The 40th Anniversary of Star Wars: The Underdog That Stole Our Hearts


On this day, 40 years ago, curious fans sat in their seats at their local movie theater, unaware that their movie watching experience would change forever. The screen goes dark, and a few simple words pop up on the screen…


A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….




The blistering sound of an explosive orchestra jolted you in your seat like a rocket, the words “STAR WARS” racing away from you into the distance, and then a scroll…


Star Wars (1977) Original Opening Crawl


GEORGE LUCAS’ space opera was unleashed to the world on May 25th, 1977. An underdog of a film, with a final budget of only $11 million, Star Wars was made with more imagination, LOVE, an ingenuity than anything else. The innocence behind the original film has fallen by the wayside over the years, as the franchise has turned into a mammoth unstoppable juggernaut (not that we are complaining). The Star Wars universe that we live in now is about teasers, trailers, spoilers, analyzing and dissecting every actor quote from an interview, and every bit of information we hear. I wouldn’t have a job here if we didn’t, so guilty as charged! But sometimes we really need to stop, sit back, and remember why George made these movies, for kids, for FAMILIES, to bring us together and help us remember that imaginations are limitless, and HOPE is alive.



It was a dark time in the world in the mid-to-late 1970’s. The post-Vietnam War United States was in shambles with sky rocketing interest rates, gas prices, debt, and a lost sense of hope. Movies were becoming routine, unimaginative, carbon copies of what has sold previously. Star Wars not only changed movies, it kick-started a love affair with the fantastical idea that even a farm boy on a forgotten planet could reach the stars he always watched set in the horizon. Star Wars has never been about planet names, spaceship models, blaster types, it was a simple fantasy tale about good versus evil, and the idea that regardless who you are or where you come from, you can change the world, the galaxy!


One of the original bills for Star Wars (1977)


So on this 40th Anniversary of Star Wars, let’s all remember why George Lucas made these movies in the first place, for kids to be dreamers, for families to come together and have fun, and for us to remember that HOPE is real, and it’s never out of reach. Star Wars wasn’t always the safe bet, the franchise juggernaut, it was a tale created in the mind of one man, a fantasy tribute to the stories he loved from his childhood. So as it goes on for countless generations, we can look back and smile knowing that deep down, Star Wars will always be that underdog that stole our hearts.



“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.”




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John Hoey is the Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net and the host of The Resistance Broadcast podcast

"For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is."

John Hoey

John Hoey is the Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net and the host of The Resistance Broadcast podcast"For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is."

7 thoughts on “The 40th Anniversary of Star Wars: The Underdog That Stole Our Hearts

  • May 25, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    So much time and so much has changed. Looking forward to the next 40 years.

  • May 25, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    I remember life before Star Wars but I don’t remember beling ALIVE until Star Wars. Thanks for 40 years of awesome!

  • May 25, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    I remember the long wait for it to come to the UK, then the seemingly equally long wait queuing to see it.
    I remember the atmosphere as if we were all going to see something special – and we did.
    I remember the cheer as the hamlet robot production line advert came on screen because everyone thought it was starting 😀
    I’ve been to the cinema countless times before and since, but I will never forget that sense of excitement and anticipation that was all around for Star Wars.
    I don’t think people born after this will ever fully appreciate what it was like to live through that.

  • May 25, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    It is hard to believe that it has been 40 years. I’ll admit; I wasn’t alive back then but a part of me would have loved to have been in that theater to see everyone’s reception to the movie. How one franchise ultimately managed to capture the hearts and minds of so many people; how the franchise helped inspire countless filmmakers, writers, and individuals to pursue their dreams. And how we got a glimpse into GL’s creativity. There will be fans who will automatically try to diminish his contributions.

    And no, I am not defending him. He has done some things I vastly disagree with. But one cannot deny the contributions he has made to Hollywood with this franchise. So yes, Happy 40th anniversary SWs. This franchise is always the thing that helps me remember the good times, but also some very powerful life lessons.

    To always be a good person, that things will be rough and nearly impossible at times, but one needs to buck up and hang in there. Because, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Overall, I hope every SWs fan out there is celebrating in some fashion(I’ll be watching these movies back to back on the weekend) and May the Force be with you.


  • May 25, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Glad SWNN ‘stickied’ this article. It was in danger of getting lost in the deluge of interesting Vanity Fair coverage.

  • May 25, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Forty years ago, in a city far, far away…..

    I remember walking into the Crest Theatre on Rising Sun Boulevard in the Lawncrest section of Philadelphia, holding my parents hand as a 3 year old, and seeing Darth Vader in the lobby. I have no idea how accurate the costume was in retrospect, but I was terrified. I gripped my Mom’s hand a little tighter, making sure to keep her between me and the dark lord of the sith as we found our way through he crowds and into the theatre.

    What happened next was magic. While I have no memory of actually watching the movie, I remember “feelings, images really.” To this day, my Mom still tells me about the face that I made when it began, how my eyes never wavered from the screen, how I cheered when Luke destroyed the Death Star.

    I was immediately hooked. Over the years, as I have grown alongside the expanding Star Wars universe, Star Wars has permeated many aspects of my life – entertainment in the forms of books, toys, games, being introduced for the first time as a married couple to the triumphant “The Throne Room” by John Williams from A New Hope, participating in fund raising events for Make A Wish while costumed with friends and family, marching through Boston in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade as a Tusken Raider and having lots of “happy” people asking me “to do the noise,” performing with the Concord Chorale in “Star Wars in Concert” with Anthony Daniels, a symphony orchestra, making annual family Halloween costumes, running a team of Star Wars sled dogs, and now being able to share Star Wars with my own children and seeing the looks on their faces as they experience these wonder-full stories.

    Star Wars, really the principles and moral tale it tells, have guided many choices in my life. I try to “feel the light,” to “use the force for knowledge and defense,” to remember that “luminous beings are we,” and “to pass on what I have learned.” Star Wars has given me, my friends, my family, so many opportunities to experience joy, to be able to escape to that galaxy far, far away when we need a break from this universe, and has brought many people into my life that I am grateful to know. For us, Star Wars IS the force that surrounds us, penetrates us, binds our galaxy together.

    Happy Birthday Star Wars. To all my fellow fans out there, may the force be with you.

  • May 26, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    I’ll admit it, when I was little, Revenge of the Sith was my favorite Star Wars movie. But A New Hope is such a well-made, high quality film that even then, it as genuinely fascinated with it. it was one of my favorite DVDs 😉

    Happy Belated Birthday, Star Wars.

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