With an entity as big and as lucrative as the Star Wars franchise, legal proceedings are par for the course. On one side, you have Disney and Lucasfilm, who will do what they feel is necessary to protect their intellectual property. And on the other, you have people who feel like they might be owed something, and so decide to take a legal shot at Star Wars' corporate overlords.
Many of these cases amount to very little - an undisclosed settlement fee, or even just the threat of a lawsuit that is never actually followed up on. But some of them have more twists and turns than an M. Night Shyamalan flick, ending in some very interesting places once all the legal back-and-forths have come to an end.
Since 1977, Star Wars has fallen under the legal spotlight on more occasions than we can count. So, here are ten of the biggest and weirdest cases, including a lightsaber school that Lucasfilm brought straight to detention, and a, ahem, mature animated parody that crossed the line in more ways than one.
10. Star Wars Fan's AT-AT Dream Gets Tripped Up By The Legal System
In 2011, Star Wars superfan Michael Koehler decided that he wanted to do something insane, yet incredibly cool: he wanted to build a life-sized AT-AT.
And not only that, he actually wanted it to be functional too (presumably, just the movement, not the lasers), with Koehler noting that the epic project had received some early support from roboticists, engineers, and even someone from MIT.
Naming his campaign "AT-AT For America", the idea was to recruit people from all over the US, who would then build individual parts of the machine in their own locations, before the final product was pieced together near Koehler's home.
It sounded like an admirable venture, but unfortunately, those mighty AT-ATs are no match for Lucasfilm's all-powerful lawyers. The company's legal arm went after AT-AT For America and shut the project down, forcing Koehler to refund the donations he'd already received.