"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 one of the best-known film scores of all time, right up there with greats like Jaws, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Shrek, Harry Potter and the Avengers. 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 is it so popular?
- 3 Setting
- 4 Movies
- 5 Expanded Universe
- 6 Disney Canon
- 7 Wookieepedia
- 8 Impact on 1d4chan and associated games etc
- 9 Sabacc and Pazaak
- 10 Tabletop games for Star Wars
- 11 Video Games for Star Wars
- 12 Assorted list of Awesome From 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 and was widely criticized for aping of Episode IV (the whole trilogy apes the original trilogy a lot but none as much as VII) and a Mary Sue protagonist. Meanwhile Episode VIII was written and directed by Rian 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. Abrams returned for Episode IX which got a mixed reception from both those who liked VIII and those who didn't. General issue with the sequels is that there was no plan on what to do in each part of the trilogy and they came up with everything as they went along and it really shows. Thus it really feels like the whole trilogy lacks direction, as it was directed by two guys with conflicting visions, yet almost complete freedom to do what they wanted, including undoing stuff done in the other guys movie.
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 four 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 quite bad(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, which played a large role in the prequel trilogy and found their way to The Clone Wars as well. Finally there is Resistance, which only lasted two seasons (for comparison, Clone Wars lasted 7 and Rebels lasted 4) and wasn't particularly well received by the fans, largely due to general lack of interest in the fluff of the sequel trilogy.
And so, after voicing a Mandalorian character one time in an episode of Clone Wars, Jon Favreau’s ego boner couldn’t contain itself any longer and gave birth to the first live action Star Wars TV series, The Mandalorian - building on the Disney version of Mandalorians as a sort of weedy, neo space Viking, which seems feeble when compared to the old EU version of Mandalorians, who were more like space Maoris. Still, it ended up being pretty good; good enough for Disney to go ahead with another two live action series (because if there is anyone who loves to rub skub into their pores, they are Star Wars fans). The first is a prequel to the Rogue One film, y’know, to build on the backstories of people you never needed to know about in the first place. The second series will focus on Obi Wan Kenobi’s time in exile after the saddling Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru with a kid they never asked for, nor wanted. This is what passes for entertainment in this day and age.
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. It could also reach 40k levels of grimdark with races like the Yuuzhan Vong characters like Darth Nihilus and beings like Abeloth...and of course Ewoks.
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, especially considering how a lot of the so-called creative freedom in the sequels consists of aping the Original Trilogy. 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 is 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 (or at least they WERE handled well until Episode VII). 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, 6 of the 9 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.
Due to article bloat, Star Wars Setting is now its own page.
Also due to article bloat, Star Wars Movies are also their own page.
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 original EU/Star Wars "Legends"
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 sorta sometimes internally consistent, both with other sources within the universe and with the films themselves, at least in comparison to other comparable settings. Of course, it's got plenty of its own problem children that slipped through, and the skub mine of it all isn't much shallower than that of 40K. Good portions of it do hold up well, largely due to the efforts of Lucas' company's continuity department leaning on everyone to hold it together. One thing that greatly helps is continuity books and articles aren't afraid to make small retcons to make even the most obscure and shitty sources (like that terrible PS1 fighting game) seem like part of an organized plot. Particularly well-loved parts include characters like Grand Admiral Thrawn (a rare alien officer in the Empire and popular enough that Disney brought him back to the canon from the EU) and Mara Jade (pictured right, a Force-using former agent of Emperor Palpatine who later turned good, became a Jedi Master, married Luke and had a son with him) - interestingly both were created by the same author Timothy Zahn.
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 mass wedding farts (Yes. Really.). The only good stuff is from established EU authors writing stuff far away from era of the Disney films.
The rage over the EU's scrapping was major among many fans of it, but for all Disney's shortcomings, they were in a tight spot. Towards the end all that continuity and consistency got thrown out the airlock for increasingly dumb and disjointed narratives and garbled plot threads to the point that the Star Wars logo was just about as much a sign of quality as the Nintendo approval stamp on shitty SNES games.
Another problem was that Disney is mostly family-friendly, and some of the Star Wars EU could get really dark. As in Warhammer 40k levels of grimdark. Examples of this are the invasion of the Yuuzhan Vong - forcenull space-Druchii (no no, not Comorrites though they have the pain and body modification fetishes for it, space-Druchii, riding enslaved tyranid bioships) from another galaxy, Mnggal-Mnggal - mindraping gelatin lost on its way to Star Trek, and Abeloth - an ancient (she predates the Jedi and the Sith) yandere Force entity more like something from the Cthulhu Mythos and is so dangerous the Jedi and the Sith joined forces to fight her. It's difficult to envision how Disney could have kept the EU when even before all that it was struggling to find a market beyond the most dedicated fans.
The Good EU
- The Thrawn Trilogy: The origination point for the EU, and focuses on the conflict with the Imperial remnants left over after RotJ. Named for the main villain, Grand Admiral Thrawn, who went on to become one of Star Wars most well-loved characters. Basically the story "The Force Awakens" wishes it was. Also introduced Mara Jade, a sexy redhead that's everything Disney wishes Rey was and more.
- The Han Solo Adventures: Star's End was the second spinoff book written and the first good one. Hit store shelves before Empire Strikes Back was even in theaters. Han and Chewie are trying to get some work done on the Falcon and get volun-told to bust out some political prisoners to pay for it. The Z-95 Headhunter fighter comes from this one. Would have made for a better film than Solo did.
- Shadows of the Empire: Shadows is set between ESB and RotJ and fills in the details of getting the Death Star II's plans, finding out where Han was taken, Luke building his own saber, etc by the introduction of another bounty hunter by the name of Dash Rendar. The Special Edition rerelease of A New Hope added the Outrider to the background of one scene. Most notable for the fact that it was also adapted into a video game for the N64 and PC.
- The Darth Bane Trilogy: The origin of the Rule of Two for the Sith, along with a compelling protagonist and his apprentice.
- Revenge of the Sith: The novelization is actually considered a serious improvement over the movie itself.
- Darth Plagueis: Shows how Palpatine becomes a Sith Lord under his mentor. Less Star Wars than Star Politics, which is a good thing for this praticular story.
The Bad EU
- Jedi Academy Trilogy: Luke sets up his academy on Yavin IV and tries to teach Kyp Durron. Imperial remnant superweapons hit ludicrous territory with the sun crusher. This was the beginning of Kevin J Anderson hammering out a couple dozen Star Wars books over about four years.
- Young Jedi Knights Series: Set between Jedi Academy and New Jedi Order, mostly follows Han & Leia's kids.
- I, Jedi: A retelling of the Jedi Academy Trilogy (see above) with more of Corran Horn from the first set of X-Wing books. Less derp in general but significantly more Mary Sueage of Horn.
- Legacy of the Force: The survivors of the Yuuzhan Vong War are trying to rebuild the galaxy, but Jacen Solo turns Sith and becomes the main villain. The book series is infamous for nearly killing the Star Wars EU, threatening the franchise and issues between various writers years before Disney went down the same road (Jacen Solo was also a major influence for Kylo Ren). The biggest complaints were Jacen killing Mara, the heroes becoming idiots whenever they could've stopped the villains, poor dialogue, long-winded writing and the story being overstuffed with allusions to post 9/11 United States.
The Skub EU
- New Jedi Order: The longest-running (19 books long) and most divisive story of the EU. Luke's married to Mara and they're rebuilding the Jedi Order while Han and Leia are trying to reconcile the New Republic and Imperial Remnants. Han and Leia are also raising three kids and Mara's got a terminal illness. Then extragalactic aliens called Yuuzhan Vong - religious fanatics with organic technology, a thing for pain and body modification along with partial immunity to The Force - invade to take over the Star Wars Galaxy a'la the Dominion War from Star Trek. Chewie dies Majora's Mask style, Mara's illness is cured and she gives birth to Ben Skywalker, the Vong take over Coruscant, lots is learned about the Force and the bodycount goes so high it could give Warhammer 40k a run for its money (365 TRILLION; only the War in Heaven or the Fall of the Eldar had anywhere near that many deaths in one event). A real love-it-or-hate-it series, some parts were good, some were bad and some were weird.
- Dark Empire: Palpatine's back to save a dying franchise decades before Disney tried it. He even uses clone bodies to do so (but unlike Disney, Dark Horse didn't flip-flop on the lore), wrecks a fleet of enemy ships using the Force and at some point has his power reflected back at him. Starts off good, falls apart fast. Known for its love-it-or-hate-it artstyle and dialogue. Original version of Episode 9.
- Courtship of Princess Leia: Deals with another Imperial remnant, where a Queen who could be potential ally against the Imperials offers a deal which hinges on Leia marrying her prince son. In response, Han sorta-kinda (totally) kidnaps Leia. Luke teams up with the prince in question (who's a bit of a Jedi fanboy but basically a competent officer) to find them. This one introduced the planet Dathomir and the force witches, which were ultimately adapted to be Maul's homeworld.
- X-Wing: A long running series that passed between several authors that followed Wedge and his squad post RotJ. Initially focused on the liberation of Coruscant and was solid if formulaic, but eventually spiraled off into skub territory.
- Fate of the Jedi: Want some Cthulhu with your Star Wars? People are growing dissatisfied with the Jedi Order following LotF. Luke, his son Ben and the remaining Jedi are trying to keep the Jedi Order in check while several Jedi are wracked with a mysterious psychosis. Meanwhile an ancient Sith Tribe emerges from hiding, Han and Leia are looking after the political side of things and struggle with being grandparents. Things take a turn for cosmic horror when a yandere, Force-using eldritch abomination who could doom the galaxy escapes her prison. During the fight against her, Sith apprentice Vestara Khai rises through the ranks and finds herself in a Catwoman/Batman situation with Ben Skywalker. While being an OoM better than the preceding trilogy, FotJ has a very divided opinion among SW fans.
It's still debatable whether or not the new Canon holds up to the old EU, or learns to fix the problems that plagued it. We probably won't see what comes of it for decades to come. Disney Canon, as of 2020, seems to largely be built around the nine main movies (of course), with shows like Rebels and Clone Wars alongside anthology movies fleshing out stories that had been told in comics and books back before the Disney buy-up, but can now be seen on film.
A curious thing that has begun happening: Certain elements of the old EU is slipping into the Disney Canon. Plotlines like the Emperor returning, the Death Star plans heist and Han's path to become the smuggler we know him as all have bits and pieces from EU canon in them. In some cases, whole characters are ported in; the best example is Admiral Thrawn, who appears in Rebels. Other times, popular characters has their traits or stories ported into new ones (Finn and Cassian are both expies of Kyle Katarn, for example). This gives some credence to the argument that Lucasfilms and Disney wanted to wipe the slate with all the stories that had been told in the EU, so they could create their own, fully realized canon Star Wars setting that one could make movies - many movies - from. Considering the amount of shitty fan-fiction-esque stories the EU had, this may be for the best, but of course, storylines that people have loved for ages are also thrown out with the bathwater.
Detractors of Disney-era Star Wars often talk loads about how the sequel trilogy invalidates the original trilogy. Other complaints raised are how Disney screwed over Luke and how many cool characters are either cannibalized for story elements (like Kyle Katarn) or completely removed from canon (like Mara Jade). These are semi-valid arguments of course, but they ignore some of the biggest issues with the EU originally - it wasn't sponsored by George Lucas and Lucasfilms. They were sponsored fan-fiction in a sense, semi-canon from the outset and not really something that could be considered a part of the Star Wars setting, though George Lucas did work with the writers to a point, such as with the New Jedi Order book series (he gave them permission to kill off Chewbacca in the story). In fact, George never really considered them real stories; more like a parallel universe of his own Star Wars works. He accepted it because they bring in the big bucks when people would beg to have the official Star Wars logo on anything they produced.
That, and the sequel trilogy, underwhelming as it may be, was George's idea in broad strokes. The series was always going to have a sequel trilogy, and while the outcome isn't exactly what he (or we) wanted, quite a lot of it is. Luke being an exile on a far-away planet, who has to be roused to fight by a new, female Jedi? George's idea, not Disney's. A son of Han and Leia struggling with the Dark Side? Also George's idea (though Disney lifted a lot form the original version - Jacen Solo - for Kylo Ren). If anything, much of the direction comes from Lucasfilms; Disney just wants the movie to sell well. It's similar with Marvel nowadays.
So for better or worse, the Disney Canon is the first time the wider setting of Star Wars beyond the series and movies have become irrevocably canon, rather than "kinda-sorta-canon". Much of what we've gotten that is new is based roughly on George's own work as well. Remember this when discussing EU vs Disney in Star Wars - Either setting is cool for their own reasons, but the Mouse got little to do with it - and if you don't like it, bring it up with big man Lucas. Whatever the case, CEO Big Iger briefly resigned in 2019... before being brought back in 2020 following severe financial and PR losses for Disney due to comparatively poor reception of the Disney canon, controversial statements from Disney staff against fans and shutdowns related to the global coronavirus pandemic. There have been large rumblings of change in Disney Star Wars, for better or worse.
It should be noted that the TV shows below are either now part of the Disney canon (such as the 2008 Clone Wars series), or made by Disney. There is also a major Star Wars project in the works called Star Wars: The High Republic. It's an upcoming multimedia project spanning books and comics worked on by various writers including Claudia Gray and Cavan Scott (yes, that Cavan Scott). The stated goal is to tell one cohesive story set in the High Republic Era, two centuries prior to Phantom Menace. It was slated for a 2020 release but was pushed back to 2021, purportedly due to the COVID-19 pandemic (purportedly because they could still work on the story from home in this day and age but have chosen to extend the deadline).
One of the largest fan wikis ever created, this bad boy is extensively cited, has enormous variety, and has page upon page of talk. It was if Lexicanum, the 40k fan wiki, and our own glorious site were fused into a terrible beast.
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 (Pure Sabacc) which could only be beaten by an Idiot's Array (the Idiot, a Two and a Three, thus 23). In case of a draw, new cards are drawn. 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. (Of course, there are ways to deal with this, such as simply re-dealing unfixed cards, but never let it be said that nerds will choose practicality over purity.)
In universe, Han Solo won the Millenium Falcon off Lando in a game of Sabacc.
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, each one focusing on a specific style of play. You want to play a bunch of scruffy space outlaws (Edge of the Empire), members of the nascent Rebellion (Age of Rebellion), or exiled Jedi Knights (Force and Destiny), then they got you covered. 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. SWCCG was radically different from the norm of card games, being divided into light and dark side cards with different backings, with light and dark always playing against each other. For tournament play a player would need both a light and dark deck. The gameplay was also radically different from most CCGs; in Magic terms the closest analog would be that every SWCCG deck was fundamentally a mill deck, with some hard to assemble insta-win combos themed to the plots of the movies.
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.
The first Star Wars miniatures game was Star Wars Miniature Battles released by West End Games in 1989. It and the minis were readily available through the early half of the 1990's, although the line was never particularly diverse. Even accounting for vehicles the whole line was only a couple dozen products and you could get all the rebel heroes in a single box if you just wanted them for the RPG, plus a another box for Vader and a mix of imperials.
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.
The most famous and arguably best one is Star Wars: Rebellion, an asymmetric two-player game that plays through the Original Trilogy in a wargame/worker placement-esque game. The Empire player must expand their already huge military base over the galaxy to build more ships and huge superweapons while searching for the Rebel Base, while the Rebels do their best to bite them in their heel, obscuring their movements and annoying the Empire until they have enough support to overthrow the Empire. As a FFG boardgame, it's filled with a ludicrous amount of bits and pieces (including sweet models of Star Destroyers, Death Stars and Calamari Cruisers), as well as the trademark filled-with-small-exceptions ruleset. It's pretty sweet and still considered one of the best board games of its kind.
Card Miniature Games
In the late 00's, WizKids produced a short lived construct-able miniatures Star Wars game based on their styrene card system for Pirates of the Spanish Main. Although the game sold well, when NECA bought WizKids from Topps the rights did not transfer and it went out of print.
Video Games for Star Wars
To put it bluntly, every game which could possibly have Star Wars slapped onto it, exists. Flight simulators. Racers. Rail shooters. Doom clones. MMOs. Age of Empires reskins. Hell, there's even a Kinect variety game. Here's a few standouts...
- Knights of the Old Republic: A pair of single player RPGs depicting a Sith war several thousand years before A New Hope. KotOR is widely regarded as the best Star Wars video game ever, and was the framework for BioWare's Mass Effect series. Of all the Legends stuff, KotOR appears to still be in good standing with Disney since they continue to borrow from it. The sequel by Obsidian was the original skubtastic take on the franchise TLJ wanted to be but failed miserably. Got an MMO simply called "Old Republic" (since you can play as things other than Jedi and Sith) that is the sequel, which had a very rough start but stabilized enough to still survive to this day somehow). Possibly still canon in the Disney continuity since a lot of things get borrowed or referenced from it. Also the only thing in the EU to still receive new content. Fans often treat these games as canon even if they are technically not, due to being set so long before the films that there aren't many contradictions between canon and legends.
- Jedi Knight: A series that started of as an early FPS named Dark Forces (so early that it was the time when FPS games were still known as Doom-clones) but Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight had the protagonist become a Jedi. The Dark Forces name was dropped in favor of Jedi Knight after this. The series combines surprisingly deep lightsaber combat with standard shooting, though the levels can get very mazy at times. Introduced Kyle Katarn, one of the most popular characters from EU. Unfortunately, there has not been a new game since 2003's Jedi Academy and likely will never be thanks to Disney.
- Republic Commando: An FPS that has the player command a squad of commandos. Its a great shooter but unfortunately, it never received a sequel and to make things worse, ended on a cliffhanger. The second act of the game, set entirely on a drifting Acclamator-class assault ship is particularly memorable and highly atmospheric. If one can look past outdated graphics, its worth trying out for anyone who wants a good FPS experience.
- Empire at War: Made by the original developers of Command and Conquer, it is the most notable strategy game to have come out of Star Wars. Notable for featuring three different modes of play: ground battles, space battles and galactic conquest map. Though ground battles are a bit meh, the space battles are great and the galactic conquest is certainly more interesting than only playing random skirmish matches. Even though its over 10 years old, it has a very active modding community. Republic at War, which changes the games Galactic Civil War setting to Clone Wars and Thrawns Revenge, set much further into the Galactic Civil War than portrayed in the films, are particularly great. There is also a remake mod in the works, aiming to bring the game up to modern standards in terms of visuals, sound and UI and the results do look good. Unfortunately, no great 40k mod.
- Star Wars Galaxies: An early MMO, launched after Everquest but before WoW. Galaxies is noteworthy for making force powers a prestige achievement requiring enormous in-game effort to unlock. The first expansion pack added a subgame that's a pretty solid flight game in its own right and the game eventually added an original, fully playable, trading card game that sadly has not yet been implemented in any simulator. Then World of Warcraft hit, Sony panicked and made Jedi a starting class and replaced the skill system with massive level grind, and offered refunds to the raging army of neckbeards. Subscription numbers tanked and never recovered. It would effectively be replaced by The Old Republic, an MMO using the acclaimed KotOR setting. Like most "dead" MMOs that people loved it still lives on through illegal private servers (don't worry, the guys providing it would get busted, not people playing on it).
- X-Wing (and TIE Fighter): A series of Wing Commander clones released in the 90's. While badly dated today, they were the best fighter sims of their time, and if you can get past the highly primitive graphics some people still consider them to be the best to this day. Why? The mission scripting and AI are top notch for the genre and absolutely brutal to fight against; on all but the simplest missions you're almost guaranteed to fail the first time and eventually develop a sixth sense about the fighters threatening your objective vs the fighters just there to kill you (ignore those, learn to be hard to hit). Interestingly, TIE Fighter is largely seen as the best of the series while the N64 era Rogue Squadron and Shadows Of The Empire games are seen as being far more visually modern but largely inferior sequels. Did we mention you had to use a flight stick controller basically made for these games to really do well at these?
- Star Wars Battlefront II (2005): Not to be confused with the one released by EA in 2017. Solid game from the new-defunct Pandemic studio (fuck you, EA) in 2005 told from the perspective of a clone trooper that survived all the way up to the battle of Hoth, with a very down to earth boots on the ground approach. Also, just being thrown into random matches as a soldier because fun. Despite some issues, it remains the high point of the Battlefront series as well as the entire PS2 era, and on PC still has fans via an active modding community to this day. There is of course also the original one but the second one pretty much completely overshadowed it.
- Star Wars Battlefront II (2017): The one by EA. You've probably heard everything important. An absolute mess at launch due to its lootbox-heavy progression system, so much so that it started discussion even on government level about lootboxes that continues to this day. A comment by EA that became the most downvoted comment in Reddit history. Yet despite all this, two years later, the game is arguably one of the best Star Wars experiences one can have and an Anakin-level redemption story. Like the previous Battlefront II, it completely overshadowed its predecessor.
- Jedi: Fallen Order: It took them years but finally, EA managed to deliver a Star Wars game that is great on launch without cramming it with e-transactions. Its plot focuses on an unfortunate Jedi renegade between Revenge and A New Hope who's on the hunt for a hidden database that might document all the Force-sensitive individuals in the galaxy. A game inspired primarily by games such as Dark Souls and Uncharted, its a great action-adventure game in its own right and a must-play for any Star Wars fan. Also notable for making Darth Vader really FUCKING SCARY. As he should be.
- Monopoly Star Wars: Its Star Wars Monopoly. With 90's FMV that plays for every square you land on. On floppy disks. Considered fucking amazing at the time, its too strange and tabletop to not mention. Also one of the last pre-Prequel things released.
- Super Star Wars: A heavily modified retelling of the original trilogy (what, you don't remember how Luke chased down the Sandcrawler and murdered all the Jawas as well as their giant rat god in order to rescue R2-D2?) that was one of the ways to say "hard as fuck" by namedropping a game prior to Dark Souls existing. Amusing for the insanity of the added content in order to make a platformer sidescrolling beat'em'up as well as how neckbeardy you have to be to punish yourself trying to beat it without cheating. Sequels were made for Empire and Jedi, which slightly dialed back the difficulty.
- Star Wars: Yoda Stories: A game geared for kids, released the same year as Monopoly above. Players play as Luke sometime after Empire Strikes Back, although an odd alternate version where Han sometimes is free from carbonite and Boba Fett and sometimes is not. They are assigned a quest by Yoda which requires them to traverse one or more procedurally generated planets doing whatever odd crap Yoda felt was necessary, including sometimes fighting Vader. Recieved middling scores as a PC release, with some individuals HATING the game and using it as a benchmark for how much they hate something when comparing the two, although to be fair that is because distributors tried to sell it like a full game when in reality its supposed to just be freebie software that came with other purchases and was meant to go with Solitaire and space pinball as default games on a computer to waste time with. It has lapsed into obscurity thanks to even those reviewers largely being forgotten on the modern internet. Noteworthy for being played on a grid with simultaneous turn-based movement with all enemies and NPCs on a screen, feeling very much like a desktop game at times, since it uses the Win32 API (like Minesweeper and Solitare) and was almost certainly written in visual basic. A simple puzzle game, where getting blocked in a corner without enough space to pass the time by an idiot NPC is more dangerous than any foe.
- Shadows of the Empire: Made on the Nintendo 64 and Windows PC, you play as Dash Rendar, a scoundrel in a ship like Han Solo working for the Rebellion. Takes place during Episode V as a side story. Despite being much beloved by fans for years and years, it has sadly not aged well at all thanks to the rather peculiar control scheme of the N64 and the graphics having aged like cheap cheese in the sun. Main enemy of the game is a xeno named Xisor who is just a real uppity crime boss (and apparently a prince). The game has an absolute great opening (at least for it's time) where you're flying in a Snowspeeder on Hoth killing Imperials left and right while trying to use the cables to crash the AT-ATs like in the movie. After that the game begins to kinda just carry on with awkward controls.
Assorted list of Awesome From Star Wars
- X-Wing starfighters = spaceborne sex
- Fucking Lightsabers!
- The fucking OST
- What is likely the greatest duel in cinematic history, that takes place on a lava planet.
- Deathly Stormtroopers, heroic Clonetroopers or sinister First Order troopers; whatever they're called, stormtroopers are awesome! Contrary to popular belief, shot counts have proven they have ridiculously good aim.
- Darth Vader whenever he gets a speaking line or to murder rebel scum - that is to say, all the time.
- Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace, TCW and Rebels.
- Lightsaber Rifles
- The entirety of the Umbara campaign, where
Imperial GuardsmenClone Troopers die in the dozens attempting to win some godforsaken planet, earning them balls of titanium that make the guard look ba- *BLAM* Heresy!
- 97% of the Creatures.
- 98% of the Starfighter designs.
- Costumes that mix about every possible inspiration, Chinese, Mongolian, Japanese, Ancient Greece and Rome, Elizabethan, Moebius or Pulp Sci-Fi from the 60's, giving the whole series a distinctive style and gives Padme Amidala an excuse to show off with all her dresses.
- Boba and Jango Fett and the rest of the Mandalorians.
- KOTOR (both games) plot making you think this shit is actually logical and has so much philosophical background. One of the creepiest depictions of the Universe. Everything is brutal, with big vibrating knives, blood, those machines for Sith snuff movies, more blood, bastards, badass bastards and so on. Everything while somebody is talking with you about existence.
- Our saviour Lord Revan. He's like if fucking Horus just became fucking bad (but not that bad) to fucking destroy the Dark Gods so he can solve his daddy issues.
- but he's more virile, deadly, powerful, charismatic and cool.
- Double-bladed Lightsabers.
- Lando Calrissian.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi.
- The High Ground.
- TIE fighters. They have the most distinctive scream of any fighter in cinematic history that just yells "I'm evil!". Tell me I'm wrong. I'll wait.
- The fact that they managed to do that using what is essentially a shitty visual pun.
- Most of Episode 3.
- The entirety of Anakin's story, especially when you add the Clone Wars and prequels. While you're at it, watch CinemaWins' perspective on it the series.
- Admiral Ackbar the Memeable!
- Palpatine getting into some Tzeentchian-level scheming and backstabbing in order to overthrow the Jedi and the Republic.
- Battle of Yavin.
- Battle of Hoth.
- Battle of Endor.
- Grand Admiral Thrawn: So awesome that he rose to a high rank in the anthropocentric Empire despite being an alien and was one of the first (and rare few) things to be imported straight from Legends to Disney.
- Imperial Pilots get a mention, seeing as they fly literal garbage fighters against superior rebel fighters. Yes, we are talking about the the same TIE Fighters we mentioned before. By garbage, we mean despite how cool looking and sounding TIE Fighters are, they are actually a ridiculously impractical design and the standard TIE Fighters are mass produced extremely cheaply even if they don't look like it. Even 40k's Imperium has better fighter designs. At least the Imperium's fighters conserve the life of the fucking pilot. Also, clearly super skilled since they have roughly an equal kill-death ratio with the Rebels in the movie battles.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi. Again.
- The Millennium Falcon has a 3D chess board, secret compartments for smuggling space cocaine and a walk in closet specifically for capes.
- Princess, later Senator Leia Organa; the original badass-yet-hot boss lady in space. Ends up leading two separate, successful underground freedom movements against impossible odds. Did we mention she's a Jedi in both canons?
- The trench run.
- Han Solo, who is so badass that hot Leia falls in love. He has the smuggler's best friend, a Wookie, who is also the worst opponent you can face in a Dejarik match.
- Just... Star Destroyers. When you see a huge, imposing warship from an evil Empire, this is the granddaddy they all look up to.
- The moon sized space stations that zap other planets to bits? They’re pretty neat.
- Werner Herzog, asking if he can look at your baby and assuring you that he will be quiet.
- Oh, did we mention the lightsabers?
- 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. Whereas DM of the Rings features a railroading DM and players who are therefore somewhat antagonistic to him, Darths & Droids has a GM who adjusts his game to his players' actions and players who generally get along with both him and each other. The plot of DMotR is very similar to that of the movies (but avoids a few plot elements), but the plot (and, indeed, the universe) of Darths & Droids is only very loosely based on the Star Wars films. (For a somewhat spoilery example: "Darth" is a courtesy title for retired Jedi, such as Chancellor Palpatine.)
- "Endor Holocaust": An excellent example of the skub Star Wars can create. Rebuttal: " Endor Rebuttal"
|About:||The Franchise, The Setting, The Movies|
|Television Shows:||The Clone Wars, Rebels, Resistance, The Mandalorian|
|Star Wars Games|
|Miniature:||X-Wing, Armada, Legion|
|Roleplaying:||FFG, WotC (d20), WEG (d6)|