May 4 is “Star Wars Day,” so PennStakes.com decided to take a break from Pennsylvania online casinos to look at the state’s favorite movies in the “Star Wars” franchise.
In first place, by a big margin, is the big daddy of the franchise, 1977’s original “Star Wars,” later renamed “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.”
No matter what you call it, it’s the movie that changed the face of science fiction movies and special effects. Luke (Mark Hamill), Leia (Carrie Fisher), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), Darth Vader (James Earl Jones), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and the Stormtroopers, all became known the world over from this groundbreaking, Death Star-destroying classic, written and directed by George Lucas.
There was no IMAX in 1977 and surround sound was just beginning. CGI didn’t do everything. It’s hard for many to believe now as the ability of special effects dwarfs anything done 46 years ago. But when “Star Wars” opened, it was a revelation.
In second place is the 1980 “New Hope” sequel, “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.” “Empire,” directed by Irvin Kershner, is considered by many to be the best of all nine films in the series. In this film, the Empire has beaten down the rebels, and for the first time we meet Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch), Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and, of, course, Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz) who teaches Luke to be a Jedi.
In third is the direct prequel to “A New Hope,” 2005’s “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.” This is the third film in the second produced trilogy, that’s set before the earlier made trilogy. George Lucas is back directing. Hayden Christensen is Anakin Skywalker, Luke and Leia’s dark-souled daddy, and former Queen Amidala, Natalie Portman, is now Padmé, their mother. Ewan McGregor is a young Obi-Wan. Samuel L. Jackson is humorless Jedi Mace Windu and Ian McDiarmid plays evil Supreme Chancellor Palpatine.
“Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” from 2015, is in fourth place. This is the first film in the third trilogy and was directed by J.J. Abrams. The story here starts to move away from Luke, Leia, and Solo (who all appear) to a new, younger cast of stars — Daisy Ridley as Rey, a Jedi with interesting parentage, John Boyega as former Stormtrooper Finn, and Oscar Isaac as resistance pilot Poe Dameron. A new bad guy with a Force of his own is Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver.
Rounding out our top five is “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.”
Sixteen years after 1983’s “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi,” George Lucas returned to “Star Wars” with what would be the story that launches the narrative of the nine film saga and side projects. Jake Lloyd is young Anakin Skywalker, Ewan McGregor takes his first turn as Obi-Wan, Natalie Portman is still Queen Amidala, and Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) is merely a senator. Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) is the Jedi Master who learns of Anakin’s power with the Force. “Phantom Menace” also introduced the controversial Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best).
May the 4th be with you! Utilizing Google Trends, PennStakes.com analyzed the most popular Star Wars movies of Pennsylvania residents by looking at the search results of each movie over the past year (April 24, 2022-April 24, 2023). The movies include all movies in each of the three trilogies, as well as "Solo" and "Rogue One."
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