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Your Daily Dose of Geek History: Star Wars’ First Time at SDCC

Your Daily Dose of Geek History: Star Wars’ First Time at SDCC

San Diego Comic Con is a week away, folks! Can you believe it? Because we sure can’t. That being said, one of the most highly anticipated events of the weekend is Star Wars‘ take over of the convention center on Friday, July 10th. Judging by the hype for The Force Awakens and the insane turn out at this past April’s Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, I anticipate that Disney and Lucasfilm will host some of the most heavily sought-out panels of the weekend.

On Friday evening, there will be a Force Awakens panel in Hall H featuring J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, writer Lawrence Kasdan, and “special guests,” so get your sleeping bags ready. Additionally, there will be panels with authors who have written stories within the universe and tons of collectables.

But this isn’t Star Wars’ first time at the SDCC rodeo (of course). Amid all of the excitement about this year’s invasion, though, we thought now would be the perfect time to look back at when the saga first arrived at the convention in 1976.

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Source: Lucasfilm/Entertainment Weekly

At first glance, the film was not so readily accepted. The first public viewing of footage from the film garnered a crowd of only a few hundred and there were definitely some empty seats. Granted, the event was MUCH smaller then (since it was only the con’s 6th year of existence). Back in the 70’s, attendees could still buy tickets at the door and didn’t have to worry about the hotel lottery Hunger Games that it is now.

SW-5

Source: Lucasfilm/Entertainment Weekly

Charles Lippincott (that super cool 70’s dude shown above) was in charge of the film’s publicity and sent to Comic Con in order to gain an audience for the film. According to Fox’s research (the network — not the animal or the FBI agent), no one was interested in sci-fi films. But they made one anyway, which meant now they needed people to actually go see it.

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Source: Lucasfilm/Entertainment Weekly

Cue Lippincott attending Comic Con a year before A New Hope‘s release to gain the support of comic book fans. He showed them slides, footage, and even answered their questions when he could. (He brought along Howard Chaykin and Roy Thomas — the artist and writer of the comic that came out prior to the film’s release — to speak on behalf of the piece). Chaykin even drew a limited edition convention poster that he sold for $1.75, just enough to cover the cost of printing. For a little perspective: a mint condition version of this poster is now worth $3,000.

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Source: Lucasfilm/Entertainment Weekly

The Star Wars team would attend a plethora of other conventions preceding and following the release of the film. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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Source: imgur

What are you most looking forward to this year at San Diego Comic Con? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured Image: Worldcon October 1977/Rocket’s Blast Comic Collector

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