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'Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope' (1977)

Essential Information

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The cast of 'Star Wars' aboard the Millennium Falcon.

Lucasfilm Ltd.

What A New Hope Is About

Episode IV: A New Hope -- originally just called Star Wars -- was the first Star Wars film ever made. The story follows Luke Skywalker, a farm boy from Tatooine. With the help of mysterious hermit Obi-Wan Kenobi and daring smuggler Han Solo, Luke rescues Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader and joins the Rebel Alliance. Together, they fight against the Empire's new superweapon, the Death Star.

Releases of A New Hope

Star Wars Episode IV premiered in theaters on May 25, 1977. The Special Edition release, a remastered and altered version, premiered in theaters on January 31, 1997. A New Hope was released on DVD in September 2004 as part of an Original Trilogy boxed set; all of the movies featured further changes from the Special Edition versions. In September 2006, the original theatrical version of A New Hope was finally released on DVD.

Cast and Crew

Directed and Written by George Lucas. Cast: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia Organa), Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin), Alec Guinness (Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), David Prowse (Darth Vader), James Earl Jones (Darth Vader (voice)), Phil Brown (Uncle Owen), Shelagh Fraser (Aunt Beru), Jack Purvis (Chief Jawa), Alex McCrindle (General Dodonna), Eddie Byrne (General Willard), Drewe Hemley (Red Leader).

Origins of A New Hope

Star Wars was the brainchild of writer and director George Lucas, previously known for THX 1138 and American Graffiti. The story and concepts are heavily inspired by both the pulp sci-fi serials of the 1930s, such as Flash Gordon, and Japanese Samurai films. Although A New Hope was not labeled Episode IV until after its success, George Lucas had already planned a sprawling epic of as many as nine or twelve films exploring the Star Wars universe; these were eventually cut back to the six films we know today, plus the Expanded Universe.

Key A New Hope Characters

The characters in A New Hope tend to follow certain heroic archetypes. Luke Skywalker is an unremarkable, whiny teenager whose heritage has been kept secret by a well-meaning aunt and uncle. He learns that his father was a Jedi warrior, and that he has the potential to become one himself, from elderly mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi. Han Solo is a smuggler with a heart of gold, and Princess Leia is more than just a love interest, but a strong heroine and Rebel leader. Humorous sidekicks, including the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO and Han Solo's Wookiee copilot Chewbacca, round out the team.

Flavor of A New Hope

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is a rip-roaring space opera and a classic coming-of-age hero story. The focus on the Force, the mystical energy field that gives Jedi their power, blurs the line between sci-fi and fantasy, but Star Wars still has plenty of aliens, space battles and explosions. As the first movie made in the Star Wars saga, A New Hope is really the only one that can really stand on its own as a complete story.

Also Known As...

Star Wars
Episode IV
A New Hope

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