The earliest I could find was Tarzan and His Mate(1934), the sequel to
Tarzan the Ape Man(1932).
Was Godfather II considered a prequel or a sequel with flashbacks? I don't
know enough about older movies to even
begin finding a prequel before G II.
The sequel "Son of Kong" came out the same year the King climbed that
You can make a good argument that the 1931 version of "Huckleberry Finn" was
a sequel to the 1930 "Tom Sawyer." Both were Paramount productions starring
Jackie Coogan as Tom and Junior Durkin as Huck. Mark Twain's plot was pretty
much tossed away for the 1931 film -- or so I've read; I never saw it. (I
DID see the 1930 film, ages ago; it was primitive, cheaply produced, and
simply not very good -- but still miles ahead of that 1995 monstrosity with
Jonathan Taylor Thomas.)
I presume your inquiry is restricted to features. In the field of short
films, there were probably sequels starring Charlie Chase, the Our Gang
kids, Laurel and Hardy, and so forth.
According to the IMDB, the earlist movie listed as a prequel is "Indiana Jones
and the Temple of Doom." Though Butch and Sundance certainly makes sense and
predates ToD by five years. I wonder why they didn't consider that a prequel
(in fact, they classify it as a "sequel")?
Also interesting to note that, according to IMDB, there's only been a handful
of prequels over the years - it appears to be a recent phenomenon. OTOH, they
list 4000+ sequels.
>The sequel "Son of Kong" came out the same year the King climbed that
>You can make a good argument that the 1931 version of "Huckleberry Finn" was
>a sequel to the 1930 "Tom Sawyer." Both were Paramount productions starring
>Jackie Coogan as Tom and Junior Durkin as Huck. Mark Twain's plot was pretty
>much tossed away for the 1931 film -- or so I've read; I never saw it. (I
>DID see the 1930 film, ages ago; it was primitive, cheaply produced, and
>simply not very good -- but still miles ahead of that 1995 monstrosity with
>Jonathan Taylor Thomas.)
There was also the Paramount Sherlock Holmes movies starring Clive Brook. The
first one was (now get this) "The Return of Sherlock Holmes" in 1929. Brook
reprised the role in 1932 in "Sherlock Holmes." AFAIK, Paramount didn't have
any Sherlock movies prior to "Return," so I have no idea what he was returning
The first time I heard it was in 1978, I believe -- after "Star Wars"
but before "Empire." I'd read the word in a "Time" or "Newsweek"
article (start with "Time" if you want to go to the stacks and look it
up) that described George Lucas's plans for more Star Wars films. My
hazy recollection of the article is that it suggested the next Star Wars
film would be a "prequel." OK, my memory of the article is hazy, but my
memory of the word "prequel" in the Star Wars context is not. Maybe the
article said Lucas would do two sequels and then do three "prequels,"
and THEN do three more sequels, for total of nine films, and maybe it
didn't. But the article DID use the word "prequel." In fact, I
remember the place and circumstances in which I first used the word
"prequel" in a conversation. (I was in Florida on business, if you're
curious.) I'd read the article, and I was reporting with some
excitement to two of my co-workers that there would be a "prequel" to
Star Wars. We all laughed in some admiration at the word, because
although we'd never heard it before, we all knew instantly what it
Bill "And When Star Wars Was Released in 1977 It Was NOT Labeled Episode
Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.
>Bill "And When Star Wars Was Released in 1977 It Was NOT Labeled Episode
Ah! Somebody else with that recollection as well!
The first time I recall seeing the "Episode IV - A New Hope" subtitle was when
it was rereleased during the Summer of '78.
After I posted my previous message in this thread, I walked over to the
library and did as much research as I could in the 30 minutes I had
before the library closed. What I found made me re-think my estimate of
the time frame in which my "prequel" conversation took place, but I
still stand by my basic story.
Here are a few interesting things I discovered in the limited time I
In its August 29, 1977 issue, Newsweek reported that "Star Wars II is
set to go into production next April." Notice it did not say anything
about an "Episode V."
In its March 6, 1978 issue, Time reported that when asked if Obi-Wan
Kenobi would appear in the sequel, George Lucas replied "cautiously"
that "Obi-Wan's aura will be there -- his essence, if you like." This
article also said, "Get Ready for Star Wars II, III, IV." It went on to
say, "If all goes well, the Star Wars sequel will be out by Christmas of
I learned several other things interesting -- to me, at least. The Time
article said that with the success of Star Wars, George Lucas was
setting up four corporations:
The "Star Wars Corporation" would make the "10 -- count 'em, 10 -- other
The "Medway Corporation" would "make other kinds of films, including the
sequel to "American Grafitti."
"Sprocket Systems, Inc." would provide special effects for future Lucas
"Black Falcon, Ltd." would market related books, toys, etc.
Sorry, folks. No "Industrial Light and Magic" on the horizon in 1978.
Just plain old sprockets.
Bill "Still Seeking the Truth But Be Patient, The Library Is Closed On
Memorial Day" Anderson
In the silent era there were of course THE SHEIK (1921) and SON OF THE
SHEIK (1926) starring Rudolph Valentino, and THE MARK OF ZORRO (1920)
and DON Q, SON OF ZORRO (1925), starring Douglas Fairbanks Sr.
In the 1930s there were the Tarzan films as someone mentioned and also
Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein and on into the 1940s.
>THE COHENS AND THE KELLYS IN PARIS (1928)
>THE COHENS AND THE KELLYS IN ATLANTIC CITY (1929)
>THE COHENS AND THE KELLYS IN SCOTLAND (1930)
>THE COHENS AND THE KELLYS IN AFRICA (1930)
I presume that someone among these four films --probably the first two -- we
have a pair that qualifies under the Chief's original definition: One sound
movie produced as a sequel to another sound movie.
I think we have the winner here, folks!
(I never saw these flicks. How did the Cohens and the Kellys afford all that
:>Bill "And When Star Wars Was Released in 1977 It Was NOT Labeled Episode
: Ah! Somebody else with that recollection as well!
: The first time I recall seeing the "Episode IV - A New Hope" subtitle was when
: it was rereleased during the Summer of '78.
I must be a freak, because I remember it being marked Episode IV
in 1977 but without "A New Hope", it simply came up Star Wars - Episode
IV. I remember being a big roman numeral geek at the time (hey, I was
* "Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky, they *
* are people who say: 'This is my community, and it's my *
* responsibility to make it better.'" *
* - Tom McCall, Oregon Governor 1967 - 1974 *
>Zadok Allen <zadok...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>: In article <8grrjv$2vt$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Bill Anderson says...
>:>Bill "And When Star Wars Was Released in 1977 It Was NOT Labeled Episode
>: Ah! Somebody else with that recollection as well!
>: The first time I recall seeing the "Episode IV - A New Hope" subtitle was when
>: it was rereleased during the Summer of '78.
> I must be a freak, because I remember it being marked Episode IV
>in 1977 but without "A New Hope", it simply came up Star Wars - Episode
>IV. I remember being a big roman numeral geek at the time (hey, I was
> - Jordan
You remember the reissue in the early 80s.
Being mistaken does not in itself make a person a freak.
Bill "At Least I HOPE It Doesn't" Anderson
I saw it in the theatres 5 times in about a month when it came out in 1977,
and I remember the Episode IV coming up also. "A New Hope" wasn't added
until much later (90s?).
I remember the Episode IV because I asked a friend (who got me into reading
scifi & fantasy) and he claimed to have read the books??? and that there
were like 12 books in the series and that story was the fourth book. I have
no idea if he was bulls***ing me about books? Did any exist before the
films? But I do remember the Episode IV on the screen.
It was added during the 1979 theatrical reissue (to start the hype
machine for "Empire Strikes Back" in '80)--
That was when we first found out that George was planning NINE WHOLE
FILMS!...Gosh, how would he ever do it? ; )
> I remember the Episode IV because I asked a friend (who got me into reading
> scifi & fantasy) and he claimed to have read the books??? and that there
> were like 12 books in the series and that story was the fourth book. I have
> no idea if he was bulls***ing me about books? Did any exist before the
Not really, since Lucas wasn't completely sure there was even going to
He had *sort* of a mind to do a Kurosawa-like serial saga, but studios
weren't exactly thrilled about the storyline, and many predicted the
"American Graffiti" wonderboy's career was going to end overnight on one
little kiddie matinee...
So he rewrote the '77 version into one generic version of the story
that, even if it wasn't chapter IV, would still summarize everything and
get it out of his system.
Derek Janssen (so he could get to work right away on "Radioland Murders"
and that big Vietnam film his buddy Coppola wanted him to do)
>I remember the Episode IV because I asked a friend (who got me into reading
>scifi & fantasy) and he claimed to have read the books??? and that there
>were like 12 books in the series and that story was the fourth book. I have
>no idea if he was bulls***ing me about books? Did any exist before the
>films? But I do remember the Episode IV on the screen.
That whole bit about Star Wars having been released as books prior to the
release of SW is nothing but an urban myth. It probably has its roots in the
fact that the first edition of the Star Wars novelization was actually issued
in 1976. It's identical to the later editions except that the cover featured
the Ralph McQuarry preproduction art, whereas the later editions adapted the
famous Hildebrand poster art.
That's a myth. There's no 12 books, only the four novelizations. And the
Episode IV - A New Hope was added in the re-release in 1978.
No, you only think you do. Lucas didn't add the "Episode IV -- A New Hope"
super to "Star Wars" until the release of "The Empire Strikes Back".
And there were no "Star Wars" books in existence until the novelization
appeared in the summer of 1977, though a "From the Adventures of Luke
Skywalker" tag on the cover page was intended to make it appear to be part
of an ongoing saga.
On Sunday, May 28, I posted a note on rec.arts.movies.current-films
(Subject : What movie was the first sequel? First prequel?) in which I
said I believed the first time I read the word "prequel" was in the
context of "Star Wars" -- after the original "Star Wars" was released,
but before the release of "Empire." And then I closed my note with a
semi-amusing (in my opinion, at least) reminder that when "Star Wars"
was released in 1977, it was NOT titled "Episode IV: A New Hope."
And that little comment provoked a couple of responses all by itself.
After I posted my note, I had some time on my hands, so I walked
over to a nearby library and did a bit of research, trying to find the
word "prequel" used in a 1977 or 1978 Time or Newsweek "Star Wars"
article. I was hoping to validate my recollection that the word
"prequel" was actually coined to describe the (distant future) release
of films with stories that would chronologically precede "Star Wars." I
was unsuccessful in my search for the word "prequel" (I had only 30
minutes before the library closed), but I learned a few semi-interesting
things and I posted my findings later on Sunday in the same thread, with
a promise to return to the library for more research after the Memorial
Today I learned a bit more, including the following:
The March, 1979 issue of Atlantic Monthly contains an interesting
article (pages 47-50) on George Lucas and his plans for "Star Wars."
Part of the article focuses on the way Lucas arranged lucrative
merchandising deals for the film. I learned nothing about a "prequel,"
but I enjoyed the article.
Much more interesting, though, were the May 19, 1980 issues of "Time"
and "Newsweek that contained special feature stories on the then
imminent release of "The Empire Strikes Back." If you still harbor any
misconception that the title "Episode IV: A New Hope" was applied to the
original "Star Wars" film prior to the release of "Empire," please
consider the following:
Newsweek May 19, 1980, Page 107
"More 'Stars' In His Eyes," by David Ansen
"Viewers may be in for a surprise when the credits announce 'Star Wars,
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.' Episode 'FIVE?' Have we slipped
into a time warp? Actually, what we are getting is the second act of
the middle trilogy of a projected nine-film cycle. The first 'Star
Wars' will be retitled 'Episode IV: A New Hope,' and the next sequel,
projected for 1983, will resolve all the dangling threads of the Luke
And also consider this:
Time May 19, 1980 Page 69
In a sidebar (actually a center-bar) headed by a screen shot of the
scrolling introductory narrative that begins "Episode V: The Empire
Strikes Back," the following appears in the first paragraph:
"The very first surprise in 'The Empire Strikes Back' comes in the
opening credits: the movie is identified as 'Episode V.' Since it is
the immediate sequel to the original 'Star Wars,' that opus has been
retitled 'Star Wars: Episode IV,' raising a meteor shower of questions.
The answer: Lucas has begun his space saga in the middle, and both
pictures are the centerpieces of a projected nine-part series. The
remaining movies, fore and aft, have not yet been laid out in detail,
but Lucas has the framework, a kind of history of what happened in that
galaxy long ago and far away."
The sidebar goes on to mention that the sequel to "Empire" would be
titled, "Revenge of the Jedi." It even asserts that "the 'Star Wars'
epic will be completed some time around the year 2000."
So there you are. All those people who clearly "remember" that "Star
Wars" has always been titled "A New Hope," who "remember" that they saw
a Roman numeral IV at the beginning of "Star Wars" in 1977, who
"remember" that the title "A New Hope" first appeared at the beginning
of the film in 1979 when Lucas re-released it to stir up interest for
the sequel, etc. etc., -- all those people are mistaken.
And as for me, the guy who is certain the word "prequel" was used in the
context of "Star Wars" some time in 1978 or thereabouts, well, I haven't
yet found the word in anything I've read. Can anybody help me out here?
Bill "Everybody Else Is Wrong, But I Remember It Clearly" Anderson
These article that implies that the retitling of "Star Wars" happened after "The
Empire Strikes Back" was released are wrong - these journalist have made a
mistake because the re-titling happened before.
I remember seeing a "Star Wars" re-release some time (maybe a year) before "The
Empire Strikes Back" came out and it had the "Episode IV: A New Hope" in the
title. There was a gasp of surprise and some muttering in the audience when
this new title rolled across the screen - it was definitely unexpected.
And why am I so sure it happened before Empire came out? Because I talked about
the new title with a couple of friends at school afterwards - friends who went
to a different school starting the Fall of 1980 and whom I never saw again.
I remember reading an interview with Gary Kurtz where he detailed that the
ninepart story-arc was conceived while writing Empire, but subsequently
ignored as Lucas wanted to end things with Return Of The Jedi.
Today I allowed myself just one more visit to the library to try to find
an early reference to "Star Wars" "prequels." (This "Star Wars
Research" is getting a little tiresome.) But this time I came up with
June 24, 1979 Page H3
An article titled "The Empire Strikes Back" by Charles Champlin tells
about his visit to the "Empire" set where he saw Mark Hamill battling a
furry monster on an ice-planet called "Hoth." He also mentioned a swamp
planet that was taking shape on another set. Near the end of the
article, speaking of George Lucas, Champlin said this:
"The story is his, the second helping of what he envisioned from the
start as a trilogy called "The Luke Skywalker Legend." The first draft
of the script of "The Empire Strikes Back" was completed by Leigh
Brackett just before her death, with the final version done by Lawrence
"[Gary] Kurtz [the producer] says that on paper there are the makings of
a grand design of 12 films, including three stories that would
historically precede the Skywalker tales ('prequels' as they are
dreadfully known these days)."
"How much of Lucas' long vision is translated into film depends, of
course, on how avid the market stays. There is no sign yet of any
slackening of interest in science-fiction fantasy, as the fast start for
'Alien' appears to confirm."
So it looks like the earliest reference I'm going to find to a "prequel"
in the "Star Wars" context is mid-1979. I still think I heard it
earlier - heck, I still think I read somewhere that the second "Star
Wars" film was going to BE a prequel - but I have come to accept that
my memory is just as hazy as the memories of a LOT of other people in
the newsgroups. And by the way, there was no mention in the article,
none whatsoever, about a new title for the original film, or about
"Empire" being considered the fifth in a series.
I found a couple of other interesting tidbits while I was spooling
microfilm through the reader. I learned from a September 3, 1979
article written by Tom Shales that "in just two weeks 'Star Wars' has
racked up grosses in its current release that many film makers would be
grateful for in first run." Shales goes on to discuss "Star Wars"
grosses current and expected, but he doesn't mention anything about a
Roman numeral IV or "A New Hope."
And in a November 25, 1979 Washington Post article by Peter H. Brown, he
speculated about whether public interest could sustain the large number
of science fiction and fantasy films that were about to be released over
the coming few months (Star Trek, The Black Hole, The Empire Strikes
Back, Superman II, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, and Flash Gordon).
Brown also reported that 'The Empire Strikes Back,' 20th Century Fox's
$25 million sequel to 'Star Wars,' opens May 17 in Washington.
(Harrison Ford as Han Solo will not be killed off as previously
announced. He lives through the intergalactic struggle to make his
stalwart way toward Star Wars III, IV, and reportedly, V.) The sequels
are planned through 1990." Now don't you think that if Brown had had an
inkling that "Empire" was going to turn out to be Episode V, he would
have discussed that fact when he was placing Roman numerals in the
It's awfully hard to prove a negative, isn't it? But there's no way I'm
going to find an article that says, "Lucas hasn't changed the name of
'Star Wars' yet, and he won't change it until he surprises us with a
Roman numeral V at the beginning of 'The Empire Strikes Back.'" All I
can do is report articles prior to "Empire" that do NOT mention anything
about "A New Hope." The authors of these articles, I firmly believe,
would have reported a name change in 1979 or earlier if they'd known
about it. Unless, of course, they were all involved in a vast X-Wing
Now, if anybody's REALLLY interested in this, I copied the "Star Wars"
re-release newspaper ad from the August 16, 1979 edition of "The
Washington Post." This came at the beginning of the re-release. (The
August 15 edition of the "Post" also carried a "Star Wars" ad that was
almost identical to the one I copied. Why didn't I copy the earlier ad?
I missed it the first time through. The only difference is that an
"EXTRA" banner for "Empire" coming attractions is tilted in one but not
the other. There was no "Star Wars" ad in the August 14 edition.) If
you'd like to see for yourself that there's no mention of "Episode IV: A
New Hope" in the ad, I'll be glad to E-mail a scan to you.
And finally, thanks to Simon Lee's sig, I took a second look at the Star
Wars FAQ http://www.shavenwookie.com/rassmfaq.html and realized that it
says the following:
1) Was "Episode IV: A New Hope" on the original release of Star Wars in
No, in 1977 Star Wars was originally titled "Star Wars". Though some
would swear to have seen it, there was no mention of any episode number
or subtitle until the film was re-released in 1979 prior to the release
Well, Chris Hawkins and Psycho and Adam Burakowski and Jill Marie
Fritsche (the maintainers of the FAQ), don't you think that based on
what I've turned up it's time to edit the FAQ? Shouldn't you change the
last line to say "until 'Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back' was
released in 1980 and the public learned through the news media that
henceforth the original 'Star Wars' would be known as 'Episode IV: A New
And finally -- please. If you wish to dispute my contention that the
renaming of "Star Wars" as "A New Hope" was announced with the release
of "Empire" and not significantly before, please please please **cite a
reference!!** I really, really would like to see some proof. I'm
serious. Nothing (well, few things) would please me more. Saying "I
know I'm right because I'm certain I remember it that way," however, may
make you feel better, but it won't add much to the discussion. Thanks!
Bill (Four Fax Fixers Fix FAQ Fast) Anderson
P.S. I just have to report this too. That June 24, 1979 edition of the
Post contained another great article. Titled, "Fire up the Compact Disk
Laser, Re-Keyboard the Computer TV, Adjust Your Galvanic Skin Sensor,
and Plug In the Syn-Ket: It's Time for Entertainment in an Age of
Hi-Tech!" This was a big, four-part spread on the coming revolution in
home entertainment. It even reported the introduction by Phillips of a
new gizmo called a "Compact Disc System" that would allow "audiophiles
by 1984 (are you listening George Orwell?) to enjoy perfectly
reproduced, distortion-free sounds from a virtually indestructible disc
less than half the size of the standard long playing album. (...)
Since the laser does not come into contact with the disc in the
conventional sense, but 'reads' the sound from a microscopic track
contained in a spiral on one face of the disc, record wear is
eliminated." There was also an article on the huge new 26" Sony TV that
featured an infra-red remote that would allow you to "punch up any of 14
channels without going sequentially through the roster. And a little
'mute' button that allows you to cut off completely the sound during
commercials and Barry Manilow specials."
In the August, 1977 interview with Rolling Stone Lucas says "One of the sequels
we are thinking of is the young days of Ben Kenobi." It doesn't explicitely use
the word "prequel," though clearly any movie made after Star Wars that deals
with a young Obi-Wan would be a prequel. Other interviews with Lucas during the
1977-1980 period allude to a series of sequels being made (anywhere from "at
least three or four sequels" to 12 movies in all), but this is the earliest
reference I know of that any of the sequels would actually take place prior to
What's really interesting is the date of origin for the word "prequel."
According to Websters, the word "sequel" originated in the 15th Century.
"Prequel" originates in 1972 (though, maddeningly, it didn't cite the context
of the first appearance!).
Today I hit pay dirt. I went to the library "just one more time"
because I realized I hadn't checked the 1980 "Washington Post" review of
"Empire." I'd checked the 1980 "Time" and "Newsweek" reviews because I
used to read those magazines back when "Star Wars" was a puppy (and I
mistakenly thought I'd find the word "prequel" in them), but I just
hadn't thought to look for the local paper's review. Sure wish I'd
The most useful article I found today, by Gary Arnold, turned out to be
a genuine rave review of "The Empire Strikes Back." If you want to pay
the "Washington Post" $2.95 ($1.50 off-hours), you can download it at
Under "search terms" enter "A New Hope" with the quotes, and you can
choose the date range 05/01/1980 to 05/31/1980. When you execute the
search, you'll see this:
The following prices will be charged to read the full text of stories:
per article on weekdays, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time and $1.50 per
article all other times.
Darth Vader's Surprise Attack!;
"'The Empire Strikes Back' Is a Dazzling Film With a Daring Departure
Into the Future"
Article 1 of 1 found
By Gary Arnold
Sunday, May 18, 1980 ; Page M1
Section: Style; Show
Word Count: 2962
"STAR WARS," an exuberant, swashbuckling science-fiction adventure
fantasy written and directed by George Lucas, then in his early 30s,
opened with relatively little fanfare on Wednesday, May 25, 1977. It
quickly became the most popular of modern movies, surpassing the
box-office records set by "Jaws" in a matter of weeks. An offbeat,
underrated $9-million gamble has made more than $400 million.
So the inevitable sequel, "The Empire Strikes Back," can't sneak up on
the marketplace, obviously. It
And that's where the free search introduction ends. I paid forty-five
cents for my copy of the entire article because I used the microfilm
reader at my local library here in Washington to copy three pages. But
I think that if I didn't live here, I just might want to pay the fee and
download the whole thing. As I said, it's a rave review. And it's full
of interesting information. And it was written in May, 1980. Did you
catch that? I said, May, 1980. Here are some quotes:
"The first indication of unexpected developments comes almost
immediately. It is the appearance of the heading "Episode V" at the top
of a prologue that crawls from the bottom to the top of the screen.
Could one 'Star Wars' plus one "Empire Strikes Back" equal five? First
there is the 20th Century Fox logo, accompanied by Alex North's familiar
fanfare, which remains unchanged. So does the title "Star Wars" as it
flashes upon the screen and recedes into the vanishing point of a
familiar celestial background, accompanied by John Williams' even more
stirring and reassuring fanfare. Suddenly there's the jolt of that
"Episode V." Having spelled out this revelation, the crawl goes on to
spell out the new title and a memory-refreshing, scene-setting prologue
that begins with the ominous sentence: It is a dark time for the
If the first film had ever contained even a simple Roman numeral IV, why
would the author express such surprise at the appearance of the phrase
"Episode V" in the second film? And a few paragraphs later I found what
I was really looking for:
"Just as 'Star Wars' and 'The Empire Strikes Back' start in the thick of
the action, jumping into military operations caused by civil war in a
remote, exotic, technologically advanced interplanetary civilization,
Lucas recently disclosed that he started in the middle of a grandiose
epic narrative. These sensational popular spectacles are intended to be
MERELY the first and second chapters of a trilogy, which will be
completed in 1982 or 1983 by a third chapter entitled "Revenge of the
Jedi." When 'Star Wars' is reissued, probably next summer, the prints
will include the subtitle, "Episode IV: A New Hope."
Note, please, that "next summer" would be 1981. But it gets better.
Now look below at the concluding sentence of that paragraph - oh, this
is good, and I suspect it explains a lot of the confusion in some
"This adjustment may already be seen in the published screenplay, which
came out last winter in an attractive book called 'The Art of Star
"Last winter," it says. That would be 1979. So, it appears it's
entirely possible that during the latter part of 1979 a person could
have seen the words "Episode IV: A New Hope" applied to the original
"Star Wars" film, without having actually seen them on the big screen.
I just wonder, oh, how I wonder, if this doesn't explain why so many
people, and even the Star Wars FAQ, are mistakenly insisting that the
1979 re-release of the "Star Wars" film began with the title "Episode
IV: A New Hope." They didn't see it in the theater. They saw it in
And what about this book, "The Art of Star Wars," that introduced the
title "Episode IV: A New Hope?" I wondered if the library had a copy.
Well, it did and it didn't. What it had was a contemporary version of
the original 1979 book. And here's what I found in the new version:
TEXT ON THE COVER:
The Art of Star Wars
Episode IV A New Hope
Formerly Titled The Art of Star Wars
TEXT ON THE COPYRIGHT PAGE
A DelRey Book
Published by Ballantine Books
TM & Copyright 1997 by Lucasfilm LTD
All Rights Reserved
Copyright 1979 by Star Wars Corporation
Used Under Authorization
Originally published in somewhat different form by Ballantine Books in
TEXT ON THE OPENING PAGE
A New Hope
Journal of the Whills
(Line drawings of Star Wars characters)
Revised Fourth Draft
January 15, 1976
Don't forget this is copied from a book published in 1997 and based on a
book published in 1979. I don't know what the original 1979 book looked
like. Maybe someone in the newsgroup has a copy of the original
Ballantine edition and will fill us in. The month of publication would
be a very interesting thing to know. But until then, I have to suspect
that the first page of the 1979 book is the same as the first page of
the 1997 book. And I even if it turns out to be true that the title
"Episode IV: A New Hope" appeared in the personal writings of George
Lucas on "January 15, 1976" as the opening page suggests, I've found no
evidence that it was revealed to the public until the winter of 1979
when the book "The Art of Star Wars" was published.
And finally - what about the question that originally sent me to the
library for just a little research? Is it true, as I still recall, that
the term "prequel" was coined to describe the first three films in the
"Star Wars" saga? Well, no, it's not true. Instead of continuing to
waste my time looking for the etymology of the word online, this
afternoon I checked the library's Oxford English Dictionary, and here's
what I found:
1973 Britannica Book of the Year 1972 732/3 Prequel, a literary work
whose narrative sequentially precedes that of an earlier book.
1977 National Observer (U.S.) 1 Jan 1-4 Cammerůhas just written a book
"Freedom from Compulsion." ů he calls it a prequel to his earlier book,
"Up from Depression." "Prequel" is a word I coined, he explains. It's
a sequel, except it's on a subject that comes before."
1977 Globe & Mail (Toronto) 17 Sept 37/5 The Silmarillion for which
Tolkein coined the term Prequel, describes not only the creation of
Middle Earth, but of the universe.
1979 Films and Filming, Mar 11. In this 'prequel,' Tom Berenger stars
as Butch Cassidy, and William Katt as Superman.
So the word "prequel" wasn't coined to describe the "Star Wars" films
that would follow the making of "Jedi." (But I remember it so well!!!)
But I was wrong. It's been fun finding out about it, though. And I
hope all this might get me a line in the FAQ. That would make all the
Bill "And I Always Thought I Knew Jack" Anderson
1) When "Star Wars" was released in 1979, it was titled simply,
"Star Wars." No Roman Numeral. No "A New Hope."
2) The heading "Star Wars: A New Hope" was added to the film AFTER
"The Empire Strikes Back was released." The new heading was not
attached to the 1979 re-release.
3) The first public revelation of the title "A New Hope" was in the
picture book "The Art of Star Wars," published in the winter of 1979.
4) The word "prequel" was coined in 1972 (apparently) and first
used authoritatively in 1977.
Possibly "Tarzan the Fearless" of 1933. "Tarzan The Ape Man"
(1932) was more like a remake than a sequel to "Tarzan of the
Apes" (1918). "Tarzan and His Mate" (1934) was the second of
the Weissmuller series, and another likely candidate.
> 1979 Films and Filming, Mar 11. In this 'prequel,' Tom Berenger stars
> as Butch Cassidy, and William Katt as Superman.
I never typed that. An evil spirit lives in my computer.
Bill "Butch Cassidy and the Kryptonite Kid" Anderson
Buffy: Who better to bring together a bunch of demon types than someone
who's made out of a bunch of demon types?
Girl: So he's bridging the gap between the races?
Willow: Huh, like Martin Luther King.
Bill Anderson <billan...@my-deja.com> wrote in message
You might find something, though, if you looked at some old Sci-Fi fan magazine
issues, like Starlog (they were around back then, right?), which would probably
feature a ten page article simply on the addition of an episode number to "Star
Wars." The only problem is most libraries don't store fan magazines.
> Now, if anybody's REALLLY interested in this, I copied the "Star Wars"
> re-release newspaper ad from the August 16, 1979 edition of "The
> Washington Post." This came at the beginning of the re-release. (The
> August 15 edition of the "Post" also carried a "Star Wars" ad that was
> almost identical to the one I copied. Why didn't I copy the earlier ad?
> I missed it the first time through. The only difference is that an
> "EXTRA" banner for "Empire" coming attractions is tilted in one but not
> the other. There was no "Star Wars" ad in the August 14 edition.) If
> you'd like to see for yourself that there's no mention of "Episode IV: A
> New Hope" in the ad, I'll be glad to E-mail a scan to you.
The movie has always been called "Star Wars" in every ad I've ever seen, even
though Lucasfilm now considers all the movies together to be "Star Wars" with
the chapter released in 1977 as "Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope" - the movie
is still called simply "Star Wars." And I doubt you'll ever seen an "Empire
Strikes Back" or "Return of the Jedi" ad with the episode number on them. In
fact, "The Phantom Menace" was the first with the episode number on the ads -
and I think that was done to help clue the less "with it" movie crowd know that
it was a prequel.
A twelve part story was conceived originally, which probably changed to
nine in Empire, and to six in Jedi, when everyone was tired of doing
> It doesn't explicitely use
> the word "prequel," though clearly any movie made after Star Wars that deals
> with a young Obi-Wan would be a prequel.
Though I had not heard the exact term "prequel" used until the Star
Wars saga, there have been other films which were "prequels" prior to
Star Wars, such was the case with the Planet of the Apes film series.
> What's really interesting is the date of origin for the word "prequel."
> According to Websters, the word "sequel" originated in the 15th Century.
> "Prequel" originates in 1972 (though, maddeningly, it didn't cite the context
> of the first appearance!).
Hmm... may be just coincidental, but wasn't the first Planet of the
Apes "prequel" film released in '72 or so?
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"Rev. Jevon den Ridder" wrote:
> The title was changed in 1978, for the rerelease. Case closed.
you don't seem to have a very good grasp of what 'case closed' means.
George W. Bush has vowed to overrule FDA approval
of a cancer fighting drug. Apparently McCain's not the only
one soft on fighting cancer.
There's nothing to debate about. I've been subscribed to RASSM (SW NG)
for years, and you're ignored if you bring up this tired old debate. I
read an article a year ago which stated that the movies were given
episode numbers for the SE releases. Doing research on this particular
matter is pointless, as it went relatively unnoticed. Go to
rec.arts.sf.starwars.misc and ask them yourself. 1978 re-release. And
I've gone as you suggested to rec.arts.sf.starwars.misc to make my case.
The subject of my post is "The RASSM FAQ is Incorrect." I hope the
keepers of the RASSM FAQ will not ignore me as you've suggested. And I
hope that demonstrating that the FAQ contains incorrect information is
not "pointless." Case open?
Bill "Well I'm Not Tired of the Debate and What Do Episode Numbers Have
To Do With Anything Anyway" Anderson
"Rev. Jevon den Ridder" wrote:
> the damoned wrote:
> > "Rev. Jevon den Ridder" wrote:
> > >
> > > The title was changed in 1978, for the rerelease. Case closed.
> > you don't seem to have a very good grasp of what 'case closed' means.
> There's nothing to debate about.
you don't seem to understand what that sentence means.
I've been subscribed to RASSM (SW NG)
> for years, and you're ignored if you bring up this tired old debate. I
> read an article a year ago which stated that the movies were given
> episode numbers for the SE releases. Doing research on this particular
> matter is pointless, as it went relatively unnoticed.
if doing reserach is pointless, then why mention the article?
"Last November, a Congressional aide named Mitch Glazier, with the
support of the RIAA, added a "technical amendment" to a bill that
defined recorded music as "works for hire" under the 1978 Copyright
I have no idea what the original thread is about, but the episode number were
put in after the original Star Wars was re-released after it's initial
successful run. Originally it was just Star Wars, but after it went gangbusters
and was re-released in theaters, the Episode IV, A New Hope was added. So when
Empire came out, it did say Episode V.