The original Star Wars is famously the fourth chapter in the epic saga. But why wasn't it considered Episode I, considering it was released first?
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Created by George Lucas, Star Wars began in 1977 with the then-eponymous film that would later be retitled Episode IV: A New Hope. The original Star Wars trilogy centered on Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa, who helped lead the Rebel Alliance to victory over the tyrannous Galactic Empire. This Empire was overseen by Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine, who was aided by the cybernetic menace known as Darth Vader. In 1999, Lucas returned to Star Wars with a prequel trilogy that explored how Luke’s father Anakin Skywalker became a Jedi and eventually succumbed to the dark side of the Force. This, of course, is what led him to become the aforementioned Darth Vader. Lucas would sell Lucasfilm and Star Wars to The Walt Disney Company in 2012, and two years later, Disney declared the entire Expanded Universe – consisting of novels, comic books, video games and more – non-canon. The new era of Star Wars canon was bolstered by the sequel trilogy, which kicked off in 2015 with The Force Awakens. This trilogy saw a new generation of heroes band together to take down the First Order, an Empire-like regime that rose from the ashes of Palpatine’s original Empire. The faction was led by Supreme Leader Snoke and later Kylo Ren, the son of Han and Leia and the grandson of Darth Vader. Outside of the prequel, original and sequel trilogies, Disney experimented with Star Wars anthology films such as Rogue One and Solo. When Disney+ launched in 2019, the company also expanded into live-action television with The Mandalorian, which paved the way for The Book of Boba Fett, Ahsoka, Andor and more. The streaming service also housed the revival of The Clone Wars for its final season and a spinoff called The Bad Batch. As for the Expanded Universe, while those stories are no longer canon, fans can still revisit them under the Star Wars Legends banner.
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