Star Wars has been around for nearly forty years now, and that’s a long time for any franchise. Over the years there have been some pretty big events surrounding Star Wars, and here are ten of the biggest things to happen to one of the most popular and beloved franchises in the world:
May 25, 1977
No one can argue that the opening of Star Wars in May of 1977 wasn’t the biggest thing to happen to the franchise. This is when Star Wars was introduced to the world, and nothing was the same since. It defined more than one generation and forever changed how movies are made and perceived.
The Hamburger Hamlet “Bet” (1977)
Even though the bet wasn’t made at the Hamburger Hamlet that used to be across the street from the Chinese theater in Hollywood (and it wasn’t technically a bet), it’s there that Lucas lost a little bit of Star Wars to Spielberg based on how big a hit it would be. When Spielberg was making Close Encounters Lucas was sure that movie would be a bigger hit than Star Wars. So Spielberg decided to trade points with Lucas, giving him 2.5% of Close Encounters for 2.5% of Star Wars. Then in 1977 the two were sitting at the Hamburger Hamlet in Hollywood when Lucas realized how big Star Wars was, and Spielberg realized what that 2.5% meant.
The Expanded Universe (1991)
For Star Wars fans the period of 1986-1991 is referred to as the Dark Times. No new Star Wars stuff was coming out, and after the 10th anniversary of the movie it seemed like the franchise could slowly fade away. That all changed in 1991 when Timothy Zahn released Heir to the Empire and kicked off more than twenty years of new Star Wars content in the form of the Expanded Universe.
The “One Last Time” VHS Release (1995)
In 1995 Lucasfilm released the Original Trilogy on VHS, and they stressed it would be the final time you’d be able to own the original unaltered versions. The reason why this release is such a big deal isn’t because it was the final release of those versions, it’s because no one listened to Lucasfilm at the time. Even now, twenty years later, people still want to believe that LFL would go back on what they said and release the unaltered Original Trilogy…when that’s never going to happen.
The Special Editions (1997)
When Lucasfilm released the first trailer for the Star Wars Special Editions, it was a big deal. For the 20th anniversary the entire Star Wars trilogy would be re-released on the big screen where it belonged, and Lucas would finally be going in and using modern effects to perfect the movies. The problem is some people didn’t like what Lucas did to the movies and would spend the next two decades screaming that he raped their childhood.