The Logos of Star Wars: The Evolution of a Cinema Icon

Star wars logos and symbols

Star Wars is deeply ingrained in our culture. Even if you haven’t seen The Empire Strikes Back (Seriously, who are you?) You know what “Lucas, I’m your father” means. The trailer for the last movie, The Last Jedi, it has reached more than 100 million visits. It’s safe to say that Star wars it’s not going away anytime soon. And neither are the logos of Star wars .

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All logos and posters via Lucasfilm.

The movie saga of Star wars It has been around for over four decades and has naturally evolved to keep up with the times. What worked in the logos of Star wars The 1970s was never going to work in the 21st century.

So grab some popcorn, feel the Force flow through you, and let’s take a closer look at how these ubiquitous logos of Star Wars a over the years. We have all been watching them for a long time, but there is still a lot to learn.

The original logos of the trilogy

Star Wars (NOT A NEW HOPE!)

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If you are not old enough to remember the late 70s, you may not realize that the original title of the first movie of Star wars it’s just Star wars . Not “Episode IV,” not “A New Hope.”

In fact, the oldest logo used the title The Star Wars while the movie was still in pre-production.

When the film went into production, concept artist Ralph McQuarrie’s team developed several different logos until he commissioned one by typographer Dan Perri.

The yellow font is bold and eye-catching. It’s not particularly “science fiction,” which is reasonable for a series that is really more fantasy than science fiction anyway. That’s probably why they went with the star overlay on the poster itself.

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The tapered top evokes the film’s famous opening crawl, which audiences from 1977 would not be familiar with. Perri found her inspiration in the opening credits of the film. Union Pacific of 1939.

The main titles looked down the tracks and these titles rolled towards you along the tracks, as if there was a train. But I have an idea. I saw this movement of the titles away from you into space towards a horizon line. – Dan Perri

Its design evokes that pulpy feel and is very eye-catching. This version ended up on the first movie poster, but never made it to the final movie.

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The first Star Wars poster.

The actual title logo featured in the film was designed by Suzy Rice (with some slight modifications of Joe johnston ).

George Lucas requested that his new logo look “fascist” and, coincidentally, Rice had just studied 1930s German signage. He used those design techniques – a standardized bold font, harsh lines and stark graphics – to produce what is now one of the most ubiquitous logos.

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The original Suzy Rice logo.

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The logo modified by Joe Johnston.

But this only scratches the surface of this iconic design. Rice has compiled her own extensive account of all design decisions that were included in the original logo of Star wars .

The Empire Strikes Back

Yes OK Star wars it was a movie that nobody wanted to do , The Empire Strikes Back it was one of the most anticipated sequels in movie history.

Like all artistic endeavors, the film evolved. Darth Vader (37 year old spoiler alert!) Wasn’t even Luke’s father in the first draft .

And, of course, the title changed.

We were going to call it STAR WARS: EPISODE II – THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, but we had some issues. We have three more stories that we eventually want to film that actually happen before the point where the first one begins. Star Wars . Can you imagine how complicated it would get? – George Lucas

While the opening crawl for the final film used the subtitle “Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back,” the studio’s marketing department decided to avoid the numbering on the poster and the logo itself.

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Starting from Star wars original, the logo of Empire Strikes Back it does not have a blunt, fascist style. Angled text gives it a sense of speed and adventure, while sharp angles and large letters match the sci-fi style of the time. The word “Empire” has the most space, ensuring you know what the movie is about.

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This could be considered as the first true logo of Star wars . It incorporates Suzy Rice’s innovative design from the first movie on the border of this logo. The swashes are spread out to wrap the logo in a nice clean package.

Return (Revenge?) Of the Jedi

As the Empire previous, the Return of the Jedi suffered many changesIn its development . Han Solo originally died, and the heroes visited a planet of Wookiees instead of Ewoks. Get it? Wook-ee… Ee-wok…

Even the title changed.

Originally, the film’s title was Revenge of the Jedi , but studio executives thought it was too similar to another sci-fi action movie, Star Trek II: Vengeance of Khan .

To be honest, the logo looks like something you could use in Microsoft Word in about five minutes. The font (Times New Roman?!) Doesn’t evoke anything. At least the designers changed the color, from yellow to white, to red, which evokes an ominous feel. That is quite ironic since Empire is the dark and foreboding film of the trilogy, while Jedi ends with a teddy bear fight.

The text “Star Wars” was also not incorporated into the border, unlike Empire . It just sits there, with the final S floating in space, untethered. The whole thing is a sad way to end the trilogy after two incredible logos.

The logo trilogy prequel

When the Star wars original went into production, the filmmakers had no clear idea whether they would be making three movies, or six, or nine, or even the only one.

But by the time the prequel trilogy released in the late 90s, Star wars it was an established brand. This was a whole new movie set, and these logos of Star wars they reflect that cohesion.

One thing to note about the logos from the original trilogy: they all put the emphasis on the movie title . In general, this is the focus of any movie logo. After all, you want your audience to remember the name of the movie when you approach the box office to buy a ticket.

The prequel trilogy had a big problem: explaining what the heck a prequel is. The Phantom Menace it certainly wasn’t the first prequel in storytelling history, but modern audiences weren’t very familiar with the concept. To educate them, these logos of Star wars they put their emphasis on the episode number, for the first time.

The huge “EPISODE I” text fills most of the logo, while “Star Wars” is prominently displayed in the upper left where most English readers will find it. Title real it is the last part of the hierarchy, hidden in small letters at the bottom. To this day, the general public calls “Episode I” to “The Phantom Menace.”

Unlike the original trilogy, the logo design is consistent throughout the prequels. The font, color, and blocking are identical, creating a visual unity that solidifies in the audience’s mind that these films are part of a whole.

The sequel to the logo trilogy

Of course, many people are not taste the new direction the prequels took for the series. When Disney bought Lucasfilm (¡ for more than $ 4 billion! ), They knew there must be a change.

The challenge for the next generation of filmmakers was to remind audiences why they liked it. Star wars first. Therefore, the logo for the sequel trilogy places a greater emphasis on the original logo. Like the prequel trilogy, the title is without emphasis; Unlike the prequels, the numbering is not even mentioned.

They deviate from the prequels in another important respect: color. Green signifies goodness and the light side of the Force; Red is just the opposite.

The force awakens launched a new generation of heroes, while The last jedi It will (supposedly) have a darker, more sinister tone. While the design is consistent (much like the logos from the prequels), the color gives you an idea of ​​what kind of movie you’re about to see.

Star Wars Stories logos

The anthology films of Star wars (officially known as “Star Wars Stories”) are relatively new, but we can already see that there is no coherent vision for their logos.

The shape of the logo box Rogue one remember the Return of the Jedi , which is the least inspiring of the original logos of Star wars . That thin, serif typeface looks more like a corporate letterhead than an exciting space adventure. At least they managed to incorporate “A Star Wars Story” in a way that feels cohesive with the whole.

It seemed like this would be the Star Wars Story branding, much like the prequels logo template, and we’d be stuck with it for the foreseeable future. But then Lucasfilm released the new logo for Only , and took things in a totally… old direction.

The new logo didn’t come completely out of nowhere. The bright yellow matches the original movie of Star wars , while the strong inclination reminds Empire Strikes Back , which features the most Han Solo to date. (Spoiler alert: does not appear in the first 20 minutes of To New Hope or Return of the jedi , nor in the last 20 minutes of The force awakens .

While some may see it as a retread, I think it’s a good way to look back at what works. The combination of elements of the logos of To New Hope Y Empire Strikes Back it tells you that the movie will do the same.

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