The Force Is With This Stunning Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary Poster

A crop of Matt Ferguson’s poster for the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back.
A crop of Matt Ferguson’s poster for the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back.
Image: Lucasfilm

By now, you’re surely well aware that 2020 is the 40th anniversary of one of the best films of all time: The Empire Strikes Back. We here on io9 have been celebrating, as has Lucasfilm, which released an official poster to commemorate the event.

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That poster, by artist Matt Ferguson, may have caught your eye over the past few weeks. It’s been everywhere. You can already buy it on a t-shirt, a mug, as a cheap lithograph like you’d get in Spencer Gifts, you name it. But today, Lucasfilm has teamed up with Bottleneck Gallery and Acme Archives to release the poster as a limited edition screenprint in multiple variants.

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Variant editions, limited to only 475 each, sold out earlier today. But timed editions are still on sale and will remain so until Sunday, June 21 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Here are the two editions to choose from. Both are 24 x 36-inch screen prints and cost $65 each or $125 for the set

The Empire Strikes Back by Matt Ferguson
The Empire Strikes Back by Matt Ferguson
Image: Lucasfilm
The Empire Strikes Back variant by Matt Ferguson
The Empire Strikes Back variant by Matt Ferguson
Image: Lucasfilm

Ferguson, whose work has been featured on io9 many times before, did a long interview with StarWars.com about his poster so we urge you to read that if you’re curious. However, we did ask him a few additional questions over email about the work, which you can read below.

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Germain Lussier, io9: Empire is probably the most recognizable film in Star Wars. AT-ATs, Cloud City, Yoda, Carbonite, Boba Fett... how did you kind of hone in and settle on this one focus (Vader/chamber) over everything else?

Matt Ferguson: I made the decision to focus on Vader in the chamber because I loved the graphic shapes the design of the chamber itself created. Not only that, but because the whole drive of the film is Vader/the Empire relentlessly hunting down our heroes, I wanted to concentrate pretty much solely on the bad guys. It shows the scale and scope of the film by using all the Empire’s vehicles.

io9: Also—when you design for Star Wars, you know it’s not just a trilogy, but a trilogy of trilogies. Did you design this in any way thinking “Well, I’m gonna have to complete these set at some point”? Or release an alternate light side version?

Ferguson: I certainly have it in mind to carry this design through to a triptych, it’s something I did lay out in the early stages of the project. Hopefully, I’ll get to revisit Jedi for the 40th anniversary of that film in a few years.

io9: And lastly, what do you want people to take away from this poster when you look at it?

Ferguson: My main goal with the poster was to evoke a classic film poster style. I wanted it to look like it could have been made back in 1980. So I would like people to look at it and feel like it fits in with art that was made historically for Star Wars.

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For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.

Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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