Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 crew weren’t the first astronauts to orbit Earth, but they’re the early gravity-defiers we celebrate most. Similarly, Star Wars wasn’t the first movie set in space or the first to feature friendly robot sidekicks, but it melded these ingredients to create a cinematic frisson whose shockwaves echo throughout history. A new infographic charts the many ways elements from Star Wars have woven themselves into so many other seminal works.
Shutterstock teamed up with Pop Chart Lab to explain The Influence of Star Wars on Film and TV. The infographic offers up character archetypes such as the Large Non-Human Friend of Few Words, and The Sci-Fi Cowboy, and The Chosen One, flashes of who can still be seen in Guardians of the Galaxy’s Groot and Peter Quill, and The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen, respectively. George Lucas didn’t invent these ideas, he drew from a wide variety of influences, including Lord of the Rings, and the adventure serials he’d grown up watching. He managed to synthesize all these ideas, though, and set them in space in such a way that has resonated for multiple generations and gone on to influence others.
In addition to the ideas and characters on display in Star Wars, the infographic details how the special effects and futuristic design aesthetic of the series had a hand in shaping many other movies to come—even those not set in space. Also, the idea of a film franchise coming in threes had not been formalized before Star Wars, but as the infographic points out, trilogies have since become de riguer in its wake—barring the occasional Furious 7, etc.
Now that The Force Awakens is well on its way, and looks fantastic, perhaps the series will continue to be influential in its fifth decade.