Star Wars is an epicspaceopera franchise initially conceived by GeorgeLucas. The first film in the franchise was simply titled Star Wars, but later had the subtitle Episode IV: A New Hope added to distinguish it from its sequels and prequels. Star Wars was released on May 25, 1977 by 20th CenturyFox, and became a worldwide popculture phenomenon, spawning two immediate sequels released in three-year intervals. Sixteen years after the release of the trilogy's final film, the first in a new prequel trilogy of films was released, again released in three-year intervals, with the final film released in 2005.
As of 2008, the overall box office revenue generated by the sixStar Wars films has totaled approximately $4.3 billion, making it the third-highest grossing film series, behind only Harry Potter and James Bond.
Star Wars has spawned other media including books, television series, videogames, and comic books. These supplements to the film trilogies comprise the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and have resulted in significant development of the series' fictional universe. These media kept the franchise going in the interim between the film trilogies. In 2008, Star Wars: The Clone Wars was released to theaters as the first ever worldwide theatrical Star Wars film outside of the main trilogies. It was the franchise's first animated film, and was intended as an introduction to the Expanded Universe series of the same name, a 3D CGI animated series based on a 2003 animated 2D series, also of the same name.