A Beginner's Guide to Star Wars
Looking for help with picking out the perfect Star Wars gift, but can’t tell your droids from your Darth Vaders? Then look no further.
What IS Star Wars?
is a series of science fiction/fantasy movies created by George Lucas. It was envisioned as a set of three trilogies, two of which have been released: the “Original” trilogy was released between 1977 and 1983, and a “Prequel” trilogy was released between 1999 and 2005. The original trilogy follows the adventures of Luke Skywalker and his friends as they try to take down the evil Galactic Empire. The prequels are set 20-30 years previously and reveal the origin of the Empire, the fate of Luke’s father, Anakin Skywalker, and the rise of the villainous Darth Vader. A new sequel trilogy, set decades after the Original series, is due to begin in 2015.
Star Wars features a lot of classic science fiction elements, such as space battles, robots, and laser guns, but it also incorporates fantasy themes with the powerful wizard-like Jedi Knights and its stark contrast between the forces of good and evil.
What are the different movies?
Each Star Wars movie has an episode number and subtitle.
Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
– The Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and his mentor, Qui-Gon Jinn, assist Queen Amidala of Naboo in resolving a dangerous trade dispute and meet the young Anakin Skywalker along the way.
Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
– Obi Wan and his new trainee, Anakin, must uncover the secret behind an assassination attempt on Queen Amidala and stop the galaxy from descending into civil war.
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
– The mastermind behind the war begins to manipulate Anakin, preying on his doubts about the Jedi Order and his love for Amidala to drive him towards the dark side of the Force.
Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
– 19 years after Episode III, Anakin’s son Luke is swept up in the ongoing fight between the Rebel Alliance and the evil Galactic Empire.
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
– Luke learns the ways of the Jedi and discovers a dark secret about his father while his friends fall into the clutches of the evil Darth Vader.
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
– Luke and his friends fight to take the Empire down once and for all.
The new sequel movies will be Episodes VII, VIII and IX, but little is known about them at this time.
Who are the Jedi and the Sith?
The Jedi Order
is a monastic group of knights who wield laser swords called “lightsabers” and can call on a power known as the Force for telepathy, telekinesis, and mind control. Master Jedi are usually accompanied by a younger pupil, or “padawan.” They are opposed by the Sith
, a dark counterpart to the Jedi who embrace chaos and passion instead of harmony and order, and use the Force to achieve selfish ends.
Who are the main characters?
- Luke Skywalker: The hero of the Original Trilogy; a farm boy who becomes a Jedi Knight.
- Princess Leia: A leader of the Rebel Alliance and new ally to Luke, famous for her “bun” hairstyle.
- Han Solo: A roguish smuggler who teams up with Luke and Leia.
- Chewbacca: Han Solo’s co-pilot and member of a yeti-like race called the Wookie.
- R2-D2: A small, resourceful droid (i.e. robot) who speaks in beeps and boops, and provides critical aid to Luke and Leia throughout the series.
- C-3P0: R2-D2’s companion, a prissy and cowardly gold-plated droid designed for etiquette and protocol.
- Darth Vader: A Sith in black armor and a distinctive respirator mask who serves the evil Emperor Palpatine.
- Emperor Palpatine: Supreme ruler of the Galactic Empire and a Dark Lord of the Sith. The Prequel Trilogy chronicles his rise to power.
- Yoda: A tiny, green, goblin-like creature who is actually a great Jedi Master; he trains Luke to become a Jedi. The prequels showed that he was once part of the Jedi Council.
- Obi Wan Kenobi: A wise Jedi Knight who mentors Luke in the ways of the Force; he also mentored Luke’s father, Anakin.
- Anakin Skywalker: Luke’s father, and a skilled but arrogant Jedi Knight who is tempted by the dark side of the Force.
- Queen Amidala: Leader of the planet Naboo and ally to Obi Wan and Anakin in the Prequel Trilogy. Anakin’s love for her drives him to dark and desperate measures.
- Qui-Gon Jinn: Obi Wan’s mentor. He takes Anakin under his wing in Episode I, believing him to be the “Chosen One” of Jedi legend.
What is the Millennium Falcon?
The Millennium Falcon
is Han Solo’s ship. It is shaped somewhat like a horseshoe, and boasts several guns and multiple hiding spots perfect for smuggling.
What is the Death Star?
The Death Star
is a moon-sized space station commanded by the Galactic Empire. Its “spot” is a giant laser array that can blow up whole planets. The Rebel Alliance destroys the Death Star in Episode IV, but the Empire soon starts building an even bigger, more deadly version.
What are Lightsabers?
Lightsabers are the distinctive laser beam swords of the Jedi and Sith. Jedi mostly use blue or green weapons, while Sith use red. Considered a more “elegant” weapon than a blaster gun, lightsabers
are deadly in in close combat and can also reflect laser fire.
What are Stormtroopers?
are the foot-soldiers of the Galactic Empire. They are easily recognized by their distinct white and black armor and helmets, and are known for their erratic shooting skills.
What is carbonite?
One method of transporting shipments – or people – is to freeze them in a rock-like substance called carbonite. Han Solo ends up on the wrong end of this procedure after being captured by Darth Vader.
These are 4-legged walking tanks used by the Empire in ground combat.
These are small fighter spaceships used by the Rebel Alliance. They have four wings that can be expanded and locked into an X shape, hence the name.
The Empire’s small space fighters, TIE fighters have a distinctive “H” shape and make a screaming sound as they fly.
These are the teddy bear-like natives of a forested moon called Endor, they help the rebels in the final battle to destroy the second Death Star.
The Old Republic?
This term refers to a period roughly 3,000 years before the movies, when the ancient versions of the Republic and Empire were at war. It was used as the setting for several spin-off video games and novels.
A masked bounty hunter hired by Darth Vader to take down Luke and Han Solo in his ship, the Slave 1. Though he was a minor character, his attitude and skills made him hugely popular with fans.
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