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Star Wars Episode IV:
A New Hope
Director(s)

George Lucas

Producer(s)

Gary Kurtz
Rick McCallum (Special Edition)

Writer(s)

George Lucas

Starring

Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher
Peter Cushing
Alec Guinness

Distributor

20th Century Fox

Released

May 25, 1977

Runtime

121 min. (original)
125 min. (Special Edition)

Budget

$11,000,000

Language

English

Timeline

0 BBY0 ABY

Era

Rise of the Empire era
Rebellion era

Preceded by

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Followed by

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.…

Tagline, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 science fantasy film written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga; three later films precede the story in the series' internal chronology. Ground-breaking in its use of special-effects, this, the first Star Wars movie, is among a handful of the most successful films of all time and is generally considered one of the most influential as well.

The film is set about 19 years after the formation of the Galactic Empire; construction has finished on the Death Star, a weapon capable of destroying a planet. After Princess Leia Organa, a leader of the Rebel Alliance, receives the weapon's plans in the hope of finding a weakness, she is captured and taken to the Death Star. Meanwhile, a young farmer named Luke Skywalker meets Obi-Wan Kenobi, who has lived in seclusion for years on the desert planet of Tatooine. When Luke's home is burned and his aunt and uncle killed, Obi-Wan begins Luke's Jedi training as they—along with Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2—attempt to rescue the Princess from the Empire. Unlike the later prequel films, this film, along with the two films that follow, mostly focuses on the events of one particular sector of the galaxy, rather than the interstellar perspective that the first three films take.

Inspired by films like the Flash Gordon serials and the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa, as well as such critical works as Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces and Frank Herbert's Dune books, Lucas began work on Star Wars in 1974. Produced with a budget of US$11,000,000 and released on May 25, 1977, the film became one of the most successful of all time, earning $215 million in the United States and $337 million overseas during its original theatrical release, as well as winning several film awards, including 10 Academy Award nominations. It was re-released several times, sometimes with significant changes; the most notable versions were the 1997 Special Edition and the 2004 DVD, which were modified with CGI effects and recreated scenes.

Opening crawlEdit

Episode IV
A NEW HOPE
It is a period of civil war.
Rebel spaceships, striking
from a hidden base, have won
their first victory against
the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel
spies managed to steal secret
plans to the Empire's
ultimate weapon, the DEATH
STAR, an armored space
station with enough power
to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire's
sinister agents, Princess
Leia races home aboard her
starship, custodian of the
stolen plans that can save her
people and restore
freedom to the galaxy....

SynopsisEdit

BackgroundEdit

Main article: Operation Skyhook

The Expanded Universe reveals the events described in the film's opening crawl. The opening crawl reveals that the galaxy is in a state of civil war. The Rebel Alliance has won their first major victory by stealing secret plans to the Galactic Empire's secret weapon, the Death Star.

The Rebel Alliance operated an efficient and widespread intelligence network of Bothan spies. Through this network, the Alliance learned of the construction of the Death Star, an extremely powerful space station capable of annihilating entire planets with its superlaser. Rebel prisoners aboard the Death Star managed to riot (Death Star Uprising) and got control of a technical readout while Imperial-turned-Rebel Kyle Katarn retrieved further plans (Battle of Danuta). The final piece of the plans were recovered by Bria Tharen and the Red Hand Squadron during the Battle of Toprawa. From there they beamed it to Leia's ship, the Tantive IV, while the 501st Legion, under Darth Vader, tracked Rebels to Polis Massa (Battle of Polis Massa), however this was only a set-up for the Empire. Even so, the Rebels, who fought with the defensive upper hand, were crushed. Imperial forces soon discovered the true plot and the Star Destroyer Devastator, under the command of Darth Vader himself, captured the Tantive IV in a space battle above Tatooine (Attack on Tantive IV), the planet Leia had been trying to reach. There she hoped to enlist the help of Obi-Wan Kenobi, who was a fugitive Jedi in hiding on the planet and was watching over the young Luke Skywalker.

Following these events, the film begins with stormtroopers of the 501st taking control of the ship and Darth Vader arriving to assess the damage. Vader is outraged and questions Captain Antilles, whom he eventually strangles and kills. Hiding on the ship, Leia is spotted by part of the 501st, and is shot with a stun blast. Before taking her prisoner, Vader questions her as well. However, before being detained, Princess Leia is able to record a holographic message and give it to R2-D2 to take to Kenobi. Vader orders a message be sent to the Imperial Senate on Coruscant that the ship was destroyed, with everyone on board killed. The droids R2-D2 and C-3PO use an escape pod which brings them to the planet Tatooine.

The galaxy's most desperate hourEdit

Devastatortantiveiv

Princess Leia is captured by the Galactic Empire.

Nineteen years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, the Galactic Empire under Emperor Palpatine controls the galaxy with an iron fist. The Empire is not without resistance, though. The Tantive IV is carrying precious information, vital to the Rebel Alliance. But Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, and his master have long suspected Princess Leia Organa of being a Rebel, and her starship is intercepted by his Imperial Star Destroyer, the Devastator, and boarded by Vader's stormtroopers. Before her capture, Leia stores the vital information inside R2-D2's databank. R2-D2 and C-3PO escape in an escape pod, and land on the remote desert planet of Tatooine. R2-D2 and C-3PO are "recovered" by Jawas after being separated from each other.

Luke's destinyEdit

Lukesaberanh

Luke Skywalker receives his father's lightsaber.

There's nothing for me now. I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like my father.

Luke Skywalker, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

The droids are bought by moisture farmer Owen Lars and his nephew, Luke Skywalker. R2-D2 escapes from the Lars' homestead in search of an Obi-Wan Kenobi, whom the droid claims to be the property of. Luke and C-3PO find R2 the next day just before they are attacked by Sandpeople. Luke and his droids are rescued by Obi-Wan Kenobi or, as Luke knows him, Ben Kenobi. Obi-Wan takes Luke to his home.

Luke receives his father's lightsaber, as Obi-Wan recalls his own friendship with Luke's father. Luke is told that a Jedi named Darth Vader betrayed and murdered his father. After discovering Princess Leia's message carried by R2-D2, Obi-Wan attempts to persuade Luke to accompany him to Alderaan. Luke refuses to go until he discovers that his aunt and uncle were brutally murdered by Imperial stormtroopers searching for the droids. Luke, Obi-Wan, and the two droids travel to Mos Eisley to find passage to Alderaan, Princess Leia's home planet.

For 17,000 credits, 2,000 in advance and 15,000 upon arrival, smuggler Han Solo and his first mate, a Wookiee named Chewbacca, agree to take the foursome to Alderaan aboard their ship, the Millennium Falcon. After brief scuffles with the Empire and henchmen sent by Jabba the Hutt, the Falcon escapes the Imperial Blockade at Mos Eisley and Han sets a course for Alderaan.

Rescue of the PrincessEdit

Here's where the fun begins!

Han Solo, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

In Alderaan's place, they find what seems to be an asteroid field. The planet was destroyed by the dreaded Death Star, on the orders of Grand Moff Tarkin, to set an example of the power of the Empire. The Millennium Falcon is pulled aboard the Death Star by its powerful tractor beam.

Got A Bad feeling

Heroes en route to the Death Star.

From hidden smuggling compartments, the crew of the Millennium Falcon ambushes an Imperial scanning crew and two stormtroopers. With Han and Luke now disguised as the two stormtroopers, the group begins to figure out how to escape. Obi-Wan separates from the group to disable the tractor beam, leaving the others alone. While connected to the Imperial Network, R2-D2 discovers Princess Leia is aboard the station. Luke convinces Han and Chewbacca to rescue her with the vague promise of a grand reward. Han and Chewbacca reluctantly agree. Luke plans to march into Detention Block AA 23, claiming that Chewbacca is part of a prisoner transfer. C-3PO and R2-D2 are instructed to remain behind, and the trio sets off on their rescue attempt. Luke's plan works flawlessly in that they are quick to subdue the officers and guards in the Princess's cellblock. Unfortunately, no one thought to plan for their escape, and Leia takes charge, blasting a hole in a nearby grate and jumping through while Han and Luke hold off a squad of stormtroopers. Chewbacca, Luke and Han all dive after the princess into the unknown.

Unfortunately, the grate covers a chute that leads to a garbage compactor that is also home to a resident dianoga. Soon after landing, the creature pulls Luke under the surface, but releases him and is scared away when the Imperials realize where our heroes escaped to and activate the compactor. As the walls close in on the foursome, Luke desperately calls to C-3PO over his comlink asking for the compactor to be shut down. R2-D2 manages to shut down the compactor just in time, although, amidst the muffled cries of joy over the comlink, C-3PO is briefly convinced that his master and friends have been crushed.

After escaping from the trash compactor, the group hurries back to the Millennium Falcon, hoping that Obi-Wan has successfully shut down the tractor beam. They encounter stormtroopers on their way to the ship.

Sacrifice and victoryEdit

Obiwanvaderanhduel

"If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."

This will be a day long remembered.

Darth Vader, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Obi-Wan, on the other hand, was destined to meet with Darth Vader. Obi-Wan battled his former Padawan, but this time Obi-Wan sacrificed himself, allowing Vader to kill him so he could become one with the Force, as Luke watches in terror, then screams. Horrified and angered, Luke takes his final blasts at the stormtroopers and dashes onto the Millennium Falcon.

After fighting a squadron of TIE Fighters, the Millennium Falcon meets the Rebel Alliance on Yavin 4, and the information in R2-D2 is turned over. General Dodonna plans the attack on the Death Star, an attack so audacious as to receive an unenthusiastic reaction from the pilots, notably Wedge Antilles. To add to Luke's dismay, Han leaves after receiving his reward.

X-wing11

Rebel fighters approach the Death Star.

The Rebel strike force begins its attack on the Death Star, as the space station approaches the Rebel base on Yavin 4. The final Rebel ships enter the trench to hit the target that will destroy the Death Star. One of them is piloted by Biggs Darklighter, a friend of Luke who is killed by Vader towards the end of the assault. Most of the Rebel ships are destroyed, save for Luke's X-wing starfighter. Just before Darth Vader could destroy Luke from his personal TIE Advanced Fighter, Han returns in the Millennium Falcon and clears away the attacking Imperial fighters. Luke fires the proton torpedo into the exhaust port target, and the Death Star is destroyed.

The few remaining ships (those of Wedge, Luke, Han, and Keyan Farlander, a Y-wing Pilot) return to Yavin 4 and a victory celebration commences, complete with awards for the heroes, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker and, although Chewbacca wasn't awarded a medal in the movie, he did receive the honor of having the last line in the film. (Although in the novel of the film, Chewbacca also receives an award)

AftermathEdit

The Expanded Universe also reveals some events that happened immediately after events of the film. As a result of the Millennium Falcon crippling his TIE Fighter, Darth Vader crashed into the planet Vaal. His journey to V-798 was interrupted by an attack from vicious creatures, but he reached a shuttle that escorted him to Coruscant, where he was formally reprimanded by Emperor Palpatine for failure to stop the Rebels. He then continued his mission to find the Rebel base. His search led him to such planets as Ultaar and Centares.

As depicted in several sources and video games, the Imperials assaulted Yavin IV as a counterattack and the Rebel Alliance evacuated to escape the Imperial retaliation; then, they fled to various other bases, such as Derra IV, until finally settling on Hoth.

CreditsEdit

CastEdit


Crew[1]Edit

Credit Name
Written And Directed By George Lucas
Produced By Gary Kurtz
Executive Producer George Lucas
Production Designer John Barry
Director Of Photography Gilbert Taylor, B.S.C.
Music By John Williams
Performed By The London Symphony Orchestra
Original Music Copyright 1977 By Fox Fanfare Music, Inc.
Special Photographic Effects Supervisor John Dykstra
Special Production And Mechanical Effects Supervisor John Stears
Film Editors Paul Hirsch
Marcia Lucas
Richard Chew
Production Supervisor Robert Watts
Production Illustration Ralph McQuarrie
Costume Designer John Mollo
Art Directors Norman Reynolds
Leslie Dilley
Make-Up Supervisor Stuart Freeborn
Production Sound Mixer Derek Ball
Casting Irene Lamb
Diane Crittenden
Vic Ramos
Supervising Sound Editor Sam Shaw
Special Dialogue And Sound Effects Ben Burtt
Sound Editors Robert R. Rutledge
Gordon Davidson
Gene Corso
Supervising Music Editor Kenneth Wannberg
Re-Recording Mixers Don Macdougall
Bob Minkler
Ray West
Robert LittMike Minkler
Lester Fresholtz
Richard Portman
Dolby Sound Consultant Stephen Katz
Orchestrations Herbert W. Spencer
Music Scoring Mixer Eric Tomlinson
Assistant Film Editors Todd Boekelheide
Jay Miracle
Colin Kitchens
Bonnie Koehler
Camera Operations Ronnie Taylor
Geoff Glover
Set Decorator Roger Christian
Production Manager Bruce Sharman
Assistant Directors Tony Waye
Gerry Gavigan
Terry Madden
Location Manager Arnold Ross
Assistant To Producer Bunny Alsup
Assistant To Director Lucy Autrey Wilson
Assistant To Production Designer Alan Roderick-Jones
Production Assistants Pat Carr
Miki Herman
Gaffer Ron Tabera
Property Master Frank Bruton
Wardrobe Supervisor Ron Beck
Stunt Coordinator Peter Diamond
Continuity Dan Perri
Titles Ann Skinner
2nd Unit Photography Carroll Ballard
Rick Clemente
Robert Dalva
Tak Fujimoto
2nd Unit Art Direction Leon Erickson
Al Locatelli
2nd Unit Production Managers David Lester
Peter Herald
Pepi Lenzi
2nd Unit Make-Up Rick Baker
Douglas Beswick
Assistant Sound Editors Roxanne Jones
Karen Sharp
Production Controller Brian Gibbs
Location Auditor Ralph M. Leo
Assistant Auditors Steve Cullip
Penny McCarthy
Kim Falkinburg
Advertising/Publicity Supervisor Charles Lippincott
Unit Publicist Brian Doyle
Still Photographer John Jay

Miniature And Optical Effects UnitEdit

Credit Name
1st Cameraman Richard Edlund
2nd Cameraman Dennis Muren
Assistant Cameramen Douglas Smith
Kenneth Ralston
David Robman
2nd Unit Photography Bruce Logan
Composite Optical Photography Robert Blalack (Praxis)
Optical Photography Coordinator Paul Roth
Optical Printer Operators David Berry
David McCue
Richard Pecorella
Eldon Rickman
James Van Trees, Jr.
Optical Camera Assistants Caleb Aschkynazo
John C. Moulds
Bruce Nicholson
Gary Smith
Bert Terreri
Donna Tracy
Jim Wells
Vicky Witt
Production Supervisor George E. Mather
Matte Artist P.S. Ellenshaw
Planet And Satellite Artist Ralph McQuarrie
Effects Illustration And Design Joseph Johnston
Additional Craft Design Colin Cantwell
Chief Model Maker Grant McCune
Model Builders David Beasley
Jon Erland
Lorne Peterson
Steve Gawley
Paul Huston
David Jones
Animation And Rotoscope Design Adam Beckett
Animators Michael Ross
Peter Kuran
Jonathan Seay
Chris Casady
Lyn Gerry
Diana Wilson
Stop Motion Animation Jon Berg
Philip Tippett
Miniature Explosions Joe Viskocil
Greg Auer
Computer Animation And Graphic Displays Dan O'bannon
Larry Cuba
John Wash
Jay Teitzell
Image West
Film Control Coordinator Mary M. Lind
Film Librarians Cindy Isman
Connie McCrum
Pamela Malouf
Electronics Design Alvah J. Miller
Special Components James Shourt
Assistants Masaaki Norihoro
Eleanor Porter
Camera And Mechanical Design Don Trumbull
Richard Alexander
William Shourt
Special Mechanical Equipment Jerry Greenwood
Douglas Barnett
Stuart Ziff
David Scott
Production Managers Bob Shepherd
Lon Tinney
Production Staff Patricia Rose Duignan
Mark Kline
Rhonda Peck
Ron Nathan
Assistant Editor (Opticals) Bruce Michael Green
Additional Optical Effects Van Der Veer Photo Effects
Ray Mercer & Company
Modern Film Effects
Master Film Effects
De Patie-Freleng Enterprises Inc.

Special Edition CrewEdit

Credit Name
Producer Rick McCallum
Editor T.M. Christopher
Sound Designer Ben Burtt
Re-Recording Mixer Gary Summers
Assistant Editor Samuel Hinckley
Sound Editor Teresa Eckton
Assistant Sound Editor Robert Marty
Re-Recordist Ronald G. Roumas
Digital Mix Technician Gary A. Rizzo
Archivist Tim Fox
Optical Supervisors Phillip Feiner
Chris Bushman
Film Restoration Supervisor Pete Comandini
Color Timer Robert J. Raring
Negative Continuity Ray Sabo
Negative Cutter Bob Hart
Post Production Executive Ted Gagliano
Special Edition Digital Remastering Provided By Skywalker Sound A Lucas Digital Ltd. Company
De-Hiss Processing By Cedar Dh-1
Hhb Communications Inc.
Film Restoration Consultant Leon Briggs
Optical Restoration Pacific Title & Art Studio
Film Restoration By Ycm Laboratories

Industrial Light And MagicEdit

Credit Name
Visual Effects Producers Tom Kennedy
Ned Gorman
Visual Effects Supervisors Alex Seiden
John Knoll
Dave Carson
Stephen Williams
Dennis Muren
Joseph Letteri
Bruce Nicholson
Second Unit Director & Cameraman Joe Murray
Visual Effects Art Directors Ty Ruben Ellingson
Mark Moore
Computer Graphics Supervisor John Berton
Visual Effects Editor David Tanaka
Digital Color Timing Supervisor Bruce Vecchitto
Sabre Group Supervisor Daniel McNamara
Digital Scanning Supervisor Joshua Pines
Visual Effects Coordinators Margaret Lynch
Lisa Todd
Computer Graphics Artists Karen Ansel
Mark Austin
Amelia Chenoweth
Terry Chostner
David Deuber
Natasha Devaud
Selwyn Eddy Iii
Howard Gersh
Paul Giacoppo
Joanne Hafner
James Hagedorn
Carol Hayden
Matt Hendershot
Guy Hudson
Stewart Lew
Jodie Maier
Greg Maloney
Stuart Maschwitz
Julie Neary
Kerry Nordquist
Scott Pasko
Damian Steel
Danny Taylor
Paul Theren
James Tooley
Chris Townsend
Timothy Waddy
Digital Matte Artists Paul Huston
William Mather
Yusei Uesugi
Sabre Artists Rita Zimmerman
Chad Taylor
Grant Guenin
Software Development Christian Rouet
Rod Bogart
Brian Knep
Production Engineering Fred Meyers
Gary Meyer
Marty Miramontez
Digital Plate Restoration Artists Alan Bailey
Scott Bonnenfant
Corey Rosen
Negative Supervisor Doug Jones
Assistant Visual Effects Editors Angela Leaper
Forest Key
Scott Balcerek
Digital Production Assistants Kela Hicks
Ronn Brown
Animatics Artist David Dozoretz
CG Resource Managers Nancy Jill Luckoff
Lam Van To
CG Production Manager Suzie Vissotzky Tooley

AppearancesEdit

CharactersEdit


CreaturesEdit


Droid modelsEdit


EventsEdit

LanguagesEdit


LocationsEdit


Organizations and titlesEdit


Sentient speciesEdit


Vehicles and vesselsEdit


TechnologyEdit


WeaponsEdit


MiscellaneaEdit


Behind the scenesEdit

ProductionEdit

"George, you can type this shit, but you sure as hell can't say it."
―Harrison Ford during filming[src]

During post-production on his previous film, American Graffiti, Lucas repeatedly discussed the concept of a "space opera" with producer Gary Kurtz.[2] In January 1973 Lucas began work on this, and by May had prepared a 14-page story outline for distribution among film studios. Because of its outer space setting, the story was viewed as science fiction, an unpopular genre at the box office. Lucas later proposed that terms like "space fantasy" or "science fantasy" better fit the story.[2] He brought the outline to Universal Studios and United Artists; both rejected the project. Lucas disliked the studio system because his previous two films, American Graffiti and THX 1138, had been re-edited without his consent.[3] Still, aware that studios were unavoidable, he pursued Alan Ladd, Jr., the head of 20th Century Fox. Although Ladd did not grasp the technical side of the project, he believed that Lucas was talented. Lucas later stated that Ladd "invested in me, [but] he did not invest in the movie."[2]

Lucas finished a draft of the screenplay in May 1974. As the draft developed, the characters evolved significantly. Early in development, Luke Skywalker's character changed from a 60-year-old general to a member of a family of dwarfs;[2][4] the Corellian smuggler, Han Solo, was envisioned as a large, green-skinned monster with gills.[4] Chewbacca was inspired by Lucas' Alaskan malamute dog, Indiana, who often acted as the director's "co-pilot" by sitting in the passenger seat of his car.[4] The Force, a mysterious energy field, was initially conceived as the Kyber crystal, a "galactic holy grail."[5][2] The completed script was too long for one movie; however, Lucas refused to condense it. Instead, he expanded the first third of it into one movie and left the rest for two future films, effectively creating the original Star Wars trilogy.[6][2]

Lucas hired conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie to create paintings of certain scenes during screenwriting. When Lucas delivered his screenplay to the studio, he included several of McQuarrie's paintings.[7] 20th Century Fox approved a budget of $8,250,000; American Graffiti's positive reviews allowed Lucas to renegotiate his deal with Alan Ladd, Jr. and request the sequel rights to the film. For Lucas, this deal protected Star Wars' unwritten segments and most of the merchandising profits.[2][8]

File:Dewback sketch.jpg

In 1975, Lucas founded the visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) after discovering that 20th Century Fox's visual effects department had been disbanded. ILM began its work on Star Wars in a warehouse in Van Nuys, California. Most of the visual effects used motion control photography, which creates the illusion of size by employing small models and slowly moving cameras. Model spaceships were constructed on the basis of drawings by Joe Johnston, input from Lucas, and paintings by McQuarrie. Lucas opted to abandon the traditional sleekness of science fiction by creating a "used universe" in which all devices, ships, and buildings looked aged and dirty.[2][9][10]

When filming began on March 22, 1976 in the Tunisian desert for the scenes on the planet Tatooine,[11] the project faced several problems.[12] Lucas fell behind schedule in the first week of shooting due to a rare Tunisian rainstorm, malfunctioning props, and electronic breakdowns.[13] When actor Anthony Daniels wore the C-3PO outfit for the first time, the left leg piece shattered down through the plastic covering his left foot, stabbing him. After completing filming in Tunisia, production moved into the more controlled environment of Elstree Studios, near London.[13] However, significant problems, such as a crew that had little interest in the film, still arose.[2][13] Most of the crew considered the project a "children's film," rarely took their work seriously, and often found it unintentionally humorous.[14] Actor Kenny Baker later confessed that he thought the film would be a failure. Harrison Ford found the film "weird," in that there was a Princess with buns for hair and what he called a "giant in a monkey suit" named Chewbacca. Ford also found the dialogue difficult, saying "You can type this shit, George, but you sure can't say it."[15]

Lucas clashed with Director of Photography Gilbert Taylor, whom producer Gary Kurtz called "old-school" and "crotchety."[2] Moreover, with a background in independent filmmaking, Lucas was accustomed to creating most of the elements of the film himself. His camera suggestions were rejected by an offended Taylor, who felt that Lucas was over-stepping his boundaries by giving specific instructions. Lucas eventually became frustrated that the costumes, sets and other elements were not living up to his original vision of Star Wars. He rarely spoke to the actors, who felt that he expected too much of them while providing little direction. His directions to the actors usually consisted of the words "faster" and "more intense."[2]

Ladd offered Lucas some of the only support from the studio; he dealt with scrutiny from board members over the rising budget and complex screenplay drafts. After production fell two weeks behind schedule, Ladd told Lucas that he had to finish production within a week or he would be forced to shut down production. The crew split into three units, led by Lucas, Kurtz, and production supervisor Robert Watts, respectively. Under the new system, the project met the studio's deadline.[2][13]

Star Wars was originally slated for release in Christmas 1976; however, delays pushed the film's release to summer 1977. Already anxious about meeting his deadline, Lucas was shocked when his editor's first cut of the film was a "complete disaster." After attempting to persuade the original editor to cut the film his way, Lucas replaced the editor with Paul Hirsch and Richard Chew. He also allowed his then-wife Marcia Lucas to aid the editing process while she was cutting the film New York, New York with Lucas' friend Martin Scorsese. Richard Chew found the film had an unenergetic pace; it had been cut in a by-the-book manner: scenes were played out in master shots that flowed into close-up coverage. He found that the pace was dictated by the actors instead of the cuts. Hirsch and Chew worked on two reels simultaneously; whoever finished first moved on to the next.[2]

During production, the cast attempted to make Lucas laugh or smile as he often appeared depressed. At one point, the project became so demanding that Lucas was diagnosed with hypertension and exhaustion and was warned to reduce his stress level.[2][13] Post-production was equally stressful due to increasing pressure from 20th Century Fox. Moreover, Mark Hamill's face was injured in a car accident, which made reshoots impossible.[13]

Meanwhile, ILM was struggling to achieve unprecedented special effects. The company had spent half of its budget on four shots that Lucas deemed unacceptable.[13] Moreover, theories surfaced that the workers at ILM lacked discipline, forcing Lucas to intervene frequently to ensure that they were on schedule.[2] With hundreds of uncompleted shots remaining, ILM was forced to finish a year's work in six months. Lucas inspired ILM by editing together aerial dogfights from old war films, which enhanced the pacing of the scenes.[2]

During the chaos of production and post-production, the team made decisions about character voicing and sound effects. Sound designer Ben Burtt had created a library of sounds that Lucas referred to as an "organic soundtrack." For Chewbacca's growls, Burtt recorded and combined sounds made by dogs, bears, lions, tigers, and walruses to create phrases and sentences. Lucas and Burtt created the robotic voice of R2-D2 by filtering their voices through an electronic synthesizer. Darth Vader's breathing was achieved by Burtt breathing through the mask of a scuba tank implanted with a microphone.[16] Lucas never intended to use the voice of David Prowse, who portrayed Darth Vader in costume, because of Prowse's English West Country accent. He originally wanted Orson Welles to speak for Darth Vader. However, he felt that Welles' voice would be too recognizable, so he cast the lesser-known James Earl Jones.[17] Nor did Lucas intend to use Anthony Daniels' voice for C-3PO. Thirty well-established voice actors, such as Stan Freberg, read for the voice of the droid. According to Daniels, one of the major voice actors recommended Daniels' voice for the role.[2][4]

When Lucas screened an early cut of the film for his friends, among them directors Brian De Palma, John Milius and Steven Spielberg, their reactions were disappointing. Spielberg, who claimed to have been the only person in the audience to have enjoyed the film,[2] believed that the lack of enthusiasm was due to the absence of finished special effects. Lucas later said that the group was honest and seemed bemused by the film. In contrast, Alan Ladd, Jr. and the rest of 20th Century Fox loved the film; one of the executives, Gareth Wigan, told Lucas, "This is the greatest film I've ever seen," and cried during the screening. Lucas found the experience shocking and rewarding, having never gained any approval from studio executives before.[2] Although the delays increased the budget from $8 million to $11 million, the film was still the least expensive of the Star Wars saga.

ReleasesEdit

Charles Lippincott was hired by Lucas' production company, Lucasfilm Ltd., as marketing director for Star Wars. Because 20th Century Fox gave little support for marketing beyond licensing T-shirts and posters, Lippincott was forced to look elsewhere. He secured deals with Stan Lee, Roy Thomas and Marvel Comics for a comic book adaptation and with Del Rey Books for a novelization. Wary that Star Wars would be beaten out by other summer films, such as Smokey and the Bandit, 20th Century Fox moved the release date to Wednesday before Memorial Day: May 25, 1977. However, few theaters ordered the film to be shown. In response, 20th Century Fox demanded that theaters order Star Wars if they wanted an eagerly anticipated film based on a best-selling novel titled The Other Side of Midnight.[2]

The film became an instant success; within three weeks of the film's release, 20th Century Fox's stock price doubled to a record high. Before 1977, 20th Century Fox's greatest annual profits were $37,000,000; in 1977, the company earned $79,000,000. Although the film's cultural neutrality helped it to gain international success, Ladd became anxious during the premiere in Japan. After the screening, the audience was silent, leading Ladd, Jr. to fear that the film would be unsuccessful. He was later told that, in Japan, silence was the greatest honor to a film. Meanwhile, thousands attended a ceremony at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, where C-3PO, R2-D2 and Darth Vader placed their footprints in the theater's forecourt.[2] Although Star Wars merchandise was available to enthusiastic children upon release, only Kenner Toys—who believed that the film would be unsuccessful—had accepted Lippincott's licensing offers. Kenner responded to the sudden demand for toys by selling boxed vouchers in its "empty box" Christmas campaign; these vouchers could be redeemed for the toys in March 1978.[2]

In 1978, at the height of the film's popularity, Smith-Hemion Productions approached Lucas with the idea of The Star Wars Holiday Special. The end result is often considered a failure; Lucas himself disowned it.[18]

The film was originally released as—and consequently often called—Star Wars, without Episode IV or the subtitle A New Hope. The 1980 sequel, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, featured the episode number and subtitle in the opening crawl. When the original film was re-released in 1981, Episode IV: A New Hope was added above the original opening crawl. Although Lucas claims that only six films were ever planned, representatives of Lucasfilm discussed plans for nine or 12 possible films in early interviews.[19] The film was re-released theatrically in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, and 1997.

Special EditionEdit

After ILM used computer generated effects for Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park, Lucas concluded that digital technology had caught up to his original vision for Star Wars.[2] As part of Star Wars' 20th anniversary celebration in 1997, A New Hope was digitally remastered and re-released to theatres, along with The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, under the campaign title The Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition. The Special Edition versions contained visual shots and scenes that were unachievable in the original release due to financial, technological, and time restraints; one such scene involved a meeting between Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt.[2] Although most changes were minor or cosmetic in nature, some fans believe that Lucas degraded the movie with the additions.[20] For instance, a controversial change in which Greedo shoots first when confronting Han Solo has inspired T-shirts brandishing the phrase "Han Shot First."[21]

DVD releasesEdit

2004 releaseEdit
Main article: Star Wars Trilogy (DVD)

A New Hope was released on DVD on September 21, 2004 in a box set with The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and a bonus disc of supplemental material. The movies were digitally restored and remastered, and more changes were made by George Lucas.

The DVD features a commentary track from George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher. The bonus disc contains the documentary Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy, three featurettes, teaser and theatrical trailers, TV spots, still galleries, an exclusive preview of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, a playable Xbox demo of the LucasArts game Star Wars: Battlefront, and a "Making Of" documentary on the Episode III video game. The set was reissued in December 2005 as part of a three-disc "limited edition" boxed set without the bonus disc.

2006 releaseEdit
Main article: Original unaltered trilogy (DVD)

The trilogy was re-released on separate two-disc Limited Edition DVD sets from September 12, 2006 to December 31, 2006; the original versions of the films were added as bonus material. Controversy surrounded the release because the unaltered versions were from the 1993 non-anamorphic laserdisc masters, and were not retransferred to modern DVD standards.[22]

ReactionEdit

Star Wars debuted on May 25, 1977 in 32 theaters, and proceeded to break house records, effectively becoming one of the first blockbuster films.[23] It remains one of the most financially successful films of all time. Some of the cast and crew noted lines of people stretching around theaters as they drove by. Even technical crew members, such as model makers, were asked for autographs, and cast members became instant household names.[2] The film's original total U.S. gross came to $307,263,857, and it earned $6,806,951 during its first weekend in wide release. Lucas claimed that he had spent most of the release day in a sound studio in Los Angeles. When he went out for lunch with his then-wife Marcia, they encountered a long queue of people along the sidewalks leading to Mann's Chinese Theatre, waiting to see Star Wars.[13] The film became the highest-grossing film of 1977 and the highest-grossing film of all time until E.T. The Extraterrestrial broke that record in 1982. (With subsequent rereleases, Star Wars reclaimed the title, but lost it again to James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster Titanic.) The film earned $797,900,000 worldwide, making it the first film to reach the $300 million mark.[24] Adjusted for inflation it is the second highest grossing movie of all time in the United States, behind Gone with the Wind.[25]

In a 1977 review, Roger Ebert called the film "an out-of-body experience," compared its special effects to those of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and opined that the true strength of the film was its "pure narrative."[26] Vincent Canby called the film "the movie that's going to entertain a lot of contemporary folk who have a soft spot for the virtually ritualized manners of comic-book adventure."[27] Pauline Kael of The New Yorker criticized the film, stating that "there's no breather in the picture, no lyricism," and that it had no "emotional grip."[28] Jonathon Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader stated, "None of these characters has any depth, and they're all treated like the fanciful props and settings!"[29] Peter Keough of the Boston Phoenix said "Star Wars is a junkyard of cinematic gimcracks not unlike the Jawas' heap of purloined, discarded, barely functioning droids."[30] Stanley Kauffmann of The New Republic also responded negatively, noting, "His work here seems less inventive than in THX 1138."[31] According to rottentomatoes.com, of the 54 critical reviews of the film provided on that site, 51 responded favorably (95% of the reviewers), stating in consensus that "the action and special effects are first rate."[31]

In 1989, the U.S. National Film Registry of the Library of Congress selected the film as a "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important" film.[32] In 2006, Lucas' original screenplay was selected by the Writers Guild of America as the 68th greatest of all time.[33] The American Film Institute (or AFI) listed it 15th on a list of the top 100 films of the 20th century;[34] in the UK, a poll created by Channel Four named A New Hope (together with its successor, The Empire Strikes Back) the greatest film of all time.[35] The American Film Institute has named Star Wars and specific elements of it to several of its "top 100 lists" of American cinema, compiled as a part of the Institute's 100th anniversary celebration. These include the 27th most thrilling American film of all time;[36] the thirty-ninth most inspirational American film of all-time;[37] Han Solo as the fourteenth greatest American film hero of all time and Obi-Wan Kenobi thirty-seventh on the same list.[38] The often repeated line "May the Force be with you" was ranked as the 8th greatest quote in American film history.[39] John Williams' score was ranked as the greatest American film score of all time.[40]

Star Wars won several awards at the 1978 Academy Awards, including Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, which went to John Barry, Norman Reynolds, Leslie Dilley and Roger Christian. Best Costume Design was awarded to John Mollo; Best Film Editing went to Paul Hirsch, Marcia Lucas and Richard Chew; John Stears, John Dykstra, Richard Edlund, Grant McCune and Robert Blalack all received awards for Best Effects, Visual Effects. John Williams was awarded his third Oscar for Best Music, Original Score; the Best Sound went to Don MacDougall, Ray West, Bob Minkler and Derek Ball; and a Special Achievement for sound effects went to Ben Burtt. Additional nominations included Alec Guinness for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, George Lucas for Best Screenplay and Best Director, and Gary Kurtz was nominated for his producing duties in Best Picture.[41] At the Golden Globe awards, the film was nominated for Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Alec Guinness), and Best Score. It only won the award for Best Score.[41] It received six BAFTA nominations: Best Film, Best Editing, Best Costume, Best Production/Art Design, Best Sound, and Best Score; the film won in the latter two categories.[41] John Williams' soundtrack album won the Grammy award for Best Album of an original score for a motion picture or television program,[41] and the film was awarded the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.[41] In 1997, the MTV Movie Awards awarded Chewbacca the lifetime achievement award for his work in the Star Wars trilogy.[41]

MusicEdit

Lucas's intentions for Star Wars involved a grand musical sound, with leitmotifs for different characters and important objects, an approach used to great effect, for instance, in the operas of Richard Wagner. Toward this end, Lucas put together a collection of classical pieces for the composer John Williams to review, as an idea of what effects Lucas desired for the films. The music Williams composed was often distinctly reminiscent of the original classical pieces. In particular:

  • The music associated to the opening capture of the blockade runner is very similar to Mars, from Holst's The Planets. In the liner notes to the original sound track recording, Williams implicitly acknowledged the connection by explaining why he didn't simply use Holst's The Planets. He said that he felt he could give the music a more unified feel if he wrote it all himself.
  • The "Force Theme" (or "Ben's Theme") has been compared to parts of the ballet Swan Lake.
  • The music for the awards ceremony at the end of the movie begins with the Force/Ben's Theme, and then transitions into a theme that, in the liner notes, Williams says is reminiscent of "The Coronation", which probably refers to Elgar's, or, more likely, William Walton's Coronation March.
  • The opening title (the "theme from Star Wars", or "Luke's Theme") has been said to resemble John Barry's theme from Born Free, but has a similar facade to the opening strains of the 1942 film, King's Row, scored by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Later John Williams themes, such as those from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial have been said to bear a resemblance to it. Listening to them together, one observes that none is identical to any of the others, but they use many of the same musical intervals to achieve similar, or at least related, emotional effects.
  • The music for C-3PO's and R2-D2's arrival on Tatooine is very similar to the beginning of the second part titled The Sacrifice of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring.

Major musical themesEdit

SoundEdit

A New Hope was originally presented in monaural sound in many theatres, though the first-run 70mm prints were some of the earliest wide-release examples of surround sound—something not seen in the commercial cinema since the Cinerama and Cinemascope experiments of the early 50's.

Sources and inspirationsEdit

Main article: George Lucas's influences

The film drew inspiration from a number of sources. This was conscious and has been acknowledged by George Lucas in interviews. It is characteristic of much myth-building.

Lucas has stated that Akira Kurosawa's 1958 film The Hidden Fortress (USA release 1962) was a strong influence. The resemblance between the two buffoon farmers in The Hidden Fortress and the two talkative droids in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is apparent. Indeed, when the droids find themselves alone on Tatooine, even the music and the style of "wipe" cuts are a clear homage to Hidden Fortress. When Motti is criticizing Darth Vader, he is about to mention the Rebels' "hidden fortress" before Vader cuts him off in the middle of the last word.

The climactic scene in which the Death Star is assaulted was modeled after the 1950s movie The Dam Busters, in which RAF Lancaster bombers fly along heavily defended reservoirs and aim "bouncing bombs" at German manmade dams in a bid to cripple the heavy industry of the Ruhr. Some of the dialogue in The Dam Busters is repeated in the Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope climax and in fact the cinematographer for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Gilbert Taylor, also filmed the Special Effects sequences in The Dam Busters.

Scenes from the Death Star assault are also reminiscent of the film Battle of Britain, particularly in showing the face of the pilot in the cockpit, and the radio dialogue between teams named after colors. Another inspiration comes from Battle of Britain's long combat scene near the end of the movie which is presented without dialogue or sound effects, but with a classical movie background. The parallel between the use of classical-style music, rather than popular orchestral or even more recent rock, blues, swing, or jazz soundtracks, is notable.

The real-life battle provided inspiration also, with World War II providing a heavy influence on the look and feel of the films. While the dogfighting between the "Allied" X-wings and "Axis" TIE Fighters, the ships were based more on the Pacific Theatre, with the larger sturdier Rebel fighters based on the United States Navy carrier-borne aircraft, and the smaller but faster and more maneuverable enemy TIEs based on the famous Japanese Zero. The costumes of the pilots reflect this, with the characteristic orange flight suits of the rebels, which are very similar to the flight suits worn by American fighter pilots in the Pacific War. The cockpit design of the Millennium Falcon is also heavily based on the design used in the famous B-29 Superfortress, such as the Enola Gay.

The helmets worn by the TIE Fighter pilots are reminiscent to those of the Japanese during the Pacific campaign, though this is not as blatant as the "Samurai style" helmet of Darth Vader. Lastly, the uniforms of the Imperial officers are quite similar to those worn by the Germans in World War II.

The battles were copied from film of WWII aerial battles, replacing the British and German aircraft by Star Wars spacecraft.

Lucas has made mention of the film "633 Squadron" directed by Walter Grauman when citing movies that inspired themes or elements in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The "trench run" in A New Hope wherein Luke flies his X-wing through a "trench" on the Death Star and destroys the ship was inspired, at least in small part, by the finale of 633 Squadron, which involves several Royal Air Force planes flying at low level up a fjord against heavy, ground-based anti-aircraft fire, to attack a factory located at the base of a cliff at the canyon's end.

The planet Tatooine is similar to Arrakis from Frank Herbert's book Dune, although desert worlds were not original to Herbert. The planet Mongo from the Flash Gordon comics was also a desert world. In general, the Star Wars movies have followed the convention, common in space opera, in which planets stand in for regions of the Earth, so that there would be a desert planet, a jungle planet, and so on.

File:Triumph of the Will - Congress Hall.jpg

The scene where Princess Leia gives Han and Luke medals is very reminiscent of a long scene in Leni Riefenstahl's 1934 Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will. Both scenes have large and enthusiastic crowds seated in a shallow amphitheatre bounded by columns, with a low dais where the leader stands. (Of course, in Triumph Of The Will, Adolf Hitler was the leader in question.)

Deleted scenesEdit

Main article: List of scenes cut from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

NovelizationEdit

Main article: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (novel)

The novelization of the film was published in December 1976, six months before the film was released. The credited author was George Lucas, but the book was revealed to have been ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster, who later wrote the first Expanded Universe novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye. The book was first published as Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker; later editions were titled simply Star Wars and, later, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, to reflect the retitling of the film. Certain scenes deleted from the film (and later restored or archived in DVD bonus features) were present in the novel, such as Luke at Tosche Station with Biggs and the encounter between Han and Jabba in Docking Bay 94. Other deleted scenes from the movie, such as a close-up of a stormtrooper riding on a Dewback, were included in a photo insert added to later printings of the book.

Smaller details were also changed; for example, in the Death Star assault, Luke's callsign is Blue Five instead of Red Five as in the film. Charles Lippincott secured the deal with Del Rey Books to publish the novelization in November 1976. By February 1977, a half million copies had been sold.[2]

Radio dramaEdit

Main article: Star Wars (radio)

A radio drama adaptation of the film was written by Brian Daley, directed by John Madden, and produced for and broadcast on the American National Public Radio network in 1981. The adaptation received cooperation from George Lucas, who donated the rights to NPR. John Williams' music and Ben Burtt's sound design were retained for the show; Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) reprised their roles as well. The radio drama featured scenes not seen in the final cut of the film, such as Luke Skywalker's observation of the space battle above Tatooine through binoculars, a skyhopper race, and Darth Vader's interrogation of Princess Leia. In terms of Star Wars canon, the radio drama is given the highest designation, G-canon.[42][43]

ComicsEdit

Over the years, several comic adaptations of the film have been published:

Marvel Comics launched their Star Wars series with a six-part adaptation of the film written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by Howard Chaykin.

Concurrently with the release of the 1997 Special Edition, Dark Horse Comics released a new four-part adaptation written by Bruce Jones and illustrated by Eduardo Barreto.

A manga adaptation illustrated by Hisao Tamaki was released in Japan in 1997 and in the United States in 1998.

In 1978, Al Williamson worked on an adaptation in comic strip form that was never released.

TriviaEdit

  • It is the only episode that does not play the current 20th Century Fox fanfare and instead plays the fanfare that was introduced in the 1977 release.
  • Primary shooting began on March 22, 1976 and ended on July 16, 1976.
  • ILM concluded shooting on April 22, 1977 with shot 110P, that of a Star Destroyer.[44]
  • Obi-Wan says that he stopped going by the name "Obi-Wan Kenobi" before Luke was born. Though this is not shown on screen, in the Revenge of the Sith novelization, he says that he will be taking the name of Ben shortly before Padmé Amidala gives birth.
  • James Earl Jones's name did not originally appear in the ending credits. At the time, Jones felt he hadn't done enough for the film to deserve one. His name was added for the film's 1997 re-release. (Strangely enough, a year later he was credited in the opening of The Star Wars Holiday Special.)
  • Darth Vader's breathing is a recording of sound designer Ben Burtt breathing with a scuba diving tank by placing a microphone inside the regulator.
  • At the end of the film, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo each receive a medal for their actions during the Battle of Yavin IV, but Chewbacca does not. However, the Wookiee does steal the last line of the movie.
  • A New Hope has the most profanity of any type uttered in the Star Wars movies. Owen Lars mutters to Beru that Luke had "better have those units in the South Range repaired by midday or there'll be hell to pay." Obi-Wan and Han Solo both used the term "damn fool" once, and Han in response to Leia's shooting an escape route in the detention block floor, "What the hell are you doing?". Only two other installments featured use of profanity in the series, Dexter Jettster referring to the cloners of Kamino as "damn good ones" in Attack of the Clones, and Han Solo says "Then I'll see you in hell!" when told that he'd freeze to death on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. Revenge of the Sith contains no profanity, though rated PG-13.
  • Originally, if the film did poorly at the box office, Lucas planned to turn the novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye into a low-budget sequel to the movie. According to an interview with Alan Dean Foster in Empire magazine, the book was written to be filmed as a low budget sequel if Star Wars was not a huge success. That's why it takes place almost entirely on a fog shrouded planet. Additionally, Harrison Ford was not signed for the sequel as of the writing of the book, which is why Han Solo does not appear in the novel.
  • The Tusken Raider (played by stuntman Peter Diamond) who attacks Luke was filmed raising his weapon over his head once. Editors Paul Hirsch and Richard Chew moved the reel back and forth so the Raider raised his weapon several times.
  • Finagle's Law frequently plagued the production. One day into filming in Tunisia, the country had its first major rainstorm in fifty years. The storm ruined the salt flats where the Lars Moisture Farm was filmed. ILM was in chaos from trying to achieve new special effects and 20th Century Fox kept pressuring Lucas. The project became so stressful that Lucas nearly suffered a heart attack from trying to deliver the film on time.
  • Kenner Toys was the only company that bought license to sell merchandise for the film; however, the company believed the film would flop and produced only a few toys. When Star Wars became a hit, they were unprepared and were unable to produce more toys for Christmas.
  • The two gunners in the Death Star superlaser shaft are ILM modelmakers Grant McCune and Joe Johnston.
  • Some early promotional material for the film emphasized a romance between Luke and Leia, highlighted by their brief good luck kiss before jumping the chasm on the Death Star and the kiss given before the Battle of Yavin. This theme continued on into the comic book spinoff as well as Foster's Splinter of the Mind's Eye sequel. Save for a faux-passionate kiss between Luke and Leia early in Empire Strikes Back (and another, intentional passionate kiss that was cut short in a previous deleted scene), the romantic angle was downplayed when Lucas began developing the relationship between Leia and Han Solo, and was dropped entirely after it was revealed in Return of the Jedi that Luke and Leia were siblings.
  • On May 26, 1977, the New York Times described Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope as "the most beautiful movie serial ever made".
  • The Millennium Falcon was modeled after a hamburger next to an olive.[45]
  • The sound of TIE Fighters was created by combining an elephant's scream with the noise of a car driving on wet pavement.
  • Other films that opened in May 1977: Smokey and the Bandit, The Car, and Day of the Animals.
  • A New Hope was known by several titles during its screenplay stage, including The Adventures of the Starkiller.
  • Episode IV was not originally known by its current title; rather, it was known as simply Star Wars. The A New Hope subtitle came about during the film's 1981 re-release following the release of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. In the public version of the revised fourth draft 1976 script, however, the name was present (at least according to the 1979 "The Art of Star Wars"); the title was Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, from the Journal of the Whills.
  • This is the only Star Wars film in which neither Yoda nor Palpatine make an appearance. Yoda is not mentioned, as the character had not yet been created. Palpatine (whose name is never uttered in the classic trilogy) is mentioned, but referred to only as "the Emperor".
  • Initially, Lucas did not allow Harrison Ford to audition for the part of Han Solo because he wanted to use unknown actors for the roles of Solo, Luke, and Leia, and Ford had already worked with Lucas in American Graffiti. Other actors who auditioned for Solo's part included Robbie Benson, Kurt Russell,[44] Christopher Walken,[44] and Perry King, who was eventually cast in the role for the National Public Radio adaptations.[44] For the role of Leia, Lucas seriously considered Cindy Williams (who also starred in Graffiti), as well as Terri Nunn, the lead singer of the dance-pop group Berlin and Sissy Spacek. However, Ford was brought into the casting auditions to help by reading Solo's lines opposite other actors, and eventually Lucas decided that it was Ford's performance who best fit his idea for the character (Ford's reaction to Nunn's interpretation of Leia elicited a roll of his eyes). Lucas' decision to use unknown actors also went against the advice of his friend, director Francis Ford Coppola.
  • This is the only Star Wars film where "The Imperial March" is not played in some form or another, as it had not been written at the time.
  • The sounds for R2-D2 included not only computer sounds but also the sounds of baby talk.
  • Star Wars was only first released in forty theaters; however, it broke thirty-nine of those forty theater records.
  • To gain access to Princess Leia's holding cell, Luke and Han pretend to be stormtroopers and hold Chewbacca "prisoner." They tell the cell block commander they are transferring him from detention block 1138. This is a reference to George Lucas' first film, THX 1138.
  • Peter Sumner, who played an uncredited role as Lieutenant Pol Treidum (the character who said "TK421, why aren't you at your post?") in A New Hope, reprised his role as the same character for the 1999 Star Wars fan film The Dark Redemption.
  • When the film was released in 1977, a very young Ewan McGregor went to see the film with his siblings to see their uncle, Denis Lawson, who played Wedge Antilles.
  • George Lucas never intended to use the voice of David Prowse, who portrayed Darth Vader in costume, because of Prowse's west country English accent. He originally wanted Orson Welles to provide Darth Vader's voice. However, he felt that Welles' voice would be too recognizable, so he cast James Earl Jones, who was not as well known. Prowse did not find out his voice had been swapped until the night of the premiere when he watched the film itself. Obviously, he was not pleased.
  • Before signing on as the film's sound designer, Ben Burtt auditioned for the role of Luke Skywalker.
  • Just prior to the film's completion, Mark Hamill was cast as David Bradford on the TV series Eight is Enough. Hamill believed the film was going to be a hit, and wanted to focus on his film career. He only played David in the series' pilot, and Grant Goodeve took over the character for the rest of the show's run.
  • The first time Chewbacca climbs into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, he bumps his head on a small pair of dice hanging from the ceiling. These dice are never seen again in the film, nor do they appear in the rest of the trilogy.
  • Many of the exterior landscape shots of Yavin 4 were filmed at the Maya ruins at Tikal.
  • A New Hope was originally rated G. George Lucas requested the film should have a PG rating to attract more older audiences than children.
  • During scenes on the Death Star, Carrie Fisher's breasts had to be tied down to stop them wobbling noticeably during the scenes when she was running.[2]
  • A "background hum" can be heard when Obi-Wan is turning off the Death Star's tractor beam near the two Stormtroopers (in the special edition only) and in the shaft Luke and Leia have to cross in the Death Star. It's also featured in the two other original trilogy movies, The Empire Strikes Back (heard when Vader talks to the Palpatine hologram and heard twice when Luke and Vader are fighting under Cloud City) and Return of the Jedi (in the Death Star II's Palpatine hall - special edition only). It's also heard in Attack of the Clones, when Obi-Wan has just noticed Dooku, Nute Gunray and the other separatists leaders on Geonosis and in The Works, inside the building where Dooku and Palpatine meet. It's also featured in other movies such as Blade Runner (in Deckard's appartment) or Alien (in the escape pod used by Ripley—its first appearance seems to be in this film).
  • During the scene when the stormtroopers breach the door to the room where C-3PO and R2-D2 are hiding aboard the Death Star the stormtrooper on the far right hits his head on the door. It is even audible.
  • Despite being the film's protagonist, Luke doesn't appear for the first seventeen and a half minutes.
  • When Kevin Spacey hosted "Saturday Night Live" in 1997, one pair of skits parodied the screen tests of actors auditioning for Star Wars. Spacey played, among others, Christopher Walken auditioning for Han Solo. Walken really was considered for that role before Harrison Ford was cast.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. SWicon A New Hope Cast and Crew on StarWars.com (backup link on Archive.org)
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy Star Wars Trilogy Box Set DVD documentary, [2005]
  3. Steve Silberman. pr.html "Life After Darth". Wired Magazine. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.05/lucas pr.html. Retrieved on 2006-10-01. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The Characters of Star Wars Star Wars Original Trilogy DVD Box Set: Bonus Materials, [2004]
  5. Randy Lofficier, Jean-Marc Lofficier (1999). "The Star Wars Genesis: How the Classic SF Saga Evolved". Star Wars Genesis. http://www.lofficier.com/starwars.htm. Retrieved on 2006-10-01. 
  6. "Thank the Maker: George Lucas". Starwars.com. April 19, 2005. http://www.starwars.com/community/event/celebration/f20050419/indexp17.html. Retrieved on 2006-10-01. 
  7. "Star Wars Biography: Ralph McQuarrie". Starwars.com. http://www.starwars.com/bio/ralphmcquarrie.html. Retrieved on 2006-10-01. 
  8. "Star Wars (Film Series)". Allmovie. http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=1:72309. Retrieved on 2006-10-01. 
  9. The Force Is With Them: The Legacy of Star Wars Star Wars Original Trilogy DVD Box Set: Bonus Materials, [2004]
  10. "Star Wars Biography: Industrial Light & Magic". Starwars.com. http://www.starwars.com/bio/industriallightmagic.html. Retrieved on 2006-10-01. 
  11. "Business Data for Star Wars (1977)". IMDB. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076759/business. Retrieved on 2006-10-02. 
  12. "Filming Locations for Star Wars (1977)". IMDB. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076759/locations. Retrieved on 2006-10-02. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 "How Star Wars Surprised the World". AmericanHeritage.com. http://www.americanheritage.com/entertainment/articles/web/20060525-star-wars-george-lucas-movies-hollywood-luke-skywalker-darth-vader-american-graffiti-science-fiction-special-effects.shtml. Retrieved on 2006-10-02. 
  14. Star Wars - The Legacy Revealed. The History Channel. May 2007
  15. "Harrison Ford quote". HarrisonFordWeb.com. http://www.harrisonfordweb.com/quotes/. Retrieved on 2006-09-15. 
  16. "Interview with Ben Burtt". Silicon Valley Radio. http://www.transmitmedia.com/svr/burtt/index.html. Retrieved on 2006-10-03. 
  17. "The Force Wasn't With Them". Premiere Magazine. http://www.premiere.com/features/2164/the-force-wasnt-with-them.html. Retrieved on 2007-02-16. 
  18. "Star Wars on TV". TV Party. http://www.tvparty.com/70starwars.html. Retrieved on 2006-09-02. 
  19. Time - March 6, 1978; "George Lucas' Galactic Empire - Get ready for Star Wars II, III, IV, V ..."
  20. "Star Wars: The Changes". dvdactive. http://www.dvdactive.com/editorial/articles/star-wars-the-changes-part-one.html?page=2. Retrieved on August 14 2006. 
  21. "Exclusive T-shirts to Commemorate DVD Release". Starwars.com. http://www.starwars.com/collecting/shop/shopnews/news20060503.html. Retrieved on August 14 2006. 
  22. Ian Dawe. "Anamorphic Star Wars and Other Musings". Mindjack Film. http://www.mindjack.com/film/archives/2006_05_01_archive.html. Retrieved on 2006-05-26. 
  23. Michael Coate (2004-09-21). long remembered.htm "May 25, 1977: A Day Long Remembered". The Screening Room. http://www.fromscripttodvd.com/star_wars_a_day long remembered.htm. Retrieved on 2007-05-11. 
  24. "Box office data on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=starwars4.htm. Retrieved on 2006-09-02. 
  25. "All Time Box Office Adjusted for Ticket Price Inflation". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/adjusted.htm. Retrieved on 2007-02-18. 
  26. Roger Ebert (January 1, 1977). "Star Wars". Roger Ebert.com. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19770101/REVIEWS/701010315/1023. Retrieved on 2006-09-06. 
  27. Vincent Canby (May 26, 1977). "'Star Wars'—A Trip to a Far Galaxy That's Fun and Funny...". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/library/film/052677wars.html. Retrieved on 2006-10-04. 
  28. Pauline Kael (September 26, 1977). "Star Wars". New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/archive/content/articles/050523fr_archive02. Retrieved on 2006-09-07. 
  29. Jonathon Rosenbaum (1997). "Excessive Use of the Force". Chicago Reader. http://www.chicagoreader.com/movies/archives/0197/01317.html. Retrieved on 2006-10-01. 
  30. Peter Keough (1997). "Star Wars remerchandises its own myth". Boston Phoenix. http://bostonphoenix.com/alt1/archive/movies/reviews/01-30-97/STAR_WARS_2.html. Retrieved on 2006-10-01. 
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  32. "U.S. National Film Registry Titles". U.S. National Film Registry. http://www.cs.cmu.edu/Unofficial/Movies/NFR-Titles.html. Retrieved on 2006-09-02. 
  33. screenplays/2006/04/03/list/index.html "101 Greatest Screenplays: The List". Writer's Guild of America. http://www.wgaeast.org/greatest screenplays/2006/04/03/list/index.html. Retrieved on 2006-09-02. 
  34. "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies". American Film Institute. http://www.afi.com/tvevents/100years/movies.aspx. Retrieved on 2006-09-01. 
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  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 Star Wars Insider 95
  45. StarWars.com's Databank

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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