A long time ago, in movie theaters far across the globe, cinemagoers waited to view the latest work by filmmaker George Lucas, the writer and director of THX-1138 and American Graffiti. The new film, Star Wars, was deemed a risky venture—a “space fantasy” movie at a time when the sci-fi and fantasy genres were often derided. Would Twentieth Century Fox recoup its $11 million investment? Would audiences embrace a space-age fairy tale about a daydreaming farm boy, a rebellious princess and two bickering robots?
The answer to both questions was a resounding “yes.” Star Wars raked in nearly $800 million worldwide (a staggering sum in 1977), becoming the highest-grossing film to that point. It earned ten Academy Award nominations, and the studio celebrated that success by green-lighting sequels—not just on film, but also in print.
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