Watch the history of the movie trailer, as told by Star Wars

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Today the release of a movie trailer is an entertainment event unto itself, with hyped teases, huge plot information dumps, and hours (upon hours) of scene-by-scene analysis after the fact. But it wasn't always like this. In fact, movie trailers used to be much simpler, with straightforward voice-over explaining why audiences should go see a movie, and little of the stylistic flourishes we take for granted today.

At the center of this evolution is the Hollywood blockbuster — and most specifically, Star Wars. From the perfect embodiment of the 1970s promo clip, to breaking new ground in online distribution, and up through the wonderfully restrained campaign for The Force Awakens, we take a look at how George Lucas' space saga has played a pivotal role in the long and storied history of the movie trailer.

Written by Bryan Bishop and Tom Connors
Edited by Tom Connors
Motion graphics by Hadaya Turner, Kimberly Mas, Max Jeffrey, and Phil Esposito