"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...."
- – Star Wars opening text
Star Wars is one of, if not the, most influential media franchises of modern times, let alone its effect on science-fiction and fantasy. Indeed, among nerddom, it is challenged by only a few others, like Star Trek and The Lord of the Rings. The incredibly ardent fandom is spread worldwide and has a strong presence in popular culture. Many of the characters, like Darth Vader and Yoda, are iconic even to the general public. John Williams' score for the original trilogy is probably the best-known film score of all time. The universe has spawned numerous video games, hundreds of novels, multiple TV shows, one of the largest merchandising franchises ever, and, relevant to /tg/, a whole bunch of board, card, and roleplaying games.
It is also the current leading world source of Skub.
- 1 The Basic Concept
- 2 Why was it so popular?
- 3 Characters
- 4 The rise of the original trilogy
- 5 The coming of the prequel trilogy
- 6 Disney and the sequel trilogy
- 7 Expanded Universe
- 8 Star Wars:The Clone Wars
- 9 Species
- 10 Impact on 1d4chan and associated games etc
- 11 Sabacc and Pazaak
- 12 Tabletop games for Star Wars
- 13 See Also:
The Basic Concept
Star Wars was originally a series of epic science-fantasy "space operas" that roughly followed the mythic cycle that's been around since Homer. They're set "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away," [Note: this makes the entire series a fairy tale] where a mysterious life force called (reasonably enough) the Force permeates everything. This, in turn, can be wielded by certain people, giving them pseudo-magical abilities; thank the Emperor (no, the other one) there were no Commissars in that universe. Those who use it for good become mystical, selfless warrior monks called Jedi, whereas those who use it for evil are ruthless, self-serving bastards called Sith. However, the Force must always be in balance, so any time the Sith arise to cause imbalance, the Jedi have to pull together and take them out to restore the natural order.
The so-called Original Trilogy (made up of films IV through VI, released from 1977 to 1983) followed a young man named Luke Skywalker who becomes a Jedi and re-balances the Force. Meanwhile, the Rebel Alliance is fighting to end the oppressive Galactic Empire, which is secretly led by the Sith. Luke and his Rebel companions eventually defeat the evil Emperor Palpatine, but along the way they discover that his lieutenant, Darth Vader, is actually Luke's father. A financial, critical, popular and cultural H-bomb, these movies are basically the filter through which Generation X perceives the world... for better or worse.
The so-called Prequel Trilogy (made up of films I through III, released from 1999 to 2005) explained how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader and how the Galactic Empire was established. This involves a lot of convoluted politicking in the Republic, which is then torn apart in the Clone Wars, where the Republic (with an army of clones led by the Jedi) fights against the Confederacy (with an army of robots led by General Grievous and secretly controlled by the Sith). It was not as well received as the first trilogy, for reasons we'll talk about below.
There's also a so-called Sequel Trilogy (made up of film VII and presumably films VIII and IX), which started in 2015 and picked up the story some three decades after the Emperor's defeat with a new generation of heroes taking on the remains of the evil Empire, which is a group of extremist former Imperials calling themselves the First Order. However, Episode VII aka The Force Awakens, was directed by J.J. Abrams, who's mostly known for the skubtastic Star Trek reboot, while Episode VIII was written and directed by Ryan Johnson who was a young director known for plot twists and genre experimentation on a handful of movies and television episodes that openly said he wanted to "subvert expectations" and make half of viewers dislike his work, then got pissed when half of them disliked his work. The result managed to fracture the Star Wars fanbase over issues of dull rehashing for VII and a whole laundry list of reasons for VIII (ranging from small ones such as it being too different, to major issues like half the movie being filler), as well as those who still enjoyed them and very little common ground between the three groups.
Finally, there are the so-called Anthology movies, standalone one-shots involving characters and plotlines that aren't a part of the main "Saga" films, except they kind of are. The first, Rogue One (2016), is an immediate prequel to Episode IV that follows those Rebel spies who stole the Death Star plans. The second film follows a young Han Solo and pals Chewie and Lando. A third rumored one follows Boba Fett.
There are also three separate TV series. The first one, Clone Wars, was based on traditional animation, whereas the later one, The Clone Wars, was a weird 3D animation. They're both pretty good. There was also a terrible theatrical release that was basically just an advertisement for The Clone Wars, but, since it's even worse than the Prequel Trilogy (hint: babysitting Jabba the Hutt's kid), nobody talks about it much. The third series is Disney's "Rebels" which is set between Episodes III-IV and it takes itself far less seriously than Clone Wars did, and is more of a homage to the original trilogy since not every character in the series is the owner of a lightsaber nor are they constantly talking about grown-up politics, senators and trade embargoes... pretty much the things that clogged up the plot of the prequel trilogy.
And then there's the whole Expanded Universe, which covers pretty much everything not covered by the films, like the Old Republic (set thousands of years before the prequel trilogy, when there were a hell of a lot more Sith and Jedi around) and the New Republic (set immediately after the original trilogy, explaining what became of all the characters. Also features Force-less, extra-galactic, fanatical space cenobites called Yuuzhan Vong that are so grimdark they could've come from 40k rather than Star Wars.
The EU is no longer considered in the main canon of the films and TV series, due to the new sequel trilogy which does not follow EU, the reason for this being, according to Disney, that following EU would restrict their creative freedom. The reaction to this was, well, mixed, for lack of a better word. They've since noted that they'll slot some of it in on a case-by-case basis, but the canon is in a highly fluid state at the moment. EU is now officially called Star Wars Legends, though most fans still refer to it as EU.
Why was it so popular?
Star Wars is as accessible as science fiction gets. It doesn't require extensive knowledge of a fictional world (a la The Lord of the Rings or Warhammer 40,000) or cultural background (as Star Trek sometimes does) to make sense. Those elements are present for those who want them, but they largely stay in the (very rich and vibrant) background. It has well-shot action and good enough dialogue to make it interesting for both kids and adults (as well as allowing parents who grew up with it to watch it with their children, thereby hooking the next generation of viewers). It has simple, good-vs.-evil themes that resonate with almost anyone, anywhere, at any time. The science fiction elements are generally handled well if you don't obsess over making science fiction realistic and hard. It's a prime gateway drug for sci-fi which still holds up to the experienced eye, Isaac Asimov saw and rather enjoyed the films. All in Fourteen hours of cinema, plus optional sides for those who want it.
There's a ton of merchandise that is, of course, really cool. Also, given it's crossed over into the mainstream, many people feel comfortable being part of the community without feeling judged as "nerds" (as they might with Lord of the Rings, D&D, Star Trek, Warhammer, etc.).
Again, they roughly follow the mythic cycle that's been around since Homer. If you think about it, 4 of the 7 films can be summarized as: hero begins his journey under the tutelage of a wise (more or less) man, they encounter a threat which has captured/enslaved a princess/girl, who was in one way or another connected to an important secret (usually a superweapon but could be the identity of a political figure or the location of someone); the heroes save the princess/girl but someone dies tragically in a battle against the villain while someone else is blowing up a space station or a spaceship afterwards they are happy, they celebrate and mourn the loss of the poor bloke who died.
Additionally, the first film can be summarized as a samurai and a gunslinger team up to save a princess from Nazis in space. That is multiple cinematic genres at once, following the style of the epic myth.
- Luke Skywalker: All-round good guy and idealist, despite being a complete idiot, Luke wishes to learn the ways of the Force to defeat the Emperor and save the galaxy. A Jedi prodigy, he can lift heavy ton space fighters with just his force powers, though he struggles with doubts. Although he starts all brash and teenage and shit, by the conclusion of the trilogy, Luke is well on the way to becoming a wise and powerful Jedi ready to rebuild the Order. Then he ends up training Kylo fucking Ren and becomes a grumpy old man who just wants the Jedi Order to die with him since he's been disillusioned in people not being shitty now that his shitty-feeling self is considered the least shitty person in the universe (something many fans, and even Mark Hamill himself considered out of character for Luke). It takes a direct Force-powered intervention from Leia as well as Yoda's Force ghost telling him "don't worry, we both fucked up and the kids still love our
toyslegends" to get him to nut the fuck up and help stop the First Order by embarrassing Kylo Ren in front of everyone. It got to the point where he tried to burn a sacred tree with contained the last books about the Jedi code. Yoda appeared as a Force ghost and told Luke the Force weren't limited to buildings or writings, destroying the tree which supposedly contained the last books about the Jedi code and history which turns out to be because Rey had already stolen said books and the destruction of the tree prevented Luke from discovering that fact, ensuring the Jedi will continue regardless of Luke's faith crisis. In the original EU, Luke was FAR more successful and trained many generations of Jedi including his niece (future Empress of a reformed Empire) and non-evil (although he came close a few times) nephew, destroyed massive remnants of the Empire over and over again, killed the fucking Emperor over and over again, fought off extragalactic Force-resistant space Cenobites called Yuuzhan Vong including killing their Emperorbest fighter, blew up more Death Star-type things, killed a god made of crystals (we don't like to talk about that one), helped defeat the Force equivalent of a Chaos God called Abeloth (though she's so powerful it required Luke to make a temporary alliance between the Jedi and the Sith to beat her, and they still failed to kill her) and hooked up with the Emperor's own hot red-headed assassin, Mara Jade (more on her below).
- Han Solo: Dashing rogue and space cowboy who somehow shoots his way out of debt to the mob, ends up a general, and bags himself a princess. Not a bad series' work. His ship, the Millennium Falcon, deserves a mention too for being as iconic as he is. Unfortunately his actor Harrison Ford always went back and forth on wanting to continue the franchise, mostly because he thoroughly hated Solo and wanted him to die pretty much from day one, only to be thwarted in Empire and again in Jedi by the character's popularity. Ford agreed to return for Episode 7 when Disney finally gave him his wish, having Solo fail to redeem his son Ben and getting a metaphorical and literal lightsaber through the heart for it. In pre-Disney continuity he was once a Swoop (flying motorcycle) racer turned Imperial Officer who shot his superior that was beating a Wookie to death and gained a lifelong friend in said Wookie - Chewbacca. He also had three kids with Leia pre-Disney with two sons called Anakin and Jacen and a daughter called Jaina, though one of them (Jacen) went full Dark Side, became a Sith and killed his aunty/Luke's wife after subsequent events. Post-Disney Han's origin is covered in a solo movie named Solo. It's... well, see below.
- Princess Leia: The regulation piece of lady crumpet in the movies, Princess Leia was a leader in the rebel alliance and (spoiler!) Luke's long lost twin sister. Also both a capable soldier and politician. Her being forced to wear a metal thong by an overweight space slug named Jabba the Hutt has since cemented her role as sex idol to legions of adoring fan boys, while her general door-kicking deadshot sarcastic asskickery made her a feminist icon as well (this was back in the 80's when the two could be the same). With her home planet and entire adoptive family destroyed by the Death Star, she became a General although somehow retained her princesshood (yes, she's now a Disney Princess), and went on to become a full-on Jedi warrior in the pre-Disney EU and had three kids with Han. Not in the new canon though. She manages to somehow survive getting shot into space using her latent force abilities in TLJ, probably the most ridiculous part of the film. Due to the death of her actress Carrie Fisher (given the amount of cocaine and partying she's done over the years it was amazing she lived as long as she did) Leia will only appear in Episode 9 using altered unused footage from Episodes 7 and 8...unless they do an uncanny valley CG model again.
- C-3P0 and R2-D2: Two robots trapped in a sexless gay marriage who are the only minor characters to have been in all the movies so far, and even in stories like The Old Republic outside of their millennia of existence will usually have an equivalent. C-3P0 is the shiny golden humanoid robot who constantly fusses about keeping the furniture clean and worries that his pies are getting overdone in the oven while R2-D2 is the brash, brave husband figure who swings into action regardless. He looks like a salt shaker next to the Dalek's pepper shakers, although is he more a plucky rabbit to their rabid wild cats. The robots mostly have comedy roles in the movies, since they might threaten to upstage the human actors if they became too useful, though R2 has an electric cattle prod and serves as the party's computer skillmonkey, while C-3P0 saves the day with his mad linguistic skillz at least once per film in the original trilogy. They starred in their own cartoon series that was surprisingly good. After the original trilogy in both pre/post Disney continuity the writers don't seem to know what to do with them, and they just randomly appear sometimes.
- Chewbacca: The original furry in space, the dog you can have a beer with in the space Winnebago. Nothing sexy about him; he is just hairy, huge, knows how to pilot a space ship, fix stuff, fire a gun, and generally get shit done which strangely makes him the coolest furry ever. Best friends with Han, has a family that we can all agree did not appear in the terrible Christmas special that does not exist (he got a much more badass family in the Galactic Battlegrounds games, so go with that). Hates Trandoshans like all Wookies, since Trandoshans are almost always assholes and are particularly assholish to Wookies. In the pre-Disney continuity he was a slave that the then-Imperial Han saved, he helped Han save the galaxy. Pre-Disney he was the first major character to die, getting mooned to death by the aforementioned extragalactic space cenobites, courtesy of R.A. Salvatore while helping evacuate the planet the moon was about to collide with. In the post-Disney continuity he continues to be
awesome andgenerally ignored in endings and the plot overall (ironic that he was the first major character who died in the pre-Disney lore and he's one of the few still alive in post-Disney lore). The prequel trilogy revealed he's REALLY FUCKING OLD thanks to Wookie lifespan.
- Lando Calrissian: Suave, charismatic, and an expert con artist, this guy is the original pirate king in space. He betrays Han and co. when Vader invades his city, later regrets it, and then atones by saving the cast from the Empire as well as the populace of his city at the same time, then helps save Han from the mafia, and finally leading the fleet that blows up the Death Star 2.0.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi: If, at any point, in any work of fiction, the hero has an old master/father figure who teaches him part of what he knows, makes sure that he will grow up to be a virtuous and decent hero, but ultimately dies fighting a great evil to buy the hero time to escape, then returns as a spirit guide for the hero later, the Internet has probably accused that character of ripping off Obi-wan Kenobi. The prequels show him as a young Jedi and a deuterotagonist to Anakin Skywalker, acting as his master, teacher, partner, and dear friend before their eventual falling out ends with Anakin losing most of his major extremities and organs and Obi-wan hiding out in a cave waiting to turn into Alec Guinness. In hindsight he was a fucking moron to expect Anakin stay sane with her mother separated forever from him and doomed to slavery in a shithole planet. Certainly this won't torment the kid's thoughts about her, what's that? Tuskens tortured her to death? We are the Jedi, we do not take reve- oh well he went Sith. So much for Jedi and their wisdom.
- Yoda: Ancient wise grand master of the Jedi Order who a tiny green alien is. Never named, his species was. Because of his size and age, most assumed just a harmless old teacher he was, your nice old granddad like. His pulling out a lightsaber and engaging a Sith Lord in combat at the end of Attack of the Clones, one of the most surprising and popular fights of the series is. Became a big franchise mascot he did, despite a surprise for the audience he was meant to be in his first appearance, ruining it for future generations. A unique way of speaking, he has. A very popular target for parody, it has become.
- Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker/"The Chosen One": The black-helmeted face of evil and the most well known villain from Star Wars (and arguably the most recognisable characters in cinema). Has become an iconic and memorable figure due to his menacing, robotic appearance and ultra-deep, wheezy respirator voice. He is (spoiler!) secretly Anakin, Luke's fallen Jedi father, thus allowing him to be able to say the most memorable line in the film series, "I am your Father!" Abaddon wishes he could be this sinister. His children eventually manage to rekindle the spark of human decency in his heart, and he redeems himself by giving up his own life to save them and destroy the Emperor. Hates sand. Fun Fact: his portrayal required four actors in the original trilogy: body, voice, face and a stunt double. Single-handedly rescues the entire spin-off film Rogue One with an incredible scene at the end.
- Darth Sidious/Sheev "Can't Peeve the Sheev" Palpatine/The Emperor: A creepy old wrinkly dude who sits in his badass evil throne constantly screaming "Just as planned!" And occasionally frying fools with force lightning. Built a giant planet-destroying weapon, then built another, bigger one as a trap when the first one blew up. He is very clever, managing to scheme and outwit everyone in the prequel trilogy, moving them all into place so he could take over the galaxy (although he still needed a big superweapon anyway to hold onto said power). Chews so much scenery they had to resort to computer-generated imagery. He is the Senate.
- Admiral Ackbar: Giant tactical fish who has the need to point out obvious traps in memetic fashion. Leads the rebel fleet in the
thirdsixth film. Dies in the eighth.
- Wedge Antilles: The anti-redshirt. Has almost no lines in the original movies but somehow survives all of them, even blowing up the second Death Star with Lando. In the EU he is one of, if not the best starfighter pilot in the galaxy, and co-founder of the über elite Rogue Squadron along with Luke.
- Padmé Amidala: Darth Vader's waifu who spends most of the prequel trilogy being a hopeless pacifistic idealist (which makes her a hypocrite with all the fight scenes she's in.) Get's choked by Vader and dies giving birth to Luke and Leia, which ironically Vader was trying to prevent in the first place after seeing a vision. Way to go, dumbass. Haven't you read a work of fiction with that kinda prophecy in it before?
- Jar-Jar Binks: Solely exists to fuck up everything (and we do mean EVERYTHING) at the worst possible moment. This guy is so hated by everyone in and out of universe that even Lucas shitcanned his role down into a very brief cameo at the end of Episode 3. He's actually something of a tragic figure representing someone good who tries to act to save the galaxy but ended up ruining it instead. He manages to be less of an annoying fuckup in the CGI Clone Wars series, though only just. The clones that get stuck with him from time to time can't stand him. There are rumors that he was originally going to be revealed as a villain but because of his poor reception, this idea was scrapped. People who dislike Episode 7 often refer to its director as Jar Jar Abrams. Got a depressing meta style sendoff in the Aftermath book after Disney got the rights, which is a shame since it was hinted at in the Clone Wars series that he would marry a powerful alien queen who thinks he's a sex magnet. No really.
- Wilhuff Tarkin: Tywin Lannister IN SPHESS. Ruthless, ambitious, and cold, Grand Moff (Governor) Tarkin is the epitome of all that is Imperial in the SW Universe. His idea of ruling pretty much comes down to "They can hate me as long as they fear me", which is symbolized ultimately by the Death Star. However, he uses the stick far too often and hardly uses the carrot, and this policy backfires on him horribly when he destroys Alderaan, a Core World and one of the founders of the Old Republic- for instead of cowing the galaxy into submission, it, along with the Battle of Yavin which saw himself and his battle-station destroyed, galvanized half the galaxy into openly declaring for the Alliance.
- Jango and Boba Fett: Father and son, though the son is actually an unaltered clone of his father. Badass, mostly-silent mercs who get shit done and come from a line of Spartan/Viking/Māori warriors in space called Mandalorians. Sadly, both had very anticlimactic deaths, though Boba survived his in the EU, through the power of being too popular with the audience to kill permanently. (This became canon after Disney made the entire EU non-canon. Rumour has it Boba will be getting his own spin off movie.)
- Jabba the Hutt: Obese slug who is a cross between a Mexican drug cartel kingpin and Mafia crime-boss. He runs his criminal enterprise from an old palace-monastery on Tatooine. A /d/eviant at heart, likes to fap to hot alien chicks dancing for him until they try to escape, then faps even harder when he feeds said chicks to Rancor. Gets strangled to death by a bikini-wearing Leia with her own chains, because symbolism.
- Thrawn: Star Wars Creed, if Creed was also a philosophical blue-skinned, red-eyed alien who loved art. Thrawn was renowned for being one of the few high-ranking aliens in the Galactic Empire and one of the Emperor's best subjects. He originally served as a member of the Chiss Ascendancy, but after being backstabbed he signed up with the Galactic Empire and worked with Darth Vader - having met him back when the latter was still a Jedi - and even the Emperor himself. In his tactics, Thrawn notably employed his philosophy based around understanding the philosophy and art of his enemies, and was a very capable tactician. Thrawn quickly became very well-liked with fans, to the point many considered him the best thing to come from Star Wars since the original trilogy. Disney even reintroduced Thrawn to the post-Disney canon because he's that popular. He also set up a vassal Empire called "the Empire of the Hand" to combat an alien menace encroaching on Chiss territory that was considered a threat to the Empire; pre-Disney this was the Yuuzhan Vong (AKA the Far Outsiders, AKA the space cenobites who killed Chewbacca by dropping a moon on him), post-Disney it's Vong-knockoffs called the Grysk. Pre-Disney he was killed by the betrayal of one of his closest aides but is alive and well post-Disney. His actual name is the near-unpronounceable Mitth'raw'nuruodo.
- Mace Windu: The original only black dude in space, he was the hardest-as-nails Jedi master of the council during the prequel trilogy and the best swordfighter in the Order, hence his unique purple lightsaber. That, and Sam Jackson wanted his own color to stand out. If Anakin hadn't interfered, he would have killed Darth Sidious and none of the original trilogy would have taken place. His subsequent anti-climatic death in the movie is regarded with annoyance by his fans. His mastery of the Force allows him to channel his anger and enjoyment of battle into his combat style without being corrupted by the Dark Side. He can also detect what he calls "shatterpoints", which lets him detect weaknesses to either mess people up in combat or exploit the "for want of a nail" proverb to turn situations to his side. Has a novel, Shatterpoint, which is pretty much Heart of Darkness IN STAR WARS. Was rumoured to be Disney’s wannabe Emperor, Supreme Leader Snoke, before *SPOILERS!*
Ben SoloKylo Ren killed him, so no one really cares now.
- Mara Jade: Sexy redhead Force user and former servant of Emperor Palpatine. Raised as a servant to Emperor Palpatine, Mara became a high-level Force-using operative with the title of "Emperor's Hand." A life of hard work gave Mara a liking for challenges. After Palpatine's death, his last command to her was to kill Luke Skywalker, but she went rogue with his death and became a smuggler, even having a fake relationship with Lando. When she finally met Luke, instead of killing Luke Mara worked with him, developing a grudging respect for Luke that grew into love and the two married years later. Then a Yuuzhan Vong agent infected Mara with a terminal virus, and she used the Force to keep it at bay. When the Yuuzhan Vong invaded at large she fought as much as she could, being cured of the virus around the time her and Luke's son Ben was born. After the Yuuzhan Vong War ended, Mara led the Jedi alongside Luke and fought in wars against various aliens and the re-emergent Sith. When her nephew Jacen turned to the Dark Side and became a Sith, Mara confronted him to put a stop to the threat, but instead she was tragically killed by Jacen.
- Qui-Gon Jin: Liam Neeson as a Jedi. He was the only one smart enough to recognize a Sith plot, and would've uncovered and exposed Palpatine if it weren't for Darth Maul's sword going through his gut. Was the master of Obi-Wan, and tried to teach Anakin the basics from beyond the grave.
- Ahsoka Tano: An orange, female togruta jedi padawan that helps tell the story of growing up. When she was first introduced in the skubtastic Clone Wars movie, she was basically annoying beyond belief and attached to the notoriously reckless Anakin Skywalker. However, she began to grow on fans, eventually becoming a fan favorite Initially, she dressed only a little better than a Dark Eldar wych, raising serious moral questions about a girl her age dressing that way, but this issue was resolved in season 3 of the clone wars. Her character grows from beyond the simplicity of an
(un)amusing wisecracker, much like her master, into a wiser, kinder woman, who's actions speak louder than her words. In the final season of the Clone Wars, she leaves her master and the jedi order, and some believe that she unintentionally caused Anakin Skywalker to fall to the Dark side. She reappears in Rebels, where she takes on the wise guide and teacher for Ezra and Kanan, two other jedi who are fighting the Empire. Thought to have died in the second season, she is revealed to have been saved, and was alive even up to Return Of The Jedi.
- CT-7567/Captain Rex: If the Clone Troopers are the equivalent of Guardsmen, then this guy is the equivalent of the likes of Gaunt and Straken. The defacto second-in-command of the 501st Legion under Anakin Skywalker, he fought in nearly every major engagement during the Clone Wars, leading his men through hellish battles like on Geonosis at the beginning of the war and on Mandalore at the end. He has a strong sense of morality and cares for the lives of both the men under him and the officers above him, which meant that he often came into conflict with asshat commanders like Krell (who treated their troops as little more than disposable cannon fodder). He even managed to face off against dark-side Force users and live- something very few non-Force users are able to accomplish (To get a better picture of what this is like, imagine a sergeant in the guard facing off against a Chaos Space Marine, and living). After the war and his beloved Republic's transformation into the eventually-despised Empire, he and two other clone commanders went into retirement on a backwater world, fishing for worms the size of skyscrapers on an old walker they converted into a mobile home. He was brought out of retirement by a combination of the rebels of Phoenix Squadron, his old friend and commander Ahsoka, and the Empire being their usual backstabbing, overreactive selves, and so resolved to bring down the corrupt regime and restore the nation he had served out of pride (although most clones were programmed to follow the Republic, and specifically the Chancellor, many ended up choosing instead to follow the ideals of the Republic rather than the people in charge, and some even managed to overcome Palpatine's programming via removing the chip he had planted in their heads during the cloning process). To that end, he participated in many Rebel missions, including the climactic one to destroy the second Death Star (yes, he is the old man you see with Han Solo's commando group in ROTJ, and was confirmed by Lucasfilm to have survived the battle)
- Count Dooku: An elegant, charismatic, gentlemanly Sith lord and master fencer who had dreams of liberating the galaxy from Republic control, but didn't expect his partner in crime to be a backstabbing douchebag. Hates Anakin/Vader for not being a gentleman. In the novels he's also an alien-hating human supemacist who believes the Empire's purpose is to establish humanity as dominant in GFFA. He'd do well as a citizen of the Imperium if he just changed which Emperor he revered.
- Darth Maul: Horned Sith only concerned with bloodshed and fighting. He'd do well as a Khornate Champion. Had his legs cut off then was brought back more badass than ever, until he was utterly stomped by the Emperor then gets killed in a duel with an elderly Obi-wan almost 18 years later. Wields a sick-looking double-bladed lightsaber, doesn't actually gets a single line in the first film dubbed in by a different actor, and played by famous martial arts master Ray Park. He was a silent badass in the movie but for some reason he was made very talkative in the animated series. The EU gave him a backstory as the scion of a race of Sith-aligned Force witches that The Clone Wars later made canon. The director of Solo picked him out of a hat to be the leader of the nefarious criminal gang Han gets stuck working with.
- General Grievous: An alien cyborg even more fucked up than what Darth Vader would become (being a robot body that was a canister for his eyes, brain, and vital organs), Grievous was the Supreme Commander of the Droid Army during the Prequels and the Clone Wars TV series (both versions), and a sadistic Jedi hunter. His competence is usually portrayed two totally different ways; in the 2D animated TV series (created by the same guy who made Samurai Jack), he is portrayed as an unstoppable killing machine who roflstomps experienced Jedi Masters, and is only bested by Mace "The Ace" Windu. In the CGI series and the third film, he is an incompetent, frothing loony with a record of failure that even Abbadon would laugh at hysterically. Actually has a somewhat-tragic past: he was a great and virtuous hero on his primitive planet, but Dooku arranged for the Separatists to shoot down Grievous' shuttle down and harvested his shredded body to repurpose him into their general/assassin. Dooku also lobotomized Grievous in way that reduced him to a raging killer. When Grievous recovered, Dooku then pinned blame for the shuttle crash on the Jedi and Republic. Hated being mistaken for a droid, being compared to a droid and all Jedi - especially Obi-Wan Kenobi.
- Stormtroopers: The elite soldiers of the Galactic Empire. Originally, these soldiers were vat clones of Jango Fett cloned in large numbers, trained from birth in combat and clad in environmentally sealed suits of their famous gleaming white full body armor. After the rebels blew up the gene-banks, the Empire switched to an enlistment system. (Not having a good dental plan to bring in recruits, the First Order resorts to kidnapping children and raising them as soldiers to fill their mook quota.) Numerous sub-categories exist, specializing to operate in different environments (deserts, frozen tundra, zero gravity, underwater, etc.) and serve different roles (scouts, aerial jump-packers, heavy-weapons teams, etc.). They are unwaveringly loyal and obedient to their Empire, ruthless and brutally efficient foes in combat, and incredibly precise shots with their state-of-the-art weapons. Naturally, these qualities all go out the window when they encounter the protagonists, but that's life when you're wearing a helmet.
- Inquisitorius: Dark Siders trained by the Empire. While the Rule of Two prevents additional Sith, it says nothing about other force users under their command. It is not known if Darth Bane expected the Imperial Inquisition or if he would have approved of the Emperor bending the Rule of Two such. Their job is primarily to ferret out the remaining Jedi and other force users, but they are also used for all manner of wet work and internal affairs. Since their first mention way back in The Star Wars Sourcebook, they have served as enemy force users that while still dire threats could still conceivably be defeated by the player characters. The source of many prominent antagonists in the expanded universe, including Jerac.
- Rey: Protagonist of the new trilogy. Most people either think she's a sloppily written Mary Sue and wish-fulfillment character for the writers' female-empowerment fetish or that she's a fine protagonist and the former group is just being salty about new things. People don't like Rey because she comes out of nowhere, from nothing (the damn movies even lampshade that), and yet right off the bat Rey can pilot the Falcon very well. She hasn't undergone the traditional Hero's Journey to earn her skills or develop her character, and many see natural talent and an innate well rounded personality as poor story telling in a fairy tale. While natural talent can explain proficiency, it doesn't explain specific skills (her having the gifted reflexes to be a pilot is fine for example). While the writers later said she played around with flight simulators, that doesn't come up in the movies, and if you have to explain that story element outside the story, something is wrong with the writing.
- Finn: A First Order Stormtrooper (serial code FN-2187) who has doubts about the First Order after a battle where he has to shoot innocent civilians, ends up defecting to the Resistance, allowing him to actually aim worth a damn. An obvious token minority shoehorned into the film for diversity points, Finn ends up carrying The Force Awakens thanks to the acting talents of John Boyega. He probably would have made a much better main character than Rey because at least he has a fucking reason to go on a space adventure and undergoes actual character development. He’s basically Kyle Katarn, only he didn’t get to steal the Death Star plans or become a Jedi. Finn unfortunately is a character without an arc, as discussed below.
- BB-8: The R2-D2 replacement and mascot of the new trilogy. Poe's buddy robot, started out as the plot device that the First Order was after in The Force Awakens, saves Finn and Rose's asses twice by taking down prison guards and piloting an AT-ST to attack Stormtroopers in The Last Jedi as well as Poe's in the comic.
- Poe Dameron: An X-Wing pilot and one of the best pilots in the Resistance who gave Finn his nickname. Poe is the son of an ace pilot and an elite Rebel soldier, who was seemingly conceived in an Ewok hut during the Yubyub song and grew up with a holy Force tree in his yard that was a gift from Luke. Gets captured by the First Order but gets rescued by a defecting Finn and they both escape using a TIE Fighter. Assumed dead by Finn after crashing the TIE Fighter, though ends up coming back shooting down an entire squadron of TIE Fighters. Its never really stated why did he leave Finn behind in the crash site, how did he leave the planet or why did he pretty much abandon his mission of trying to find BB-8. As such he's barely in The Force Awakens. This is because the original script George Lucas proposed for Force Awakens used Poe as a means of Finn escaping, whereupon Finn takes it on himself to complete Poe’s last mission and eventually replace Poe in the Resistance. After Poe’s actor lamented that he dies in every movie, Poe was made to survive the crash and Finn gained a fearful coward who becomes a hero subplot, which unfortunately left both characters with nowhere to go for character arcs. Poe is far more important in The Last Jedi, but not in good ways. He disobeys orders and leads an attack on a First Order capital ship which not only results in the destruction of most of the surviving Resistance small fighters, but delays their escape long enough for the First Order flagship (so large it is essentially a giant capital city for the First Order) to catch up with them and massacre the Resistance. Poe then mutinies when the now-comatose Leia’s subordinate Holdo is put in charge of the Resistance (Ackbar was killed before that because his Voice Actor died, leaving Holdo as highest ranking officer) to enact his own plan using Finn...which fails, resulting in the deaths of most of the rest of the Resistance and the loss of their last capital ship. Poe’s counterattack also fails, and by the end its only thanks to Rey and Luke that anyone survives. By the end, there’s barely enough Resistance left to fill up the Millennium Falcon, although the First Order got it just as bad thanks to Holdo’s last act. In short: Poe is Magnus the Red tier of fuckups (for the same reason too, not being trusted with the truth but with even less justification). OR ALTERNATELY : Poe actually scores a massive victory for the Resistance as he destroys a massive dreadnought that would have wiped out a base on the ground and then some with a squadron of a dozen bombers and one fighter to protect them at the price of said bombers that were so stupidly designed they would basically kamikaze as their payloads are dropped gradually meaning the first explosion would start a chain going all the way up to the bomber itself. So basically, Poe destroyed a massive enemy asset at the price of some worthless ships but he still gets demoted because he had the common sense to not follow the order to retreat as the bombers were already hovering over their target and were completely defenseless in the first place and would have been even worse off during a retreat. This order makes so little sense, it's safe to assume it was only put in here so Poe could disobey it and the audience would understand he's a hotshot who doesn't respect the hierarchy while he was in the right in terms of tactics and strategy and it's already a miracle he got the raid to succeed. Essentially, claiming Poe fucked up is like saying blowing up a pillbox full of ennemy soldiers and loads of ammo stockpiled in it with a single grenade is "fucking up" because you maybe probably possibly could have saved the grenade for later and made even more damage. If Poe hadn't had the dreadnought destroyed, it would have with ease one-shotted their ships and their base if they would have even got there (especially as the First Order could track the resistance and therefore the Dreadnought would've simply followed them and blown them up immediately). Not to mention that the bombers where the worst designed starships to date. No big loss there. In other words, he is the only reason they survived.
- Maz Kanata: A
cartoon Chinese grandmaorange alien who knows a lot about the Force. In her backstory she was a Force-sensitive that’s somewhere in Yoda-tier age, but was never trained as a Jedi and instead used her talents to survive among the “third faction” (Hutts, smugglers, mafias, Mandos) while remaining as friendly to the “light side” factions as Hutts are to the “Dark Side” factions. Apparently also a supreme badass, judging from her brief appearance in TLJ. She procured Anakin’s/Luke’s blue lightsaber from the depths of the Bespin gas giant simply because she wanted it, and gave it to Rey in Force Awakens as well as some grandmotherly advice to her and Rey. She appears briefly to give the heroes contact information for a codebreaker in The Last Jedi.
- Kylo Ren: A Dark Jedi who is actually the son of Han and Leia, Ben Solo, which the Internet absolutely refused to shut up about after it was leaked. He idolizes his grandfather, Darth Vader and wears a black suit and a mask to show this. He wields a unique crossguard lightsaber. People thought he would be a badass after seeing the trailers but after seeing the movie, he turned out to be a half-naked pussy looking like a gay Turkish oil wrestler who very often gets temper tantrums and gets his ass kicked by a teenage girl (though to be fair, if he had been a complete badass, everyone would’ve just complained that he was a rehash of Vader. So, you know, rock and a hard place). Kylo's character became significantly more fleshed out in TLJ, ironically making him one of the only characters to have actual development in the whole movie, and he has managed to win over many fans, with some citing him as probably the most interesting character in the Sequels.
- Snoke: Supreme Leader of the First Order who speaks to his underlings through a massive hologram. Very little is known about him at the moment. Though many fan theories say that he is Darth Plagueis, the old master of Palpatine who was assumed dead, the powers that be have repeatedly denied the theory (though it's admittedly a better guess than suggesting that Snoke is Mace Windu, Boba Fett, or a clone of Darth Vader, which we would like to stress are actual fan theories)...unfortunately, we will have to wait for an inevitable comic book or novel to explain it, since he gets killed like a chump by his own servant, Kylo "Emofag" Ren. It is possible he may return given that the ring on his finger has inscriptions that translate to various rephrasing of “survive death”, but that may actually be a nod to Palpatine’s EU resurrections.
- General Hux: The First Order's Tarkin equivalent and a moustacheless ginger Hitler in space. Delivers a pretty cool speech, but can't fight to save his life.. The backstory for Hux is his father was an Imperial hero, and Hux wants to be the First Order version of his old man and lead the FO to a final victory. Hux openly dislikes Kylo Ren and has frustration with the Force-users borders on meta at times. Spends most of TLJ as a foil to the edgier and more toyetic bad guys, but he seems to be the only one to have noticed how impractical the Empire/FO's fuckhuge weaponry can be when you're fighting something smaller than a planet and have lost the element of surprise.
- Captain Phasma: A First Order operative in charge of instructing the new Stormtrooper legions, Phasma serves as the Boba Fett of TFA - which is to say that she does nothing of note other than stand around and look cool until she figuratively and literally gets thrown into the trash in Force Awakens. Lucasfilm have apologized for overadvertising the character in the lead-up to the film and have promised to give Phasma an actual role and backstory for TLJ that will play into Finn's story. (This turned out to be bullshit due to the fucked-up nature of TLJ's production, but the reshoots managed to give her a good showing anyway.) Her backstory was released in a novel where she was a tribal on a planet the Empire stripped into the stone age, who backstabbed her tribe for a stronger tribe, backstabbed her second tribe and brother to rescue a stranded Imperial officer and join the Empire, backstabbed her mentor to become the supreme commander of the Stormtrooper Corps in the First Order, then in the comic series she was shown to have survived the trash compactor when a Resistance bomb blew it up and she entirely disregarded everything (including saving Starkiller Base or Kylo Ren) to frame one of her subordinates for lowering the shields then promptly hunted him down to “bring him to justice”. So she’s a spear-wielding backstabber extraordinaire.
- FN-2199/"TR-8R": a First Order Stormtrooper who wields a badass riot baton in combat. Notable only for two reasons; he shouts "Traitor!" at Finn, and then he kicks his punk ass despite the latter wielding a fucking lightsaber. Such is the stuff that memes are made of. Even if he goes out like a punk to Han Solo, by all accounts, FN-2199 is what Phasma should have been. He would make a great commissar.
- Jyn Erso: A former member of the Space Taliban who is captured by the Rebels so they can talk to Space Bin Laden about rumors of a planet killer being fueled by Space Iraqi oil crystals, one that was partially designed by her father. Jyn is angry all of the time because her life sucks, she watches every parental figure in her life die in front of her, most of them over the period of a single day, and the movie hopes this will hide the fact that she really doesn't do much other then flip authority figures the bird. Her name mirrors that of Jan Ors, partner-in-crime of legendary badass Kyle Katarn. Gets killed when Tarkin used the Death Star to destroy the facility in an attempt to stop the Rebels transmitting classified information, but Jyn and Cassian got the Death Star plans before that.
- Cassian Andor: A Rebel spy and assassin, Cassian angsts about the fact that he lives in a political thriller set mere days before the simple morality of the original trilogy kicks in. His only friend is a droid, but that's not exactly unusual. Shares an award with Luke for not getting the girl in the end. Kind of; they do share a final hug before be died with her getting atomized by a partial-strength shot from the Death Star. The Disney Canon variant of Kyle Katarn, an Imperial officer turned Rebel turned Jedi Master, who is so badass he shaves with a lightsaber. A massive waste of character.
- K-2S0: What C-3P0 would be if he grew a pair. A reprogrammed Imperial tactical droid and Cassian's only friend. Does that thing where he spits out survival odds in stressful moments. Caught a grenade in mid-air then tossed it back at it's original thrower without even looking. He dies first in order to establish that shit gets real in the last twenty minutes of the movie, and he died holding the line so Stormtroopers wouldn't reach Cassian and Jyn.
- Chirrut Îmwe:
Discount JediThe real star of Rogue One. A blind martial artist who may or may not have force powers, can beat a squad of Stormtroopers with a staff, shoot TIE Fighters out of the air, and could take your girl if he wanted to. Haha, jk, he's totally homo for his bara partner-in-crime with the badass autocannon. Dies in a bombing run, but he doesn't fear death. Even his actor (from the badass "Ip Man" series) admitted that he was shoehorned into the movie in a desperate attempt to make China give a shit about Star Wars.
- Baze Malbus: Chirrut's best mate and self-appointed bodyguard. Has three lines, but comes off as memorable because of his hellgun-looking backpack mounted autocannon with a scanvisor that lets him hold down the trigger and headshot stormtroopers until they are all dead. In early scripts Chirrut was his father figure, in the finished product they're ambiguously gay even though the director intended there to be a "finding peace with the pastor who heard his confession after a very grim life" vibe. Dies shortly after Chirrut, and actually makes a connection with the Force in his final moments.
- Orson Krennic: Director of the Imperial Military Research Division. Forces Jyn's father into building the Death Star for him, causes the death of Jyn's mother, then proceeds to spend the rest of the movie getting roasted by the more competent Imperial characters because he's a fucking moron with a grudge.
- Saw Gerrara: Originally a member of the Space Viet Cong, this guy doesn't fuck around. Torture civilians? Check. Massacre entire patrols of Imperials? Check. In fact, his methods were considered so extreme that even the Rebel Alliance wanted nothing to do with him. Strictly speaking, he's a pre-Disney character as his first appearance on-screen was as part of the Clone Wars TV series; his first episode airing the same month that Disney acquired the franchise, making him one of the few characters to make the transition from the small screen to the big screen. Though he gets deaded within the first 30 minutes of Rogue One he has a lot more of his back-story filled out in the Rebels TV series, including being played by actor Forest Whitaker.
- Amilyn Holdo: An overbearing, purple-haired “Rebel hero” who somehow winds up being one of the key leaders of the Resistance, despite displaying no actual military acumen or diplomatic skill what-so-fucking-ever or even feeling the need to wear an uniform, instead wearing a ballgown. Is basically a pointless character that would have made a better impact if she was a Mon Calamari whose name rhymes with Allahu Akbar, her only role was to basically die in style but unfortunately she was pretty forgettable and nobody actually cared when she was atomized. (Tie-in material tries to "fix" this; the only real requirement for joining the Resistance was "didn’t think Leia was crazy for thinking the First Order was going to perform Star Wars 9/11”, and Holdo was only the captain of a small frigate before her battlefield promotion.) As a matter of fact, her "super-duper secret plan" ends up getting most of the Resistance killed after Finn and Poe fuck it up, due to the fact that she decided to not tell a demoted and disgraced hot shot pilot who had just lost the resistance the last of their bombers her plan causing him to mutiny, and she only partially redeems herself via FTL ramming their command ship into the First Order command ship, destroying most of the FO fleet, establishing that any freighter with a hyperdriver is a WMD, which is briefly visually spectacular but fluff-wise highly.... take a guess.
- Rose Tico: A maintenance worker who acts as a tagalong for some of the most boring and annoying parts of The Last Jedi. After losing her sister in the retarded cripplefight at the beginning of the movie, she catches her idol Finn trying to desert ship in order to warn Rey not to rendezvous as they were being chased by the First Order's fleet. She later went along with Finn to the Gilded Age planet to find the expert capable of helping them deactivate the First Order's tracking system. Her lust for Finn's BBC drives her to cockblock his heroic sacrifice on Salt Hoth before confessing his love for him at the worst possible moment in a plot point that will likely go nowhere. Also delivers the worst line in the entirety of the franchise: "That's how we are going to win. Not fighting what we hate, saving what we love." This quantum singularity of bullshit led to a substantial fraction of TLJ's backlash being directed at her actress.
- Qi'ra: Han Solo's old girlfriend and partner introduced in Solo: A Star Wars Story, filling in for a number of older EU characters. Grew up with Han on Corellia before getting forced into the Crimson Dawn, which is like the Mafia in space except run by Darth Maul instead of the Hutts. Helps Han survive an unobtainium deal gone bad, then backstabs her boss to become her gang's alpha dog and Maul's personal agent. Too bad this will probably never be followed up on outside of tie-in novels thanks to how bad the movie did.
- L3-37: While K-2S0 brought droid characters to an awesome new high, L3-37 brings them to an embarrassing new low, becoming the most hated character in a Star Wars film since Jar Jar Binks. The /v/-tier name is only the warning label on this crock of shit. A
STRONG AND INDEPENDENT WOMXN WHO DON'T NEED NO MANdroid that constructed a body for herself from spare parts, L3-37 is a woke robot feminist in space by direct admission of the writers, with everything that implies. Gets killed/destroyed in an escape attempt (to the rejoicing of movie audiences everywhere) but ends up as one of the droid brains running the Millennium Falcon. (Yes, the same computer C-3P0 complained about in the original trilogy; draw your own conclusions.) The avatar of why Solo is shit: the "tragic feminist revolutionary" bullshit was added in the infamous reshoot period and as a result nearly every scene involving L3-37 is some combination of tonal whiplash and plot holes.
The rise of the original trilogy
A long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away....etc etc you all know the lines.
A man called George Lucas had the idea to create a series of epic sci-fi space operas that would become so successful that Disney would take notice and give it the franchise fluttering eye lashes, trying to seduce it.
They would be called... Flash Gordon.
Unfortunately for Georgie boy, and fortunately for modern nerddom, Dino de Laurentiis already owned Flash Gordon, and were busy making their own, hilariously eighties version, so he said, screw it, I'll make my own!
He decided to start with the fourth movie in the series he envisioned, for at the time he didn't have the special effects to create the first three to the standard he wanted, and/or he just kinda made up the first movie as he went along (drawing heavily on Akira Kurosawa's seminal samurai action film, Hidden Fortress in the process as well as the book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, a complex 1949 Joseph Campbell analysis of the various mythologies of human history all boiled down into the basic archtypes and elements required in heroic myth). So Episode Four A New Hope was created (simply titled Star Wars at the time) and it is not an exaggeration to say it changed the face of sci-fi and general moviemaking forever, bringing a new era of special effects and imagination to cinema and changing the lives of many who would go onto to become dedicated fan boys.
Originally, the studio had forced Lucas to take ever-increasing paycuts for what they were sure was going to be a flop, and only let him keep merchandising rights. However, whatever his flaws, George Lucas was a man of vision. Having helped pioneer the summer blockbuster, he went on to do the same to ginormous piles of movie-tie-in memorabilia. His production company, Lucasfilm ended up rolling in dosh, and with Episode Five The Empire Strikes Back and Episode Six The Return of the Jedi, the legend of Star Wars and its place in cultural history was assured.
tl;dr: Pretty much this.
The coming of the prequel trilogy
With the year 2000 coming, George Lucas felt that special effects technology had reached the level he wanted and began to create the first three movies in the star wars story he had envisioned. (As a side-note, he also made some touch-ups to the three original films, re-mastering them with special effects and a couple of extra scenes that weren't doable with the eighties' animatronics. But those were mostly accepted/shrugged away since they didn't deeply modify anything.)
The hype for the movies was immense.
And then the first movie, Episode One The Phantom Menace came out.....and there was nerd rage beyond expectation.
Part of the problem was that the immense expectations of the fandom had grown until anything less-than-perfect simply would not do, so perhaps that is somewhat to blame for the reaction to the prequel trilogy. In a vacuum one has to admit that they aren't completely terrible films .
Episode Two Attack of the Clones and Episode Three Revenge of the Sith followed after a few years each and didn't garner nearly as much hatred, though fans complained they didn't match the greatness of the original trilogy, more concerned with flashy action and effects than competent story-telling,
Revenge of the Sith did, however, receive higher ratings than Return of the Jedi, and is generally seen as the best and most-complete of the three prequel films as a story. Unusually the novelization alters some details and is considered a legitimately good book on its own merits.
What was generally more well received (despite a rocky start with a two hour pilot being pressed into service as a movie and an art style that took some time to gel) during this time for Star Wars was the Clone Wars animated series (both the traditionally-animated Clone Wars and the later seasons of the CGI show The Clone Wars, the latter which most everyone agrees is what the prequels should have been), following the war between the Republic and the Confederacy that sprung up during the time between the second and third of the prequels.
In defense of the prequel trilogy's sins, they did at least do their own thing. Because of how much money the original trilogy made, practically every form of media in the 80s and 90s aped it to some form or another, and instead of falling back on the same old shit the prequels branched out and tried to get out of the franchise's comfort zone a bit. While a lot of it sucked, it blazed a trail for better writers to follow and helped liven up the universe by showing us the galaxy beyond fuckhueg spaceships and faux-Western shitholes like Tatooine. And all but the most diehard OT purists can get behind shit like Naboo architecture, the Clone Army and Mace "The Ace" Windu.
Disney and the sequel trilogy
Finally, all the efforts by Disney to woo George Lucas paid off and in 2012 Disney acquired the Star Wars franchise for 4 billion dollars and immediately announced they would produce a new trilogy of films set after the original trilogy.
Episode 7: The Mouse Awakens
Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens debuted in December of 2015, and reception was what you would expect: the film was immediately a massive success from a monetary standpoint as everyone (almost) everywhere rushed to the theaters in response to the hype, with children engaging in as many repeat viewings as their parent's money could allow as fans did the same thing with their own. It has become a financial hit with the general public and a (critically) generally well-reviewed piece, with decent cinematography, special effects, technical stuff, etc. It also went on to become the third biggest financial success in film history, when not adjusted for inflation.
Fan response was a good deal more mixed. Many criticize the plot for rehashing Episode IV, without doing anything to establish its own identity and claim that it had a bland main character, who had too many abilities whereas others find the replication of Star Wars feel an acceptable trade and praise it for being a decent action film, and point out the lead doesn't even outdo any of the previous main characters in anything. In fact, some would argue that by rehashing the original trilogy it basically nullified the accomplishments of the original crew; the Empire's still around, they've got yet another superweapon, Han & Leia split up, Luke failed to rebuild the Jedi, etc. Other fans praised it simply for being a new Star Wars that was better than the prequel trilogy.
And at least the jokes were better this time.
Coincidentally, when Hamill and Fisher were originally approached by Disney to reprise their roles as Luke and Leia, they didn't want to do it right from the start. But, they didn't want to give an out-and-out "no" answer either, so they told Disney they'd return if Harrison Ford agreed to return as Han Solo as well. Knowing how much Ford hated Solo, Hamill and Fisher figured they were safe, until Disney irresistibly sweetened the deal for Ford by agreeing to kill off his character, thus forcing a reluctant Hamill and Fisher to make good on their deal... only for the three characters to never appear on the screen at the same time.
Rebels & Rogues: Star Wars Stories
Disney also released their own CGI series: Star Wars: Rebels, which is actually pretty ok (considering that it airs on Disney XD, it should be no surprise that they've toned down the graphic depictions of gratuitous violence, much to the chagrin of those who love overly gory deaths). It focuses less on the Jedi that have come to dominate the franchise and more on the "boots on the ground" experience of the average characters, and while the show started slow and small, the plot has started to gain momentum as the series has progressed, especially after the first season. The Rebel movement has started to grow, several characters have returned from The Clone Wars, and the enemies the main characters have had to face have been steadily getting darker and more dangerous as more of the Empire’s attention is attracted. When Darth Vader gets involved (played by none other than James Earl Jones himself) he immediately proceeds to open a 24-pack of unstoppable whoop-ass on the rebel scum. The return of Maul resulted in three character deaths (possibly four), the crippling of one main character with another well on his way down the dark side, and to top it all off Maul himself is on the loose once again. Things did not turn out so well last time that happened, so expect the body count to rise, especially with Grand Admiral Thrawn now also coming onto the scene. The show also continues the trend set by The Clone Wars in making the Force mystical again, though whether this is a good or bad thing depends on how you felt about the
bullshit scientific skubtastic midichlorian explanation of the Prequels. The animation is on point with The Clone Wars, which considering it's Disney should surprise less than nobody. Oh, and Steve Blum voices one of the main characters. However, it is also noted that Star Wars Rebels may indeed have dark ending.
The way that Filoni (the creator of Rebels and The Clone Wars) has handled the Mandalorians, a fan-favorite warrior-culture based upon the Scots and Vikings, has either been met with praise from those who despised Traviss and her overpowering of said culture, or utter RAGE that he turned many of them into either pacifist morons or bloodthirsty barbarians- usually that particular criticism comes from the Traviss fanboys. Do take note, however, that the old ways for the Mandalorians are making their way back into canon, such as the language, the emphasis on martial honor, and the decentralized nature of their government.
December of 2016 brought us the first standalone Star Wars movie, "Rogue One", showing the theft of the original Death Star plans. While "Rogue One" has been criticised for being lacking in character development; (fair warning) literally the entire cast of the movie who doesn't appear in Episode IV dies by the end, and it still manages to pack more than it's fair share of awesome into the movie, with Donnie Yen, Alan Tudyk and Darth Vader all used to great effect. Rogue One also answers several questions, plugs several plot holes, and just generally makes A New Hope make a lot more sense in retrospect. (No wonder Vader wasn't impressed when Leia claimed to be on a "diplomatic mission.") It also has the distinction of being the only Star Wars movie to focus on regular soldiers instead of Jedi. Much, much Skub still exists of course, since no Star Wars movie will ever please all the neckbeards but out of the four post-Disney Star Wars movies released so far, this one is definitely the least divisive and arguably the best of the bunch.
Episode 8: The Last Royalty Check (aka zomg Luke dies!)
On December 14 2017, Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi was released world wide. The critical reception was extremely positive, with many critics considering it the best movie in the series since The Empire Strikes Back. The fan reception has been a great deal more negative and mixed, and a number of fans are convinced that Disney leaned on media outlets to shill the new movie or else. If you have watched the Empire Strikes Back, you WILL be disappointed at best, if you want to see a Star Wars film that would finally expand the character of Kylo Ren, you WILL be satisfied, if you want to watch the film because it is the last film starring the great and wonderful Carrie Fisher, you WILL feel hollow and sad inside, and if you came to see a pair of lightsaber-wielding punks involved in one of the greatest lightsaber battles of the franchise, you WILL be pleased. The Last Jedi is seen as one of the most divisive films in the franchise by the fandom, which is one hell of an achievement considering other films in the franchise.
The complaints about The Last Jedi are many: the treatment of Luke (which even his actor, Mark Hamill, hated, to the point that he has no interest in playing Luke again), Leia's Superman asspull, Finn's plot arc that serves practically zero purpose, the forced humor, the complete disregard for established fluff, disregard for even the most basic laws of physics, the fact that the central conflict is essentially the same as the one in the originals right down to the last stand ripped straight out of Empire and the PC bullshit (an admiral with problem hair who the plot always treats as being in the right despite killing 90% of the Resistance, the Gilded Age planet arc that sucks up a third of the movie to no benefit, Rose expressing her desire to get BLACKED with a horrendous and forced #LoveTrumpsHate one-liner in the final act) added solely to virtue-signal.
Fans have also criticized the movie for dropping or discarding major plot points from TFA and repeatedly invoking Shamalamadingdong-tier plot twists that are somehow less interesting than the recycled cliches they play off of. Director Rian Johnson has responded by shitting on said critics and trying to defend the film on social media like something out of an ED article. (Important note: George Lucas never tried to defend the prequels, despite the huge backlash at the time, and he agreed with fans that The Star Wars Holiday Special was an abomination.) It later came out that Johnson had not been given any kind of roadmap beyond Lucas' old and unfinished concept scripts and was not allowed to see what Abrams had done until TLJ was too far into production to write in most of the previous movie's plot points, which makes the fail Disney's fault just as much as it is Johnson's. As with TFA Lucasfilm has tried to paper over the holes with tie-in material, and just like TFA the fans recognize the damage control.
The Last Jedi has without a doubt torn the fanbase apart in ways even the prequels didn't come close to, with many fans declaring that they have dropped the sequel trilogy. Even Star Wars' famous merchandising has taken a mauling, as /toy/ giggles at Rose Tico and General Hux figures warming shelves while new product shipments go straight from the transport case to the clearance bin.
On May 25th 2018, the 41st anniversary of the franchise, Solo: A Star Wars Story was released. The general consensus seems to be that it is the most average film in the series. At the very least, most people agree that it is at least better than The Last Jedi (if barely) and the backlash from that movie can be felt even in Solo: many fans have chosen to boycott the movie. Even before release, many fans had derided the whole affair as unnecessary: no one was really asking for a Han Solo origin movie, particularly one without Harrison Ford. Han Solo's entire life history had already been explored thoroughly in EU novels and comics, so the movie could only be a retread or a retcon, both things most fanbases tend to disapprove of. Whether it is because of this boycott or not, something no one expected happened: Solo was a box office bomb. Its opening weekend performed way below expectations and as of this writing, it has only made half of the money it needs for it to break even. Disney still continued to labor under the delusion that China would save their bottom line regardless of the fact that Star Wars has never been popular in China.
So what is it like? Well, rather than being a space opera like the other films, this is a space Western. Rather than being about large-scale battles and saving the galaxy from tyranny, it's about heists and the galactic underworld. (Except for the Mimban sequence, which you'd swear was lifted from a live-action Imperial Guard movie.) It's essentially Disney's reboot/retcon of the old EU Han Solo novels, taking things that were mentioned offhand in the original trilogy (like how Han did the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs) and making that the subject of an entire movie. The film was perhaps cursed from the beginning due to its troubled production. How troubled? The lead needed an acting coach to get through his shoots and 70% of the movie had to be reshot by a different director due to creative differences between Lucasfilm and the original directors.
The fail only compounded when it premiered and fans got to see what those "creative differences" may have wrought: the writing staff started spewing bullshit to the press about Lando being "pansexual" with no precedent in any Star Wars production including Solo, the film's tone is a schizophrenic nightmare to the last-minute reshoots and Han's sidekick for most of the movie is a self-built female droid social justice warrior named L3-37. Audiences cheered and applauded when that
manhuman-hating self-insert character finally fucking died. Perhaps the most damning sin is that these are the movie's only notable qualities: take them away and you're left with a movie that would make you think "Huh, that was okay," and then never think about it again for the rest of your life, were it not for the crippling disappointment of seeing one of the most beloved franchises in the world fall so far. Between the boycotts, the mediocrity of the movie itself, and certain news outlets claiming that the driving force behind said boycotts was /pol/, Solo cratered so badly that all non-Episode 9 Star Wars movies were for a short time shelved indefinitely, and the only side-movie still being worked on is the obligatory Boba Fett origin movie, which is more likely to sell tickets based on the name alone. Incidentally, one of the writers picked by Lucasfilm to handle Solo's tie-in content, Cavan Scott, has been hired by Games Workshop for the Warhammer Adventures series.
Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker (aka Papa Palpatine returns)
We don't know much. What we do know, is that Palpatine (or the senate, according to some.) will be returning in a major role. However, this enrages the old guard of the Star Wars community. Why? The entire storyline of Star Wars was built around the idea of Anakin Skywalker's fall, and eventual redemption. He was the "chosen one", right? But now, seeing as the big bad is not dead and might end up being killed off by some relatively unknown new character compared to the classic characters from prior trilogies, this essentially means that Anakin died for nothing, and that all his character development meant nothing in the grand scheme of things. (As a side note palpatine also returned in the old EU)
On the other hand, seeing the trailers for the other sequel movies, that JJ Abrams is known for revealing nothing of importance before the premiere of his films, and that Force ghosts exist; the most likely thing is, or that Palpatine is haunting the ruins of the Death Star instead of being alive, or that it is a big misdirection (although that would be a bullshit move).
If that's a good thing or not, we must wait and see.
After finishing shooting, a poor showing among test audiences resulted in 3+ months of reshoots. If reception was poor enough to almost double the filming time and make it last till mere months before release, one can expect interesting results.
It can be said what makes a franchise into a long term lasting thing is when a wealth of extra story and background is created that expands on the original story far beyond what there was. It could be argued Star Wars leads the race in this, as the sheer amount of extra novels, graphic novels and games based on Star Wars can and does overwhelm the ordinary fan.
The background has expanded into the distant past before the founding of the current Jedi and Sith orders and into the (not-quite-so) far future looking at the descendants of Luke Skywalker and other popular characters. Uniquely, especially considering other franchises' track records, the Star Wars Expanded Universe is remarkably internally consistent, both with other sources within the universe and with the films themselves. Sure, every once in a while the odd problem child such slips through, but on the whole it holds up well (largely due to the efforts of Lucas' company's continuity department leaning on everyone to hold it together).
Upon their acquisition, Disney said "fuck it" and threw out everything but the films and the Clone Wars cartoons. Some popular old stuff got mentions or appearances (and Thrawn got to be a major character), but the overall quality is even lower than the old EU. What was set up as a major book contains phrases like "The TIE wibbles and wobbles through the air" and random virtue signalling. As though to top the previous, Disney literally published a book with an entire chapter about a fart (Yes. Really.). The only good stuff is from established EU authors writing stuff far away from era of the Disney films.
Star Wars:The Clone Wars
While we're on the topic of the EU,let's talk about TCW. One of the most universally known and loved parts of Star Wars,most fans worth their action figures and limited edition movie sets have watched the show and have an opinion on it one way or another. Some of the most notable characteristics are:
- The Clone Troopers are fleshed out,and we see that they are manly motherfuckers who make Guardsmen's balls of steel look like the cardboard their armor is made out of (seriously,in the movie,they literally charge straight into close combat with giant armored walkers with large guns and jump off roofs to get top of them to shoot them point blank.)
- Anakin Skywalker is actually a good, fleshed out character, with a good voice actor and shows his descent to child-murdering Force-choking asshat wasn't just him going 'welp,guess I'll fall to the Dark Side.'
- Non-OP non-Mary Sue female Jedi as a major character who doesn't invalidate characters from the movies.
- Obi-Wan being a one-liner spouting sarcastic badass.
- And many others.
One important thing to note about alien species in Star Wars is that almost all of them were originally singular costumes added to the films for background color or to make a character stand out, then had a species name and culture retconned onto them by Expanded Universe writers. As a result, most species' "personalities" are just shallow clones of the character they're derived from. Many of the species seen in the original trilogy were given names and backstories by the original RPG from West End Games that became canon as every other EU novel to come after used Star Wars D6 as a reference.
- Humans: Leias. They originated in the Galactic Core, but have spread to most inhabited planets, first as slaves to a now-extinct race of precursors and then through initial space exploration with pre-hyperdrive generation ships. As a result there are a lot of "near-human" species kicking around that are basically just weird-looking humans and pretty much the only species humans can crossbreed with.
- Mandalorians: Bobas. A society of space Spartans/Vikings with cool armor. Actually not human majority initially (Unless you are a Disney fan).
- Corellians: Hans. Literally an entire culture of dashing rogues and space cowboys who like to go fast and smuggle shit; the Corellian Engineering Corporation made the Falcon (duh) and many of the Rebel ships seen in the original trilogy. Nearly ruined their planet with starship factories, but now they've gone green and relocated all of their heavy industry to space stations. Their home system reeks of precursor meddling and is detailed enough to be a setting in itself, complete with a Big Dumb Object in the middle (Centerpoint Station) for PCs to fuck with.
- Wookiees: Chewbaccas, and one of the only species to be named in the films. Huge, swole sloth people that do not live on Endor and can't speak (but absolutely understand) Basic. Most are actually pretty peaceful and intelligent and they have produced a lot of highly skilled engineers. They highly value people who save their life, becoming their eternal friend in what is known as a Life-debt; this is how Han met Chewie. Has the unfortunate distinction of being the first species in Star Wars lore to have their home planet and culture detailed... in the Star Wars Holiday Special.
- Trandoshan: Bossks. Brutish, scaly Lizardfolk capable of regenerating severed limbs and absolutely obsessed with hunting shit. Have had a continuous race war with the Wookies since before FTL was a thing, which is a long-ass time in Star Wars. Their religion is about scoring "points", with the only known method of gaining them is violent action and the only known method of losing them is being captured alive by enemies. The system was first mentioned a mere three years after Doom so the fact that they essentially see life as a giant, violent video game is likely pure coincidence. Despite this they aren't universally evil, though they often are.
- Twi'leks: Hot alien babes. Enough have been transported off world, generally as slaves, they can be found anywhere, and many have never seen their ancestral home. Given it's a borderline death world whose chief economic exports are drugs and slaves, they aren't missing anything. Their most interesting quality is that they can communicate silently with the weird head-tails ("lekku") that they have instead of hair. TORtanic tried to rationalize their fetish for enslaving their own as being the result of a precursor project to design the perfect slave race, but nobody cares about this because TORtanic is shit.
- Duros: Seen once in Hope during the cantina scene. Naturally they're one of the most important species in the EU despite not having a canon character until The Clone Wars introduced us to Cad Bane. Enslaved by precursors alongside humans, they were among the first to develop FTL travel based on salvaged hyperdrive technology and are the only non-human species to have an equivalent of "near-human" in a few "near-Duros" species.
- Bothans: Died to bring you this information. A race of wolf-men who are almost universally spies thanks to that one-off line from Ackbar. In truth the best and early EU works portray them as something far worse: politicians. The most prominent Bothan is Borsk Fey'lya, a Bothan politician who used his role in the acquisition of the second Death Star plans to maintain a place in the New Republic's senior leadership and uses his position for personal gain like any proper politician should.
- Rodians: Greedos. Their home planet being a death world full of predators means they are often aggressive and put hunters in high regard, which is the EU excuse for all the film Rodians being criminals.
- Gran are three eyed goat (?) like aliens with rough, tan skin. They are quite nice and peaceful with excellent vision, especially in distinguishing color. Unfortunately for the galaxy at large, Gran exile most of their criminals: They consider being unable to see the rich and beautiful environments of their homeworld a fate worse than death. These exiles often fall into criminal groups.
- Mon Calamari: Ackbars. Their long history of making airtight vehicles for travel in three dimensions has made them excellent ship-builders. During the early days of the Rebellion the Mon Calamari were one of the few races to successfully throw off the Empire during Operation Domino and not be subject to immediate reprisal thanks to their isolated location and strategy of mining hyperspace routes to buttfuck any Imperial ships sent to shut them down (ships coming out of hyperspace don't have shields). Those weird-looking bubble ships from Jedi are built by Mon Calamari.
- Quarren: Another background species from Jedi who share a homeworld with the Mon Calamari. Prideful isolationists who stick to the depths with their main contact to the surface being trading deep sea mined materials to the Mon Calamari. Look more than a bit like Illithid.
- Gamorreans are space Orcs: Pig-like, brutish, stupid and violent. Constantly at war with each other, their clan identity is so strong they'll try to kill each other if from opposing clans if they meet off-world. Frequently brought into the galaxy as slaves or by clans trading labor for outside resources. Like Wookiees, can't physically speak Basic. Unlike Wookiees, only their clan matrons and some high ranking men are literate in their native language.
- Droids aren't a true species, but are playable in all RPGs. They're supposed to be really smart appliances, but Star Wars technology is so fucked up that a few develop sapience if left on too long without formatting. Despite this droids aren't considered people by the galaxy at large because sapient droids are as rare as non-evil drow and most of the time leaving droids running for a long time just makes them slower and buggier until they can't do their jobs anymore, like Windows. That a good number of sapient droids have learned to bypass that pesky "no killing" clause doesn't exactly encourage experimenting with it either.
- Class 1 droids are designed to preform scientific applications like medicine or lab work. Since they were designed to be used in fixed locations most, but not all, have limited mobility.
- Class 2 droids are designed to preform technical labor like repair work. Since they are expected to work within artificial locations they are generally on wheels or treads and have short, non-human shapes. One notable subcategory of Class 2 droids are Astromech Droids (like the famed R2 series), which are designed to plug into fighters and bombers where they function as a co-pilot, navicomputer and in-flight repair.
- Class 3 droids are designed for human interaction, with jobs like translator or chef. Some lower end Class 3 droids were made for positions like waiter. Almost all of them are roughly human shape.
- Class 4 droids are the most varied but have one thing in common that clearly separates them: They are made for combat and (except for a few armed with only stun weapons) don't have programing against killing. Class 4 droids vary in intelligence from blaster turrets with some targeting AI to clever and ruthless assassins/commandos. Even Human Replica Droids, designed to be indistinguishable from humans, are technically Class 4. Many Class 4 droids have their nature obfuscated by building them into the shell of a Class 1 or Class 3 droid.
- Class 5 droids are made for manual labor like heavy lifting or a power generator with legs. They are barely intelligent, rarely have names and almost never become sapient. They are however cheap and quite common.
- Zabrak: Mauls. Near-humans with mostly bald, spikey heads and two hearts. Those black markings Maul had are actually ritualistic tatoos that Zabrak men often get. They were pretty divided internally till the Empire decided to oppress them all and force them to join together. Eeth Koth of the Jedi Council was one.
- Dathomirians are a sub-species of Zabrak native to Dathomir who supposedly interbred with humans to create a new group, which was separated according to gender, though their origins have been neglected in current canon. Even so, the females of this sub-species do not have the spiked heads typical of other Zabraks. Darth Maul is the most prominent Dathomirian in the films and TV series.
- Togruta: Red skinned humanoids with lekku and hollow horns that allow echolocation. Shaak Ti and Ahsoka were Togruta.
- Hutts: Jabbas. (Fun fact: "the Hutt" was just a title in the original trilogy and Jabba was just some random slug dude. The original film didn't even intended for him to be an alien!) Naturally they're all mini-Jabbas who live in a clan/crime-family/zaibatsu type of arrangement known as the kadjic. Kind of like the Mexican drug cartels in that they have their own corner of the galaxy that they rule independently, even after they join the Empire they pay the Moff to look the other way when they do shady shit. (They're always doing shady shit.) Because the Hutts own exactly one third of all organized crime (and a significant number of planets) in the galaxy and it is the third (after Basic and Binary) most widespread full language, Huttese is a good language to take, especially for criminal-types . Be warned! Hutts have four fingered hands and their numbering system uses base eight! Despite being looking and acting like fat neckbeards they're actually insanely strong and their less bulky youth are very agile for their size. They LOL at the Force, so the RPGs tend to give them a huge bonus to resist mental influence.
- Sullustan: Short, tunnelfaring, crafters who can drink a lot without getting drunk. Near-humans with flappy jowls and black eyes that originally evolved for tunnels. Their SoroSuub company is one of the largest tech makers in the galaxy, and likely the largest that isn't Human run.
- Toydarians: Wattos. Blue tapir-looking dudes from Hutt Space who can hover on fly-like wings. As their source character is a hilariously offensive Jewish stereotype, the EU largely ignored Toydarians until The Clone Wars reinvented them as a vaguely Cambodian monarchy on a mud world. Mind tricks don't work on them (only money).
- Jawa: Utinni! They roam Tatooine (and a few other planets) scavenging technology and selling it. A handful of sources mention they are rodents under the hoods.
- Neimoidians: Trade Federation flunkies; they will not survive this. Their reproductive cycle is really weird, producing lots of grubs which are raised in warrens fighting over a limited amount of food in which the weak are culled. Unlike how this usually goes, this process makes the Neimodians prone to hoarding resources and wary of danger.
- Noghri: Primitive, short Suarian people who happen to be some of the deadliest non-Jedi melee combatants and assassins in the galaxy. Darth Vader bought their loyalty by saving them from the environmental damage a crashed ship caused. They are a major part of Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy, which they were invented for.
- Tarasin: Invented whole-cloth for the Living Force campaign for Star Wars D20. Lizardmen with scales that change color based on their emotions and frilled necks. With focus they can control their colors enough to camouflage themselves and even "speak" silently amongst each other. They had a high degree of force sensitivity, though if this a result of their species or their home system being a place where the Force is strong is unknown.
- Shards: Sapient crystals. They are incapable of movement and don't speak the way humans do. They can however control droid bodies they are implanted into. Several are force sensitive which led to a Jedi teaching them the ways of the Force. The Jedi order shunned these "Iron Knights" and excommunicated the master responsible. This wound up benefiting them though, as the master and his students were able to survive the Jedi purge due to the obscurity this granted. When Luke's new order emerged they welcomed the Shards with open arms.
- Rakata: The aforementioned precursors, developed by BioWare for the Knights of the Old Republic game (though there were a few mentions of precursors here and there before that). Formed an "Infinite Empire" long before the Republic using dark side powered hyperdrives only they could use. When they gradually lost their force sensitivity their empire fell apart. Responsible for why there are so many Humans and Human off-shoots everywhere: They were seeded throughout the Infinite Empire as a slave race and abandoned when it fell. There is no evidence they existed past the Old Republic era, where a few fractured and primitive survivors were seen on their home planet and this planet was devoid of life by the time of the Ruusan Reformation.
- Sith: Red skinned near-humans with boney tentacles growing out from near their nose and an affinity for the dark side, especially illusions. Natives of Korriban, the order most people know as Sith were a result of exiled dark Jedi interbreeding with them and adding their knowledge of technology. So diluted with human blood they were extremely rare by the Old Republic era and believed extinct by the time of of the prequels. A few small mostly primitive pockets had been discovered however, but were covered up by Palpatine so he could grab more dark side goodies. More or less invented whole-cloth for the EU.
- Yuuzhan Vong: Extragalactic aliens who only use organic technology. Pallid humanoids with tapered skulls who came from a living planet they worshiped as a god called Yuuzhan'tar. The first time the Vong met aliens was an interstellar robot war. Fighting off said robots made them hate all machines and gain such a taste for conquest they made up a new war god and conquered their galaxy... only to destroy it due to infighting. To punish their tyranny, Yuuzhan'tar cut them off from the Force, unintentionally making them mostly immune to it. They developed a race-wide pain and body modification fetish trying to fix this before finding and invading the Star Wars galaxy. The resulting religious war decimated the New Republic, caused mass genocides and had a death toll of around 365 trillion (including Chewbacca). Then Luke and his family killed the guy manipulating their civilization behind the scenes, found Yuuzhan'tar's living planet offspring and ended the wawr. The Vong colonized it, reconnected to the Force and became terraformers as penance. Rendered part of the Legends by Disney.
- Grysk: A near mythical species from the Unknown regions, where starships usually can't go because the hyperspace along its border is a level of fucked-up that only warp storms can match. Little is known about them except that they live on a spacefleet, have a fierce warrior culture, are humanoids with tapered skulls, their weapons and armor are ritualistically disfigured on the right side and they had a penchant for electrical weapons. Likely Disney's replacement for the Yuuzhan Vong, since Space Cenobites with bio-tech is too weird and grimdark for Disney. The Rak'gol to the Yuuzhan Vong's Tyranids.
Impact on 1d4chan and associated games etc
Star Wars has had subtle and clear impacts on a number of other franchises and genres and it can be incredibly hard to gauge the extent of it all. Certainly it didn't create the concepts of sci-fi, space battles, sweeping storylines, and a blending of mystical and scientific ideas, but it certainly popularized them during the years of the original trilogy and influenced many people that would go on to have interests in sci-fi, fantasy and epic adventure today.
Hell, look me in the eye and tell me that the lightsaber didn't give us the power weapon. But then again, magic weapons.
Sabacc and Pazaak
A rather unusual entry here but it's well in line, Sabacc is an actual tabletop card game from the Star Wars universe which is basically a hybrid of Poker and Blackjack. A Sabacc Deck has 76 cards, most of which in four suits of 16 cards numbered one to 16, plus sixteen wildcards in two sets with values that were either negative or (in the case of the Idiot) Zero. The goal of the game is to have a set of three cards who's total as close as possible to, but not over, 23 or -23. If you got 23/-23 which could only be beaten by an Idiot's Array (One Idiot, a two and a three, thus 23). The stakes are raised every cycle until the cards go down or one player is left standing who gets the pot.
The notable thing about Sabacc that sets it apart from real world card games is that the Cards can change value every turn. A Pure Sabacc can easily become an instant lose 25 and an absolutely lousy hand can become an Idiot's Array. They can be stabilized to fix their value, but everyone knows when you do so. This feature has so far prevented Sabacc from being released in tabletop form as of yet.
Pazaak is an older game from an in-universe perspective, similar to Blackjack but its player versus player rather than player versus dealer and also has some aspects of a collectible card game. Goal of the game is to raise cards from the main deck until their total value is 20 or they can also choose to stand if they get close but don't want to risk it. Best out of five wins.
CCG-aspect of Pazaak comes from the sidedeck: both players collect ten cards for their side deck and then randomly take four cards from their side deck to their hand in the beginning of the game. Hand cards are used to either lower or raise the total value: so if the player raises cards from the main deck to the total value of 25, they can prevent dropping out if they have a -5 card or higher in their hand. Cards which only either raise or lower the value are the most common of the side cards. More rarer are cards which can be used to both raise and lower the value. Then there are flip cards, which change certain main deck cards on the table to negative ones. So if the player plays a 2&4 flip card, all 2:s and 4:s on the table become -2:s and -4:s. Flip cards exist in 2&4:s and 3&6:s. Then there is the double card, which doubles the value of the last played card. So if the player raises a 5 from the main deck, playing the double card would turn it into a 10. Finally, the rarest side deck card is the tiebreaker, which grants the player a win if the game would otherwise end in a tie.
Tabletop games for Star Wars
West End Games made a Star Wars role-playing game called Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game AKA Star Wars D6. Like many West End products, it's a good game with the great misfortune of being published by West End games.
Wizards of the Coast picked up the license later and made two distinct RPGs based on their d20 System, called Star Wars D20 (imaginatively). Could be fun, but generally broken as hell, much like its parent game. It was then utterly revised that into what they called the Saga Edition, which is relatively balanced and pretty good.
Fantasy Flight Games is presently selling a whole line of Star Wars-themed RPGs, whether you want to play a bunch of scruffy space outlaws, members of the nascent Rebellion, or exiled Jedi Knights. Unlike their Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay games, which are all juuuuust different enough from one another to completely buttfuck any attempts at blending, all three gamelines use identical mechanics and are fully cross-compatible. Uses symbol-counting dice pools with ludicrously overpriced custom dice. Like the other RPGs they decided with the retardedly similar name, and thus this one is sometimes called Star Wars FFG to avoid confusion.
FFG have kept milking the franchise and in summer 2017, decided to reanimate the Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game with a "30th Year Anniversary Edition" print of the original game. It finally shipped in July 2018 after spending a year in limbo.
The big card game set in the Star Wars universe is the Star Wars Customizable Card Game. It's no longer produced by Decipher, but there is still a sufficiently large player community to organize annual tournaments, rule on cards, and so on.
Obviously, nobody is capable of creating a Star Wars card game with an interesting name.
Aside from the real, physical, games there was also Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game. It was a real, functioning, card game within the MMO that used all virtual cards. Unfortunately no server emulators have implemented it yet.
Wizards of the Coast did a tabletop battles game imaginatively called Star Wars: Miniatures, based on an extremely dumbed down version of the D&D ruleset. The figures were meant to tie in with the Saga edition RPG, it wasn't terrible on its own, just impossible to collect for competitive play since figures came in random booster packs so you never know what you were getting for what faction. Who could possibly stand for that?
Fantasy Flight Games is producing the X-Wing miniatures game based on individual starfighter combat (because, let's be honest, that's what Star Wars is all about). They have also released Star Wars: Armada which is a larger scale "fleet" combat simulator, using capital ships and squadrons of starfighters.
Star Wars: Imperial Assault
The latest Fantasy Flight Games addition to its Star Wars related games is a mix between a miniature board game and a skirmish wargame. It has two play modes:
One for campaign play where 1-4 players control a team of Rebel heroes and another player has the role of the DM, who controls the Imperial forces. The campaign, as the name suggests, focuses on character personalization, xp gain and the like, which you can find in any light RPG-esque (board)game. The main goal is to get a few friends together and casually play through the missions. Think of it as a Star Wars version of the original Hero Quest.
The other play mode is skirmish play, where two players each get to assemble a team of miniatures plus a command deck (cards that have specific effects when played) and play against each other in an open-play scenario. The play area is still very limited to a few game tiles (as in a campaign mission) but players are free to bring whatever they want (with a few limitations of course). The skirmish part of Imperial assault is as close as you can get to an actual Star Wars skirmish wargame, but it is a missed opportunity from Fantasy Flight to create a true skirmish wargame (ala Infinity), not based on tiles and so confined spaces. Who knows what they have plans for though...
Star Wars Legion
And Fantasy Flight have now given us a fully fledged wargame, complete with AT-ST in the first wave. (They're 32mm scale, which means no reusing your Imperial Assault miniatures.) Legion has an integrated turn system, and the usual FF custom dice and forest worth of dead trees in cards and tokens that will be familiar to X-Wing and Armada players. The miniatures are PVC, reasonably detailed, easy to assemble pieces. A standard battle is 800 points, which could be anywhere from half a dozen to 16 units on the field, with an average army fielding 8-12 units comprising 30-ish models.
- Darths & Droids: A webcomic, made using photo-stills of the Star Wars movies to tell a story about gamers blundering through each of the six movies in sequence... though not quite exactly how you might expect. Think DM of the Rings in overall visual style, though unlike DM of the Rings, Darths & Droids features several heavy twists on the actual events of the films, subplots about the players and their lives outside the game alongside the campaign, and a better overall quality of gamer.
- Timothy Zahn