Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
The Jedi Knights have been exterminated and the Empire rules the galaxy with an iron fist. A small group of Rebels have dared to fight back by stealing the secret plans to the Empire's mightiest weapon, the Death star. The Emperor's most trusted servant, Darth Vader, must find the plans, and locate the hidden Rebel base. Princess Leia, a captive Rebel leader, sends out a distress signal that is intercepted by a simple farm boy, Luke Skywalker. Seizing his destiny, Luke takes of the challenge to rescue the princess and help the Rebellion overthrow the Empire.
Purchase your copy of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope today at
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope images are © 20th Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.
Ewan McGregor to Reprise Role of Obi-Wan Kenobi for Disney+ 8/16/2019 2:54 PM EDT
It's being reported that Ewan McGregor is currently in talks to join the cast of a yet-untitled TV series for Disney+. He would be reprising his role of Obi-Wan Kenobi.McGregor played Kenobi in The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005), playing a young version of the character.Obi-Wan Kenobi was originally played by Alec Guinness 1977's Star Wars: A New ... More>>
Veteran Star Wars Alum Reunite at Galaxy's Edge Disneyland 5/30/2019 1:20 PM EDT
Galaxy's Edge was launched this week at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA with a full-scale media blitz. In addition to a firework and a light show, some of our favorite Star Wars alum made an appearance. Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Billy Dee Williams gathered on stage with George Lucas and Bob Iger.The new "land" is an immersive experience with vehicle replicas including the Millenium Falc... More>>
Carrie Fisher to Make Appearance in The Rise of Skywalker 5/23/2019 1:38 PM EDT
"Star Wars" fans will be seeing an unexpected character in the next film. J.J. Abrams has revealed that the late Carrie Fisher will be included in "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker."How can that be? Well, J.J. knew that a digital version of Fisher wouldn't be right but remembered that there was extra footage of Fisher from 2015's "The Force Awakens". He decided to incorporate that into the new fil... More>>
Game of Thrones' David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to Head Up Next St... 5/14/2019 1:21 PM EDT
It has been confirmed that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will head up the next Star Wars film. Walt Disney Company chairman Bob Iger confirmed the news today at the MoffetNathanson Media & Communications Summit."I haven't seen [Episode] 9 finished yet, but I'm confident based on the pieces that I've seen and the script that I've read that it's going to be extremely popul... More>>
Walt Disney Studios Releases Film List Through 2027 5/7/2019 4:31 PM EDT
The Walt Disney Studios have released their current film schedule through 2027. The calendar includes some changes that were made including some major additions.This summer alone will see the release of some major films including Disney's Aladdin on May 24, Fox's Dark Phoenix on June 7, Pixar's Toy Story 4 on June 21, Fox's Stuber on July 12, and Disney's The Lion King on July 19. the rest of the... More>>
Chewbacca Actor Peter Mayhew Dies at 74 5/2/2019 9:40 PM EDT
Peter Mayhew, known to the world as the man behind the character of Star Wars' Chewbacca, has died at 74. The news was announced on his Twitter account today.Mayhew portrayed Chewbacca in Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi (1983), Revenge of the Sith (2005) and The Force Awakens (2015). His former Star Wars co-stars took to social media to express their feelings a... More>>
Disney Announces New Rogue One Series for Disney + Streaming Ser... 11/8/2018 10:37 PM EDT
Disney has finally announced the name of its upcoming streaming service. They will be calling it Disney + and it will launch in late 2019.Disney+ will feature original programming as well as existing Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars properties. After the acquisition of 21st Century Fox is final, the service will also stream programming from National Geographic. The company also announced that o... More>>
The Crown Star Matt Smith Joins Cast of Star Wars: Episode IX 8/28/2018 3:19 PM EDT
Rumor has it that Matt Smith has signed on to join the cast of Star Wars: Episode IX. Smith is best known for his roles in Doctor Who and The Crown where he played Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for the portrayal.Smith joins a cast that includes Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Billy Dee Williams, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Keri Russe... More>>
Kelly Marie Tran Writes About Dealing with Online Harassment 8/21/2018 4:30 PM EDT
Kelly Marie Tran, who starred in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" has taken to the New York Times to write an op-ed about her struggle with harassment she's received through social media. She wrote in the piece that it wasn't easy to deal with, and the fact that she deleted her Instagram account in June after racist and misogynistic comments confirms the difficulties."It wasn't their words, it's that I ... More>>
Star Wars: Episode IX Begins Production Next Week 7/27/2018 4:45 PM EDT
Star Wars: Episode IX will begin filming next week in London's Pinewood Studios. On August 1, J.J. Abrams will be returning to work on the final installment of the saga.Returning cast members include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd. Joining the cast of Episode IX are Naomi Ackie and Richard E... More>>
Keri Russell to Join Star Wars Cast 7/9/2018 2:11 PM EDT
Keri Russell is said to be in talks to star in the upcoming "Star Wars: Episode IX". The film will be written and directed by J.J. Abrams, who worked on "Star Wars: The Force Awakens".Russell and Abrams also worked together for the 2006 film "Mission: Impossible III". Through her work with this "MI" and her FX series, "The Americans", Russell has shown that she's up for more of a hands-on film rol... More>>
Han Solo Film to Debut at Cannes Film Festival 4/6/2018 11:13 AM EDT
It was announced that the Solo: A Star Wars Story film will be premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, which runs from May 8 to May 19.The film, which will debut at the festival on May 15, stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, and Emilia Clarke and Woody Harrelson. This isn't the first time a Star Wars film will be debuted at the festival - 2002's Attack of the Clo... More>>
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Theatrical Review
In 1977 I walked out of the Mall 6 theaters (back when 6 theaters was huge) in a daze. I'd just had my 9yr-old brains blown out the back of my head: I didn't want the experience to end. Luke Skywalker was the ultimate hero, Han Solo, the ultimate rogue, and Princess Leia was hot. Even if she did have cinnamon buns for hair. I have a single, vivid recollection of wandering down the hall, trying to figure out if I could get back "into" the movie--to somehow see it again "the first time." To say it had an impact on me is to sell it short (and I'm not the only one: a guy named James Cameron quit his job as a truck driver to go into movies after seeing it). To say it changed my life might not be overstating the case.
Star Wars is a piece of modern mythology. There is so much said about it--so much written, reported, re-reported, and so on that even the "artifact on the screen" is no longer canon (Kaarina watched, to my horror, Greedo fire first). Reports differ over who wanted to kill off Obi Wan (Alec Guinness claimed it was his idea, Lucas claimed he was upset over being removed from the movie). Debate about what doing the Kessel Run in "12 parsecs" means is pretty much iconic to fan-wanking (and if you don't know what that is, count yourself lucky). Certainly someone told Lucas "You can write this [stuff] but you can't say it" but IMDB and Wikipedia differ over whether it was Fisher or Ford (I hold with Ford).
None of this matters: the movie is legendary for a reason--whatever stature it earned, it did it fairly. No matter how bad the dialog--and to my adult ear, it is cringe-inducing--no matter how much George may have changed the plot or how deeply he lied about having it all figured out from the start--no matter whether the next three movies sucked or were "okay"--no matter. The first movie, by itself, is a cultural singularity. It changed things powerfully and irrevocably and it changed them for the better (it gave us Firefly. It gave us the new Battle Star Galactica. It gave us modern science fiction).
So a legitimate question is: why? The characters are pretty much archetypes. The story is elemental in its simplicity. The plot is derivative (albeit from Japanese sources which most of the audience hadn't seen--the same way we gawked at Wire-Fu in the Matrix). Is it simply a case of "right place at the right time?" I don't think so. I think the movie is every bit the masterpiece that its place in cinema history dictates it should be. Having just watched it, I think it's fair to take a look at what it did and how it did it so well.
The Used Future
Star Wars gives us a future where everything is dirty. Where everything is used. This was, at the time, inspirational. Wheedon credits his look-and-feel for Firefly as coming from Star Wars. Before that we had the utopian antiseptic Star Trek where even Klingon ships had carefully swept floors. Star Wars as a future doesn't just look lived in--it looks dusty, grimy, and mechanical. It has a hard-core reality to it that we can connect with on a subconscious level: when we exit the theater and see our dust-covered AMC Gremlin in the parking lot we can note that while it probably doesn't have "carbon scoring" the dust on it and the dent on the rear bumper does, in fact, remind us of the Falcon.
Innovative Filming and Story
Lucas apparently initiated the pan-across-the-star-field. If that's true (and Ebert says it is) then he deserves Orson Wells credit for that alone. In fact, the opening scene with the massiveness of the Imperial Star Destroyer was, even after all these years, stunning. People talk about starting stories the middle (In Media Res) but if there's an iconic example, Star Wars is it.
He then moves us to an extended scene with the droids--two characters who are entirely inexpressive and one of whom is even inhuman and doesn't speak English. With only one voice and no characterization from the Jawas, it's easy to believe that he could've lost us. He might've if he hadn't introduced ...
Apparently "Vader" is dutch for "Father"--if this was a clue to his identity, I'll eat my hat: I think Lucas made it up on the fly (and if you want to read how the story progressed look at the StarWarz site for the original Luke Starkiller scripts!). It doesn't matter: Vader, Luke-daddy-or-not, is compelling. He appears first as a giant black humanoid contrasted to the white-dressed storm troopers. His respirator rasp is ominous and his presence is, perhaps, the highest of any character in the movies ever.
The fact that Vader is hunting the droids gives the movie a sense of menace that exists beyond anything we could reasonably expect. I don't know if its brilliance or happy accident--the combination of David Prowse's body and James Earl Jones' voice is a synergistic combination that I doubt Lucas could have foreseen. Furthermore, in a movie that uses absolutely state of the art F/x, Vader is one of the few things that doesn't look at all dated three decades later. But he's not the only thing ...
Rich Sets and Visuals
Star Wars had a decent budget but that alone doesn't explain the vision. The decision to film the desert scenes in Tunisia gives them a not-California look that must have been an expensive decision which, again, pays off beyond what we might reasonably expect--but I'd known that. What I was struck by was Luke's home. It's probably not entirely a special effect--not the same way the Jawa's giant Sand Crawler is. I don't know how they did it--but I'd not be surprised if there really was an underground housing complex they modified for "space look."
The richness doesn't stop there. The fact that these people use a different language and everything is covered with script gives the movie a Japanese-Kanji appearance the same way that, to a westerner, Tokyo does. And it does look high tech. The droids, most of which were far simpler in construction than the two characters, are ubiquitous--far beyond what might've been absolutely called for. We are treated to an entire world--and if the cantina aliens don't look all that convincing, that's okay.
What'd He Get Away With
I think a lot of the genius of Star Wars was a combination of extreme effort (excellent locations, attention to detail, and a vision that was brave enough to have non-human main characters and a lot of people with, literally, no expression beyond voice like Chewbacca) and luck (Vader being so iconic and casting Harrison Ford). Either of these alone would have given him a hit (I think a movie with the X-wing fighters alone would've done okay) but the combination created a legend.
What he couldn't overcome was the scripting. Listening to the characters talk I can see the immediate traceability to the guy who gave us the next three Star Wars films including one named Attack of the Clones. Lucas' vision is not sophisticated--his dialog is neither sophisticated (watching Anakin woo Padmé Amidala is evidence enough of this) nor considered ("It's a trap!"). His characterization rarely goes beyond stereotype (Jar Jar Binks, the Asian trade federation). He puts his energy elsewhere.
But in the end, Star Wars has given us not just one masterpiece but an entire galaxy of work from computer games to the other five movies to the ... Christmas Special. It has given us new language and a new way of thinking about science fiction. The movie that started it all, 31 years later, still holds power. My daughter, up well past her bed time, watched it wide-eyed.
In the morning, next to a unicorn, she drew Darth Vader.
-- Marco Chacon
For more reviews please visit our film/television review section.
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope images © 20th Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.
1/6/2011 4:24 PM EDT
LAS VEGAS (Jan. 6, 2011) - The most anticipated Blu-ray release ever - the...