News Article

'Star Wars' Timeline

Here's an expanded online-only list of the events that shaped the saga, from George Lucas' birth to the May 19 opening of ''Revenge of the Sith''

Mark Hamill, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
Image credit: STAR WARS: Lucasrfilm/20th Century Fox/The Kobal Collection
Mark Hamill, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
Image credit: STAR WARS: Lucasrfilm/20th Century Fox/The Kobal Collection

5/14/44 George Lucas is born in Modesto, Calif. 1949 Joseph Campbell publishes The Hero with a Thousand Faces, which will heavily influence Lucas' work. 10/6/60 Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress opens in America. The story is about two men who escort a princess and a general across enemy lines. Sound familiar? Fall 1964 Lucas enrolls at USC's film school. 8/66 Lucas graduates from USC's film school. 1971 Lucasfilm is established. 3/11/71 Lucas releases his first full-length feature film, THX 1138, a box office dud. 2/72 Lucas begins writing the treatment for what will become Star Wars. Summer 1973 Universal passes on Lucas' idea for Star Wars; Lucas subsequently takes it to 20th Century Fox. 8/1/73 Lucas' nostalgic American Graffiti, costarring Harrison Ford, becomes one of the year's biggest hits. 8/20/73 Suddenly a hot commodity, Lucas renegotiates his deal with Fox for Star Wars and forgoes a six-figure raise in exchange for merchandising and sequel rights. 7/75 Lucas creates Industrial Light & Magic to supervise his films' special effects. 3/15/76 Lucas adds the opening ''A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…'' to a fourth and final Star Wars script. 3/22/76 Lucas and crew begin shooting Star Wars (starring Mark Hamill, pictured) in Tunisia. 1/77 Hamill is in a car accident resulting in injuries that require significant facial plastic surgery. 3/5/77 John Williams begins recording the Star Wars soundtrack. 5/25/77 Star Wars premieres and goes on to gross $1.5 million in its opening weekend. Six months later it surpasses Steven Spielberg's Jaws as the all-time domestic box office champ. Christmas 1977 Caught unprepared by the Star Wars phenomenon, Lucas' toy-making partner Kenner sells 600,000 empty IOU action-figure boxes during the holidays. In 1978, Kenner sells 42,322,500 action figures. 4/3/78 Nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, Star Wars wins for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Music, and Best Sound. 9/78 Lucas buys Bulltail Ranch in Marin County, Calif.; it eventually becomes Skywalker Ranch. 11/17/78 CBS broadcasts The Star Wars Holiday Special. Aired only once, the special includes scenes (like Bea Arthur dancing with an alien) that convince Lucas to take his name off it. 11/18/78 Carrie Fisher hosts Saturday Night Live.
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