The original Star Wars film was released in 1977 under the direction of George Lucas who would later direct five more Star Wars films which were critically received in vastly different ways. Despite this turmoil, just seven years after the release of the third movie in a trilogy that would be remembered for its disappointment, entertainment giant Disney bought the franchise and announced that they would be releasing three more numbered films and three more supplemental films.
And now, after the release of four of those six new films, it has been announced that yet another trilogy will be produced after the initial release of six bringing the total to a staggering 15 movies all stemming from George Lucas’s original film released 40 years ago.
All of these numbers beg the question: what’s so special about a movie about a kid who tries to beat an evil space-empire with a sword made out of light? Okay, that does sound pretty cool. But regardless, what separates its own success from the success of other movies with a similar setting?
The answer lies in the structure of the plot. Star Wars is a classic hero story following the same archetype as Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, The Odyssey, Moby Dick, and more. A story with this structure involves a character that lives a seemingly ordinary life and is called to an adventure. The character receives help from a mentor and undergoes trials and tribulations throughout their travels until reaching their very lowest point, seemingly without hope.
During this time of hardship, the character comes to a revelation and regains the confidence he/she needs to defeat the enemy before returning to a slightly different version of the character’s introduction. It is this structure when executed well, that entertains audience endlessly. But that isn’t the only reason for the success of the Star Wars franchise, and neither is it the only reason for the success of any of the other franchises with this structure.
Star Wars was built in a rich and diverse world that created a believable setting for the saga to unfold in. The world provided an escape to its viewers while also presenting a story that they could relate to. This in combination with the Japanese samurai movies that inspired it provided a fresh take to the science fiction genre with a compelling story and interesting characters. These characteristics provided the foundation for the biggest science fiction franchise in the world.
Originally posted at https://www.theodysseyonline.com/star-wars-successful, on December 26th, 2017