A series of story conferences begin between Star Wars writer/director George Lucas and science fiction writer Leigh Brackett, the first work toward shaping the storyline for an anticipated (but still untitled) Star Wars sequel film. Lucas has brought Brackett on board to contribute new ideas, but she will only submit a first draft before succumbing to cancer. The conferences continue through early December; the eventual product of these early story meetings will be 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back.
Caught completely off-guard by the seemingly unstoppable runaway success of Star Wars, whose toy license it signed on for earlier in the year, toy manufacturer Kenner does something desperate and unprecedented: it sells a mostly-empty box (contents: the Force?) called the Star Wars Early Bird Kit, containing stickers, pictures, and a card to mail off to receive four figures – Luke, Princess Leia, R2-D2 and Chewbacca – by mail sometime between “February and May 1978.” The delay is needed to ramp up production on the figures, which will also be available at retail in 1978. To the surprise of everyone, including Kenner executive Bernard Loomis, who devised the Early Bird Kit, the result is a runaway sales success story.
The 13th episode of Filmation’s Saturday morning science fiction series Space Academy airs on CBS. In space, everyone can hear you cut class, especially if you’re possessed by alien beings.
The 467th episode of Doctor Who airs on BBC1. Michael Keating (Blake’s 7) guest stars.
The eighth episode of the science fiction series Man From Atlantis airs on NBC, starring Patrick Duffy and Belinda J. Montgomery. John Shea (Lois & Clark) and Ahna Capri (Enter The Dragon) guest star.
The 14th episode of Filmation’s Saturday morning science fiction series Space Academy airs on CBS. The Academy crew sets out to debunk tales of an interstellar Flying Dutchman, only to find there’s more to it than just the legend.
The 468th episode of Doctor Who airs on BBC1. Michael Keating (Blake’s 7) guest stars.
A two-man crew – cosmonauts Yuri Romanenko and Georgi Grechko – is launched aboard Soyuz 26 by the Soviet Union. The Soyuz capsule docks with the recently-launched Salyut 6 space station, and the crew takes up residence for over three months, setting a new space endurance record at 96 days. The Soyuz 27 crew visits in January and swaps vehicles with the station occupants, meaning that Romanenko and Grechko technically return to Earth aboard Soyuz 27 in March 1978. Ten days into the mission, the first Soviet spacewalk since 1969 is undertaken to examine the forward docking hatch of Salyut 6, with which the previous mission failed to connect. This spacewalk was the first outing of the Soviet-made Orlan spacesuit, a design still in use on the International Space Station in the 21st century.
The pilot episode of the science fiction sitcom Come Back, Mrs. Noah, created by the writing duo behind the perennial favorite Are You Being Served? and starring Mollie Sugden, is aired by the BBC. The remaining five episodes are to be aired in 1978.
The 15th and final episode of Filmation’s Saturday morning science fiction series Space Academy airs on CBS, as Commander Gampu’s brother arrives on a mission to shut down the Academy. With Star Wars mania in full swing, Filmation decides to keep the Space Academy sets and costumes around, but reformat the show with new characters, actors and plotlines to cash in on the current sci-fi craze.
The 469th episode of Doctor Who airs on BBC1. Michael Keating (Blake’s 7) guest stars.
CBS airs the ninth episode of the TV adaptation of Logan’s Run. Lance Le Gault and Morgan Woodward guest star.