Lucas’s Star Wars Galaxy

Authored by: Chris Hanson

The Routledge Companion to Imaginary Worlds

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138638914
eBook ISBN: 9781315637525
Adobe ISBN:


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From the iconic opening words of the original 1977 film, George Lucas’s Star Wars makes it clear that it does not create a mere fictional world, but rather an imaginary entire universe. Before selling the Star Wars franchise to the Walt Disney Company in 2012, Lucas had directly overseen six narrative feature films within this invented universe that had grossed approximately $4.3 billion in box office revenues (Miller, 2015). Yet these films constitute a literal fraction of what the franchise had generated in merchandise sales—it is estimated that it had generated in excess of $40 billion by 2013 through the first six films and their accompanying merchandise and transmedia iterations (Taylor, 2014). The Star Wars films reflect only a small portion of thousands of other officially licensed texts such as novels, video games, comic books, television programs, and others that comprise the Star Wars universe. The authorship of Star Wars has extended well beyond Lucas from its beginning and the scale of this fictional creation is such that licensed encyclopedias and atlases document its inhabitants and galactic geographies, and a master database termed the “holocron”—a reference to a fictional archive of knowledge within the Star Wars universe—is kept by the license-holders of Star Wars as a means of tracking the tens of thousands of entries for narrative continuity and cohesion (Wallace, & Fry, 2009; Sansweet, 1998). The sale of Star Wars to Disney promises only to grow this imagined universe even more, as numerous new films, books, comics, video games, and other media are planned. As much as Star Wars already dominates aspects of popular culture, its presence is likely to only increase in the coming years.

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