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The Force Runs Strong in the Gorgeous Return of the Jedi 40th Anniversary Poster

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Over the past few weeks, Star Wars fans have been bombarded by a single image. It’s a poster, made by artist Matt Ferguson, to promote the 40th anniversary theatrical re-release of Return of the Jedi. The poster has been used on marquees, in theaters, as a giveaway, and more. And always the question is, “When can I buy that?” The answer is May the 4th be with you.

Lucasfilm, Bottleneck Gallery, and Acme Archives will release Matt Ferguson’s excellent Return of the Jedi print, in four different versions, starting at noon EST on May 4 at BottleneckGallery.com. There are two timed editions, one in English and one in Japanese, both in the regular colorway, as well as two limited editions, also in English and Japanese, in a different colorway. Those are limited to 425 each. You can see each below.

io9 spoke with Ferguson over email, who told us how he felt seeing his art everywhere over the past few weeks. “It’s been absolutely incredible,” he said. “To be a part of that and to see everyone excited and sharing their love for the movie has been an absolute blast. Having the art announced on stage at Celebration, with me there watching is something I’ll always cherish. It’s also been used on Disney+, which is oddly surreal and definitely awesome, to have my art on my TV like that.”

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The poster happened because Ferguson also worked with Lucasfilm and Disney a few years back on a very similar project. “It came about because I made the art for the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back,” Ferguson wrote. “So it’s only logical that I’d want to provide art for Jedi as well. Luckily the wonderful folks at Disney and Lucasfilm had me back.”

Though the image leans heavily on the characters of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, that wasn’t always the case. “Initially we did talk about having more characters on the poster, getting the key main people on there, but then perhaps the art wouldn’t have felt as original,” he said. “Also on Empire, I really stripped the art back to the basics of the story, so it only felt right for me to do that again on this poster.” In fact, when Ferguson started on the poster, he made a list of elements that he wanted to include: “Endor, green, lightsaber, Jedi, Luke, Vader, AT-ST/Speeders, Ewoks.” “I think I managed to get those things into the poster, just about,” he said.

As for what version he prefers, Ferguson’s answer may surprise you. “I like the Japanese variant,” he said. “The Japanese type just sets off the art and for me really suits Star Wars.”

Another thing that suits Star Wars is a trilogy and now that Ferguson has done posters for both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, only one thing remains. “I’d make a Star Wars [A New Hope] anniversary poster in a heartbeat, yes,” he said. “I even know exactly what I’d do with the art. So, yeah, I hope so! Actually, at this point I kind of want to make key art like this for the whole Skywalker Saga. That’s a challenge I’d love to take on.”

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And one we’d love to put on our walls. Here’s the final poster of the bunch.

The English and Japanese timed editions of Matt Ferguson’s Return of the Jedi come as 24 x 36 inch, 11-color screenprints, and cost $65 each. They’ll be on sale from noon EST May 4 through 11:59 p.m. EST May 7. The editions will be determined by how many posters are sold.

The regular and variant limited editions, with the more silver color, are also 24 x 36 inch, 11-color screenprints, but they cost $85 each. Those also go on sale at noon EST on May 4.

All posters will be available at bottleneckgallery.com. May the Force be with you.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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