George Lucas’ epic space trilogy, begun in 1977 with Episode IV: A New Hope, is a phenomenon whose impact on culture is almost too great to measure. The influence on cinema is undeniable. Think about the prevalence of the “trilogy” format, to give just one example (Mad Max, Back to the Future, Christopher Nolan’s Batman, etc). Star Wars’ Jedi-like power has also exerted itself on politics. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan’s orbital defence programme was referred to as ‘Star Wars’. In the UK Census of 2001, over 390,000 respondents entered their religion as ‘Jedi’. In 2013, President Obama joked that the Republicans feared he would do a “Jedi mind meld on them” over the sequester debate (mixing his Star Wars and hisStar Trek references—tut tut).
But it is not just politics and cinema that has succumbed to the Force. The events industry—often a barometer of cultural trends—has also by no means been immune….
Aside from more obvious examples, such as Secret Cinema’s Empire Strikes Back 2015 event in London (described by the Times as “merging movie going with interactive theatre and nerd encounters worthy of a sci-fi convention”), the Star Wars franchise has influenced the events industry in other, more subtle ways. Think of the cantina where Luke Skywalker first meets Han Solo and Chewbacca—its cool blue lights and rows of intimate booths facilitating the debate and discussion encouraged at corporate events (hopefully minus the laser gun fight). Or Princess Leia appearing by flickering blue hologram in an eerie-foreshadowing of a CEO addressing her employees by hologram at a corporate event in 2015. Or compare a multi-lingual robot like C-3PO (fluent in an impressive 6million languages) with an interactive floor-plan which can guide and instruct event attendees from all corners of the globe (if not space…). And they are just examples from the very first film in a franchise which will soon reach its seventh instalment.
Suffice to say that, since its beginnings, Star Wars has been a creative and imaginative prompt for event planners and designers everywhere. And with the December 2015 release of Episode VII: The Force Awakens, there is no doubt that its legacy will continue.