Comic-Con's First 'Star Wars' Panel in 1976 Was a Sleepy Affair

Marvel's Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin, dressed in bell-bottoms, showed a few stills from the space adventure film.
Twitter/Star Wars
'Star Wars' being discussed at the 1976 Comic-Con.

It is unimaginable now, but the first discussion of Star Wars at Comic-Con in 1976 was a low-key affair that few attended. 

To celebrate both the opening day of the San Diego convention, which is pretty much an unofficial nerd holiday, and Throwback Thursday, the official Star Wars Twitter account shared a few somewhat depressing photos from that first quasi-panel. 

"Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin tell a less than packed audience about a film called Star Wars at @Comic_Con in 1976," the account, which has more than 3.3 million followers, shared. 

Thomas helped engineer Marvel's comic book adaptation of the 1977 film. Chaykin was one of the artists on the book. 

It appears all the small audience saw were a few stills from A New Hope. Listed on a schedule as a "prevue," the panel was an hour long and held second to the last event on Thursday night. 

In a 2013 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Mark Hamill talked about promoting the film at conventions in 1976.

"I hadn't seen the special effects or heard John Williams' score, but I knew it had 'cult' written all over it," Hamill had told THR. "I think those were the days it was still called The Star Wars. I had a feeling this thing couldn't miss. It cost less than All the President's Men that year, just $9.5 million."

Hamill added: "I thought, 'It'll make $40 million if it makes a dollar. Let's say it gets panned by all the critics, relegated to matinees for kids, and only makes $5 million and there's no sequel — still it's going to be so well received there's no way it's not going to become, like, a midnight movie shown on campuses.' I said, 'If this is even one-tenth of the fun to watch that it was to make, it's gonna out-gross Planet of the Apes.' We laughed so much when we were making it."

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