Theatrical FilmsThe original trilogy (left) and the prequel trilogy (right) DVD box sets of the film series in Costco.
The film series began with Star Wars, released on May 25, 1977. This was followed by two sequels: The Empire Strikes Back, released on May 21, 1980, and Return of the Jedi, released on May 25, 1983. The opening crawl of the sequels disclosed that they were numbered as "Episode V" and "Episode VI" respectively, though the films were generally advertised solely under their subtitles. Though the first film in the series was simply titled Star Wars, with its 1981 re-release it had the subtitle Episode IV: A New Hope added to remain consistent with its sequel, and to establish it as the middle chapter of a continuing saga.
In 1997, to correspond with the 20th anniversary of A New Hope, Lucas released a "Special Edition" of the Star Wars trilogy to theaters. The re-release featured alterations to the three films, primarily motivated by the improvement of CGI and other special effects technologies, which allowed visuals that were not possible to achieve at the time of the original filmmaking. Lucas continued to make changes to the films for subsequent releases, such as the first ever DVD release of the original trilogy on September 21, 2004 and the first ever Blu-ray release of all six films on September 16, 2011.
More than two decades after the release of the original film, the series continued with the long-awaited prequel trilogy; consisting of Episode I: The Phantom Menace, released on May 19, 1999; Episode II: Attack of the Clones, released on May 16, 2002; and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, released on May 19, 2005.
On August 15, 2008 Star Wars: The Clone Wars was released theatrically as a lead-in to the weekly animated TV series of the same name. Episode VII is scheduled to be released in 2015.
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Famous quotes containing the words films and/or theatrical:
“Television does not dominate or insist, as movies do. It is not sensational, but taken for granted. Insistence would destroy it, for its message is so dire that it relies on being the background drone that counters silence. For most of us, it is something turned on and off as we would the light. It is a service, not a luxury or a thing of choice.”
—David Thomson, U.S. film historian. America in the Dark: The Impact of Hollywood Films on American Culture, ch. 8, William Morrow (1977)
“The popularity of that baby-faced boy, who possessed not even the elements of a good actor, was a hallucination in the public mind, and a disgrace to our theatrical history.”
—Thomas Campbell (17771844)