Though it’s become less of a truism every year, relatively few movies garner enough support (read: money) to warrant development into a franchise, and the ones lucky enough to spawn a sequel usually find their success short-lived, if at all. Once the weekend box office wheat is further separated from the chaff, only the most beloved, repeatedly successful of franchises ascends to the status of cultural icon. By the time a property can claim such a title, it’s among very exclusive company, a first class-flying, summa cum laude-repping, VIP room-dwelling bunch, including the likes of Indiana Jones, James Bond, and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
And once these champions have clawed their way out of obscurity, up to the zenith of the entertainment world, they can sit back, relax, and crane their heads upward to see Star Wars waving at them from another planet. There’s simply no overstating how big Star Wars is, both financially, and culturally. It not only provided a gateway to science fiction and fantasy for millions of people the world over, but also fundamentally changed the business of filmmaking. And that’s just the movies; its influence has spread to the point where the phrase “Expanded Universe” is disturbingly close to literal, with enough Star Wars-branded books, TV shows, video games, toys –hell, even Snuggies- to fill the contents of a small forest moon.
It’s so big, Disney shelled out $4 billion just so they could make three new movies. That’s almost the exact same amount they spent on the entirety of Marvel Entertainment; in other words, Disney paid as much for Star Wars as it did Spider-Man, all the X-Men, and The Avengers combined. Star Wars shouldn’t even be uttered in the same breath as some of these other franchises; it’s not just out of their league, it’s out of their plane of existence. Star Wars doesn’t hang with 007 and Captain Kirk in the cultural Champagne room: it is the Champagne room.
It is Kirk’s tight-fitting shirt, and Bond’s smug sense of self-satisfaction, an infinitely perpetuating Ouroboros of cinematic, financial and cultural existence. It is Alpha and Omega, with everything in between an endless cascading flurry of special effects, and lucrative merchandise. Were you to peer into the very soul of blockbuster filmmaking itself, your only thought would be “My god, it’s full of Star Wars,” before you’re swiftly devoured by the Lucas leviathan, your screams muffled by the overwhelming swell of a John Williams soundtrack. This isn’t just a film franchise: it’s an institution.
All of which is to say that actually picking a favourite Star Wars movie is tougher than you might think. Having been split across two very different periods and generations, the core hexalogy, despite covering roughly the same timeline and cast of characters, comprises a wide array of genres, influences, and styles. And while art does not define the appreciator, the appreciator’s experience with said art determines their love of it. As such, our top scientists have perfected a test for guessing what your favourite Star Wars film says about you, and it has a 100% success rate (in that reading the test will result in a guess at what your personality is like 100% of the time).
So, time to find out: Does your love for scruffy-looking nerd-herders still burn bright? Is your fandom a sad devotion to an ancient religion? Did you even get either of those references? See for yourself!
This article was first posted on January 23, 2013