Looking at the speed at which Star Wars is expanding, it could end up as one of the longest and most gigantic shared universe ever. A saga that started in the year 1977 has consistently had a dedicated line of followers who know all its nuances by heart. At the same time, there are many who find it overwhelming to wrap their heads around this epic. If you’re one of them, we have the basics covered to give you a head-start into understanding what’s going on.
Though laced with interplanetary wars and conflicts, Star Wars is essentially a multi-generational melodrama about the Skywalker family. Real world philosophies across the planet are the inspirations for the plot as well as its different concepts. And every film in the franchise opens with a distinct scrolling text explaining the setup of the plot, its place in the extended timeline and other details.
Once we understand the recurring terminology in Star Wars, it gets easier to get a hold on the major plot twists and turns. Following are a few words and phrases that keep recurring throughout.
The Force is an invisible spiritual power with the potential to expand the mind’s abilities. In other words, those who are able to harness this power can move things with their minds, gain psychic abilities as well as extrasensory perception. The concept of The Force draws inspiration from all the world religions and at the same time, compares with philosophies of yoga and energy fields created by all living things. Just like all other sources of power, The Force has a dark and a light side. This is much like the Chinese wisdom of Yin and Yang.
The Death Star
The Death Star is a giant space station constructed by the Galactic Empire. This serves as the Empire’s ultimate weapon complete with massive power projection capabilities, fortresses and multiple war equipment.
The Galactic Empire
The Galactic Empire is an autocracy that goes through several political upheavals over time. In various media, the Empire appears as a ruthless dictatorship, obsessed with power and responsible for crimes against non-human species. The Empire also encourages the use of the dark side of The Force.
Lightsabers are swordlike weapons used by the Jedis, the Siths and other Force-sensitive communities. They are made up of a plasma blade powered by a crystal. The blade can be produced and shut off at will using a metal hilt.
BBY & ABY
BBY and ABY are the systems of dating and time management much like the real world BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era). So, all the events that happened Before the Battle of Yavin are suffixed with BBY and the ones occurring After the Battle of Yavin are suffixed with ABY. The battle of Yavin ended after the first Death Star was destroyed.
There are a huge number of planets in the entire Star Wars universe and each one of them plays an important role in the story. Here are the ones that have constantly served as game-changing locations film after film.
Chronologically, the saga begins on this planet. It first appeared in the 1999 film Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. The planet has a temperate climate and is known for its young monarchs who are trusted for their pure thinking.
This is where the Clone Wars began and the Death Star was created. A desert planet to the core, Geonosis was later sterilized by the Empire to hide its secrets.
Vast deserts cover the surface of this planet. It is one of the most important locations in the universe because of many important events. Firstly, it is the birthplace of Anakin Skywalker aka Darth Vader- the prime anti-hero. Secondly, this is where many important characters have been stranded. Their rescue marked the beginning of a new series of events.
The entire surface of this planet is a large city which has enabled it to be a politically significant location. The Jedi Temple, the Senate Building as well as the Underworld operate from Coruscant. The planet also serves as the capital of the notorious Galactic Empire as well as its predecessor- The Galactic Republic.
Kashyyyk is the homeland of the alien species known as the Wookiees. These tall, hairy humanoids played a vital role in several interplanetary wars. Also, this is the birth place of Chewbacca, Han Solo’s best friend.
The planet has a dangerous volcanic surface. This is where the iconic duel between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi took place. The planet’s environment and the lost duel mutilated most of Anakin’s body and he was reborn as the Darth Vader!
The major highlight of this mobile ice planet is a superweapon capable of destroying entire star systems across galaxies. The planet served as the headquarters of the First Order, a military faction that grew after the fall of the Galactic Republic.
FRIENDS & FOES
While covering the basics of Star Wars, we cannot overlook the key relationships. Once you are familiar with the main characters, the following friendships and enmities should paint a clearer picture of the universe.
Chewbacca and Han Solo
Chewbacca and Han Solo have set one of the best examples of inter-species partnerships. While Chewbacca aka Chewie was a warrior, Solo was a smuggler. However, circumstances brought them together and forced them to work as a team. The two saved the day multiple times throughout history and ended up being best friends! The upcoming film Solo: A Star Wars Story is a spin-off focusing on their adventures together.
R2D2 and C3PO
Both are extremely intelligent robots, better known as droids in the Star Wars universe. Equipped with specific abilities, these droids make lives easier on different planets. Over time, their evolving AI has made them best friends.
Siths Vs. Jedis
The Jedis are the main protagonists throughout the Star Wars franchise. Basically, they are an organization of extremely intelligent and learned individuals. Consisting of a mix of intergalactic species, the Jedis value wisdom and serve others through acts of charity. Characters like Yoda, Kenobi and most of the Skywalkers belong to the Jedi Order. Their prime source of power is the light side of The Force.
The Sith Order is the ultimate nemesis of the Jedis. Though comprising of several former Jedis, the Siths are a sect using the dark side of The Force, believing it to be more powerful. Some of the most prominent members of the Sith Order include Sheev Palpatine, Count Dooku and Darth Vader.
Stormtroopers Vs. The Rebel Alliance
The Stormtroopers are an army working for the evil Galactic Empire. The latter usually treats them as dispensable pawns in their agenda. And that means, easily five of them die in every scene! On the other hand, the Rebel Alliance poses the greatest challenge to their might. Their aim is to eradicate the oppressive Empire and restore the former Galactic Republic.
Stay tuned to this space for more updates on the characters, species, timelines and other details related to the titanic Star Wars universe.