The droids of Star Wars have gotten themselves in a sticky situation. Luckily for them, that’s a good thing this time. In Star Wars: A New Hope, R2 helped deliver the Death Star plans to the rebellion. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, BB-8, C-3PO, and R2-D2 all contributed to finding Luke Skywalker. Droids have been in the delivery service for over four decades, and they’re sticking around!
These are the Droids you’re looking for!
On Jan. 26, the U.S. Postal Service announced a new set of character-based stamps saluting the sometimes feisty and sarcastic but beloved droids of the Star Wars galaxy. Designed by Greg Breeding and art director William Gicker, these ten stamps feature droids from the films, television, and animation. The stamps will consist of R2-D2, C-3PO, L3-37, a gonk droid, 2-1B medical droid, Chopper, BB-8, K-2SO, D-0, and IG-11.
These droids are a nod to Lucasfilm’s, as well as its parent company, Disney’s, commitment to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning and the continued collaboration between “Star Wars: Force for Change” and global pre-K-12 nonprofit organization “FIRST” (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).
The background of each stamp shows an image of a memorable scene from the saga. The selvage (the area of the sheet outside the stamps) features a passageway from the floating Cloud City above the planet Bespin, introduced in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
Revenge of the Stamp
These are the first Star Wars stamps the USPS has released since the 30th anniversary of the original Star Wars movie. On May 25, 2007, the U.S. Postal Service issued Star Wars commemorative stamps in 15 designs. They were designed again by William Gicker and Terrance McCaffrey and printed in a pressure-sensitive adhesive and a booklet of 15 different stamped postal cards. These stamps also featured art from the famed poster artist Drew Struzan.
While the new collection features an all-droid crew, the 2007 set featured classic characters like Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Chewbacca, Princess Leia Organa and R2-D2, C-3PO, Yoda, Ben Kenobi, Emperor Palpatine, Stormtroopers, Boba Fett, the Millennium Falcon, an X-wing fighter, Queen Amidala, Obi-Wan Kenobi & Anakin Skywalker, and Darth Maul. These stamps were available for one year.
The selvage included the Star Wars logo and background images of a space battle, including a Star Destroyer, TIE fighters, X-wing fighters, and the second Death Star as shown under construction in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. The background also includes the Lightsaber-wielding form of Darth Vader, whose helmet comprises the largest of the 15 stamps. The souvenir sheet’s back featured extensive verso text describing the dramatic roles that each featured character or vehicle plays in the Star Wars saga.
To coincide with the 30th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope and the new collection of commemorative stamps, the USPS collaborated with Lucasfilm to release 400 round-top mail collection boxes resembling the stocky little blue droid. It made sense to redesign R2 into a mailbox because he looks so much like one, and “he embodies the trust and dependability for which the Postal Service is renowned,” according to the USPS press release.
The R2-D2 collection boxes were not brand new mailboxes. Instead, they were fitted with vinyl “skins” that make them take on the spunky droid’s appearance. Artist Chris Scalf designed the skin. In October 2007, the USPS transferred a unique R2-D2 mailbox to the National Postal Museum. Unfortunately, this particular R2 arrived a little beat up, so it needed some repairs. They carefully removed the old skin and replaced it with a new, fresh version. You can watch this transformation process above.
For a time, this R2 mailbox was on loan from the museum to the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center. Eventually, all but one of the mailboxes were returned to their original paint scheme. The Smithsonian is the only place where you can still see the R2-mailbox.
Global stamp of approval
The U.S. Postal Service isn’t the only one making dazzling new Star Wars stamps. The Caribbean nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines produced two sets of Star Wars stamps in 1996. The first set featured six classic pieces of concept art by Star Wars artist Ralph McQuarrie. The second set featured silver foil stamps for the box art for the 1995 original trilogy release on VHS. They also released gold foil stamps featuring the VHS covers.
Years ago Australia also released limited edition stamps showcasing the vehicles and vessels of Star Wars through Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. The collection also included twenty sheets of Star Wars stationery and envelopes.
When Can I Buy?
Additional details about the new Star Wars droid inspired stamp collection, including the issue date, will be announced later this year.
A Little About Me
My name is Eric Onkenhout, and Star Wars is my jam and has been since I was 6 or 7. I consider myself a Marvel and Game of Thrones apprentice (my other two big fandoms), and know some about each but not like Star Wars. I first got into Marvel when Iron Man came out, but it wasn’t until Avengers: Age of Ultron when I really started following the comics. Luckily I have a comic book shop nearby that I can peruse and learn about comics. I love to write pretty much anything whether it’s fiction, reviews, or journalistic articles.
As far as movies, books, comic books, or tv shows, I tend to gravitate towards good writing regardless of the genre. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English-Creative Writing; I like sports like hockey, football, and soccer. Go, Bruins! And I have one cat named Zeke who is doing his best at laying on my arm as I type this right now.