March 25, 1977, an epic space opera film series was released under the title star wars, and quickly became a pop culture phenomenon. Created by George Lucas, the Star Wars films shattered box office records, beginning the trend of box office grosses being reported to the newspapers like baseball scores. Over a span of 28 years, the Star Wars saga generated a total of 4.36 billion dollars, making it the third highest grossing film series behind only Harry Potter and James Bond films.
When George Lucas first came up with the idea for Star Wars, he envisioned it as a 12 part story. But it didn’t take long for him to realize it wouldn’t work that way so the story was cut down to a 9 part story with three trilogies. The first trilogy was to be about the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker. The second was to be about the rise or Luke Skywalker and the redemption of Darth Vader (Anakin). The third and last trilogy was to be about the “other” skywalker that Yoda mentions in the Empire Strikes back.
However, there were never 9 episodes made. Instead, the final third trilogy was condensed into one episode, Return of the Jedi. But why condense the episodes? Well, when Lucas was almost done writing the script for Return of the Jedi, Princess leia was not a skywalker. While writing the duel between Darth Vader and Luke, he was stumped on something that could make luke attack Vader in a dark-sided rage. He solved this problem by making leia Lukes twin sister. Thus removing the reason to have episodes 7-9 into Episode 6.
So if there were 6 episodes all together, why did Lucas start with the 4th one?
He claimed that there wasn’t enough technology to make them the right way. That would almost be true if it weren’t for the fact that the technology wasn’t there to make episode 4 either. However being the genius that George Lucas is, he surrounded himself with the best Sci-fi movie makers there were. Lucas had the vision for the films, but it was the production crew that put it all together. They accomplished the look and feel for the scenes by asking: “Hey George, How are we going to do this?” To which he would simply reply: “I don’t know. We’ll figure it out”