The Impact of the Star Wars Franchise on its audience

Published: 2023/07/06 Number of words: 1422

Since the first film in 1977, Star Wars has gone onto to have 12 films in total and a huge and supportive fan base. These films are still enjoyed today and will continue to be enjoyed for many more years to come. This essay aims to evaluate what has made these films so popular. While also discussing the lasting effect this franchise has had on its audience.

These films aren’t one genre but a mixture. They are a “science-fiction adventure, a fairy tale, a Western, a war movie, a samurai epic, a slapstick comedy, and even a Shakespearean tragedy” (DK, 2015, p.242). Star Wars is a mixture of many different genres, yet they all work in unison. In short, these films, directed by George Lucas, follow the protagonist Luke Skywalker played by Mark Hamill. Luke Skywalker’s story is about a “young man’s quest for self-fulfilment” (Curtis, 1980, p.591). We watch good vs evil and the Empire vs the Rebellion. We witness a universe of “heroic farm boys, duelling knights, comical servants, dark lords, oppressed rebels, and princesses” (DK, 2015, p.242). These films cover a range of themes, full of twists and turns that keep the audience coming back. The Star Wars franchise is one of the most successful set of movies; fans still enjoy these movies today.

Star Wars covers a wide range of topics and issues, this helps make them relatable and enjoyable. The creator of Star Wars, George Lucas has said that these films are not just for entertainment; they teach important lessons. They aren’t only a good vs evil film, or a boy meets girl film. Star Wars “provides a canvas wide enough to portray and discuss real issues, things that matter over the long run” (Brin, 2006, p.2). Star Wars may be set in a different universe but, the locations and characters feel familiar. Hence the audience can relate to what they are watching.

These films have their own style and look. Audiences are transported to other worlds and meet new creatures. Each film itself always looks appealing. This is due to the locations and visual effects, while also the colour used stands out. There is a clear “stark contrast of light and dark, black and white, used to organise shots” (Rubey, 1978). The Star Wars films look like they have been thought through and this universe feels believable to a fan. There is a clear choice made with colours. There is a clear contrast with Luke and Princess Leia wearing white and Darth Vader wearing black. Thus, the striking colour choices help immersed in the world they are watching. While making particular characters noticeable and recognisable.

The Star Wars films have been loved for many years and has created a lot of dedicated and hard-core fans. It is believed that a religion has begun from these films. Year after year there has been a rise in the religion known as ‘Jediism’. Fans have been taking these films and using them as a way to live their lives. Using the same teachings that Luke was taught. The original films have been so loved that even if you tried to change them, fans have become outraged. In 1999, George Lucas released a special edition of the original three films, these included shots not in the original films. Fans of the films were upset because these shots altered the films that they were so familiar with. A change that caused a lot of controversy was a scene between Han Solo played by Harrison Ford and Greedo. Originally Han Solo shoots Greedo first, but in the special edition Greedo shoots first and then Hans shoots him back. Both have the same outcome, but fans weren’t happy with this change. Fans didn’t want the original films changed and believed they shouldn’t be. George Lucas has defended his choice and claimed that “the originals were unfinished works, and now with more time, money and technology, he was able to finish the film the way it was meant to” (Lyden, 2012, p.779). Certain fans have taken these films to heart.  They believe that there are teachings in these films that can help them throughout life. However, some fans have taken ownership of these films and don’t want them changed for any reason.

Other dedicated fans have also created their own versions of these films at home. They are word to word perfect compared to the originals. It was known that “spoofs and parodies of Star Wars were omnipresent the summer of 1999” (Jenkins, 2006, p.551). Yet these spoofs and parodies gave fans more Star Wars content to enjoy. Star Wars is mentioned in other TV shows and the stars of the films have appeared in them. If it is known that someone in Star Wars is going to make a cameo, fans will want to watch what they are doing. There is a long list of TV shows that reference Star Wars, such as The Simpsons (1989-), Family Guy (1999-) and Glee (2009-2015) to name a few. Star Wars is such a popular film series that it is mentioned in a wide range of TV shows, some that you wouldn’t expect. It is such a popular film series that most people have at least heard about it. While most people have watched at least one of the twelve films.

It can’t be surprising that this franchise is loved and enjoyed for so long. It covers important themes and teaches important lessons to its audience. The main theme throughout the saga is about fall and redemption. It teaches its audience to be loyal, that every life has a value and realise that other people see the world differently to you. This series of films “articulates and feeds on its audience’s feelings of frustration and desires for escape, mobility, and power” (Rubey, 2012, p.52). It gives its audiences hope that when a situation is tough that you can get through to the other side and make things better.

The Star Wars franchise has made a lasting impression on its audiences, with more people enjoying these films every year. They will go down as one of the most popular and successful movie franchises of all time. It has created a devoted fan base, which could be considered to have taken the films more to heart than was originally intended. It teaches its audience lessons about life but still entertains them. The Star Wars films have had a huge impact on its audience for various reasons. Few other film series will be able to compete with what Star Wars has achieved.

Reference List:

Brin, D. (2006) ‘Introduction: Do Myths Teach Us? If So, What Have We All Learned from Star Wars’. In Brin, D. and Stover, W. (eds). Star Wars on Trial: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Debate the Most Popular Science Fiction Film of All Time. Texas: Benbella Books Inc. pp. 1-6.

Curtis, J. (1980) ‘American Graffiti to Star Wars’. Journal of Popular Culture. 13(4). pp. 590-601.

DK. (2015) The Movie Book. London: Darling Kindersley Limited.

Jenkins, H. (2006) ‘Quentin Tarantino’s Star Wars?: Digital Cinema, Media Convergence, and Participatory Culture’. In Durham, M. and Kellner, D. (eds). Media and Cultural Studies Keyworks. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. pp. 549-576.

Lyden, J. (2012) ‘Whose Film Is It, Anyway? Canonicity and Authority in Star Wars Fandom’. Journal of the American Academy of Religion. 80(3). pp.  775-786. DOI: 10.1093/jaarel/lfs037.

Rubey, D. (1978) ‘Star Wars: Not so long ago, not so far away’. Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media. Available at:  (Accessed: 8th September 2021).

Rubey, D. (2012) ‘Not so Long Ago nor Too Far Away: New Variations on Old Themes and Questioning Star Wars’ Revival of Heroic Archetypes’. In Brode, D. and Deyneka, L. (eds). Myth, Media, and Culture in Star Wars: An Anthology. Plymouth: Scarecrow Press Inc. pp.  47-64.


Ratcliffe, A. (2015) 10 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM STAR WARS. Star Wars. Available at: (Accessed: 8th September 2021).

Collins, R. (1977) ‘Star Wars: The Pastiche of Myth and the Yearning for A Past Future’. Journal of Popular Culture. 11(1). pp. 1-10.


Family Guy. (1999-).

Glee. (2009-2015).

Star Wars. (1977-2019).

The Simpsons. (1989-).

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