Thats why the introduction of Star Wars 4 made cinema history

That’s why the introduction of “Star Wars 4” made cinema history!

In “Episode 4: A New Hope” George Lucas throws his audience right into the middle of the action – a groundbreaking, brilliant film beginning when you realize that in 1977 viewers didn’t even know “Star Wars”.

This text already appeared for the TV broadcast of “Star Wars 4: A New Hope” in October 2019; tv is showing the film again on August 21st at 8:15 p.m., so we’re publishing the article again

“Star Wars: Episode 4” is the first released film in the series. In 1977 it was simply released as “Star Wars” or in Germany as “Star Wars” (episode number and subtitle only followed when it was re-released in 1981). But even without marking it as the fourth episode, it was clear to the viewers that they were not seeing the beginning of a story.

The scrolling text says right at the beginning: “The rebels, whose spaceships attack from a secret base, have won their first victory against the evil galactic empire.” But it would be almost 40 years before this victory actually flickered across the big screen pass – the spin-off “Rogue One” started in 2016 and was not an idea by George Lucas.

The unencumbered viewers of 1977 saw with “Star Wars” a film that begins in the middle of a completely unknown story and a completely unknown galaxy.

The unencumbered viewers of 1977 saw with “Star Wars” a film that begins in the middle of a completely unknown story and a completely unknown galaxy.

In addition, according to the scrolling text, the film takes place in the past (“It was a long time ago …”), although it looks like a future vision and robots with mysterious names seem to be the protagonists. If the name had already existed back then, “WTF ???” would have been an appropriate comment.

Today, when many viewers are watching “Episode 4” for the 1138th time and have the other “Star Wars” films in their heads, it is of course much more difficult to look with immaculate eyes. But if you try, it becomes clear how strange this film world must have been the first time – and how exemplary Lucas guides his viewers through the plot, especially with directing means.

“Star Wars” works without dialogue

Lucas said several times that his “Star Wars” parts would basically function like silent films (i.e. without dialogue, only with pictures and music). That’s certainly not true in every single scene – but especially at the start of “Star Wars 4” you would actually understand the essentials without the dialogues. Because Lucas created cinema in the purest sense!

An opening picture that says it all:

An opening picture that says it all:

Space. The camera pans down until the atmosphere of a desert planet can be seen. From the top right a small spaceship flies into the picture, which is under heavy fire. Shortly afterwards, we know who the pursuer is: a huge, triangular spaceship plows into the frame – it just doesn’t seem to end and soon takes up a considerable part of the space on the screen.

Good Vs. Angry

This opening picture is legendary. Lucas stages the superiority of evil in a single shot – which is immediately obvious to the viewer, even without any context. And when a little later you can see the interior of a spaceship with three robots running through it, it can only be the inferior, fleeing ship of the good guys: after all, the walls are snow-white.

With that, the most important thing is already clear after a good two and a half minutes of film, although we were thrown into the plot without extensive exposure and no one spoke a word. It’s clear: the good guys are screwed! Lucas then immediately tightened the tension screw further when the rebel soldiers on board the defeated cruiser take up position in front of a door that explodes soon after Yesmovies. Armored soldiers in nasty helmets reminiscent of grimaces pour through the door and the good guys flee. Enter Darth Vader!

Lucas knows what he had in his illustrator Ralph McQuarrie, who shaped the look of “Star Wars” like no other. Without McQuarrie, he would not have been able to convince the dubious 20th Century Fox studio to finance “Star Wars” – and without McQuarrie, Vader would not be the terrifying masked man with the black dead eyes and the characteristic helmet who walks through the smoke in “Star Wars 4” and the broken door bursts into the act. Here, too, everything is clear before the first note of Vader’s bassy voice can be heard.

Lucas also establishes the other important characters in succinct settings: Leia (Carrie Fisher), a woman of action, hides the Death Star plans in a robot and looks ominously wedged between two walls, nevertheless decided:

Lucas also established the other important characters in concise settings:

And we just want to let Luke Skywalker’s look into the twin sunset, which we see shortly after his first appearance:

And we just want to let Luke Skywalker’s look into the twin sunset, which we see shortly after his first appearance:

“Star Wars 4: A New Hope” is also included in the Disney program. If you subscribe to the streaming service via our affiliate link, we will receive a commission that does not affect the price for you.

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