‘Star Wars’ is an iconic part of any geek’s life. From the hum of the lightsaber to the sound of a blaster firing, each and every part of ‘Star Wars’ has impacted three generations of movie-goers – despite how you may feel about its latest release.
If you’re anything like me, you love a little bit of trivia. Y’know, the little tidbits of information about our favourite films that trickle out after release, adding a little depth and humanity to the movies. ‘Star Wars’ is an interesting trivia hole to delve down, as George Lucas constantly made contradictory claims over its decades-long span.
One question that stuck with me, though, was: “When was Episode IV: A New Hope added to ‘Star Wars’?” Surely he didn’t release the first movie with the tag-line, as that would’ve confused movie-goers everywhere back in the 70s, wondering if they’d missed three movies prior. And thus, I began to investigate, journeying down the rabbit hole of ‘Star Wars’ lore.
‘Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope’ went through many name changes before it arrived at the title we all know and love. Originally, the saga was going to be called ‘Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars.’. Quite the mouthful.
The second draft became ‘Adventures of the Starkiller, Episode I: The Star Wars’, and, finally, we settled on ‘Star Wars’ in 1977, dropping the episodic formula altogether.
But we weren’t done there. If you thought George Lucas’s retrospective meddling in ‘Star Wars’ lore was a prequel-trilogy thing, then wooooo boy are you in for a wild ride.
It was upon Lucas’ edit of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ – upon which he decided that Vader would be Luke’s father – that Lucas realised that he needed a prior three movies to explore the gravitas of his ‘Star Wars’ universe. Thus, when the movie was released in 1980 that Lucas decided the movie would be called ‘Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back’.
Then, when ‘A New Hope’ was released, and only then, did they add the subtitle ‘Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope’ in 1981.
So, to recap – ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ was the first movie to adopt the episodic formula, always being titled as such. Then, after giving the original movie a re-release the year after, did ‘A New Hope’ become titled as such.
Honestly, it’s a bold and brash move, one that not many directors would pursue in modern cinema. All of those years ago, it must’ve left movie-goers scratching their heads, wondering if they’d somehow missed a prior trilogy of films, pondering how they were five films deep already.
Planning that since 1980, with the final prequel not releasing until 2005 – is a marvellous feat that Lucas doesn’t get enough credit for. It explains why the prequels get heaps of hate – waiting twenty-five years with baited breath only to receive a Jar Jar Binks, politics-fuelled plot must have been… interesting, to say the least. (Note: I personally love the prequels, ‘Revenge of the Sith’ is one of my all-time favourite ‘Star Wars’ movies).
For more on ‘Star Wars’, check out why I thought ‘Rise of Skywalker’ really wasn’t that bad. In fact, I loved it. Or, check out my review of ‘Stranger Things’ season 3.
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