Exploring the Star Wars Universe

Exploring the Star Wars Universe

Do you love the Star Wars universe? The series has spanned nine films and many prequels and spinoffs. Star Wars was an instant phenomenon when it debuted and it still continues to attract new fans all the time. There is a certain fascination with the “Star Wars” movies. Almost every child has swung a lightsaber, wishing they were a Jedi at some point in their lives.

The movies are all available on Disney+ and new series have expanded the stories, bringing more depth into the Star Wars Universe.

Star War Backstory

In 1975, George Lucas wrote a long story about Anakin Skywalker. The story was so long that it needed to be divided into 2 trilogies. Since Lucas thought the second trilogy was more interesting than the first, he decided to film episode four as the first movie.

In May of 1977, when A New Hope was released, it was instantly seen as the biggest adventure film… ever. Critics considered the special effects magnificent and outstanding. In fact, nothing remotely close had ever made it to the big screen before.

On opening day, the Star Wars movie ran in only 32 theatres, but it still produced an amazing $254,309 in ticket sales. By the end of its first run, it had become the most successful film ever in North American history, grossing more than $750 million.

Star Wars: Episode V A New Hope

We all know the story of Star Wars, and if you don’t… where have you been?

The plot starts when Darth Vader captures Princess Leia, but not before she sends a plea for help from Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi through the droid R2D2. Somehow a farm boy (Luke Skywalker), a cocky pilot (Han Solo) and a Wookie need to save the galaxy from the Empire’s Death Star.

Money Lost

Can you believe Universal Studios passed on developing Star Wars because they thought it was a ridiculous idea? In fact, every Hollywood studio passed on the movie… except 20th Century Fox who gave George Lucas 10 million dollars to make the first movie a reality.

When Lucas made his deal with Fox, he was more interested in the control of the film, than he was in his percentage. He wanted all rights to the final cut and all rights to future sequels, merchandise rights, and 40% of the gross. This deal ultimately made Lucas a billionaire.

How to Watch the Star Wars Movies

People like to argue about the correct order to watch the Star Wars movies. The two most common ways are by theatrical release and chronological order. Neither way is wrong. 

The Star Wars Franchise Release Order

If you want to watch the movies in the theatre release order, then this is your marathon:

Original Trilogy
Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)

Prequel Trilogy
Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Sequel Trilogy
Episode VII – The Force Awaken (2015)
Rogue One (2016) (optional)
Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)
Solo (2018) (optional)
Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

The Star Wars Franchise Chronological Order

If you want to watch the movies in chronological order (the events in which things happen), your marathon should look like this:

Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Episode II – Attack of the Clones
Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
Solo
Rogue One
Episode IV – A New Hope
Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
Episode VII – The Force Awaken
Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

Expanding the Star Wars Universe

Along with the movies, there are television series that expand the Star Wars Universe (all available on Disney+). There are more series in the process but the available ones right now include:

  • The Mandalorian
  • The Book of Boba Fett
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Andor

Animated Star Wars Series include:

  • Tales of the Jedi
  • Druid and Ewoks
  • The Clone Wars
  • Rebels
  • Resistance

Numerous well-known authors have also penned Star Wars Book: They include

  • Terry Brooks
  • R.A. Salvadore
  • Alexandra Bracken
  • Wil Wheaton

Wikipedia has a fantastic list if you are looking for more books to read.

Why People Love Star Wars

Whether you’re an action-loving junkie or a classic fairy tale enthusiast, the Star Wars movies are a timeless classic. The storylines never seem to lose their relevance, and each movie offers a bit of everything. There’s an adventure, family complications, romance, and action. Not to mention the innovative technology, special effects and lightsabers.

Why I Love Star Wars

I have to admit that I didn’t watch the original Star Wars trilogy until 1985 when I rented (yes rented) the movies from a video store for the weekend. (Millennials will never realize the struggle of having to go to the store and spend time looking for movies to rent. Sometimes we would even rent the machine too, if we didn’t have one at home. It was much harder than telling Alexa to play Game of Thrones. #firstworldproblems)

Since then, I can’t tell you how many times I have watched the trilogy, but I can tell you I watched all the rest of the movies in a theatre as soon as they were released.

I can’t really tell you why I love the universe so much. Maybe it’s the stories, the characters, or the way it all ties together. Maybe the movies make me realize that there’s more to this world than we can imagine. But I know I will continue to watch and re-watch the movies and television shows forever.

Final Thoughts

Star Wars is one of the most influential movies in the history of cinema. Do you agree? How many times you have watched the movies or series? Let me know in the comments.

 

Until next time
Frankie

Feature photo by Andrew Martin from Pixabay.

Five Popular TV Streaming Services: Pros and Cons

Five Popular TV Streaming Services: Pros and Cons

How many hours do you stream a week? Since the start of COVID-19, we have all spent more time streaming television shows and movies than usual. I know I am guilty of binge-watching, playing just one more episode, and waking up bleary-eyed in the morning. There are so many streaming services it is hard to know which one to pick.

Streaming

The Merriam-Webster definition of streaming: the act, the process, or an instance of streaming data or of accessing data that is being streamed.

Image created in Canva

Streaming in Canada

According to Statista, 46% of Canadians subscribe to a streaming service; 73% of all Canadians stream at a monthly minimum, while 41% of Canadians stream daily. More and more people are cutting the cord and moving away from cable or satellite towards streaming services.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Streaming

The advantages of streaming include the ability to watch TV at your convenience, instant access, cancel anytime, plus pause/rewind/skip any time. Disadvantages include buffering, online security, and Wi-Fi issues.

It is now possible to watch an entire series one season after another. In fact, some people will not even start watching a season until the show has ended its run so they don’t have to wait. Streaming allows people to get caught up on older content or series they previously missed. I watched Lost, Smallville, and Gilmour Girls years after the shows ended.

Popular Streaming Services

According to the eMarketer, the top five subscription-based streamers are Netflix (52%), Amazon Prime Video (25%), Disney+ (17%), Crave (13%), and Apple TV+ (8%).

These streaming services are affordable, have no ads, and have easy-to-use interfaces. They all offer movies, tv shows, and documentaries.

1. Netflix.

Netflix is the most popular streaming service in Canada with 6.78 million subscriptions. Although by 2024 they estimate that 18.4 million Canadians will have a Netflix subscription. House of Cards from Netflix was the first TV show to drop all thirteen episodes of a season at once. According to the New York Times, Netflix designed the show to be addictive and viewed in one sitting.

Plans range from $9.99 (basic) to $14.99 (HD) to 18.99 (4K) CDN.

Pros

  • New content added weekly
  • Smooth streaming
  • Multiple users
  • Simultaneous streaming
  • Download episodes to watch later

Cons

  • No free trial
  • Not all Netflix content is available in all countries
  • It takes forever to add newer seasons of current shows
  • They cancel shows too quickly

Netflix Original Content

My favourite shows are Ozark, Mindhunter, Altered Carbon, Orange is the New Black, The Last Kingdom, The Queens Gambit, The Witcher, Tiger King, When They See Us, and 13 Reasons Why. I am ashamed to admit that I still haven’t watched Stranger Things, but it is on my list.

2. Amazon Prime Video

As stated on the eMarketer website, Amazon Prime is the second-largest streamer in Canada and will reach 8.8 million Canadian homes by 2024.

The cost is $7.99 a month or prime membership of $79.99 CDN a year. 

Pros

  • Free trial
  • Multiple users
  • Simultaneous streaming
  • Download episodes to watch later
  • Buy or rent movies or shows

Cons

  • Less content than Netflix
  • Some content requires an extra purchase

Amazon Prime Original Content

My favourite shows are Sneaky Pete, Goliath, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Good Omens, The Boys, Jack Ryan, Fleabag, and Man in the High Castle. Although Little Fires Everywhere and Yellowstone are not original prime content, they are both excellent series.

3. Disney+

Launched in late 2019, Disney+ is the official home of Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, National Geographic, and any Disney movie you ever wanted to watch.

The cost is $8.99 monthly or $89.99 CDN a year.

Pros

  • Free trial
  • Multiple users
  • Simultaneous streaming
  • Download episodes to watch later

Cons

  • Kid based
  • Some Disney titles are not available yet due to licensing issues

Disney+ Original Content

The Mandalorian and All the Right Stuff are the only two shows I have watched, but they are both excellent.

4. Crave

Formerly established as ‘The Movie Network’, Crave, owned by Bell Media, re-launched in 2014 as a subscription streaming site.

The cost is $9.99 for the basic package, $19.98 to include HBO and $25.97  for HBO and Starz CDN.

Pros

  • Free trial
  • Multiple users
  • Simultaneous streaming
  • Download episodes to watch later

Cons

  • No Original Content
  • Extra Cost for HBO and Starz

Crave Original Content

Although Crave doesn’t have any original content, they have exclusive rights to content not available elsewhere in Canada like Westworld, The Undoing, Big Little Lies, Game of Thrones, and The Handmaid’s Tale. This is the only streaming service I don’t subscribe to, but I can recommend these series.

5. Apple TV+

Apple TV+  also launched in late 2019 the same day as Disney+. It has content from big names like Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Momoa, Aaron Paul, and M. Night Shyamalan.

Apple TV is cheaper than the other streaming services at $5.99 CDN a month or get a free year by purchasing an Apple product.

Pros

  • Free trial
  • Buy or rent movies or shows
  • All original content
  • Download episodes to watch offline

Cons

  • Less included content
  • More buffering than other streamers

Apple TV Original Content

My favourites are The Morning Show, See, Home Before Dark, For All Mankind, Ted Lasso, Little Voices, Mythic Quest, Defending Jacob, and Truth Be Told.

Other Streaming Services

I have just touched on the top five subscription streaming services, but there are many others including CBC Gem (Free), DAZN (Sports), YouTube Premium, CBS All Access, Sportsnet Now (Sports), and TSN direct (Sports). The CTV throwback allows for free streaming of older shows like Who’s the Boss or Party of Five.

Final Thoughts

Obviously, I watch too much television, but as a writer, I find it a great way to study characters and dialogue. What are your favourite streaming services and shows? Let me know in the comments.

 

Until next time,

Frankie

Feature image by freestocks.org from Pexels.