A Star Wars fan trailer, made by students from a visual arts school, brings the franchise to life with the original Ralph McQuarrie concept art. Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters this week and will continue the epic Saga that George Lucas began 40 years ago. Early reviews for The Last Jedi have been extremely positive, claiming the new entry is one of the franchise's best. Given that Lucasfilm is already backing a new Star Wars trilogy from Johnson, it's not so surprising to learn that the film met the studio's expectations.
Even with the sheer amount of fresh Star Wars content released since Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, fans are still eager to spin new yarns themselves in the galaxy far, far away. The story from the original Star Wars movie trilogy has become so ingrained in our culture now that it's easy for everyday Star Wars fans to retell it using their own means of storytelling. But rather than rework the original Star Wars movie, the latest fan-made reimagining of the franchise god back a step further, to the original film's concept art.
The DAVE School in Orlando, FL has a novel take on the traditional student project, using their skills and facilities to create a new Star Wars trailer. However, rather than decontextualize an existing movie, the trailers uses concept artist Ralph McQuarrie's original designs for the franchise as a source of inspiration. When Lucas was in the early stages of crafting what would become Star Wars, McQuarrie put together lots of artwork to help better visualize the characters, vehicles, and locations featured in Lucas' script. Both the writing and final look of things changed a great deal before the actual movie was finished, but McQuarrie's work has continued to inspired fans - as the above trailer illustrates.
The trailer shows off a number of McQuarrie's ship designs, including a version of X-Wings that would eventually be adapted for the big screen. Likewise, various ship and costume designs have popped up over the years in the Star Wars universe with a clear debt to McQuarrie's work. Even the idea of Stormtroopers wielding lightsabers was homaged in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (see the movie's famous "Traitor!" scene).
The core group of characters from the trailer represent one of McQuarrie's most infamous paintings. At one point, this would have been the ensemble seen on screen. While Luke, Han, Chewy, and the droids all changed a great deal over time, this band of characters eventually helped inspire the look of the characters on the Disney XD animated series Star Wars Rebels. It's easy to see the similarities to Chopper and Kanan here, but it's the original Chewbacca that is a dead ringer for Zeb on that cartoon Star Wars TV show.
Just like the now abandoned Expanded Universe (aka. Star Wars Legends), McQuarrie's work has continued to inspire the modern Star Wars canon. While we may never see legions of Stormtroopers wielding lightsabers, more of McQuarrie's concepts are sure to pop up in the franchise in the future. The Last Jedi is headed for a massive opening, and that level of success will allow Johnson a lot of freedom to craft something new with his next installment. When he does, perhaps even more of McQuarrie's work will be brought to life in the Star Wars movie universe.
Source: The DAVE School
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019