Pablo Hidalgo, rock star of the Star Wars universe, led a lovely discussion about the history of the Star Wars franchise on day 2 of the D23 Expo. He began with a summary of all six films, starting with Episode 1, The Phantom Menace, and ending with Episode 6, Return of the Jedi. This launched him into an inspirational and nostalgic discussion of the movies, the franchise, the beginnings, and the future of Star Wars.
Hidalgo detailed the excitement that surrounded the original release of the first movie–then simply called “Star Wars”, now known to most as “Episode 4: A New Hope.” He described the process of creating “hype” and how it differed back then–There needed to be a novelization of the film released before the film itself, there were pre-screenings at early Comic Con’s, and general soul-signing-over by all of the people involved in the project. Luckily, their efforts were successful, and Star Wars was a hit. By the time Episode 5, “Empire Strikes Back,” was released, the hype surrounding the films was huge and undeniable. Producers of Star Wars released a list of films in theaters that would be showing the trailer for Episode 5, and those showings sold out all across America. Theaters even had to ban refunds for the films showing the trailer to avoid fans buying their ticket, watching the trailer, then leaving and expecting a refund.