Star Wars Episodes IV–VI

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Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas 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

directors

 · 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

awards

 · 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

producer

 · 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”