The First UK Original Star Wars Poster?
Many people think that the artist Tom Chantrell was responsible for the first UK Original Star Wars poster. 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 Poster
The Hildebrandt brothers worked through the night on a ridiculously tight schedule to get the portrait done. They managed to complete this in 36 hours. Their version is referred as the Style B and is the UK’s first original Star Wars poster. It 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. The image is 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. A while after, Fox and Lucasfilm decided they wanted a more realistic depiction of the main characters. This, they believed would help sell the film to audiences. Gary Kurtz, who was a producer at the time, commissioned artist Tom Chantrell to create a new poster using film stills and publicity photos.
Star Wars opened to British audiences on December 27, 1977 to huge acclaim. 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.