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Encyclopedia > Cultural impact of Star Wars

George Lucas' six-film Star Wars saga has had a significant impact on modern global pop culture. References to the main characters and themes of Star Wars are casually made in Western society with the well-qualified assumption that others will understand the reference, without the speaker feeling the need to explain — similar to the use of unelaborated references to the Bible and Greek mythology. Also, science fiction since the original 1977 Star Wars, particularly in film, has often been influenced by and compared to Star Wars. Sounds, visuals, and even the music from the films have become part of the tapestry of Western society. The film also helped launch the science fiction boom of the late 70's and early 80's. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Image File history File links Wiki_letter_w. ... George Walton Lucas, Jr. ... Opening logo to the Star Wars films Star Wars is a science fantasy saga and fictional galaxy created by writer/producer/director George Lucas during the 1970s. ... Popular culture, or pop culture, is the vernacular (peoples) culture that prevails in a modern society. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library of Congress. ... The bust of Zeus found at Otricoli (Sala Rotonda, Museo Pio-Clementino, Vatican) Greek mythology is the body of stories belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world and their own cult and ritual practices. ...


One example is John Williams' score for the films, especially the recurring theme "The Imperial March," which has become part of the Western musical repertoire. "The Imperial March" and other Star Wars symphonic themes are often used as fanfares at sporting events. John Towner Williams (born February 8, 1932) is an Academy Award-winning American composer and conductor. ...


Another example is U.S. President Ronald Reagan's labeling the Soviet Union as an "evil empire." This reference assumed — correctly — that the fictional Galactic Empire of Star Wars had entered the American lexicon. Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989) and the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975). ...


Similarly, Reagan employed "Star Wars" as the colloquial name for his Strategic Defense Initiative program. Lucasfilm originally sued to try to enjoin this usage of its trademark, and lost, in Lucasfilm Ltd. v. High Frontier, 622 F.Supp. 931 (D.D.C. 1985). Explaining its decision, the court said, The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), commonly called Star Wars after the popular science fiction movies of the time, was proposed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983[1] to use ground-based and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic... Lucasfilm Ltd. ...

"When politicians, newspapers, and the public generally use the phrase star wars for their convenience, in parody or descriptively to further a communication of their views on SDI, plaintiff has no rights as owner of the mark to prevent this use of STAR WARS. ... Since Jonathan Swift's time, creators of fictional worlds have seen their vocabulary for fantasy appropriated to describe reality. Trademark laws regulate unfair competition, not the parallel development of new dictionary meanings in the everyday give and take of human discourse."

Interestingly, Lucas showed his displeasure with Reagan's use of the name "Star Wars" by naming a villain in his Star Wars prequel trilogy "Nute Gunray." "Gunray" is obviously a reverse pronunciation of "Reagan," and "Nute" is a backhanded reference to Knute Rockne, All American, a film in which Reagan, a former actor, starred. As an edit, it will be pointed out that Lucas is disappointed with right wing politics, not President Reagan using the term. That is why the villains in The Phantom Menace are Lott Dodd, for Republican Trent Lott and Democrat Christoper Dodd, along with Newt Gingrich and Ronald Reagan for Nute Gunray. Jonathan Swift Jonathan Swift (November 30, 1667 – October 19, 1745) was an Irish priest, satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, and poet, famous for works like Gullivers Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, The Drapiers Letters, The Battle of the Books, and A Tale of a Tub. ... Knute Rockne, All American is a 1940 biographical film which tells the story of Knute Rockne, perhaps the most famous of all of the football coaches at Notre Dame, one of the most successful football programs in history. ...


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