Star Wars was released 40 years ago today. The film – which now goes by the slightly wordier title Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope – hit U.S. cinemas on May 25, 1977, and quickly became a celluloid phenomenon, spawning a merchandising empire, a series of equally lucrative sequels, and a bunch of inferior rip-offs.

But four decades on, FANDOM wants to forget about the madness that came after, and celebrate the sci-fi classic that kicked it all off. So the following is what the original Star Wars means to us…

Chris Tilly – Managing Editor

I was born a month after Star Wars came out in the U.K., so it’s always been a part of my life. My happy place. A film that takes me back to simpler, more innocent times, when hanging out with droids and Wookiees and going on an adventure to rescue a princess felt it might be possible.

I eventually discovered that ‘Jedi Master’ wasn’t a viable career, but the hope and wonder that Episode IV instilled in me has never left. Empire Strikes Back is the answer the cool kids give when asked for their favourite Star Wars movie, but while that deliriously dark instalment is great, it will never surpass my first journey to that galaxy far, far away, when anything truly seemed possible.

Bob Aquavia – Fan Contributor

My earliest memory of Star Wars was of me sitting in my house as close to the TV as possible, watching A New Hope. I must have been around five or six, and I can still remember that feeling like it was yesterday: Luke walks out of his home and looks out on the Tatooine horizon, with John Williams’ score rising in the background.

That was it, I was hooked and forever became a Star Wars fan. Standing in line for the re-released Original Trilogy 20 years ago and the prequels after that. Reading as many ‘Expanded Universe’ novels and comics as I could get my hands on. It’s a universe that was, is, and will always be part of my fandom.

Brian Linder – Senior Editor

It’s the 40th anniversary of the release of Star Wars: A New Hope. I’m not quite old enough to remember that – Return of the Jedi was the first Star Wars movie I saw in the theater. And although I wasn’t part of the excitement around the original release of Star Wars in 1977, the films have been an inspiration since I first saw Empire Strikes Back on VHS at my friend’s house in the early ’80s. But my favorite Star Wars memory — out of all the sensational Star Wars-y experiences I’ve had over the years thanks to my career – is going to see Space Jam on opening day in November 1996 and watching the epic trailer for the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition absolutely bring the house down. The saga and its fans have shaped me creatively and pointed me down a path that’s helped me become who I am.

Mike Delaney – Community Development Associate

I can’t remember the first time I saw Star Wars, but I often marvel how a film released two years before I was even born continues to shape my life. Star Wars was unlike anything I had ever seen before. It captured my imagination simply by hinting at a larger universe of stories and I wanted to know everything. This drive to know everything became a desire to document everything. I developed a love of world-building and lore, and that eventually led me to Wookieepedia. My experiences there led me to FANDOM. In all honesty, if it was not for Star Wars, I would not be where I am today, doing a job I love.

Thomas Wilson – Fan Contributor

That first time I saw Star Wars I was etched in my seat, jaw lowered in awe, and gaping at the spectacle before me. It was the perfect mix of heart-stopping action, soul-wrenching drama, and the tension of great suspense. It was the movie that propelled me into a lifelong love of sci-fi that went above all else. The movie defined my childhood and gave me hope for my own daily struggles. It inspired me to embrace the endless possibilities of the world around me and beyond. As such, it wasn’t just a movie and never will be.

Kim Taylor-Foster – Entertainment Editor

That’s easy. Princess Leia. Leia is everything. Growing up, most of the heroes in pop culture that I had to look up to were male. I struggled to find many female figures in mainstream movies worth admiring. But then there was Leia. A woman capable of holding her own in a very male landscape, she took no sh*t from anybody. She was in charge and she made things happen. Even being held prisoner didn’t phase her. She was fearless, and strong, and quick with her mind and her tongue. Everything I wanted to be.

Chris Tilly
At this point my life is a combination of 1980s horror movies, Crystal Palace football matches, and episodes of I'm Alan Partridge. The first series. When he was in the travel tavern. Not the one after.