How Star Wars Conquered the Universe

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe

The Past, Present, and Future of A Multibillion Dollar Franchise

Book - 2014
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In 1973, a young filmmaker named George Lucas scribbled some notes for a far-fetched space-fantasy epic. Some forty years and 37 billion later, Star Wars -related products outnumber human beings, a growing stormtrooper army spans the globe, and "Jediism" has become a religion in its own right. Lucas's creation has grown into far more than a cinematic classic; it is, quite simply, one of the most lucrative, influential, and interactive franchises of all time. Yet incredibly, until now the complete history of Star Wars --its influences and impact, the controversies it has spawned, its financial growth and long-term prospects--has never been told.

In How Star Wars Conquered the Universe , veteran journalist Chris Taylor traces the series from the difficult birth of the original film through its sequels, the franchise's death and rebirth, the prequels, and the preparations for a new trilogy. Providing portraits of the friends, writers, artists, producers, and marketers who labored behind the scenes to turn Lucas's idea into a legend, Taylor also jousts with modern-day Jedi, tinkers with droid builders, and gets inside Boba Fett's helmet, all to find out how Star Wars has attracted and inspired so many fans for so long.

Since the first film's release in 1977, Taylor shows, Star Wars has conquered our culture with a sense of lightness and exuberance, while remaining serious enough to influence politics in far-flung countries and spread a spirituality that appeals to religious groups and atheists alike. Controversial digital upgrades and poorly received prequels have actually made the franchise stronger than ever. Now, with a savvy new set of bosses holding the reins and Episode VII on the horizon, it looks like Star Wars is just getting started.

An energetic, fast-moving account of this creative and commercial phenomenon, How Star Wars Conquered the Universe explains how a young filmmaker's fragile dream beat out a surprising number of rivals to gain a diehard, multigenerational fan base--and why it will be galvanizing our imaginations and minting money for generations to come.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, c2014.
ISBN: 9780465089987
Branch Call Number: 791.4375 TAYLO
Characteristics: xx, 450 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm

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Chinderixx
Jun 19, 2017

Interesting is a good word to describe this book. I have to say that I think Chris Taylor (the author) is right. Star Wars really has conquered the universe. It's everywhere!
On clothes, water bottles, backpacks, pencils, toys, video games, blankets, comics, books, etc.
And regardless of whether or not you like the franchise, it's probably true that we all carry some bit of random trivia around in our heads. Taylor says that people are constantly bombarded by spoilers from the internet, other people, and other movies.
Taylor starts with early influences for the movies and spends a lot of time on A New Hope's creation. He continues on with the next two movies in the original trilogy and then talks about the birth of the expanded universe and creation of the prequels. He then talks about Disney buying Lucasfilm and the trailer for The Force Awakens, which had not been released yet when this book was published.
Taylor said at the beginning of this book that he was going to be fair and non-biased, and he was. I thought that he occasionally went off topic in some of the chapters, but he did a good job in writing this, and the chapter names give you a good idea of what the chapter is going to be about.

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jmikesmith
Feb 04, 2015

I have read a few histories of Lucasfilm (like Empire Building: The Remarkable Real Life Story of Star Wars by Garry Jenkins and the "Making Of... " books by J.W. Rinzler). This one by Chris Taylor, a journalist and blogger with Mashable, is an excellent addition to that list.

While Taylor covers some of the same ground as the earlier books, he has access to more source material than Jenkins, who wrote his in the late '90s, and covers the prequels and the modern phase of Star Wars that Rinzler's books don't address. Taylor also covers some of the cultural influence of Star Wars, such as costuming groups like the 501st Legion, merchandising, and spin-off media like novels, video games, and TV shows. He makes the point that even people who haven't seen or don't like the Star Wars movies still know a lot of the characters and major plot details. Star Wars is everywhere.

Taylor tries to figure out why this is, but I'm not sure he reaches any satisfying answers. It seems to be a combination of talent (in George Lucas, frequently referred to as the Creator, and many others in Lucas's "posse"), timing, business skills, and luck.

This book covers the sale of Lucasafilm to Disney (Lucas was approaching 70 and needed to retire; Star Wars was pretty much everything he owned), and the coming Episode VII. It seems that we'll be watching the adventures of Jedi and Sith for many years to come.

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Chinderixx
Jun 19, 2017

Chinderixx thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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