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Legion of fans to celebrate Star Wars 40th birthday

May 25, 2017 - UNITED STATES

Strife out there in the Galaxy hooked Star Wars fans in their droves on May 25, 1977. Forty years later, they are still on the hook and the sequels keep coming. Lucasfilm, the company founded by Star Wars creator George Lucas, kicks off the anniversary celebrations in Orlando, Florida, on April 13-16.

The full title of the original is Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. The 40th anniversary is sandwiched between the seventh and eighth chapters of the saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (December 2015) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (December 2017). The Force Awakens reunited the original Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia for another run at vanquishing enemies in a galaxy far, far away. Director JJ Abrams set the plot 30 years after the original, a device that accommodates the decades of graying for Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and the late Carrie Fisher, who finished shooting for the coming eighth chapter before her death in December 2016.

The original Star Wars trilogy, released between 1977 and 1983, was envisioned by director Lucas as the central chunk of a nine-movie cycle. The Walt Disney company bought Lucasfilm for more than US $4 billion in 2012, giving the massive media conglomerate free reign over the multi-billion-dollar Star Wars franchise. Disney is behind the newest trilogy, and plans to keep the story going into the distant future. It is reported to be eyeing cross-platform applications for games, virtual reality, books, comics and television.

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Date written/update: 2016-07-20