Star Wars was a touchstone moment in my life. I was almost nine in May, 1977 and saw the film in Florida at a sold-out matinee. The next day I begged my mother to go see it again. My imagination was triggered. I couldn’t get the images and characters out of my head.
I couldn’t wait for the sequel.
Will Leitch posits a different future — one in which George Lucas decides not to make a sequel. How would that have changed not only George Lucas, but the movie industry? It’s an interesting exercise, but he never really tries to prognosticate how the next 40 years of movie making and Star Wars itself might be viewed. He just makes some vague statements.
One thing I think he misses is the impact of tie-in novels and comics. I’d like to think without the movies, the further adventures of the Star Wars universe would have been pushed in a different way. The other aspect was the derivative/inspirational TV spin-offs like Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century might have been feature films.
Lastly, the easiest prediction of a sequel-less Star Wars reality is that Hollywood would’ve made either a complete remake (like Robocop, Clash of the Titans, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Planet of the Apes) or a long term sequel (like Tron Legacy). I’d say the remake/sequel probably would’ve hit cineplexes in the late 90s.
I’m still amazed Lucas didn’t just remake Star Wars in 1999 instead of going for prequels.