How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise

The Star Wars franchise is no small thing, with an estimated 1.3 billion tickets sold to the six theatrically released movies worldwide, $6 billion in VHS/DVD sales and $20 billion in merchandise sales. But how did it grow from the impossible dream of a young filmmaker to a multibillion-dollar franchise? Journalist Chris Taylor answers that question in How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, which covers not only the "past, present and future" of what might be the world's most ubiquitous franchise, but also how it has made an impact on--and been influenced by--its ever-growing fan base.

Taylor weaves George Lucas's biography with a history of science fiction and space fantasy in print and on screen, which he then fits into an exploration of Lucas's creative approach to each of the six films and the timely political undertones in each story. He then turns to the Expanded Universe (the body of Star Wars books, games, TV shows and other sanctioned stories) and how it interacts with Lucas's big-screen creations.

Taylor doesn's shy away from criticisms of Lucasfilm or the movies themselves, such as flaws in the plotlines or tensions on the film sets. But at its heart, How Star Wars Conquered the Universe is a love letter to a franchise that has become entrenched in contemporary culture in more ways than we could possibly count (just think how difficult it would be to find someone, anyone, who does not know the identity of Luke's father), and a testament to the power of space fantasy to capture our imaginations. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

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