This essential and comprehensive guide to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which was produced in collaboration with Lucasfilm and written by renowned Star Wars expert Pablo Hidalgo…check out his twitter account to see why he is such an expert.
Star Wars Rogue One The Ultimate Visual Guide
The Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide combines lavish movie stills with in-depth character profiles, fascinating insider information and some incredible vehicle cross-sections.
I feel Rogue One might be the most gorgeous cinematic Star Wars film ever made. It’s full of incredible vistas, strange aliens, and wonderful locations…especially Vaders Castle—and behind that imagery is an absolute plethora of incredible concept art, and thanks to the release of The Art of Rogue One, we finally get a glimpse at some of that amazing work.
Written by Josh Kushins—with forewords from Rogue One director Gareth Edwards, Concept artist Doug Chiang, and art director Neil Lamont—The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story collects a huge wealth of production and concept art from across the making of the movie, see some of the amazing page spreads below.
Pao originated as a sketch for The Force Awakens—just a one-off drawing from a creative brief that never made it into the movie. He started as a guy with loads of long, spiky hair—glam-rock hair, to give you a sense of volume—who is basically just a mouth. For Rogue One, that didn’t work with the military angle, so I replaced the hair with a kind of kepi but kept the big mouth. Gareth liked the idea of him in the battle, turning to his comrades and yelling ‘Come on!’—but his mouth opens far beyond what you’d expect.” – Lunt Davies
One of the best bits was Vader’s castle which was originally mooted for The Empire Strikes Back before it was cut, with Rogue One using the original concept art by Ralph McQuarrie to help inspire the version they used.
Who would have thought a long time ago in a warehouse somewhere in Van Nuys, California the title sequence to the 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope which was painstakingly hand-crafted by title designer Dan Perri, would provide the total premise for Rogue One nearly 40 years later, or has Gareth Edwards said “This film is born out of a crawl. The thing that inspired this movie was a crawl and what was written in that,”
“It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.
During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.
Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy….”
It was this title sequence crawl that set the tone of that 1977 film, as well as introduce audiences to the fantastic world envisioned by George (The Maker) Lucas, it certainly operates as a classic title sequence. But the Star Wars main title sequence is so much more than that. It has simultaneously become one of the most iconic pieces of film branding ever created and one of the most indelible moments in all of cinema. In 1977 it was, quite simply, unlike anything our planet had ever seen..and one which gave John Knoll his idea for Rogue One 35 years later,
Knoll’s idea for Rogue One was borne from contemplating the opening crawls of the Star Wars films. The text for the original trilogy which had been painstakingly shot on film with a camera dolly system; the monumental crawls for the prequel trilogy were personally made by him, entirely digitally, on his own computer. “Just a fun project to tackle,” he says .) But this got him thinking about those never-seen covert spies, Knoll began conceiving of a story that, compared to the sprawling space opera of the trilogy films, would be fast, focused, gritty and jam-packed with the ‘WAR’ in Star Wars.
Who wouldn’t be inspired by this opening sequence as it starts after a thunderous Twentieth Century Fox fanfare and Lucasfilm logo, the movie then begins with a phrase suitable for any tale of Good Vs Evil: ”A long time ago…” The Lucasfilm text was tinted light blue in order to make the subsequent main title reveal all the more dramatic. Fade out and let the magic begin. Composer John Williams’ triumphant overture blasts the title card into frame and off to infinity as the crawl rolls into view…Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.
George Lucas describes the opening titles in his screenplay:
A vast sea of stars serves as the backdrop for the main title.
War drums echo through the heavens as a roll up slowly crawls into infinity.
The typography was inspired by sci-fi serials like Buck Rogers, highlighting certain names and places in all caps to emphasize their importance to the narrative. Like the rest of the Lucas’s script, this text went through countless iterations before it could be put to film. Fox initially opposed the idea of an opening crawl altogether, suggesting that a narrator could convey the same information more effectively, but the studio relented after Lucas’s friend, filmmaker Brian De Palma, helped the writer/director rewrite and streamline the clunky exposition.
But lets not forget that oh-so-recognizable Star Wars logo? The classic branding loomed large not just in the film’s opening titles, but on posters, t-shirts, lunch boxes, and every imaginable type of merchandise. Designed by artist Suzy Rice under the direction of Lucas, the logotype was then adapted for use in the opening. Rice’s logo design, originally created for the film’s studio presentation brochure and other print materials, was ultimately chosen for the movie’s main title sequence after being revised by ILM’s Joe Johnston. After Star Wars hit theatres though, Rice’s logo design became standard on nearly all merchandise and marketing materials.
All these elements combined for us fans experiencing those opening moments of Star Wars was like finding a key in our childhood, unlocking a hidden door to our future creativity and what can be achieved.
But beyond all my Star Wars nostalgia, beyond all the hype, that original Star Wars opening is quite simply great filmmaking. It’s a potent combination of music, typography, and sheer cinematic scale. As awesome as those screen-sized titles first appear, they are quickly dwarfed — both on-screen and in our imaginations — by the galaxy that was about to unfold, both then and now with Rogue One.
More than 1 hour of Behind The Scenes Interviews with the cast of Rogue One have been uncovered by the YouTube channel Screen Slam. This abundance of new Rogue One interviews include not only cast members and the director of the movie, but also Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, the production and costume designers, creature effects supervisor Neal Scanlan and story creator John Knoll. Check these Soundbites out…
The interviews don’t have any story and plot spoilers, so you can safely listen to all of them. They seem like they were done for the Blu-ray release or just Soundbites for marketing.