Is it Wookie or Wookiee? The Times’ definitive ‘Star Wars’ style guide
When most people think of “Star Wars” style, Princess Leia’s side-buns hairdo and white robe or Darth Vader’s fearsome black helmet and cape probably come to mind. For copy editors, it’s more likely how to punctuate a jumble of words such as Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope or whether to spell Chewbacca’s species as Wookie or Wookiee.
With the venerable space opera about to start bringing new stories to the big screen at the planned rate of one per year -- and the upcoming fleet’s worth of Times stories that will cover all the developments and details of the on- and off-screen “Star Wars” saga -- The Times’ copy desk decided it would help in editing to have an organized guide to facts, names and terms that might appear in our coverage.
I volunteered to put it together, and relied on the films; Lucasfilm’s publicly available databank; the Academy Awards’ database; images of officially licensed products; and Times precedents, stories, style rules and tendencies (which sometimes override other groups’ preferences). To answer the questions above: “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”; Wookiee.
Digging back into the George Lucas-created galaxy’s stories was a pleasure; deciding what would or wouldn’t be included in the style guide was sometimes unpleasant. This was to be a handy, searchable guide for my colleagues, not a galactic encyclopedia.
The guiding principles were: What can we reasonably expect to come up in coverage? What’s certifiably canon?
First Order stormtroopers are shown in a scene from “The Force Awakens.”(Film Frame / Associated Press)
Shown is Captain Phasma, played by “Game of Thrones” star Gwendoline Christie, in a scene from “The Force Awakens.”(Film Frame / Associated Press)
Domhnall Gleeson stars as General Hux in “The Force Awakens.”(David James / Associated Press)
Rey (Daisy Ridley), left, the pint-sized droid BB-8, and Finn (John Boyega) make a break for it in a scene from “The Force Awakens.”(Film Frame / Associated Press)
Finn gets a helping hand in a scene from “The Force Awakens.”(Film Frame / Associated Press)
So, sorry, sabacc, Mara Jade and Jaxxon. Out go the entries for every single Imperial officer choked or strangled by Vader on screen -- Adm. Ozzel is more likely to be a “Star Wars” trivia night answer than a reference in coverage of new films. The same goes for any number of tie-ins and spinoffs that fans have enjoyed over the years, for so many of the now-not-canon novels and comics I read in the ’90s.
And there’s still enough stuff to fill every compartment of the Millennium Falcon – with more to be added as new projects are released or announced.
Style guides can be dry, but I tried to instill some of the science-fiction adventure’s sense of fun. The Times shares this style guide here for readers who might be curious about the subject matter or interested in a refresher before seeing “The Force Awakens.”
I hope you enjoy it, but don’t be shy about letting me know what I should be thrown into the Pit of Carkoon for leaving out or getting wrong.
May the Force (lowercase t, capital F) be with you.
Hennon is a multiplatform editing supervisor on The Times’ features copy desk who has written for The Times’ Hero Complex website.
“STAR WARS” STYLE GUIDE
This guide offers information about the film franchise to date, starting with film titles and numbers and notes about upcoming films, altered releases, Academy Awards and TV projects before an alphabetical list of characters, real people, creatures, vehicles, planets and terms with some key plot and relationship details that might be mentioned in coverage. Though long (there’s a whole galaxy to consider!), the list is by no means complete, and more information can be found at the official “Star Wars” databank: www.starwars.com/databank
Film titles and numbers
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opens Dec. 18 in the U.S. and is directed by J.J. Abrams; screenplay credit goes to Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt (Arndt wrote a treatment; Abrams and Kasdan teamed on the script). The cast includes original trilogy actors Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels and Warwick Davis. New-to-the-saga cast members include Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Gwendoline Christie, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis and Max von Sydow.
“The Force Awakens” is the saga’s seventh live-action film and seventh episode. It is the franchise’s eighth film overall, counting the 2008 animated theatrical release “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” Lucasfilm does not appear to be using “Episode VII,” as it was known before it had a title, on posters or in trailers, but could retitle it for home releases.
“Star Wars”: The full title of the franchise’s first release is “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.” It may be called simply “Star Wars” in conjunction with “the original” or “1977” or when context is clear, or “A New Hope” to avoid confusion with other films.
The seven live-action films’ full titles, in episodic order, followed by original U.S. release date and director:
“Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” (May 19, 1999) d. George Lucas
“Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” (May 16, 2002) d. George Lucas
“Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” (May 19, 2005) d. George Lucas
“Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” (May 25, 1977) d. George Lucas
“Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” (May 21, 1980) d. Irvin Kershner
“Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi” (May 25, 1983) d. Richard Marquand
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015) d. J.J. Abrams
It is acceptable to refer to any of these films by only its subtitle in most references, including first reference for flow, but include the full title somewhere.
Special Editions / DVD releases / 3-D versions / digital releases
Special Editions and DVD: The original trilogy was theatrically rereleased in 1997 with some new scenes, new / refurbished special effects and new music overseen by George Lucas -- “Star Wars” on Jan. 31, “The Empire Strikes Back” on Feb. 21 and “Return of the Jedi” on March 14 (U.S. release dates). One notably unpopular change was having the bounty hunter Greedo shoot at Han Solo before Solo kills him in “A New Hope.” These versions of the films underwent further changes for a 2004 DVD release.
Original trilogy on DVD: The untouched original theatrical versions are on DVD, but only as bonus discs to their updated versions in a 2006 limited-edition set. The untouched original theatrical releases are not available on Blu-ray.
Blu-ray: The updated versions had a “Star Wars: The Complete Saga” Blu-ray release with the prequel trilogy in 2011; those six films were released digitally via streaming services in April 2015.
3-D: The prequels were scheduled to be theatrically rereleased in 3-D format in 2012. “The Phantom Menace” was released in 3-D on Feb. 10, but planned 3-D releases of “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith” were scrapped after Disney acquired Lucasfilm.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is the first of the announced stand-alone “anthology films” (Lucasfilm’s term) set in the “Star Wars” galaxy, and is scheduled for a Dec. 16, 2016, release. The director is Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla”). The writers are Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz. The cast includes Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk (as a performance-capture character) and Riz Ahmed. Lucasfilm has announced it’s set between “Revenge of the Sith” and “A New Hope” and will be about resistance fighters uniting to steal plans for the first Death Star.
“Episode VIII” is not yet formally titled and is scheduled to open May 26, 2017. It will be directed by Rian Johnson (“Looper”).
A not-yet-titled Han Solo anthology film is scheduled to open May 25, 2018. It will be directed by Christopher Lord and Phil Miller (the team behind “The Lego Movie”) and written by Lawrence Kasdan and son Jon Kasdan.
“Episode IX” is not yet formally titled and is slated for a 2019 release. It is to be directed by Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic World”).
To date, the “Star Wars” franchise has received nine Oscars, all for films in the original trilogy.
“Star Wars” was nominated in 10 categories; it won six of those -- art direction, costume design, film editing, music (original score) (John Williams), sound and visual effects -- and it received a special achievement award for sound effects artist Ben Burtt, for a total of seven Oscars at the ceremony in 1978. It was nominated, but did not win, for best picture, director (George Lucas), original screenplay (Lucas) and supporting actor (Alec Guinness).
“The Empire Strikes Back” was nominated in three categories and won one, for sound, and received a special achievement award for visual effects at the ceremony in 1981. It was nominated, but did not win, for art direction and music (original score).
“Return of the Jedi” received a special achievement award for visual effects at the ceremony in 1984. It was also nominated in four categories that it did not win – art direction, music, sound, sound effects editing.
“The Phantom Menace” was nominated in three categories (sound, sound effects editing, visual effects) but won none at the ceremony in 2000.
“Attack of the Clones” was nominated for visual effects but did not win at the ceremony in 2003.
“Revenge of the Sith” was nominated for makeup but did not win at the ceremony in 2006.
“The Star Wars Holiday Special” aired in November 1978 on CBS. It featured film cast members Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker and Anthony Daniels; TV stars including Bea Arthur, Art Carney, Diahann Carroll and Harvey Korman; and the band Jefferson Starship. It features a story about getting Chewbacca home to Kashyyyk and his family for Life Day. There’s also a cartoon that marks the first screen appearance of Boba Fett. The special is not officially commercially available, though the cartoon was an Easter egg on the 2011 “Star Wars: The Complete Saga” Blu-ray set.
“Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure” was a 1984 TV movie on ABC. Warwick Davis returns as Wicket. Burl Ives narrates. The Ewoks help two shipwrecked human kids find their parents.
“Ewoks: The Battle for Endor” was a 1985 TV movie on ABC. Warwick Davis as Wicket. Cast includes Wilford Brimley. After all but the little girl, Cindel (Aubree Miller), from the family in the previous TV movie are apparently killed, she and the Ewoks must fend off marauders.
“Droids” was a one-season, 13-episode animated series that ran Saturday mornings on ABC in the 1985-1986 season; it followed the adventures of C-3PO (voiced by Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2.
“Ewoks” was a two-season, 35-episode animated series that ran Saturday mornings on ABC in 1985 and 1986.
“Star Wars: Clone Wars” and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”: The former is a 2003-2005 animated series on Cartoon Network with episodes from two minutes to 15 minutes in duration; the latter is a 2008-2014 animated series with half-hour episodes that was on Cartoon Network through 2013, with its final season released on Netflix in 2014.
“Star Wars Rebels” is an animated series that premiered Oct. 3, 2014. It’s shown on Disney XD. Voice talent includes Freddie Prinze Jr. as young protagonist Kanan Jarrus and David Oyelowo as the Empire’s Agent Kallus. Its second season premiered Nov. 4, 2015. The story is set between “Revenge of the Sith” and “A New Hope.”
The list (actors mentioned are those who played the characters in live-action films)
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …”: The first words that appear on screen in every live-action “Star Wars” film, always in blue text.
Adm. Ackbar is a Rebel Alliance military leader seen in “Return of the Jedi,” in which he commands the Rebel fleet in the attack on the second Death Star. His species is called, no joke, Mon Calamari. Brought to life by puppeteer Tim Rose with voice by Erik Bauersfeld.
Alan Ladd Jr. was the 20th Century Fox executive who championed the production of the original “Star Wars.”
Alderaan is the planet the Death Star destroys on Grand Moff Tarkin’s orders in the original “Star Wars,” and is where Princess Leia was raised by Bail Organa.
Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader is the main character of episodes I-III and a major villain in episodes IV-VI (so, yes, this is the longest entry). Born into slavery on Tatooine, he’s raised by his mother, Shmi, and shows a talent for mechanics as a kid, building the droid C-3PO and a podracer. He’s also strong in the Force and an excellent podracer pilot, as seen in “The Phantom Menace.” Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn believes the young boy is the prophesied chosen one who will bring balance to the Force. In “Attack of the Clones,” Anakin falls in love with and secretly marries Padmé Amidala, whom he’d met when he was a child in the previous film. He slaughters Tusken Raiders who had abducted and fatally wounded his mother. It’s also in “Attack of the Clones” that he is maimed by Count Dooku and gets a robotic arm. In “Revenge of the Sith,” he is seduced to the dark side by Palpatine, helps largely kill off the Jedi, is defeated in a lightsaber duel by Obi-Wan Kenobi (wounded so badly he will need that familiar Darth Vader suit), and is informed by the emperor that Padmé, who had been pregnant, has died. (“Noooooo!”)
In “A New Hope,” Darth Vader captures Princess Leia and later kills his old master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, in a lightsaber duel on the Death Star. Vader pilots a TIE fighter in the Battle of Yavin but is taken out of it by the Millennium Falcon before he can stop that strong-in-the-Force X-wing pilot from destroying the Death Star. By “The Empire Strikes Back” he’s realized that the X-wing pilot is his son and tells him so during a lightsaber duel, adding that Luke can destroy the emperor, and that they can rule the galaxy together as father and son -- an offer that’s declined. Vader severs Luke’s hand during the fight. In “Return of the Jedi,” he again tries to recruit Luke to the dark side but then turns on Palpatine, redeems himself, and gets to be an all-healed-up ghost Jedi Anakin Skywalker hanging out with fellow ghosts Obi-Wan and Yoda.
Played by Jake Lloyd in “The Phantom Menace,” then by Hayden Christensen in “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.” In “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back,” David Prowse is in the costume, with the voice by James Earl Jones. In “Return of the Jedi,” Jones voices and Prowse is in the full costume, but the actor who plays the unmasked, dying Anakin and the character in spectral form in the original theatrical version and theatrical Special Edition is Sebastian Shaw. In the 2004 DVD release and subsequent releases, Shaw is replaced in the scene with spectral Anakin by Christensen.
AT-AT is the common shorthand for All Terrain Armored Transport, a four-legged Imperial vehicle used in the Battle of Hoth in “The Empire Strikes Back.”
AT-ST is the common shorthand for All Terrain Scout Transport, a two-legged Imperial vehicle used on Endor (and taken down by Ewoks) in “Return of the Jedi.”
Aunt Beru is the common reference to Beru Lars, who raised Luke Skywalker with her husband, Owen, on Tatooine and was sympathetic to the young man’s desire to leave home. She appears in the original “Star Wars” and was killed offscreen by Stormtroopers. She’s seen as a younger woman in the prequels. Played by Shelagh Fraser in “A New Hope” and Bonnie Piesse in “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.”
Bail Organa was a member of Alderaan’s royal family and a senator in the Galactic Republic. After his friend Padmé Amidala dies, he takes the infant Leia to be raised as a princess on Alderaan. Played by Jimmy Smits in “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.”
Bantha refers to an elephant-size furry creature with curved horns seen ridden by Tusken Raiders on Tatooine in the original “Star Wars.”
Bantha fodder is a term used as an insult by Jabba the Hutt in “Return of the Jedi” when he tells Han Solo (according to the subtitles), “You may have been a good smuggler, but now you’re bantha fodder.”
battle droids: They’re used by the Trade Federation against Naboo in “The Phantom Menace” and then by the Separatist Alliance in “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith” against the clone troopers of the Republic.
BB-8: the soccer-ball-ish droid in “The Force Awakens”
Bespin is the gas planet where Cloud City is located in “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Ben Burtt is an Oscar-winning sound designer and editor who has worked on all seven live-action “Star Wars” films to date. His first Oscar was a special achievement award for his work on the 1977 “Star Wars.”
Biggs Darklighter was a Rebel X-wing pilot who grew up on Tatooine with Luke Skywalker. He’s reunited with his old friend on Yavin IV, but dies in the attack on the first Death Star in “A New Hope.” Played by Garrick Hagon.
blaster: generic term for energy-blasting pistols and rifles in the “Star Wars” galaxy.
Boba Fett is a Mandalorian-armor-wearing bounty hunter and a clone of Jango Fett, who raises him as a son. He’s the one who tracks the Millennium Falcon to Bespin and gets to take the frozen-in-carbonite Han Solo in “The Empire Strikes Back.” In “Return of the Jedi,” he’s seen in Jabba’s palace, where he’s delivered Solo, and on Jabba’s barge before being knocked into the pit of the sarlacc. In “Attack of the Clones,” he’s seen as a child helping Jango escape Obi-Wan Kenobi and witnesses Jango’s death at the hands of Mace Windu. Played by Jeremy Bulloch in “Empire” and “Jedi.” Played in “Attack of the Clones” by Daniel Logan. Also had a cameo added to Special Edition of “A New Hope” with other people in the costume.
Bothan spies are unseen characters, many of whom Mon Mothma says died getting information about the second Death Star -- and the Emperor’s presence there -- to the Rebel Alliance in “Return of the Jedi.”
C-3PO (the letter O, not zero) is an etiquette and protocol droid fluent in over 6 million forms of communication. Casually called Threepio. Built by Anakin Skywalker. Long associated with R2-D2: They are the first characters seen in “A New Hope” and the witnesses at Anakin and Padmé’s wedding in “Attack of the Clones.” In “A New Hope,” Threepio and Artoo are aboard Princess Leia’s diplomatic ship when it’s boarded by Darth Vader but take an escape pod to Tatooine, where they’re bought by Owen Lars and become servants to Luke Skywalker. In “The Empire Strikes Back,” Threepio stumbles upon Stormtroopers hiding in Cloud City and is blasted apart before being reassembled with his head on backward by Chewbacca. In “Return of the Jedi,” Threepio and Artoo are sent to Jabba’s palace by Luke Skywalker to barter for Han Solo’s return; Threepio is put to work as Jabba’s translator. Later in the film, he’s revered as a god by Ewoks (though it’s against his programming to impersonate a deity). He has a habit of trying to tell Han the odds. In all films, cartoons and radio dramas, the character is voiced by Anthony Daniels, who’s also in the suit for the films.
Capt. Phasma is Gwendoline Christie’s First Order character in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Chewbacca is a Wookiee from Kashyyyk and Han Solo’s co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon. Friends call him Chewie. He is prominent in the original trilogy and now “The Force Awakens,” and appeared in “Revenge of the Sith.” Peter Mayhew is the actor in the costume in all the films. His vocal sounds were designed by Ben Burtt. When it comes to holographic chess, let him win.
clone troopers: Used by the Republic against the Separatists’ battle droids in the Clone Wars. Seen in “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.” They were grown on the planet Kamino based on bounty hunter Jango Fett, as Obi-Wan Kenobi discovers in “Attack of the Clones,” allegedly under the orders of the late Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas. The Jedi Council did not know of the army, but the Republic under Palpatine makes use of the army beginning with the Battle of Geonosis. Commanded by Jedi generals during the Clone Wars, the troopers turn on the Jedi and kill them when Palpatine issues Order 66.
comlink is a generic term (a la “cellphone”) for a communication device.
Coruscant is the capital planet, where the Galactic Senate and Jedi Temple are seen in the prequel trilogy. It’s where Qui-Gon Jinn is taking Padmé Amidala in “The Phantom Menace”; where an attempt is made on her life and Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker chase the would-be assassin in airborne speeders in “Attack of the Clones”; and above which Republic and Separatist Alliance ships have a battle in “Revenge of the Sith”; where in the same film Padmé informs Anakin that she’s pregnant. Before Coruscant was seen onscreen, it was mentioned in Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy of novels in the early 1990s. In the “Return of the Jedi” Special Edition in 1997, a short scene was added of Coruscant celebrating after the second Death Star has been destroyed.
Count Dooku / Darth Tyranus was the leader of the Separatist movement. A former Jedi who was trained by Yoda and was master to Qui-Gon Jinn, he went to the dark side as a Sith serving Darth Sidious. He cuts off part of Anakin Skywalker’s arm but is driven away by Yoda in “Attack of the Clones.” In “Revenge of the Sith,” he and Gen. Grievous kidnap Palpatine. Anakin kills him at Palpatine’s urging. Played by Christopher Lee.
Darth Maul is an apprentice to Darth Sidious in “The Phantom Menace.” He’s tasked with capturing Queen Amidala. He kills Qui-Gon Jinn but is bisected by Obi-Wan Kenobi. Uses a double-bladed lightsaber. Ray Park is in the makeup; voiced by Peter Serafinowicz.
Darth Sidious was an alias of Palpatine. Under this nom du Sith, the senator from Naboo influenced the Trade Federation to blockade his own planet, using the resulting crisis to oust and succeed Supreme Chancellor Valorum in “The Phantom Menace.” In “Attack of the Clones,” it is as Sidious that he engineered the Separatist crisis that brought him emergency powers as chancellor.
Dagobah is the swampy planet where Yoda retreated after the end of “Revenge of Sith.” It is here where Luke Skywalker finds him in “The Empire Strikes Back” and where Yoda dies in “Return of the Jedi.”
dark side: the aspect of the Force from which the Sith draw their power; the path here is fear.
Death Star: It’s no moon, but “an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.” The first is commanded by Grand Moff Tarkin in “A New Hope” and used to destroy Alderaan. Fatal design flaw: A small thermal exhaust port at the end of a trench wide enough for an X-wing to fly through. The second one (looking incomplete but -- surprise! -- fully operational) is where Luke Skywalker meets the Emperor and duels Darth Vader in “Return of the Jedi.” Fatal design flaw: A main reactor accessible by areas wide enough for the Millennium Falcon to fly through. Plans for it are seen in “Attack of the Clones,” and it’s seen under construction at the end of “Revenge of the Sith.”
Disney: the Walt Disney Co. has been the parent company of Lucasfilm since buying it in 2012 for more than $4 billion.
Emperor Palpatine began as a politician from Naboo who rose from senator in the Galactic Republic to its supreme chancellor before becoming emperor, ending the Old Republic, and founding the Galactic Empire.
A Dark Lord of the Sith who was also known as Darth Sidious (see that entry for more info), in the prequel trilogy he’s behind the Clone Wars, largely wipes out the Jedi, and recruits Anakin Skywalker to the dark side of the Force.
In the original trilogy, he appears via hologram in “The Empire Strikes Back” (saying the son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi but agreeing with Vader that Luke could be an asset if turned to the dark side), then arrives in “Return of the Jedi” to personally oversee completion of the second Death Star. In the latter film, he’s seen shooting Force lightning out of his hands at Luke Skywalker and is killed by his longtime ally Darth Vader.
He’s played by Ian McDiarmid in “Return of the Jedi” and the prequel trilogy, but was voiced by Clive Revill in the original theatrical version and 1997 Special Edition of “The Empire Strikes Back.” In subsequent releases, Revill’s voice has been replaced by McDiarmid’s.
the Empire: This term is acceptable in all references to the Galactic Empire founded by Palpatine as the successor state to the Galactic Republic. It is the opponent of the Rebel Alliance in the original trilogy. As an adjective, Imperial is capitalized.
Endor is home to the Ewoks and site of the generator for a shield protecting the unfinished second Death Star in “Return of the Jedi.” The phrase “the forest moon of Endor” in “Return of the Jedi” might make it seem as though Endor is a planet and the Ewoks live on an unnamed moon that orbits it, but Lucasfilm uses the name Endor for the moon itself.
Expanded Universe: The “Star Wars” Expanded Universe encompasses all the loosely interconnected novels, comic books, video games, etc. that filled out the history and space of the galaxy outside of the first six episodic films. The EU was officially written off in April 2014 as having no bearing on any new “Star Wars” stories produced thereafter, though many are still commercially available and now labeled as Star Wars Legends.
Ewoks are a furry, short and resourceful species who live in the forests on Endor. They are prominent in “Return of the Jedi,” in which they help the Rebels defeat Imperials who are guarding the second Death Star’s shield generator. They also featured in two TV movies and an animated series in the mid-1980s.
Finn is a character played by John Boyega in “The Force Awakens.”
First Order: the villainous organization in “The Force Awakens”
the Force: In “A New Hope,” Obi-Wan Kenobi explains it as “what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us. It penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” Darth Vader says the ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to it.
Fox: 20th Century Fox distributed both the original and prequel trilogy films and retains full distribution rights for “A New Hope.”
Galactic Republic: The Republic, known in the original trilogy as the Old Republic, is seen in its final years in the prequel trilogy.
Galactic Senate and Imperial Senate. The former was the legislative body of the Galactic Republic. The latter was its successor under the Galactic Empire, but was dissolved during the time period of “A New Hope.”
Gary Kurtz was the producer of “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Gen. Grievous is a robotic-bodied villain with a nasty cough in “Revenge of the Sith,” a military leader of the Separatist Alliance who abducted Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. He’s killed in a fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi on the planet Utapau. The computer-generated character was voiced by Matthew Wood.
Gen. Hux is a First Order officer played by Domhnall Gleeson in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Geonosis is a planet seen in “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith” where battle droids are manufactured by Geonosians for the Separatist Alliance.
George Lucas is the creator of “Star Wars” and wrote and directed the 1977 original and the prequel trilogy (Jonathan Hales shared a screenplay credit on “Attack of the Clones”). He founded Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic.
Grand Moff Tarkin was the commander of the first Death Star and the man who orders the destruction of Alderaan in “A New Hope.” He underestimates the Rebels’ chances. Played by Peter Cushing.
Greedo is a Rodian bounty hunter who confronts and is killed by Han Solo in the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine in “A New Hope.” In the original theatrical film, Han shot first. In the Special Edition and subsequent releases, Greedo shoots first.
Han Solo is the Millennium Falcon-owning smuggler who becomes a Rebel leader over the course of the original trilogy. In “A New Hope,” he and Chewbacca are hired by Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker to take them to Alderaan, help rescue Princess Leia, and appear to take their pay and leave before returning to help in the attack on the Death Star. In “The Empire Strikes Back,” he rescues an injured Luke on Hoth before helping Princess Leia escape the Imperial attack on the planet and pursuit through an asteroid field, and proceeding to Cloud City. There, he’s betrayed by old pal Lando Calrissian, has a memorable exchange with Leia (“I love you,” she says; “I know,” he replies) before being frozen in carbonite (as a test case before Luke), and is turned over to Boba Fett. In “Return of the Jedi,” he’s thawed by Princess Leia and rescued in an elaborate operation on Jabba’s barge. Solo is declared a general in the Rebellion and leads a strike team in disabling the second Death Star’s shield generator on Endor. He’ll also be in “The Force Awakens,” and has been played in all films so far by Harrison Ford, though an upcoming anthology film about Solo is to feature the character as a younger man. Never tell him the odds.
Hoth is the snowy planet where the Rebel Alliance has its Echo Base and comes under attack at the beginning of “The Empire Strikes Back.” It’s here where Princess Leia kisses Luke Skywalker during an argument with Han Solo.
hyperdrive: The component of a starship that helps it jump to hyperspace.
hyperspace: It’s how starships in the “Star Wars” galaxy get from one place to another so quickly.
“The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)” is the foreboding leitmotif by John Williams, familiar from the films and pretty much every marching band, that was first featured in “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Jabba the Hutt was a gangster who was based on Tatooine. He had a bounty out on Han Solo in “A New Hope” (unseen in the original theatrical release, the familiar slug-like character was digitally added to its Special Edition over a previously unused scene that had originally been shot with a human Jabba). In “Return of the Jedi,” his high exaltedness keeps the frozen-in-carbonite Han Solo in his palace as his favorite decoration, sends Luke Skywalker to fight a rancor via trapdoor, and plans to feed the heroes to the sarlacc (the last mistake he’ll ever make). But he’s strangled by Princess Leia aboard his sail barge with the chain he’d used to keep her captive. He also appears in “The Phantom Menace” at the podrace. A puppet in “Return of the Jedi,” he’s computer-generated in his other film appearances. Voiced by Larry Ward in “Return of the Jedi” and the Special Edition, etc. of “A New Hope.”
Jango Fett was a bounty hunter who was used as the genetic basis for clone troopers. He had one clone created as a child and raised him as his son, naming him Boba Fett. Jango wears Mandalorian armor and uses a starship called Slave I. Obi-Wan Kenobi discovers he’s working for the Separatists in “Attack of the Clones,” and Jango is killed in battle by Mace Windu. Played by Temuera Morrison.
Jar Jar Binks is an exiled Gungan from Naboo. When he meets Qui-Gon Jinn and Anakin Skywalker on his home world in “The Phantom Menace,” he becomes swept up in galactic intrigue. He helps the Naboo ally with the Gungans and becomes a general of the Gungan army in fighting off the Trade Federation. In “Attack of the Clones,” he represents Naboo in the Galactic Senate in the absence of his friend Padmé Amidala, and introduces the motion to grant Palpatine emergency powers. Motion-capture and voice performance by Ahmed Best.
Jawas are short, robed scavenger-traders with yellow eyes who travel in sandcrawlers. Some Jawas capture R2-D2 and C-3PO on Tatooine in “A New Hope” and sell them to Uncle Owen and Luke Skywalker.
Jedi: an order of Force-using guardians of peace and justice for over a thousand generations in the Republic – before the dark times, before the Empire. The Jedi Temple, home to the Jedi Council, and archives were on Coruscant. Jedi candidates were generally identified as children and progressed from youngling to padawan to knight to master. Capitalize Jedi but lowercase the stages/ranks unless directly before a name.
John Williams is the Oscar-winning composer of the music for all seven live-action films. He won his third career Oscar for the first “Star Wars” at the 1978 ceremony.
Kathleen Kennedy is the president of Lucasfilm and a producer on “The Force Awakens.”
Kenner was the toy company that made the original “Star Wars” action figures -- but famously not in time for Christmas 1977, when it sold gift certificates that could be redeemed after the toys had been produced.
Kevin Kiner became the first composer other than John Williams to score a “Star Wars” film with the animated 2008 theatrical release “The Clone Wars.” He’s since done the music for the 2008-2014 “The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels” animated series.
Kessel Run: Something Han Solo claims the Millennium Falcon has made in less than 12 parsecs during a conversation with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker at Mos Eisley Cantina in “A New Hope.” C-3PO mentions that there are spice mines on Kessel.
Kylo Ren is a character played by Adam Driver in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” He uses a cross-guard lightsaber.
Lando Calrissian is the former owner of the Millennium Falcon and an old friend of Han Solo who by the time of “The Empire Strikes Back” is the administrator of Cloud City on Bespin. Forced into a deal with Darth Vader, he betrays Han Solo but then helps Princess Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2 and Luke Skywalker escape. In “Return of the Jedi,” he goes undercover in Jabba’s palace and helps rescue Han and company from Jabba’s sail barge. Lando pilots the Millennium Falcon as a general in the Rebellion during the Battle of Endor and helps destroy the second Death Star. Played by Billy Dee Williams.
Lawrence Kasdan is a co-writer of “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens.” He’s also co-writing the Han Solo anthology film.
Leigh Brackett is a co-writer of “The Empire Strikes Back.”
lightsaber: an elegant weapon of a more civilized age, it’s used by Jedi and Sith alike.
Lucasfilm Story Group: This team oversees the continuity and authenticity of new stories told in the “Star Wars” universe. Members include Kiri Hart, Carrie Beck, Rayne Roberts, Leland Chee and Pablo Hidalgo.
Luke Skywalker is the son of Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala (born in “Revenge of the Sith”), brother of Princess Leia (revealed in “Return of the Jedi”) and master of C-3PO and R2-D2. In “A New Hope” he was a farmboy who became a Rebel X-wing pilot, and fired the proton torpedoes that started the chain reaction that destroyed the first Death Star. First instructed in the ways of the Force by Obi-Wan Kenobi in “A New Hope,” then Yoda in “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” he becomes a Jedi. Luke finds out during a lightsaber duel against Darth Vader in Cloud City in “The Empire Strikes Back” that Vader is his father and loses a hand. In “Return of the Jedi,” he engineers the rescue of Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt; later, on the second Death Star, he rejects his father’s and the emperor’s invitations to the dark side and helps his old man find redemption before burning Anakin’s remains in a funeral pyre on Endor. Will appear in “The Force Awakens.” Played in the original trilogy and “The Force Awakens” by Mark Hamill.
Mace Windu was a Jedi master who sat on the Jedi Council in the prequel trilogy. In “The Phantom Menace,” he declined Qui-Gon Jinn’s request that Anakin be trained as a Jedi and doubted Anakin was the chosen one or that the Sith had returned. In “Attack of the Clones,” he doubted Count Dooku would try to have Padmé Amidala assassinated but later led an assault against Dooku, during which he killed Jango Fett. In “Revenge of the Sith,” he didn’t like Palpatine’s request that Anakin be the chancellor’s representative on the Jedi Council. He later tried to arrest Palpatine and subdued him in a lightsaber duel, but was then wounded by Anakin Skywalker and killed by Palpatine. Played by Samuel L. Jackson.
Marcia Lucas was an editor on the original trilogy. Was married to George Lucas.
Max Rebo Band: The band at Jabba’s palace in “Return of the Jedi”
midi-chlorians: According to Qui-Gon Jinn in “The Phantom Menace,” these are microscopic, symbiotic lifeforms that exist within all living cells, are essential to life, and tell us the will of the Force; he finds a very high midi-chlorian count in the blood of young Anakin Skywalker. An oft-criticized element of the prequels.
Millennium Falcon: the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy; Han Solo won this starship from Lando Calrissian fair and square. In “Star Wars,” it’s used in the rescue of Princess Leia (though Vader has a homing beacon attached that leads the Empire to the Rebels on Yavin IV) and attack on the first Death Star. In “The Empire Strikes Back,” it survives an asteroid field and gets Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and C-3PO to Cloud City. After Han is captured, Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca use it to escape with Leia and rescue Luke Skywalker. In “Return of the Jedi,” Han lends it to Lando for the assault on the second Death Star, during which it’s co-piloted by Nien Nunb and fires the shots that destroy the station. It will appear in “The Force Awakens.”
Mon Mothma is a leader of the Rebel Alliance who helps plan the assault on the second Death Star in “Return of the Jedi.” She’s played by Caroline Blakiston. In “Revenge of the Sith,” she appears briefly, played by Genevieve O’Reilly, but two further scenes involving her didn’t make the final cut, though they are available as deleted scenes on DVD.
Mos Eisley Cantina is located in Mos Eisley spaceport, a wretched hive of scum and villainy on Tatooine, but it has a good band: Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes. It’s where Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker hire Han Solo and Chewbacca to ferry them to Alderaan, and where Han Solo shoots Greedo. It doesn’t serve droids.
Mustafar is the volcanic planet seen in “Revenge of the Sith” where Anakin Skywalker, by then allied with Palpatine, chokes Padmé and loses a lightsaber duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi, who leaves him there. He’s found there by Palpatine.
Naboo is the home planet of Padmé Amidala, Palpatine and Jar Jar Binks. Its capital is Theed. “Naboo” also refers to the humans of the planet.
Nute Gunray was viceroy of the Trade Federation in “The Phantom Menace,” working with Darth Sidious. He tried to get Queen Amidala to sign an agreement legitimizing the Trade Federation’s occupation of Naboo. Played in all three prequels by Silas Carson.
Obi-Wan Kenobi was a Jedi trained by Qui-Gon Jinn who in turn trained Anakin Skywalker and was a general for the Republic during the Clone Wars. As a padawan apprenticed to Qui-Gon, he meets the young Anakin in “The Phantom Menace.” Later, on Naboo, he bisects Darth Maul after Maul has killed Qui-Gon, whose dying wish is that Obi-Wan train Anakin. Kenobi is made a knight, with Anakin as his padawan. In “Attack of the Clones,” he discovers a clone army being produced on Kamino, is captured by Count Dooku on Geonosis, and escapes and fights alongside clones against droids as the Clone Wars begin. In “Revenge of the Sith,” he falls out with Anakin, survives Order 66 and defeats but does not kill Anakin in a lightsaber duel, though he takes his former apprentice’s weapon. He’s by Padmé Amidala’s side on Polis Massa when she dies giving birth to twins, and takes the infant Luke to Anakin’s stepbrother Owen Lars and wife Beru on Tatooine.
In “A New Hope,” he’s hiding on Tatooine under the name Ben when he meets Luke Skywalker, whose R2 unit has a message from Princess Leia for him, in the Jundland Wastes. At home, Kenobi tells Luke that his father was a Jedi and great pilot until being betrayed and murdered by Darth Vader, and gives the young man his father’s lightsaber, offering to teach him the ways of the Force. On the Death Star, Obi-Wan willingly loses a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader so Luke and company can escape. Obi-Wan dies, and his body disappears. During the later assault on the Death Star, his voice encourages Luke to use the Force. In “The Empire Strikes Back,” Obi-Wan appears to Luke in spectral form on Hoth, telling him to go to Dagobah to be trained by Yoda. Obi-Wan also appears in spectral form on Dagobah, imploring Luke to complete his training before facing Darth Vader (doesn’t work). In “Return of the Jedi,” Luke sees the spectral form of Obi-Wan twice: First on Dagobah after Yoda has died, when Obi-Wan explains why he hadn’t said Darth Vader was Luke’s father and confirms Leia is Luke’s sister, and then again on Endor, when he’s gathered with the spectral forms of Yoda and Anakin. Obi-Wan is played by Alec Guinness in the original trilogy and Ewan McGregor in the prequel trilogy.
Order 66: Palpatine’s order to his clone troopers to wipe out the Jedi in “Revenge of the Sith.”
Otoh Gunga is the underwater city on Naboo where Jar Jar Binks takes Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi to meet Boss Nass and get transport to Theed in “The Phantom Menace.”
Padmé Amidala was queen of Naboo, then a senator from Naboo, secret wife of Anakin Skywalker and birth mother of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa. In “The Phantom Menace,” she is Queen Amidala and ends the Trade Federation’s occupation of Naboo and meets young Anakin Skywalker. In “Attack of the Clones,” her time as queen is over but she’s a senator and assassination target guarded by Anakin Skywalker, with whom she falls in love. She accompanies him to Tatooine, where, when he returns with his mother’s body, he confesses to her what he did to the Tusken Raiders. After being rescued from Count Dooku on Geonosis, they return to Naboo and wed in secret. In “Revenge of the Sith,” she is pregnant and increasingly wary of Palpatine. Informed by Obi-Wan that Anakin has turned to the dark side, she travels to Mustafar to learn for herself whether it’s true. She’s not enthused by Anakin’s suggestion that they can overthrow Palpatine and rule the galaxy together. Anakin chokes her into unconsciousness when he thinks she’s betrayed him by bringing Obi-Wan. She later dies while giving birth to twins on an Outer Rim planetoid called Polis Massa. The medical droid diagnosis: She lost the will to live (another criticized aspect of the prequels). Padmé is played by Natalie Portman in the films.
Princess Leia is the most familiar name for the handy-with-a-blaster Leia Organa and is acceptable in all references for the key Rebel Alliance figure, daughter of Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker, sister of Luke Skywalker (somehow, she’s always known), adopted daughter of Bail Organa and killer of many Stormtroopers. In “A New Hope,” she gets the stolen plans for the Death Star and a message to Obi-Wan Kenobi into R2-D2 before her consular ship is captured by Darth Vader, is made to watch as the Death Star destroys Alderaan, aids in her own rescue, and presents Luke, Han and Chewbacca with medals. In “The Empire Strikes Back,” she directs the Rebel evacuation of Hoth and escapes with “stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder” Han Solo aboard the Millennium Falcon. They kiss while aboard the ship after landing on an asteroid in what turns out to not be a cave, but a space slug. On Cloud City, as Han is being lowered to be frozen, she says she loves him (he knows). Aboard the Millennium Falcon while escaping, she senses Luke reaching out to her through the Force and has Chewbacca turn the ship back to get him. In “Return of the Jedi,” she enters Jabba’s palace under the guise of a bounty hunter called Boushh and presents a handcuffed Chewbacca to Jabba. At night, as the palace sleeps, she unfreezes Solo but is discovered by Jabba and company. Chained and wearing a slave girl outfit, she strangles the gangster with the chain on his barge. On Endor, she hijacks an Imperial speeder bike, befriends an Ewok, learns from Luke that they’re siblings, and helps take and shut down the shield generator (“I love you,” Solo tells her; “I know,” she replies). Leia will also appear in “The Force Awakens” and is played in all the films by Carrie Fisher.
proton torpedo: a weapon used in space battles; X-wing fighters have them. Not “photon torpedo,” which is used in “Star Trek.” Someone will complain if we get it wrong.
Qui-Gon Jinn was a Jedi master who trained Obi-Wan Kenobi and discovered young Anakin Skywalker’s strength in the Force, believing the boy to be the prophesied chosen one who will bring balance to the Force in “The Phantom Menace” (so, story-wise, this is all his fault). He helps Queen Amidala and is killed in a lightsaber duel with Darth Maul. Played by Liam Neeson.
R2-D2 is the droid paired with C-3PO that’s entrusted with Death Star plans and a message for Obi-Wan Kenobi by Princess Leia in “A New Hope” and serves as Luke Skywalker’s X-wing astromech in all three of the original trilogy films. Artoo also helps Luke and company out of a number of scrapes (by plugging into the systems of the Death Star, Millennium Falcon and Cloud City, or launching Luke’s hidden lightsaber), and often frustrates Threepio. You’ve never seen such devotion in a droid. Artoo also appears in the prequel films. It’s Kenny Baker inside. The little droid’s sound effects were designed by Ben Burtt.
Ralph McQuarrie did conceptual art and design on the original trilogy.
rancor: the type of beast Luke Skywalker faced in the pit at Jabba’s palace in “Return of the Jedi.”
Rebel Alliance: The group that fights the Empire in the original trilogy. Also known as the Rebellion, the Rebels.
Rey is a character played by Daisy Ridley in “The Force Awakens.”
Rick McCallum produced the prequel trilogy.
Salacious Crumb is the little laughing creature that sits by Jabba the Hutt in “Return of the Jedi.”
the sarlacc: It lives in the Pit of Carkoon in the Dune Sea of Tatooine. Jabba the Hutt plans to feed Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca to it in “Return of the Jedi.” As Threepio puts it in translating their death sentences, “in his belly you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a thousand years.” Mandalorian armor might make it burp.
Sith are the dark side counterparts to the Jedi. Palpatine, Darth Vader, Darth Maul and Count Dooku are all Dark Lords of the Sith, also called Sith Lords.
Shmi was the mother of Anakin Skywalker and a slave on Tatooine in “The Phantom Menace.” She became wife to Cliegg Lars and stepmother to Owen Lars, and died from injuries inflicted by Tusken Raiders in “Attack of the Clones.” Played by Pernilla August.
“Splinter of the Mind’s Eye” by Alan Dean Foster was the first “Star Wars” spinoff novel. It was published in 1978.
Star Destroyer: A large Imperial starship. There’s also a larger version called a Super Star Destroyer.
Star Tours is a “Star Wars”-themed motion simulator ride at various Disney parks. The first one opened at Disneyland in 1987. A revamped version with 3-D and variable story lines opened at Disneyland in 2011.
Star Wars Land refers to planned themed areas at Disneyland in Anaheim and at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios park in Orlando.
Starkiller Base is a setting in “The Force Awakens.”
Stormtroopers are white-armor-clad, blaster-wielding Imperial troops.
Supreme Chancellor Valorum is the character in “The Phantom Menace” whose ouster from office is engineered by Senator Palpatine from Naboo, who then succeeds him. Played by Terence Stamp.
Supreme Leader Snoke is a character played by Andy Serkis in “The Force Awakens.”
Tatooine is a crime-ridden desert planet orbiting twin suns that’s a major setting in “A New Hope” and “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones.” Home at various times to Anakin Skywalker, Jabba the Hutt, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker. If there’s a bright center to the universe, this is the planet it’s farthest from.
tauntaun: The type of animal Han Solo put an injured Luke Skywalker inside for warmth in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Its innards stink.
TIE fighter: a single-pilot starfighter used by the Empire; TIE is an acronym for Twin Ion Engine. There are also TIE bombers (doubly wide) and TIE interceptors (bent wings).
Timothy Zahn wrote the Thrawn trilogy (1991’s “Heir to the Empire,” 1992’s “Dark Force Rising” and 1993’s “The Last Command”), bestselling novels that played a role in rejuvenating the “Star Wars” franchise and growing the Expanded Universe in the 1990s; the new villain was Grand Adm. Thrawn.
Trade Federation: A group opposing Republic taxes on trade routes that blockades Naboo in “The Phantom Menace.” It’s secretly under the influence of Darth Sidious.
Tusken Raiders are a dangerous group on Tatooine who ride banthas and attack humans. Some attack Luke Skywalker in “A New Hope” (Obi-Wan Kenobi scares them off); some are responsible for the death of Shmi in “Attack of the Clones.” The latter group is slaughtered by Anakin Skywalker. Also known as Sand People. Both terms are acceptable.
Uncle Owen is the common name for Owen Lars, who with his wife Beru raised Luke Skywalker on Tatooine and wanted the young man to stay on the farm for one more season, as seen in “A New Hope.” He’s killed offscreen by Stormtroopers. It’s revealed in “Attack of the Clones,” in which he’s seen as a younger man, that he’s the stepson of Shmi and stepbrother to Anakin Skywalker. Played by Phil Brown in “A New Hope” and Joel Edgerton in “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.”
wampa: The type of creature that knocks out Luke and loses an arm to his lightsaber on Hoth in “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Watto was a junk dealer on Tatooine and owner of Shmi and Anakin Skywalker before losing Anakin to Qui-Gon Jinn in a bet when the boy won a podrace in “The Phantom Menace.”
Wedge Antilles is a Rebel pilot. He’s a member of the X-wing Red Squadron in “A New Hope,” pilots a snowspeeder against AT-ATs on Hoth in “The Empire Strikes Back,” and leads the Red Squadron of X-wings against the second Death Star in “Return of the Jedi.” Played by Denis Lawson.
Wicket is the common name for Wicket W. Warrick, an Ewok who befriends Princess Leia and helps the Rebellion in “Return of the Jedi.” First name only is acceptable in all references. Played by Warwick Davis in that film and the Ewok TV movies. Davis is also in the cast of “The Force Awakens” in an as yet unknown role.
X-wing: a single-pilot-with-droid attack spaceship used by the Rebel Alliance. There are also A-wing and Y-wing fighters.
Yavin IV was where the Rebels were hiding in “A New Hope.” The first Death Star is destroyed in a battle above it.
Yoda was a Jedi master who trained Luke Skywalker on Dagobah in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Among his words of wisdom: “Do, or do not. There is no try.” The character dies in “Return of the Jedi,” after confirming to Luke, re: Vader, “Your father he is” and revealing “there is another Skywalker”; he appears in spectral form at the film’s end. A puppet in those films and “The Phantom Menace,” he’s computer-generated in “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith,” and got CG treatment in the 2011 Blu-ray release of “The Phantom Menace.”
In the prequels, he’s seen as a member of the Jedi Council. He initially opposes the training of Anakin Skywalker in “The Phantom Menace” but relents. In “Attack of the Clones,” he has his first onscreen lightsaber duel, with Count Dooku. In “Revenge of the Sith,” he has a lightsaber duel with Palpatine; he recommends the infant Luke and Leia be hidden.
Voiced in all the films by Frank Oz, who was also the primary puppeteer for the character in the original trilogy films and did some puppet work in “The Phantom Menace.”
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