Young Post's Star Wars geeks' breakdown of the world's biggest space movie franchise

Episode VII is out this week, but in case you missed the first six and don't understand the hype, YP has you covered

YP ReporterAriel ConantSusan Ramsay |

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Star Wars...these aren't the heroes you're looking for.

Many Young Post readers are too young to have seen the most recent three chapters of Star Wars, let alone understand why the original three get movie buffs so excited.

To give you some background before you head to the cinema for this blockbuster, YP's Star Wars experts, Ariel Conant, Sam Gusway and Susan Ramsay, give you the lowdown on that galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars, you say?

Ariel: Yes, one of the top-grossing franchises in the world. It's a space opera (think sci-fi western set in space) series that started in 1977 with Star Wars, followed by The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. There have also been comic books, animated TV series and video games, not to mention three more movies starting in 1999, which were actually prequels to the original trilogy.

And so ... why should I care?

Sam: Even if you've never seen it, you probably know more than you give yourself credit for. Many characters, settings, and quotes from the film have become memes - even before the internet existed.

Sue: It depends on who you are, but if you're into movies, pop culture or news, you need to know that the first film in this series was the best of its time. Since then, not so much, although two of the sequels rate high on the "biggest grossing movies of all time". Everyone thinks that is one will be the biscuit.

Ariel: Just like any popular franchise story, it's the next chapter. If you like sci-fi like the new Star Trek or Guardians of the Galaxy, you'll like this. If you like the fighting-the-authori­ty stories of Hunger Games, Maze Runner or Divergent, then this has a similar theme.

Where and when do these wars take place?

ALL: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

What's the story?

Sam: The Empire (the bad guys) wants to unite the universe - for their own good. Planets trying to remain free are fighting a slowly losing battle.

5 Who are the goodies and who are the baddies?

Sue: It's pretty hard to keep track, but mostly it's rebels fighting the established government. Kind of like Hunger Games.

Ariel: The light side is good, and the dark side is bad (duh). The Jedi are the warriors for the good side, the Sith represent the bad side.

Peter Mayhew and Harrison Ford in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens.
Photo: Allstar/Disney/Lucasfilm


I've heard people say: "Use the Force." What is that?

Sue: It's kind of like a psychic force, a metaphor for godly power. It can be used to do good or bad things.

Ariel: An energy which can be used for both good and evil. Also helps you with telekinesis and mind control if you're good at it.

Sam: The underlying energy of the universe that flows in, around and through - and actually makes up - everything.

What's "Jedi"?

Sam: Basically an ancient order of knights. They try to harness the force for the good of the people, and not use it for their own desires. Plus they fight with awesome light up swords that make really cool noises when you wave them.

Why are some people holding fluorescent light tubes?

Ariel: Those are light sabres, like laser swords. They're the weapon of choice for the Jedi and Sith, as they find them more elegant and precise than guns. They also make great toys for merchandising options for the films, so there's that.

Sam: Because they're awesome. Sadly they get re-purposed as blow torches in Phantom Menace. Fun fact: in the original Star Wars movies, the actors just fought with coloured broom sticks, and the blazing light sabre was animated in later.

Who are those old people on the poster?

Ariel: Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), heroes from the original series who helped defeat the Empire. Yeah, they're back.

Six films seems like a lot to catch up on before next weekend. Can I skip any?

Ariel: Skip Episodes 1-3 (the new ones / the prequels). They suck. So bad. All you need are the original trilogy, but likely you won't even REALLY need those to enjoy the new installation, as it takes place long after the original. It will probably have enough back story in it that even if you've never seen Star Wars before, you'll still know what's happening in the film.

Sam: You can skip Episodes I, II, and III (Phantom Menace to Revenge of the Sith). If you think you'll be missing out on any crucial facts, just read the synopsis on Wikipedia.