Reposted for 40th Anniversary Star Wars Celebration weekend:
The late ‘70s had no shortage of Star Wars knock-off imagery attempting to capitalize on the unexpected iconic status of the film, but few were as blatant as this ad from the Church of Scientology magazine “The Auditor”, issue number 142, December 1977.
Despite the roughness of the art, the likeness of Luke Skywalker in Stormtrooper armor is immediately recognizable, along with Obi-Wan, Darth Vader, R2-D2, X-wings and the Death Star in the background.
The L. Ron Hubbard book being pushed in the ad is titled “Have You Lived Before This Life?”, which predictably explores the concept of the past lives and reincarnation on this planet and others that is so important in Scientology’s expensive process of e-meter auditing.
It’s hard to tell what’s more ironic - Scientology using science fiction imagery to sell an ostensibly religious book written by a sci-fi author, or the fact that unauthorized Star Wars characters were used by a “church” that is so infamously aggressive and litigious in enforcing the copyrights on its own materials.