On November 3, 2002 a Canadian student made a video of himself swinging a golf ball retriever around as a weapon. The video was filmed at his high school studio, and the tape left in a basement. It was taped over a portion of a basketball game (as seen extremely briefly at the end of the clip). The video was discovered, uploaded to the internet, and eventually became a viral meme. An edited version of the video was created, adding Star Wars music, texts, and lightsaber lights and sounds to his golf ball retriever. As of November 27, 2006 it was estimated by The Viral Factory that the video had been viewed over 900 million times.
In July 2003, the student's family filed a CA$250,000 lawsuit against the families of four of his schoolmates. The lawsuit stated in part that he "had to endure, and still endures today, harassment and derision from his high-school mates and the public at large" and "will be under psychiatric care for an indefinite amount of time." Legal proceedings against one family were quickly dropped. The lawsuit had been scheduled to begin trial on April 10, 2006, but on April 7, the boy and his parents reached an out-of-court settlement with the defendants.
In 2005, CNET listed the Star Wars Kid as #8 on its Top 10 Web Fads list. while in 2007, the G4 tv show, Attack of the Show, rated it the number 1 viral video of all time. It was ranked #2 on VH1's "Top 40 Internet Celebrities", right behind Gary Brolsma. The case raised privacy issues and was extensively reported in mainstream news media worldwide, including The New York Times, CBS News, GMTV, and BBC News.
The video and its subsequent popularity spawned many spoofs and references on various television programs, including episodes of The Venture Bros., American Dad - All About Steve, Arrested Development (multiple episodes, beginning with The Immaculate Election), Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Cory in the House, Teen Titans and South Park.
In 2006, comedian Stephen Colbert initiated a contest entitled "Stephen Colbert's Greenscreen Challenge". He presented video of himself standing in front of a greenscreen, using a toy lightsaber to dramatically fight off imaginary foes in the fashion of the Star Wars Kid. It was then up to viewers to edit and enhance in their own way. Viewers would then send their own videos into the show, on which the best would be featured. The contest eventually culminated with Star Wars creator George Lucas making an appearance, presenting his elaborate version of the video, enhanced by Industrial Light and Magic.