If you're reading this, it goes without saying you've seen the 1977 classic Star Wars. But I'll bet serious galactic credits that only a fraction of you have seen the original trailer; after all, many of you weren't yet born when it hit theaters in 1976. Isn't it about time you saw it the way audiences did back in the day?
First, a caveat. This trailer is ... not good. But it is interesting.
Here we repeatedly see the Star Wars title card where the action should be, a trick to limit the amount of footage shown; it's the trailer equivalent of Obi-Wan saying, "You don't need to see his identification." Worse, it's just plain wrong. The narrator intones, "Somewhere in space, this may all be happening right now." That contradicts Star Wars' opening line, "A long time ago."
The Star Wars logo that we know and love is also missing. Here we get a plain, blocky font that had cried out for a graphic artist but was silenced.
Importantly, John Williams' score is completely absent. But from that flaw comes an important strength:
In the trailer, we get to hear the sounds that the soundtrack masks, the clack of a Tusken Raider's gaffi stick as Luke Skywalker narrowly avoids getting pummeled. The thud of a stormtrooper hitting the ground hard after Luke blasts him. Even though the audial details seem almost out of place — considering how familiar we are with the final version — it reminds us how much care Ben Burtt took with his sound design.
As a trailer, it lacks cohesion (a polite way of saying "it's incoherent"). We don't know who these characters are or what they're trying to accomplish. But it remains something to love, as the trailer gives us a glimpse into how remarkable the film would be, with its never-before-seen effects and its unusual alien characters. It really was a look into a galaxy far, far away.
Remember, we can love things that are bad. Just ask me about my passion for The Star Wars Christmas Special song "Good Night, But Not Goodbye."