Dark Times 10 – 1995 – Part 1

Tom Hanks was having a problem on the far side of the moon, Mel was brave at heart and people threw their DOS right out their Windows, while Vader was at last busy polishing his helmet…

When Star Wars opened in 1977 on only a handful of screens, the merchandise frenzy typical in this time and age of potential blockbusters did not exist. When the film became a sleeper hit and unbelievably never stopped drawing crowds, many millions were lost in sales as retailers had nothing to placate the public’s insatiable hunger with. Kenner famously reacted at the 11th hour with the legendary Early Bird Package and thus launched a multi-billion dollar segment almost single handedly: the motion picture tie-in.
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Dark Times 9 – 1994

Life was like a box of choclates for the people of 1994, you never knew what you were going to get. Except George.

Star Wars had ceased to be a rumour whispered in the dark by 1993. Its name once again became synonymous with great commercial success and technological progress courtesy of Rebel Assault and the resultant mass-introduction of the CD-ROM drive, as well as motion picture magic due to ILM’s groundbreaking work on Jurassic Park under the direction of George Lucas himself.

Star Wars comfortably returned to the media’s hot chair and therefore to the people’s pop culture awareness.
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Dark Times 8 – 1993

Steven Spielberg effortlessly climbed the scales of box office glory, Arnold tripped on a sidekick en route to success and buff Sly could still hang on to the top of the crop: dinosaurs sent shockwaves through the world of 1993.

Romping, stomping and trampling all over the place, the adaptation of Michael Crichton’s unforgettable Jurassic Park dominated school yards and office tittle-tattle as Steven Spielberg had once again proven his deft hand at filmmaking. As much an inspired update on Jaws as a technological breakthrough, the blockbuster made Industrial Light and Magic the industry’s first and foremost expert on character animation.
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Dark Times 7 – 1992

Improvement on the groundwork for the still distant prequels continues in 1992 as a smart product policy advances the familiarity with the OT.

The release of Timothy Zahn’s Heir of the Empire and its sequels Dark Force Rising and The Last Command was by no means arbitrary. As an actual continuation trilogy of the OT, it was only fitting that this exciting series coincided with Lucasfilm’s re-issue of the classics on video in their letterbox incarnations.
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Dark Times 6 – 1991

Amid the barrage of heavyweight entertainment successes, a humble venture proves that Star Wars is king in 1991.

An enduring franchise marries tried-and-tested narrative elements with innovative components ranging from energy fields surrounding all living things to believable space battles. The ingenuity of selection and the well-considered blend of spices (hopefully) render every return as exciting as the first encounter. By 1991 the glorious entertainment of Star Wars had become legendary.
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Dark Times 5 – 1990

“I see lightsabers, battle droids cut in half, more gowns than Princess Leia could ever afford” – “Hmm. It is the future, you see.” – The intimations of 1990 put a smile on Star Wars fandom.

1989 had been a swell year for Lucasfilm on the back of Steven Spielberg’s highly successful third entry in the Indy series: subscriptions to the Lucasfilm Fan Club increased, merchandise shipped a plenty and the company found itself back in the public limelight. Against this background, 1990 was marked by two major developments.
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Dark Times 3 – 1988

It had already been five years since ROTJ and still not a single light saber on a new movie poster. Yet underneath the frustration, a potent potion was brewing…

Howard Roffman, head of Lucasfilm Licensing, once pointed out how all franchises would evolve in specific cycles, with the original consumer generation eventually growing out of a particular craze and the franchise concerned slowly fading away. Therefore, he argued, Lucasfilm would never push a particular item onto the market out of context, for otherwise they might waste a perfectly good product.
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Dark Times 2 – 1987

The series continues with a look at the year 1987, when new Star Wars films were more distant than the edge of the galaxy.

Imperial Dignitary
The Imperial Dignitary by Kenner, 1985

The year is 1987: With George Lucas decidedly removed from a galaxy far, far away with projects ranging from Captain EO to Tucker: A Man and His Dream, the land of all matters Star Wars was arguably barren.

At best, shiploads of the ever popular “Imperial Dignitary” action figure were eagerly awaiting happy customers at the local toy store.

Yet despite such painful malaise, there were a few indications that – however miniscule and unlikely – Star Wars had not quite become one with the Force.
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Dark Times 1 – 1986

Although thoroughly unthinkable today, there was a time when Star Wars was practically non-existent. Here is a look at how smart and patient marketing decisions reinvigorated a dormant franchise from the 1980ies to today.

It was in the summer of 1986 that I chanced upon the most precious item on earth I could have thought of. Its arms long and disproportionate, the fangs frighteningly conspicuous, a grin extended to freakish dimensions and a few shrink heads attached to a wooden staff, there indeed could not have been anything more beautiful on planet earth.

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