When Star Wars was released in 1977, it changed cinema. The franchise was alive with mythical forces, strange aliens and exciting action sequences, and it captured the imagination of millions of fans. Never before had a series of films produced such devotion and loyalty — and when it returned for a prequel trilogy in 1999, a whole new generation fell in love. Now it is time for Episodes VII-IX, and a new round of prequels including this year’s Rogue One. Why has this intergalactic tale resonated with so many people? Episode VII actress Lupita Nyong’o has a theory: ‘Under all the makeup,’ she explains, ‘it’s just human relationships and wants and desires.’
Star Wars has been described as the ultimate ‘monomyth’: the universal story of a hero who leaves the everyday world, finds supernatural wonder, wins a decisive victory and returns home a changed man. Why is mythology so important?
Talent is a destructive myth, claims new book
A new book argues that the ‘myth’ of innate talent is holding students back, and crippling people’s life chances. It’s the latest salvo in a long and controversial debate.
‘Fairy story’ religion under fire again
Stephen Hawking, the world's most famous living physicist, has given a rare and explosive interview. By calling the afterlife “a fairy story”, he has reignited debate between science and religion.
Ancient ‘vampire graves’ unearthed in Bulgaria
Archaeologists in Bulgaria have discovered a pair of medieval skeletons pierced by rods. These corpses were mutilated to prevent them from becoming vampires – and they are not alone.
Down-to-earth astronaut launches into space
At 11:03am this morning, Britain’s first astronaut since 1991 took off on a six-hour journey from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station. The papers call him a hero. Are they right?
Billionaires unveil plan to mine platinum in space
Film director James Cameron and Google founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin have joined other super-rich investors in backing a bold new venture: to hunt for precious metals among the stars.
The day Britain votes to go to war
Many newspapers will use the word ‘war’ when the result of tonight’s debate is reported tomorrow. France and America both use it. David Cameron does not. Is Britain, in fact, ‘at war’?
Global war: after the battle
When the guns fall silent, war-torn nations face an even tougher challenge: keeping a stable peace. What problems do countries face in the aftermath of conflict?
Global war: a world gripped by conflict
According to experts, 20 wars are raging in the world today. From Syria to Mexico, tens of thousands of lives are lost to them each year. Is this bloodshed inevitable?
Star Wars is also the tale of a powerful, tortured family. In Episode I, nine-year-old Anakin Skywalker leaves his mother to travel on an adventure. By Episode VI, he has become Darth Vader, a terrifying villain in a fierce battle with his own children, Luke and Leia — heroes of the rebels. Yet family ties are strong.
Father’s furious email brands children failures
An email expressing one father’s ‘bitter disappointment’ in his grown-up children has gone viral online. Many agree with the furious parent: is the next generation really a let-down?
‘Moral’ young people put family first
Religion, broader society and even other relationships lose out in a new survey of teens and young adults – looking after family is seen as the best measure of morality.
Zimbabwe’s first lady eyes up the presidency
Grace Mugabe has come a long way from presidential secretary to Zimbabwe’s first lady. Now there is talk of her becoming the country’s leader. But are political dynasties a good idea?
What is more powerful: a giant ‘Death Star’ with the power to destroy entire planets, or an ancient mystical force that can move objects, choke enemies, and guarantee that a shot fired from a fighter jet will hit its target? The fight between advanced technology and the supernatural defines much of the Star Wars saga.
FUTURE SCIENCE: Birth of the super human
Last month, a woman succeeded in moving a robotic arm using only her mind. Soon we could be using technology to enhance or even replace our muscles, our senses – and perhaps our brains.
Exploding hoverboards mar Christmas tech fever
Humans are irresistibly drawn to the latest gadgets and inventions — especially at Christmas. But they often disappoint. Is it time to focus on simpler (and more reliable) pleasures?
Smart tech tops bill at festival of gadgets
From Big Brother toothbrushes to driverless cars, the gizmos of tomorrow are wowing viewers at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. But is technology detracting from human experience?