Monday, September 16, 2013

Preview: Star Wars Illustrated: A New Hope

During the height of the original Star Wars trilogy NPR ran a series of radio dramas based on the trilogy. There were actually 3 different series that they ran between 1981 and 1996, each series was based on a movie and was roughly 3-6 hours long. The Episode IV: A New Hope series ran in 1981 and was thirteen half-hour episodes.  Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back ran in 1983 and was ten half-hour episodes. Episode VI: Return Of the Jedi ran in 1996 and was six half-hour episodes long. The radio dramas built on to the movies, adding characters and detailed backgrounds for the main stars. Only Anthony Davis, as C3PO, lent his voice to all three series. Mark Hamill was in the first two but replaced for the third and Billy Dee Williams was in the second series but the other characters were re-cast to voice-over actors.

Topps will be releasing Star Wars Illustrated: A New Hope in November, the release will be based on the 1981 radio drama. The base set will contain a 100-card checklist with artist’s renditions of the radio show with 4 different inserts that fill in back story and connects everything together. The box price has not been announced but each box will include 24 six-card packs, the box break should include 3 parallel cards, 25 inserts and 1 hit.
There are three base card parallels; Black parallels (1:12 packs), Bronze (1:24 packs) and Gold (#/10). The Gold parallels are hobby only
The inserts are:
One Year Earlier (1:2 packs)- 18 card checklist; shows what was happening one year before A New Hope was released or 1BBY in the Star Wars timeline.
Movie poster Artist Reinterpretations (1:3) - Nine artists show their interpretations of the 1977 Star Wars movie poster

Etched Foil Radio Drama Puzzle (1:8) - Six foil cards that create a scene from the radio drama
 The Mission: Destroy The Death Star (1:12) - 12 card checklist that shows the Rebel plan to destroy the Death Star
 As a bonus, anyone who registers all 12 of the Mission: Death Star cards with Topps will receive an exclusive Death Star bonus card.
The hits are one per box
Panorama Sketch Card- An original art sketch booklet card
Film Cel Relics- 35mm film cels taken from a print of the original Star Wars Episode IV film
Printing Plate- Printing plates from a base card
Sketchographs- A sketch card signed by the voice actors from the radio drama
I figure that Topps will wait to see how this set is received; if it sells out I would expect to see an Empire Strikes Back Illustrated and Return of the Jedi Illustrated sets eventually released. I am sure that this set will appeal to fans of the Expanded Universe.
I recently downloaded the three part series of the original NPR broadcasts, I have gotten through the 13 episodes of Star Wars a New Hope and I will begin listening to the 10 episode Empire Strikes Back soon. It is really a good storyline, there are a couple of things that stand out like different actors voicing some of the main characters but you get used to it. There are also some awkward scenes but it really fills in the back story to the movie and well worth your time if you are a Star Wars fan.

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