The Original Star Wars Trailer is Just Awful
In the early summer of 1977, the original Star Wars hit theaters and revolutionized the way movies are made and consumed. It’s still the biggest movie of all time. Sure, other movies have far surpassed its box office take by now, but Star Wars set the standard for big summer blockbusters, and its formula is still being followed.
Judging by the original trailer for the movie, I find it a wonder anyone went to see it at all. It’s a good thing FOX didn’t give up on it and eventually found other ways to get people hyped, because my gosh, the original trailer is just awful.
Watch it below and you’ll see what I mean. It came up randomly in my YouTube recommendations today and I thought I was in for a treat. Instead I got...
To be fair, the studio probably had no idea how to market Star Wars at first. If they were seeing dailies from George Lucas or even early cuts of the film, they were probably seeing long stretches of boring expository dialogue and wooden performances (you know, like the prequels) and thinking they had an expensive, cheesy mess on their hands that most audiences wouldn’t want anything to do with.
Still, even if they didn’t have a lot of footage to work with and John Williams’ incredible music wasn’t yet available, you’d think they could have made a better trailer than that!
Everything from the bland narration to the dour horror movie music makes it feel like I’m going to have an awful time if I go see it. If I’d been a kid when that trailer hit theaters (I was born in ‘86, so I missed the original Star Wars magic), I wouldn’t have been at all excited about it.
Thanks to the editing genius of Paul Hirsch, Marcia Lucas, and Richard Chew, the Star Wars film that hit theaters on May 25, 1977 was a fast-paced, energetic adventure with crackling dialogue and instantly loveable characters - nothing like the grim time promised by the terrible teaser trailer.
It’s a good thing too, because when Star Wars managed to be a massive hit unlike anything the world had ever seen, it spawned two awesome sequels and opened the door for decades of creativity and adventure in other mediums like books, tabletop games, and video games.
Personally, I have my issues with the prequels and the Disney films, but the Star Wars universe is one that’s so much fun to get lost in and there’s plenty of room for fans of all ages and tastes.
By the way, the original review of Star Wars from beloved film critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel was recently discovered and restored, and it’s so great to see the joy it brought them. They could be really tough on movies, and would be especially harsh on the countless Star Wars rip-offs that came out in later years, but they were some of the first critics to defend Star Wars against movie snobs.
One of my most prized possessions is an Empire Strikes Back promo poster signed by the cast and George Lucas. I’m notoriously cheap, but I forked over some serious cash for this baby at a charity auction a couple of years ago and have never regretted it. There’s just something magical about having any sort of connection to that galaxy far, far away...