Star Wars IV, V, and VI planted profound psychological seeds into many born in the mid-70s to early 80s. Props are due.
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One of the more famous examples of sci-fi inspiration powering real-world technological achievement comes from American Martin Cooper – he watched Star Trek in the 1960s (the “-fi”), and, inspired by the communicators used by Captain Shatner et al, went on to lead the Motorola team that invented cell phones (the resultant “sci”). This is actually rather common, and one could cite a kajillion like examples, including our case in point: the original Star Wars Trilogy.
As science fiction, Star Wars is at times laughably fantastical, nevertheless, the films’ consistent depiction of humans, wookies, cyborgs, and robots living and working together – doin’ evil and rebellin’ against it and shit – helped propel a generation of nerdy kids toward robotics – one of them is pounding this keyboard right now.
So, have a look at these posters, and imagine yourself 3, 6, 8 years old, encountering the films’ largely unprecedented imagery for the first time, and perhaps you can understand how, in certain minds, Star Wars ignited a robodorky fire that still burns bright.
Star Wars is Big, Big, Very Big in Japan
Just like almost anywhere else on planet earth where there’s electricity and mass media of some kind, Star Wars has penetrated the Japanese zeitgeist. Of course, the themes of the series are universally human, and the same popular characters are pop-culturally popular over here (although the original trilogy and the bad guys in general are much more appreciated), and toys and branding and all the trappings proliferate.
Darth Vader, in particular, gets superlove from the Japanese. The Dark Lord has been used to market everything from from Goodyear tires, yearly festivals with nothing at all to do with The Force or galactic empires, Square Enix and Bandai have produced collectible, samuraized Darth Vader figures, and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces even carved a giant Vader for the 2015 Sapporo Snow festival. The why of it all is probably because 1. Darth Vader’s costume was modeled after feudal-era Zunari Kabuto helmets and samurai armor in general, and 2. Darth Vader is badass.
How the Japanese Do: Original Trilogy Movie Posters
Star Wars was the first “blockbuster” movie(s), and the first film franchise to create a genuine, widespread cultural momentum. Below are the fantastic posters that helped make that so here in Japan. There are two for each of the three original films, so go ahead, take a look, and appreciate late 70s/early 80s state of the art graphic design (¿HA?).
Oh, and because it’s pretty much impossible to properly credit these images to whomever scanned or photographed them, let alone who designed them, we’ll just say: ©® Lucasfilm, Ltd ™ All Rights Reserved Whatever Come at Me Bro.
Episode IV: A New Hope
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi