In 2012, The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm for US$4.06billion and earned the distribution rights to all subsequent Star Wars films, beginning with the release of The Force Awakens in 2015. The former distributor, 20th Century Fox, was to retain the physical distribution rights for the first two Star Wars trilogies, was to own permanent rights for the original 1977 film and was to continue to hold the rights for the prequel trilogy and the first two sequels to A New Hope until May 2020.Walt Disney Studios currently owns digital distribution rights to all the Star Wars films, excluding A New Hope. On December 14, 2017, the Walt Disney Company announced its pending acquisition of 21st Century Fox, including the film studio and all distribution rights to A New Hope.
The Star Wars franchise takes place in a distant unnamed fictional galaxy at an undetermined point in the ancient past, where many species of aliens (often humanoid) co-exist. People own robotic droids, who assist them in their daily routines, and space travel is common.
The spiritual and mystical element of the Star Wars galaxy is known as "the Force". It is described in the original film as "an energy field created by all living things [that] surrounds us, penetrates us, [and] binds the galaxy together". The people who are born deeply connected to the Force have better reflexes; through training and meditation, they are able to achieve various supernatural feats (such as telekinesis, clairvoyance, precognition, and mind control). The Force is wielded by two major factions at conflict: the Jedi, who harness the light side of the Force, and the Sith, who use the dark side of the Force through hate and aggression.