The original trilogy is sometimes called the "classic trilogy" in contrast to the prequel trilogy. The term sequel trilogy is used for upcoming sequels to Return of the Jedi.
STAR WARS (1977) *Also know as "Star Wars: Episode VI A New Hope*
The galaxy is in a civil war, and spies for the Rebel Alliance have stolen plans to the Galactic Empire's Death Star, a heavily armed and armored space station capable of destroying entire planets. Rebel leader Princess Leia is in possession of the plans, but her ship is captured by Imperial forces under the command of the evil Lord Darth Vader. Before she is captured, Leia hides the plans in the memory of an astromech droid called R2-D2, along with a holographic recording. The droid, accompanied by fellow protocol droid C-3PO, escape from the captured ship to the desert planet Tatooine.
The droids are captured by Jawa traders, who sell the pair to moisture farmers Owen and Beru Lars and their nephew, Luke Skywalker. While cleaning R2-D2, Luke accidentally triggers part of Leia's message, in which she requests help from Obi-Wan Kenobi. After wondering if she is referring to Ben Kenobi, a hermit living nearby, Luke retires for the evening. The next morning, Luke finds R2-D2 searching for Obi-Wan, and meets Ben, who reveals himself to be Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan tells Luke of his days as a Jedi, who were a faction of former galactic peacekeepers with supernatural powers derived from an energy field called the Force, and who were conquered by the Empire. Contrary to his uncle's assertions, Luke learns that his father fought alongside Obi-Wan as a Jedi Knight before he was betrayed and killed by Vader, Obi-Wan's former pupil who turned to the dark side of the Force. Obi-Wan then offers Luke his father's lightsaber.
Obi-Wan views Leia's complete message, in which she begs him to take the Death Star plans to her home planet of Alderaan and give them to her father for analysis. Obi-Wan invites Luke to accompany him to Alderaan and become a student of the Force. Luke initially declines, but, after discovering that Imperial stormtroopers searching for C-3PO and R2-D2 have destroyed his home and killed his aunt and uncle, changes his mind. Obi-Wan and Luke visit the Mos Eisley Cantina, and hire smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee first mate Chewbacca to transport them to Alderaan on their ship, the Millennium Falcon.
Arriving at their destination, they find only debris; Alderaan has been destroyed by order of the Death Star's commanding officer, Grand Moff Tarkin, as a demonstration of the Death Star's power. The Falcon is captured by the Death Star's tractor beam and brought into its hangar bay. While Obi-Wan attempts to disable the tractor beam, RD-D2 discovers that Leia is imprisoned aboard. With the help of Han and Chewbacca, Luke rescues her. After several harrowing escapes, the group makes its way back to the Falcon. Obi-Wan engages in a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader and is killed. The Falcon escapes the Death Star, but carries a homing device that enables Tarkin and Vader to track it to the rebels' hidden base on Yavin 4.
The rebels' analysis of the Death Star plans reveals a vulnerable exhaust port that connects to the station's main reactor; they plan a mission to attack it. Luke joins the rebel assault squadron, while Han collects his payment for the transport and intends to leave despite Luke's request that he stay and help. In the subsequent battle, the rebels suffer heavy losses after several unsuccessful attack runs, leaving Luke as one of the few surviving pilots. Vader leads a squad of TIE fighters and prepares to attack Luke's X-wing ship, but Han returns and fires on the Imperials, sending Vader spiraling away. Helped by spiritual advice from Obi-Wan instructing him to use the Force, Luke successfully destroys the Death Star, killing Tarkin seconds before he can fire on the rebel base. Leia later awards Luke and Han medals for their heroism.
The Empire Strikes Back (1980) *Also know as STAR WARS: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back*
Three years after the destruction of the Death Star, the Rebel Alliance has been driven from their former base on Yavin IV by the Galactic Empire. Princess Leia leads a contingent, which includes Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, in a new base on the icy planet Hoth. The Imperial Fleet, led by Darth Vader, continues to hunt for Rebels’ new base by dispatching numerous probe droids across the galaxy.
While investigating a potential meteor strike, Luke is ambushed by a monstrous, furry wampa, and manages to escape from the wampa's cave with his lightsaber, but soon suffers from the sheer-cold temperatures of the snowy wasteland. The spirit of his late mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, appears before him and instructs him to go to the Dagobah system to train under Jedi Master Yoda. He is then found by Han, who uses the warmth of his dead tauntaun for shelter, and brought back to base to recover.
On patrol a short time later, Han and Chewbacca discover the asteroid is in fact a probe droid which alerts the Imperial Fleet to the Rebels’ location. The Empire launches a large-scale attack, using gigantic AT-AT Walkers to capture the base. Han and Leia escape on the Millennium Falcon with C-3PO and Chewbacca, but their hyperspace drive malfunctions. They hide in an asteroid field, where Han and Leia grow closer. Vader summons several bounty hunters, including the notorious Boba Fett, to assist in finding the Falcon. Luke, meanwhile, escapes with R2-D2 in his X-wing fighter and crash lands on Dagobah. He meets a diminutive creature who is revealed to be Yoda and, although reluctant, after conferring with Obi-Wan's spirit he accepts Luke as his pupil.
After evading the Imperial Fleet, Han sets a course for Cloud City, a floating gas mining colony in the skies of the planet Bespin run by Han's old friend, Lando Calrissian. Unknowingly, the Millennium Falcon has been tracked by Boba Fett and, shortly after they arrive at Cloud City, Lando leads the group into a trap, where they are handed over to Darth Vader. It is revealed that Vader is trying to lure out Luke with the intent of capturing him alive and presenting him to his master, the Emperor, and is using the group as bait. During his intensive training on Dagobah, Luke sees a premonition of Han and Leia in pain and, against Yoda's wishes, leaves in an attempt to save them.
Vader reneges on his agreement with Lando and takes Leia into custody, and hands Han over to Boba Fett. As part of his trap, Vader intends to hold Luke in suspended animation via carbon freezing and selects Han as a test subject for the process. Frozen in a block of carbonite, he survives the freezing and Vader hands him over to Fett, who intends to leave for Tatooine to deliver him to Jabba the Hutt, the gangster to whom Han is heavily indebted. Lando, unable to deal with the guilt of what is happening, initiates an escape and frees Leia and the others. They desperately try to save Han but are unable to, and flee Cloud City in the Millennium Falcon.
Meanwhile, Luke arrives at Cloud City and falls into Vader's trap. The two engage in a lightsaber duel that leads them over the city's central air shaft, and Luke, vastly outmatched, has his hand cut off and is disarmed. Vader attempts to coerce Luke into joining forces to destroy the Emperor and, when this fails, reveals himself as Luke's father. Horrified by the revelation, Luke throws himself down the air shaft. He is ejected beneath the floating city and makes a desperate telepathic plea to Leia, who senses it and persuades Lando to return for him. R2-D2 repairs the Falcon 's hyperdrive, allowing them to finally escape the Imperial Fleet and a now-despondent Darth Vader.
Aboard a medical frigate, Luke is fitted with a robotic prosthetic hand, as Lando and Chewbacca set off in the Falcon to find Jabba the Hutt and save Han. As the Falcon flies off, Luke, Leia, R2-D2, and C-3PO look on and await their contact.
The Return of the Jedi (1983) *Also know as STAR WARS: Episode VI The Return of the Jedi* - and - *The Revenge of the Jedi*
Luke Skywalker initiates a plan to rescue Han Solo from the crime lord Jabba the Hutt with the help of Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2. Leia infiltrates Jabba's palace on Tatooine disguised as a bounty hunter with Chewbacca as her prisoner. Lando is already there disguised as a guard. Leia releases Han from his carbonite prison, but she is captured and enslaved. Luke arrives soon afterward but after a tense standoff, he is captured. After Luke survives his battle with Jabba's Rancor, Jabba sentences him and Han to death by feeding them to the Sarlacc. Luke frees himself and battles Jabba's guards. During the chaos, Boba Fett, who has remained at Jabba's palace since delivering Han, attempts to attack Luke, but Han inadvertently knocks him into the Sarlacc pit. Meanwhile, Leia strangles Jabba to death, and Luke destroys Jabba's sail barge as the group escapes. While the others rendezvous with the Rebel Alliance, Luke returns to Dagobah where he finds that Yoda is dying. Before he dies, Yoda confirms that Darth Vader, once known as Anakin Skywalker, is Luke's father, and there is "another Skywalker". The spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi confirms that this other Skywalker is Luke's twin sister, Leia. Obi-Wan tells Luke that he must fight Vader again to defeat the Empire.
The Rebel Alliance learns that the Empire has been constructing a new Death Star under the supervision of Emperor Palpatine himself. As the station is protected by an energy shield, Han leads a strike team to destroy the shield generator on the forest moon of Endor; doing so would allow a squadron of starfighters to destroy the Death Star. The strike team, accompanied by Luke and Leia, travels to Endor in a stolen Imperial shuttle. On Endor, Luke and his companions encounter a tribe of Ewoks and, after an initial conflict, gain their trust. Later, Luke tells Leia that she is his sister, Vader is their father, and that he must go and confront him. Surrendering to Imperial troops, Luke is brought to Vader and unsuccessfully tries to convince him to turn from the dark side of the Force.
Vader takes Luke to the Death Star to meet the Emperor, intent on turning him to the dark side. The Emperor reveals that the Death Star is actually fully operational and the Rebel fleet will fall into a trap. On Endor, Han's strike team is captured by Imperial forces, but a surprise counterattack by the Ewoks allows the Rebels to battle the Imperials. Meanwhile, Lando, piloting the Millennium Falcon, leads the Rebel fleet to the Death Star, only to find that the station's shield is still active and the Imperial fleet is waiting for them. The Emperor tempts Luke to give in to his anger and join the dark side of the Force, and Luke engages Vader in a lightsaber duel. Vader senses that Luke has a sister, and threatens to turn her to the dark side. Enraged, Luke attacks Vader and severs his father's prosthetic right hand. The Emperor entreats Luke to kill Vader and take his place, but Luke refuses, declaring himself a Jedi. On Endor, the strike team defeats the Imperial forces and destroys the shield generator, allowing the Rebel fleet to launch their assault on the Death Star. At the same time, a furious Palpatine tortures Luke with Force lightning. Unwilling to let his son die, Vader kills the Emperor, but is himself mortally wounded in the process. He asks Luke to help remove his mask before dying in Luke's arms.
As the battle between the Imperial and Alliance fleets continues, Lando leads a group of Rebel ships into the Death Star's core and destroys the main reactor. As Luke escapes on a shuttle with his father's body, the Falcon flies out of the Death Star's superstructure as the station explodes. On Endor, Leia reveals to Han that Luke is her brother, and they share a kiss. Luke returns to Endor and cremates his father's body on a funeral pyre. As the Rebels celebrate their victory over the Empire, Luke smiles as he sees the spirits of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and the redeemed Anakin watching over them.