If there is one component of the Star Wars franchise that drives all the others it is the fans.

Since the release of the original Star Wars in 1977 the Star Wars brand has been a global phenomenon that has created more loyal, die hard fans than just about anything else in modern pop culture.
They are the life blood of Star Wars and have kept it alive all of these years even when it waned around the late 80's and early 90's.

From building R2 units and appearing at fundraisers in Stormtrooper costumes to writing fan fiction and collecting action figures, Star Wars fans have turned a 1977 low budget space opera in to a way of life.

The impetus for Star Wars' rabid fanbase can be traced back to Lucasfilm's original vice-president of advertising, publicity, promotion and merchandising; Charles Lippincott.

Lippincott was responsible for most of the grass roots marketing which gave Star Wars its needed buzz and was integral in getting fans involved early on by creating the Official Star Wars Fan Club.
It's worth noting that Lippincott was also responsible for setting in motion the Star Wars Holiday Special which some fans see as the worst thing ever created while some have embraced its kitsch place in Star Wars history.

Today Star Wars fans range in all ages, from young to old and come from all walks of life. There are fans from all different countries, ethnicities and cultures. It is an extremely diverse bunch and reflects not only the universal appeal of Star Wars but also the variety of stories and characters that have appeared throughout both the saga and the extended universe.