How to Talk About ‘Star Wars’ in Spanish

Que la fuerza te acompañe

Darth Vader, the iconic Star Wars villain

jpgfactory / Getty Images

If you want to talk with your Spanish-speaking friends about Star Wars, the Fundación del Español Urgente has some advice for you.

Known in English as the Foundation for Urgent Spanish, the Royal Spanish Academy-affiliated organization also called Fundéu BBVA updated its guidelines late in 2019 to aid Spanish speakers and publications in discussing the space saga. Among them are that the film series should not be referred to by its English name—as is common—but by the Spanish name for the first film in the series: La guerra de las galaxias (literally The War of the Galaxies). As is the case with other composition titles, only the first word and proper nouns should be capitalized.

As with that piece of advice, Fundéu's other recommendations for Star Wars terms show some similarities and differences with English.

Words for Creatures and Technology

  • There's no need to capitalize the names of groups of creatures, just as names of ethnic groups aren't capitalized. Thus the Ewoks are known as los ewoks. (In words of recent foreign origin, it is common to pluralize by appending -s rather than -es as is usually done with words ending in a consonant.)
  • A laser is un láser.

Proper Nouns for Characters

  • Luke Skywalker? He's Lucas Caminante de los Cielos, a calque.
  • And Han Solo is simply Han Solo. Native speakers have often written the name as Han Sólo, but Fundéu says the accent isn't needed.
  • Jedis are known as jedis, but the Jedi Order can be written with capitalization as la Orden Jedi. Application of the same rule would apply sith to individual Sith, but Sith to the order.
  • Most of the names for other characters are retained in Spanish. For example, Chewbacca is still Chewbacca, even though the "cc" combination is not used in Spanish except in words such as colección and ficción.

Cinematic Terminology

  • Precuela is an acceptable word to refer to a prequel, just as secuela is acceptable for a sequel.
  • Although in English we can talk about Episode 5, in Spanish it's episodio V.
  • Names of spaceships are capitalized much as they are in English. Thus the Millennial Falcon is el Halcón Milenario.
  • A hard-core fan can be called un friki or una friki, whose spelling is preferred to friqui. The words fan and fans can also be used, but they should be typeset in italics to indicate that they remain foreign words.
  • The entire saga can be referred to as, well, una saga even though the traditional meaning of saga (it comes from Old Norse) refers to legends less grand.
  • A series of nine films can be called either una nonalogía or una enealogía. There's no widely used English equivalent, but this is similar to the way a series of three films is called a trilogía in Spanish (trilogy in English).
  • The use of franquicia (franchise) should be avoided in referring to the movies series itself—it's better to use serie. Franquicia should be used to refer to merchandise and spinoffs (such as comic books) based on the movie series.

Spanish Names for Star Wars films

Movies in the films series are sometimes marketed with full English names even in Spanish-speaking countries, and some of them use "Star Wars" in the official Spanish title. The Spanish titles are as follows, although it is common to see variations from these:

  • Star Wars: Episodio IV - Una nueva esperanza (1978)
  • Star Wars: Episodio V - El Imperio contraataca (1980)
  • Star Wars: Episodio VI - El retorno del jedi (1983)
  • Star Wars: Episodio I - La amenaza fantasma (1999)
  • Star Wars: Episodio II - El ataque de los clones (2002)
  • Star Wars: Episodio III - La venganza de los sith (2005)
  • La guerra de los clones (2008)
  • Star Wars: Episodio VII - El despertar de la Fuerza (2015)
  • Rogue One: una historia de Star Wars (2016)
  • Star Wars: Episodio VIII - Los últimos jedi (2017)
  • Han Solo: una historia de Star Wars (2018)
  • Star Wars: Episodio IX - El ascenso de Skywalker (2019)

Key Takeaways

  • Although Spanish speakers often refer to the Star Wars films and spinoffs as Star Wars, the officially recommended name is La guerra de las galaxias.
  • Normal Spanish capitalization and pluralization rules should be followed in writing about the series and its characters.