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A classic tale of good and evil, corruption and redemption, hi-tech super-weapons and swordplay, Star Wars brought Space Opera to the big screen. It is a juggernaut of a franchise, making creator George Lucas one of the most powerful men financially and in entertainment.
Opening with a tale of a brave rebellion fighting the evil empire, the story centered on Luke Skywalker, a simple Farm Boy who finds himself drawn into that conflict when some robot buddies show up at his doorstep with some important information. As he embarks on The Hero's Journey, it encompasses three films and meets many now-legendary characters like Princess Leia, the Lovable Rogue Han Solo and the Old Master Obi-Wan Kenobi.
With guidance from Obi-Wan and later Yoda, Luke learns the ways of mystic powers of the Jedi and brings down The Empire. Along the way, he discovers that Darth Vader, The Dragon of the Emperor, is his father Anakin Skywalker, and the (not) love-interest Princess is his twin sister. And none of these are spoilered because you should know already that It Was His Sled.
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
After Lucas decided to label the second film "Episode V", the label "Episode IV: A New Hope" was retroactively added to the first film in its published screenplay and first home video release. Many casual fans refer to it as simply Star Wars, even though all the films carry the same title/subtitle pattern now.
The second trilogy to be released was chronologically the first. Essentially an extended prequel, it centered on Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker, and his growth from a young slave on a remote planet into a powerful Jedi Knight. It showed how Senator/Chancellor Palpatine (the Big Bad of the Original Trilogy) gained supreme power through complex schemes, and Anakin's corruption at his hands. It also showed Obi-Wan's story in training Anakin and the fall of the Jedi Order, with Obi-Wan and Yoda becoming the last of their kind.
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
As part of the marketing for the prequels they were referred to more often by episode number rather than the episode name. In fact many did not catch on to the name of Episode I being The Phantom Menace. Episode III is an anomaly, where fans refer to it equally by both episode number and the name Revenge of the Sith. This has also been observed, though to a much lesser degree, for Episode II.
Lucas has long argued that the prequel's story existed in some form or another from the beginning of the saga, as the films featured the subtitles, Episode IV-VI (although the subtitle "Episode IV" wasn't in the first Star Wars film until its 1981 video re-release). A New Hope and a few elements of the original trilogy also make slightly more sense when seen against the Backstory in the prequels, though others are more complicated. The original trilogy was released to theaters again in 1997 for the 20th Anniversary, featuring a few new special effects, cleaning up a few perceived Special Effects Failures, added some deleted scenes and tweaked some original scenes. The films were slightly tweaked once more for the 2004 DVD release and changed to better match the Prequels by replacing Boba Fett's voice with Jango Fett's, replacing Clive Revill as the Emperor with Ian MacDiarmid, and replacing Sebastian Shaw as Anakin's ghost with Hayden Christiansen.
As to Episodes VII, VIII and IX, the story is more vague. Lucas was on record as both having and not having plans to create them. Lucasfilm's was stance is that the saga was always going to culminate with Luke saving his father and confronting The Emperor; since all this has already happened, there is no need to create further feature films. However, everything changed from 2015 onwards: the third trilogy was officially released, under the direction of J. J. Abrams (Felicity, Alias, Lost and the Kelvin timeline Star Trek movies)
The third trilogy is set decades after Return of the Jedi. To cut a very, very long story short: the Galactic Empire was not completely extinguished and the survivors, in part due to the New Republic's complacency, managed to reorganize into a successor state, the First Order. Thirty years after the Empire's defeat and the formation of the New Republic, the First Order officially declared war on the galaxy, its opening strike virtually destroying the Republic, and now everyone's last hope relays on Senator Leia Organa's Resistance groups. While the trilogy itself features classic characters like Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca and many others, there are also new ones associated with either the First Order or Resistance: the Plucky Girl Rey, the once-Stormtrooper Finn, the Ace Pilot Poe Dameron, Poe's droid BB-8, and especially one of the leaders of the Order: a powerful, unstable young man named Kylo Ren.
- Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
- Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)
- Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
The story goes that after Lucas made American Graffiti he wanted to make a Flash Gordon R Emake, and upon being denied the rights to the property he set out to create his own pulp sci-fi universe. After multiple incarnations, some of the content of which can be found in repurposed names and concepts for later EU productions, he formed the basic story of the first movie and original trilogy. But from the beginning it was always meant to be just one story in a vast galaxy.
Star Wars was inspired by the 1930s serials and comic strips of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. And by Asimov's Foundation, most manifested in the Imperial capital of
Trantor Coruscant and the concept of the decaying Galactic Empire itself. And by Space Battleship Yamato's World War II naval battles In Space, and Akira Kurosawa's mystical samurai heroes and bumbling sidekicks. (Kurosawa's film The Hidden Fortress was particularly influential on Lucas.)
The films also have some predecessors in SF literature. Frank Herbert's Dune novels (especially the first two or three books) provided some inspiration, notably for the desert planet Tatooine. Also, E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman pulp SF series suggested the concept of a superpowered psychic galactic police force. Basically every single Star Wars trope is Older Than They Think, but the film did popularise them, and many modern Space Opera or Sci Fi shows and movies (or just about anything and everything) contain homages to Star Wars.
As expected for a film series this popular, the very incomplete list is immense; in fact, there's a very real argument to be made that Wookiepedia.com established the "Expanded Universe" concept as we know it. (While the concept certainly fun it was this particular EU that was the first to become a financial and mindshare juggernaut that in some ways became bigger than the films themselves.) Made-For-TV films and cartoons, comics, and cartoons are also counted among its ranks.
The canonicity (or lack thereof) of the EU was a matter of some heated debate among the fans. Some took the view that since it was published, it was official. Others point out that George Lucas himself considered it a separate project apart from "his" canon. This has led to lots and lots of Fan Dumb from all sides.
Whatever the particular fan's view, the EU from 1976 to 2014 was rendered Canon Dis Continuity by Disney when The Force Awakens was released to make way for a new, and less cluttered, EU, though material from the old EU has found its way into Disney's new canon. The old stories were rebranded as "Star Wars Legends" and came to a close on August 27th 2014, with Legacy Vol. 2 #18.
In place of Legends, the new Star Wars Expanded Universe is most definitely canon, overseen by a story group within Lucasfilm that's designed to keep continuity across all media as opposed to the various Continuity Snarls and Retcons of Legends.
The popularity of the series has led to many parodies and spoofs. These are some notable ones:
- Darths and Droids
- Blue Milk Special
- Lego Star Wars
- Spaceballs (a parody by Mel Brooks)
- Hardware Wars
- Laugh It Up Fuzzball: The Family Guy Trilogy
The Star Wars Franchise has its own extremely encyclopedic wiki here. With over 82,000 articles, it is among the largest wikis on the entire Internet (even many academic wikis are eclipsed by it) and there isn't anything Star Wars that is not covered in it.
As might be expected, this franchise is one of the biggest Trope Namers in the history of human media. Even if many of these tropes didn't necessarily start here, in the modern zeitgeist, mention what the trope is and you'll likely get a Star Wars example back and entire generations of writers have since imitated the examples the movies gave. A full list of them is here.
- 3D Movie: Plans have been announced to rerelease the six main films in theaters in 3D. Episode I has already been released in 2012, to mixed reviews.
- Abridged Series: Star Wars Shortened sanctioned by George Lucas as a promotion for the Sky 1 network's season of the six films. Written by and starring three members of the Reduced Shakespeare Company including founding member, Adam Long. Part 1 on YouTube, here
- Action Girl: Padmé and Leia are the only major female characters in their respective trilogies, and they make the most of it. Several female Jedi and bounty hunters embody this trope as well, especially in the EU.
- Aerith and Bob: From Qui-Gon Jinn to ... Luke.
- Agony Beam: Force Lightning. Only if the sith specifically uses it to torture people though.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Captain Needa’s death. He took sole responsibility of losing the Millenium Falcon to save his crew.
- Aliens Speaking English (well, Basic).
- All According to Plan: Many bad guys throughout the series use this phrase, most notably the Emperor.
- All You Need to Know About The Crying Game: Whether you've seen any of the movies of this franchise or not, you know that Darth Vader is Luke's father.
- Alternate Universe: The Infinities series
- Always Save the Girl: Yeah, nice going there, Anakin!
- Ambiguous Robots: General Grievous has shades of this.
- Amusing Alien: Many appear in the various works, but Jar-Jar Binks is the most known and most visible example of The Scrappy.
- An Arm and a Leg: Jedi and Sith frequently lose limbs in lightsaber combat due to their Absurdly Sharp Blade quality. Also happens to various other characters for non-lightsaber related reasons.
- Anti-Hero: Han in A New Hope. He is mostly self-serving until he comes through for them in the end.
- Anakin Skywalker is the dark and edgy type.
- The Apprentice: The Jedi Order is founded on the concept of apprenticeship, with students (Padawans) trained primarily by a single Jedi Master before taking on the rank of Jedi Knight, then going on to take an apprentice themselves. The Sith use a variant: there is always a single master and a single apprentice in the Galaxy at any time, with the principle that the apprentice will eventually seek to overcome his master and will either succeed or die in the attempt.
- Arc Words: Many, including various psychobabble about under/overestimating the power of the Force/dark side etc.
- "I've got a bad feeling about this."
- "May the Force be with you."
- Archetype: Luke is a textbook hero, designed right out of the book The Hero With A Thousand Faces
- Armored Coffins: Basic TIE fighters have neither ejection seats nor shields. (Expanded Universe material somewhat justifies this in that the TIE is extremely cheap to manufacture, and the Empire is depending on their overwhelming numbers rather than their sturdiness. Pilots are also relatively easy to come by in a galaxy this well-populated). Later versions modeled after Vader's TIE Advanced prototype did get shields, after the TIE corps sustained massive losses at the hands of shielded Rebel craft.
- Ascended Extra: With how much Expanded Universe material is being written, we're well on our way to every single background character from the films getting names and thorough backstories. The winners for this are Wedge and Boba Fett. IG-88 has a Shadows of the Empire level as well.
- Ascended Fanboy(s): The 501st Legion, the world-wide "definitive Imperial costuming organization," was rewarded for their service by being canonically named as Vader's Praetorian Guard, as well as being made the "stars" of Star Wars Battlefront 2.
- Ascended Fridge Horror: Although Return of the Jedi vaguely seems to imply that defeating the Emperor defeated the Empire, the Expanded Universe makes clear that it did not.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: When they die, Jedi can choose to become one with the Force.
- Asteroid Thicket: The asteroid chase from The Empire Strikes Back; revisited in Attack of the Clones with the rings of Geonosis.
- Attack! Attack! Retreat! Retreat!: Han's running battle with the Death Star's stormtroopers in A New Hope contains several examples of this, from the iconic "Close the blast doors! Close the blast doors! ... Open the blast doors! Open the blast doors!" bit to the scene when he goes on the offensive against a squad, only to retreat after he "corners" them and finds a much larger squad waiting ready.
- Attack Pattern Alpha: The space battles are full of this, especially the Rebels.
- Author Appeal: A society of warrior-sages who, as per Word of God, can have all the sex they want so long as they don't get too attached.
- Author Catchphrase: "I've got a bad feeling about this."
- Author Existence Failure: George Lucas hired SF pulp novel author and Hollywood screenwriter Leigh Brackett to write the script for The Empire Strikes Back. She wrote a first draft but died of cancer before she could revise it. Lucas wrote subsequent drafts himself, and later turned the script over to Lawrence Kasdan (writer of Raiders of the Lost Ark) for polishing. (Lucas's revisions after Brackett's death notably included the creation of the Luke, I Am Your Father moment. In Brackett's draft Vader and Anakin were two separate characters, and Luke sees Anakin's Force ghost before heading off to duel Vader.)
- Authority Equals Asskicking: The Jedi Order and the Sith both embody this trope, as the stronger Force-users tend to be the highest ranked. The Sith explicitly codify it by making "promotion" based on You Kill It, You Bought It.
- Auto Doc: Bacta tanks.
- Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: The reason for that scene in A New Hope where Luke discovers his aunt and uncle's horrifically charred remains. Justified, as George Lucas had no way of knowing at the time that standards would be tightened for G-rated movies within the next few years, so if he didn't shoot that scene and got a G rating back in 1977, he could've earned a PG rating if he submitted it in 1981 regardless.
- Badass: Lots and lots of characters.
- Badass Abnormal: All the Jedi and Sith: warrior monks with Implausible Fencing Powers, blaster-bolt-deflecting Laser Blades, and telekinesis.
- Badass Army: The Jedi and Sith, and the Grand Army of the Republic, when they aren't being put through Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy.
- Badass Beard: Many, many examples.
- Badass Grandpa: Yoda and Obi-Wan on one side, Palpatine and Dooku on the other.
- Badass Normal:
- Han Solo can't use the Force, but he gets the drop on Darth Vader, takes the Millennium Falcon through nigh-impossible manoeuvres, and knocks the galaxy's most feared bounty hunter into the Sarlacc (albeit accidentally) while blind.
- While nowhere near the level of Han, Leia has her moments, notably in her first encounter with Vader where she not only lies to his face, but talks to him like he's an idiot. She later strangles Jabba to death. (The fact that she later turns out to be Force-sensitive notwithstanding.)
- Bald Women: Aurra Sing, Sly Moore (in the prequels)
- Bare Your Midriff: Padmé in her Action Girl attire.
- Battle Couple: Han and Leia, and Anakin and Padme in Attack of the Clones.
- The Battlestar: Most large capital ships carry fighter squadrons as well as their own heavy armament. Star Destroyers and their counterparts, the Corellian Cruisers, are the basic examples.
- BBW: Yarna d'al' Gargan from Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
- Being Watched: Jedi can detect this.
"You feel like what?"
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Han and Leia.
- Best Friends-in-Law: Since Han and Leia will presumably get married, Luke and Han become this.
- Big Bad: It's Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious overall, but each movie has a specific main antagonist.
- The Phantom Menace: Nute Gunray and Rune Haako seem like this at first, but they're operating under Darth Sidious and Darth Maul's orders.
- Attack of the Clones: Count Dooku.
- Revenge of the Sith: Darth Sidious again.
- A New Hope: Grand Moff Tarkin, with Darth Vader as his Dragon.
- The Empire Strikes Back: Darth Vader.
- Return of the Jedi: Emperor Palpatine.
- Big Damn Heroes: Han's return to save Luke in A New Hope is probably the best-known example, but there are many.
- Big Good: Yoda
- Big No: In every movie.
- A New Hope: Luke after Obi-Wan is killed by Vader.
- The Empire Strikes Back: Luke after the big reveal.
- Return of the Jedi: Luke during their final duel, after Vader threatens to turn Leia to the Dark Side, although that's more of a "Big Never". Also, in the Blu-ray re-release, Vader utters "No... NO!" just before killing Palpatine.
- The Phantom Menace: Obi-Wan after Qui-Gon was killed by Darth Maul.
- Attack of the Clones: Yoda hearing Qui-Gon's voice after Anakin's Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Tusken Raiders.
- Revenge of the Sith: A rather famous scene, both the original and a renowned translation. Also notable were three hammy ones from Palpatine while cornered by Mace Windu.
- Bigger Bad: The Dark Side.
- Bilingual Dialogue: Han apparently speaks (or at least understands) a variety of languages, including Huttese, Rodian, and Wookiee. Lando and Nien Numb communicate this way in Return of the Jedi. R2-D2 does this constantly, since he only speaks Binary.
- Bittersweet Ending: A staple of the series. In fact, A New Hope has the only unambiguously happy ending.
- The Phantom Menace- The Battle of Naboo is a success, but Qui-Gon Jinn is killed in a duel that only proves the Sith still exist.
- Attack of the Clones - The Republic wins the Battle of Geonosis, but now has a galactic-scale war on its hands. Anakin and Padmé get married. Count Dooku escapes.
- Revenge of the Sith - The Empire takes over the galaxy, Padmé dies, and Anakin becomes Darth Vader. Obi-Wan and Yoda go into hiding. The only hopeful part is that Luke and Leia are born and will become Jedi someday.
- The Empire Strikes Back - The heroes escape from Cloud City, but Han is still frozen in carbonite and captured by Boba Fett. Luke learns Vader is his father.
- Return of the Jedi- Darth Vader does a Heel Face Turn and then dies. The Rebels defeat the Emperor, but that doesn't end the war.
- The Force Awakens- Han Solo is dead and the New Republic destroyed but Rey has emerged as a new hope for the galaxy.
- The Last Jedi- Luke Skywalker is dead and the Resistance has been all but destroyed but the war is not over. Luke's Heroic Sacrifice has inspired a new generation to rise up against the First Order.
- Averted in The Rise of Skywalker. The war is over.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Several near-human or rubber-forehead species, as described in the Expanded Universe. There's some even more bizarre stuff in the EU.
- Bizarre Human Biology: Humans, as well as all other living species in The Verse, possess "midi-chlorians", mysterious organelles which have some intricate connection to The Force.
- Bloodbath Villain Origin: Anakin's first task after being christened Darth Vader is to lead the attack on the Jedi Temple.
- Boarding Party: The Imperials blasting their way into the Rebel corvette at the start of Episode IV.
- Bodyguarding a Badass: The Imperial guard are the sign-of-office type, since their bosses are Sith Lords.
- Bottomless Pits: Every single movie, multiple times even. Entire cities have been built in bottomless pits. The Emperor is particularly fond of them and dies when Vader throws him into one.
- Breakout Character: R2-D2.
- Broad Strokes: The entire saga was built upon having millions of stories being told while we are only seeing a few. There is a tier-based system of how Star Wars Canon works: Movies > Novelizations/Comic Adaptations > Television > Original story Comic Books / Literature / Video Games > Older material (subject to be ignored) > What If stories, Alternate Endings and items not meant to be taken seriously.
- Bromantic Foil: Naive farmboy and cynical drug smuggler turned mercenary? Naturally they'll be the two guys competing over Leia.
- Canon Immigrant: A'plenty. TIE Bombers in The Empire Strikes Back, Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back, Aayla Secura in Attack of the Clones, and the Outrider in the Special Edition.
- Captain Obvious:
- Admiral Ackbar, and his utterly needless exclamation of "It's a TRAP!"
- Ric Olie from the prequels.
- For a droid programmed for etiquette and protocol, C-3PO has an uncanny ability to put his foot in his metaphorical mouth.
Han: "Glad you're here to tell us these things. Chewie! Take the professor to the back and plug him into the hyperdrive."
- Cash Cow Franchise: With 20th Century Fox famously signing away the merchandising rights to save money on the original film.
- Casual Interstellar Travel
- Charm Person: The Jedi Mind Trick.
- Cheated Angle: The Death Star is always shown so the superlaser dish is facing the viewer. The only exception is the occasional view from behind when the superlaser is firing, but it's never shown without the laser visible in an establishing shot.
- Chekhov's Gun: Han's debt to Jabba.
- The Chessmaster: A number of these, most obviously Senator/Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine.
- Chickification: Padmé Amidala, due to being pregnant.
- Choke Holds: The Force Choke is an air choke. A slow, unpleasant, unstoppable choke from a distance. Very dark sidey.
- Circling Monologue: Reversed, somewhat. Anakin circles Palpatine as the latter goads him into doing a Face Heel Turn.
- Civil War: One spanning the entire galaxy.
- Clingy Costume: Darth Vader's armour is also a life-support system, and cannot be removed outside a special chamber.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Vader's torture of Princess Leia in the first movie, Han Solo and Chewbacca in the second and the Emperor's use of electrical torture on Luke in the third.
- Collectible Card Game: Four of them, the most successful being the Star Wars Customizable Card Game)
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: In space battles, Rebel lasers are red, and Imperial lasers are green. In the prequels, Republic shots were blue, Separatist shots were red. Jedi use blue or green lightsabers while only Sith carry red lightsabers. And only a bad motherfucker gets to use a purple lightsaber blade.
- The expanded universe has made the lightsaber coloring slightly less straight forward. Yellow, Orange, Amber, Pewter, and Black have been used for Jedi saber colors. However the Sith seem to maintain their characteristic red sabers no matter what. Leia herself used a different shade of red for her own lightsaber when she first became a Jedi.
- Common Tongue: Basic for humans (and by extension the Republic/Empire) and individual languages for each species.
- Constructed World
- Converging Stream Weapon: The Death Star is the Trope Codifier. Also several Republic ships in AOTC had miniature versions.
- Cosmetically Advanced Prequel: The prequel trilogy compared to the original.
- Cool Old Guy: Yoda and Obi-Wan.
- Cool Starship: Each film introduces at least one.
- Cool Sword: Lightsabers.
- Corrupt Politician: Senator Palpatine got elected. Emperor Palpatine did not.
- Cranial Processing Unit: Appears to apply to many of the humanoid robots. Most notably, in Episode II, C-3PO gets his head switched with that of a battle droid, and remains being himself. Averted with the MagnaGuards, however, since losing their heads doesn't appear to slow them down much.
- Creepy Cleanliness: The Empire's ships are always spotless and shiny, emphasizing their coldness and sterility. The Alliance's are always used and lived-in. (George Lucas had fights with the unionized cleaning staff, who kept trying to clean the Alliance sets up for contractual reasons after he had them deliberately dirtied.)
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Compare Yoda as we first meet him in Episode V and his duel with Palpatine.
- Crushing the Populace: The Galactic Empire rules by fear, as expressed in the Tarkin Doctrine and exemplified by the destruction of Alderaan.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Force.
- Crystal Spires and Togas: Notably Coruscant, which is the capital of the Republic and the headquarters of the Jedi.
- Cute Machines: Primarily, R2-D2, but many of the series' droids can exhibit this from time to time.
- Daddy Had a Good Reason For Abandoning You: Anakin with his children. Considering he thought they were dead, he can be forgiven for not looking for them sooner.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Palpatine.
- Darker and Edgier:
- Since the Prequel Trilogy was following Anakin, Revenge of the Sith had to be darker by default. As such, it was the only film in the series to garner a PG-13 rating. The Empire Strikes Back is also noticeably darker in tone than its predecessor. The upcoming live-action TV series is also reported by Rick McCallum to be "much darker, much grittier" and Lucas describing the series as "bare-bones" and "action-heavy". There's a brief scene in A New Hope that's darker than the rest of the film, and the darkness of that scene was deliberate on the part of the director.
- The Sequel Trilogy. Discussions of child abductions, child abandonment, genocide Grey and Gray Morality are much more prominent. Character deaths are framed in more drama and the First Order is much more a No-Nonsense Nemesis than the Galactic Empire.
- Data Crystal: Holocrons.
- Deadpan Snarker: Han Solo would be the most obvious one, but it seems old Obi-Wan was something of a snarkier in his younger days. Even as an old man he's still able to spar with Han though:
Han: Damn fool, I knew you were gonna say that.
- Decade Dissonance: A bit of a clash between the prequel's and the original trilogies' style for technology. Perhaps justified in that the galaxy under The Empire is a Crapsack World. Though, to be fair, a good amount of the original trilogy spends time on barely-inhabited planets that are the site of Rebel or Imperial bases or galactic backwaters like Tatooine. Bespin is the most high-technology place visited in the original series and it seems rather advanced for an out-of-the-way Tibanna platform (albeit an important one).
- Death-Activated Superpower: How "Force Ghosts" are created.
- Deceptive Legacy: Obi-Wan tells Luke his father is dead. It all depends on your point of view. The audience knows he turns out to be Darth Vader; but from Obi-Wan's point of view, his friend Anakin died (and was mourned) after the events of Episode III.
- Decoy Protagonist: It turns out Qui-Gon was right; Despite his flaws and poor decisions, it is Anakin, not Luke, who is the hero of the entire series.
- Deleted Scene: Scenes restored in the Special Editions of the Original Trilogy and finished in the DVD releases for the prequels.
- Democracy Is Flawed: Then-Senator Palpatine uses the political mire of the Galactic Senate to ignite his scheme of overthrowing the Jedi and Senate to establish a Sith Empire.
- Demoted to Extra: Jar-Jar Binks. In Attack of the Clones, he had a somewhat significant appearance. In Revenge of the Sith, he had very minor appearances.
- Depending on the Writer: The movies try to have some sense of balance and limitation to the technology and the abilities of Force users. In the Expanded Universe you will find all sorts of battleship weapons more powerful than the Death Star, and Jedi of either the current time period or in the distant past who could be considered forces of nature with what they are able to do.
- Despite the Plan:
Han: So how we doin'?
- Development Gag: Usually shows up in character names.
- Digital Destruction: The 2004 dvd set, despite being billed as "restored", recieved terrible color alternation, desaturating the soft, fantasy like colors of the original films into darker, more realistic lighting in vogue with the Prequel Trilogy, and much of the clarity and detail of the original prints is lost in the process. This was the result of Lucasfilm ordering this to be done in a breakneck page of 30 days. See the restoration comparison here. Hopefully the problem was fixed for the Blu-ray reissue.
- Nowhere near, sadly. The 2011 Blu-rays have the brightness turned up a teeny bit, and a few lightsaber fixes- mostly in Return of the Jedi- but that's about it. Colours are still all over the shop, lightsaber in Empire Strikes Back often look terrible, and a lot of the detail in the darker parts of the picture are still lost.
- Digital Head Swap: Done for Count Dooku's light saber battles (justified, given Christopher Lee's age). It's particularly eerie and distracting as Christopher Lee's head seems to float above his stuntman's shoulders independent of his movements.
- Disappeared Dad: Anakin was this for Luke, for awhile. We know what really happened, but Luke didn't learn the truth until Episode V. Also, ironically, applies to Anakin himself, as he has no father.
- Disney Villain Death: Palpatine. Then again, when he reached the bottom, he also blew up.
- Divine Chessboard: The Light Side versus the Dark Side of the force, through the Jedi and Sith.
- Doesn't Like Guns: Obi Wan, who considers blasters "clumsy and uncivilized", and prefers more elegant weapons. Until he's forced to use one.
- Doing in the Wizard: Midichlorians.
- Downer Ending:
- The Empire Strikes Back- Probably the biggest downer ending in the series: The Empire storms the Rebellion's hidden base and drives the entire Rebel fleet into hiding, Luke gets his hand cut off and finds out that Darth Vader is his father, and Han Solo gets frozen in carbonite after confessing his love to Leia.
- The Phantom Menace might have one. As stated above it could be considered a Bittersweet Ending with Qui-Gon dead but the battle of Naboo having been won. Though the purpose of Naboo's invasion was to make Sidious Supreme Chancellor of the Republic. The Good Guys celebrate their pointless victory not knowing that the Big Bad has actually succeeded and is standing there among them as Palpatine. The Bad Guy Wins, the Good Guys just don't know.
- Attack of the Clones- Featured a Jedi massacre and the start of the Clone Wars.
Yoda:Victory? Victory you say? Master Obi-Wan, not victory. The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun the Clone War has.
- Revenge of the Sith- Drops a ton of bombs on us. The purge of the Jedi Order. Anakin fully becomes Darth Vader after sustaining grievous injuries in a battle with his closest friend Obi-Wan. Padme dies, orphaning newborns Luke and Leia Skywalker. Palpatine forms the Empire.
- The Drag Along: C-3P0 in every movie.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Darth Vader might as well be the Trope Maker. See We Can Rule Together.
- Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: The Jedi wear brown robes while the Sith wear black. Stormtroopers wear distinctive white armour and Imperial pilots wear black uniforms, emphasizing their sterility and lack of humanity, while Rebels soldiers wear various green and grey tones.
- Drop Pod: Many factions use these, and some video games let you do it yourself.
- Due to the Dead: The Jedi burn their dead in funeral pyres, with few exceptions (including, but not limited to, Jedi that become one with the Force, most notably Obi-Wan and Yoda).
- Also, as a minor background event, C-3PO helps Obi-Wan burn a bunch of slaughtered Jawas in a funeral pyre in one scene in A New Hope as Luke returns from discovering his aunt and uncle's charred remains.
- In Revenge of the Sith, we only see Padme's funeral procession to the amphitheatre where Qui-Gon's funeral was held, though as inferred from Yoda's dialogue before the scene her body is subsequently buried along with a keepsake of her husband Anakin following the funeral proper.
- In Attack of the Clones, after recovering her remains from a Sandpeople village (and leaving the village in shambles in his wake because of the torture they had put her through), Anakin lays his mother to rest in a small cemetery in the Tatooine desert, with Padme, Cliegg, Owen, Beru, C-3PO, and R2-D2 in attendance at the small funeral.
- Dull Surprise: Although there are arguably some instances of it in the original trilogy too, this is taken to new levels in the prequels.
- The Dutiful Son: Or daughter in this case. Luke seems to think Leia is this, being in the Rebellion while he was on Tatooine.
- Ears as Hair: Several alien species do this at times, including the Togrutas, the Twi'leks, and the Gungans.
- Eccentric Mentor: Yoda, who is very wise but more than a little eccentric.
- Elite Mooks: The Stormtroopers, and the Super Battledroids from the prequel trilogy.
- Emotions vs. Stoicism: Why Jedi are good and Sith are evil, though in the Expanded Universe, stoicism is treated a bit less kindly, as the New Jedi Order by Luke is less rigid.
- The Empire: One of the best known examples, and a Trope Codifier in many ways.
- Epic Movie
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Leia.
- Everything Is Better With Spinning: The spinning background that occurs in A New Hope after the Millenium Falcon first jumps into Hyperspace. See it here.
- Evil Brit: Tarkin, and most of the Empire.
- In the original trilogy, this trope was invoked intentionally, and in fact was created in the editing room. Aside from the lead actors (who were mostly Americans), all of the small parts and background extras in the three films were played by Brits. This was natural, since the trilogy was shot at a studio just outside London. Most of the "good" or "neutral" characters in the films (such as the Rebel pilots, or the cantina bartender) later had their voices dubbed over by American actors, but the sound editors retained the natural English accents of the Imperial Mooks for dramatic effect.
- Subverted by Mon Mothma, who has a British accent and is head of the Rebellion.
- And by C-3PO, thanks to Anthony Daniels' narrow escape from overdubbing.
- And Leia... until she inexplicably starts speaking in an American accent. See Fake Brit.
- Evil Counterpart: Vader is Luke's counterpart and Palpatine is Yoda's.
- Evil Old Folks: Palpatine, Tarkin, Dooku and Vader. Averted with Obi-Wan and Yoda.
- Evil Overlooker: Many Star Wars posters, usually featuring Vader or Palpatine.
- Evil Overlord: Most Sith Lords (most of whom are also masters), though Darth Vader (an apprentice) is the first and arguably most definitive Evil Overlord to be introduced.
- Expanded Universe: One of the first major ones.
- Explain, Explain, Oh Crap: From the first (or fourth, depending on how you look at it) film, "But if they traced the robots here, they may have learned who they sold them to, and that would lead them back... home!".
- From Return of the Jedi, "But how could they be jamming us if they don't know... we're coming...?"
- Exposed Extraterrestrials: Wookiees in general and Chewbacca in particular.
- Face Heel Revolving Door: Anakin.
- Fake Brit: Leia in A New Hope, briefly. Her accent change is explained as her mockingly trolling Tarkin.
- False-Flag Operation: The Clone Wars; the Battle of Endor.
- Famous Last Words: Many.
- Fanfare: The iconic opening music.
- Fantastic Aesop: The Dark Side is made of this trope.
- Fantastic Fragility: The Death Star, both versions.
- Fantastic Honorifics: The Grand Moffs lean more into Fantastic Rank System, but there are also the Jedi honorifics of "Padawan learner" and so on.
- Fantastic Racism: Anakin towards the Sand People. In the EU, human supremacy is the policy of the Empire, to explain why there were no Imperial aliens in the movies.
- The droid-hating bartender from Episode IV, as well as the Imperial officer that calls Chewbacca a "thing". As well, the Imperials on Endor refer to the Ewoks as "bear creatures".
- Fantastic Rank System: The Empire's rank system includes Moffs and Grand Moffs. The Expanded Universe adds more fantasy ranks.
- Fast Roping: The clone troopers in Episode III employ this trope.
- Similarly averted in A New Hope where Princess Leia is a senator and member of the Rebellion with no man by her side.
- Feudal Future: Popularized the concept of a "used universe" which has inspired Firefly and countless other franchises.
- Fish People: Kit Fisto and the Gungans in the prequels, as well as the Aqualish, Mon Calimari, and Quarren.
- Five-Man Band: Luke is The Hero, Han's The Lancer, R2 and 3PO trade off being The Smart Guy, Chewie's The Big Guy, and Leia is The Chick. Well, sometimes. Threepio is sometimes The Chick. Lando Calrissian was the Sixth Ranger Traitor and later he was just the Sixth Ranger.
- Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: The Death Star's planet-killing superlaser.
- Flaunting Your Fleets: Several examples throughout the series.
- Flaw Exploitation: Anakin/Vader's love for his family; Luke's for his friends.
- Flip-Flop of God: Over the years George Lucas has made many contradictory claims about the development, conceptual background, and future plans of the series, always claiming that whatever his current plans are are what he had in mind all along.
- Floating Head Syndrome: On the most recent DVDs.
- Flynning: Oh so much, but justified as lightsabers are a One-Hit Kill weapon, so the emphasis of most combat styles is on avoiding being hit while creating an opportunity to strike.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Most of Biggs Darklighter's scenes were cut from the original release of A New Hope, resulting in some dissonant cheerfulness from Luke after he destroys the Death Star considering that his best friend had just died.
- Futuristic Superhighway: The prequel trilogy shows flying cars driving in seemingly designated "lanes" on Coruscant.
- Gambit Pileup: Palpatine's intricate plans are legendary throughout the series, but there are others that famously compete with his. Specifically, Vader, Luke, and the Rebel leaders all run their own gambits in Return of the Jedi. In order, the Rebels and Vader are Out-Gambitted by Palpatine, who is in turn Out-Gambitted by Luke.
- Generican Empire: The Galactic Republic, replaced by the Galactic Empire, replaced by the New Republic...
- Genre Busting: Part science fiction, part fairy tale fantasy, part western, part samurai movie, part World War II film....
- Gloved Fist of Doom: Darth Vader lives in this trope. "If you only knew the power of the Dark Side..."
- Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: The Jedi Order suffers from this problem, and pay dearly for it, as the prequels show.
- Good Old Ways
- Good Republic, Evil Empire
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Anakin gains a prominent scar on his face somewhere between Episodes II and III, and several more when he becomes Darth Vader. Luke has one in Episode V from the wampa attack (in reality, this was from a car accident prior to filming).
- G-Rated Sex: Word of God says in the commentary for ESB that, for the adults, a kiss between Han and Leia was supposed to have the same effect as two characters having sex in any other movie.
- Grappling Hook Pistol: Used in Episode I to enter the palace on Naboo.
- Graying Morality: The first trilogy. A New Hope has mostly clear-cut heroes and villains (except for Lovable Rogue Han Solo). In The Empire Strikes Back, we learn that Obi-Wan lied to Luke about his father. In Return of the Jedi, Luke is told that he must kill his own father or the Emperor will win.
- Gunship Rescue: Attack of the Clones has one of the archetypal depictions of this (which is a Big Damn Heroes moment too) but it is certainly not limited to any single movie, show, comic or book.
- Hannibal Lecture: Palpatine is especially fond of giving them, but Dooku and Tarkin also get to.
- Harmony Versus Discipline: The Force = The Way of Harmony and The Dark Side = The Path of Discipline, in theory with Jedi trying to be one with the Force and the Sith trying to control it by channeling their desires. In practice the Jedi believe in only using The Force with a focus on self-control, while the Sith seek domination through discipline.
- Hated Hometown: Luke and Anakin both feel this way about Tatooine.
- Have a Gay Old Time: There's a whole page of lines that sound sexual but aren't on Wookieepedia.
- Kevin J. Anderson's Jabba's Palace anthology series mentions something called a "jizz band." Wow. Just...wow.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Obi-Wan performs one to allow the heroes to escape the Death Star, naming the tropes The Obi-Wan and Obi-Wan Moment.
- Vader sacrifices his life to save Luke from the Emperor.
- Highly-Conspicuous Uniform: White armored Stormtroopers on a forest moon. What?!
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Many villains such as Palpatine, Tarkin and Jabba die due to their own arrogance and hubris.
- Hollywood Healing: Luke and Anakin are very active for people with prosthetics. Medical technology in the Republic is far superior to anything we have today.
- Luke is attacked by a wampa but heals relatively quickly.
- Hollywood Tactics: Made of this Trope. Some cases are somewhat justified, as the Rebels have grossly inferior forces and really have no other options.
- This is directly mentioned in the novelization of Return of the Jedi: the Rebels know going head to head with an enemy fleet is the one thing a guerilla force is never supposed to do.
- George Lucas loves Akira Kurosawa. In addition to the many references to The Hidden Fortress in A New Hope:
- Much of the Death Star attack at the climax of A New Hope comes from The Dam Busters, down to the dialogue in places.
- The medal ceremony scene at the end of A New Hope is almost frame-for-frame out of the infamous Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will.
- Honest Advisor: Daine Jir, the officer who criticizes Vader in "A New Hope," whom Vader actually listens to.
- How Can Santa Deliver All Those Toys?: This was brought up in a concept album, not the holiday special.
- Huge Holographic Head: The Emperor.
- Human Aliens: Near-human aliens, some of which have a common ancestry.
- Human Popsicle: Han Solo gets frozen in carbonite.
- Humanoid Aliens
- Humans Are White: There are precisely two black people in the original trilogy: Lando, and Grizz Fix, an X-wing pilot who gets a quarter second of screen time (dying) in Jedi. The prequels are slightly better about this. Slightly. Blue skin is still more common than black, but at least there's Mace Windu, the galaxy's second biggest badass, among the black characters.
- Humongous Mecha: The AT-series walkers.
- Hydrospanner In The Works
- I Am Not Spock: Nearly the entire cast has suffered this to some degree. Most of them have embraced it, while others were left resentful of being typecast (most notably Alec Guinness). Averted by Harrison Ford, though, who launched a successful acting career outside of the Star Wars films.
- Iconic Logo
- Icon of Rebellion: The Rebel Alliance's emblem.
- In the prequels, Count Dooku serves as the figurehead of the rebel Separatists.
- If You Can Read This...: The prequels do this quite frequently...in an alien alphabet, called Aurebesh. If you transcribe each character for its Roman equivalent, it is just plain English. Some examples make sense in context (such as the screen of Anakin's Naboo Starfighter in Phantom Menace) but most are simply inside jokes made by the creators of the material.
- Impossibly Cool Weapon: About half the weapons in the movies, but the lightsabers and the Death Stars deserve special note.
- Impractically Fancy Outfit: Amidala's regal outfits, which are so expensive Obi-Wan suggests bargaining with them to buy parts for her ship's hyperdrive.
- Inhumanly Beautiful Race: The Diathim from the moons of Iego are known as "angels" and Anakin describes them as "the most beautiful creatures in the universe" (relaying stories he'd heard from spacers).
- In the Blood: In this case, it's midichlorians, and evil.
- Incest Subtext: Luke and Leia flirting and kissing has traces of this when you find out they're really brother and sister, though to be fair, they didn't know this at the time.
- Inexplicable Cultural Ties: Many proper names are English or Latin lexical words.
- In the Future We Still Have Roombas: Several examples, including the little skittery Mouse Droid that Chewie growls at and the pit droids in The Phantom Menace.
- Ironic Echo: The scene where Vader has to choose between saving luke or letting him die is a mirror of the scene with Mace in the Chancellors office, and the consequences both large and small scale are also identical.
- I Shall Taunt You: The Emperor is an expert at this, but all of the villains do it routinely.
- It's a Small World After All: Why does everything important in galactic history happen to such a small group of people? It must be the will of The Force.
- It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: For both Anakin and Luke.
- I Will Tear Your Arms Off: According to Han, Wookiees have a tendency to do this when they lose at games.
- Jacob Marley Warning: Obi-Wan and Yoda to Luke before leaving to face Vader. Also, Vader himself is this to Luke when he realizes how closely Anakin's history mirrors his own.
- Join or Die: In The Empire Strikes Back, Vader tells the Emperor that this will be the choice he will give Luke. Vader instead gives Luke a We Can Rule Together. In Return of the Jedi, The Emperor makes the same offer to Luke.
- Kuleshov Effect: The characterizations of C-3PO, R2-D2, and Vader all rely on it.
- La Résistance: The Rebel Alliance.
- Large Ham: The entire cast at times, but primarily Palpatine, Jabba, and Brian Blessed.
- Laser Blade: Lightsabers. Admit it, you know you want one.
- Let No Crisis Go to Waste: In the prequel trilogy, Senator Palpatine uses fear of the Separatist movement to gain authority.
- Like Cannot Cut Like: Lightsabers.
- Loads and Loads of Races: 20 million. Roughly.
- Locked Out of the Loop: This was standard policy with Luke and Leia... that is, until The Reveal rendered it a null point.
- Luck Manipulation Mechanic: Most species in Star Wars Saga edition have the ability to roll a single skill twice and pick the best result.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Especially in the prequel trilogy.
- Made of Phlebotinum: Star Wars could nominally be considered this trope, especially a planet like Coruscant, for example. Hyperdrive, The Force, levitating vehicles, laser weapons and swords...there wouldn't be much left to this 'verse if you subtracted the Phlebotinum.
- Magic by Any Other Name: The Force is probably the most famous example.
- The Man Behind the Man: Palpatine's the Man behind the Federation, Dooku, and the Separatists.
- Martial Pacifist: Although the Jedi don't hesitate to use violence when necessary, they try hard not to kill unless there is no choice. As well, Jedi don't believe in the use of pre-emptive violence.
- Master Apprentice Chain:
- Yoda > Count Dooku > Qui-Gon Jinn > Obi-Wan Kenobi > Anakin & Luke Skywalker
- Darth Plagueis > Darth Sidious > Darths Maul, Tyranus, and Vader > Starkiller
- Qui-Gon Jinn > Yoda > Obi-Wan Kenobi > Luke Skywalker (implied in the movie, spelled out in the novelization)
- Master Swordsman: Many, including but not limited to Palpatine, Dooku (who is described as such in the script), Yoda, Mace Windu, Qui-Gon (described as one of the only Jedi able to duel Mace to a draw consistently), Obi-Wan, Anakin...
- Mauve Shirt: Wedge Antilles, the only non-central character to appear in all three Original Trilogy movies.
- Meaningful Name: Ever notice how some of the Sith names take a sinister word starting with "in" and just chop the "in" off? (in)vader, (in)sidious? Coincidence? I don't think so!
- Most/all Sith names are some form of a sinister word.
- Also, "vader" is Dutch for " father".
- And then there's Darth Maul...who has no personality to speak of and is a blunt instrument...
- It's not just the Sith. The smuggler who at first wants the war to leave him alone is named "Solo," Leia is Assyrian for "ruler," and the kid who wants to leave his hick planet and travel the galaxy is named "Skywalker." And later, we get the gambler named Lando—on Earth, a shortened form of Orlando, meaning "Land of Gold."
- Medieval Stasis: The franchise takes place over tens of thousands of years (e.g. Knights of the Old Republic is set four thousand years before Episode I) and yet there is little to no technological or cultural development in that time.
- The Metric System Is Here to Stay: A two-meter target.
- Merchandise-Driven: The franchise may not have started that way, but it definitely ended up there. There are about six different versions of the medical droid that works on Luke at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
- Merchant City: There's a reason Mos Eisley attracts scum and villainy of all types.
- A Million Is a Statistic: Averted with Alderaan, and the shock and horror various characters express at its destruction. To be fair, at least one of them (Ben) is a Jedi, and very sensitive to the effect several billion people being wiped out at once has on the Force.
- Mind Over Manners: The Jedi's responsible use of their suggestion and telepathy powers.
- Mini-Mecha: Some of the walkers, such as the AT-RT from Revenge of the Sith.
- Misguided Missile
- Model Planning: The Death Star attack planning sessions in both A New Hope and Return of the Jedi are holographic versions of this trope.
- Monowheel Mayhem: The Wheel Bikes.
- Muggle Foster Parents: The Organas and the Lars' for Leia and Luke respectively.
- Multiple Demographic Appeal: The series has many elements to appeal to people of all ages, including action scenes, comic relief characters and some of the romantic storylines, plus some of the actor casting choices.
- Multi Stage Battle: The climactic lightsaber duels in—coincidentally enough—all the odd-numbered movies.
- Myopic Architecture: The Death Star, with the two-meter-wide chute straight to instant death and self-destruction.
- National Weapon: The Jedi Order uses lightsabers. The various incarnations of the Sith Order also use lightsabers, universally colored red.
- Neck Lift: Vader does this to the captain of the Tantive IV.
- Necromantic: In Episode III, Anakin is motivated primarily by a quest to prevent Padmé from dying.
- Never a Self-Made Woman: Averted in The Phantom Menace where Amidala is ruler of Naboo. By Revenge of the Sith though, it's played straight as the film is all about Anakin becoming Darth Vader, but to give her credit there were three deleted scenes of her actively trying to stop the chancellor from taking over, and then helping found what would become the Rebel Alliance.
- Nice Hat: Padmé has a few.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Palpatine torturing Luke, which drives Vader to intervene and kill Palpatine to save his son's life.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Darth Vader is a black cloaked human cyborg Sith swordsman with a breathing problem.
- Noble Male, Roguish Male: Han is the Roguish Male and Luke the Noble Male.
- In the prequel trilogy, Anakin is the Rogue and Obi-Wan is the Noble.
- No Body Left Behind: Obi-Wan and Yoda fade away when they die, leaving behind empty robes. Notably, Vader's body does not disappear. However, it's implied that while his body was in the funeral pyre, Vader learned from either Obi-Wan, Yoda, or Qui-Gon (the latter who learned the trick years after his own death) how to become one with the Force, so his burning body might have simply faded away during the funeral pyre instead of turning into ashes. This theory is supported when Anakin's Force ghost appears with those of Obi-Wan and Yoda.
- No Name Given: Palpatine (originally just "The Emperor," making this a mild subversion) has never been given a first name and might not even have one. Steve Sansweet, director of Lucasfilm's content management doubts "that there are many in the know for whom just plain "Palpatine" isn't enough."
- Yoda also only has one name, and so does Dooku.
- No Transhumanism Allowed: In fact, it's kind of considered to be evil or at the very least repugnant.
- Not Now, Kiddo: C-3PO, especially in the EU.
- Not So Different: Luke and Vader, and by extension the Jedi and the Sith. Palpatine lectures Anakin about this.
- Not Wearing Tights: The Jedi Order.
- The Obi-Wan: Trope Namer.
- Off with His Head: Several characters are decapitated in battle, notably Jango Fett, Dooku and the apparition of himself as Darth Vader that Luke fights in the cave on Dagobah.
- Old Master: Being a sci-fi film that borrows heavily from classical myth, it isn't surprising that Homer's creation made its way to Star Wars.
- Old School Dogfighting
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Actually Sanskrit, but it fits this trope in spirit.
- Once an Episode: Every film features a gigantic space battle and at least one lightsaber duel, which is usually around a pit of some sort.
- One Product Planet: As with any good space opera, Star Wars provides plenty of examples of this: Coruscant is a Capital, Bespin and Kessel are Mines, Endor houses a Superweapon, the First Death Star itself was a Superweapon, Genosis is a Factory world, Tatooine is a minor Underworld, and Yavin and Hoth were Strategic locations. Naboo was Blockaded for a while.
- Only Sane Man: R2-D2 seems to cater to this, especially considering he never had his memory wiped and is fully aware of everything that has taken place since The Phantom Menace.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Leia is introduced as having a
BritishCoruscanti accent, but it changes into AmericanCorellian.
- Opening Scroll: Trope Codifier.
- Opposed Mentors: Anakin Skywalker has to choose between following Obi wan Kenobi and Palpatine. Eventually, he chooses Palpatine and turns to the Dark Side.
- The Order: The Jedi Order, naturally. The Sith may count as an evil Order depending on how cooperative they're feeling at the moment; sometimes they're gathering in huge armies, sometimes there's only one or two of them working together.
- Orphan's Ordeal: Luke is raised by "relatives" and seeks to avenge his father and find his true identity. After The Reveal that Big Bad 'is his father, he wishes that he really was an orphan.
- Our Doors Are Different: Indeed, they seem to vary in size, shape, and mechanism even within a given movie.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: The Force ghosts.
- Outside the Box Tactic: ATAT's have thick armor impervious to the blasters on rebel fighters. However, due to their being very top-heavy, a simple harpoon and tow cable can bring them down with ease.
- Palette-Swapped Alien Food: Blue milk.
- Papa Wolf: Ironically (since he is the villain, after all), Vader. All of his actions in retrospect turn out to be for the purpose of protecting his son from the Emperor, and that's what motivates his Heel Face Turn.
- Parental Abandonment: Luke. It's a major plot element.
- Physical Religion: The Force
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Yoda.
- Planetville: Averted with the planet of Naboo: we see a swamp which also has an underwater city inside it, a regular city, and some villas in "Lake Country." Played pretty straight everywhere else.
- People Jars: The B'Omar monks specialize in cutting out their most enlightened members' brains and putting them in these so that they escape the "distractions of the flesh." But hey, a brain has to get out once in a while, so they also create giant mechanical spider droids that they can use to walk around occasionally.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Amidala has loads of them.
- The Paragon Always Rebels: Darth Vader/Anakin and Darth Tyranus/Count Dooku.
- Politically-Incorrect Villain: Much of the Imperial brass. Palpatine himself is not necessarily, if only because he probably sees everyone but himself as pawns.
- Precision F-Strike: Star Wars has mostly clean language, which is why its few moments of swearing are so special.
- A New Hope has the following conversation between Han Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi:
Han: Even if I could take off, I'd never get past the tractor beam.
- Obi-Wan himself gets his only profanity in the entire series in the same film when he uses the term "damn fool idealistic crusade" to describe what Uncle Owen thinks of his mission as he introduces Luke to the Jedi religion.
- Also, Han to Leia: "What the hell are you doing?"
- The Empire Strikes Back also has the following between Han and a rebel technician.
Rebel technician: Sir, your tauntaun will freeze before you reach the first marker.
- Precursors: Most prominently the Celestials who built Centerpoint(as well as the entire Corellian system) and the Maw, and the Rakata who created the first true galaxy-spanning civilization with Infinite Empire and are responsible for modern galactic civilization having the hyperdrive. Many other lesser examples such as the Killiks, who we now know were one of the slave races that the Celestials used to make
CenterpointQolaraloq and the Maw.
- Prequel in the Lost Age: The prequels are set before and during the Clone Wars and the downfall of the Old Republic, and feature the Jedi Order as it was before the Purge.
- Prodigal Hero: Obi Wan Kenobi exiles himself to watch over little Luke Skywalker from a distance, and then returns to the first line to be his mentor.
- Promoted Fanboy: Nearly two generations have grown up with Star Wars, so almost anyone working on modern projects is one of these.
- Photoprotoneutron Torpedo: Proton torpedos as well as the ion cannon from Empire Strikes Back.
- Pretty Boy: Luke. Just ... look at him. Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episode I and Anakin Skywalker in Episode II as well.
- Psychic Radar: The Jedi and the Sith both get to use their mental powers to look for people; usually each other. The most famous example is Darth Vader sensing the presence of Obi-Wan on the Death Star.
- Psychological Torment Zone: The Dark Side cave.
- Putting on the Reich: The Empire, including Fantastic Racism, jackbooted stormtroopers and planetary-level genocide.
- Rage Helm: Darth Vader's helmet has a chillingly penetrating stare.
- Randomly-Gifted: Force sensitivity can run in families but is essentially random.
- Ray Gun: Blasters and the turbo lasers.
- Rebel Leader: Princess Leia.
- Reckless Gun Usage: Watch very closely as Luke Skywalker first ignites his lightsaber in Star Wars: A New Hope — he doesn't know how long the beam is and yet is pointing it at Obi-Wan.
- "Put that thing away, you're going to get us all killed!"
- Red Right Hand: The yellow eyes of the Sith, and Palpatine's epithelial deformity.
- Red Shirt: Luke's wingmen in the original trilogy seemed to get killed if an Imperial so much as sneezes. Justified in that even untrained, Luke is Force-Sensitive, granting him a slight degree of precognition, which translates into inhumanly fast reflexes to avoid shots (Anakin explicitly uses the same thing in Podracing in Episode 1).
- This becomes a Berserk Button for him in Shadows of the Empire when he considers himself a failure of a commander for always losing men. He becomes so enraged that he single-handedly cripples a ship without the aid of the Force. (It doesn't help that Dash Rendar is whining about not shooting down a super missile over the comm. In the audio book it's taken to Narm levels by the reader.)
- Unsurprisingly they are indeed wearing orange-to-red flight suits.
- Refuge in Cool: Most of the franchise is loaded with Rule of Cool.
- Requisite Royal Regalia: Padmé throughout most of The Phantom Menace.
- Leia at the awards ceremony at the end of A New Hope.
- Retired Badass: Yoda and Obi-Wan.
- Right in Front of Me: Luke and Yoda; also Qui-Gon and Anakin.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Anakin slaughters the whole Tusken tribe that tortured her mother to death in Attack of the Clones.
- Robotic Torture Device: The interrogator droid in A New Hope, and the device used on Han in Empire.
- Rock Beats Laser: Notoriously, the Ewoks are able to defeat seasoned Imperial troops despite their primitive technology. With some help from blaster-toting rebels. To be fair, the Ewoks did have a terrain advantage (both that they blend in better, and that smaller, more agile creatures are less hindered by all the foliage), backed up by extensive knowledge of said terrain, traps that have been laid out in advance, and no doubt a rather large amount of hubris on the part of the Imperial troops (would you take an Ewok as a serious threat if you hadn't seen the movie?).
- Royal Mess: Naboo has an elected queen. Leia is considered a princess despite being adopted.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Padmé is the queen of Naboo and leads the assault to take back the palace, and fights on Geonosis as the planet's senator.
- Rubber Forehead Aliens: Twi'lek, Cereans, Chevs, Zabrak, Khommites, etc.
- Rule of Cool: Lightsabers are the epitome of this trope. Rumor has it that this trope is the main reason why Mace Windu has a purple lightsaber, because Samuel L. Jackson thought it looked cool. (Also so that he would be visible in a huge lightsaber battle.) His lightsaber is the only one used in the movie canon that is not red, blue or green. This is lampshaded by General Grievous in the Revenge of the Sith video game.
"Who fights with a purple lightsaber anyway?"
- Samuel L. Jackson: Naturally, he gets one of the most Badass roles.
- Saved for the Sequel: The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones both end with several plot points dangling to be picked up in the next installment. Technically, even Revenge of the Sith ends with dangling plotlines... which were already resolved in the original Star Wars trilogy.
- Secret Art: The Force, and how to build a lightsaber.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Luke and Han. Arguably C-3PO and R2-D2.
- Sensor Character: Anyone Force-sensitive can sense the presence of other Jedi, Sith, etc., as well as powerful emotional outbursts from normal people.
- Sentient Cosmic Force: The Force is this.
- Separated at Birth: Luke and Leia are revealed to be this in Episode VI... after kissing in the previous movie.
- Serial Prostheses: Anakin loses a hand in Attack of the Clones, and then loses most of his remaining limbs in Revenge of the Sith.
- Series Mascot: Darth Vader, starting some time in The Nineties. Before then, C-3PO and R2-D2 seemed to have filled the role, albeit to a lesser extent.
- Serkis Folk:
- In the prequels and the various re-edits of the original trilogy, which drew much criticism from older fans.
- Supreme Leader Snoke. Played by none other than Andy Serkis.
- Shout-Out: There are a few shout outs to the Oz books. Namely Princess Leia's hairbuns which are based on Princess Ozma's hair poppys and the Ewoks are based on the Teddy Bear tribe. Jedi comes from jidaigeki, or samurai movies. Order 66 is a shout out to The Godfather, and the medal ceremony is very similar to Triumph of the Will. The attack on the Death Star in A New Hope is a Shout-Out to The Dam Busters. Additionally, look up "The Hidden Fortress" by Akiro Kurasawa and read the first part of the plot. If you don't get it, then substitute "peasants" with "droids".
- Sidekick Ex Machina: Chewbacca hijacks an Imperial walker and rescues Han and Leia during the Battle of Endor.
- Single Biome Planet: Every planet besides Naboo: Tatooine (desert planet), Hoth (arctic planet), Coruscant (urbanized planet).
- Sinister Geometry: The Death Star, the Imperial Star Destroyers.
- Slave Mooks: The clones, in some people's point of view, and droids. An intelligent, self-aware, disposable, engineered worker race who must be brain wiped every few months else they get uppity.
- Smug Snake: Jabba the Hutt. Han offers to pay his debts to him and Jabba refuses to listen; when Leia and Luke warn Jabba that they could defeat him, Jabba and his minions do not take them seriously at all. Even when being led to the Sarlacc pit Luke says "this is your last chance; free us, or die." Jabba and his minions still refuse to take them seriously. Jabba is offered so many warnings and so many chances for alternatives that for him to still keep ignoring the heroes makes his Karmic Death all the more satisfying.
- Palpatine might be one as well, at least in Return of the Jedi, though in any case he is in more of a position to be smug. Though he does pull a pretty good trick in giving the Rebels the location of the shield generator to lure them into a trap, he simply is too arrogant to acknowledge the possibility that the Rebels could overcome it.
- Sonic Stunner: This well-established genre-SF trope is overshadowed by the blasters, but present.
- Space Age Stasis: Technology and culture has been the same in the galaxy for over 10,000 years. The only thing that's changed are political boundaries and some forms of technology.
- In that time, we have gone from inventing the wheel to basic space travel. Progress!
- Space Fighter: Star Wars IV was the Trope Codifier that influenced all subsequent designs to one extent or another. The basic designs of the most famous fighters are instantly recognizable to anyone with even a passing knowledge of pop culture.
- Space Is Cold: According to Padmé in Episode I.
- Space Jews: Watto.
- The Sand People are Space Apaches apparently.
- Spanner in the Works: The Imperial officer who orders his compatriot to hold his fire as the escape pod passes simply because he believed there was no way to verify if a living being was inside the pod and, thus, whether the pod was launched by accident or by design.
- The Spock: The Jedi ideal.
- Starfish Aliens
- Standard Establishing Spaceship Shot: The Trope Codifier.
- Standard Evil Empire Hierarchy
- Galactic Empire:
- Confederation of Independent Systems:
- Standard Sci Fi History: The trope is invoked in the movies, with the Decline and Fall of the Republic, Interregnum of the Galactic Empire, and with the Empire's end the Formation of the New Republic.
- Standard Starship Scuffle: Especially in the space battles in Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi, but present to some extent in many of the films.
- Standard Time Units
- Starfish Robots: While many droids come in varieties more akin to the humanoid C3-PO, others look like the strange "trash bin on wheels" R2-D2, while still others have such surreal designs that it's difficult to compare them to any real life object.
- The Starscream: Vader only sides with Palpatine because he has no other options, and plots to overthrow him with Luke's help.
- Though that could be said to be the Sith ideology - if your apprentice isn't scheming to overthrow the Master, he's not been paying attention and if the Master isn't powerful enough to crush his rebellion, he no longer deserves to be the Master.
- Stealth in Space: Han's successful attempts at hiding from Star Destroyers in The Empire Strikes Back. Somewhat realistic, as he simply turns off most of the power to the ship which makes it incredibly difficult to detect.
- Piggybacking on another ship's radar is a real-life strategy too.
- Stock Shout-Outs: Sooner or later, every science fiction work makes at least one reference to Star Wars.
- Strange Syntax Speaker: Yoda, you say, hmm?
- Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: Anakin, from the perspective of anyone who watches the movies in internal chronological order.
- Summer Blockbuster: The Trope Codifier, along with Steven Spielberg's Jaws.
- Summon to Hand: The iconic scene in Empire, after which this was used in the prequel films as well.
- Supernatural Martial Arts: A lot of the Force powers.
- Super Reflexes: A common ability for Force users.
- Surpassed the Teacher: The entire Sith philosophy of Rule of Two is for the apprentice to eventually surpass and kill his mentor, assuring that the Sith can only grow stronger.
- Survival Mantra
- Swamps Are Evil: Played with: Yoda lives in a swamp, but there's also a tree cave...thing that is strong in the dark side. According to some sources in the EU, Yoda chose the swamp on Dagoba because it's so strong in the dark side, because it would help mask his own presence there.
- Tactful Translation: How C-3PO translates Jabba the Hutt's discussion with a disguised Princess Leia.
- Target the Audience: The posters for A New Hope and Return of the Jedi.
- Tell Me About My Father: Luke asks Obi-Wan about his father but is only given the facts From a Certain Point of View. Later, Luke's Calling the Old Man Out forces him to acknowledge this was wrong and tell the whole truth. (It is also implied, in A New Hope, that this is a point of contention between Luke and his relatives.)
- Tempting Fate: Plenty of examples throughout the series, but Motti's "this station is now the ultimate power in the universe" remark takes the cake; and Tarkin's "I think you overestimate their chances" must earn a close second.
- Tenchi Solution: How George explains Jedi attitudes toward monogamy.
- Terms of Endangerment
- Terra Deforming: This seems to have happened to Coruscant at some point.
- That Man Is Dead:
Vader: "That name no longer has any meaning for me."
- That's No Moon : The Death Star.
- They Died Because of You: Episode III: Dialogue between Vader and Sidious
"Where is Padme? Is she safe? Is she all right?"
- Thicker Than Water
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Especially when you have telekinetic powers.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- Jabba tries to execute a Jedi Knight. Yeah.
- Palpatine attempts to kill Vader's son right in front of him.
- Dooku taunts Anakin during their last fight, which only makes him madder and more aggressive.
- Took a Level In Badass: Luke, once on Dagobah, again between episode V and VI. Anakin in the prequels. And after destroying the Death Star, Luke is much more confident than he was in most of A New Hope.
- Tragic Hero: Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader is a textbook example of this trope.
- Training From Hell: Luke's training with Yoda is noticeably more difficult than usual, due to the limited time he has.
- Tree-Top Town: The Ewok village on Endor and the Wookiees' dwellings on Kashyyyk.
- Trickster Mentor: Yoda, especially in ESB.
- Triang Relations: Luke/Leia/Han are either type 4 or type 7. (Does Leia like Luke or not?) Lando also likes Leia, but it doesn't appear to be reciprocated.
- Troperiffic: It could be said that the whole purpose of the George Lucas Throwback is to celebrate tropes. The entire series is Trope Overdosed.
- True Companions: The Heroes of Yavin: Luke, Han, Leia and friends.
- Turn Out Like His Father: Luke's adoptive parents and later his Jedi mentors fear this will happen.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: The second film in both trilogies is this.
- Two Roads Before You: Luke has to choose between staying on Dagobah and completing his training with Yoda, or going to rescue his friends on Cloud City.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Palpatine gradually does this throughout the prequels, culminating with him declaring himself Emperor in Revenge of the Sith.
- Unfortunate Names
- Under Crank: Used in the early movies where CG would be used in the later ones. The alarmingly fast doors on the Death Star 1 are almost certainly undercranked.
- Unintentional Backup Plan: Over the course of the movies. Qui-Gon's original plan was for Anakin to bring balance to The Force. However, he ends up falling to the Dark Side and it seems that he won't. In Return of the Jedi, however, he does bring balance to the Force by ensuring that the last of the evil aspect of the Dark Side of the Force dies (and subsequently burns) with him; his son destroys the last vestiges of Vader by burning him on a funeral pyre according to Jedi customs (and it's implied that Anakin's body simply faded away under a minute after the pyre was lit).
- Unlimited Wardrobe: Padme has one. Lampshaded by Obi-Wan in Episode I, when he suggests they sell her extensive (and expensive) wardrobe to buy parts.
- Also lampshaded by Carrie Fisher in the commentary for Return of the Jedi:
"[Han/Harrison] wears the same outfit for three flicks. And I was complaining that I wear, like, six outfits. And my mother, Natalie Portman, she wears three million. She walks through a doorway and there’s another outfit. It’s like the Liberace of sci-fi changing of clothes."
- Unperson: The contributes by Marcia Lucas, George Lucas' ex-wife, to the original trilogy seems to be increasingly forgotten in newer times and some claim that Lucas himself has deliberately been helping speeding up this process. It is even rumored that the special editions were partly made to ensure that Marcia, being co-owner of the rights to the original cuts, would not get any royalities or credit from their screening.
- Unreliable Expositor: Obi Wan Kenobi is this, in relation to Luke's father.
- Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born: Luke and Leia in Revenge of the Sith.
- Used Future: The original Trilogy is the Trope Codifier. To quote the page: "Star Wars more or less defines the trope". See Creepy Cleanliness, above.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Anakin before he went over to The Dark Side. The prequels fill this in.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In Star Wars Episode II, the one thing that Jar Jar actually does in the movie other than stand in the background is to make a motion in the Senate to grant Palpatine emergency powers. Good work there.
- Villains Never Lie: Palpatine never lies. Nor does Dooku. Or more accurately, they tell the truth in a way that makes you believe a lie.
- Villain Takes an Interest: Emperor/Luke, and Vader/Luke, from Luke's POV.
- Voice of the Legion
- War Is Glorious
- War Was Beginning: Every movie.
- Warrior Monks: The Jedi.
- We Are as Mayflies: "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter..."
- We Can Rebuild Him: Numerous characters replace severed limbs with artificial ones, but Vader is the only one to end up with all of his limbs being replaced.
- We Can Rule Together: Vader offers this to Luke, and Dooku to Obi-Wan. Both refuse.
- We Will Wear Armor in the Future: Stormtroopers and Bounty Hunters go around wearing plastic armour that would make a medieval knight blush. It helps make them look robotic and anonymous but never helps in stopping a main character's blaster fire. Lampshaded in Rebels, where Kanan Jarrus, having been stunned by Ezra Bridger's lightsabre blaster, remarks the armor doesn't protect him against anything.
- What's a Secret Four: The original trilogy has it in spades: What's the Kessel Run? What's a womprat? What does that droid do? What are those aliens? What was Aunt Beru cooking there? However, over thirty years of fandom and the Expanded Universe have filled in details for virtually anything that appears on the screen.
- Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him: During his fight with General Grievous, Obi-Wan's lightsaber is lost, and he fights him using the Force, despite there being a convenient blaster at his feet. He eventually does.
- With Friends Like These...: R2-D2 and C-3P0. Although the Bilingual Dialogue means we don't know just how much hostility R2 reciprocates, occasionally C-3P0 quotes him: "Don't call me a 'mindless philosopher'...", and tells him to watch his language.
- Woman in White: Leia, a lot of the time, to the point where Carrie Fisher speculated that Leia's favorite color is white. Padmé less frequently.
- Word of God: One notable example is Chewbacca's not getting a medal at the end of A New Hope. The official explanation is that such things are against the Wookiee religion—except that the original official explanation, from the Official Star Wars Fan Club, was that he did get one but Leia wasn't tall enough to put it around his neck.
- UNIVERSE of Ham!
- Wuxia : One of the genres that inspired the franchise. The whole concept of the Jedi and The Force practically makes the franchise a Wuxia saga in space, especially the Prequel Trilogy.
- Xanatos Gambit / Xanatos Roulette: Palpatine. The Clone Wars are the former because they bring benefit for him regardless of the outcome. The corruption of Anakain and othe schemes are the latter because of the many variables involved.
- Luke also manages some gambits of his own. Mostly of the Trojan Prisoner variety.
- The Clone Wars. After all their effort and sacrifices, Palpatine's plan would have given him full power whether the Republic and Jedi had won or lost.
- You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good
- Youth Center: Luke hangs out in one in a deleted scene from A New Hope.
- Zerg Rush: The Empire's TIE Fighters, and both the clone and droid armies in Episode II as well.
- Zeerust: Ships capable of destroying planets are less impressive when you realize just how easy it is to do so. (All you need is enough energy to accelerate the entire planet to escape velocity.) Other stuff, such as antigravity, is what Michio Kaku calls a Class II impossibility, yet it is commonly seen. (Han's even carried out on an antigravity gurney after he's frozen in carbonite.)
- On the "looks old" end of things, we have the motif of cybernetic hands now that we're entering the age of embryonic stem cells, and the vector graphics on the tactical display and targeting computer in A New Hope.
- In-universe, this is PAINFULLY apparent in the prequel films. C-3P0 and R2-D2 look dated and completely out of place when juxtaposed with sleeker, agile looking droids. The technology gradually gets more dated-looking as the prequels progress too, naturally because it's supposed to tie itself in with the Original Trilogy. Streamlined ships in The Phantom Menace slowly evolve into clunky, ships by Revenge of the Sith. Sleek control panels seen at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith somehow become overshadowed by a plethora of clunky buttons and dials by the end. Imagine if iPhones suddenly had receivers and rotary dials in the future.
May the Force be with you.
- (see this article for why it wouldn't)
- Aside from the Death Star, but we know how that turned out.