These days, there are entire events dedicated to the franchise. There’s even an honorary holiday—May 4—that is a play on words of a famous Han Solo line. But back in 1976, excitement for Star Wars was decidedly more muted. These pictures from the movie’s first panel at Comic Con are proof.
The official Star Wars account Tweeted some pictures from the film’s debut panel on Thursday and, to be frank, the attendance back then was pretty pathetic. It’s unimaginable to think of Star Wars attracting such little interest today, especially given its astronomical popularity.
Even the Star Wars account pokes fun at the movie’s “less than packed audience.”
— Star Wars (@starwars) July 20, 2017
It’s unclear what the hour-long presentation was like back in 1976, but it appears attendees got a brief glimpse of Vader and Leia, along with a piece of artwork showing off an X-Wing. On stage giving the presentation was Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin, fairly-unknown Marvel artists at the time that went on to much larger careers.
When Star Wars came out the following year, it immediately gained a cult following, and has since gone on to become one of the largest franchises ever—something actor Mark Hamill suspected would happen once the movie wrapped filming.
“I hadn’t seen the special effects or heard John Williams’ score, but I knew it had ‘cult’ written all over it,” Hamill said in an interview with THR in 2013.
Whoever captured these photos has done a great service to Star Wars fans. As they say, from humble beginnings come great things.