Jakku Sunset Star Wars The Force Awakens by Craig Drake
My favourite mondo artist of film culture, Craig Drake…which you’ll already know I’m a massive fan of his Patrick Nagel ‘Pop Culture’ style of visualisation, has at last entered the realm of Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens with this rendition of the character Rey and her speeder. Rey is played by 23-year-old Daisy Ridley, who is a scavenger and desert rat on the Planet Jakku…although Craig has initially called the artwork Tatooine Sunset, since Jakku was only recently announced as her home planet at Star Wars Celebration.
Craig Drake signing prints at Star Wars Celebration 2015
Craig Drake at Star Wars Celebration
Even the legendary Boba Fett actor Jeremy Bulloch turned up to meet Craig Drake to grab his own personal copy of Proto Fett, which was featured on Milner’s Blog earlier.
Jeremy Bulloch with his Boba Fett artwork by Craig Drake
Part of his Star Wars Celebration ‘Official’ Artwork was also the creation of the ID Badges for the event, some of which I’ve already feature in my Art of Star Wars blog, but this montage shows the full set of characters he created.
Star Wars Celebration ID Bages by Craig Drake
He’s also recently dabbled into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the rendition of Black Widow for the Avengers: Age of Ultron exhibition at the Hero Complex Gallery.
Black Widow Mondo Art by Craig Drake Avengers Age of Ultron
What’s next for Craig!…More Force Awakens mondo art I hope, especially his Solo Show II at Hero Complex Gallery, on 2020 South Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles, California on the 22 May 2015…watch this space for a Milner’s Blog report on the event.
One of the fundamental principles from Disney, the new Lucasfilm owners of Star Wars and the creative team behind The Force Awakens, ‘which gives me so much joy’, was their desire for less CGI (which sadly Lucas has canon splattered throughout the prequels) but now gone for more of the physical sets and practical characters that we saw in the original trilogy. Little did we know that they had taken this creative principle to whole new technological level with the so-called ‘Football Droid’ BB8 from the first teaser trailer, that we all thought was CGI…But in fact we witnessed at the launch of the amazing 2nd Force Awakens Teaser Trailer at Star Wars Celebration, a fully functional BB8 appeared on stage that was freaking REAL! …But how?
You see Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney is credited with discovering this little known company called Sphero who are responsible for the BB8,s character’s movement. It turns out that this startup, headed by Paul Berberian, was selected for Disney’s accelerator program last year. According to Disney’s website, the three-month-long program picks tech startups who want to “make an impact on the world of media and entertainment,” giving them upwards of $120,000 in investment capital. It also gives each start-up a mentor from within Disney’s executive ranks…guess who was Sphero’s mentor? You guessed it: Bobby Iger, who’s now at the helm of Star Wars Empire, and saw at first hand Sphero’s technology in action, and then realized the potential of a Sphero style BB-8 droid and then connected with the creative imagineers working on the Star Wars Force Awakens characters.
The Real BB8-and-R2D2 Star Wars The Force Awakens
Bob Iger, has a great track record when it comes to acquiring companies and letting them continue in their creative freedom, and none more so when the Disney media empire bought the creators Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in 2012, and although he’s kept a low profile, he was one of the fans sitting right in the front row at the massive Star Wars Celebration auditorium where a star-studded panel of J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy and stars of past, present and future appeared on stage to premiere the 2nd Force Awakens trailer, but I’m sure he had a wry smile not just for the trailer, but when that fully functional and operational BB8 appeared on stage. I’m sure he also had a bigger smile 24 hours later when the Disney empire stock had risen by 2 BILLION Dollars, that’s almost as much as Avatar made, and half he paid for LucasFilm…just from a Teaser Trailer…Nice work JJ, Iger did say to you this was a $4 Billion movie, you just passed half way point. 🙂
What is also more interesting Disney are working on a Star Wars-themed fully functional BB-8 toy with Sphero…who wouldn’t want their own app controlled BB8 at Christmas 2015 rolling around their home…count me in!!…But Stop the Press, Industrial Designer Christian Poulsen has already done it…check it out.
As for Iger’s involvement in this much-loved film franchise he has stayed been behind the scenes, and so far has protected our Star Wars world from any overt “Disneyfication.” and managed to assuage the fears of this apprehensive Star Wars geek.
Fans at Star Wars Celebration at Anaheim in California got another new surprise to follow the amazing Force Awakens Teaser Trailer No:2…and that was a glimpse of Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One and the first description of the plot. Star Wars: Rogue One follows a rogue band of resistance fighters who must unite to steal the Death Star plans. Concept art was then revealed to show a Band of Rebel Brothers heading into a rain drenched battle, backed up by a new X-Wing style troop drop ship
The uniqueness of this film is that the Jedis are all but extinct, the Old Republic is in turmoil and the threat of the Death Star is looming in Rogue One. Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy and Kiri Hart also announced the formal name for the new stand-alone films: they will be called “anthology films.”
Edwards was asked if he’d brought anything to show the fans “There might be something.” he replied, then the lights then went down, and the Rogue One Teaser Trailer was unleashed.
“For more than 1,000 generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire,”
This was the brilliant and almost foreboding voice over by Obi Wan Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness) taken from Star Wars A New Hope introduces the scene camera moves slowly over an almost Avatar style forest, which then tracks a Tie Fighter heading to a mountain ridge very reminiscent to the Kalalea Mountain, near Anahola on Kaua’i which are in the opening title sequence to Raider of the Lost Ark and could be nod to Kathleen Kennedy who worked on it. The camera then pans past the trees to reveal the ghostly Death Star hovering in the clouds right up close to the planet. Frantic mens’ voices crack over a radio as the title card reveals Star Wars: Rogue One with the word “Anthology” in small letters beneath.
Star Wars Rogue One Teaser Trailer Logo
Edwards then talked about the characters, especially Felicity Jones, who recently garnered an Oscar nomination for her role in The Theory of Everything, saying she will not be just be a stoic soldier, but a complex, fully rounded human. “We wanted to see fear, warmth, all of those aspects that everybody has,” he said, saying he was excited that Jones embodies “the complete package”.
In the world of Rogue One, Edwards said the “absence of Jedi is omnipresent”. The characters in the film realise that the “gods are not coming to save us”, he said. “It comes down to a group of people who don’t have magical powers who band together to bring hope to the galaxy.”
Star Wars Rogue One Teaser Trailer Logo
Transcript from the Star Wars Celebration Conversation with Gareth Edwards
And we’re off — host Pablo Hidalgo is on stage! Unfortunately, Josh Trank is under the weather, and won’t be joining. But Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and the Story Group’s Kiri Hart are here!
There has been a lot of speculation on the stand-alone films, Pablo points out. Now, we can clarify some things.
Kennedy says that Lucas “Was really interested in exploring all the stories that existed inside the universe.”
Hart: “We’re extremely excited about these…we’re going to be calling them Anthology films.”
“I think this as opportunity for us to tap into emergent directing talent out there and do some things that are unexpected.”
“There are very few filmmakers that we bring into the room that don’t tell us [how Star Wars influenced them].”
And now Gareth Edwards joins the panel!
He says that when the Force Awakens teaser started, he could “feel the tears…I was like, don’t cry…as soon as Han turned up, this tear just went down.”
Does Gareth have any footage to wow us…?
“It’s not like the more you scream, the more footage gets generated,” he jokes. They have not actually started filming yet — still in preproduction.
“You came here with nothing?” Pablo asks. “There might be something.” The lights go down.
Footage rolls…. A TIE fighter soars over a forest/jungle planet. An ominous space station-like image is seen in the clouds…
Huge ovation — let’s roll it one more time.
And your official description: A band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans in the Star Wars Anthology film, Rogue One.
Edwards: It’s set after Episode III, before IV — and a little more towards IV.
What is the role of Jedi?
“It comes down to a group of individuals who don’t have magical powers that have to somehow bring hope to the galaxy.”
Hidalgo notes that the Anthology series lets them tell stories that may not involve Jedi.
What are they going for? Edwards: “Real…This is a real place that we’re really in…The thing that interests me about it, is Star Wars was basically very black and white. Our movie is gray.”
An image shows on screen of concept art — Rebel soldiers charging on the ground! Felicity Jones will play a Rebel soldier.
Edwards is discussing his crew — lots of notable names, including John Knoll of ILM, who came up with the story idea.
Knoll joins the panel!
“I started thinking about which story would I like to see told? I informally pitched it around…One of the people I pitched it to was Pablo, and he was pretty enthusiastic about it as well…I made an appointment with Kathy and Kiri, pitched the 20-minute version of this, and got a pretty good response.” A round of applause!
Kennedy says she was at the job for about 20 minutes when it was pitched. “There was no way I was going to say no. This was a really cool idea.”
Edwards says Knoll is “a genius.” When John was young, he and his brother wrote a piece of software — “called Photoshop.”
Edwards says he still bugs Knoll to add features.
Hart: “I love movies where people try to do something really difficult. I was just immediately excited about it.”
“I feel strongly that we should involve directors early in the process.” Many people, including Jason McGatlin, recommended Edwards. Kiri and the team watch Monsters “and were really impressed.”
She says that when they met, Gareth was humble and had lots of reverence for Star Wars. “I said I’m going to send you something.”
It was a note that Edwards was almost scared to read — a description of the movie. “I couldn’t sit in a cinema and know that someone else made this film.” He had to take it.
Edwards says it was painful to not be able to tell anyone he got the job — even at Christmas when he was getting Star Wars presents.
He FaceTimed with his mother when he was finally able to tell her — and took a photo.
How big a fan is he? For his 30th birthday, he visited the original Star Wars set in Tunisia, took blue dye so he could have blue milk in the Lars homestead. Big applause.
AND he took his own watching-the-Tatooine-sunset photo.
For Rogue One, they’ll be shooting in the UK and around the world.
And the video will play one more time! Big applause for the panel.
And here’s a look at the concept art as seen in the panel! Thanks for following along!
Craig Drake has created a masterpiece of geek art from the original Joe Johnston white Proto Fett concept which he’s currently exhibiting at the Hero Complex Gallery, including these blue variants.
Proto Boba Fett Print by Craig Drake Star Wars
Proto Boba Fett Variant by Craig Drake Star Wars
He couldn’t miss out on doing the full Boba Fett as well, but what I’m really looking forward to is the surprises he’s going to launch on us at Star Wars Celebration at Anaheim, and if it’s going to be anything like what he’s shown already, were in for a geekologie treat.