As of this month, Star Wars will have been around and popular for 40 years. (Does that make you feel old? It does me!) And your Abilene Public Library is a great place to come to find all things Star Wars - not only the movies, but quite a bit of behind-the-scenes information as well. Let us run down a little history on the famous franchise.
When the original Star Wars movie was released in theaters, it did not have the subtitle "Episode IV: A New Hope." Added in 1981 with the theatrical re-release of "Star Wars," and one year after the release of "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back," it let the audience know that the story began in the middle. The theatrical release of "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi" took place in 1983, bringing the trilogy to an end six years after the release of the first movie.
"Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace" was released in 1999 with great furor as it was 22 years after the original Star Wars release. The beginning of the prequel trilogy, "The Phantom Menace" introduced Anakin Skywalker as a boy. By the third episode, "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith," as everyone who watched episodes IV through VI knew would happen, Anakin ended up as Darth Vader.
The first six Star Wars movies were released during the month of May, with the exception of "The Empire Strikes Back" which only premiered and had a limited release in May but was widely released in June. Disney, who now owns the franchise, was central in deciding when the release of the seventh episode would take place. In 2015, the third trilogy began with "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," also known as Episode VII. Although originally aimed at a May release, the studio decided to allow a bit more time for development but still wanted a 2015 release, so "The Force Awakens" released in December.
"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" takes place before and leads up to the events shown in "Episode IV: A New Hope." The story began filming in 2015 and the completed film released in December 2016. It is the first of a possible series of Star Wars anthology films, with the second part, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" to have wide release this coming December.
If you're a true fan, we've got a lot of background information available at the Abilene Public Library. For more information on the Death Star, for example, look at "Star Wars Death Star Imperial DS-1 Orbital Battle Station: Owner's Technical Manual" by Ryder Windham. To explore the alien species shown in the first four movies, see Ann Margaret Lewis' "Star Wars: Essential Guide to Alien Species." Fans of timelines should peruse "Star Wars: The New Essential Chronology" by Daniel Wallace. Keeping track of the characters from the first five movies, the books, the comics, games, and TV specials up to 2002 can be done using "Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Characters."
If exploring "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" tops your list of things to do, see "Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary" by Pablo Hidalgo or Phil Szostak's "The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens." These titles and more are available at your Abilene Public Library. Check them out!
Article Contributed by Marie Skufca, Information Services Librarian