Star Wars: The Philately is strong

The Royal Mail’s new Star Wars stamps are lusher than the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyyk. It’s great when Star Wars is well treated, and when Britain nods her head towards it…

Today was a huge day for Star Wars fans. With just under two months until the new film’s release, excitement managed to struggle up a further notch when… Royal Mail released their Star Wars stamps. It was enough to knock the much anticipated third and final fan-exploding film trailer to the back pages (#12 on most Tweeted). Almost.

They’re a stunning affair. If you’re not keeping up with Royal Mail’s recent releases, they’re the same as they always were – just even better. As with many of the postal service issuers around the British Isles and the world, each issue is a well researched and informed work of art. They continue to excel themselves with almost every stamp issue,and this is a particularly good example.

Royal Mail Star Wars stamps - The Dark Side
The Dark Side…

Commemorating, highlighting and celebrating a broad range of subjects that touch on British life, these franchise tributes are probably the best since the summers deluxe Waterloo anniversary set. Available in a multitude of formats, illustrated here is the stunningly framed Presentation pack release. Dominated by the Light Side of the force, 12 simple and mostly familiar portraits capture the simple and classic nature of the franchise. And best of all, the three intruders from The Force Awakens already look like part of the Death Star furniture. the Emperor ensures that three different eras of Star Wars films sit side-by-side and they’ve never looked so cohesive. And that’s in the week that the official and wholly traditional final film poster was revealed, in the always stunning hand  of Drew Struzan.

Accompanying the stamps is a miniature sheet of six vehicle stamps, where there’s an more even balance between X-Wings, Tie-Fighters, AT-ATs and of course, Millennium Falcon.

Royal Mail Star Wars stamps - The Light Side
… And the Light.

One irritation is that Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin didn’t make the grade. He would tut and slam his slipper heels together if he knew. Whisper it, but the rumours suggest he may be making a computer aided return in the forthcoming Star Wars Rogue One film. We can only hope. Having also missed the Royal Mail’s Doctor Who commemorative release in 2013 (well, he is the non-canonical Dr Who), for the time being we’ll have to make do with his gallant Sherlock Holmes pose in the Great Britons set of 2013.

the Presentation pack comes with the usual high quality of supporting material, with resplendent imagery from the Lucasfilm archives. The main pack is of course split between the light side of and dark side, each highlighting key points of the franchise.

The First Day cover offered special production cancelling postage stamps – in a or a Red Imperial crest for the Post Office’s Tallents House or a blue Alliance Starbird brand marking Elstree Studios. That reminder of the legendary British studio that hosted production of the original Star Wars trilogy reminded me of the proud announcements that Britain would host production of the new Star Wars franchise. In the 1970s, Britain led the world in terms of technical expertise, something that the upcoming brat pack generation of American film directors were willing to marry with the British film tradition, the English-speaking acting resource and a good dollar spend. When union rules loomed into view, their eyes may have widened a bit. Come the 1990s and planning the new prequel trilogy, the dollar spend and studios available in the southern hemisphere had siezed the advantage, as all principal photography for all three films were completed in Australia.

Royal Mail Star Wars stamps - the Ships
The vehicles take point on the Miniature Sheet

Principal Photography of The Force Awakens was completed at Pinewood Studio, and at least the sequel will follow suit. It was May 2013 when Chancellor George Osborne announced with pride that his tax breaks had secured filming of the seventh Star Wars film back in the UK.  A year later he announced that Lucasfilm would soon be returning, or never leave, as they planned to bring filming of the Spin-off Star Wars films to Britain as well.

Cue the terrible photoshopping of the Chancellor that somehow couldn’t quite compete with how awkward he looked posing next to R2D2 at the time. It was presented as a coup for the Government that day, a great photo opportunity. But with mere weeks until the new film’s release, it’s looking truer than ever that in bringing the new franchise back to the country that hosted the revered original trilogy, the real coup was for Disney.

Royal Mail Star Wars stamps In context
The Queen’s reign, the Rugby World Cup and STAR WARS. The Royal Mail’s last three issues.

If the end result’s these excellent stamps, it’s been worth it. But I’m pretty sure the film will be alright as well.

Read more about Star Wars at my Jokerside Film and pop culture blog. There might just be  a spin-off special coming this Winter…

Star Wars s
It’s a sparse summary of the original Star Wars trilogy… So you can’t expect them to give too much away about the new film.

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