SAN DIEGO — For over 40 years, "Star Wars" films have garnered a loyal legion of followers. The latest film "Star Wars" Rise of Skywalker" - launching this week - is creating a buzz with fans young and old, new and life-long. We got into the spirit with a dive into the News 8 archives where we found clips of San Diegans lining up for the original film in 1977, toys hitting the shelves for "Empire Strikes Back" in 1980 and more.
Enjoy these vintage videos as you suit up for the next "Star Wars" adventure - and may the Force be with you!
A long time ago (1977) in a galaxy far, far away (Mission Valley) people stood in line for hours to catch the new "science fiction adventure film" Star Wars. San Diegans in this clip were lined up at the Valley Circle Theater. Did you see the original in theaters?
Following the success of "Star Wars" in 1977, the film's studio worked to capitalize on the movie's popularity with a variety of products. A few months after the film was released, News 8's Jesse Macias reported that it had already been seen by 40 million people. Jesse spoke to an executive at 20th Century Fox, Mark Pebbers, about the "Star Wars" merchandise on the shelves and in the works. Mark showed off masks and t-shirts and talked about other items including bubble gum cards, children costumes, a digital watch, board games including "Escape from the Death Star," puzzles and even a "Star Wars" toothbrush. Mark told News 8 "Star Wars" would probably never be seen on television "because the picture will lose too much of its visual quality on the small TV screen."
Fans were just a little excited for the premiere of the Star Wars sequel "Empire Strikes Back" in 1980. News 8's Jess Macias was on hand as theaters and stores prepared for the new movie.
San Diego "Star Wars" fans camped out in 1980 ahead of the first showing of "Empire Strikes Back" at the Cinerama Theater on University Avenue. Students told News 8 they were missing classes to see the film which they expected to be "much bigger" than the original. Tickets were $4 in San Diego and $5.50 in Los Angeles, according to our report.