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Star Wars is stamped

15/03/2007. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Darth Vader and R2-D2 are among the Star Wars characters debuting on fifteen new US 41-cent postage stamps unveiled at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, where the first Star Wars movie opened nearly thirty years ago.

The commemorative stamps feature images from all six movies in the Star Wars saga: Luke Skywalker; Han Solo and Chewbacca; Princess Leia Organa with R2-D2; C-3PO; Yoda; Queen Padme Amidala; Obi-Wan Kenobi as seen in Episodes IV through VI; Anakin Skywalker battling Obi-Wan Kenobi; Darth Vader; Emperor Palpatine; Darth Maul; Imperial Stormtroopers; Boba Fett; the Millennium Falcon; and an X-wing fighter. The stamps will be released at a first-day-of-issue ceremony on Friday, May 25, at Star Wars Celebration IV, the biggest Star Wars event in the galaxy, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

"Star Wars fans everywhere will delight in the issuance of these exciting new postage stamps," David Failor, executive director of Stamp Services, told SFcrowsnest. "Because of the movies' popularity, we believe these stamps have the potential of reaching the blockbuster status of the Elvis stamp, a milestone only the Force could attempt to surpass. The Star Wars films have timeless qualities that cross generations, just like the United States Postal Service."

Of the 15 images on the Star Wars stamp sheet, the Postal Service is inviting the public to vote on its favorite. The stamp receiving the most votes will be honored with the issuance of a single stamp, which will be for sale later this summer.

On Wednesday, May 25, 1977, audiences got their first look at Star Wars (which later added "Episode IV A New Hope" to its title) at 32 theaters in the U.S. Written and directed by George Lucas, it quickly became an international phenomenon, making the phrase "May the Force be with you" and characters such as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader a part of American culture. A deceptively simple morality tale of good versus evil set across a fantastic galaxy of exotic planets and bizarre creatures, the box-office sensation earned seven Academy Awards. The story of Luke Skywalker and a band of Rebels battling Darth Vader and the forces of the Galactic Empire was continued in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, released in May 1980, and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, released in May 1983.

In May 1999, Star Wars returned after a 16-year absence with the release of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace. A box-office smash, it was also the first of a new trilogy of Star Wars episodes that charted the origins of Darth Vader. Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, the first major live-action movie to be shot entirely digitally, was released in 2002, and the climactic Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith was released in 2005. Completing the sprawling Star Wars saga, the most recent movies have attracted a new generation of fans to the vast universe created by George Lucas.

The design of the sheet of 15 stamps includes the Star Wars logo and background images of a space battle, including a Star Destroyer, TIE fighters, X-wing fighters, and the second Death Star under construction, as seen in Return of the Jedi. The background also includes the lightsaber-wielding form of Darth Vader, whose helmet comprises the largest of the 15 stamps.

The back of the stamp sheet includes text describing the roles that each featured character or vehicle plays in the Star Wars saga. The design was created and painted by Drew Struzan, with minor modifications by the U.S. Postal Service to accommodate the needs of individual stamps. Struzan has also created posters for all six Star Wars movies.

More via http://www.usps.com/communications/newsroom/2007stamps/starwars and http://www.uspsjedimaster.com

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