The Death Star wouldn't fit between Cincy and Lexington: Mind-blowing 'Star Wars' facts

Carol Motsinger
Cincinnati Enquirer

This story was originally published in 2016, so "Star Wars" toy and home entertainment sales numbers are from then.

George Lucas doesn't suffer from a lack of imagination.

He dreamed and designed an entire galaxy. A universe where a weapon could be the size of a planet, Yoda is an acceptable name and a Nerfherder is a biting insult. Where ships that can make "the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs" is an honorable distinction. And, well, "kessel run" is a thing.

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Yet before Lucas's first film about that kessel run, nerfherders and something called a Death Star hit the big screen in 1977, even this original storyteller couldn't imagine one thing.

Actually, one really big thing.

Lucas predicted that "Star Wars: A New Hope" would make something like $8 million at the box office. A figure that, by the way, wouldn't even cover the space opera's $11 million budget.

Boy, was he wrong.

Like wrong by more than $767 million. The first film grossed $775.4 million worldwide.  

That movie also ended up launching the most enduring pop culture phenomenon our planet has even known. In four decades and through seven movies, the franchise is now the largest ever, breaking box office records along the way. It practically invented, with the help of Cincinnati's own Kenner Products, the industry of movie toys and merchandising.

It's already spawned generations of fandom, annual conventions packed by thousands from around the world and more than a few babies named Luke or Leia. Even a "Star Wars" theme park. 

And "Star Wars" is somehow only going to get bigger, with spinoffs and sequels and new TV shows popping up every year.

So if Lucas (and the world at large) couldn't wrap his brain around how epic this epic is, how can we? We've looked at what we see in our own backyard to put the franchise's footprint – both on the screen and off – in context.

ArtWorks recently unveiled the newest edition to their Cincinnati Heritage Series, the Toy Heritage mural by local artist Jonathan Queen. The mural focuses on the legacy of Kenner Toys, a Cincinnati-based toy company founded in 1947.

Let's bring the astronomical Star Wars sensation back to Earth

Length of the Star Destroyer: 5,249 feetAlmost five Roebling bridges (by length)

First Death Star diameter: 87 miles Distance from Cincinnati to Lexington: 83 miles

Length of the Millennium Falcon: 114 feetHeight of the Union Terminal: 156 feet

The box office take for 'Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens:" $2.06 billion, highest of all timeThat would amount to 15 Music Hall renovations at $135 million

The dollar gross for the original six "Star Wars" movies: $4.5 billionThat would equal the cost of 21 Union Terminal renovations at $212.7 million each

*Value of toys and merchandise: $17 billion Or 114 street cars at $148 million each

*Home entertainment sales of the series: $5.7 billionOr 16 Great American Tower(s) at Queen City Square at $346 million a piece

The price Disney paid for Lucasfilm, home of the Star Wars franchise: $4 billionOr you could buy 11 Great American Ball Park(s) at $361 million each

Sources: Forbes, Fortune, Telegraph, Wookieepedia,, Box Office Mojo, Enquirer archives.

*These sales numbers are from 2016.