The Force is strong as Star Wars turns 40

ORLANDO, FLORIDA (REUTERS) - It wasn't a long time ago in a galaxy far far away but instead forty years to the day since Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was unleashed on the world.

On March 25, 1977, the film first screened to the public and soon after its popularity exploded.

The franchise, which brought Jedi, lightsabers and blasters into popular culture, was, of course, created by George Lucas.

"It was amazing at the beginning when it became a hit and it's been amazing as we've gone through the years," said Lucas.


"The fans have always been there for forty years and there weren't films every year but there have been fan conventions that kept it alive and it's pretty amazing."

"They are so supportive of everything," added actor Mark Hamill. "Through your good times and your bad times and more supportive of my actual family, who are highly critical by the way but the fans are again something I've never taken for granted.

"Just thinking about it, it's almost moving because everyone has a story. It's become such a fabric of our culture."

Forty years on, the films continue to resonate with modern audiences, and there's good reason for that according to Harrison Ford.

"'It's wonderful uplifting stories that give you hope for the future, encourage you in positive aspects."

With the latest releases maintaining the franchise's lasting popularity, it looks like the Force is still very much strong with 'Star Wars'.