When the original Star Wars Trilogy (Special Editions) were finally released on DVD in September 2004 - some 5 years after DVDs really started to take off, Best Buy stores in the USA were giving away an exclusive issue of Star Wars Insider Magazine with all Trilogy Box Set (and Star Wars Battlefront Video Game) sales. In addition to an article by uber collector Steven Sansweet on the cultural impact of Star Wars, the magazine provides a brief overview of all the main characters, vehicles and plotlines. Thanks to "Sophist" for preserving this piece of Star Wars history.
THE STAR WARS® TRILOGY DVD COLLECTION
The Star Wars DVD collection has been on the minds and most-desired lists of fans the world over for years. For a generation, audiences have watched and revered these priceless films, and the time has finally come to see them as George Lucas envisioned. The collection includes the entire trilogy, and each has been masterfully restored to look and sound better than when they were first released in theaters more than two decades ago. In addition, there is a fourth disc full of bonus material, such as the wonderful documentary, Star Wars: Empire of Dreams, which chronicles the making of each film, as well as a playable demo for the Xbox video game system of the new LucasArts title, Star Wars Battlefront. The book you have in your hands is a supplement to both the film and video game, and it is full of great images and facts about the most influential characters, vehicles, aliens, and droids to populate the Star Wars galaxy. So grab your popcorn or your controller and prepare yourself for one of the greatest thrill rides in cinematic history!
STAR WARS: A CULTURAL ICON.........................02
REBEL VEHICLES.................................... .34
STAR WARS-. EPISODE IV A NEW HOPE DVD.............40
STAR WARS: EPISODE V THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK DVD....42
STAR WARS-. EPISODE VI RETURN OF THE JEDI DVD......44
STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT PREVIEW....................46
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Brett Rector ART DIRECTOR: Gregory Harsh COPY EDITORS: Jennifer DeGraff, Jessica Dryden-Cook, Pete Babb CONTRIBUTORS: Steve Sansweet, Adam Pavlacka, Frank Parisi
Copyright © 2004 Lucasfilm Ltd. Star Wars and Lucasfilm are registered trademarks of Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.
STAR WARS: A CULTURAL ICON
JUST HOW DID GEORGE LUCAS'S SPACE FANTASY BECOME A CULTURAL ICON FROM BROOKLYN TO BUDAPEST?
By Steve Sansweet
Autre galaxie, autre temps.
Hace mucho tiempo en una galaxia muy, muy lejano.
Masik ido, masik galaktika.
Eine andere Galaxis, eine andere Zeit.
Toi Mukashi, haruka kanata no gingade.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Has it really been twenty-seven years? Has it only been twenty-seven years since those words came scrolling up movie screens across the world and into our collective consciousness?
Star Wars today seems so much a part of the popular culture—the worldwide popular culture—that for many of us, life without George Lucas's epic space fantasy seems unimaginable. Now I'm not equating a series of films with holding the key to world peace or a cure for some dreaded disease. As George himself says, they're only movies.
Yes, but what inspired movies to have burrowed so deeply into our psyche, starting with English-speaking cultures but then spreading fairly quickly, to cultures throughout the world. Japan. Mexico. Hungary. Russia. As head of Fan Relations for Lucasfilm, not a week passes that I don't hear from fan clubs that I've never heard of before in countries such as Australia, Chile, or Poland that want to know how they can be part of the Star Wars universe, how they can connect to this broad-based and still-growing community of fans and admirers.
And you know how they invariably end their emails? Of course: "May the Force be with you...always."
As I wrote in the introduction to a book brimming with memorable lines from the Star Wars films:
"When a line from a film goes from screen to memory without pausing long enough to be a cliche, that's more than entertainment—that is the very essence of popular culture. And popular culture is one of the few things these days that gives us all at least a little shared identity."
The Star Wars Generation—those of us who grew up or matured with Star Wars on the brain—has been impressed not only with the great visuals, the characters, and the story, but also with the dialog, the funny lines along with the philosophical ones. Sure, some critics may carp and call it cheesy, but why have so many of those lines stayed with us? In fact, searching for inspiration at the computer keyboard, I've been known to quietly mutter half to myself, "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."
So what is it about this saga that has had such staying power and popularity that the public consistently votes one or another of the movies their favorite film in poll after poll? Try these figures for a start. Star Wars is the highest grossing movie saga in history: $3.4 billion in worldwide box office ticket sales for the first five films. More than 200 million people saw Episode I alone. It's also the biggest film-based merchandising program in history with retail sales since inception of around $8 billion. It boasts the best-selling male-action toy line of all time; Episode II merchandise was sold in more than 100 countries across the globe. The Star Wars films have cumulative worldwide video sales of more than 100 million units. It has the best-selling licensed book series ever with Star Wars books translated into more than 30 languages and more than 60 million books in print. And it's a market leader in the interactive gaming industry.
Impressive. Most impressive, as a certain character we love to hate would exclaim. But what's behind those most impressive figures? The movies, of course.. .the Star Wars saga, which sprang from the fertile imagination of a young filmmaker named George Lucas in the early 1970s.
Star Wars has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people worldwide largely because the saga celebrates heroism and the limitless potential of the individual. It engages us. It excites us. It inspires us. But most of all, it's all about fun—the collective fun experienced by its audiences around the world. The movies are so vast in scope and rich with original characters, vehicles, and worlds, that they engage us with the thrill of continual discovery.
George Lucas had no way of knowing whether Star Wars was going to be a moderate success, a boulder in his path, or even a career ender. The British crew that made it—and some of the cast—thought it was a piece of nonsensical trash. Lucas was exhausted and barely got the special effects shots he needed done in time. Advanced critical reaction was decidedly mixed. Certainly no one could have predicted the incredible audience reaction as Star Wars swept America by storm in the summer of 1977.
Still, Lucas always had a broader and deeper story in mind, one he couldn't squeeze into one film; he essentially started in the middle of the action to get his best shot at getting a film made. But if by some miracle there was a chance to continue the story, he was ready. You couldn't help but notice Darth Vader's ship spinning off into the far reaches of space at the end of the film. That's not how movies usually deal with the bad guy, is it?
As hard as it is to believe today, there were hundreds of theaters across the country where Star Wars played all summer long as audiences kept going back again and again. And, although the numbers declined as the leaves turned, there were still a large number of movie houses playing the film first-run. In fact, on May 25,1978 there were still enough theaters playing Star Wars to justify printing a new theatrical poster featuring a birthday cake iced with the Star Wars logo, and proclaiming, "May the Force Be With You. One Year Old Today."
The very success of the film and the quickly-spread word that there would be at least two sequels was another contributing factor leading Star Wars to pop culture icon status. Magazines, which had mostly ignored the film before it came out, competed for interviews with the actors. Photos were everywhere. Rock radio stations played John Williams' dassical-style soundtrack by popular demand, and a disco version was quickly released. For kids, there was little else to talk about on the playground or at camp and certainly back at school in the fall. And having another Star Wars movie in a couple of years kept the topic alive.
Another major factor in the Star Wars phenomenon was the arrival of home video. It's impossible to underestimate the impact of the VCR on popular culture in the last 20 years since it has become a commodity—especially the impact on children, who often use it and for whom
it is used in a different way than adults. Star Wars: A New Hope was not one of the first releases on cassette, to be sure. It came out in May, 1982 for the rental market only, a month after the film was released theatrically for the fourth time. It quickly racked up more than $1 million in rentals, the first video ever to do so. But when the video was released for sale a couple of years later, along with The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, new fans were created—those who had been too young to see the films when they were originally shown on the big screen. And youngsters' viewing patterns often mimicked those of hardcore Star Wars fans: They played it again, and again, and again!
But talk on the playground and continually rewatched videos weren't the only things the saga had going for it. Star Wars as a pop icon owes nearly as much to its ubiquitous merchandising as anything else. Star Wars jump-started the slow-growing licensing business and was responsible for the now taken-for-granted licensing of major movies for products ranging from novels and trading cards to toys and clothing. In fact, according to The Licensing Letter, prior to the release of Star Wars in May 1977, consumers worldwide spent less than $5 billion a year for licensed merchandise. Today that figure tops $118 billion.
Most of the grunt work on the early merchandising efforts fell to Charles Lippincott, then one of only a handful of full-time Lucasfilm employees, who originally was hired to generate publicity for Star Wars. Lucas told Lippincott he really wasn't sure there would be many products tied to the film, but what he really wanted—and what got written into his Fox contract—were three Star Wars boutiques, of all things. It was an idea whose time never came.
Lippincott joined Lucasfilm in November 1975. Within a few weeks, the first contract had been signed. Lucas' lawyer Tom Pollock made a deal with science-fiction republishing guru Judy-Lynn del Rey at Ballantine Books to publish the Star Wars novelization, the script, and a book about the making of the film, which later ended up at Random House as a children's book.
But Lippincott got a chilly reception when he went to NewYor-to try to interest Marvel Comics in doing a Star Wars miniseries to start several months before the film came out. Publisher Stan Lee told him, "Come see me when you finish with your film." Refusing to take no for an answer, Lippincott met with Marvel contributing editor Roy Thomas and over a spaghetti dinner filled him in on the story, showed him the amazing Ralph McQuarrie concept paintings, and asked him to handle the comic-book adaptation of Star Wars along with artist Howard Chaykin. Thomas was hooked and used his considerable powers of persuasion on Lee. The comic book became one of Marvel's most successful titles and lasted for 107 issues over nine years.
Wearing his promotional hat, Lippincott came up with the concept of attending fan conventions to talk up Star Wars, something that led to the huge opening-day crowds and a technique that has become standard for fantasy and horror films. One of the first was the annual San Diego Comic-Con in the summer of 1976, an affair that now draws fans and industry professionals from all over the world. The first limited Star Wars collectibles were available in San Diego, including a special poster drawn by Chaykin, marked "Star Wars Corporation Poster #1 Only 1,000 were printed and offered at $1.75 each to cover costs. Most were still remaining at the end of the convention. Today, they can easily go for more than $400.
Lippincott also attended the World Science Fiction Convention in Kansas City just two weeks after the Republican National Convention there. This time he set up a room and brought along art, costumes and some props. A new science fiction monthly magazine, Starlog, started publishing and ran tantalizing tidbits about the new film. Lippincott was successfully priming the target audience.
For its part, Fox didn't seem to know what to do about merchandising at first. The job belonged to an executive whose main function was to oversee the studio's backlot. Finally, Fox attorney Marc Pevers, who oversaw contracts and had some knowledge of Fox's moderate success with Planet of the Apes licensing, made his move to fill the vacuum. So it was Lippincott and Pevers, neither of whom had ever negotiated a major licensing deal, who hitched their wagon to Star Wars and rode it for all it was worth. It was, and remains, the most successful movie merchandising campaign in history. With a dynamic trailer in theaters in December 1976, Lippincott and Pevers sent out letters to several hundred manufacturers telling them that the film not only would be a great movie and great event, but a spectacular licensing vehicle. The response was abysmal. Manufacturers complained about the "short shelf life" of films and insisted that the science-fiction genre had died a generation before.
Clearly, the key to any long-term merchandising success would be toys. Because toys are a highly visible, mass-market item as opposed to limited-edition collectibles or even peripheral items such as gum cards, a great toy line could bring in hefty revenues and help promote the film and any sequels. The trick was finding the right company; for a while, the trick seemed to be finding any company.
A few small manufacturers offered to make a single game or a series of cheap, bagged plastic toys with a paper Star Wars logo slapped on, but Lucasfilm wouldn't entertain such offers. Lower-level officials at one major toy company expressed interest but corporate higher-ups were convinced that movie toys were anathema.
So, with the film premiere less than four months away, Lippincott and Pevers traveled to New York in February 1977 to attend Toy Fair, the annual trade show where manufacturers show their lines for the year to toy retailers and the media. The men set up a slide show at Fox New York headquarters and made the rounds trying to get toy makers to at least look at and listen to their pitch. At one company that had past ties to Fox, a top executive literally shoved Lippincott out the door of his office. Lippincott had great satisfaction months later hanging up on the executive when he called begging for reconsideration. A few years later, the company went bankrupt.
But there was one toy company that not only expressed interest in Star Wars, but also had the resources to follow through. Kenner Products had been founded in Cincinnati in 1947 and was bought by General Mills, the big cereal maker, 20 years later. George Lucas' counterpart in the toy world was Kenner president Bernard Loomis, and luckily, he was on the lookout for the next hot toy. He was also a risk taker and had a band of hotshot designers working for him who were intrigued by what they saw of Star Wars.
In late January, Fox's Pevers had talked on the telephone to Kenner's vice president of product planning and had gotten a positive enough response to send him a copy of the script and a portfolio of stills and drawings from the film. Bernie Loomis—pushed by his enthusiastic design staff—decided that Star Wars had a "toy-etic' feel. "Nobody could've predicted how big the movie would become,' Loomis told me. "In fact, I assumed the film would come and go quickly—movies never lasted more than a couple of months—and that we'd do the toys the following year without any movie there to help us." Fox held out the possibility that Star Wars would become a weekly TV series, much like Planet of the Apes, and the initial deal was structured to provide higher royalties for the series than for the film.
Still, Loomis bargained hard and got exclusive worldwide rights for all toy-related products. That actually worked to the long-term benefit of the Star Wars license because it kept schlock merchandise off the shelves and made sure that an avalanche of product didn't flatten the market all at once.
Contractually, Kenner promised only to market one "all family action board game" in 1977 and said it "contemplated" selling three different action playsets with figures the following year. But behind the scenes, the design department was cooking on all burners. Dave Okada, then Kenner's vice president of preliminary design, was so excited the day the preliminary agreement was reached that he went home, dug into his sock drawer, and pulled out a tan sock to make a doll of one of the Sand People and a brown sock to make a Jawa.
The key decision in the launch of the Star Wars line—one that not only insured its success but has affected the toy industry to this day—was made in Bernie Loomis' office, early one morning just as the March sun was rising over Cincinnati. Okada was in his office when Loomis called a little after 7 a.m. and asked him to come upstairs. "Let's figure out what we're going to do with these Star Wars figures," Loomis said.
Kenner had been successful with 12-inch-tall Six Million Dollar Man dolls, as Hasbro had been with G.l. Joe. But Star Wars was clearly going to be a vehicle- and accessory-driven line, and if a 12-inch Han Solo was going to pilot his Millennium Falcon, the ship would have to be five-feet in diameter and cost several hundred dollars. That was dearly impossible.
"We were hashing it around, trying to decide what to do, when Bernie held up his right hand, the thumb and forefinger apart, and asked, 'How about that big, Dave?'" Okada says. Okada took a six-inch steel ruler from his shirt pocket, measured the open space at 3 and 3/4 inches, and the two men decided that would be as good a height as any for the hero, Luke Skywalker, with the other figures scaled from there.
Once they made that decision, they never looked back. Coincidentally, Kenner also scored on the collectibility front. While marketers at first thought kids would pick and choose among their favorite characters, it turned out that at under $2 a figure, they wanted them all—a line that would grow to 111 different figures by 1985. The size of the figures also led to reasonable prices for the vehicles and playsets, since they could also be much smaller.
The initial game plan was to turn out three vehicles and six small action figures, but the lead-time in the toy industry is usually 18 months, a year if things are really rushed. With Lucas and ILM still frantically working on the film, Kenner designers at
first didn't have much to work with. Lucasfilm sent one photograph each of the X-wing, TIE fighter and Millennium Falcon.
Still, development was progressing on schedule at Kenner. Then Star Wars opened on May 25 at 32 theaters across the country, and all hell broke loose. Overnight, Kenner went from three spaceships and a half dozen figures to more than 30 products.
And overnight, retailers and the public started clamoring for Star Wars toys. Kenner managed to get out some boxed puzzles, paint-by-number sets, and even a board game by late fall, but despite its best efforts, it became increasingly apparent that the company wouldn't be able to ship any action figures or vehicles by Christmas. Other manufacturers, many of them fly-by-night, took advantage by shipping millions of cheap lightsaber like toys, or used old molds and repackaged 10-year-old space toys.
Kenner was getting bad publicity. Even worse, it was losing big money. That's when Bernie Loomis thought up the now infamous empty-box-for-Christmas
gambit. "I couldn't deliver the toys they wanted by Christmas, so I decided to give the kids a pretty picture and a promise to their-parents that we'd deliver the toys as soon as possible after Christmas," Loomis told me in an interview. "Everybody at Kenner tried to talk me out of it. The head guy on our advertising account flew in from New York to tell me I was crazy. The media excoriated me. But it worked!"
The Early Bird Certificate packages, which were sealed tighter than Fort Knox to prevent in-store pilferage, contained a thin cardboard "stage" for the first 12 action figures, a few assorted pieces of paper and a certificate redeemable by mail for the first four action figures. Some 600,000 were shipped. A large number went unsold and were returned by retailers after Christmas, and the concept was knocked in the press and by some television commentators. But the certificates reminded the public that Kenner Star Wars toys were on the way, and thus were deemed an overall marketing success.
In a way, having little product available in May 1977 probably helped the Star Wars merchandising phenomenon last as long as it did. For it became true consumer-driven demand that propelled the products, not some false sense of need created by a massive advertising campaign or hype. The action figures started shipping early in 1978 and didn't stop until some 250 million were sold through 1985, as the first round of Star Wars mania took a breather.
The huge success of Star Wars gave George Lucas the clout to renegotiate with Fox, and within a year, he pulled the primary merchandising activities back into Lucasfilm. The film was opening all over the world in dubbed or subtitled versions, and the U.S. merchandising phenomenon was repeated in market after market—the first film to show such international appeal. In the United Kingdom alone there were 36 manufacturers—only two of whom had ever before licensed a film—who sold 136 different products. In Europe, many of the mass-market products tended to be at the lower end of the spectrum. Part of the consideration was that kids—and their parents—had less money to spend. Lucas concedes that a lot of people have criticized the merchandising. "They don't like the idea of someone trading off one medium for another," he says. "But my feeling is that if you develop a fantasy world in a movie, it isn't a particularly bad thing—in fact, it's probably very helpful—to have kids go home and be able to simulate a fantasy world there and continue to work through whatever emotional needs have been stirred by the film."
And playing with action figures is indeed one of the ways that Star Wars became a cultural icon. The repetitive nature of the play pattern, the culturization of it—that is, usually playing with other kids—the fantasies that kids were able to create to extend the movies into their own lives...these things hadn't existed before with a film because, as we've seen, films hadn't been successfully licensed. So, the Star Wars breakthrough on the merchandising front is important, not just as a footnote to commercial and century. It was a first. And because of its quality, the breadth of the universe it covered, and the spread of the products, it was also the king of merchandising.
After a lengthy hiatus following the release of Return of the Jedi, a Star Wars renaissance began with a new adult fiction program. The first novel, Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire, soared to number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Hey! What's going on here? Remember all those kids who talked about nothing but Star Wars in the summer of '77? Who bashed their little Luke Skywalker against their friend's Darth Vader? Who watched The Empire Strikes Back on video so many times the tape wore out? That's what was going on. The Star Wars Generation was awake, and was hungry, and was consuming everything in sight, even ugly little bendy figures when there weren't any real action figures to buy.
And then finally The Word came from that mystical place called The Ranch: The Classic films were being resurrected, albeit in a somewhat new guise known as the Special Edition. And birth was being given to triplets, to be called the Prequels, the first new Star Wars films in a generation. And new action figures too! If this wasn't a quasi-religious experience for Star Wars fans, I don't know what else would qualify.
In Star Wars there is a childlike innocence that is still very much alive and well in the hearts and minds of the protagonists. There are still heroes who will do battle against the forces of evil. And, when confronted by evil, if one calls upon the power of the Force, one can—in the end—triumph over the worst that evil can do. And those are especially comforting thoughts in the troubled times in which we live today.
But maybe there's even something more, another reason why in a world where movies and actors' careers come and go like
a spring shower, Star Wars has the staying power of an ocean. In 2001 it was voted as the number one film of all time in a readers' poll by the leading British film magazine, Empire, with The Empire Strikes Back coming in a close second, outranking such usual critical favorites as Citizen Kane, Casablanca, and It's a Wonderful Life.
Critics may scoff, but for the public, Star Wars just seems to grow in popularity. For an entire generation,
Star Wars has been a defining cinematic moment, inspiring countless young men and women to pursue creative careers...and not just in film. 1
British commentator Marcus Dunk thinks that maybe the reason kids still flock to see the saga and so many adults adore it is that because, on every level, Star Wars is cool. Whether it's Han Solo with his Elvis-like grin, Darth Vader's ominous black outfit, the worn-out look of the spaceships, the thrilling battles, or the lightsaber swordplay, Star Wars still feels hip, he says. There's a timeless element about the look of the films and the emotions they provoke that other films just don't have. These are films that involve us deeply and make us feel good. What more can we ask?
A Young farmboy living on the remote desert planet Tatooine, Luke Skywalker yearns to escape the dull routine of his daily chores on his uncle’s moisture farm. When Luke discovers a cryptic secret message hidden in one of his new droids, he sets out on a quest and is catapulted into a world of adventure, which will at last fulfill his true destiny. Luke Skywalker first climbs into the cockpit of an x-wing starfighter to fly as “red five” in the attack on the first death star. Fighting for the alliance in the years afterward, luke takes his x-wing and other craft into battle and adventures against space pirates and imperial ships, bringing victories forthe hard-pressed rebels and becoming one of their most innovative leaders. His force abilities are awakened by master yoda and, over the years, luke grows towards the moment when he will become a jedi knight at last. Having faced the challenge of his father’s identity. Luke develops his abilities with the force according to the teachings of his mentors, Ben Kenobi and Yoda.
PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA
Strong willed and a woman of action, Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan uses her position in the Galactic Senate as a cover for diplomatic aid to the rebel alliance, able to travel throughout the galaxy on her consular ship the Tantive IV, Leia brings aid to beleaguered planets and secretly makes connections for the rebellion. A beautiful and pensive young woman, she understands only too well her crucial position at a fateful time for the galaxy. She hides her personal feelings behind stern discipline and dedication to her cause. As the adopted daughter of senator Bail Organa, Leia was trained for her royal position by the finest minds on Alderaan. While on a secret mission to summon the aid of the jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, Leia is trapped on board her diplomatic starship. Knowing she will be captured, she nonetheless fights to the end and does what she can to ensure that her message will reach Obi-Wan, via R2-D2, even if she herself cannot.
Mercenary pirate, smuggler captain, and braggart, the overly confident Han Solo is a rugged individual from the planet Corellia. From impoverished beginnings, Solo worked up through petty thievery to gain a commission in the academy, from which he was later expelled. A Corellian pilot of the finest caliber nonetheless, solo gained control of his destiny when he won his ship, the Millennium Falcon, in the best game of sabacc he ever played. His reputation as a gunfighter matches his renown as captain of the Falcon, reckless and foolhardy, he is also courageous and daring, a match for any adventure. One of Han’s regular employers has been the crime lord Jabba the Hutt. When Han had to jettison a cargo to avoid arrest, he incurred Jabba's wrath and was unable to pay him back. Later, trapped in a plot by Darth Vader to ensnare his friend Luke Skywalker, Han Solo is taken to the industrial bowels of Cloud City and flash-frozen in carbonite to test the process meant to immobilize Luke. The frozen Han is then delivered to Jabba’s palace by Boba Fett.
A mighty wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk, Chewbacca is rescued from slavery by the daring Han Solo. Teaming with him to repay the traditional wookiee life debt Chewbacca later "adopted” the wayward Corellian and became his best friend. The great wookiee now uses his mechanical abilities to keep Solo’s heavily modified firecracker of a ship flying and serves as both a fiercely loyal copilot and a trustworthy fellow adventurer Chewie enjoys a good fight and likes the action that Solo gets them into. But he sometimes acts as his partner’s conscience when Han gets a bit too mercenary. Although the Millennium Falcon cockpit is small for his great frame, Chewbacca is at ease with the myriad controls and copilots the ship with confidence. Deferring to Han’s outstanding marksmanship Chewie usually flies the ship while Han mans a gun turret during the pursuit of space combat.
C-3PO AND R2-D2
In a galaxy filled with countless cultures and languages, protocol droids assist their masters in matters of etiquette, custom, and translation, assuring that interspecies relations proceed peacefully C-3PO is fluent in over six million forms of communication and has a strongly programmed desire to see things run smoothly transported into a world of adventure, this pragmatic character is often overwhelmed by the extraordinary action around him, but he faithfully serves his masters.
Created as a sophisticated computer- repair and information-retrieval droid, Artoo is an astromech droid designed for navigating hyperspace jumps. His long history of adventures has given him a distinct personality and quirkiness. R2 exhibits a strong motivation to succeed in his assigned tasks, displaying stubborn determination and inventiveness that are extraordinary for an astromech droid.
Far out in the remote Jundland wastes lives the hermit Ben Kenobi. Ben is a figure of mystery to the Tatooine settlers, dismissed by many as a crazy wizard. In truth, Kenobi is a jedi knight, a great warrior of the old republic who fought in the clone wars. One of Kenobi’s students turned to the dark side of the force, betraying the jedi and assisting the rise of the emperor. Crushed by his failure with the man who became Darth Vader, Kenobi retreated to Tatooine, watching over the young Luke Skywalker and waiting for the time to reveal Luke's birthright as the son of a jedi. Kenobi’s powers make him a threat to the empire even in his elder years. On board the death star, Kenobi uses5 his technical knowledge and jedi mind powers to disable a crucial tractor beam without being noticed. This is his first return to such heroic actions in many years. Even after he is struck down by Vader, Kenobi returns in spirit form to guide Luke on his path to becoming a jedi. On Hoth and near death, Luke sees Kenobi just before being rescued by Han Solo.
Not to be judged by his small size, the wise jedi master Yoda is very powerful with the force. At almost 900. His years of contemplation and training have given him deep insight and profound abilities. His greatest challenge is the training of Luke Skywalker, who arrives on dagobah as an impatient would-be jedi. In the short time he has with Luke. Yoda instills in him faith, peace, and harmony with the force that fulfills Luke’s potential and guards him from the dark path of temptation, anger, and evil. To his final student Yoda imparts the heart of the ancient jedi traditions that are the galaxy’s last hope.
A grim, foreboding figure, Darth Vader stalks the corridors of the imperial fleet. Once regarded as mad human wreckage, Vader has risen in power and influence with the increasing favor of The Emperor to become a much feared military commander. Grand Moff Tarkin is one of the few who recognizes vader’s capabilities in spite of his bizarre appearance and seemingly eccentric conduct and as Tarkin’s right-hand man, Vader attains a new level of respect amongst the upper echelons of the Imperial military. Unable to survive without the constant life support provided by his suit, Vader is nonetheless a powerful figure whose knowledge of the dark side of the force made him unnerving and dangerous. The horror and tragedy of Darth Vader are revealed when he tells Luke Skywalker, "I am your father." Vader hopes to bring Luke down the same dark path of hate and anger that destroyed Anakin Skywalker. Instead, he finds that Luke is committed to finding redemption for his father in spite of all that Vader had become.
Having become a renegade on the run from the empire, Lando fell in with the rebels after leaving cloud city. His penetrating judgement at the battle of Taanab won Lando a promotion within the ranks. And the former con artist and baron became a general within the alliance. Grown beyond his self-centered past. Lando once more wears a cape of honor and authority.
Mon Mothma is the highest leader of the rebellion. As a member of the galactic senate, Mon Mothma championed the cause of freedom until The Emperor’s evil closed in around her. Abandoning the senate, she built the rebel alliance and continues to strengthen it through her diplomacy and negotiations.
General Jan Dodonna is a dauntless master tactician, commanding the rebel assault on the Death Star in the battle of Yavin. While the stolen plans provided a complete technical readout of the Death Star, the station still seemed invulnerable.
Commander of the rebel fleet the cautious Admiral Ackbar hails from the ocean world of Mon Calamari. Once a slave to Grand Moff Tarkin. Ackbar was rescued by rebels and convinced his people to join The Alliance.
With more lives than a recycled droid and more adventures than a holocron could tell, as ferocious as a Rancor in battle and as loyal as a befriended wookiee, Wedge Antilles became the pilot ace of The Rebellion.
In the last days of the republic, Senator Palpatine used deception to become elected supreme chancellor of the galactic senate. Once in office he declared himself emperor and began to rule through the military forces of the newly created imperial navy. Often surrounded by his imperial royal guards, The Emperor draws his powers from the blackest depths of the dark side of the force.
Imperial fighter pilots are an elite group within the imperial navy. Through their intense psychological conditioning. Pilots are entirely dedicated to destroying their target taking pride in their total dependence on higher authority.
Imperial Stormtroopers are first-strike units sent into critical combat situations in support of both the Imperial Starfleet and the Imperial Army. Shielded in white armor, Stormtroopers are protected from harsh environments, projectile and impact weapons, and glancing blaster bolts.
GRAND MOFF TARKIN
Governor of the imperial outland regions, Grand Moff Tarkin plans to utilize the horrific Death Star super weapon as part of his doctrine of rule by fear, the imperial outlands contain systems too scattered to police effectively. But the fear of the Death Star will subjugate systems across the galaxy.
Tough, brutish Gamorrean guards stand throughout Jabba’s palace as sentries. Prone to violence, these slow-witted creatures are stubborn and loyal. The low intelligence of male Gamorreans is an asset to their employers, as they cannot be bribed or persuaded to betray. They prefer hand-to-hand combat over blasters.
Deep within the primeval forests of the emerald moon of Endor. The small, furry Ewoks live in harmony with the natural world around them. They build their villages high in the oldest trees. Hunting and gathering by day on the forest floor and retreating to their aerial villages by night, when the forest becomes too dangerous.
Fierce nomads of Tatooine. The Sand People or Tusken Raiders prowl areas like the Dune Sea and the Jundland wastes, blending invisibly into the landscape. Masters of the desert they survive where no one else can, protected from the suns by heavy clothing. Their savage and violent ways pit them against the moisture farmers and settlers in lonely, remote lands.
Concealed in dark robes that protect them from the twin suns, the timid and acquisitive Jawas scavenge scrap metal, lost droids, and equipment from refuse or the many crashed spaceships that dot the desert landscapes of Tatooine. While there are a few Jawa settlements, most Jawas patrol the dunes and dusty rocks in gigantic sandcrawlers.
The Bith musicians most often heard in the Mos Eisley Cantina are highly intelligent creatures with sophisticated musical abilities. Even though they complain, the band members enjoy their out-of-the-way dive and are glad to be away from their home world of Clak’dor VII. They’ve been asked to play at Jabba’s palace, but they’re way too smart for that.
JABBA THE HUTT
At the center of an extensive chime empire is the repellent crime lord Jabba the Hutt. Jabba enjoys violent entertainment almost as much as he enjoys profits, and he arranges deadly gladiatorial games and creative executions on a regular basis. To the left is Bib Fortuna, the Tvvilek who supervises the affairs of Jabba's desert palace.
Standing five meters tall, this fearsome carnivore possesses an armored skin and colossal strength. Jabba keeps this beast in a pit beneath one of his palace courts. Feeding it a diet of live, unfortunate victims and watching its attacks for amusement.
Standing three meters high, enormous Wampa ice creatures hunt tauntauns (used by rebel troops as patrol animals) and other creatures on the snow plains of Hoth. Where their howling wails blend with the icy winds at night.
This hideous assassin droid is one of a set or five identical robots that massacred their constructors moments after activation and escaped their laboratory to stalk the galaxy.
A mysterious bounty hunter with his own code of honor, Boba Fett wears a customized suit of Man Dalorian battle armor from another era -battered scarred, and still lethally effective. Disguised behind his helmet, his origins are enigmatic. Fett takes only certain assignments but devotes himself to those few with fanatical skill. His cool and calculating ways together with his manifold hidden capabilities have brought in many "lmpossible" marks, and earned his reputation as the best bounty hunter in the galaxy from the concealed weapons covering his space suit to the disguised armaments of his starship Slave I, Boba Fett is unerringly a bounty’s worst nightmare.
Trained as an imperial assassin, Dengar underwent brain surgery that replaced his hypothalamus with circuitry, making him a nearly unfeeling killer.
Once a protocol droid, 4-LOM’s programming degraded and it became a criminal, specializing in anticipating its target’s moves.
A reptilian trandoshan, Bossk has gone from tracking runaway slaves to claiming bounties posted by The Empire. He is fond of skinning his quarry.
Zuckuss uses the mystic religious rituals of Findsman traditions dating back centuries on his homeworld of Gand.
X-Wing fighters include a socket for an astromech droid, which handles in-flight maintenance and repairs. The X-Wing fighter carries a small payload of proton torpedoes in addition to its laser cannons. These torpedoes destroyed the first Death Star.
Princess Leia's consular starship is a Corellian corvette, a common and-traditional ship design seen throughout the galaxy. So many corvettes have been converted for smuggling that they are sometimes called “blockade runners."
Laboriously modified to operate in the frozen temperatures of Hoth, the snowspeeders have no defensive shields and must rely on agility and speed in battle.
Admiral Ackbar commands the rebel fleet from his seat in his personal flagship, the headquarters frigate, the Home One. The Mon Calamari star cruiser was contributed to the alliance by Ackbar’s people.
This battered and aging yt-1300 light freighter has had a long history in the hands of several captains. Han’s extensive modifications to the ship have made it one of the fastest vessels in hyperspace.
The standard Tie Fighter carries no deflector shield or hyperdrive equipment and employs high-performance ion engines energized by solar array “wings.” This lightweight design makes the craft lethally agile. But leaves the pilot defenseless and unable to travel far from his base station.
Boba Fett’s distinctive starship is an aging, heavily modified police craft jammed with weapons and customized tracking equipment of every kind. As well as a stolen military sensor-masking system to hide him from those he stalks.
A lambda-class transport, the imperial shuttle Tydirium is best known for its unlikely role in aiding the rebel alliance.
These gigantic machines are used as terror weapons. Until the battle of Hoth, AT-ATs were widely regarded as invincible in combat, and their mere appearance was often enough to drive enemy forces into fearful retreat.
The star destroyer is both a deep-space combat vessel and a transport. Two giant deflector shield generators atop the bridge protect the vessel from all but the most powerful capital ship weapons.
Accompanied by lookouts on sand skiffs. Jabba’s sail barge Khetanna carries the Hutt on journeys to Mos Eisley.
The light repulsorlift imperial speeder bike carries one or two riders at high velocities for reconnaissance and anti-personnel missions.
Created by the insectoid Verpine species, this former industrial droid was lobotomized and reprogrammed to serve the droid torture chamber in Jabba’s palace.
An excellent surgeon and field medic. 2-1B is able to perform extremely precise operations that leave little or no scar. 2-1B treated Luke Skywalker for his injuries on Hoth and treated him again after Luke lost his hand on Cloud City.
Her programming corrupted, Jabba the Hutt's droid overseer EV-9D9 works Jabba's servant droids until they fall apart she employs bizarre forms of droid torture within the palace walls to increase motivation.
Carried to their destination planets in hyperdrive pods. Intelligent and eerie, probe droids relentlessly search the galaxy for evidence of rebel presence.
When Princess Leia refused to discuss the location of the hidden rebel base, she was subjected to this illegal droid’s torturous manipulations.
The agromech droid R5-D4, nicknamed "Red" blew his motivator so Owen Lars would have to take R2-D2 instead.
Often used to carry messages, mouse droids are also used in imperial ships and battle stations to lead troops through long mazes of corridors to their assigned posts.
Star Wars: EPISODE IV A NEW HOPE
Produced on a relatively small budget and released as a stand-alone movie, the original Star Wars completely redefined science fiction for American cinema. Often called a "space opera," the film follows the adventures of young Luke Skywalker who involuntarily finds himself wrapped up in a Galactic Rebellion when his uncle purchases two stolen droids.
Hidden inside one of the droids are the blueprints for the Empire's ultimate weapon—the Death Star. Enlisting the aid of hermit Obi-Wan Kenobi, a once-powerful Jedi Knight, and Han Solo, a smuggler looking to make a quick buck, Luke attempts to take the droid to Alderaan so the Rebels can retrieve the plans.
On the way to Alderaan, Han's ship—the Millennium Falcon—is captured by the Death Star. Once on board, Han and Luke discover that Princess Leia, a leader of the Rebellion, is in a holding cell and set to be executed. In a bold move they manage to free her and escape, but not before Ben Kenobi is killed in a duel with his former student Darth Vader, the Dark Lord of the Sith.
As the Death Star closes in on the secret Rebel base, the stolen plans are analyzed and a last ditch attack is mounted. If successful the Empire will be dealt a major blow, but if the attack fails it will be the end of the Rebellion....
1) The opening space battle as the Star Destroyer Devastator chases the Tantive IV sets the tone for the entire film. Right from the start the audience knows this is more than a simple movie—this is an epic.
2) Watching Luke use the lightsaber for the first time. That initial "zap" as the weapon is brought to life becomes burned into the collective memory of fans worldwide.
3) Seeing Alderaan destroyed by the Death Star. Blowing up ships is one thing, but blowing up an entire planet is enough to send chills down the spine.
4) Han Solo's desperate charge into a squad of stormtroopers. He has them on the run, only to turn the corner and find a full garrison waiting for him. It may not be a key to the story, but this one moment defines the character like nothing else.
5) Obi-Wan and Darth Vader's duel. This battle is our first glimpse at what Jedi combat was really like.
1) When Star Wars premiered in 1977 it did not have the "Episode IV" subtitle. It wasn't added until the April 1981 re-release—a year after The Empire Strikes Back opened to great acclaim.
2) Jabba the Hutt was originally played by a rotund human in a scene that was cut from the original release before being restored for the Special Edition.
3) Impersonating a stormtrooper, Luke tells an Imperial officer that Chewbacca is a prisoner from Block 1138. THX1138 is the name of George Lucas's first film.
4) At his own request, James Earl Jones was not credited as the voice of Darth Vader in the original release.
5) The pulsating engine sound of the Star Destroyer is actually a modified recording of a broken air conditioner.
Original Release Date: May 25,1977 Original Running Time: 121 minutes
A NEW HOPE CREW/CAST
Directed by...George Lucas
Screenplay by.. .George Lucas
Story by...George Lucas
Produced by...Gary Kurtz
Executive Producer...George Lucas
Luke Skywalker.. .Mark Hamill
Han Solo...Harrison Ford
Princess Leia Organa...Carrie Fisher
Grand Moff Tarkin... Peter Cushing
Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi...Alec Guinness
Chewbacca... Peter Mayhew
Darth Vader...David Prowse
Darth Vader (Voice).. .James Earl Jones
Uncle Owen...Phil Brown
Aunt Beru...Shelagh Fraser
A NEW HOPE TITLE CRAWL
Episode IV A NEW HOPE
It is a period of civil war.
Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.
During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the Death Star, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.
Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy....
Star Wars: EPISODE V THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
The destruction of the Death Star at the end of A New Hope was a major blow to the Empire, but it did not end the war. As the second film opens, the Empire is once again mounting a massive assault on the Rebel base, this time on the frozen ice world of Hoth.
In the ensuing battle, Han Solo escapes with Princess Leia to the relative safety of Cloud City, run by old friend Lando Calris-sian, while Luke Skywalker makes his way to the swamp world of Dagobah to find the Jedi Master Yoda and continue his training. In the midst of tutelage, Luke has a vision of his friends in peril—they've been double-crossed and are being used as bait.
Knowing it is a trap, Luke races to Cloud City in an attempt to save his friends and face Darth Vader in combat. During the ensuing chaos bounty hunter Boba Fett captures Han, and Vader seriously injures Luke before revealing the truth—he is Luke's father. Vader then offers Luke a choice—join him or die. Rather than give in to the dark side, Luke leaps into the abyss and leaves his fate to the will of the Force.
1) Luke single-handedly bringing down an AT-AT after his snow-speeder is shot down. A classic example of the scrappy Rebels fighting against the all-powerful Empire.
2) Luke fights a "phantom'' of Darth Vader on Dagobah only to smash Vader's mask and reveal his own face. Foreshadowing at its finest.
3) Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi speaking of "another" who may yet be able to save them if Luke fails in his mission. They are referring to Leia, Luke's sister.
4) The introduction of Boba Fett. He has a relatively minor role in the film but gains a huge fan following.
5) The revelation that Darth Vader is Luke's father. This is perhaps the biggest cinematic surprise to date when the film premieres.
1) It's tough to spot, but the Empire filming crew can be seen reflected in Threepio's head as it travels down the conveyor belt in the Cloud City recycling room.
2) One of the asteroids in the asteroid field is actually a potato.
3) A cut scene from the film had the Empire's snowtroopers encountering some captured wampas in their holding pen as they storm the base. You can briefly see a shot of this in the trailer.
4) Luke was injured by the wampa partly to explain away a facial scar that Mark Hamill had gotten in a real-life accident between films.
5) The secret of Luke's father was so well guarded that when the scene was filmed, David Prowse, the actor inside the Vader suit, said "Luke, Obi-Wan killed your father." The real line was not added until post production when James Earl Jones did the dub.
Original Release Date: May 21,1980 Original Running Time: 124 minutes
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK CREW/CAST
Directed by...Irvin Kershner
Screenplay by...Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan
Story by...George Lucas
Produced by...Gary Kurtz
Executive Producer...George Lucas
Luke Skywalker...Mark Hamill
Han Solo...Harrison Ford
Princess Leia Organa...Carrie Fisher
Lando Calrissian... Billy Dee Williams
C-3P0.. .Anthony Daniels
Chewbacca.. .Peter Mayhew
Darth Vader...David Prowse
Darth Vader (Voice)...James Earl Jones
Obi-Wan Kenobi...Alec Guinness
Boba Fett.. Jeremy Bulloch
EMPIRE TITLE CRAWL
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Although the Death Star has been destroyed,
Imperial troops have driven the Rebel forces from their hidden base and pursued them across the galaxy.
Evading the dreaded Imperial Starfleet, a group of freedom fighters led by Luke Skywalker has established a new secret base on the remote ice world of Hoth.
The evil lord Darth Vader, obsessed with finding young Skywalker, has dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of space....
Star Wars: EPISODE VI RETURN OF THE JEDI
The battle for freedom has reached a crucial point—the Empire has focused all of its resources on building a second Death Star, and destroying it would mean crushing the Empire once and for all. First, our heroes need to rescue Han Solo who is being held by the gangster Jabba the Hutt on the desert planet of Tatooine.
Back at the Rebel base, a plan is hatched—Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han will lead an attack on the forest moon of Endor and destroy the shield generator protecting the half-built Death Star. Meanwhile all of the Rebel forces will gather above the moon and attack the space station as soon as its shield falls.
As the Rebels attempt to deactivate the shield, Luke surrenders himself to Vader and is brought before the Emperor aboard the second Death Star. Once again, Luke is given the choice to turn to the dark side, but he refuses and faces Darth Vader in battle. This time Luke defeats Vader, but is no match for the Emperor who disables him with a powerful blast of Force lightning.
With the fate of the entire galaxy hanging in the balance, it all comes down to a single choice. Does Darth Vader have enough humanity left within to rescue his son and guarantee a Rebel victory, or has the dark side completely consumed the man who was once a Jedi?
1) The skiff battle over the Sarlacc monster's pit in the deserts of Tatooine.
2) Luke returning to Dagobah to finish his training with Yoda, only to discover that he has nothing left to learn and that he must face Vader one last time.
3) The Millennium Falcon leading the bombing run to the core of the second Death Star. This claustrophobic sequence was impressively choreographed.
4) Ewoks battling alongside the Rebels on Endor, once again highlighting the technological difference between the Empire and the Rebels.
5) Luke defeating Vader in battle and refusing to turn to the dark side. He stands triumphant, but his refusal could be costly.
1) The Ewoks were originally supposed to be Wookiees; however, Chewbacca had already been shown to be adept with technology, so the Ewoks were created.
2) Some thought was given to destroying the Millennium Falcon during the final battle with the second Death Star.
3) A music video was filmed in Jabba's Palace.
4) The original title of Return of the Jedi was Revenge of the Jedi, but it was changed when Lucas reverted to his original, preferred title.
5) In order to keep the production secret from rabid fans, Return of the Jedi was filmed and produced under the code name Blue Harvest.
Original Release Date: May 25,1983 Original Running Time: 134 minutes
RETURN OF THE JEDI CREW/CAST
Directed by...Richard Marquand
Screenplay by...Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas
Story by...George Lucas
Produced by...Howard Kazanjian
Executive Producer...George Lucas
Luke Skywalker...Mark Hamill
Han Solo...Harrison Ford
Princess Leia Organa...Carrie Fisher
Chewbacca... Peter Mayhew
Lando Calrissian...Billy Dee Williams
Darth Vader... David Prowse
Darth Vader (Voice)...James Earl Jones
Yoda... Frank Oz
The Emperor...Ian McDiarmid
Obi-Wan Kenobi...Alec Guinness
Older Anakin Skywalker...Sebastian Shaw
JEDI TITLE CRAWL
Episode VI RETURN OF THE JEDI
Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet of Tatooine in an attempt to rescue his friend Han Solo from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt.
Little does Luke know that the Galactic Empire has secretly begun construction on a new armored space station even more powerful than the first dreaded Death Star.
When completed, this ultimate weapon will spell certain doom for the small band of rebels struggling to restore freedom to the galaxy....
Star Wars: BATTLE FRONT
The galaxy's most famous battles are yours to win— or lose—with LucasArts' new online multiplayer epic.
Fight any battle, play any side, pilot any vehicle. That's what LucasArts and Pandemic Studios are promising with Star Wars: Battlefront, a militaristic epic that hurls players into the trenches of Hoth and under the torrential skies of Kamino to take part in the most legendary skirmishes ever put on celluloid.
The game is specifically geared for online team-based gameplay; the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions enable up to 16 people to play simultaneously, while the PC version should be able to support double that number. The result is an ambitious excursion into the explosive military side of the Star Wars mythos, where working together with other people is paramount to your success in bringing the galaxy under your control..
Battlefront was developed by Pandemic Studios, which previously worked on Star Wars-. The Clone Wars. After that project, Producer Jim Tso and his team were brimming with ideas for another game. "We looked at Clone Wars, what we thought went right, and what wasn't so good," Tso says. "We wanted to focus on multiplayer. We wanted a game that was a nonlinear, open-ended kind of game. We also wanted to do classic content from Episodes IV, V, and VI."
But Battlefront is much more than Clone Wars set in different time periods, Tso explains. "In Clone Wars, we were much more centered around and focused on a story, which were the events after Episode II, whereas in this case, we're really not focused on a story or any particular timeline. We're offering the player a 'what if?' situation. The Rebels lost the battle of Hoth, right? But hey—maybe when you're playing, you can win. So I think it's that open-ended nature that's the main difference."
“You May Start Your landing"
Spanning all six movies, Battlefront enables you to join with and play against other players over the Internet to engage in massive galactic campaigns on Bespin, Tatooine, Naboo, Endor, Hoth, Geonosis, Yavin IV, and Kamino. Players will also get a sneak peak of the Wookiee planet, Kashyyyk, and hardcore fans will recognize the planet Rhen Var from the Tales of the Jedi comic series.
Plus, the game is unique in that it lets you choose which faction you want to join depending on the time period a specific battle is set. During battles that take place throughout Episodes I—III, you can fight alongside Separatist or Republic forces, and for missions taking place during the dassic-trilogy time period, you can choose between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire.
Factions have five soldier classes, each with a unique set of skills. The first four classes are the same for every group—all-around soldier, pilot, marksman, and heavy assault—and each specializes in certain types of weaponry, including blasters, torpedo launchers, sniper rifles, wrist launchers, and thermal detonators. In addition, all sides have unique fifth classes. For the Imperials, it's the imposing Dark Trooper, who can quickly leap around the battlefield using a jump-pack. The Rebel forces use scouts, who can disguise themselves as stormtroopers.
Many planets also feature A.I.-controlled third factions that will join in on the action.The Ewoks will help the Rebels by attacking the Imperials; the Geonosians will assist the Separatists; and the Wookiees will lend support to the Republic cause on Kashyyyk.
Some third-party factions are neutral, such as the Tusken Raiders, and will attack both teams.
Of course, you can't wage interplanetary warfare without some heavy artillery. In Battlefront, you'll not only be able to man turrets, but you'll also be able to pilot over 30 vehicles like X-wing fighters, snowspeeders, Jedi starfighters, TIE fighters, hailfire-class droid tanks, and AT-ATs on the fly. Of special note is the Republic gunship, which controls a lot like a helicopter in that it can hover and strafe in the air, and enables you to have multiple teammates inside to rain down destruction on Separatist forces from above. In addition to vehicles, you'll also be able to mount creatures, such as tauntauns and kaadus, on certain maps.
Conquering the Galaxy
One promising feature of the game is the Galactic Conquest mode, in which you play through a series of maps across different planets. If your team controls a certain planet, you'll be able to take advantage of planetary bonuses like jamming your enemy's radar, dismantling their mini-map, or gaining additional reinforcements.
As far as specific planetary bonuses, one of the coolest is the ability to call on Jedi heroes during a fight, the identity of which varies depending on the time period you're in and the side you're playing as. If you're playing for the Empire, you get to summon Darth Vader; Rebels get Luke Skywalker; the Republic forces get to call in Mace Windu; Separatists will unleash Count Dooku.
'You have these nonplayer characters appear on the battlefield with their lightsabers, and they're just going to be slicing and dicing units," explains Tso. "They're pretty powerful. It's nice to hang out behind them and have them deflect all the lasers coming your way." Jedi heroes will not die—instead, they will exit the battlefield once their health drops to a certain point.
'We're going to have something for all Star Wars fans because we cover content from all six movies. There's a lot of freedom in the game," says Tso. "We have a ton of vehicles and units, so there's definitely a lot in there for the hardcore Star Wars fan.”
With all of the attention going into the gameplay freedom and cinematic details, Battlefront's appeal should be irresistible to both hardcore gamers and Star Wars junkies.
"The main thing is being able to play in all the battles that we've seen in all the Star Wars movies but to do it in a way that is very open ended and a way that you've never done it before. For example, you've played the battle of Hoth in a lot of different games, but you've never been able to play as the bad guys. You can be in a snowspeeder trying to down an AT-AT, or you can be in an AT-AT. You can be a snowtrooper, or you can be a sniper."
ARMED AND FULLY OPERATIONAL
Poised to be the ultimate vicarious Star Wars experience ever, Battlefront is a cross-platform extravaganza for the PC, Play-Station 2, and Xbox, and all three versions were released simultaneously with the dassic-trilogy DVD boxed set, which also includes a playable demo.
[Copyright © 2004 Lucasfilm Ltd. Star Wars and Lucasfilm are registered trademarks of Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.]