Found this nice little Behind The Scenes Story by Craig Miller () for Star Wars day.
A story for Star Wars Day.
Back in 1979, we were discussing which image — which photo — would be the first one we’d release for “The Empire Strikes Back”. Not that anyone was actually worried that people wouldn’t come to see the movie. Still, you want to keep fans and the general public interested and excited, so you think carefully about how you want to publicize and promote the film.
It came down to two images. Two very similar images. Each immediately told you “Star Wars”. But they also were different from anything you’d seen before. It wasn’t going to be a rehash of what happened in the first movie (as far too many sequels tended — and tend — to be). We wanted an image that would make you go “What is that?!?” That would intrigue and, hopefully, get you or keep you excited for “The Empire Strikes Back”.
I wanted to use this first image. Luke on the Tauntaun. More or less full figure. George, on the other hand, wanted to use the second image, Luke on the Tauntaun, but just showing the Tauntaun’s head and “shoulders”. My argument was that image — particularly shown in the 1-2″ square it would appear in a magazine or newspaper (or today, on the bottom of a Facebook status update) — made it look like we just put a ram’s horns on a camel. The other photo had Luke on a creature we’d absolutely never seen before. A creature far more exciting to someone’s sense of wonder.
George agreed but said it gave away too much. So, it being George’s movie, we went with the “head & shoulders” shot.