With the embargo lifted, we can expect lots of new merchandise tied to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Topps, whose relationship with Star Wars dates back to the first film’s release in 1977, has unveiled its Rogue One Premiere Set of trading cards (and virtual cards via its popular Card Trader app for iOS and Android). Here’s a peek at the initial wave, which includes images of heroes and villains, including a certain Sith-y someone who’s back in black.
After scoring huge successes with its Star Wars trading cards in 1977 followed by Empire Strikes Back in 1980, Topps couldn’t wait to release Return of the Jedi packs in 1983. Topps’ resident editor, Gary Gerani, pored over stills from the film and culled together two series comprising 220 cards and 55 stickers, all of which have been collected in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi ? The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume Three, arriving in bookstores this week from Abrams Books ($25).Related: How Topps’ Star Wars Trading Cards Took the Galaxy by StormAmong the most popular cards were the bonkers denizens of Jabba’s palace and sail barge, a motley menagerie whose numbers dwarfed the array of oddities patronizing the Mos Eisley Cantina. And Yahoo Movies has an exclusive trip down memory lane featuring several of those creature cards.Related: Check Out These Rarely Seen ‘Empire Strikes Back’ Illustrations From Vintage Topps Cards“Conveniently, many of Jabba’s picturesque guests came equipped with partially developed backstories and colorful names,“ says Gerani. "Fans knew who Droopy McCool and Sy Snootles were right out of the gate.” Others wouldn’t be officially named until the Kenner action figures or stories, like Tales From Jabba’s Palace, were released later. Click through and revisit the weirdos who hung with the Hutt.(All images from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi ? The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume Three, by Lucasfilm Ltd, The Topps Company, and Gary Gerani, copyright Abrams ComicArts, 2016.)
Back in 1977, as Star Wars blew up in the zeitgeist, iconic scenes from the film were plastered on everything: books, records, posters, lunchboxes. Perhaps the most popular and enduring ephemera created during that period were the Star Wars trading cards by Topps. The publisher, best known for sports cards, had a spotty track record with the pop-culture lines produced by its New Products Division. One of the in-house editors, Gary Gerani, pushed hard for the company to take a flier on Star Wars, which went on to become one of Topps’ all-time sellers. To coincide with the release of his new book, Star Wars: The Original Topps Trading Card Series Volume One (Abrams), which reprints all the cards, stickers, and related material from the initial 1977-78 lines, Gerani revealed to Yahoo Movies the genesis of the trading cards, the mistakes that made it to print (including a legendarily bawdy C-3PO), and how the legacy of those cards extends to The Force Awakens.