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Academy Film Archives Re-Release the First-Ever Trailer for Star Wars: Revenge of the Jedi

Lando! Chewie! Leia! All your friends!

In celebration of the 39th anniversary of Star Wars‘ release, the Academy Film Archives shared a trailer to its Youtube page yesterday that was likely the first look audiences ever got at the third Star Wars film. The teaser was reportedly only shown to audiences at a May 1982 U.K. double feature re-release of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

The re-release of the first two films didn’t happen in the U.S. until August of that year, which means this was likely the first time any fans saw what the third Star Wars movie would have in store. At the time this trailer was released, the movie was still billed as Star Wars: Revenge of the Jedi, and slated for a Christmas 1983 release date; once trailers arrived here in the U.S., the Academy says the movie had already been shifted to a May 1983 opening.

The Film Archives also gives a little history about the movie’s eventual name change: “With Star Wars (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980) taking the world by force, 1982 was a year defined by anticipation for the third and (then) final chapter in the Star Wars saga. The film’s originally promoted title Revenge of the Jedi and its ultimate change to Return of the Jedi has always been of significance to fans. Advertising materials that bear the more aggressive Revenge title reveal how far along the film’s marketing cycle had come prior to George Lucas’ decision to dismiss it in favor of Return. From posters and trailers to merchandising tie-ins, Revenge artifacts represent a compelling period in Star Wars history.”

You can check out some early posters for the film bearing the Revenge of the Jedi title on the Archives’ website, including one poster specifically for the U.K. double feature that entices fans with promise of a trailer for Revenge (“it’s the greatest all-action double feature of all time!”).

(via io9)

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