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Key Facts

Key Facts

full titles

 ·  Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
 ·  Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
 ·  Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi


 ·  A New Hope: George Lucas
 ·  The Empire Strikes Back: Irvin Kershner
 ·  Return of the Jedi: Richard Marquand

leading actors/actresses · Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill

supporting actors/actresses · Kenny Baker, Peter Cushing, Anthony Daniels, Alec Guinness, James Earl Jones (voice), Peter Mayhew, Ian McDiarmid, Frank Oz, David Prowse, Billy Dee Williams

type of work · Feature film

genre · Science Fiction

language · English, various extraterrestrial languages

time and place produced · 1977–1983, EMI Elstree Studios, England


 ·  A New Hope: Oscar for Best Visual Effects; Special Achievement, Sound Effects
 ·  The Empire Strikes Back: Oscar for Best Sound Effects; Special Achievement, Visual Effects
 ·  Return of the Jedi: Oscar for Special Achievement, Visual Effects

date of release

 ·  A New Hope: 1977
 ·  The Empire Strikes Back: 1980
 ·  Return of the Jedi: 1983


 ·  A New Hope: George Lucas, Gary Kurtz
 ·  The Empire Strikes Back: George Lucas, Gary Kurtz
 ·  Return of the Jedi: George Lucas, Howard Kazanjian

setting (time) · A long time ago . . .

setting (place) · A galaxy far, far away . . .

protagonist · Luke Skywalker, a young farm boy from an out-of-the way planet, who discovers that his destiny is to become a Jedi Knight and save the galaxy from the evil Empire, and to redeem his father, Darth Vader, from the dark side of the Force.

major conflict · The conflict between the brave but outgunned Rebel Alliance and the mighty Galactic Empire serves as the backdrop to the struggle within Luke: should he remain true to the noble but difficult way of the Jedi, or give in to his anger and desire for revenge—give in, that is, to the dark side of the Force?

rising action · As Luke grows in power and understanding of the Force (and of his own past), he and his friends take part in the struggle against the Empire, first rescuing Princess Leia from captivity, then leading the assault on the Death Star, then fleeing from the ice planet Hoth as the Empire counterattacks, and finally regrouping, after a detour to save Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, for a final assault on the Emperor and his rebuilt Death Star.

climax · As Luke faces his father, Darth Vader, before the Emperor himself, in a battle of wills over Vader’s soul, Vader at last remembers the Jedi Knight he once was and destroys the Emperor, saving his son but losing his own life.

falling action · The new Death Star is destroyed, the friends are reunited, the galaxy is freed of the Empire, and Luke gets a glimpse of his father’s spirit, now freed from captivity to the dark side—Darth Vader no longer, and once again Anakin Skywalker.

themes · The mystery and power of the Force; the superiority of nature over technology; the myth of the hero’s destiny

motifs · Color used for characterization; orchestral soundtrack; speed

symbols · Luke’s cybernetic hand; lightsabers; the Death Star

foreshadowing · C-3PO calls Luke “Sir Luke”; Obi-Wan tells Luke that their destinies lie along different paths; Luke sees his own face in Vader’s helmet in his vision on Dagobah; Yoda reminds Obi-Wan that if Luke fails, “there is another”

More Help

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Did Han shoot first?

by haysforhroses, July 11, 2012

So the overview says the Han blasted his way out of his confrontation with Greedo - but - did he shoot first? Anyone know for sure?


1 out of 5 people found this helpful

Revenge of the Sith in Plot Overview

by bjimenez5, January 02, 2013

Dear Sparknotes,
You should include Revenge of the Sith in the plot overviews. I also recommend you update your film list to include other famous classic films and movies that came out over the past ten or twenty years. Thanks.


5 out of 9 people found this helpful

*Addition* Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

by Rankatron, December 17, 2015

Most of this I wrote myself, while I borrowed some elements from smaller synopsis. Hope this helps!

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
During a space battle over the planet Coruscant between the Galactic Republic and the Separatist Alliance, Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker lead a mission to rescue the kidnapped Supreme Chancellor Palpatine from Separatist commander General Grievous’s battle cruiser while the Republic army wages siege on it. After navigating through the S... Read more


14 out of 16 people found this helpful

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