the coolest thing our little eyes had ever seen. The fact that after 40 years, we still have countless moments like those still to come is incredible.So how do you celebrate Star Wars’s 40th anniversary? Any way you want. Rewatch the original trilogy for the 40th time. Dig out your 2006 DVDs so you can watch the original unaltered version. (Or look into the legal grey area of fan edits.) If that doesn’t strike your fancy, try something new. Start watching The Clone Wars or Rebels, like you’ve been meaning to. They’re just as good as you’ve heard they are. Check out Marvel’s current run of canonical comics. They’re also fantastic, and fill in the gaps between the movies with interesting and emotional stories. The Darth Vader series was the best, partially because it featured an evil C3P0 who quickly became my new favorite Star Wars character.There’s no wrong way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars. Trust your feelings.last_img read more