• How Star Wars Conquered the Universe

  • The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise
  • By: Chris Taylor
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 20 hrs and 41 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (1,817 ratings)

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How Star Wars Conquered the Universe

By: Chris Taylor
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
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Publisher's summary

In 1973, a young filmmaker named George Lucas scribbled some notes for a far-fetched space-fantasy epic. More than 40 years and $37 billion later, Star Wars-related products outnumber human beings, a stormtrooper army spans the globe, and “Jediism” has become a religion in its own right. Lucas’s creation has grown into far more than a cinematic classic; it is, quite simply, one of the most lucrative, influential, and interactive franchises of all time. Yet until now the complete history of Star Wars - its influences and impact, the controversies it has spawned, its financial growth and long-term prospects - has never been told.

In How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, veteran journalist Chris Taylor traces the series from the difficult birth of the original film through its sequels, the franchise’s death and rebirth, the prequels, and the preparations for a new trilogy. Taylor provides portraits of the friends, writers, artists, producers, and marketers who labored behind the scenes to turn Lucas’s idea into a legend. He also jousts with modern-day Jedi, tinkers with droid builders, and gets inside Boba Fett’s helmet, all to find out how Star Wars has attracted and inspired so many fans for so long.

Since the first film’s release in 1977, Taylor shows, Star Wars has conquered our culture with a sense of lightness and exuberance, while remaining serious enough to influence politics around the world and spread a spirituality that appeals to religious groups and atheists alike. Controversial digital upgrades and critically savaged prequels have actually made the franchise stronger than ever. Now, with a new set of savvy bosses holding the reins and Episode VII on the horizon, it looks like Star Wars is just getting started.

An energetic, fast-moving account of this creative and commercial phenomenon, How Star Wars Conquered the Universe explains how a filmmaker’s fragile dream beat out a surprising number of rivals and gained a die-hard, multigenerational fan base - and why it will be galvanizing our imaginations and minting money for generations to come.

©2014 Chris Taylor (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

Critic reviews

"Taylor brings a genuine love of pop and nerd culture to this comprehensive retrospective on one of the 20th century's most popular film series.... Taylor has compiled an impressive collection of background research and insider info that any fan would be glad to own." (Publishers Weekly)

"Taylor's fan-boy enthusiasm coupled with his inviting narrative style make this a fun and informative read for sf enthusiasts, media studies and marketing students, film industry professionals, and aspiring Jedi Knights." (Library Journal)

"It's impossible to imagine a Star Wars fan who wouldn't love this book.... It really is hard to imagine a book about Star Wars being any more comprehensive than this one. It's full of information and insight and analysis, and it's so engagingly written that it's a pure joy to read.... There are plenty of books about Star Wars, but very few of them are essential reading. This one goes directly to the top of the pile." (Booklist, starred review)

Featured Article: Star Wars Behind-the-Scenes—The Best Memoirs and Nonfiction from a Galaxy Far, Far Away


It’s no exaggeration to say that Star Wars is one of the biggest cultural juggernauts we’ve ever seen, a series that continues to expand and appeal to generation after generation. Hear stories from the Star Wars universe at large in this list of nonfiction listens featuring Star Wars cast memoirs and biographies, works of cultural criticism, and insightful podcasts.