A 30th Anniversary Retrospective
May 25, 2007 marks thirty years since the release of the film that launched not only an entire franchise, but an entire mythology.
The first three films in the Star Wars saga were animated with the Xerox process which Disney had implemented during the making of 101 Dalmatians.
THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY
Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)*
*Originally titled as simply Star Wars prior to early VHS releases.
A New Hope is pretty much the same as OTL except with Anakin Starkiller (Harrison Ford) being the cynical space pirate. Also, Han Solo (Kurt Russell) is introduced as the overly confident cabin boy of the Millennium Falcon. The destruction of Alderaan still ranks among the most infamous "Disney Deaths" of all time. A New Hope was the only installment of the Star Wars saga to be worked on by Walt's Nine Old Men. Milt Kahl animated the famous "Binary Sunset" scene. Frank Thomas, who animated the Disney villains of the Early Fifties, was assigned to supervise the animation of Darth Vader. Ward Kimball, who directed the space exploration specials for the Sunday night series two decades earlier, oversaw the Battle of Yavin. Wolfgang Reitherman, known for the Monstro sequence in Pinocchio, the dinosaurs in Fantasia and the dragon battle in Sleeping Beauty, oversaw the lightsaber fight between Obi Wan (Sir Alec Guiness) and Vader (James Earl Jones).
Future installments would feature the CalArts led nuclei that was being formed during The Snow Queen and Rapunzel.
Chewie (Frank Welker) and Anakin Starkiller (Harrison Ford) at Docking Bay 94.
The Empire Strikes Back (1983)
The battle on Hoth is pretty much the same, but ITTL, the rest of the plot has a few notable changes. IG-88 (Jason Wingreen) is the Bounty Hunter that tracks down Solo and Leia on Bespin. Also, Boba Fett (George Takei) is a Rakata exile who runs into the Rebels and is ultimately the one who is sent to the carbon chamber. Vader's big reveal from OTL is butterflied. Sheev Palpatine (Michael Gough) is introduced as a Jedi exile who had been hiding on Dagobah. Sheev leads Luke and Anakin to Yoda's hut through the misty swamp.
Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) right before he is ambushed by the Wampa.
Revenge of the Jedi (1985)
The ground battle in the third act is fought on the Wookiees' home planet of Kashyyyk. The space battle is fought with the Rebels attacking the Imperial Super Star Destroyer Executor. After a direct hit on the ship's bridge deflector shield, the Executor crashes into the Imperial Palace on Coruscant. Vader's true identity is still left a mystery, but the film generated controversy among fans when Emperor Constantine (Clive Revill) was revealed to be merely Vader's puppet.
C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 wander the corridors of Jabba's Palace.
POST-WALT ERA FILMS
Dark Empire (1994)
Luke temporarily turns to the dark side, only to get slapped by Leia at the end. Dark Empire marked the second appearance of Daniel Abbott as the voice of Sheev's ghost after voicing the character two years earlier for the Orlando version of the Fantasmic stage show at DHS.
Rise of the Sith (1997)
Rise of the Sith uses the main plot points of the OTL film Anastasia and puts it in the familiar galactic setting.
The Phantom Menace (1999)
The key plot points of the OTL prequels are condensed into one film. Jar Jar is voiced by Weird Al Yankovic and serves as a more competent comic relief in the first and second acts. We also get to see Galen Marek (Keith David) as the Jedi padawan who is seduced to the dark side. Darth Sidious (Ian MacDiarmid) is the cloaked figure of the Sith who twists Galen's mind for much of the film.
Rogue Squadron (2005)
This film chronicles the Rebels' mission to steal the Death Star schematics which were hinted at in the opening crawl of A New Hope.
Opened in 1989 as one of the opening day attractions at Disney-Hyperion Studios in Lake Buena Vista. Rex aka R-3X (Paul Reubens), who was Sheev's droid pilot aboard the Shuttle Tydirium in Revenge of the Jedi, serves as the host of the Starspeeder 3000 as it attempts to take guests on a spaceflight to the Kashyyyk system. The Anaheim version opened in the mid-90s when Tomorrowland was rebranded as Horizon Spaceport. A compact version with just one Starspeeder vessel is set to open in St Louis in 2009.