Star Wars: Remastered by Kosuke Kawamura

Celebrating the art of STAR WARS™ - The stories behind the posters from the iconic films.

Star Wars: Remastered by Kosuke Kawamura

Our collection, Star Wars: Remastered by Kosuke Kawamura, feature the movie posters of the STAR WARS series that, to this day, continue to fascinate people around the world. Lucasfilm’s Pete Vilmur, who co-wrote a book dedicated to the poster art, talks about the appeal of the films and their posters.

How did you first encounter STAR WARS? / What is your first experience with STAR WARS?

My earliest memories of STAR WARS occurred on the school playground in 1977. I was eight years old and kids were starting to talk about STAR WARS and trading the first set of Topps cards that had come out that summer. My memory isn’t perfect, but I believe I first saw STAR WARS the first week of July because I remember fireworks were being sold near the theater for Independence Day. Like every other eight-year-old, my mind was blown – little did I know how this film would dramatically change the course of my life.

How did you become a fan of the franchise and what aspect of it fascinates you the most?

I was a STAR WARS fan from the very beginning – most kids were. But the films stuck with me as I grew older and into my teens, and even into college. There is something so alluring about a story set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” – even that language is so elegantly evocative. A classic fairy tale played out on an epic, galactic stage – it’s irresistible to those who relish bold expressions of imagination.

What is the key element of the franchise that makes it universally appealing to people around the world?

They are modern myths. Myths handed down through the ages have survived for a reason – they speak to human struggles and universal truths, and the most successful ones inspire the imagination. STAR WARS provides all three, and the franchise’s continuing popularity around the world is proof of that.

Out of all the STAR WARS posters, which are your personal favorites?

Three of my personal favorites happen to be designs used on the new Uniqlo t-shirts!
STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE artwork by Thomas Chantrell grabs the viewer with a dynamic and action-filled composition, with laser blasts and explosions seeming to break out of the frame. It certainly speaks to the film’s high-energy action more successfully than the quietly epic (and no less elegant) poster artwork by Tom Jung for the same film.

Star Wars: Remastered by Kosuke Kawamura

The portrait of Yoda by Ralph McQuarrie – actually done for the 1983 STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK radio dramatization – is an easy one to love. The pensive Yoda, surrounded by a colorful, atmospheric landscape teeming with life, captivates the imagination with its warmth and spiritual resonance. I also enjoy how the Empire logo blends seamlessly into the composition with its four complementing colors.

Star Wars: Remastered by Kosuke Kawamura

Finally, THE EMPIRE STRIKE BACK poster artwork by Noriyoshi Ohrai is probably my favorite theatrical poster of all, even though it was not officially used in the United States for English-speaking audiences (a Spanish-language version was printed but seldom seen in most U.S. markets). What makes this poster artwork so attractive is the beautiful composition and color palette. Ohrai is a master of balanced design, and the use of violets and greens here was a surprising and inspired detour from the more traditional reds and blues seen in many STAR WARS posters. The version used on the Uniqlo t-shirt happens to be the poster issued in Australia, which is my favorite of all the global release posters.

Star Wars: Remastered by Kosuke Kawamura

What are your thoughts on the UT collaboration?

As a poster aficionado and collector, I love seeing classic STAR WARS posters presented in a wearable form. Whereas the posters were originally used to advertise the movies in theaters, they now fashionably advertise the impeccable cinematic tastes of their wearers!

Star Wars: Remastered by Kosuke Kawamura

Which design is your favorite and why?

That’s a tough one! I want to say the Noriyoshi Ohrai is my favorite because it’s my favorite poster, but the “Beware!” UK teaser art really grabs my attention when presented on a t-shirt like this. It’s just got that perfect mix of nostalgia and graphic pizzazz that clearly (and fashionably) displays my love for STAR WARS.

What do you think was the role/importance that these movie posters had in the pre-internet age?

For many, posters were the only advertising one might see for a movie, since trailers were mostly exclusive to moviegoers and TV commercials may miss their target audience. Posters were designed to capture the marketing message in a moment – is the film to be an adventure, a romance, a drama, or an epic? In the case of STAR WARS, the poster often needed to convey all four of these in a single, instantly readable image.

Star Wars: Remastered by Kosuke Kawamura


Pete Vilmur has worked for Lucasfilm for nearly 20 years and is currently Senior Writer for Lucasfilm Publicity. Pete co-authored two books with Steve Sansweet — THE STAR WARS POSTER BOOK and THE STAR WARS VAULT— and a third with Ryder Windham, THE COMPLETE VADER.

© & ™ Lucasfilm Ltd.

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