What was the Original Star Wars Poster?
For those of you who are just getting into the hobby you may think that the artist Tom Chantrell was responsible for the first UK Original Star Wars poster and whilst he is the artist for the most recognisable Star Wars movie poster it is in fact the Hildebrandt brothers who created the first one.
Greg and Tim Hildebrandt were approached by 20th Century Fox studios in 1977 to create art for the film’s UK release. The artist Tom Jung had already painted a poster for the US market but the executives at Fox considered the poster too dark.
The Hildebrandt brothers worked through the night on a ridiculously tight schedule to get the portrait done and completed this in 36 years. Their version of the poster is now referred as the Style B and is the UK’s original Star Wars poster, was distributed and sent out to cinemas in the UK, in time for the release of Star Wars. The brothers used the same concept as Jung’s ‘Style A’ artwork with an image of Luke Skywalker holding his light sabre above his head accompanied by Princess Leia. Possibly the best image on the art is the ghostly image of Darth Vader looming behind them.
Both the Hildebrandt brothers and Jung created their portraits without using referenced photographs of the cast and later down the line Fox and Lucasfilm decided they wanted to promote the new film with a more realistic depiction of the main characters. Gary Kurtz, who was a producer at the time, commissioned the famed artist Tom Chantrell (who had an incredible resume of painting film poster artwork) to create a new poster using film stills and publicity photos.
Star Wars opened to British audiences on December 27, 1977 to huge acclaim and the Hildebrandt’s ‘Style B’ poster was still used by the cinemas and Fox until late January 1978, when it was finally replaced by Tom Chantrell’s ‘Style C’ movie poster.