A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away ...
On this day, 40 years ago, those famous words kicked off what would become one of the most successful movie franchises in history. George Lucas's vision for a space opera that dealt with politics, colonialism, war and, ultimately, family instantly captured audiences' imaginations, breaking box office records in the process.
The three original films, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, created a successful template for world-building unlike anything we had seen before.
The "prequel" trilogy was launched 16 years later, continuing the story, one that has today been filled out with side plots and backstories in novels, comics, cartoons and video games. The success of the latest Star Wars titles — The Force Awakens, Rogue One and the upcoming Last Jedi — prove that the gravitational pull audiences first felt in 1977 has yet to subside. As is often the case, parents introduce their children to the stories, creating a new generation of fans.
With that in mind, we created an A-to-Z guide to the Star Wars universe, illustrated by Heather Collett and written by Jesse Kinos-Goodin, that is friendly for both long-time fans and newcomers alike. See them all in one GIF or scroll down for the complete set.