In case you've been living on another planet for the last decades and want to understand the whole "Star Wars" phenomenon before watching the new film, read this now - and be sure to learn those classic quotes by heart.
For more than three and a half decades, the Star Wars franchise has continued to mesmerize old and new fans. "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens" is the newest installment of the Star Wars series. The movie premiere will take place on December 14 and 15 in the U.S. and Europe, respectively.
Long time ago in a galaxy far, far away
The story of "Star Wars" first started at the end of the 1970s with the debut of "Episode IV: A New Hope," the first film of the series. The film introduced the story about the Rebel Alliance's struggle against the Galactic Empire, a classic David versus Goliath, good versus evil drama with heroes of the likes of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo and villains like Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine.
The science fiction film was well ahead of its time, not only due to its plot line but also by its extensive use of high-end special effects and extremely detailed life-sized sets, becoming an instant hit among children and adults.
During its opening weekend the film earned more than 1.5 million dollars (more than 6 million in today's dollars), paving the way for the rest of the films from the series. "Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) and "Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" (1983) were highly anticipated by fans and were huge hits as well.
After a hiatus of almost two decades, a prequel trilogy was released with "Episode I: The Phantom Menace" in 1999 and followed by "Episode II: Attack of the Clones in 2002" and "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" in 2005, bringing the story to a full circle. Although the prequels were strongly criticized by die-hard fans for selling their essence to Hollywood, the prequels familiarized newer generations with the "Star Wars" universe.
All around business
The franchise came along with immense merchandising in the form of television series, video games, comic books and toys with the latter being a multimillion dollar industry by itself.
The license for Star Wars toys is currently owned by the American manufacturer Hasbro Inc. and also by Lego, which has its own Star Wars-themed toy line since 1999. The Danish toy maker has extended its license in multiple occasions as it is one of its most popular and best sold lines.
The "Star Wars" phenomenon has also led fans to create their own theories and fan fiction of the series. Some of this fan material outside of the original works has been added to the saga. The fan fiction was officially known as the Star Wars expanded universe until 2012 when Disney purchased Lucasfilm, renaming it Star Wars Legends and ensuring that from now on all new media are non-contradictory to each other and past references of the Star Wars realm.
New times, new story
After acquiring Lucasfilm, Disney announced a revival of the series creating a new trilogy starting with "Episode VII: The Force Awakens," which takes place 30 years after the events of "Return of the Jedi." According to tradition and similar fashion as with the last trilogy, not much information has been shared to fans about the movie's plot, increasing the hype to a max before its release next week.
So far what we do know is that veterans Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher will reprise their roles as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia along with new heroes Rey, a mysterious scavenger and Finn, a runaway stormtrooper played by newcomers Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. The dark side will also have a new face through Kylo Ren, a warrior who is strong with the Force played by Adam Driver.