Star Wars: a beginners guide

If you have somehow avoided the Star Wars series over the last 38 years, these are the basics you need to know.

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is due out on 16 December 2015 and is the seventh addition to be added to the Star Wars film franchise.

The release sequence of the first six films is backwards. The first three films to be made by Star Wars creator George Lucus (Star Wars: A New HopeThe Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) are in effect, episodes four, five and six of the story.

Parts one, two and three, known as the prequels, (The Phantom MenaceAttack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith), were made afterwards.

Find out whats happened in the Star Wars story so far in order of the story.

What is The Force?

To understand anything Star Wars you need to understand The Force. This is energy field that connects all living things in the galaxy. The power of the Force can be used by individuals who are sensitive to it.  It’s partly hereditary, but to access The Force’s full potential (and achieve heightened control, senses and force-altering abilities), young Jedi – or padawan – must train.

 Both the Rebel Alliance (the good guys), and the Galactic Empire (the bad guys) use The Force. The good guys are referred to as Jedi, the bad guys are known as Sith.

Note: saying “may The Force be with you” to any Star Wars fan is an acceptable farewell – and even better on 4 May (May the fourth… oh my goodness!).

Star War weapons: the Lightsaber

Although there are plenty of stylish weapons in Star Wars, the lightsaber, with its blade of pure plasma, is the Jedi (and Sith’s) weapon of choice. If you’re struggling to tell the difference between the good and bad guys, the people/aliens/things with blue, green and purple  light saber beams are the ones you want to win, the ones with hot-coloured lightsaber beams (red, orange, yellow), not so much.

Know your spaceships

  • The Millenium Falcon: The fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy and the coolest looking.
  • Death Stars: The size of a moon with the ability to blow up a planet
  • TIE Fighters: Iconic one man fighters
  • X-Wing Starfighters: One up from TIE Fighters with lasers and torpedos
  • Jedi Starfighters: Swift and lethal piloted by Jedi

Don’t muddle up Star Wars and Star Trek

Star Trek is an enduring and successful TV and movie science fiction franchises . The original series and overall concept and universe was  created by a man called Gene Roddenberry. The original Star Trek series ran for 3 seasons in the 1960s on NBC in the U.S., and was about a starship called the U.S.S. Enterprise, led by Captain James T. Kirk.

Star Trek has been a cult phenomenon for decades. Fans of the franchise are called Trekkies or Trekkers.

If our guide has raised more questions than answers, you can watch all six movies, all you need is about 15 hours to spare  between now and 17 December?

Get your head around the main Star Wars characters here

The Star Wars story so far

REVIEW ADDED: 16 December 2015:   Star Wars: The Force Awakens review – ‘a spectacular homecoming’

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