Star Wars 101: A Brief Introduction to a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Filed in: Disneyland News

The Star Wars saga was created by American filmmaker George Lucas and produced by Lucasfilm Ltd., the California-based entertainment company he founded in 1971. When Lucas retired in 2012, The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm and Disney continues to create stories about this galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars encompasses 10 feature films (with an 11th out by the end of 2019), several television series and a plethora of novels, comic books, video games and other forms of entertainment, which now includes Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, at Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

FEATURE FILMS

Prequel Trilogy

  • “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” (1999) – Anakin Skywalker, a young slave strong with the Force, is discovered on Tatooine. Meanwhile, the evil Sith have returned, enacting their plot for revenge against the Jedi.
  • “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones” (2002) – Anakin Skywalker must choose between his Jedi duty and forbidden love, while Obi-Wan Kenobi uncovers a sinister plot that leads to the Galactic Civil War.
  • “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” (2005) – Faced with haunting premonitions that his secret wife will die, Anakin Skywalker is seduced by the dark side and becomes Darth Vader.

Original Trilogy

  • “Star Wars: A New Hope” (1977) – Luke Skywalker begins a journey that will change the galaxy, as he leaves his home planet of Tatooine, joins the Rebel Alliance to battle the evil Empire and learns the ways of the Force.
  • “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) – Darth Vader leads the hunt for Luke Skywalker and his Rebel Alliance.
  • “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” (1983) – Luke Skywalker heads a mission to rescue Han Solo from the clutches of Jabba the Hutt and faces Darth Vader one last time.

Current Trilogy

  • “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015) – Thirty years after the defeat of the Empire, Luke Skywalker has vanished and a new threat has risen – the First Order. The Resistance are the galaxy’s only hope at thwarting a new reign of evil.
  • “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (2017) – The First Order looks to crush what’s left of the Resistance and cement its grip on the galaxy, but hope survives as Rey has found Luke Skywalker.
  • “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (Dec. 20, 2019)

Star Wars Stories

  • “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016) – In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction.
  • “Solo: A Star Wars Story” (2018) – Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca, encounters the notorious Lando Calrissian and boards the Millennium Falcon for the first time in a series of adventures within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld.

KEY TELEVISION SERIES

  • “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (2008 – present) – Set between “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones” and “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith,” the Republic’s clone army struggles against Count Dooku’s Separatist forces; the series features Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Hondo Ohnaka and more.
  • “Star Wars Rebels” (2014 – 2017) – Set five years before “Star Wars: A New Hope,” the Rebellion begins to form while the Empire spreads tyranny through the galaxy.
  • “Star Wars Resistance” (2018 – present) – Set prior to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” a young Resistance pilot is tasked with a top-secret mission to investigate the First Order.
  • “The Mandalorian” (2019) – After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order, following the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy. (Available to stream now with a Disney+ subscription)
  • KEY TERMS

    Aurebesh

    The written language of the Star Wars galaxy.

    Blaster

    The term for “gun” in the Star Wars galaxy. These weapons come in two basic forms – pistols and rifles – with a wide variety of modifications depending on use – and user.

    Droid

    The term for robot in the Star Wars galaxy. There are many different types, with a wide range of complexity and specialties. Some are meant to accomplish simple or mechanical tasks, some are deployed in battle, and some can converse fluently with humans.

    The Force

    The phrase “may the Force be with you” is peppered throughout the Star Wars saga, referring to the mystical energy field generated by all life forms. Some beings in the Star Wars galaxy dedicate their lives to it, while others don’t believe in it. The Force is not good or evil, but it can be used for either – it has a light side and a dark side. Some are able to use the Force for a kind of extrasensory perception and power, moving objects with their minds, choking people from afar and other abilities.

    The First Order

    Following the conclusion of the Galactic Civil War in “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” some members of the Empire escaped into the far reaches of the galaxy, eventually resurfacing as the First Order. Ruling through force and fear, they seek to overthrow the New Republic.

    Hyperspace/Lightspeed

    Spacecraft equipped with a hyperdrive can travel at lightspeed (faster than the speed of light) and access an alternate dimension known as “hyperspace.” This allows ships to travel hyperspace lanes and traverse great distances across the galaxy in a much shorter time than using sublight engines. The phrase “make the jump to lightspeed” is commonly used in the Star Wars galaxy when referring to accessing hyperspace. Stars stretch into lines of light when jumping to lightspeed, and hyperspace is identifiable by its mottled, pulsating waves of light.

    Jedi Order

    A noble group of protectors unified by their ability to tap into the power of the Force. The Jedi were the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, until they were eradicated by Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine during the Galactic Civil War.

    Lightsaber

    The weapon of a Jedi, it can be used to cut through blast doors or enemies alike. Using the Force, a Jedi can predict and deflect incoming blaster bolts. At its heart is a kyber crystal that focuses energy into a blade; the crystal is attuned to the Force and connected to a Jedi on a deeply personal level.

    New Republic

    After the Rebel Alliance defeated the Empire at the Battle of Endor in “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” the New Republic was formed to help govern the galaxy. Promoting peace and disarmament, the New Republic oversaw 30 years of tranquility but was divided in its response to the rise of the First Order.

    Outer Rim

    A remote, often lawless region of the galaxy on the edge of Wild Space, far from the more developed and populated Core Worlds.

    The Resistance

    A small, secretive, private military force founded by rebel hero Leia Organa to monitor the actions of the First Order. The cash-strapped movement relies on credits, ships and equipment quietly funneled from the few New Republic senators who share her concerns.

    Star Wars: Datapad

    The Star Wars equivalent of an electronic tablet. When guests use the Play Disney Parks app* on their mobile devices while inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the app interface transforms to resemble a Star Wars: Datapad.

    Stormtroopers

    These elite shock troops are fanatically loyal to the First Order. They wear imposing white armor, which offers a range of survival equipment and temperature controls to allow the soldiers to survive in almost any environment. They wield blaster rifles with great skill and attack in hordes to overwhelm their enemies.

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    *Message, data and roaming rates may apply. Availability subject to handset limitations, and features may vary by handset, service provider or otherwise. Coverage and app stores not available everywhere.  If you’re under 18, get your parents’ permission first.

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