Sunday Matinee: Star Wars

40 years ago in a galaxy long long ago a movie opened on May 25, 1977 that would change movies, summer blockbusters, merchandising and pop culture forever.

Up until this point a young filmmaker named George Lucas had only made two movies. THX 1138 a science fiction film about a dystopian future where sex is illegal and everyone is on drugs to keep everyone compliant. His other film was American Graffiti a movie about a bunch of teenagers who go cruising one night before going off to college, war, etc. THX 1138 bombed at the box office but American Graffiti was a hit for Lucas. Lucas had wanted to make a Flash Gordon movie but he couldn’t get the rights. So he decided to invent his own space epic. And what a space epic. It’s so epic it’s still going on today.

By now everyone should be more than familiar with the story and the cast of characters. And the film made instant stars of it’s cast. Even the ones in costume.

The movie was originally supposed to open in Christmas time in 1976 but delays in post production moved the film in May of 1977. Star Wars opened in 32 theatres. Lucas didn’t believe that the movie would be a hit and went on vacation at the time. Fox did very little promotion but that didn’t stop the film from becoming a massive hit right from the get go. And then the merchandising began. Toys, comic books and before you knew it Star Wars was on everything for clothes to bedding.

Naturally sequels would follow as did a terrible TV Christmas special. But it all began with the original 40 years ago.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka has spent most of his life watching movies and reading comic books. He has decided to use this vast knowledge for evil instead of good.