Igniting Hollywood's special-effects boom
Star Wars films have changed filmmaking forever through the evolution of visual-effects production at ILM. Previously, some film studios had their own "special effects" departments, but ILM brought with it a close collective of artists, engineers, technicians, and production people dedicated to the craft. They paved the way for how effects pipelines on films would be orchestrated and, importantly, how visual-effects shots were budgeted.
Over the past 40 years, too, the visual-effects industry has changed so quickly that an innovation one year might be a second-rate or even obsolete effect the next. Who knows how these next Star Wars films might change movies forever again.
UPDATE: Actress Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in George Lucas's original saga, passed away at the age of 60, after suffering a heart attack over the Christmas 2016 holiday.