So what made Star Wars popular all over again during the early 1990s?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Community' started by JediMasterKendo, Feb 6, 2011.

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  1. JediMasterKendo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2000
    star 3
    Those silly looking bendable figures which were only Darth Vader, C3PO, Luke, Stormtrooper and Ben Kenobi or the Heir to the Empire novel?
  2. Anakin's Daddy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2002
    star 4
    For me, it was Super Star Wars for the Super Nintendo. It came out in 1992. What an awesome game it was. Of course Empire and Jedi came out later as well. In the box for Super Star Wars, there was an order form for some model sets you could order from Lucasarts. I ordered the Millennium Falcon, an X-Wing and 2 tie fighters. That started my love for models and I ended up building about a dozen Star Wars models after that.

    There was also the "Dark Empire" comics which came out in 1991. Those were awesome and were the first Star Wars comics in a long time. Ahh, the 90's. What a great decade. :p

  3. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    I didn't really get back into it until 1995 when my husband brought home the O-OT VHS tapes with the George Lucas/Bill Moyers interviews at the end of each film. But my understanding is that there was a "dead" period from 1986 to 1991, so maybe the release of new material made SW popular again?
  4. JediMasterKendo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2000
    star 3
    Yeah pretty much from 1985 or 1986 to 1990 Star Wars craze went dead and then the Star Trek sequels ruled the world.

    Then when 1990 came around along with 1991 I think everyone started seeing those stupid bendable figures at the Kaybees store in malls and that was about it. What year did the Dark Empire comic come out anyway?

    Then came along Heir to the Empire and later on Shadows of the Empire which revived the whole merchandise thing
  5. MissPadme Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    1. The release of "Heir To The Empire" in May 1991. It shot right to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and was one of the top-selling books of '91. Followed by sequels "Dark Force Rising" in 1992 and "The Last Command" in 1993, it kicked off the lucrative Star Wars licensed publishing program.

    2. Dark Empire Dec. 1991-Jun. 1992, revived Star Wars comics.

    3. Steve Sansweet's "From Concept To Screen To Collectible" in 1992.

    4. First Star Wars Super Nintendo game in 1992. That was followed by a string of video game console games and PC games like that old classic from '93, Rebel Assault.

    5. Growing anticipation that new movies were coming, confirmed by George Lucas in 1993.

    You can also throw in a burgeoning internet that connected fans, years' worth of people getting into Star Wars on home video or cable t.v., Gen X nostalgia, and the general interest in all things sci-fi and geeky in the 1990s. By the way, the Bend-Ems didn't appear until the end of '93. The revival was already underway.

    --MissPadme

  6. QuiGonJade Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2002
    star 4
    Does anyone happen to remember when you could first buy a VHS boxed set of the original trilogy? I know I ended up with one in 1990, and at the time I hadn't thought about Star Wars in years, and I've always wondered if maybe that was because you couldn't buy one until around that time. (For that matter, does anyone remember when you could first buy the VHS movies individually? It used to take longer.)

    Anyway even if that has nothing to do with it, I suspect a lot of people went through what I did and just stopped thinking about Star Wars once it ended, and once Jedi became "old" too, sort of the way Sith only recently got "old", it just made sense to revisit the series as a young adult.

    That being said, the Zahn book helped too. Back then there were no Star Wars books to speak of. You'd probably have to stumble across one of the Han or Lando books in a used bookstore if you were lucky. And Heir To The Empire was a continuation post-Return of the Jedi for the first time; thinking back on that now, it's hard to overstate how exciting a notion that was.

    BTW I agree with the earlier post: man, I miss the 90's.

  7. black_saber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2002
    star 4
    I loved Shadows of the empire when I was 11 years old back in the 90s.
  8. black_saber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2002
    star 4
    And Still do!
  9. MissPadme Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    To answer your question on the VHS tapes, ANH first came out on video in 1982, TESB in 1984, and ROTJ in 1986. Believe it or not, hit movies could take years to come out on video.

    --MissPadme
  10. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    What MissPadme said on the individual tapes, and I think the first "boxed set" was the one I mentioned, which came out in late 1994 or early 1995. The Lucas/Bill Moyers interviews were about the prequels. There was an Indiana Jones boxed set released at about the same time.
  11. QuiGonJade Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2002
    star 4
    Thanks for the info on that. I remember my family didn't have a VCR until Christmas 1987, so those dates on the video releases were totally unknown to me. Meanwhile, I did have the boxed set in 1990; I once briefly tossed around a theory that maybe ROTJ had only just become available fairly recently at the time, but I always figured that was likely to be wrong. As far as the boxed set goes, I also am now just remembering it had a quote from Lucas saying that he first started working on Star Wars "fifteen years ago", but that could mean a lot of different things (the script, the shooting, etc, plus he probably just said 15 as a nice round number.) I don't remember if there was a date on the boxed set itself; there probably wasn't.

    Anyway most of the things people mentioned here as reasons for the revival I agree with: Dark Empire, the talk of prequels, just nostalgia in general, and definitely Zahn. For me personally the big one was the boxed set.
  12. Blur Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 1999
    star 4
    This. HTTE in Spring '91 & DE in late '91 were huge hits, and paved the way for the Super Nintendo video game, the first "Star Wars Galaxy" art card set in '93, the THX release of the OT on VHS tape in '95, the release of the POTF2 figures in '95, etc. The Bend-em figures (which, as you pointed out, were released in '93) didn't really have that much of an effect, IMHO. I remember seeing some of these back in the day and being very unimpressed.

    I also completely agree that the Internet (which I myself discovered in '95) was also a big boost in SW fandom; in the mid-late '90's, I got most/all of my SW info. re: the new toys, movies, etc. online.
  13. Teegirloo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 26, 2005
    star 6
    If i remember correctly they re released the original films in the theaters. That was the kick off before the prequel.
  14. Blur Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 1999
    star 4
    Yes, I remember seeing the Special Editions of the OT films in the theatre numerous times between January - March of '97. I enjoyed those a lot, and there was a good amount of media coverage on "the return of Star Wars", etc. In fact, seeing these films in the theatre at that time (especially ANH & ESB) was probably my best Star Wars-related memory & also one of my best movie-going experiences, period.
  15. Sistros Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2010
    star 6
    I never realised 97 was early 1990s :p

    to answer your question:

    i have no idea

  16. AdmiralSteven Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 23, 2010
    star 1
    I've been a fan ever since watching Star Wars, before it became "A New Hope," from the back seat of my dad's AMC Gremlin at the drive-in movie theater. However, after "Return of the Jedi" all things Star Wars did drop off for me there for a while, until the prequels came out. Yes, it was the prequels that got me re-interested in Star Wars. I didn't start reading any of the books until a couple of years ago. So that's my story.
  17. Riven_JTAC Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2011
    star 3
    My parents got me into it when I was a kid before the prequels came out. I never had a "down" time, really. Even in the early 90s I collected figures and watched the movies a lot. Then the Special Editions came out and my love of Star Wars just expanded. Saw all three prequels the night of release and multiple times. As I've grown older, I've collected many books, played many games, etc. I hope I never lose my love of this tale.
  18. ninjalogical Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 5, 2011
    I used to collect those ships that had the little posable pilots and the little droids. My prized possesions were my Y-Wing with blue stripes and B-Wing.
  19. Krusty_the_Clone Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2006
    star 4
  20. threepio_mania Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 15, 2002
    star 3
    Heir to the Empire was probably a big reason. It was a big seller, because that series became the Episode 7,8, and 9 that we never got.
  21. Amon_Amarth Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2005
    star 6
    Expanded Universe stuff. :)
  22. icqfreak Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 7, 1999
    star 4
    I think you're thinking of the Action Fleet line of micro machines, where the figures were slightly larger and could bend at the waist, and the ships were close to full scale size for them. I had many of those myself.

    Actually I really miss all the micro machine stuff they used to have, the vehicles, playsets, figure sets, action fleet, the titanium series, the x-ray series, and so on. I have all that stuff stored away right now.
  23. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4
    I started a thread similar to this in the Saga forum a while back - after a steady decline following the release of ROTJ, Star Wars basically took a bit of nap from 1987 to 1991.
    1987 marked the final issue of Bantha Tracks, the Marvel comic series had finished the year before, the second & final series of the Ewoks cartoon ended in January 1987, & the last big SW event of the 1980s was arguably the launch of Star Tours at Disneyland in January 1987.

    It wasn't really all that dead, though - Dark Empire was released in December 1991 by Dark Horse, but it was originally slated to be released by Marvel in 1990, then the deal fell through.

    The West End Games RPG also started in 1987, & went through this 'dark' period.

    It was the release of Zahn's Heir To The Empire in May 1991 and the unexpected massive success of it which kicked things off again. Dark Empire was next, also a huge success. More novels & comics resulted.
    The Galoob Bend-Ems & Micro Machine toys came a bit later (1993), then in 1995 Kenner re-launched the action figure line.
    The Star Wars line was also becoming a powerhouse in videogames, with serious gamers admitting that Dark Forces was much, much better than Doom. X-Wing, Rebel Assault etc - all successes.

    (Of course, let's not forget that little announcement by George Lucas in 1993 that he was going to make some new Star Wars films)

    In 1995, the OT was re-released on VHS (the interviews at the end were with Leonard Maltin, not Bill Moyers, BTW - the Moyers interviews were done in 1999). This three-film box set sold more units than any home video release to that date.
    SOTE came along in 1996, and by the time the teasers for the 1997 SE's were released, it was like Star Wars had never been gone.
  24. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2010
    star 4
    Personally, there never was a "dead period" for me, not even the late 80's. My friends and I continued to talk about and quote SW on a regular basis, people still dressed as SW characters for Halloween, and my friends and I watched my taped versions of the OT (taped off of pay-per-view) time and time again.

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