BySree Lal, writer at
Engineer by occupation. Movie geek for a lifetime....
Sree Lal

I always valued Star Wars for its technological advancements in terms of visual effects, more than its characters and plot. The first movie was a mix of mind-blowing action sequences, which didn’t have much space for character or plot development. Still, it became a cultural phenomenon, thanks to some ground-breaking visual effects. To understand how much impact it possesses over the popular culture, a single article won’t be enough. The main aim of this article is to assess a different scenario in which Star Wars wasn’t able to create such an impact, or more importantly, if it wasn’t made. To understand such a scenario, one must find how much it has influenced pop culture. So, let’s take a look at how important Star Wars is to the evolution of Hollywood.

The Pop-Culture Impact

To assess the overall impact is a tiresome job, even though, thanks to the work of, the statistics can speak for itself.

Let’s take a closer look at few of these aspects, so that we can determine the amount of influence it has on current Hollywood.

Box Office Success & Fan Base

How pop culture inspires its fans is a question that requires further studies. One thing for sure is that over the past 3 decades, Star Wars has made its fair share of nerds and geeks. Every year, Comic-Con receives fanatics in Stormtrooper and Jedi costumes who create a universe of their own. As for the box-office collection, the whole series had raked an immense fortune for LucasFilms with a span of 7 films, including the animated feature The Clone Wars.

Inspirations Beyond Decades

The influence of the Star Wars franchise is not limited to fans and theaters. It had inspired a generation, including some of today’s greatest directors. I’ve mentioned the involvement of Star Wars in the career of James Cameron in a previous article, as he was motivated to focus on the importance of VFX in storytelling while he was working as a truck driver. Other famous directors like Steven Spielberg and Pixar’s John Lasseter were also inspired by the success of LucasFilm and Star Wars.

VFX Revolution

Practical visual effects weren’t a new thing to Hollywood when Star Wars was introduced. Masters like Stanley Kubrick perfected it with movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey. But Star Wars combined the old-school practical effects with the ground-breaking computer animation, and it was a hurricane that swept away the whole world. Advancements in the technical department from that day on come from Star Wars and the geniuses at work. From Pixar’s computer animated features to Cameron’s shape-shifting cyborg, the influence of Star Wars on the field of visual effects is enormous.

But what if there was no Star Wars?

Simply put, without Star Wars, there wouldn’t be a Terminator, an Avatar or a Toy Story, at least not in the way we know it. It’s not just the case of Cameron or Lasseter, as the single venture has influenced some of the major advancements in Hollywood. Lucasfilm’s computer graphics department was the one that turned into Pixar. Skywalker Sound is responsible for some of the ground-breaking advances in sound editing. All these become a puff of smoke if Star Wars wasn’t made. It’s inevitable that back in those days, some brave men would be willing to test the new possibilities in movie making, but George Lucas not only excelled in it, but also found the economic promises of those technologies. LucasFilm is a venture the Hollywood will always remember for its contributions, and Star Wars was the beginning. It is hard to think about such an alternate timeline, where there is no Star Wars, for its influence was beyond mere words.

Before I conclude my article, let me confess that I’ve never understood the importance of Star Wars in the history of Hollywood until now. For me, Star Wars was a nerd’s dream with some dashing action sequences, but now I understand why it is one of those milestones a movie fan will cherish with joy.


What do you feel about a world without Star Wars?


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