I'm an aspiring author, and I'm still amazed at just how popular Star Wars not only is, but was almost immediately at its release. I can walk down the street, asking every person I see, and I would be shocked if I found someone who hadn't at least heard of Star Wars. That alone is incredible. Add to that the sheer volume of detail in the universe, and the cult following Star Wars has amassed over the years, and it becomes foolish not to ask this question: What made Star Wars so popular?

Note that I am looking for answers backed by solid research.

  • Regardless of the wording this is entirely opinion based – Paulie_D Feb 2 '18 at 18:26
  • There is an abundance of information and opinions on the internet on this, as well as commentaries by Lucas and others involved. – rtaft Feb 2 '18 at 18:26
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    If there was a "formula" for making a successful movie, don't you think everyone would use it? – Oliver_C Feb 2 '18 at 19:10
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    If this question could be worded a little better, I think it can be answered without opinion. A case could be made that it's too broad because of the sheer number of different factors that contributed. At the time of its release, Star Trek was well on its way to being the most popular syndicated TV show. Other sci-fi shows like Space 1999 were popular, and in general sci-fi was poised to explode. Star Wars was the right story with the right surprising and exciting production value to light the powderkeg. And that's just one aspect of its success. – Todd Wilcox Feb 2 '18 at 23:20
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    You literally wrote in your question, "I'm looking for opinions... which can't be proven..." Take out that whole confusing second paragraph which seems to be asking for opinions (even if it's not) and just say "I'm looking for answers supported by research" or something like that. Don't even use the word opinion anywhere in the question. – Todd Wilcox Feb 2 '18 at 23:38

Marketing, merchandising and "universe" details.

Star Wars became part of pop culture by saturating public awareness with marketing messages and merchandising. As everyone knows, no movie had ever been so heavily merchandised prior to Star Wars. Kids played with "action figures", traded cards with still from the movies, built models of X-wings and droids, and read behind-the-scenes books about the special effects. (I did all of those when I was 9!)

Plus the movie included tips of so many icebergs. Who are the Sand People? What goes on in Jawa culture? Where do all these droids come from? What are the different purposes of the different droids? How cool would it be to drive a land speeder? Can everyone in the Mos Eisley Cantina communicate with each other? (And all those are just on Tatooine!) So the entire movie stimulated the imaginations of kids watching it.

If there was marketing for a dull movie, it probably wouldn't have gotten as popular. If there was no marketing, even though the movie was great, it might have become a cult hit but not gone beyond that. It was a combination of the two ... along with the teaser that this was episode 4 of 9!

  • Not sure why this has two downvotes. It's certainly not the whole story, but it's definitely a factor. The special effects were also amazing, but they weren't all that far beyond the look of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which wasn't nearly as popular. – Todd Wilcox Feb 2 '18 at 23:11
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    It was the scale of detail, Todd. Nearly every scene required hours and hours of work whether space craft or costumes. Without this the marketing wouldn't have mattered. – Jason P Sallinger Feb 3 '18 at 17:11

Simply put, the efforts in making the original trilogy were so far ahead of anything that had been seen up to that point. With the release of A New Hope, this franchise immediately became the benchmark upon which any science fiction made afterward would be judged.

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    Exactly! This can also be said about the success of Avatar. – ibrahim mahrir Feb 2 '18 at 20:15
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    ...or Alien.... – Tetsujin Feb 2 '18 at 20:40
  • ... or Matrix ... – Vishwa Mar 22 '18 at 13:10

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