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Star Wars is an American epic space opera franchise that consists of a film series created by George Lucas. The film series has spawned a media franchise outside the film series called the Expanded Universe including books, television series, computer and video games, and comic books. These supplements to the film trilogies have resulted in significant development of the series' fictional universe. These media kept the franchise active in the interim between the film trilogies. The franchise portrays a universe which is in a galaxy that is described as far, far away. It commonly portrays Jedi as a representation of good, in conflict with the Sith, their evil counterpart. Their weapon of choice, the lightsaber, is commonly recognised in popular culture. The fictional universe also contains many themes, especially influences of philosophy and religion.
The Original Trilogy
The original trilogy begins 19 years later as Vader nears completion of the massive Death Star space station, which will allow the Empire to crush the Rebel Alliance, an organised resistance formed to combat Palpatine's tyranny. Vader captures Princess Leia, who has stolen the plans to the Death Star and hidden them in the astromech droid R2-D2. R2, along with his protocol droid counterpart C-3PO, escapes to Tatooine. There, the droids are purchased by Luke Skywalker and his step-uncle and aunt. While Luke is cleaning R2, he accidentally triggers a message put into the droid by Leia, who asks for assistance from Obi-Wan. Luke later assists the droids in finding the Jedi Knight, who is now passing as an old hermit under the alias Ben Kenobi. When Luke asks about his father, Obi-Wan tells him that Anakin was a great Jedi who was betrayed and murdered by Vader.
Obi-Wan and Luke hire the smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca to take them to Alderaan, Leia's home world, which they eventually find has been destroyed by the Death Star. Once on board the space station, Obi-Wan allows himself to be killed during a lightsaber rematch with Vader; his sacrifice allows the group to escape with the plans that help the rebels destroy the Death Star. Luke himself fires the shot that destroys the deadly space station.
Three years later, Luke travels to find Yoda, now living in exile on the swamp-infested world Dagobah, in order to start his Jedi training. However, Luke is interrupted when Vader lures him into a trap by capturing Han and the others. During a fierce lightsaber duel, Vader reveals that he is Luke's father and attempts to turn him to the dark side. Luke escapes, and, after rescuing Han from the gangster Jabba the Hutt a year later, returns to Yoda to complete his training. However, now over 900 years old, Yoda is on his deathbed. Before he passes away, Yoda confirms that Vader is Luke's father; moments later, Obi-Wan's spirit tells Luke that he must face his father before he can become a Jedi, and that Leia is his twin sister. As the Rebels attack the second Death Star, Luke confronts Vader as Palpatine watches; both Sith Lords intend to turn Luke to the dark side and take him as their apprentice.
During the subsequent lightsaber duel, Luke succumbs to his anger and brutally overpowers Vader, but controls himself at the last minute; realising that he is about to suffer his father's fate, he spares Vader's life and proudly declares his allegiance to the Jedi. An enraged Palpatine then attempts to kill Luke with Force lightning, a sight that moves Vader to turn on and kill his master, suffering mortal wounds in the process. Redeemed, Anakin Skywalker dies in his son's arms. Luke becomes a full-fledged Jedi, and the Rebels destroy the second Death Star and, with it, the Empire.
The Prequel Trilogy
The prequel trilogy begins with the greedy Trade Federation setting up a blockade around the peaceful planet Naboo, under the orders of the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. It is revealed that Sidious secretly planned the blockade to give his alter ego, Senator Palpatine, a pretense to overthrow the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic and take his place. The Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent to Naboo to negotiate with the Federation, but are forced to instead help the planet's ruler, Queen Padmé Amidala, escape from the blockade and plea her case before the Galactic Senate on Coruscant. When their spaceship is damaged during the escape, they land on the desert planet Tatooine for repairs, where Qui-Gon discovers a young slave named Anakin Skywalker. Qui-Gon comes to believe that Anakin is the "Chosen One" foretold by Jedi prophecy to bring balance to the Force, and he helps liberate the boy from slavery. The Jedi Council, led by Yoda, sense that Anakin's future is clouded by fear, but reluctantly allow Obi-Wan to train Anakin after Qui-Gon is killed by Palpatine's first apprentice, Darth Maul, during the Battle of Naboo.
The remainder of the prequel trilogy chronicles Anakin's gradual fall to the dark side of the Force as he fights in the Clone Wars, which Palpatine secretly engineers in order to destroy the Republic and lure Anakin into his service. Anakin and Padmé fall in love and secretly wed, and eventually Padmé becomes pregnant. Anakin has a prophetic vision of Padmé dying in childbirth, and Palpatine convinces him that the dark side holds the power to save her life; desperate, Anakin submits to the dark side and takes the Sith name Darth Vader. While Palpatine re-organizes the Republic into the tyrannical Galactic Empire - appointing himself Emperor for life - Vader participates in the extermination of the Jedi Order, culminating in a lightsaber battle between himself and Obi-Wan on the volcanic planet Mustafar.
Obi-Wan ultimately defeats his former apprentice and friend, severing his limbs and leaving him for dead beside a lava flow. However, Palpatine arrives shortly afterward and saves Vader, putting him into a black, mechanical suit of armor that keeps him alive. At the same time, Padmé dies while giving birth to twins Luke and Leia. The twins are hidden from Vader and are not told who their real parents are.