March 31st, 2007 11:15 EST
U.S. Postal Service Previews Star Wars Stamps
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. " Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Darth Vader and, of course, R2-D2 are among the unforgettable Star Wars characters debuting on 15 new 41-cent postage stamps unveiled today at Grauman`s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, where the first Star Wars movie opened nearly 30 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 PadmÃ© 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," said David Failor, executive director of Stamp Services, U.S. Postal Service, who hosted the stamp preview. "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," said Failor, who made the announcement of the new Star Wars stamps along with R2-D2, Darth Vader and Howard Roffman, president of Lucas Licensing.
Failor announced the Star Wars and U.S. Postal Service collaboration, which began March 16, when mailboxes around the country were designed to look like R2-D2 " and which doesn`t stop with the issuance of commemorative stamps. This exciting collaboration brings many opportunities to involve stamp collectors and Star Wars fans of all ages.
America Votes on Favorite Star Wars Stamp
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.
Voting for the most popular Star Wars stamp will take place online at www.uspsjedimaster.com beginning today, March 28, through May 23. The winning stamp will be announced at the first-day-of-issue ceremony on May 25.
Check www.uspsjedimaster.com for regular updates on the voting " it`s up to America to choose which Star Wars stamp wins the honor of a single-stamp sheet release.
Become a Jedi Shipping and Mailing Master to Win a Trip
On March 16, approximately 400 fully functional mail collection boxes decorated as the beloved Star Wars character R2-D2 appeared on street corners from coast to coast. These R2-D2 boxes were the standard blue Postal Service mail collection boxes, just dressed in costume for the two-week period leading up to today`s preview of the Star Wars stamp designs. A Website address posted on each box invited visitors to log on to www.uspsjedimaster.com to learn more about The Jedi Shipping and Mailing Master challenge. Full sweepstakes rules are available on www.uspsjedimaster.com.
From March 28 through May 7, customers can enter this sweepstakes by solving six different challenges about Postal Service products and services featuring a Star Wars theme. As each question is answered correctly, customers are automatically moved to the next challenge. At the start of the sweepstakes, customers enter their contact information into a sweepstakes form. There is a limit of one entry per challenge, for a total of six entries.
The Jedi Shipping and Mailing Master challenge is a fun, interactive Web tool that reminds customers of the quick, easy and convenient suite of services available from the Postal Service, including ZIP Codeâ„¢ Lookup, International Shipping, Flat Rate Boxes, Click-N-ShipÂ®, Priority MailÂ® and Free Package Pickup. The winner of this sweepstakes will receive an all-expenses-paid trip for four to the 30th Anniversary Star Wars Celebration IV in Los Angeles, which runs from May 24 to May 27. (For details, go to www.starswars.com/celebration.)
A Brief History of the Star Wars Saga
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.
Stamp Sheet Design
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 extensive text describing the dramatic roles that each featured character or vehicle plays in the Star Wars saga.
Star Wars stamp artist Drew Struzan`s paintings have delighted audiences around the world for a quarter century. Whether he paints album covers, advertising, collectibles, book covers, or his famous movie posters, his strong visual design, draftsmanship, good taste, and immediately recognizable style always produce a memorable and lasting piece of art. Anyone who has seen his work will remember his paintings for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Star Wars, the Indiana Jones series, the Back to the Future series, Police Academy, the Muppet movies and Hook.
An independent federal agency, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that visits 146 million homes and businesses, six days a week. It has 37,000 retail locations and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to cover its operating expenses. The Postal Service has annual revenues of $73 billion and delivers nearly half the world`s mail.
Star Wars and related character names and properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & Â© Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.
SOURCE: United States Postal Service