The Star Wars franchise is known for its complex and expansive storyline, which spans multiple movies, TV shows, books, and other media. However, the order in which these stories were released is not always the order in which they take place within the Star Wars universe. In this article, we’ll explore why Star Wars was released out of order and how this affected the franchise’s overall narrative.
Origins of Star Wars
The first Star Wars film, later retitled as Episode IV: A New Hope, was released in 1977. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $775 million worldwide and kickstarting the Star Wars franchise. However, at the time of its release, the filmmakers had no idea that the film would become the massive cultural phenomenon that it is today.
When Star Wars was initially released, it was simply called Star Wars, without any episode number attached. It wasn’t until the release of the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, that the film was retitled as Episode IV: A New Hope, retroactively adding a sense of chronology and continuity to the franchise.
Why Star Wars Was Released Out of Order
The reason why Star Wars was released out of order has to do with the way that the original trilogy was conceived and produced. George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, had always envisioned the story as a larger saga, with a clear beginning, middle, and end. However, when he was initially writing the screenplay for the first film, he had no idea if it would be successful enough to warrant a sequel.
As a result, Lucas wrote the first Star Wars film as a standalone story, with a workable self-contained story. When the film became a hit, Lucas was able to use its success to convince studios to fund sequels, allowing him to continue the story he had envisioned.
The Impact on the Star Wars Narrative
The fact that Star Wars was released out of order had a significant impact on the franchise’s overall narrative. When the prequel trilogy was released in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it told the story of Anakin Skywalker’s rise and fall as Darth Vader, filling in the backstory of the original trilogy. However, because the prequels were released after the original trilogy, audiences already knew the outcome of Anakin’s story, which affected the way they experienced the prequels.
In addition, the release order of the Star Wars films has led to some confusion and debate among fans about the best way to watch the films. Some argue that the films should be watched in the order in which they take place within the Star Wars timeline, while others believe that they should be watched in the order in which they were released.
The Short Answer
The reason why Star Wars was released out of order has to do with the way that the original trilogy was conceived and produced. While this decision had a significant impact on the franchise’s overall narrative, it has also contributed to the cultural significance and longevity of the Star Wars franchise.
Image: Star Wars