Celebrate “The Force Awakens” Poster Debut With Every “Star Wars” Poster Ever

Famed poster artist Drew Struzan returns to remind us of a galaxy far, far away.

The final Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer will premiere tonight during Monday Night Football, the terrestrial equivalent of a star war. To mark the occasion, the Star Wars Twitter account dropped a bombshell on Sunday: the reveal of the full poster for the film, painted once more by famed poster artist Drew Struzan.


Struzan is a fan favorite, having created the posters for Episodes I-III (as well as home video cover art for the original films in the ’90s), and his work on The Force Awakens doesn’t deviate too much from his style–there are a lot of splashes of color coming from lightsabers, a lot of big heads floating over partial-body shots, and well-captured actor likenesses. (As a bonus, there’s no Jar Jar Binks or leaping-into-action Yoda shots this time around, either–and in a first for a film directed by J.J. Abrams, Struzan leaves the lens flare behind, as well.)

All of this ties The Force Awakens visually closer to the much-maligned prequel trilogy than it does the original series of films, though, at least in their original poster form. The first batch of Star Wars films each had their initial posters created by different artists: The Star Wars poster, by Tom Jung, was a sexed-up piece of relative minimalism compared to Struzan’s crowded designs, with an ultra-ripped Luke Skywalker and a leggy Princess Leia posing in front of Darth Vader’s mask; by 1980, Roger Kastel’s poster for The Empire Strikes Back, the icy chill of the opening moments were captured alongside the budding romance between Han Solo and Princess Leia; and Kazuhiko Sano’s theatrical poster for Return of the Jedi was a less colorful version of what Struzan does so well–a collage featuring various elements of the film in the form of big-headed likenesses of the stars.

Still, the most interesting thing about the poster for The Force Awakens is whose head is so big: Daisy Ridley, who plays the scavenger Rey, is front-and-center in the poster, overshadowing Han and Leia, John Boyega’s Finn, and the malevolent Kylo Ren, who takes up a quadrant of the poster, but cloaked in shadow. The previous six Star Wars films all centered around the adventures of guys named Skywalker, with women relegated largely to love interests in need of rescuing. But if Struzan’s interpretation of the poster is any indication, The Force Awakens is the first Star Wars film to center around a woman’s story, suggesting that–while it may still be a galaxy far, far away–the new movie will feel a little bit less like it was made a long time ago.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.