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Thursday, 27 February 2014

Looking back at Star Wars Weekly – issue 4

It may take some liberties with story of the film, but
Star Wars Weekly # 4 has another impressive cover

Issue 4 of the UK's Star Wars Weekly – dated February 29 1978 – really shows how big a deal Star Wars had by now become for for British children.  

Familiar British brand names were now linked with the film. This issue contains a competition with 48 Waddingtons jigsaws as prizes, while a full page ad from the makers of KP Outer Spacers invites readers to send off 95p for a Star Wars fighter kite.  

A smaller ad from a company in Leytonstone, London, offers the chance to buy Star Wars T-shirts, posters and badges alongside those featuring the Fonz, "skate boardin'", David Soul, Jaclyn Smith, Elvis, Liverpool FC and Kevin Keegan.

But the main reason readers were handing over their 10p was for the adaptation of the film, which in this issue reached the introduction of the coolest guy in the galaxy, in these frames:

These frames from Star Wars Weekly introduce Han Solo
and remind us how uncertain many of us used to be
about how to spell 'millennium'

This is another issue which gives us sequences that were cut from the film. Jabba the Hutt is here, in an exchange with Han Solo that had been shot with actor Declan Mulholland but discarded.  (I've written in this previous post about why I don't really buy the claims that Lucas had intended to put a stop-motion alien into this scene.)

"Why did you have to fry poor Greedo?" Jabba as he appeared in Star Wars Weekly

There's also this short and not really necessary scene with Darth Vader and an officer identified elsewhere as Bast. It was deleted from the film but included in the Star Wars Holiday Special:

Vader and Bast. Bast figures in another scene of the movie
and wins the prize for having the longest sideburns. 

This instalment of the film adaptation ends with the Millennium Falcon jumping into hyperspace – one of the most exhilarating moments in the film and a pretty good place to end an episode.  But in case we were feeling too upbeat at this point, there is another reprint of a gloomy, pre-Star Wars Marvel tale to sober us up.  This time it is 'War Toy' – another story from Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction.  It is about a general and the robot soldier he treats like a son.  This is only part one of the story, but we get the sense it wasn't heading for a happy ending. 

1 comment:

John I. White said...

Darren, to be honest, I don't really buy ANY claims
that George makes about ANYTHING these days"