5-25-77 Trailer: Patrick Read Johnson's Decades-Old Star Wars Comedy Is Finally Being Released

Over 45 years ago, George Lucas debuted a little film known as "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope" (or just "Star Wars," back then) and completely changed the cinematic landscape forever. Many have equated seeing "Star Wars" for the first time as the closest thing a movie fan could have to a religious experience, but few have been able to capture what that life-changing moment was really like, until now. At just 15 years old, Patrick Read Johnson was one of the first people outside of Industrial Light and Magic to see "Star Wars," having caught an unfinished cut during his spring break of 1977. The moment inspired him to pursue filmmaking, eventually directing the films "Spaced Invaders," "Baby's Day Out," "Angus," and "The Genesis Code."

Back in 2001, Johnson began raising funds for an autobiographical coming-of-age film called "5-25-77," chronicling his time as a teenage filmmaker from Wadsworth, Illinois, and the exciting lead-up toward seeing the premiere of "Star Wars." Initial filming took place from 2004 to 2006 and picked up again from 2015 to 2016 before premiering the film at the historic Genesee Theatre in Wadsworth in 2017, never to receive a proper release. 

I grew up two towns over from Johnson, and admittedly knew classmates who skipped school to appear as extras in this movie. This has been Johnson's passion project for over 20 years, and it's incredible to see that the film will finally be available for mass consumption.

5-25-77 Trailer

John Francis Daley (Yes, the co-writer of "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor of Thieves" and "Freaks and Geeks" star) stars as teenage Pat Johnson, living in a small Midwestern town right off the highway with ambitions of making movies. He's joined by Austin Pendleton, Colleen Camp, and Neil Flynn, all to capture the magic of what it was like to see "Star Wars" when it finally hit theaters. In an exclusive statement to Deadline, Johnson said, "On behalf of all of the dedicated, passionate, (and possibly crazy) people who've stayed the course with me, all this time, to bring '5-25-77' to the screen, I'd like to thank MVD, and the particular individuals in this amazing company, who found something special in our film, that compelled them to go above and beyond, in order to make sure audiences everywhere might get the chance to find something special in it, too!"

Despite my own very odd personal connections to the film as someone who grew up in close proximity to the film's setting (a lot of kids from Wadsworth went to my high school depending on which part of the town they lived in), I still have not seen "5-25-77," but I do know first hand what it feels like to have big, Hollywood dreams in an area that's not quite Chicago and not quite Wisconsin. What was true for Johnson in 1977 was true for me in 2005. I'm happy to see that we both made it out and were able to follow our passions.

MVD Entertainment is releasing "5-25-77" in the fall of 2022.