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Arts and Entertainment

Get Nostalgic With These Vintage 'Star Wars' Casting Announcements, Ads

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We couldn't help but feel a little nostalgic when the announcement came out this week that Star Wars: Episode VII will be starring Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. And in the spirt of the series, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released some old casting announcement clippings and ads dating back to 1976 on the original film on their Facebook page this week.

And it's amusing to see what things were like back then. Here is a full-page ad published in Variety in 1977 where Steven Spielberg gave Star Wars creator and buddy George Lucas kudos for beating out his Jaws film in domestic film rentals. "Congratulations to the Cantina crowd and all the forces of your imagination that made 'Star Wars' so worthy of the throne," Spielberg wrote in the ad, which pictured a shark and R2-D2.

Lucas returned the sentiment when Spielberg's E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial beat out Star Wars in domestic film rentals and placed a full-page ad in Variety in 1982, according to the Houston Chronicle. It read:

Dear Steven, Congratulations to you and your Extra-Terrestrial buddy. This week E.T. moved ahead of STAR WARS to take first place in domestic film rentals.

E.T.'s adventure on earth and his gift of intergalactic friendship continue to touch us all.

May the Force always be with you.

Your Pal,

George Lucas

Pictured below is a casting announcement in Variety, which announced the late Alec Guinness' role as Obi-Wan Kenobi to be pegged as one of the most major roles in the film. However, Guinness wasn't exactly that enthused about the role when he first snagged the gig.
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Business Insider reported that in Alec Guinness: The Authorised Biography, Guinness penned a letter to his friend Anne Kaufman in 1975, getting Lucas' first name wrong. He wrote:
"I have been offered a movie (20th Cent. Fox) which I may accept, if they come up with proper money. London and N. Africa, starting in mid-March. Science fiction - which gives me pause - but is to be directed by Paul [sic] Lucas who did 'American Graffiti,' which makes me feel I should. Big part. Fairy-tale rubbish but could be interesting perhaps."

He still wasn't pleased when they began filming in 1976. He wrote about this in a letter to Kaufman, even mentioning Harrison Ford as a no-name:

" ... new rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper - and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable. I just think, thankfully, of the lovely bread, which will help me keep going until next April ... I must off to studio and work with a dwarf (very sweet - and he has to wash in a bidet) and your fellow countrymen Mark Hamill and Tennyson (that can't be right) Ford. Ellison (? - No!) - well, a rangy, languid young man who is probably intelligent and amusing. But Oh, God, God, they make me feel ninety - and treat me as if I was 106. - Oh, Harrison Ford - ever heard of him?"

Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker was originally supposed to be called "Luke Starkiller," as it's referred to in this early casting notice. Hamill said in an interview that the famous scene where he says, "I'm Luke Skywalker, I'm here to rescue you" was something they had to reshoot. Originally, he said his name was "Luke Starkiller." However, they had to drop the name after they did a focus group. "Well, 60 percent of women between the age groups of 24 to 39 think 'Starkiller' has something to do with the Charles Manson murders," he said.

And the film was originally billed as an "outer space comedy-adventure" in the Variety post:

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