As we get excited for tomorrow's trailer for "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens," I thought it would be a lot of fun to go through and curate some of my favorite trailers from the saga from over the years. If there's one thing Lucasfilm has done right without fail in the modern era is produce some of the best trailers ever.
I'll present these chronologically.
First up is the theatrical trailer for "The Empire Strikes Back." I wasn't alive when this was first circulating, but became fascinated with it later. Harrison Ford narrates here in his best 1940s announcer voice. It's surprising how much they blatantly give away in the trailer, but without context it's largely meaningless. And it was definitely early in the production as they used more than a couple of shots from deleted scenes...
The next trailer on my list is the first trailer for the "Star Wars: Special Editions." It's irrelevant what your opinions on the Special Editions themselves are, I guarantee that if you were a fan of the saga in 1996 and saw this trailer, you had a meltdown. And I think the writing for the movie-trailer narrator is just perfect. The concept of the television is brilliant, too.
Then, after the release of the Special Editions, it didn't feel like there was much new "Star Wars" out, but the next trailer came out just under two years after the re-release. The anticipation for "The Phantom Menace" was beyond high and no one could wait for their first glimpse.
I went to a theatre, one of 75 in the country, to get my first peek at what a new "Star Wars" movie would look like and I was blown away by this trailer:
Then, later the next year, we were treated to the second trailer for "The Phantom Menace" which, I think, doubled-down on the intensity. Bringing in the classic themes from "The Empire Strikes Back" and adding the elements of war and the Sith, this trailer was truly epic. I felt this was the first time I knew I would truly love the film:
The next trailer is what was the world's first look at "Attack of the Clones." This was a short tease but executed brilliantly. Setting it to the tone of Vader's breathing, this gives us an increasingly tense look at perhaps the most underrated of the prequels. I was working at a movie theatre when this came out and the film (which I still have) arrived a week early.
I must have spent two hours threading this thing through the projector, over and over and over again. And I think this trailer might be the most indicative of what we might be getting from tomorrow's reveal of "The Force Awakens." No dialogue, just images and feelings.
Then, when we finally given the first real look at the story and the film, they bring us the music from "Return of the Jedi" and match the tone to the adventure and humor from that film. But it also raises the stakes galaxy-wide. More than anything, it gave us that shot of surrounded Jedi that took all of our breath away.
Then we come to "Revenge of the Sith."
The first of the "Sith" trailers is perhaps one of the finest on this list. It blends beautifully the two sagas and makes a very dark promise of what is to come.
And then, with the final teaser (which premiered on an episode of "The O.C.") gave us everything we wanted and more.
What will this new trailer add to the pantheon? I can't wait to find out.
As a bonus, here's my favorite trailer for the VHS releases that was attached to "From Star Wars to Jedi":