The Force Is With This Stunning Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary Poster

Image: Lucasfilm

By now, you’re surely well aware that 2020 is the 40th anniversary of one of the best films of all time: The Empire Strikes Back. We here on Gizmodo have been celebrating, as has Lucasfilm, which released an official poster to commemorate the event.

That poster, by artist Matt Ferguson, may have caught your eye over the past few weeks. It’s been everywhere. You can already buy it on a t-shirt, a mug, as a cheap lithograph like you’d get in Spencer Gifts, you name it. But today, Lucasfilm has teamed up with Bottleneck Gallery and Acme Archives to release the poster as a limited edition screenprint in multiple variants.

Variant editions, limited to only 475 each, sold out earlier today. But timed editions are still on sale and will remain so until Sunday, June 21 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Here are the two editions to choose from. Both are 24 x 36-inch screen prints and cost $US65 ($94) each or $US125 ($181) for the set

The Empire Strikes Back by Matt Ferguson (Image: Lucasfilm)
The Empire Strikes Back variant by Matt Ferguson (Image: Lucasfilm)

Ferguson, whose work has been featured on Gizmodo many times before, did a long interview with StarWars.com about his poster so we urge you to read that if you’re curious. However, we did ask him a few additional questions over email about the work, which you can read below.

Germain Lussier, Gizmodo: Empire is probably the most recognisable film in Star Wars. AT-ATs, Cloud City, Yoda, Carbonite, Boba Fett… how did you kind of hone in and settle on this one focus (Vader/chamber) over everything else?

Matt Ferguson: I made the decision to focus on Vader in the chamber because I loved the graphic shapes the design of the chamber itself created. Not only that, but because the whole drive of the film is Vader/the Empire relentlessly hunting down our heroes, I wanted to concentrate pretty much solely on the bad guys. It shows the scale and scope of the film by using all the Empire’s vehicles.

Gizmodo: Also — when you design for Star Wars, you know it’s not just a trilogy, but a trilogy of trilogies. Did you design this in any way thinking “Well, I’m gonna have to complete these set at some point”? Or release an alternate light side version?

Ferguson: I certainly have it in mind to carry this design through to a triptych, it’s something I did lay out in the early stages of the project. Hopefully, I’ll get to revisit Jedi for the 40th anniversary of that film in a few years.

Gizmodo: And lastly, what do you want people to take away from this poster when you look at it?

Ferguson: My main goal with the poster was to evoke a classic film poster style. I wanted it to look like it could have been made back in 1980. So I would like people to look at it and feel like it fits in with art that was made historically for Star Wars.