The original Star Wars trilogy is front and center in a new mural for next month's Star Wars Celebration Chicago. In a few weeks, fans of the famed soap opera will come together in the Windy City for the convention celebrating all things about the storied franchise. That includes, of course, paying homage to its iconic first three films.
Debuting in 1977, the sci-fantasy film series kicked off with A New Hope (originally titled simply, Star Wars), introducing fans to Harrison Ford's Han Solo, Carrie Fisher's Leia Organa, Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker, as well as Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and droid, C-3PO (played to this date by Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2. Episode IV was also enhanced by brilliant performance from Sir Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi and James Earl Jones voicing the iconic Darth Vader. Three years later in 1977, The Empire Strikes Back was released with the return of main cast (excluding Guinness) but with the addition of characters such as Yoda (Frank Oz) and Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams). And finally, things wrapped up in 1983 with Return of the Jedi and the defeat of the evil Galactic Empire.
The classic trilogy spawned two more trio of movies - the prequel trilogy and the ongoing sequel trilogy that will wrap up later this year in J.J. Abrams' still-untitled Star Wars 9. The spotlight will mainly be on that upcoming episodic film at Star Wars Celebration, but Lucasfilm is also gearing up for a trip down memory lane with a mural paying homage to the first three films in the franchise. Jason Palmer was commissioned to create the massive painting in collaboration with Lucasfilm Vice President and Executive Creative Director, Doug Chiang, who told StarWars.com that the idea for a mural timeline came from Lucasfilm President, Kathleen Kennedy. Once completed, the 10-feet-tall and 88-feet-long mural will also designate equal segments for other Star Wars films and TV shows.
In 2017, Star Wars Celebration Orlando put a spotlight on the original trilogy as it was the 40th anniversary of A New Hope. Lucasfilm brought in some of the actors who have partaken in the saga's history, including Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker) and Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine), and Orlando was the first Celebration that Ford attended. Series creator George Lucas and prolific composer John Williams also made a surprise appearance. Meanwhile, Hamill hosted a special panel to commemorate Fisher after her passing in late 2016. While there's no milestone to celebrate this year, the event is expected to be more of a holistic experience considering that the Skywalker saga will soon come to an end via Star Wars 9 - which, of course, will have its own panel.
Whether or not that means that Lucasfilm will lean towards nostalgia by preparing special appearances remains to be seen. Assuming that fans are in for some surprises, it's curious how it will be done considering that both Luke and Han are dead in the narrative, and Fisher is no longer around to make an appearance. Of course, it's possible that actors come and join the fun without them being involved in any project down the pipeline. But it will be nice to see actors involved in the different Star Wars era for a proper send off to the Skywalker saga.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019