The cinematic phenomenon Star Wars started in a galaxy far, far away. In May 1977, Star Wars premiered and set the stage for one of the biggest movie franchises of all time. What started as a humble production with questionable future success morphed into a multibillion-dollar film and merchandising enterprise that has engaged multiple generations of movie-goers and continues to dazzle audiences worldwide.
Hailed as the most anticipated movie of 2015 with record-breaking ticket presales reportedly crashing ticketing sites, the latest story in the epic Star Wars narrative, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, premiers in theatres on December 18, 2015. Fans and cinephiles alike know that the movie-theatre experience is the only way to enjoy the full effect of a movie as grand as The Force Awakens, which is why the new, state-of-the-art Century Point Ruston and XD Theatre in Tacoma, Washington is the perfect place to experience seeing the film for the first time with family, friends, and other Star Wars fans.
The Rise of Star Wars: A Brief History
Star Wars introduced the iconic cast of characters: Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Chewbacca. Words like Jedi, lightsaber, the Force, and Millennium Falcon entered the public lexicon. The first and subsequent five episodes (the last three of which were not produced until the turn of the century) were either directed or written by George Lucas of Lucasfilms.
Though Star Wars is now a multi-billion-dollar machine, the early films suffered from budgets so low that:
- Lucas was often limited on the number of times he could shoot a scene.
- At times production was halted until funds were raised from toy merchandising to continue filming.
- The team innovated ways to produce the now-classic sound effects for TIE fighters, Darth Vader’s breathing, and the lightsaber’s hum. For example, TIE fighters’ unmistakable screeches are the combined sound of an elephant’s scream and a car driving on a wet roadway.
The struggle to produce the movie was worth it as the first Star Wars film, which cost $11 million to make, ultimately earned over $700 million.
In 2012, The Walt Disney Company procured Lucasfilm for $4 billion, a move that initially raised eyebrows among the diehard fans of the original Lucas productions; however, despite early skepticism, the promise of three new Star Wars films based on Lucas’ outlines has created nothing but anticipation and excitement. Lucas will also serve as a creative consultant for the new generations of films produced by Disney.
The new films will be released in 2015, 2017, and 2019 with J.J. Abrams directing the first installation of the third trilogy in the saga. The unmistakable musical score for every film since the science-fiction epic’s conception was composed by John Williams whose credits also include the Harry Potter, Home Alone, and Indiana Jones films among many others.
Summary of the Star Wars Saga
All of the stories in the Star Wars saga are intertwined; however, they were told to their respective generations out of chronological order. For those new to Star Wars, a brief review of episodes helps make sense of this epic saga, which is now 40 years in the making. Spoilers ahead:
- Episodes IV, V, and VI: The first trilogy is comprised of A New Hope (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983). This trilogy tells the story of a young Luke Skywalker’s quest to join the Rebel Alliance and to become a Jedi Knight like his (presumably deceased) father. Luke joins forces with his twin sister Princess Leia and roguish Millennium Falcon captain Han Solo to destroy the Death Star and to take down the malevolent Galactic Empire. In an agonizing twist of fate, Luke learns that his father is the diabolical Sith Lord Darth Vader who he has been striving to destroy. Luke rallies from this blow becoming the Jedi he was born to be and ultimately defeating the evil Sith Emperor of the Galactic Empire.
- Episodes I, II, and III: The second trilogy serves as a prequel to the original three films. The second trilogy is comprised of The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), and Revenge of the Sith (2005). The story begins with Anakin Skywalker’s initiating his training to become a Jedi under Obi-Wan. When the Clone Wars begin and Princess Padmé Amidala’s life is threatened, a maturing Anakin must protect her her; the two fall in love and later marry in secret. Meanwhile, the evil Sheev Palpatine is elevated to the role of Supreme Chancellor and raises the Grand Army of the Republic, an army of clones. Anakin befriends Palpatine who becomes the Sith Lord, Darth Sidious. This trilogy concludes with Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader, Padmé’s death during childbirth to twins Luke and Leia, and the formation of the Galactic Empire by the two Sith, Sidious and Vader. The third film ends with a glimpse at the construction of the first Death Star.
- Episodes VII, VIII, and IX: The third trilogy picks up the story 30 years after Return of the Jedi left off. Only the first episode of the trilogy, The Force Awakens, has been titled to date. Characters (and original actors) from the trilogy produced in the 1970s and ‘80s will reprise their roles for this film. In this episode, despite the Rebel Alliance’s victory over the Galactic Empire 30 years previously, an offshoot of the original Galactic Empire, the First Order, has risen. Still fighting for justice, the series’ original heroes will be joined by new cast members (and new droids) to continue battling for the light side of the force.
Century Point Ruston and XD Theatre
The new episode is being released on 3D, XD, and IMAX, giving audiences their most interactive Star Wars viewing opportunity to date. The Century Point Ruston and XD Theatre, which features Cinemark’s industry leading 3D technology, named RealD, and its Extreme Digital visual and audible XD experience, opened November 2015, just in time for the Star Wars: The Force Awakens premier. The theatre features:
- Expansive wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling screens
- Enhanced, customized sound systems
- State-of-the-art digital projection
- The latest RealD 3D technology
- Oversized, plush, electric-powered Luxury Lounge recliners with cup holders
Point Ruston’s cutting-edge Century Theatre is located at the waterfront resort-inspired Point Ruston, which overlooks the South Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains and Mount Rainier and which offers upscale dwelling, dining, shopping, recreation, and entertainment opportunities. What better place to experience the generation-spanning futuristic magic of Star Wars than in a theatre that truly embraces the technologies of tomorrow?