We all appreciate the impact “Star Wars” has had on pop culture. It can’t be overstated. Whle “Jaws” may have been the first major
“summer blockbuster” in 1975, “Star Wars” came along and nearly doubled it’s lifetime box office (and I’m just talking about the very first Star Wars movie, now referred to as “Episode 4” in the franchise canon). It’s soaked into our identity and vernacular. Everybody knows what a lightsaber is–even kids who’ve never even seen one of the movies. If you go up to someone and say, “Long ago….” there’s a good chance they’ll come back with, “…in a galaxy far, far away.” It both influences other media and infiltrates it. There were a ton of no-name knockoff space operas in the years that followed, trying to cash in on the Star Wars fever. Of course, without the talent and passion behind them they were easily forgotten. And Star Wars is routinely mentioned in music (Weird Al has at least two or three songs about Star Wars), been the central theme of TV shows (remember when Leonard and Sheldon broke into Skywalker Ranch on “The Big Bang Theory”?)…it’s one of the most ubiquitous films of all tme. Maybe THE most.
The original theatrical run of Episode 4 was just not enough for people. VCR’s and movie rentals were still a few years ahead of the mainstream and people wanted to see this movie over, and over again. So on August 13th, 1982, two years after the seconf film (The Empire Strikes Back!) was released, Star Wars burst into theaters again, blasters blazing. It included the trailer for the third (and supposedly final) film, “Return of the Jedi.” During this run it grossed over $15 million. A five year old movie that everybody had already seen. People just couldn’t get enough of Luke Skywalker, stanring off into the burning Tatooine sunset. They needed to relive Han Solo asking, “Who’s scruffy looking?” And everyone needed more R2-D2 and C-3P0 in their lives (we still do).
That would be amazing enough except that Star Wars got ANOTHER WIDE THEATRICAL RELEASE! Almost twenty years after the original run George Lucas gave us the (fan-loathing and overly retconned)
Special Editions. These were digitally remastered, had a ton of extra scenes added, other scenes and musical cues tweaked, it made a ton of money, I don’t care for them at all. So let’s move on to the release of the VHS Special Edition Boxed Set. This happened, AGAIN on August 13th, the summer of 1997. This was where George Lucas and the fans he’d given so much to broke up. The Special Editions were released with no plans to offer the original theatrical versions (the ones that he didn’t mess around with). Star Wars fans were (and still are) furious. They mostly did not like the additions and changes and didn’t understand why they couldn’t get cleaned up restorations of the originals (evenutally they were included, bare bones
and with no re-mastering as secondary discs with the special Edition DVD release). Star Wars fans are passionate, to say the least, and were crestfallen. There’s even an entire documentary about the rift between Lucas and his fans (The People VS. George Lucas).
With Disney having taken over the franchise and the first film under the new regime due out this Christmas, hopes are high that the movies will get back to their glory days. It’s doubtful though, that they’ll ever be able to recapture the magic of that first run, of that first film (or that second run for that matter). So while you’re thinking nostalgic thoughts about enjoying Star Wars with your dad as a kid, playing with your action figures and making the little guns go “pew pew!” why don’t you head on over to Posterservice.com and check out our selection of Star Wars posters. Maybe pick one (or all of them) up, frame them with posterframes from Frame USA and relive those Alderaan days and Tatooine nights (and get ready for the onslaught of new movies).