STAR WARS MOVIE POSTERS

 

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Star Wars movie posters have been fueling the movie poster hobby since they launched in 1976.  Below are some of the most collectable posters.  (Image sources and information from Heritage Auctions and Star Wars Poster Book).

20”x29” first promotional poster (1976). Artwork by Howard Cheykin. 1000 were printed and sold at comic book conventions in 1976 to promote the movie.

First advance one sheet (1977): This one sheet was printed on shiny mylar, which unfortunately has separated from the backing on many copies. The font was changed on later posters.

Teaser B one sheet (1977): First poster to use the famous phrase “a long time ago....” (As explained in this MPC authentication, watch out for bootlegs of this one.)

Style C one sheet (1977) (Tom Chantrell): This “action packed” one sheet is relatively rare and valuable. According to reports, only 500 or so were printed for non-US locations. (As explained in this MPC authentication, watch out for bootlegs of this style.)

Style A one sheet (1977) (Tom Jung art): Perhaps the most famous movie poster of all time and a “must” for collectors.  (As explained in this MPC authentication, watch out for bootlegs and video posters of this one.)

Extremely rare and valuable UK quad (40”x30”) poster displayed in late 1977 in London.  Art by the Hildebrandt brothers.

Style D one sheet (White & Struzan art):  Commonly referenced as the “circus” poster, it was distributed to theaters beginning in summer 1978.  (As explained in this MPC authentication, watch out for the Kilian restrike of this poster).

STAR WARS 4: A NEW HOPE

The US half sheet (1977) was one of the last half sheet posters in the United States to use different artwork from the one sheet.  Many collectors prefer it over the Style A one sheet.

This “Birthday Cake” one sheet was sent to theaters still playing Star Wars in May 1978.  (Yes, ONE YEAR later - would never happen nowawadays!)

This 24”x37” concept poster (art by John Alvin) was printed in October 1978 for a planned series of concerts but was never released or sold to the public.  Extremely rare and nearly impossible to find but a beauty nonetheless!

STAR WARS 5: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

Empire Strikes Back advance one sheet (1979): This very cool poster features the menacing mask of Dark Vader, who had become the greatest villain in movie history.

Empire Strikes Back Style A one Sheet: George Lucas wanted to play up the romantic relationship between Han and Leia and Roger Kastel’s “Gone with the Wind” artwork delivered.

This Style B one sheet (Tom Jung art) quickly replaced the Style A  in theaters when Billy Dee Williams protested his absence in the Style A.  (Actually, he had been in the first version but had been deleted to reduce the perceived “clutter.”)

Japanese artist Noriyoshi Ono created this exquisite poster, which was used in Australia and Japan.  Below is the relatively rare Australian one sheet (27”x40”).

Ralph McQuarrie’s 17‘x28’ poster used to promote the radio series for Empire Strikes Back.

STAR WARS 6: RETURN OF THE JEDI

This Style A one sheet (Tim Reamer artwork) features the iconic light saber.

“Revenge” of the Jedi advance one sheet (Drew Struzan artwork): This spectacular poster never reached theaters. After it was printed, George Lucas decided to change the title to “Return” of the Jedi.  Fortunately, 7,000 were sold to Star Wars Fan Club members. (As explained in this MPC Authentication, watch out for bootlegs of this one.)

The Style B one sheet (Kazuhiko Sano artwork) employed  a montage style (complete with Princess Leia wearing a metal bikini!).  Overstock of this poster was sold to dealers in the 1980s, so it is often in rolled condition.

Striking Polish poster for Return of the Jedi:

STAR WARS 1-3: PREQUEL POSTERS (1997-2003)

The advance posters for the prequel movies were very well done.  The Phantom Menace advance (below left) foreshadowed the emergence of Darth Vader.  The back-to-back lovers shown on the Attack of the Clones advance (below middle) reflected their ill-advised romance.  Finally, the cape on the Revenge of the Sith advance (below right) showed Anikin’s transformation into Darth Vader.

George Lucas commissioned Drew Struzan to illustrate character montage one sheet posters for the prequels.  (By the late 1990s very few movie posters were illustrated.)

STAR WARS 4-6: 1997 RE-RELEASE

In 1997 Lucasfilm re-released the original trilogy movies with enhanced special effects and printed three posters by Drew Struzan to promote them:

Tom Jung rearranged the Style B artwork for this 1982 re-release poster.