Star Wars is an epic science fiction franchise initially conceived by George Lucas during the 1970s and significantly expanded since that time. The first film in the franchise was simply titled Star Wars, but later had the subtitle Episode IV A New Hope added to distinguish it from its sequels and prequels. Star Wars was released on May 25, 1977 by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, initially spawning two sequels. Twenty-two years after Star Wars was released, Lucas began the release of a second trilogy as a prequel to the original trilogy.
The franchise has spawned other media including novels, television series, video games, and comic books. These supplements to the film trilogies comprise the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and have resulted in significant development of the series' fictional universe. As of 2008, the overall box office revenue generated by the six Star Wars films has totalled approximately $4.3 billion, making it the third-highest grossing film series