Part of being a movie fan is loving the ephemera that comes along with the release of a film, and no series had more of it when I was a kid than Star Wars. Watching Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox basically invent modern movie marketing and merchandising on the fly was a fascinating process, and it’s amazing when you look back now to see just how not-slick most of the marketing was.

Sure, it worked, but movie trailers are a totally different proposition these days. When you look at the trailers they cut for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, they are preposterously confident and carefully constructed. You would think that the same would have been true when they started advertising Revenge Of The Jedi back in 1982.

Yes, I said Revenge. I love that they actually released trailers and posters before they decided to change the title to Return of the Jedi. My guess is that’s why they play everything so close to the vest before each of the new Star Wars films these days. Until they know they have the title pinned down, it’s just a bad idea to release anything.

While there were several different trailers featuring the Revenge title, most of those had the May 1983 release date on them. There was an earlier plan, though, that would have seen the UK get the film first during the Christmas season, and when there was a re-release of A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back in the UK in March of 1982, there was a very special trailer attached to it, the first Revenge trailer released anywhere.

I know people love the Academy Awards, but for me, the most valuable thing the Academy does involves preservation. Hollywood has a terrible habit of torching its own history, so anyone who works to preserve things is doing the Lord’s work.

You can read the full story of the trailer and the Academy’s discovery of it at their site.

May the 25th be with you. Wait, that doesn’t work…

A respected critic and commentator for fifteen years, Drew McWeeny helped create the online film community as "Moriarty" at Ain't It Cool News, and now proudly leads two budding Film Nerds in their ongoing movie education.