The Original Star Wars trilogy series began in 1977 with the release of the film Star Wars (subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope in 1981) by 20th Century Fox, which became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon. It was followed by the similarly successful sequels The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).
The prequel trilogy, released between 1999 and 2005, were all directed by George Lucas and received a more mixed reaction from critics and fans in comparison to the original trilogy. All six films were nominated for or won Academy Awards, and were commercial successes, with a combined box office revenue of $4.38 billion, making Star Wars the fourth highest-grossing film series and creator George Lucas a very wealthy man.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which premiered on August 10, 2008, was made to serve as both a stand-alone story and a lead-in to the weekly animated TV series of the same name. Warner Bros. Pictures holds the home media distribution rights to both this film and the first five seasons of the TV series, which debuted on October 3, 2008. The film grossed $68.3 million worldwide.
In 2012, The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm for $4.06 billion.
20th Century Fox retains the physical distribution rights to the first two Star Wars trilogies
Walt Disney Studios owns digital distribution rights to all the Star Wars films, excluding A New Hope.
The Star Wars sequel trilogy is the third film trilogy in the Star Wars franchise. It is being produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The trilogy will consist of episodes VII through IX and follows after Return of the Jedi (1983) in the saga's chronology. Lucas originally planned a sequel trilogy in the mid-1970s, but had abandoned these plans by the late 1990s. In 2012, after acquiring Lucasfilm, The Walt Disney Company announced production of a sequel trilogy.
Disney's new strategy is to release a numbered Star Wars entry every other year, with "Anthology" films in between. Disney knows that audiences want more Star Wars, and it knows it will make billions of dollars off movies, toys and video games that include more Star Wars. So, a lot more Star Wars is coming. In fact, there will be a new Star Wars movie every year for the next four years. Considering there have been a total of six Star Wars films in three decades, to suddenly get five in five years is astounding.