One of the most enjoyable aspects of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first entry in the new era of Star Wars movies, is the visual design. Set several decades after the end of Return of the Jedi, the film is bursting with relics from the past and nods to previous films. On the planet of Jakku, where audiences first meet young hero Rey, the desert is littered with crashed ships and fallen vehicles from the Galactic Civil War that the local denizens scrap for parts.
Between the landscapes, the interiors and exteriors of starships, the characters’ costumes, and the new robots and aliens that populate the film, The Force Awakens had a lengthy development and design process in which the look of the film was decided upon. Now some of the best concept art and behind-the-scenes details have been collected in a book titled The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and we have a sneak peek at some of the artwork that was included.
Originally posted by Buzzfeed, the artwork features an alternate design for BB-8 with treads on the larger ball, some different costume designs for Rey (who was called Kira at that point in development) and depictions of major scenes in the movie, such as the Millennium Falcon’s breakneck chase and Rey exploring the ruins of ships. The artists behind these images are Christian Alzmann, Yanick Dusseault, James Clyne, Glyn Dillon, Doug Chiang, Ryan Church, and Iain McCaig.
The artists themselves also offered some interesting insight into the thought process that went into the visuals. For those who may have noticed the none-too-subtle Nazi imagery, this was absolutely deliberate. For the first image below, Dusseault explains:
“I just took Olympic Third Reich photos, put them on my computer screen, modeled them in 3-D, and put in little TIE fighters instead of guys. And I switched the flag logo to the Empire logo.”
Check out the awesome concept art for Star Wars: The Force Awakens below.
Both the images of Rey/Kira show her wearing a short black vest and a scarf, which along the way were swapped out for her final look: lightweight sand-colored clothing. However, its possible to spot some design elements that were present from the very beginning, such as her arm wraps and the belt that holds her loot bag. As for Han Solo, Dillon explains that for a while both director J.J. Abrams and costume designer Michael Kaplan wanted Han to be wearing his black vest from the original trilogy, but eventually they settled on the short brown jacket shown in the artwork above. After all, would that vest really have survived thirty years of galactic adventures?
The artwork was assembled by Phil Szostak, who worked in the art department for Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a conceptual researcher and archivist from the start of development in December 2012 – three years before the movie eventually hit theaters. The book looks like it’s definitely worth checking out for those who want to dig into the history of the The Force Awakens and see early concepts for the elements that eventually ended up in the film.
The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is available now from Abrams Books.