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'Star Wars; THE STORY SO FAR...

1STAR WARS (1977) A LONG time ago in a galaxy far far away... Imperial forces - under orders from evil Darth Vader - hold Princess Leia hostage in order to crush a rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Young Luke Skywalker, pilot Han Solo and old Jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi launch a rescue mission and - with help from their rebel friends - try to destroy the Empire's ulimate weapon, the Death Star.

2 THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980) SLIGHTLY peeved that their planet-killing super weapon has been blown to smithereens, Lord Vader and co, you'll be unsurprised to learn, "strike back" at Luke and his band of rebel scum. The rebels' base is blasted back to Naboo while Han winds up frozen in carbonite (cheers Boba Fett!). Oh and - spoiler alert - you won't believe who turns out to be Luke's father.

3 RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983) LUKE, Leia and friends launch a rescue mission to break Han free from his carbonite cage. Once bikini-clad Leia has despatched grotesque gangster Jabba The Hutt, the gang move on to bigger things - like the new planetkilling super weapon the Empire has built to replace the old one. Who would have thought that a gang of furry Ewoks would help bring the Empire to its knees? 4 THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999) IN the much-maligned first instalment of the prequel trilogy, a young Obi-Wan discovers the force is strong with one lad, Anakin Skywalker. Ignore the pod racing distractions and clumsy, infuriating hate figure Jar Jar Binks and there are bits to enjoy here. We're thinking the lightsaber duel with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan taking on Sith Lord's apprentice Darth Maul.

5 ATTACK OF THE CLONES (2002) IN the weakest episode of the lot, the Galactic Republic builds a clone army to defend itself against the mysterious threat of the Sith. Anakin is all grown up and has a huge crush on Queen Amidala, aka Padme. More worrying is his bad temper - see the scores of sand people the young Jedi lightsabers to death in retaliation for them kidnapping and torturing his mother.

6 REVENGE OF THE SITH (2005) We finally learn how Darth Vader got his mask - and breathing dificulties. Turns out the leader of the Galactic Republic has been a Sith Lord all along and has been grooming Anakin as his apprentice. Skywalker faces Obi-Wan in a lightsaber duel and is left legless by a river of molten lava - we've all been there.

Lukcily for Anakin, the Emperor is on hand with a new outfit...

7 THE FORCE AWAKENS (2015) TEN years after Revenge of the Sith, and the story jumps ahead to the period post-Return of the Jedi. New characters - Rey, Finn and Poe - come together with old - Han , Chewbacca and Leia - in a bid to defeat Kylo Ren and the evil First Order. Clearly inspired by the Empire, they too have built a planet-killing super weapon. Can Rey and co follow in Luke's footsteps and blow it up?


Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars film

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 17, 2017
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