The Star Wars franchise has an extensive impact on popular culture


A galaxy far, far away Mural at Disney World depicts pivotal characters in the Star Wars franchise. Photo by Ava Steil

David Lopez, Sports editor

A galaxy far, far away Mural at Disney World depicts pivotal characters in the Star Wars franchise. Photo by Ava Steil

On Dec. 20, 2019, the final installment of the main Star Wars film series, “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker” hit theaters and marked a close to a story of nine films. 

Star Wars is easily one of the most recognizable names in the entertainment world. Hundreds of millions of people have watched the Star Wars films, bought DVDs, worn Star Wars costumes, read Star Wars books and millions more have interacted with the gigantic Star Wars fan community. 

From its humble beginnings as George Lucas’ re-imagination of 1950s samurai films, Star Wars is the global phenomenon no one expected. Since the release of “A New Hope” in 1977, viewers have been captivated by the universe of characters and stories Lucas created, which completely changed the film industry.

In a time where mafias, disco dancers and romantic comedies were dominant in film, Star Wars stood out like a sore thumb. Five decades later, science fiction and fantasy are possibly the most popular genres in film and are at the top of the box office every single year.

Movies that were originally met with mixed reviews and not much media attention grew into a commodity in popular culture. Each of the first eight-film releases in Star Wars are among the top five highest-grossing films of the year they were released. 

So many come out to see every new movie and almost as many have built a deep connection with the characters and storyline of Star Wars. 

It is difficult to find any single person who has not heard of Star Wars. Whether they enjoy the space-operas or not, the control Star Wars has over our popular culture is impossible to ignore. 

The hype and attention given to each Star Wars release is just as widespread as the last, even 42 years after the first film’s release. For each new film, fans create thousands of YouTube videos, blog posts and direct tons of attention to the release which only further builds the excitement for it. 

“The Rise of Skywalker” marks an end to an epic saga of characters and stories which will live on in the film industry for decades to come. Spin-off films and smaller stories picked up by sites like Disney + and Netflix will help carry on this legacy. With how invested people are in the franchise, this likely will not be the last we see of Star Wars.