How 'Star Wars' trailers have evolved, from 'A New Hope' to 'The Force Awakens'

Star Wars: A New Hope
On Friday, Lucasfilm dropped the teaser trailer for the new Star Wars film,The Force Awakens. The release date is more than a year away, the excitement is palpable.
J.J. Abrams is directing, and Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill will all reprise their roles as Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker, respectively.
It's been several years since a Star Wars installment has been on the big screen, and there's no better way to see the profound effect time has had on the series (and cinema in general) than by looking at previous trailers. Each year before a release, cinema audiences were treated to a glimpse of what was to come...


The very first trailer offered, from the man who brought you American Graffiti, “the story of a boy, a girl, and a universe.”
Released the year before the first Star Wars came to theaters, the trailer promised "a spectacle lightyears ahead of its time."


This teaser trailer for The Empire Strikes Back featured concept art by Ralph McQuarrie instead of live-action scenes. The paintings incorporated into the trailer include Luke on a tauntaun, Darth Vader on a Star Destroyer, and Luke's final duel with Darth Vader.


In the teaser for Return of the Jedi, there are a number of details that were changed by the time the movie was released. For one, the film is a preview for "Revenge of the Jedi." George Lucas changed it to "return" because he didn't think "revenge" was something Jedi would go after, according to the Stars Wars wiki. That shows you what he thinks of the Sith.
In addition to that change, you may notice that Luke Skywalker is holding a blue lightsaber in the preview. In the movie, it's green.
And the shot of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the teaser was from before editors added the ghostly "spirit" halo effects around him.


The trailer for 1999's The Phantom Menace introduced audiences to the next trilogy, offering an explanation of the beginning of the original trilogy.
The best part is Samuel L. Jackson, as is true of most movies he's in.


Perhaps one of the stranger teaser trailers, this Attack of the Clonespreview has only Darth Vader's breathing (and a brief lightsaber effect) to accompany a mish-mash of visions of the Star Wars world.


The Revenge of the Sith trailer shows Luke, even though he doesn't appear in the film (except as a baby). Fans who were hoping to get a glimpse of him in the film can look forward to Mark Hamill's appearance inThe Force Awakens.


And finally, in case you haven’t seen it yet (oh, who's kidding who, so you can watch it again), the teaser for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’:

The film series has traditionally seen a theatrical release in mid-May, but the The Force Awakens is set to hit theaters on Dec. 18, 2015. We'll be waiting.

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