A long time ago in theaters far, far away….
That’s right, pervy Padawans! Yesterday, Star Wars celebrated 40 years of lightsabers, space action, and gold bikinis! In a mere 40 years, this space epic FORCED its way into the hearts of countless of film-lovers everywhere and continues to to be cultural juggernaut. But, like all things, it had to start somewhere…
In the Christmas season, of 1976, audiences were given their first delicious taste of Star Wars with a tempting teaser trailer. The film was nowhere near completion and 20th Century-Fox had seen very few results from the $10 million they invested. Heck, not even the movie’s own crew had seen much of it by then! Understandably, everyone was pretty concerned about this funky space movie from the kid who did American Graffiti.
At a cost of $3,915, the trailer was created to eXXXcite and inspire Fox executives, audiences, and the crew. While it did properly motivate the crew, everyone else was left cold. Fox eXXXecutives were still nervous and audiences apparently laughed at the unfinished footage. When Gene Wilder saw the footage, he said to Fox exec Alan Ladd Jr., “Laddie, they’re laughing at your picture.”
It’s eXXXtraordinary to think that this picture that nobody had any faith in would become the giant that it is today. The trailer that inspired dread in the studio and the ridicule of moviegoers actually does have hints of what would make the film a beloved classic today. Sure, it lacks the John Williams theme, features unfinished effects (white lightsabers), ends with a ridiculous(-ly awesome) explosion, is considerably more ominous in tone than the film itself, and has a logo that is foreign to modern eyes… but it sells what is truly important about Star Wars. It promises “aliens from a thousand worlds” and a “big, sprawling space epic.” In essence, that’s Star Wars: an eXXXciting space adventure with eXXXotic creatures, uneXXXplored worlds, and tons of sci-fi wonder. Sure, it’s not a perfect teaser, but it did introduce the world to one of its most beloved franchises.
Feel the Force and check out the teaser below: