Star Wars came out thirty years ago and became one of the most popular movies of all time. I could easily type “the most popular” and not get many complaints. This article on Variety.com points to many of the theories on why it was so successful, including good timing and marketing advances. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the hero’s journey is worn so clearly on its sleeve that Star Wars has continued to be so successful.
“Lucas went back to the basis of mythology and folklore in giving us the structure of the hero’s journey. We were in the period of the rebel and antihero then, in movies like ‘Rocky’ and ‘Dog Day Afternoon.’ In bringing back the Joseph Campbell paradigm of the hero’s quest, Lucas created a shift in point-of-view that the industry was waiting for. He engaged us in the journey.”