The second trilogy centers on Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker, and his growth from a young slave on a remote planet into a powerful Jedi Knight. It showed how Senator/Chancellor Palpatine (the Big Bad of the Original Trilogy) gained supreme power through complex schemes, and Anakin's corruption at his hands. It also showed Obi-Wan's story in training Anakin and the fall of the Jedi Order, with Obi-Wan and Yoda becoming the last of their kind.
Following Disney Pictures' acquisition of Lucasfilm in late 2012, plans were announced to release new Star Wars films every "two to three years" with the franchise continuing "well into the future", starting with a new trilogy set after Return Of The Jedi. The first film, Episode VII, is to be written by MichaelArndt, and directed by J. J. Abrams (update: It is now being written by J. J. Abrams himself along with Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote Episodes V and VI). What effect these films will have on the Star Wars Expanded Universe (such as creating an Alternate Continuity), is an open question; for the time being it is operating as it was before the acquisition.
Star Wars Episode VII (2015)
Star Wars Episode VIII (TBA)
Star Wars Episode IX (TBA)
The inspirations for Star Wars include the 1930s serials and comic strips of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. The story goes that after Lucas made American Graffiti he wanted to make a Flash Gordonremake, and upon being denied the rights to the property (a film was already in the works) he set out to create his own pulp sci-fi universe. After multiple incarnations, some of the content of which can be found in repurposed names and concepts for later franchise material, he formed the basic story of the first movie. This story continued to evolve for the sequels and finally the prequels. But from the beginning it was always meant to be just one story in a vast galaxy.
Lucas also took inspiration from Akira Kurosawa's mystical samurai heroes and bumbling sidekicks. Kurosawa's films The Hidden Fortress and Yojimbo were particularly influential on the first movie; an early draft was basically "The Hidden FortressIN SPACE!" and Lucas even considered buying the rights for a Remake before developing the story further. The Jedi and their rivals the Sith were originally imagined as samurai-like warriors without superhuman abilities, and the name "Jedi" is taken from the jidai-geki genre featuring feudal Japan.
The films also have some predecessors in Sci Fi literature. There are echoes of Isaac Asimov's Foundation in the decaying Galactic Empire. Frank Herbert's first few Dune novels provided some inspiration, notably for the desert planet Tatooine. Also, The concept of a superpowered psychic galactic police force is taken from E. E. “Doc” Smith's pulp SF series Lensman, as is (arguably) much of the technology - Arthur C Clarke stated that "Smith holds all the original Star Wars patents", and he has a point.
The Force itself has analogues in many works like "The Cosmic All" from the Lensman series and "The Source" from Jack Kirby's New Gods; Mark Hamill, who plays Luke, once asked Lucas where he got the idea and Lucas answered, "it's in about 450 old science fiction novels". The Force can also be traced to the New Age atmosphere of the Seventies, and ultimately to Eastern philosophy.
Various depictions of World War II naval battles also influenced Lucas, with the bombing run sequence from the first movie inspired by the Royal Air Force movie The Dam Busters.
Though many tropes didn't start with Star Wars, it has popularized dozens of them, to the point numerous modern Space Opera and Sci Fi works contain homages to the franchise. Even this site has made the franchise a Trope Namer for fifty odd tropes, listed here.
Has an immense Expanded Universe of made-For-TV films, Animated Adaptations, Radio Dramas, Video Games, pinball machines, and novels known simply as the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
Also has a 100,000+ article large wiki here, that covers every conceivable piece of the Star Wars franchise.
The re-releases of II and III in 3D have been postponed indefinitely it seems, in order to focus all attention on the upcoming sequel trilogy. Most likely, the re-release of the original trilogy in 3D is even more unlikely.
Episode II in 3D was, however, shown at Celebration Europe II (in Germany).
Action Girl: Padmé and Leia are the only major female characters in their respective trilogies, and they make the most of it. Several female Jedi and bounty hunters embody this trope as well, especially in the EU.
Adult Fear: Anakin falls to the Dark Side because of the fear of losing Padme after already witnessing his mother die.
Since Disney has acquired the franchise as of October 2012 and announced plans for a new trilogy of movies, a different continuity may arise if they blatantly contradict major points of the Expanded Universe.
Alternate Universe: the Infinities comic series, which are three independent retellings of the Original Trilogy storyline after a Point Of Divergence in each of the movies. For A New Hope, what ifLuke fails to destroy the Death Star? For The Empire Strikes Back, what ifLuke froze to death on Hoth? For Return of the Jedi, what ifC-3PO is broken on board Jabba's ship?
Alternative Calendar: The Galactic Standard Calendar consists of a year being 368 24-hour-days. Calendar eras used are BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) and ABY (After the Battle of Yavin) since the Battle of Yavin marked a crucial turning point in the galaxy's history. Revenge of the Sith, for example, took place in 19 BBY (19 years before the Battle of Yavin) while Return of the Jedi took place 4ABY (4 years after).
The Apprentice: The Jedi Order is founded on the concept of apprenticeship, with students (Padawan) trained primarily by a single Jedi Master before taking on the rank of Jedi Knight, then going on to take an apprentice themselves. The Sith use a variant: there is always a single master and a single apprentice in the Galaxy at any time, with the principle that the apprentice will eventually seek to overcome his master and will either succeed or die in the attempt.
Though if the Expanded Universe is to be believed, there have been certain eras throughout Sith history where Sith apprenticeship mirrored that of the Jedi counterparts to an extent. Multiple masters trained aprentices, though the sith ideology remained the same
Arc Words: Many, including various psychobabble about under/overestimating the power of the Force/dark side etc.
"I've got a bad feeling about this."
"May the Force be with you."
An Arm and a Leg: Jedi and Sith frequently lose limbs in lightsaber combat due to their Absurdly Sharp Blade quality. Also happens to various other characters for non-lightsaber related reasons.
Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Lightsabers. As noted by stunt coordinator Nick Gillard in a DVD featurette for Attack of the Clones, "[the Jedi have] chosen a sword in a time of, you know, laser guns, so they'd better be damn good with it." Jedi and Sith get away with it because the blade goes through anything and reflects blaster fire, and because the wielder has limited precognition along with a variety of other powers and is extensively trained to handle the weapon and its very bizarre weight and balance characteristics. Anyone else who tries to use a lightsaber is more likely to dice himself into neat chunks.
Armored Coffins: Basic TIE fighters have neither ejection seats nor shields. (Expanded Universe material somewhat justifies this in that the TIE is extremely cheap to manufacture, and the Empire is depending on their overwhelming numbers rather than their sturdiness. Pilots are also relatively easy to come by in a galaxy this well-populated). Later versions modeled after Vader's TIE Advanced prototype did get shields, after the TIE corps sustained massive losses at the hands of shielded Rebel craft.
Ascended Extra: With how much Expanded Universe material is being written, we're well on our way to every single background character from the films getting names and thorough backstories. The winners for this are Wedge and Boba Fett. IG-88 has a Shadows of the Empirelevel as well.
Ascended Fanboy(s): The 501st Legion, the world-wide "definitive Imperial costuming organization," was rewarded for their service by being canonically named as Vader's Praetorian Guard, as well as being made the "stars" of Star Wars Battlefront 2.
Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Han's running battle with the Death Star's stormtroopers in A New Hope contains several examples of this, from the iconic "Close the blast doors! Close the blast doors! ... Open the blast doors! Open the blast doors!" bit to the scene when he goes on the offensive against a squad, only to retreat after he "corners" them and finds a much larger squad waiting ready.
Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: The reason for that scene in A New Hope where Luke discovers his aunt and uncle's horrifically charred remains (as well as the alien's arm being cut off in the cantina scene). However, George Lucas had no way of knowing at the time that standards would be tightened for G-rated movies within the next few years and that even if he did get a G rating back then, he might have gotten a PG rating in 1981 regardless. Averted in the UK, where the movie has always been rated U.
Awesome but Impractical: Super Star Destroyers. They're very powerful, but they can still be destroyed by a less expensive fleet. It's outright stated that their purpose is psychological warfare; you can build a bigger fleet for the same cost, but nothing inspires the same amount of terror as a Super Star Destroyer showing up on your doorstep.
Han Solo can't use the Force, but he gets the drop on Darth Vader, takes the Millennium Falcon through nigh-impossible maneuvers, and knocks the galaxy's most feared bounty hunter into the Sarlacc (albeit accidentally) while blind.
While nowhere near the level of Han, Leia has her moments, notably in her first encounter with Vader where she not only lies to his face, but talks to him like he's an idiot. She later strangles Jabba to death. (The fact that she later turns out to be Force-sensitive notwithstanding.)
Jango Fett and his son Boba are extremely deadly bounty hunters, capable of taking on and killing fully trained Jedi Knights.
Bald Women: Aurra Sing, Sly Moore (in the prequels)
Bilingual Bonus: This happens due to the "alien" languages being often pieced together from various obscure Earth languages. Polish-speaking fans will noticed that C-3PO asks " Chee too mishkah Jabba du Hat?
(czy tu mieszka Jabba the Hutt)", which means "Does Jabba the Hutt live here?" in Polish.
The TV miniseries Clone Wars has some Nelvaanians speaking Russian.
One of the most famous examples was in Return of the Jedi where Lando's Sullustan co-pilot was actually speaking an obscure Kenyan dialect with lines that were perfectly in context.
Anyone who speaks Sanskrit will understand the chanting in Duel of the Fates.
Bilingual Dialogue: Han apparently speaks (or at least understands) a variety of languages, including Huttese, Rodian, and Wookiee. Lando and Nien Numb communicate this way in Return of the Jedi. R2-D2 does this constantly, since he only speaks Binary.
Bittersweet Ending: A staple of the series. In fact, A New Hope has the only unambiguously happy ending.
The Phantom Menace- The Battle of Naboo is a success, but Qui-Gon Jinn is killed in a duel that only proves the Sith still exist.
Attack of the Clones - The Republic wins the Battle of Geonosis, but now has a galactic-scale war on its hands. Anakin and Padmé get married. Count Dooku escapes.
Blocking Stops All Damage: Justified by the lightsabers. With their lack of a physical blade and weight confined to the device itself, they wouldn't have that much in the way of momentum to stop outside of the amount from the users arm swinging.
Bloodbath Villain Origin: Anakin's first task after being christened Darth Vader is to lead the attack on the Jedi Temple.
Bloodless Carnage: The franchise shows virtually no blood, thanks (in canon) to blasters and lightsabers instantly cauterizing the wounds they make. The prequel trilogy also has a large number of droid combatants who obviously can't bleed.
Boarding Party: The Imperials blasting their way into the Rebel corvette at the start of Episode IV.
Bodyguarding A Badass: The Imperial guard are the sign-of-office type, since their bosses are Sith Lords.
Han Solo and Boba Fett can be considered this as well, since they are slated to star in their own spin-off movies.
Break the Cutie: Anakin's arc in the Prequel Trilogy. The incredibly sweet little boy of The Phantom Menace and the naive, romantic teenager of Attack of the Clones are crushed by the events of the second film; then the choices he makes (or is duped into making) in Revenge of the Sith not only finish smashing Anakin into tiny bits, the bits are then stomped on and finally set on fire. When Anakin kneels in front of Sidious and receives his Sith title, you can see in his rag-doll posture how completely broken he is. As Yoda tells Obi-Wan, "The boy you trained, gone he is."
Broad Strokes: The entire saga was built upon having millions of stories being told while we are only seeing a few. There is a tier-based system of how Star WarsCanon works: Movies, and anything originating from George Lucas (eg. production notes, Word of God, adaptations, etc.) > Television (specifically, the CGI Clone Wars series, and the in-production live action series) > Original story Comic Books / Literature / Video Games / Other material > Older material (subject to be ignored) >What If? stories, Alternate Endings and items not meant to be taken seriously.
Bromantic Foil: Naive farmboy and cynical drug smuggler turned mercenary? Naturally they'll be the two guys competing over Leia.
Partially. All of the elements from it, such as Chewbacca's relatives, Life Day, and Kashyyyk's architecture have still remained part of the canon, although the events of the Special itself haven't been referenced anywhere else.
Admiral Ackbar, and his utterly needless exclamation of "It's a TRAP!"
Ric Olie from the prequels.
For a droid programmed for etiquette and protocol, C-3PO has an uncanny ability to put his foot in his metaphorical mouth.
Han: "Glad you're here to tell us these things. Chewie! Take the professor to the back and plug him into the hyperdrive."
Cartesian Karma: The realization of this was the most likely factor in Darth Vader's acceptance of his death at the end of the trilogy. He had already had the majority of his body burned off and was encased in an armor that as well as being his life support, was also a symbol for tyranny and fear for people everywhere. It's also hard to imagine the rebels or improvised government not trying or condemning him after.
Cash Cow Franchise: With 20th Century Fox famously signing away the merchandising rights to save money on the original film.
Character Development: Jar-Jar would've gone gradually from a fun-loving character catering to the kids to a politician manipulated by Palpatine had the scene emphasizing the latter not been cut as unnecessary.
Cheated Angle: The Death Star is always shown so the superlaser dish is facing the viewer. The only exception is the occasional view from behind when the superlaser is firing, but it's never shown without the laser visible in an establishing shot.
Child Soldiers: Types One and Two. The Jedi and the Clone troopers are trained from birth to have a single-minded devotion to their duty, forbidden or discouraged from any "attachments" deeper than casual acquaintances or work colleagues, handed massive amounts of planet-destroying weaponry, and sent off to "save" the galaxy. (And they wonder why so many Jedi go insane and fall?!) The movies gloss over this big time. The Expanded Universe treatment of this depends on the writer.
Choke Holds: The Force Choke is an air choke. A slow, unpleasant, unstoppable choke from a distance. Very dark sidey.
Colon Cancer: As described on the page, this franchise is known for subtitles.
The Star Wars Omnibus titles are running into this issue. Consider the first one released, which is Star Wars: Omnibus: X-Wing: Rogue Squadron: Volume 1.
Kyle Katarn's series receives the most attention, with the latest installment being joked as needing the full title Star Wars: Dark Forces IV: Jedi Knight III: Jedi Outcast II: Jedi Academy
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In space battles, Rebel lasers are red, and Imperial lasers are green. In the prequels, Republic shots were blue, Separatist shots were red. Jedi use blue or green lightsabers while only Sith carry red lightsabers. And only a badmotherfucker gets to use a purple lightsaber blade.
The expanded universe has made the lightsaber coloring slightly less straight forward. Yellow, Orange, Amber, Pewter, and Black have been used for Jedi saber colors. However the Sith seem to maintain their characteristic red sabers no matter what. Leia herself used a different shade of red for her own lightsaber when she first became a Jedi.
Common Tongue: Basic for humans (and by extension the Republic/Empire) and individual languages for each species.
Con Man: Palpatine, in many ways, is one. He cons everyone (Anakin, Padme, the Republic, the Senate, the Trade Federation, the Rebel Alliance, even Jar Jar) in order to get what he wants: revenge on the Jedi and control of the galaxy. Then, he tries to con Luke and it all falls apart...
Corporate Warfare: The prequel trilogy showed that many mercantile organizations such as the Trade Federation, Banking Clan, and Techno Union had massive droid armies.
Corrupt Politician: Senator Palpatine got elected. Emperor Palpatine did notnote at least not formally: the senate made him Chancellor, and later granted him dictatorial powers for the duration of the war: only the final power grab was "unconstitutional".
Cranial Processing Unit: Appears to apply to many of the humanoid robots. Most notably, in Episode II, C-3PO gets his head switched with that of a battle droid, and remains being himself. Averted with the MagnaGuards, however, since losing their heads doesn't appear to slow them down much.
Creepy Cleanliness: The Empire's ships are always spotless and shiny, emphasizing their coldness and sterility. The Alliance's are always used and lived-in. (George Lucas had fights with the unionized cleaning staff, who kept trying to clean the Alliance sets up for contractual reasons after he had them deliberately dirtied.)
Cute Machines: Primarily, R2-D2, but many of the series' droids can exhibit this from time to time.
The Cycle of Empires: The prequels cover the decline of the Republic and its transformation into the Empire. The original trilogy covers the fall of the Empire. Much of the Expanded Universe is dedicated to the Long Night.
Dark Lord on Life Support: Darth Vader. Due to injuries and burns sustained in his duel with Obi-wan in Revenge of the Sith, he is unable to survive without his suit for more than a few minutes. He has bionic limbs, and his breathing is also reliant on robotics. The suit doesn't work completely right and leaves him in constant pain, but fixing that would require removal, so he's stuck.
There's also General Grievous, who relies on even more life support than Vader.
Deadpan Snarker: Han Solo would be the most obvious one, but it seems old Obi-Wan was something of a snarker in his younger days. Even as an old man, he's still able to spar with Han, though:
Han: Damn fool, I knew you were gonna say that.
Obi-Wan: Who's more foolish, the fool, or the fool who follows him?
R2-D2 is one too, judging by how C-3PO talks about him.
Every Jedi excels at this to some degree, especially in the prequels. Seems to be related to the fact that sarcasm is the best way to not respond to something emotionally. Or it may just be related to them being generally the "good guys" and therefore presented as people the audience can identify with.
Decade Dissonance: A bit of a clash between the prequel's and the original trilogies' style for technology. Perhaps justified in that the galaxy under The Empire is a Crapsack World. Though, to be fair, a good amount of the original trilogy spends time on barely-inhabited planets that are the site of Rebel or Imperial bases or galactic backwaters like Tatooine. Bespin is the most high-technology place visited in the original series and it seems rather advanced for an out-of-the-way Tibanna platform (albeit an important one).
Deceptive Legacy: Obi-Wan tells Luke his father is dead. It all depends on your point of view. The audience knows he turns out to be Darth Vader; but from Obi-Wan's point of view, his friend Anakin died (and was mourned) after the events of Episode III.
Decoy Protagonist: It turns out Qui-Gon was right; Despite his flaws and poor decisions, it is Anakin, not Luke, who is the hero of the entire series.
Defanged Horrors: Each movie gave us a new, different creature for our heroes to go up against.
A New Hope had the dianoga, the monster in the trash compactor scene.
Empire had the wampa, as well as a brief glimpse of some swamp creature, and the space slug on the asteroid. Deep-freezing Solo could also be considered unsettling.
ROTJ had the rancor and the sarlacc.
The Jedi faced three underwater beasts in The Phantom Menace.
The arena scene in Attack of the Clones also had three creatures, each trying to kill one of the heroes.
Revenge of the Sith, oddly, had no creature feature, unless you count the lizard-dog Obi rode during the attack on Grievous. However, Word of God says there was originally supposed to be something waiting for Obi-Wan after he fell into the canyon during Order 66. But the idea of interrupting the most heartbreaking and emotional scene in the whole movie with Obi-Wan sneaking past a Loch Ness monster probably came off as a bad idea.
The way Anakin becomes Darth Vader (being mutilated and burnt almost to death while screaming to Obi-Wan "I hate you!") is definitely disturbing to watch.
Deleted Scene: Scenes restored in the Special Editions of the Original Trilogy and finished in the DVD releases for the prequels.
Democracy Is Bad: By Revenge of the Sith Palpatine has been granted greater and greater political power by vote of the Senate. When he finally goes all-out and proclaims that he is "reorganizing" the Republic into a Galactic Empire, the response from the Senate is thunderous applause. Never mind that when they first started granting him emergency powers, he specifically promised to give them up when the Separatist crisis had passed. Instead, he proclaimed himself Emperor.
It only gets worse in the Expanded Universe. It is virtually a trope in its own right that the post-Imperial governments of the New Republic (which lasts only a single generation) and the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances which succeeds it are so absurdly dysfunctional that they cannot respond adequately to any crisis, collapse under the slightest pressure and can easily be taken over by any moderately organized Sith Lord. While this provides a backdrop for the heroic actions of individual characters, it nevertheless leaves the impression that the galaxy simply cannot be run by any kind of representative government because politicians are just inherently unreliable.
This Trope is one of the major reasons David Brin has such a massive dislike of the franchise, claiming it seeks to undermine ideals of equality and progress and promote a Feudal Future.
Democracy Is Flawed: Then-Senator Palpatine uses the political mire of the Galactic Senate to ignite his scheme of overthrowing the Jedi and Senate to establish a Sith Empire.
The Expanded Universe works set prior to the prequels use this. The Republic means well, but is trying to balance the needs and desires of hundreds of species, thousands of worlds, and a ton of competing interests. This would be hard enough without The Empire breathing down its neck at every opportunity.
Jar-Jar Binks. In Attack of the Clones, he had a somewhat significant appearance. In Revenge of the Sith, he had very minor appearances.
C-3PO in the prequel trilogy.
Depending on the Writer: The movies try to have some sense of balance and limitation to the technology and the abilities of Force users. In the Expanded Universe, you will find all sorts of battleship weapons more powerful than the Death Star, and Jedi of either the current time period or in the distant past who could be considered forces of nature with what they are able to do.
Digital Destruction: The 2004 DVD set, despite being billed as "restored", received terrible color alternation, desaturating the soft, fantasy like colors of the original films into darker, more realistic lighting in vogue with the Prequel Trilogy, and much of the clarity and detail of the original prints is lost in the process. This was the result of Lucasfilm ordering this to be done in a breakneck page of 30 days. Hopefully the problem was fixed for the Blu-ray reissue.
Nowhere near, sadly. The 2011 Blu-rays have the brightness turned up a teeny bit, and a few lightsaber fixes- mostly in Return of the Jedi- but that's about it. Colours are still all over the shop, lightsaber in Empire Strikes Back often look terrible, and a lot of the detail in the darker parts of the picture are still lost.
Digital Head Swap: Done for Count Dooku's lightsaber battles (justified, given Christopher Lee's age). It's particularly eerie and distracting as Christopher Lee's head seems to float above his stuntman's shoulders independent of his movements.
Disappeared Dad: Anakin was this for Luke, for awhile. We know what really happened, but Luke didn't learn the truth until Episode V. Also, ironically, applies to Anakin himself, as he has no father.
Disproportionate Retribution: Yes, Anakin, we understand that you were disappointed. The Jedi could've gone a lot easier on you, and we feel for you. But don't you think you're overreacting?
Even moreso because he wasn't giving the Jedi Council any other choice. His mentors, Yoda and Obi-Wan, had let him down easy on numerous occasions, should he ever get over the death of his loved ones. Anakin, however, wouldn't take 'no' for an answer.
The Empire Strikes Back- Probably the biggest downer ending in the series: The Empire storms the Rebellion's hidden base and drives the entire Rebel fleet into hiding, Luke gets his hand cut off and finds out that Darth Vader is his father, and Han Solo gets frozen in carbonite after confessing his love to Leia.
The Phantom Menace might have one. As stated above, it could be considered a Bittersweet Ending with Qui-Gon dead, but the battle of Naboo having been won. Though the purpose of Naboo's invasion was to make Sidious Supreme Chancellor of the Republic. The Good Guys celebrate their pointless victory, not knowing that the Big Bad has actually succeeded and is standing there among them as Palpatine. The Bad Guy Wins, the Good Guys just don't know.
Attack of the Clones- Featured a Jedi massacre and the start of the Clone Wars.
Yoda:Victory? Victory, you say? Master Obi-Wan, not victory. The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun, the Clone War has.
Revenge of the Sith- Drops a ton of bombs on us. The purge of the Jedi Order. Anakin fully becomes Darth Vader after sustaining grievous injuries and burns in a battle with his closest friend, Obi-Wan. Padme dies, orphaning newborns Luke and Leia Skywalker. Palpatine takes over the galaxy and forms the Empire.
Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: The Jedi wear brown robes while the Sith wear black. Stormtroopers wear distinctive white armour and Imperial pilots wear black uniforms, emphasizing their sterility and lack of humanity, while Rebels soldiers wear various green and grey tones.
Drop Pod: Many factions use these, and some video games let you do it yourself.
Also, as a minor background event, C-3PO helps Obi-Wan burn a bunch of slaughtered Jawas in a funeral pyre in one scene in A New Hope as Luke returns from discovering his aunt and uncle's charred remains.
In Revenge of the Sith, we only see Padme's funeral procession to the amphitheatre where Qui-Gon's funeral was held, though as inferred from Yoda's dialogue before the scene her body is subsequently buried along with a keepsake of her husband Anakin following the funeral proper.
Elite Mooks: The Stormtroopers, and the Super Battledroids from the prequel trilogy. The common Imperial mooks were the black-uniformed guys in black bell-shaped open-face helmets, called just "Imperial Army"; the stormtroopers are supposed to be Doom Troops.
Emerald Power: The green-skinned Yoda is one of the strongest Jedi there is. There's also an awful lot of green lightsabers used throughout the series.
Emotions vs. Stoicism: Why Jedi are good and Sith are evil, though in the Expanded Universe, stoicism is treated a bit less kindly, as the New Jedi Order by Luke is less rigid.
Excessive Steam Syndrome: And how can anyone forget the scenes, where Darth Vader walks dramatically through steam exhausts that for some reason are set around the ship's main entrance. Made even weirder, though more Badass, in the novelizations, which claim that the steam is burning hot and that normal people won't exit until it's evaporated. This is actually lampshaded as a security feature to prevent assaults or sabotage when docking.
In the original trilogy, this trope was invoked intentionally, and in fact was created in the editing room. Aside from the lead actors (who were mostly Americans), all of the small parts and background extras in the three films were played by Brits. This was natural, since the trilogy was shot at a studio just outside London. Most of the "good" or "neutral" characters in the films (such as the Rebel pilots, or the cantina bartender) later had their voices dubbed over by American actors, but the sound editors retained the natural English accents of the Imperial mooks for dramatic effect.
Subverted by Mon Mothma, who has a British accent and is head of the Rebellion.
And by C-3PO, thanks to Anthony Daniels' narrow escape from overdubbing.
Evil Overlooker: Many Star Wars posters, usually featuring Vader or Palpatine.
Evil Overlord: Most Sith Lords (most of whom are also masters), though Darth Vader (an apprentice) is the first and arguably most definitive Evil Overlord to be introduced.
Evil Sounds Raspy: Sidious aka Palpatine. In the prequel trilogy, he speaks with a normal voice while under the guise of Chancellor Palpatine, but uses the rasp when he's acting as Darth Sidious. After the fight with Mace Windu leaves him with his distinctly melted face, he speaks with a raspy voice at all times—so it becomes the iconic voice of Emperor Palpatine in the original trilogy.
Oddly, in his first appearance (going by Real Life chronology) in The Empire Strikes Back, the Emperor speaks with a deep, not-at-all raspy voice. For the DVD version this scene was redubbed with a voice consistent with the rest of the series.
Evil Wears Black: The Sith wear black robes compared to the brown robes of the Jedi.
Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: From the first (or fourth, depending on how you look at it) film, "But if they traced the robots here, they may have learned who they sold them to, and that would lead them back... home!".
From Return of the Jedi, "But how could they be jamming us if they don't know... we're coming...?"
Eye Color Change: There's the phenomenon of "Sith eyes", related to the Dark Side of the Force. They usually aren't permanent and usually manifest when the dark Force-user is enraged (Count Dooku, always calm and collected, never manifests them). Only Darth Maul, who is more or less always belligerent, sports permanent Sith eyes.
Fake Brit: Leia in A New Hope, briefly. Her accent change could be explained as indicative of speaking formally because she is a senator, much the same way Amidala's manner of speaking changed when she was under cover as her own handmaiden, and later when her term as queen ended. Another possible explanation: the scene where her Fake Brit accent is most prominent — when she's arguing with Tarkin on the Death Star. She's talking down to him, letting him know she is his equal and will not be intimidated... but when he points the Wave Motion Gun at her home planet, she drops the pretense and the accent.
Since this is the franchise we're discussing, it becomes a point in the Imperial Agent's storyline in SWTOR that the RP accents used are actually Imperial accents, used in official business when speaking Basic. This makes Leia's accent slip more understandable, as she is dropping her Senatorial mask and reacting like a sane person.
Fantastic Racism: Anakin towards the Sand People. In the EU, human supremacy is the policy of the Empire, to explain why there were no Imperial aliens in the movies.
The droid-hating bartender from Episode IV, as well as the Imperial officer that calls Chewbacca a "thing". As well, the Imperials on Endor refer to the Ewoks as "bear creatures".
Except for the spy that followed Luke and Obi-wan in "A New Hope." Also, no aliens are seen among the Rebel troops until "Return of the Jedi." From a non-EU perspective, there may be no systemic racism in the Empire at all; like the Rebellion, its military may simply be dominated by humans.
Fantastic Rank System: The Empire's rank system includes Moffs and Grand Moffs. The Expanded Universe adds more fantasy ranks.
Moff and Grand Moff are more offices/positions than ranks. They are more like "governor but bigger" rather than "general but bigger".
Fast Roping: The clone troopers in Episode III employ this trope.
Feudal Future: Popularized the concept of a "used universe" which has inspired Firefly and countless other franchises. Many planets are also ruled by monarchy (albeit, many of them are elected monarchs) and inherited nobility.
Fish People: Kit Fisto and the Gungans in the prequels, as well as the Aqualish, Mon Calimari, Selkath, and Quarren.
Flip Flop of God: Over the years George Lucas has made many contradictory claims about the development, conceptual background, and future plans of the series, always claiming that whatever his current plans are are what he had in mind all along. Since October 2012, the plans for making sequel episodes are finally confirmed.
Forgotten Fallen Friend: Most of Biggs Darklighter's scenes were cut from the original release of A New Hope, resulting in some dissonant cheerfulness from Luke after he destroys the Death Star considering that his best friend had just died.
On the flip side, General Grievous was often on the front line during the Clone Wars.
Functional Magic: While the films generally depict the Force in a manner analogous to Psychic Powers, the Expanded Universe frequently diversifies Force powers into more explicitly magical forms, such as "Sith Sorcery", which involves actual spellcasting and the creation of unusual effects not normally available to conventional Force wielders such as the Jedi. There are also many examples of magical items and Magitek.
As a rule of thumb, Force traditions originating from pre-industrial societies, such as Dathomir and the ancient Sith, tend to have the "magic" look and feel, and the "ultra-modern" ones tend to be Psychic Powers.
Galactic Superpower: In chronological order: The Rakatan Infinite Empire, the Sith Empire, the Galactic Republic, the Galactic Empire, and finally the New Republic. After that the Galactic Alliance competed with the Fel Empire for a century before the Sith took over again.
Gambit Pileup: Palpatine's intricate plans are legendary throughout the series, but there are others that famously compete with his. Specifically, Vader, Luke, and the Rebel leaders all run their own gambits in Return of the Jedi. In order, the Rebels and Vader are Out-Gambitted by Palpatine, who is in turn Out-Gambitted by Luke.
Game Changer: This is the meaning behind the title of A New Hope and Return of the Jedi. Without Luke's involvement helping to bring down the Sith, including learning the ways of the force and bringing back the Jedi Order, the Rebellion would never have won.
Destroying the first Death Star counts as one in the series/franchise, but as the last act of the movie it is the finale to the climax.
From Obi-Wan and Yoda's perspective, Luke starting on the path to become a Jedi is the real game changer in order to defeat the Sith. The premise of the original trilogy remained "Rebellion vs. Empire."
The Clone Troopers in Attack of the Clones are TGC when they arrive on Geonosis to rescue the overwhelmed Jedi. They become Nothing Is the Same Anymore when they obey General Order 66 and eradicate the Jedi, leaving Emperor Palpatine as Lord And Master of the Galaxy.
Generican Empire: The Galactic Republic, replaced by the Galactic Empire, replaced by the New Republic...
Genre-Busting: Part science fiction, part fairy tale fantasy, part western, part samurai movie, part World War II film....
Gloved Fist of Doom: Darth Vader lives in this trope. "If you only knew the power of the Dark Side..."
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Anakin gains a prominent scar on his face somewhere between Episodes II and III, and several more when he becomes Darth Vader. Luke has one in Episode V from the wampa attack on Hoth.(in reality, this was from a car accident prior to filming).
G-Rated Sex: Word of God says in the commentary for ESB that, for the adults, a kiss between Han and Leia was supposed to have the same effect as two characters having sex in any other movie.
Graying Morality: The first trilogy. A New Hope has mostly clear-cut heroes and villains (except for Lovable Rogue Han Solo). In The Empire Strikes Back, we learn that Obi-Wan lied to Luke about his father. In Return of the Jedi, Luke is told that he must kill his own father or the Emperor will win.
Green Lantern Ring: If you look on the Wookiepedia, you'll see that the Force can do all kinds of cool stuff.
Hannibal Lecture: Palpatine is especially fond of giving them, but Dooku and Tarkin also get to.
Harmony Versus Discipline: The Force = The Way of Harmony and The Dark Side = The Path of Discipline, in theory with Jedi trying to be one with the Force and the Sith trying to control it by channeling their desires. In practice the Jedi believe in only using The Force with a focus on self-control, while the Sith seek domination through discipline.
Have a Gay Old Time: There's a whole page of lines that sound sexual but aren't on Wookieepedia.
Kevin J. Anderson's Jabba's Palace anthology series mentions something called a "jizz band." Wow. Just...wow.
Healing Magic Is the Hardest: While it is possible to use the Force to heal, it is apparently a very specialized skill, possibly requiring innate aptitude on the part of the healer. Most Force users, Light or Dark side, never seem to exhibit this ability to any significant degree. Anakin goes over to the Dark Side specifically because he thinks that he will need such a power to save Padme from dying in childbirth, and yet despite his extraordinary potential, he does not believe that he can learn the necessary technique from the Jedi Order.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Many villains such as Palpatine, Tarkin and Jabba die due to their own arrogance and hubris.
Hollywood Healing: Luke and Anakin are very active for people with prosthetics. Medical technology in the Republic is far superior to anything we have today.
Hollywood Tactics: Used repeatedly by the Rebels, who have grossly inferior forces and really have no other options. This is directly mentioned in the novelization of Return of the Jedi: the Rebels know going head to head with an enemy fleet is the one thing a guerrilla force is never supposed to do.
Humans Are White: There are precisely two black people in the original trilogy: Lando, and Grizz Fix, an X-wing pilot who gets a quarter second of screen time (dying) in Jedi. The prequels are slightly better about this. Slightly. Blue skin is still more common than black, but at least there's Mace Windu, the galaxy's second biggest badass, among the black characters.
I Am Not Spock: Nearly the entire cast has suffered this to some degree. Most of them have embraced it, while others were left resentful of being typecast (most notably Alec Guinness). Averted by Harrison Ford, though, who launched a successful acting career outside of the Star Wars films.
In the prequels, Count Dooku serves as the figurehead of the rebel Separatists.
Iconic Sequel Character: Yoda, who first appears in The Empire Strikes Back and to a lesser extent, from the same film, Lando Calrissian. For those who watch the series in order of events (ie, prequels first), Yoda would seem to mysteriously drop out for the fourth installment!!
If You Can Read This: The prequels do this quite frequently...in an alien alphabet, called Aurebesh. If you transcribe each character for its Roman equivalent, it is just plain English. Some examples make sense in context (such as the screen of Anakin's Naboo Starfighter in Phantom Menace) but most are simply inside jokes made by the creators of the material.
Impossibly Cool Weapon: About half the weapons in the movies, but the lightsabers and the Death Stars especially.
Impractically Fancy Outfit: Amidala's regal outfits, which are so expensive Obi-Wan suggests bargaining with them to buy parts for her ship's hyperdrive.
Inhumanly Beautiful Race: The Diathim from the moons of Iego are known as "angels" and Anakin describes them as "the most beautiful creatures in the universe" (relaying stories he'd heard from spacers).
Invisible Means Undodgeable: The Force, to Muggles at least. Lightsabers and dodging skills can block all sorts of force powers, such as Force Lightning. The moment someone starts a Force Choke, though, it's over.
Ironic Echo: The scene where Vader has to choose between saving Luke or letting him die is a mirror of the scene with Mace in the Chancellor's office, and the consequences both large and small scale are also identical.
I Shall Taunt You: The Emperor is an expert at this, but all of the villains do it routinely. This is a canonical Sith tactic, by the way, called Dun Möch.
Jump Physics: A common feature of any fight involving the Jedi and/or the Sith. Especially useful since the standard architecture of the Star Wars galaxy features more Bottomless Pits and Floating Platforms than most video games.
Kuleshov Effect: The characterizations of C-3PO, R2-D2, and Vader all rely on it.
Layered Metropolis: Coruscant is Up to Eleven and beyond example, which makes it 121 or higher. No, really, it deserves that. The planet is covered in skyscrapers, which are also covered in skyscrapers, which are covered in more skyscrapers, which goes on for long enough that the skyscrapers dwarf the natural features of the planet. And some of the skyscrapers that were built on are actually construction droids for building more skyscrapers.
Leitmotif: Almost every major character has one, including Vader (the Imperial March), Leia, Yoda, Jabba and Palpatine. Strangely, Luke doesn't have his own theme but the Force Theme is used for him, which also represents the Jedi in general. The Rebels have their own theme music too.
Magitek: Pops up mainly in the Expanded Universe. The Rakatan Star Forge, along with Naga Sadow's flagship and the Sith Meditation Sphere's are all examples of technology that uses or is enhanced by the Force. Jedi and Sith Holocrons may also count, as they cannot apparently be duplicated by regular technology alone.
Mauve Shirt: Wedge Antilles, the only non-central character to appear in all three Original Trilogy movies.
Meaningful Name: Ever notice how some of the Sith names take a sinister word starting with "in" and just chop the "in" off? (in)vader, (in)sidious? Coincidence? I don't think so!
Most/all Sith names are some form of a sinister word.
Also, "vader" is Dutch for " father".
And then there's Darth Maul...who has no personality to speak of and is a blunt instrument...
It's not just the Sith. The smuggler who at first wants the war to leave him alone is named "Solo," Leia is Assyrian for "ruler," and the kid who wants to leave his hick planet and travel the galaxy is named "Skywalker." And later, we get the gambler named Lando — on Earth, a shortened form of Orlando, meaning "Land of Gold."
Given the Biblical overtones of the series (desert setting, virgin birth etc.) perhaps it's not surprising that the main character is named Luke.
Medieval Stasis: The franchise takes place over tens of thousands of years (e.g. Knights of the Old Republic is set four thousand years before Episode I) and yet there is little to no technological or cultural development in that time. note Aside from the Death Star, but we know how that turned out.
Merchandise-Driven: The franchise may not have started that way, but it definitely ended up there. There are about six different versions of the medical droid that works on Luke at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
A Million Is a Statistic: Averted with Alderaan, and the shock and horror various characters express at its destruction. To be fair, at least one of them (Ben) is a Jedi, and very sensitive to the effect several billion people being wiped out at once has on the Force.
Mind Over Manners: The Jedi's responsible use of their suggestion and telepathy powers.
Mini Mecha: Some of the walkers, such as the AT-RT from Revenge of the Sith.
Mood Whiplash: Only applicable if you watch the films in chronological order: Revenge of the Sith is a dark tragedy in which an already-tainted hero turns evil, kills children and is mutilated by his former best friend while this film is a straight-up action adventure with wisecracking heroes. Going from the former to the latter is a bit jarring.
Multiple Demographic Appeal: The series has many elements to appeal to people of all ages, including action scenes, comic relief characters and some of the romantic storylines, plus some of the actor casting choices.
Multi-Stage Battle: The climactic lightsaber duels in — coincidentally enough — all the odd-numbered movies.
My Country, Right or Wrong: The Essential Guide To Warfare implies that the reason several of the citizens in The Empire, while not liking its policies, remain sided with the Empire was because they feared that the Alliance to Restore the Republic was no different from the Separatists.
My Greatest Failure: Obi-Wan considers his failure to keep Anakin under control to be this, as his parting words to him at Mustafar indicate.
Obi-Wan: You were the Chosen One! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join it! You were to bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness! Anakin: I hate you! Obi-Wan: You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you.
National Weapon: The Jedi Order uses lightsabers. The various incarnations of the Sith Order also use lightsabers, universally colored red.
Neck Lift: Vader does this to the captain of the Tantive IV.
Necromantic: In Episode III, Anakin is motivated primarily by a quest to prevent Padmé from dying.
Never a Self-Made Woman: Averted in The Phantom Menace where Amidala is ruler of Naboo. By Revenge of the Sith though, it's played straight as the film is all about Anakin becoming Darth Vader, but to give her credit there were three deleted scenes of her actively trying to stop the chancellor from taking over, and then helping found what would become the Rebel Alliance.
In the prequel trilogy, Anakin is the Rogue and Obi-Wan is the Noble.
No Body Left Behind: Obi-Wan and Yoda fade away when they die, leaving behind empty robes. Notably, Vader's body does not disappear. However, it's implied that while his body was in the funeral pyre, Vader learned from either Obi-Wan, Yoda, or Qui-Gon (the latter who learned the trick years after his own death) how to become one with the Force, so his burning body might have simply faded away during the funeral pyre instead of turning into ashes. This theory is supported when Anakin's Force ghost appears with those of Obi-Wan and Yoda.
No Name Given: Palpatine (originally just "The Emperor," making this a mild subversion) has never been given a first name and might not even have one. Steve Sansweet, director of Lucasfilm's content management doubts "that there are many in the know for whom just plain "Palpatine" isn't enough."
Yoda also only has one name, and so does Dooku.
No OSHA Compliance: We've lost count of how many catwalks and platforms lack safety rails of any kind. Combined with the fact that Bottomless Pits are the most popular feature of galactic architectural design this probably makes vertigo or poor balance life-threatening medical conditions in the galaxy.
Notable Original Music: The most famous composition from John Williams. Considering that John Williams has a career based around this trope and is one of the most famous film composers ever, that's saying a lot.
One-Product Planet: As with any good space opera, Star Wars provides plenty of examples of this: Coruscant is a Capital, Bespin and Kessel are Mines, Endor houses a Superweapon, the First Death Star itself was a Superweapon, Genosis is a Factory world, Tatooine is a minor Underworld, and Yavin and Hoth were Strategic locations. Naboo was Blockaded for a while.
One Riot, One Ranger: How the Jedi knights tend to be deployed, often acting as singles or pairs (usually a Master and his Padawan apprentice), at least in the Prequels. Justified in that they act as Ambadassadors for situations where force is not yet required, and that the local authorities are more often than not willing to provie their own manpower to support them. Starting from the end of Attack of the Clones, the Jedi will often scout out the situation before calling in The Cavalry.
The one time the Jedi deployed as a large unsupported force, they got slaughtered before Yoda showed up with the Clone Troopers.
For the villain version of this, the Rule of Two, in which the vast hordes of Sith and their armies are reduced to just one master and apprentice at a time for a thousand years.
Luke is literally the Last Starfighter at the end of A New Hope, with all his fellow pilots killed or too damaged to keep fighting, in a race against time to destroy the Death Star before Vader kills him — until Han shows up.
Before Luke came along, Obi-wan Kenobi and Yoda were among the few remaining Jedi in the galaxy. Luke spends the films training to be a Jedi Knight, and will spend much of the Star Wars Expanded Universe reforging the Jedi Order and expanding it to serve the New Republic.
Only Sane Man: R2-D2 seems to cater to this, especially considering he never had his memory wiped and is fully aware of everything that has taken place since The Phantom Menace.
Opposed Mentors: Anakin Skywalker has to choose between following Obi wan Kenobi and Palpatine. Eventually, he chooses Palpatine and turns to the Dark Side.
The Order: The Jedi Order, naturally. The Sith may count as an evil Order depending on how cooperative they're feeling at the moment; sometimes they're gathering in huge armies, sometimes there's only one or two of them working together.
Papa Wolf: Ironically (since he is the villain, after all), Vader. All of his actions in retrospect turn out to be for the purpose of protecting his son from the Emperor, and that's what motivates his Heel-Face Turn.
Passion Is Evil: The Dark Side of The Force embodies passion—specifically rage, lust, and similarly selfish desires. But, this trope is subverted according to Lucas. Contrary to how some writers portray it, the Light Side does NOT embody stoicism and cold logic. Jedi can feel positive emotions like love, duty, honor, and joy, but must be careful not to let them overcome them and twist them into the darker emotions that lead to the Dark Side.
Paying For The Action Scene: The first movie had the famous cantina scene in which Han Solo kills Greedo and pays the bartender for the mess.
People Jars: The B'Omar monks specialize in cutting out their most enlightened members' brains and putting them in these so that they escape the "distractions of the flesh." But hey, a brain has to get out once in a while, so they also create giant mechanical spider droids that they can use to walk around occasionally.
Phlebotinum Handling Requirements: Lightsabers can be effectively wielded only by Force-users, with very few exceptions. This is explained by the weapon's very counter-intuitive balance and preternatural quickness needed to wield it. Only one such exception is in the film canon, General Grievous, and he's a cyborg, with his mechanical precision of movements preventing him from julienning himself with the energy blades. The other film canon non-Force user who tries to handle a lightsaber, Han Solo, is wise enough to only use it as a tool (cutting open a dead tauntaun).
Precision F-Strike: Star Wars has mostly clean language, which is why its few moments of swearing are so special.
A New Hope has the following conversation between Han Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi:
Han: Even if I could take off, I'd never get past the tractor beam.
Obi-Wan: Leave that to me.
Han: Damn fool, I knew you'd say that.
Obi-Wan himself gets his only profanity in the entire series in the same film when he uses the term "damn fool idealistic crusade" to describe what Uncle Owen thinks of his mission as he introduces Luke to the Jedi religion.
Rebel technician: Sir, your tauntaun will freeze before you reach the first marker.
Han: Then I'll see you in hell!
Precursors: Most prominently the Celestials who built Centerpoint (as well as the entire Corellian system) and the Maw, and the Rakata who created the first true galaxy-spanning civilization with Infinite Empire and are responsible for modern galactic civilization having the hyperdrive. Many other lesser examples such as the Killiks, who we now know were one of the slave races that the Celestials used to make Centerpoint Qolaraloq and the Maw.
Prequel in the Lost Age: The prequels are set before and during the Clone Wars and the downfall of the Old Republic, and feature the Jedi Order as it was before the Purge.
Pretty Boy: Luke. Just ... look at him. Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episode I and Anakin Skywalker in Episode II as well.
Prodigal Hero: Obi Wan Kenobi exiles himself to watch over little Luke Skywalker from a distance, and then returns to the first line to be his mentor.
Promoted Fanboy: Nearly two generations have grown up with Star Wars, so almost anyone working on modern projects is one of these.
Psychic Powers: The way that the Force is generally depicted, especially in the films.
Psychic Radar: The Jedi and the Sith both get to use their mental powers to look for people; usually each other. The most famous example is Darth Vader sensing the presence of Obi-Wan on the Death Star. Actual range varies depending on the medium. In the films this actually plays far less of a role than in the Expanded Universe, and only seems to work at very close range, if at all.
Psychic Strangle: A reasonably common use of telekinetic Force powers, primarily by darksiders (especially Vader).
Quality Over Quantity: The good guys tend to subscribe to this philosophy: a highly trained and well-equipped clone army in the prequels, and better-armed and -defended fighters in the original trilogy and EU.
Rage Helm: Darth Vader's helmet has a chillingly penetrating stare.
Randomly Gifted: Force sensitivity can run in families but is essentially random.
"Put that thing away, you're going to get us all killed!"
Red Right Hand: The yellow eyes of the Sith, and Palpatine's epithelial deformity.
Red Shirt: Luke's wingmen in the original trilogy seemed to get killed if an Imperial so much as sneezes. Justified in that even untrained, Luke is Force-sensitive, granting him a slight degree of precognition, which translates into inhumanly fast reflexes to avoid shots (Anakin explicitly uses the same thing in Podracing in Episode 1).
This becomes a Berserk Button for him in Shadows of the Empire when he considers himself a failure of a commander for always losing men. He becomes so enraged that he single-handedly cripples a ship without the aid of the Force. (It doesn't help that Dash Rendar is whining about not shooting down a super missile over the comm. In the audio book it's taken to Narm levels by the reader.)
Unsurprisingly they are indeed wearing orange-to-red flight suits.
Rock Beats Laser: Notoriously, the Ewoks are able to defeat seasoned Imperial troops despite their primitive technology. With some help from blaster-toting rebels. To be fair, the Ewoks did have a terrain advantage (both that they blend in better, and that smaller, more agile creatures are less hindered by all the foliage), backed up by extensive knowledge of said terrain, traps that have been laid out in advancenote the massive preparations made by the Ewoks before the battle, including catapults, swinging rams, and log piles are truly impressive, especially since they didn't even know they were in a rebellion until literally the night before, and no doubt a rather large amount of hubris on the part of the Imperial troops (would you take an Ewok as a serious threat if you hadn't seen the movie?).
Royal Mess: Naboo has an elected queen. Leia is considered a princess despite being adopted.
Rule of Cool: Lightsabers are the epitome of this trope. Rumor has it that this trope is the main reason why Mace Windu has a purple lightsaber, because Samuel L. Jackson thought it looked cool. (Also so that he would be visible in a huge lightsaber battle.) His lightsaber is the only one used in the movie canon that is not red, blue or green. This is lampshaded by General Grievous in the Revenge of the Sith video game.
"Who fights with a purple lightsaber anyway?"
Satanic Archetype: Palpatine, the Big Bad of the two trilogies, has many Satanic traits, and Word of God confirms Old Scratch to be the primary inspiration for the character (along with Richard Nixon). He's a Consummate Liar and Wicked CulturedMan of Wealth and Taste who deceives numerous genuinely good people into following him in a scheme that ultimately ends with him gaining control of the government to usher in (what he claims will be) a utopia (admittedly, this last part is more The Antichrist's area of expertise, but we all know who that guy reports to). In addition, the order he gives to wipe out all with the power to oppose him? Order 66. And that's just the stuff from the movies; the occasional Expanded Universe source has even gone so far as to imply that he's literally Made of Evil. Ian McDiarmid, the actor who plays Palpatine, at one point suggested that Palpatine is actually more evil than the devil. He points out: "At least Satan fell; he has a history, and it's one of revenge."
Saved for the Sequel: The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones both end with several plot points dangling to be picked up in the next installment. Technically, even Revenge of the Sith ends with dangling plotlines... which were already resolved in the original Star Wars trilogy.
Shout-Out: There are a few shout outs to the Oz books. Namely Princess Leia's hairbuns which are based on Princess Ozma's hair poppys and the Ewoks are based on the Teddy Bear tribe. Jedi comes from jidaigeki, or samurai movies. Order 66 is a shout out to The Godfather, and the medal ceremony is very similar to Triumph of the Will. The attack on the Death Star in A New Hope is a Shout-Out to The Dam Busters. Additionally, look up "The Hidden Fortress" by Akiro Kurasawa and read the first part of the plot. If you don't get it, then substitute "peasants" with "droids".
Sidekick Ex Machina: Chewbacca hijacks an Imperial walker and rescues Han and Leia during the Battle of Endor.
Smug Snake: Jabba the Hutt. Han offers to pay his debts to him and Jabba refuses to listen; when Leia and Luke warn Jabba that they could defeat him, Jabba and his minions do not take them seriously at all. Even when being led to the Sarlacc pit Luke says "this is your last chance; free us, or die." Jabba and his minions still refuse to take them seriously. Jabba is offered so many warnings and so many chances for alternatives that for him to still keep ignoring the heroes makes his Karmic Death all the more satisfying.
Palpatine might be one as well, at least in Return of the Jedi, though in any case he is in more of a position to be smug. Though he does pull a pretty good trick in giving the Rebels the location of the shield generator to lure them into a trap, he simply is too arrogant to acknowledge the possibility that the Rebels could overcome it.
The Jedi Temple, serving to train potential Jedi Knights. "Younglings" and "Padawon" not only learned to master the force, but also included flight lessons.
The Imperial Academy; it trains TIE Fighter pilots. Luke wished to go there (the fact that Luke, who claims to hate the Empire, is planning to go there shows just how desperate he is to leave the desert world he grew up on), and Biggs actually trained there (then defected). The Expanded Universe reveals that Han Solo also trained there.
In the Expanded Universe, once the New Republic was set up, they had their version of the Academy.
Space Fighter: Star Wars IV was the Trope Codifier that influenced all subsequent designs to one extent or another. The basic designs of the most famous fighters are instantly recognizable to anyone with even a passing knowledge of pop culture.
Space Police: Once you get past the metaphysics, this is what the Jedi are for the Republic.
Spanner in the Works: The Imperial officer who orders his compatriot to hold his fire as the escape pod passes simply because he believed there was no way to verify if a living being was inside the pod and, thus, whether the pod was launched by accident or by design.
Starfish Robots: While many droids come in varieties more akin to the humanoid C3-PO, others look like the strange "trash bin on wheels" R2-D2, while still others have such surreal designs that it's difficult to compare them to any real life object.
Stealth in Space: Han's successful attempts at hiding from Star Destroyers in The Empire Strikes Back. Somewhat realistic, as he simply turns off most of the power to the ship which makes it incredibly difficult to detect.
Piggybacking on another ship's radar is a real-life strategy too.
Step into the Blinding Fight: In one of the movies, Jedis train The Younglings to fight blind/using only the Force by using the special darkness helmets.
Stock Shout-Outs: Sooner or later, every science fiction work makes at least one reference to Star Wars.
Swamps Are Evil: Played with: Yoda lives in a swamp, but there's also a cave that is strong in the dark side. According to some sources in the EU, Yoda chose the swamp on Dagobah because it's so strong in the dark side that it would help mask his own presence there.
Sword Sparks: Lightsabers have their own version of it in that they make electronic clashing noises when their blades contact. Also, they create sparks when they carve through walls and floors.
Tactful Translation: How C-3PO translates Jabba the Hutt's discussion with a disguised Princess Leia.
After Lucas decided to label the second film "Episode V", the label "Episode IV: A New Hope" was retroactively added to the first film in its published screenplay and first home video release. Many casual fans refer to it as simply Star Wars, even though all the films carry the same title/subtitle pattern now.
As part of the marketing for the prequels they were referred to more often by episode number rather than the episode name. In fact many did not catch on to the name of Episode I being The Phantom Menace. Episode III is an anomaly, where fans refer to it equally by both episode number and the name Revenge of the Sith.
Greedo sits there monologuing about how much he's going to enjoy killing Han, giving him the opportunity—and indeed, the justification—to take out his own gun and blast him under the table before he can get off a single shot.
Took a Level in Badass: Luke, once on Dagobah, again between episode V and VI. Anakin in the prequels. And after destroying the Death Star, Luke is much more confident than he was in most of A New Hope.
Tragic Hero: Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader is a textbook example of this trope.
Tree Top Town: The Ewok village on Endor and the Wookiees' dwellings on Kashyyyk.
Triang Relations: Luke/Leia/Han are either type 4 or type 7. (Does Leia like Luke or not?) Lando also likes Leia, but it doesn't appear to be reciprocated.
On the non-romantic front, except inFanon, Obi-wan/Padmé/Anakin is type 7, with the Jedi code (as drilled into him by Obi-Wan) telling Anakin his feelings for Padmé are wrong. Fanon puts them in... all the situations where there is at least one mutual attraction.
Unintentional Backup Plan: Over the course of the movies. Qui-Gon's original plan was for Anakin to bring balance to The Force. However, he ends up falling to the Dark Side and it seems that he won't. In Return of the Jedi, however, he does bring balance to the Force by ensuring that the last of the evil aspect of the Dark Side of the Force dies (and subsequently burns) with him; his son destroys the last vestiges of Vader by burning him on a funeral pyre according to Jedi customs (and it's implied that Anakin's body simply faded away under a minute after the pyre was lit).
"[Han/Harrison] wears the same outfit for three flicks. And I was complaining that I wear, like, six outfits. And my mother, Natalie Portman, she wears three million. She walks through a doorway and there’s another outfit. It’s like the Liberace of sci-fi changing of clothes."
Unreliable Narrator: George Lucas has mentioned that there's an unshown framing story about how the movies are the story as told by R2 to an alien race, which is why he makes a point. This might explain why he gets so many really cool scenes with no witnesses or only C-3PO pre-memory wipe.
Updated Re-release: The original trilogy was released to theaters again in 1997 for the 20th Anniversary, featuring a few new special effects, cleaning up a few perceived Special Effects Failures, added some deleted scenes and tweaked some original scenes. The films were slightly tweaked once more for the 2004 DVD release and changed to better match the Prequels by replacing Boba Fett's voice with Jango Fett's, replacing Clive Revill as the Emperor with Ian MacDiarmid, and replacing Sebastian Shaw as Anakin's ghost with Hayden Christiansen.
We Will Wear Armor in the Future: Stormtroopers and Bounty Hunters go around wearing plastic armour that would make a medieval knight blush. It helps make them look robotic and anonymous but never helps in stopping a main character's blaster fire.
Whats A Secret Four: The original trilogy has it in spades: What's the Kessel Run? What's a womp rat? What does that droid do? What are those aliens? What was Aunt Beru cooking there? However, over thirty years of fandom and the Expanded Universe have filled in details for virtually anything that appears on the screen.
With Friends Like These...: R2-D2 and C-3P0. Although the Bilingual Dialogue means we don't know just how much hostility R2 reciprocates, occasionally C-3P0 quotes him: "Don't call me a 'mindless philosopher'...", and tells him to watch his language.
Woman in White: Leia, a lot of the time, to the point where Carrie Fisher speculated that Leia's favorite color is white. Padmé less frequently.
Word of God: One notable example is Chewbacca's not getting a medal at the end of A New Hope. The official explanation is that such things are against the Wookiee religion — except that the original official explanation, from the Official Star Wars Fan Club, was that he did get one but Leia wasn't tall enough to put it around his neck.
Writingbythe Seatof Your Pants: Sort of. Lucas did have an over all Myth Arc plotted out, but as the production of the films went on the story grew more and more. The version we know is hardly anything like the original story Lucas planned.
Wuxia : One of the genres that inspired the franchise. The whole concept of the Jedi and The Force practically makes the franchise a Wuxia saga in space, especially the Prequel Trilogy.
Xanatos Gambit / Gambit Roulette: Palpatine. The Clone Wars are the former because they bring benefit for him regardless of the outcome. The corruption of Anakin and other schemes are the latter because of the many variables involved.
Luke also manages some gambits of his own. Mostly of the Trojan Prisoner variety.
The Clone Wars. After all their effort and sacrifices, Palpatine's plan would have given him full power whether the Republic and Jedi had won or lost.
X Meets Y The T-65X wing is the Z-95 Headhunter meets the ARC-170
The Tie Hunter is the Tie series meets The X-wing.
Zeerust: Ships capable of destroying planets are less impressive when you realize just how easy it is to do so. (All you need is enough energy to accelerate the entire planet to escape velocity.) Other stuff, such as antigravity, is what Michio Kaku calls a Class II impossibility, yet it is commonly seen. (Han's even carried out on an antigravity gurney after he's frozen in carbonite.)
On the "looks old" end of things, we have the motif of cybernetic hands now that we're entering the age of embryonic stem cells, and the vector graphics on the tactical display and targeting computer in A New Hope.
In-universe, this is painfully apparent in the prequel films. C-3P0 and R2-D2 look dated and completely out of place when juxtaposed with sleeker, agile looking droids. The technology gradually gets more dated-looking as the prequels progress too, naturally because it's supposed to tie itself in with the Original Trilogy. Streamlined ships in The Phantom Menace slowly evolve into clunky ships by Revenge of the Sith. Sleek control panels seen at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith somehow become overshadowed by a plethora of clunky buttons and dials by the end. Imagine if iPhones suddenly had receivers and rotary dials in the future.
Justified. Word of God states that Phantom was a time of artisans, and they valued style over everything. As time went on, and the Republic was launched into war, it became a question of utility over attractiveness.
Zerg Rush: The Empire's TIE Fighters, and both the clone and droid armies in Episode II as well.