Star Wars is more than just a movie – it’s a way of life, a religion, a merchandising empire, and, yep, pieces of artwork we pay exorbitant amounts for to shellac on our walls. This week’s gallery explores some of the the amazing Star Wars posters throughout the decades.
Drawn by Howard Chaykin and distributed in 1976 at conventions and comic book stores to hype up ‘s theatrical release for the following year. Only 1,000 were purportedly printed.
A New Hope
The most iconic and re-printed image from Star Wars merchandising, featuring Tom Jung’s artwork.
Star Wars solidified blockbusters as the new Hollywood standard and also popularized iterative poster marketing, where different versions are revealed throughout the ad campaign to maintain consumer interest. The second New Hope poster rivals the first in terms of recognizability.
The final major New Hope poster, featuring an early contribution from Drew Struzan, an artist who would become synonymous with Lucasfilm in later decades.
Poland is no stranger to promoting international movies as mind-searing nightmarish visions, though this New Hope poster is pretty benign on that scale.
A New Hope in Hungary.
A Russian Star Wars poster from 1990, the year the movie was finally released there.
Ominous teaser poster for (1980).
The Empire Strikes Back
Drawn by Roger Kastel, the main Empire poster emphasized Han and Leia’s briefly doomed romance.
Tom Jung returned to draw the final Empire poster.
Kazuhiko Sano drew the main “collage” poster for (1983).
Return of the Jedi
Before George Lucas’ change of heart, Return was going to be called Revenge of the Jedi up until close to the movie’s release.
was a made-for-TV movie from 1984. It was released in theaters internationally as The Ewok Adventure Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure.
The second Ewok spin-off was 1985’s , a direct sequel to The Battle for Endor Caravan.
Lucas spent millions re-working and editing the original trilogy and released them one month after the other in early 1997, billing them as the Special Editions. Struzan, who made a name for himself as the #1 Indiana Jones poster artist, continued his collaboration with Lucas here.
The Empire Strikes Back Special Edition poster.
Return of the Jedi Special Edition poster.
First teaser poster for (1999), one of the more eye-grabbing pieces from the middle The Phantom Menace Star Wars franchise age.
Poster for The Phantom Menace.
Poster for (2002).
Attack of the Clones
Poster for (2005).
Revenge of the Sith
Poster for animated spin-off (2008).
The Clone Wars
Poster given out to attendees of Disney’s D23 fan expo in 2015, with art by Struzan.
The main poster for The Force Awakens, ushering in the modern Star Wars era.
There were a bunch of questionably Photoshopped Rogue One posters during its campaign, but this IMAX one stands out for its symmetry (a rarity in SW posters overall).
The first Last Jedi posters evokes the Lightsaber effect from the iconic Tom Jung New Hope poster, while the brutal use of red harkens to the unused Revenge of the Jedi one.