Star Wars: A New Hope opening crawl

40 Reasons to Celebrate 40 Years of Star Wars

By Jocelyn Buhlman

Star Wars: A New Hope premiered today in 1977, and 40 years later we are all still obsessed with the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa, and that scoundrel Han Solo. To help celebrate the impact of this amazing movie and the other films of the Star Wars saga, we’ve rounded up 40 reasons for 40 years of why we love Star Wars.

1. The Opening Crawl
No other movie opens quite like the Star Wars movies do, and those scrolling yellow words have become cultural icons almost as famous as the movie that follows them.

John Williams conducting and orchestra

2. The Music
John William’s brilliant score evokes an emotion like no other, whether you are sitting on the edge of your seat as the “Main Title” announces the start of the movie, dancing with your friends to that irresistibly catchy “Cantina” song, or if you’re making a menacing entrance to the “Imperial March.”

Luke and Leia

3. The Skywalker Saga
We wouldn’t have Star Wars without the Skywalker family, and every moment of the family’s journey has captivated our hearts, from Anakin’s redemption to Luke and Leia’s discovery of their legacy.

The Force Awakens

4. Amazing Aliens
From Chewbacca’s fuzzy face to the pointy ears of Yoda, there’s an alien out there for everyone to love, and the unique, kooky, and just plain weird designs of Star Wars aliens have affected our cultural consciousness.

5. Wipe Transitions
Part of the charm of Star Wars is how we get from one scene to another with the use of wipe transitions, which was George Lucas’ tribute to the classic movies he grew up enjoying.

Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca

6. Cool Costumes
Whether it’s something as simple as Han’s cool vest and blaster or as elaborate as Padme’s dramatic gowns and headpieces, we wish we could wear the fashions of the Star Wars universe every day!

Star Tours

7. Star Tours
What’s a better way to experience the adventure of Star Wars for yourself than on an attraction at your favorite Disney park? The adventure is different each time you ride, which means you’re always in for a thrilling Star Wars story where you are the star!

Darth Vader

8. Cool Villains
Star Wars has provided us with plenty of villains who follow the rule of cool in their own way, whether it’s through Krennic’s white cape, Phasma’s chrome armor, or cyborg Jedi hunter General Grevious’ collection of lightsabers. And, of course, there’s the classic black of Darth Vader.

9. Star Wars: The Clone Wars
The fan-favorite TV show detailing the events between Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith was beloved for introducing us to Anakin’s plucky apprentice, Ahsoka Tano, the villainous bounty hunter Asajj Ventress, and a whole army of Clones who won our hearts with their surprisingly unique personalities.

Star Wars Rebels

10. Star Wars Rebels
Disney XD’s animated series chronicling the adventures of a crew of rebels fighting the Empire helps bridge the gap between the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy and give us an inside look at the Rebel Alliance.

Jedi Training

11. Meeting Your Heroes… and Villains!
Whether you visit the Star Wars Launch Bay to meet Chewbacca or if you enroll in the Jedi Training Temple to fight against Darth Vader, the Seventh Sister, Kylo Ren and more of the worst of the Sith, there’s always a chance to meet your hero (or villain!) at Disney Parks.

Luke and Obi-Wan

12. Lightsabers
Green. Blue. Purple. White… Red? What color would you pick? These elegant weapons for a more civilized age have fueled our imaginations ever since Obi-Wan first gave Luke his fathers’ lightsaber.

X-wing fighters

13. Spectacular Spaceships
Star Wars is practically an A to Z of cool spaceships, from the Rebel Fleets’ collection of ships to the Empire’s deadly TIE fighters, to the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon.

Star Wars-themed Lands concept art

14. Star Wars-Themed Lands
We can barely wait until 2019, when a galaxy far, far away finally arrives at Disneyland and Walt Disney World for guests to live out a fully immersive Star Wars theme park adventure!

Tatooine Traders

15. Out-of-This-World Languages
While Galactic Basic is famously represented by the Aurebesh script throughout the Star Wars films, the movies also provide a wide variety of interesting alien languages, such as the growling Shyriirwook spoken by Wookiees or the beeping binary of astromech droids.

Cloud City

16. A Galaxy of Planets
The glittering ice caves of Hoth. The rising twin suns of Tattooine. The sprawling metropolis of Coruscant. No matter where in the Star Wars universe you travel, every planet has an amazing sight to behold, like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

Yoda

17. The Force
It surrounds us and penetrates us and binds the galaxy together—the Force may not be a person, but it’s almost a character in its own right in the films. Whether the light side or the dark side, the Force guides every moment of the Star Wars saga.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

18. The Jedi
Qui-Gon. Obi Wan. Luke. They are the protectors of the galaxy who use the light side of the Force to keep the peace. The Jedi Order is made up of a variety of interesting humans and aliens that we can’t help but admire.

Darth Sidious and Darth Maul

19. The Sith
Being a good guy is fun, but sometimes you need to put on a dark cloak and light up your red lightsaber. The Sith use the dark side of the force and their red-bladed lightsabers to spread chaos and war throughout the galaxy.

C-3PO and R2-D2

20. Adorable Droids
They may simply beep and boop or they may be fluent in millions of forms of complaining, but no matter whether they are humanoid-shaped or an adorable orb, we love the droids of the Star Wars universe.

Yoda

21. Life lessons
Even though Star Wars is set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there are still plenty of ways we can learn from the Star Wars saga. We’ve rounded up the best lessons we’ve learned throughout the saga https://d23.com/7-life-lessons-star-wars-taught-us/” target=”_blank”>here.

Luke, Leia, and Han

22. The Classic Trio
The farmboy, the princess, and the scoundrel: The original trio from Episodes IV-VI have a special place in our hearts for all the snark, love, and quick-thinking that enchanted audiences all over the world again and again.

Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Padme

23. The Prequels Trio
The prequels introduced us to some familiar faces, some new faces, and one face we’d only seen covered by a mask: Obi-Wan, Padme, and Anakin lead us in the prequel trilogy, providing us with a lot of fun and a lot of heartbreak as the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker unfolded in Episodes I-III.

Rey, Finn, and Poe

24. The new trio
We’ve only seen them in one film so far, but we love them already! Rey, the scavenger with a Force-powered secret has millions of little girls rocking the three-bun style; Finn, the Stormtrooper with a heart of gold, convinced us we can control our destiny; and the ever charming and handsome pilot Poe Dameron reminded us why it’s so important to be a rebel. We can’t wait to see what these heroes do next!

Jabba the Hutt

25. Perfect Puppets
The immersive nature of the Star Wars universe is aided by some amazing special effects, like the detailed puppets utilized throughout the trilogy. From the giant Jabba to the little, monkey-like Salacious Crumb, the amazing puppets of the Star Wars saga are a tradition that continues into the new trilogy of films.

26. Industrial Light and Magic
George Lucas created Industrial Light and Magic to make special effects like we’ve never seen before for Star Wars, and since then the company has become the leader in special effects in film, even helping found Pixar!

27. Books We Can’t Stop Reading
When you’d marathoned every Star Wars movie and memorized the TV shows, it’s time to crack open a book and start exploring even more of the Star Wars universe.

28. Comics with Action on Every Page
If you’re more of a visual person, there’s also a world of Star Wars comics full of the kind of action, adventure, and excitement you expect from any good Star Wars story. You can check out Marvel’s line of Star Wars comic, out now.

Star Wars fireworks

29. Star Wars Experiences Like No Other
There are special entertainment options available at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, including fantastic fireworks shows and a march of the First Order. If you’re looking for a vacation away from the mainland, have you tried the Star Wars Day at Sea on Disney Cruise Line?

Queen Amidala

30. Iconic Hairstyles
Though they are from a long time ago, everyone in Star Wars is rocking fashion-forward hair. Who hasn’t tried their hand at some Leia hair buns on the sides of their head or mastering Rey’s three-bun stack?

31. The Humor
Whether Leia is snarking about her rescue attempt or BB-8 is throwing you a thumb’s up, there’s always something to keep us laughing. “Can someone get this big walking carpet out of my way?”

32. “I have a bad feeling about this”
One of the most iconic lines in the Star Wars franchise, at least one character per movie has bad feelings at a key moment. The line also appears in many Star Wars books, comics, TV show episodes, and video games! The line is so iconic it has even snuck its way into certain Star Tours sequences and even an Indiana Jones movie!

33. Easter Eggs
Are you headed to cell block 1138? Have you been paging Mr. Eroeg Sacul? Do you know why Finn’s Stormtrooper designation is FN-2187? The Star Wars universe is full of fun Easter eggs we love to discover (and use as an excuse to watch the movies again… and again… and again…)

pod racing

34. Unforgettable Sound Effects
If we asked you to imagine the sound of a wookiee roaring or a lightsaber buzzing, can you hear them? The talented special effects team behind the Star Wars saga created iconic sound effects that are beloved by fans today.

35. Video Games
The Star Wars storytelling doesn’t stop when the movie ends—there’s a whole catalogue of amazing video games where you can be the star of an amazing Star Wars epic of your very own.

36. Miles and Miles of Merchandise
What’s in your collection? Everyone has a favorite Star Wars toy, or shirt, or even Mouse Ear Hat that lets the world know they are a fan.

37. It’s A Story the Whole Family Can Enjoy
Whether you sat on the edge of your seat in a theater in 1977 or in front of the TV as your Blu-Ray™ brought you magic, watching Star Wars is an experience everyone can enjoy, young or old, as it is a timeless classic that will continue to be beloved for generations.

Luke Skywalker

38. It’s A Story about Underdogs
Luke is a farm boy, Rey is a scavenger, and we’re just a bunch of kids trying to get through life! What makes Star Wars so magical is that we can relate so much to the experiences of a simple underdog becoming a greater hero—that could be us one day!

Star Wars cosplay costumes

39. It’s A Story We Can All Enjoy
Star Wars brings us together in an unique way, uniting us at D23 Expo or Star Wars Celebration or anywhere in the world! Our love for the galaxy far, far away is something that unites us and ties us together.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

40. It’s an Adventure That Keeps Continuing
We may be celebrating 40 years of Star Wars: A New Hope today, but in December we’ll be celebrating the premiere of another Star Wars film. Star Wars: The Last Jedi reminds us that even though the end credits roll, the story isn’t over. Star Wars grows and evolves with us, and we will keep adventuring and learning and believing as long as there is a galaxy far, far away for us to enjoy.