Mykotori

Behind the Iron Curtain, artists created strikingly trippy ads for the saga, writes Christian Blauvelt.

Hungarian Star Wars poster by Tibor Helényi

Star Wars was released in Hungary for the first time in 1980, three years after it came out in the US. Helényi brought his own vision to the saga with a striking palette of blue, orange and red and some features that fans would decry as certainly not being ‘canon’: Darth Vader’s helmet suddenly has a mouth like the grill of a vintage Cadillac; the Death Star is destroyed via a blast out of the side; and then there’s some scaly lizard creature on the left with a flailing tongue and ganglia and an impressively alien-looking scimitar. No such creature exists in any Star Wars film, but Helényi’s approach is to suggest that such an alien could exist in the world Lucas created. Call it ‘added value’! Or perhaps it’s a reference to how Lucas originally envisioned Han Solo as a lizard creature, before going the more conventional route of casting Harrison Ford to play the character as a human. (Credit: Tibor Helényi)

Hungarian Star Wars poster by András Felvidéki

Felvidéki liked to wed old-fashioned engraving and etching techniques with trippy, avant-garde content, and the result for Star Wars looks like an illustration that could have been part of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Under the Moons of Mars serial in 1912. A steampunk-looking starship of a design never seen in the films shines a light on Chewbacca, whose tongue action is most disturbing. The bantha on the left is infinitely more fearsome than anything seen in the film, and C-3PO suddenly looks like he’s swapped parts with The Wizard of Oz’s Tin Man. The idea of situating figures as if they’re ornamental features of a landscape was common in Hungary during this time – just check out this contemporaneous poster for Apocalypse Now that features the back of Marlon Brando’s bald head as the monumental dome of an ancient temple. (Credit: András Felvidéki)

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