Synopsis by Mark Deming
Doubtless there are still executives at 20th Century Fox who rue the day the studio gave away the sequel rights to a soon-to-be released science fiction film to its director, George Lucas. Who could have guessed Star Wars would become one of the greatest money makers of all time and inspire a phenomenally popular series of follow-ups? The original films in the Star Wars trilogy are now numbered episodes four through six, thanks to the new series of prequels Lucas has undertaken (beginning with 1999's Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace). Star Wars (aka Star Wars : Episode IV -- A New Hope) introduces us to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), R2D2 (Kenny Baker), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), and the evil Darth Vader (David Prowse, with the voice of James Earl Jones), as a wide-eyed farm boy from another planet join forces with stout-hearted rebels out to defeat the evil ruling Empire and rescue a beautiful princess. Star Wars: Episode V -- The Empire Strikes Back reunites this band of heroes and villains as Darth Vader continues his war against the rebels, fighting increases on both frozen and desert planets in the galaxy, Han Solo reunites with his clever but duplicitous old pal Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), and Luke receives intensive Jedi instruction from the mystical Yoda (Frank Oz). And Star Wars: Episode VI -- Return of the Jedi concludes the series as Han Solo and Princess Leia (in a metal bikini that made her the lust object of sci-fi fans everywhere) escape the clutches of the disgusting Jabba the Hutt, Luke confronts his heritage in a battle with Darth Vader, the furry Ewoks help save the day, and Luke and Leia find out why their romance would never work out. All three of these films were re-released in 1997 in new editions with revised special-effects sequences and deleted scenes restored; both the original versions and these "special editions" are available on home video, and have been packaged in boxed sets.
High Artistic Quality, High Historical Importance, High Production Values