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Academy finds old 'Return of the Jedi' teaser

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Are you a fan of Star Wars and/or zooming title cards?

Well then, buckle your roaring Chewbacca mask extra tight, because this 34-year-old newly discovered teaser trailer for Return Revenge of the Jedi is going to blow you to smithereens!

At this point it seems unlikely that there’d be any fragment of galactic ephemera that remains undiscovered, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has delved into its archive to uncover a 32-second clip that it claims has never before been seen (except for people who saw a double-feature re-release of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back in England in 1982.)

It’s notable not because it bears the original Revenge title, which George Lucas decided to change before release because Jedi are supposed to be above anger and retaliation, but because it says the movie is coming in Christmas of 1983, instead of the spring/summer release the film actually received.

The accompanying article from the Academy says the teaser was recently acquired, but doesn’t say from whom, except to indicate it came from a British theater. It also suggests the Christmas release was considered because it would allow times for costumes from the film to be brought to the U.K. for display in department store windows. In other words, after those materials finished their tours in the United States, they could go international. 

But the crucial window-display marketing angle proved not to be so vital after all. Return of the Jedi was release in England on June 2, 1983.

It may be noteworthy for another reason — how dull it is. The floating blue and white title cards take up 20 seconds of the 32-second run-time. After that, we see just momentary flashes of still images from the movie, most of them cropped at strange angles for extreme close-ups.

But hey, at the time, it must have been something. Imagine seeing a teaser like this — only in a theater, where you couldn’t pause or screengrab it — and catching static glimpses of next year’s Episode VIII.

Now that would be a mindblower.

For more Star Wars stuff, follow @Breznican.