As movie posters are used for advance promotions as well as actual theatrical releases and re-releases, it is not surprising that more posters have been produced for the six Star Wars movies than any other film series. Most are printed in large quantities, but limited printing and commercial availability have made some posters highly collectible. Although a number of posters are mere reproductions of photographs, the mahourity are painted works of art. According to the prolific poster artist Drew Struzan, "Photography is a direct reflection of reality. Art is interpretive, therefore it embodies more emotion and feeling. That's why George Lucas usually goes with a painting for his work, because he wants to embody the feeling, or soul, of the movie."
Theatrical Release Posters
The Star Wars Style A poster is considered to be among the best known of all movie posters. Painted by Tom Jung, the image of Han and Leia beside the lightsaber-wielding Luke for The Empire Strikes Back was incorporated into the Star Wars logo for use on countless pieces of merchandise. The original painting is hanging in Skywalker Ranch. Actress Debbie Reynolds, the mother of Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), loved the painting so much that she asked Tom to do a duplicate of the artwork for her. Tom went on to create the cover art for the bestselling Star Wars novels Heir To The Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command. The style B poster for Return Of The Jedi was painted by Kazuhiko Sano instead.
The title Revenge Of The Jedi appeared on Drew Struzan's 1982 teaser poster for the third Star Wars movie, but George, believing a true Jedi would never seek revenge, changed the film's title just before its release. "The title was always intended to be Return Of The Jedi," George says. "We'd had so many difficulties with people trying to report stuff to the media that we called the film Revenge Of The Jedi to throw people off."
Also known as pre-release or advance posters, "teaser" posters are typically distributed several months before a film's scheduled release date. The Episode I teaser was produced in November 1998 in conjunction with the release of the first theatrical trailer. It shows an omen of Anakin's dark destiny, thus announcing the story that will unfold in the prequel trilogy. Lucasfilm president of marketing Jim Ward, art directors Scott Erwert and Greg Bell, and copywriter Paul Venables focused on the theme of forbidden love to create the Episode II teaser. In the fall of 2004, Lucasfilm released the teaser for Episode III. It echoed the Anakin/Vader link from the Episode I teaser with Anakin now bound to the darkness that will consume him.
Many international Star Wars posters incorporate the same art as their American counterparts, but some are unique creations. One of the most dramatic is Witold Dybowski's art for the polish release of VI. Lucasfilm did not provide any instructions for Witold, who knew only that Darth Vader would die, and could only assume it was a "death of huge proportions."