Category Archives: The Force Awakens

Daisy Ridley’s Vogue Cover Shoot

All Photographs by Mario Testino

Great interview with Daisy Ridley on Star Wars, Superfans, and Her Lightsaber Workout in the latest issue of Vogue… see below

Daisy Ridley Star Wars Vogue Cover November 2017 HD Hi-Res
Daisy Ridley Star Wars Vogue Cover November 2017 HD Hi-Res

“They’re really heavy,” Daisy Ridley says. “Three, four, five kilos? And the weight’s very unevenly distributed.” She’s talking about lightsabers—and explaining that if you’re actually in a Star Wars movie, you can’t just pick one up and wave it around, as children have been doing in their bedrooms for the past 40 years. Not at all. In real life—or rather, for real movies—special conditioning is in order. Before she could film fight scenes for Star Wars: The Last Jedi—the second in the trilogy in which she plays Rey, the heroine—she undertook a kind of neon martial-arts training. “You do, like, eight thwacks one way, eight the other, eight up, eight down,” she says. I suggest they could market that as a form of exercise. “Yeah,” she agrees, laughing: “Lightsaber school.”

Daisy Ridley Star Wars Vogue Cover November 2017 HD Hi-Res
Daisy Ridley Star Wars Vogue Cover November 2017 HD Hi-Res

We are driving from Ridley’s hotel in Beverly Hills to a convention center in Anaheim, where 7,000 Disney fans will turn up to see her stand on a stage for a few minutes with the cast of The Last Jedi. She has been groomed for the occasion—three braids on one side of her head, revealing the tiny peace-sign tattoo behind her right ear, a Lela Rose off-the-shoulder pantsuit, and Pierre Hardy pumps embellished with eyes. Ridley, a 25-year-old Londoner, is plainspoken and fast-­moving, with a wide face and eyelids that look as though they’ve been painted onto it with a brush. (“People really open up to me; it’s hilarious,” she tells me. “Someone said it’s because I have a big face—I look honest.”) In the classic mode of contemporary London, expletives punctuate her speech. She occasionally phrases things musically, as if improvising a show tune, yet there’s something about her that suggests she’s allergic to nonsense.

Daisy Ridley Star Wars Vogue Cover November 2017 HD Hi-Res
Daisy Ridley Star Wars Vogue Cover November 2017 HD Hi-Res

 

When we meet, Ridley has been seen by the general public in only one film. But because that film is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, she has been thrust into a limelight comparable only, perhaps, to the attention directed at Harry Potter upon his arrival at Hogwarts. “Understand the scale,” the film’s director, J. J. Abrams, told her when he offered her the part. “This is not a role in a movie. This is a religion for people. It changes things on a level that is inconceivable.” Ridley nodded enthusiastically, but she really had no idea. “You don’t know what you’re getting into,” she tells me more than three years later, still sounding stunned.

Daisy Ridley Star Wars Vogue Cover November 2017 HD Hi-Res
Daisy Ridley Star Wars Vogue Cover November 2017 HD Hi-Res

D23 Expo, the annual midsummer convention of the official Disney fan club, is like Halloween on steroids. Out on the main floor, you might at any given moment bump into an adult Snow White or a middle-aged man wearing Mickey Mouse ears. In the greenroom, Josh Brolin is having his lunch, and Benedict Cumberbatch is chatting to Gwendoline Christie, who is here with her boyfriend, fashion designer Giles Deacon. They, at least, have ostensibly come as themselves. But the presentation they’re part of is like a circus. Numerous actors in upcoming Disney movies take brief turns onstage, doing little other than proving to the assembled fans that they are real—and smaller than you think. Ridley and her costars are dwarfed by a screen showing behind-the-scenes footage from The Last Jedi. The roar of approbation is so loud that you could easily mistake it for the ground shaking.

Daisy Ridley Star Wars Vogue Cover November 2017 HD Hi-Res (1)
Daisy Ridley Star Wars Vogue Cover November 2017 HD Hi-Res (1)

These are what Ridley, quoting Mark “Luke Skywalker” Hamill, calls UPFs—Ultra Passionate Fans. She herself wasn’t a Star Wars fan until she started auditioning for the role of Rey. Only then did she begin to sense the phenomenon’s cultural presence. “I was in Topshop, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, there are Princess Leia T-shirts.’ Suddenly I couldn’t see anything without seeing it too.”

Rey, Ridley’s character, is a scavenger who lives in a desert outpost. She has a determined gait and clothes that look as though she’s improvised them from bandages left in the sand. As her nemesis, Kylo Ren, says, Rey is “strong with the force—untrained but stronger than she knows.” She is in effect the new Luke Skywalker, a female heroine of a magnitude and complexity previously reserved, in this genre, for men.

In casting the first film in the new trilogy, Abrams was intent on finding an unknown actor for the role. It was important, he felt, that she not be associated with any other character. And in Ridley he found “an emotional person, a true person, a funny-as-hell person” who was also “almost preternaturally confident. We needed someone whom you felt like you could know,” Abrams explains. “Who was beautiful but not someone who seemed like they were from another species. You needed to love her. Daisy came in, and her face was expressive and wide-eyed and lovely, and it was so clear.”

Ridley remembers auditioning several times over seven months—each time, until the final reading, she was given a fake script. It wasn’t until she was offered the job that she understood the size of the role. “When I read the full script,” she says, “I was like, ‘Holy shit.’

Of course, not having been associated with anything previously carries the concomitant risk of being associated with only this one role from now on. When I mention this, Ridley is unfazed. She has already filmed Kenneth Branagh’s new version of Agatha Christie’s novel Murder on the Orient Express as the governess, Mary Debenham, and played the lead in Ophelia, a retelling of Hamlet directed by Claire McCarthy, with Naomi Watts as Gertrude. She is currently shooting Chaos Walking, directed by Doug Liman and based on a science-fiction thriller. She points out that it’s amazing what you can do to your appearance with the help of a wig. “Blonde today, brunette tomorrow,” she says blithely.

While Abrams was shooting The Force Awakens, Rian Johnson was writing The Last Jedi. As he watched the daily footage shot by Abrams, he felt he understood Rey better and began to write in response to what he describes as Ridley’s “spirit.” She brought the character to the screen, Johnson says, “in a way that made you root for her, like you were seeing yourself in her. You saw the story through her eyes.” Though Ridley has done a great deal of press for The Last Jedi, the film’s contents are so shrouded in secrecy that she is allowed to say very little about it. She lets on that we’ll find out more about what has happened to her family, and says it goes from being a physical journey with a friend (Finn, played by John Boyega) to an emotional journey with a stranger (Luke Skywalker, whom she meets on top of a mountainous island at the end of The Force Awakens). “More of a conversation, as opposed to a big adventure,” she suggests.

As for the ongoing appeal of Star Wars, she’s not entirely sure where the magic lies—except, she says, that “it’s essentially a family drama that’s played out in this big, expansive world.”

It’s not lost on her collaborators that there are parallels between Ridley’s real life and her journey on the screen. One minute she’d had only small parts in a couple of British TV series; the next she had journalists turning up at her door. “At the beginning she was claiming she was almost done with acting—she’d been working at a pub,” Abrams says. Johnson agrees: “Like Rey, she has this extraordinary talent, that has seemingly come out of nowhere, and I think Daisy’s just starting to scratch the surface of her skills.”

Ridley grew up in West London with two older sisters, whom she describes as her “best people.” Even though the three of them fought a lot when they were younger, she idolized them and says they would “protect each other to the absolute death.” Their father, who also has two daughters from a previous marriage, is a photographer—“the coolest cat in all of the land,” in his daughter’s estimation—who used to take pictures for the British rock magazine NME. Her mother works for a bank, and Ridley’s maternal grandparents set up a chain of bookshops.

“I was a little tomboy,” Ridley remembers. “Loud. Often very sassy. Insane amounts of energy. I remember asking, ‘Was I shy?’ And my mum laughing hysterically. She said I used to run into a room and go, ‘Helloooo!’ ”

She was, and still is, a voracious reader—“I rarely saw her without a book,” says Branagh, who directed her in Murder on the Orient Express—and she recently asked her mother to give her a list of classics, which she’s now making her way through. (Current title: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Brontë.) From the ages of nine to eighteen, Ridley went to a performing-arts boarding school—not because she was particularly serious about performing, she says, but because she liked to sing and do gymnastics and was so energetic as a child that her parents sent her “literally just to keep me busy, because the days were twelve hours long.”

She didn’t really know she wanted to act until she was seventeen. A girl in Ridley’s drama class who was from Newcastle protested that she couldn’t play Lady Macbeth because she didn’t have the right accent. Their teacher was furious. “He was like, ‘Who the fuck told you you couldn’t do Lady Macbeth?’ ” Ridley remembers with a smile. In his fury, she felt her own liberation.

That first day in the car to Anaheim, Ridley rarely finished a sentence. Everything she said was expressive rather than articulated. (“You’re like, ‘Ugh.’ ” “And I’m like, ‘Aaaah.’ ”) Later, she would tell me how tired she was that day—and how unprepared for the presentation of a public self. She had just finished shooting Ophelia in Prague and hadn’t realized how much of that tragic role she still carried with her. “I felt: This is so unlike me,” she said. “I’m such a perky little thing usually.” She’s starting to understand the time she needs to shake a role off.

But something else was also very noticeable. Ridley often used the language of the set—she referred to daily scripts as “sides,” to assistant directors as “our first” and “our second,” and to her personal assistant as “my personal.” These abbreviations, along with the assertion that some of her best friends are her hairdressers, suggest that she speaks to more people inside the film world than out of it, and if you count the years she has committed to Star Wars, you understand the nature of the bubble. When she did the first audition, she was 21; when it’s over, she’ll be 27. Her agent, her publicist, and her hair and makeup people all call her “the baby.”

Last year, when she deleted her Instagram account, she explained that she had “a lot of growing up to do” and would prefer to do at least some of it in private. “She has learned fast, and she has learned in the spotlight, and she has kept her nerve,” Branagh tells me. “She’s ballsy enough to assume there may be some inelegance or mistakes, but it’s worth doing.”

A few days after the Anaheim event, Ridley and I meet for tea in New York. She’s wearing a black three-­quarter-length dress she just picked up in & Other Stories, with white Converse high-tops, her hair pulled into a topknot. “I realize I sort of do dress like a four-year-old,” she says as she puts the cookie that comes with her tea onto my plate (she is a vegan). She is much sparkier, tougher, and entertainingly opinionated this time. She talks about working with the late Carrie Fisher—“I’d never met anyone openly bipolar before, who discussed loving glitter because of her LSD days”—and she tilts her head back to stem the tears as she speaks.

It was Fisher who warned her that it was hard to date once you became a Star Wars star, “because you don’t want to give people the ability to say ‘I had sex with Princess Leia.’ ” Ridley skirts around this issue. In the past couple of years, she has been linked with the actor Charlie Hamblett, but when I ask her if she’s with anyone now, she quickly replies, “I’m not saying.”

Last year, she explains, was difficult, and it’s only in the past few months that she’s been figuring it out. The Force Awakens was released just before they began shooting The Last Jedi, and the positive response to her performance made her worry she wouldn’t be able to repeat it. “Everything was so confusing,” she recalls. “People were recognizing me—I still don’t know how to handle it. My skin got really bad because I was stressed. It was crippling. I just felt so seen and so self-conscious.”

Alarm bells had started ringing much earlier. At one point, two fans appeared outside the door of an apartment she had just moved to. “I heard a knock on the door. These two guys went, ‘Hey, Daisy, can I get an autograph?’ and I literally went, ‘No fuckin’ way.’ ” She went to see a play with her mother that night. “My mum said to me, ‘Everyone’s trying to take ownership of you.’ ” Still, now, Ridley says, she calls her mother once a month “in hysterical tears, going, ‘I’m not equipped to deal with this!’ ”

She started therapy (“I went and saw a lovely lady,” as she puts it), and she realized that she was disappearing. “I felt like I was sort of reducing myself because I was so worried that people would recognize me,” she explains. Then she thought, “You know what? I want to dance through life. I don’t want to scuttle.”

Ridley is not complaining. “I’m very aware that there are thousands of other people who could do what I do much better, and it’s a matter of timing and luck. I’m counting my blessings that I get to be one of the people working.” As for her sense of perspective, “I worry that things start to seem normal that aren’t normal,” she reflects. “You get rushed through airports, and you never have to queue, and you get tickets to things that you wouldn’t otherwise. I think it’s important to remind yourself that it’s not normal. It’s difficult, though, because it is my normal.”

If Ridley’s emotional frankness makes her sound somewhat fragile in conversation, that, in performance, is much closer to a strength. It’s no accident that her Rey is a disarmingly human vessel for a force beyond nature. She makes it feel, says Johnson, “as though there is very little artifice on the screen. She has that magical thing that great actors have where they can take honest emotion and, without diluting it, shape it to what the scene requires.”

The last time I speak to Ridley, she’s calling from a car on her way back to the Canadian wilderness. She and her friend Flora Moody had taken a break from filming Chaos Walking and gone to hear Star Wars composer John Williams perform at the Hollywood Bowl. “They did my theme,” Ridley says, meaning “Rey’s Theme” from The Force Awakens, “and I couldn’t believe it. It was very overwhelming. There was an older woman behind us and she was like, ‘Why are people mobbing you?’ ”

Ridley and Moody became friends when Moody did Ridley’s hair and makeup for The Last Jedi, and they have since worked together on Ophelia and Chaos Walking. For a couple of months, they’re sharing a “very comfy but very creepy” cabin in the woods, making questionable almond-milk pancakes and listening out for shotguns.

“I feel really homesick,” Ridley says. “I suddenly realized that since February the longest I’ve spent in my own flat is four days.”

What does she miss exactly? I ask.

“I love going to sleep on the sofa with the sound of my parents talking in the background,” she replies. “That’s literally what I miss.”

Last September—three-quarters of the way through her discombobulating year—Ridley added a fourth and, she believes, last tattoo to her collection. Tattoos are the only form of rebellion she’s ever attempted—she remembers her grandmother seeing one she had done as a teenager and saying, “Daisy, that is pen, isn’t it?” But in her case it’s hardly rebellion at all. This latest is on the side of her torso, and it’s the most intricate. Inked by the L.A. tattoo artist Dr. Woo, it represents, at Ridley’s request, “the solidity of my family within all of the other craziness that goes on.” The result Dr. Woo came up with was a symbol: a star within a cyclone.

“I don’t need a tattoo to represent my life,” Ridley points out, “but I really love it. I like looking at it,” she says, “and thinking about all of the things that are constant.”

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Star Wars Forces Of Destiny: The Sands Of Jakku

Lucasfilm and Disney have just released the first installment of the new Forces of Destiny micro series on their YouTube channel, entitled Sands of Jakku . The episode takes place on Jakku (obviously) and appears to occur shortly after Rey has rescued BB-8 from Teedo. Rey and BB-8 encounter the same type of creature BB-8 rolled by at night in The Force Awakens, a creature that we all likely assumed was a harmless adjunct in the grand scheme of things, but it turns out this harmless looking wide red-eyed alien has a lot more going on under the sands of Jakku than we imagined, and it turns out this desert monster, known as the  Nightwatcher Worm which feeds on junk and is more than happy to satisfy its hunger with BB-8.

The episode shows Rey and BB-8 having to deal with the Nightwatcher Worm . What quite sweet is that original The Force Awakens actresses Lupita Nyong’o voices Maz Kanata and so does Daisy Ridley as Rey.

There’s quite a nice scene where Rey almost uses some hidden Jedi and Force intuition to avert the Nightwatcher Worm from sensing her.

Star Wars Forces Of Destiny The Sands Of Jakku - Rey and the Force
Star Wars Forces Of Destiny The Sands Of Jakku – Rey and the Force
Star Wars Forces Of Destiny Logo
Star Wars Forces Of Destiny Logo
Star Wars Forces of Destiny Wallpaper Background
Star Wars Forces of Destiny Wallpaper Background

The Force Awakens ILM Portfolio

Since Industrial Light & Magic’s inception in 1975, every idea dreamt into existence found its genesis within the ILM Art Department. Forty years ago, legendary concept designers like Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston brought George Lucas’s brainchild of an asymmetrical Star Wars “used universe” to life, imagining fantastic worlds bursting with iconic heroes, villains, spaceships and aliens. The ILM Art Department continues to revolutionize film design today, coupling classical technique with the very bleeding edge of technology. J.J. Abrams worked hand-in-hand with the best art directors and artists in the film industry, exploring ideas and iterating on those ideas until the Force Awakens vision was realized, making the unreal real and the impossible possible.

“Each artist began to explore his individual response, and collectively, we began to answer, with our words and art. Out of our brainstorming sessions emerged visual imagery of where we might want to go and what it would look like when we got there. We were not merely illustrating scenes that already existed: we were initiating storytelling concepts through the visual images themselves.”

– Rick Carter, co-production designer, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Galactic Blacksmiths

In the real world, Masks, Helmets & Weapons are just generic words, relatively throwaway in the meaning, but throw those words into the context of Star Wars and all of that changes. They suddenly mean the light and dark side, tyrannical Empires, new hopes. They mean invention and creativity, They mean boundless possibilities of our imagination whether you’re young or old.

That lightsaber… It belongs to me! — to borrow a Kylo Ren phrase — Now thanks to the Galactic Blacksmiths, Propshop you can have your own ‘EXACT’ replica. Propshop are a full-service digital and physical asset production company, with expertise in everything from 3D modeling to scanning to physical prop creation. This creative company put those different disciplines to brilliant use in the making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with many of its props and costumes becoming almost instantly iconic. Chewbacca’s bowcaster, Kylo Ren’s lightsaber hilt, Rey’s staff. They were all made by Propshop, who took Industrial Light & Magic’s designs and brought them into the real world. It all started, first, thanks to Propshop’s mastery of these disciplines, but also due to that old business adage: location, location, location. Propshop is actually located at Pinewood Studios in London, where The Force Awakens was shot.

Although these are not the props for someone with a small budget, the full 8 props will set you back $15,000.00 and Vader’s helmet alone costing $3,500.00… check out these beautiful super hi-res photo’s below of the full collection available from Star Wars Collectables.

Kylo Ren’s Force Awakens Lightsabre

Darth Vader’s Force Awakens Helmet

Kylo Ren’s Force Awakens Helmet

Chewbacca’s Bowcaster

Rey’s Force Awakens Staff

Finn’s Force Awakens Stormtrooper Helmet

Poe Dameron’s Force Awakens Helmet

Rey and Luke Skywalker’s Lightsabre

What makes this collection even more special is the detail they’ve gone down to with the packaging.

Star Wars The Force Awakens Propshop delivery crates
Star Wars The Force Awakens Propshop delivery crates

Check out the article from StarWars.com about these amazing replica’s and how they was created.

“I remember the call coming through from the [The Force Awakens] production manager, Simon Emanuel, that [Lucasfilm president] Kathy Kennedy was coming to visit Pinewood,” Propshop founder James Enright tells StarWars.com. “At the time, we had lots of exciting visual stuff to show. We had our scanning studio and also our 3D printing studio, and because they’re on-site as a permanent fixture, when Kathy did the visit directly for Star Wars, we were lucky enough that she came into our workshops and had a look around. [Laughs] The location finally paid off! So that’s really how we met. She saw immediately how we could be useful on all fronts.”

There’s a reason that The Force Awakens felt both familiar and fresh, and not just in story. Behind the scenes, it combined old techniques with the new. It embraced both the past and the latest advances in filmmaking technology. So, you have ILM’s dazzling CG shots, like an X-wing squadron speeding above water, and the Falcon’s exhilarating first liftoff in years. But you also have a physically built, downed TIE fighter burning in the desert. You have Kylo Ren’s mask opposite Poe Dameron’s face. Countless extras in actual stormtrooper gear. And — this is important — many of these practical elements were made with this old-meets-new ethos in mind. Propshop was uniquely suited for such a task, and used modern tools like 3D sculpting to push the boundaries of in-camera props. “Although we are using lots of technology, it’s very important that we embrace the Star Wars legacy,” Enright says. “The original Star Wars movies were practical.” Propshop would honor this legacy.

“When we got the chance to come on board,” Enright continues, “we were certainly approaching things using advanced digital manufacturing to create props and set-dressing pieces. But it was all hand-finished and it was all very much trying to recreate the physicality of the [original] Star Wars movies.” Without the use of today’s digital technology, some props and set dressing in The Force Awakens might have been impossible, or worse, looked inaccurate. “A good example of it is the Millennium Falcon and, especially, the cockpit, because there were absolutely no drawings available for that,” Enright says. “We were just using references that we could find from anywhere.” Mark Harris, from the film’s art department, would deliver technical drawings of the Falcon’s cockpit to help guide this reconstruction. But much of the original cockpit’s dress and bric-a-brac — greeblies, purchased at a store in the UK — were no longer in production. Thus, it required painstaking reproduction, and Propshop employed all its tricks to pull it off. “We got the film, stopped it frame by frame, and scoured them off the screen,” Enright says. “We digitally molded them, 3D printed them, and then finished them by hand. When the fans saw that, they [mistakenly] thought the Falcon had been stored away all those years. We got it right, I think.”

It’s hard to disagree, considering how warmly fans embraced not just the Falcon, but all the various props of the film. (How many of your kids or your friends’ kids (or just you) are running around in Kylo Ren masks?) One especially memorable prop, of course, is Darth Vader’s hauntingly melted helmet, seemingly pulled from the ashes of his Endor funeral pyre. It’s a shocking thing to behold — an image of pain and the tragedy of Vader. And Propshop was determined to get it right, its process a testament to how digital technology can aid the practical. “We got to the point where [artist Luke Fisher] was sculpting it in clay,” Enright says, “and it was laying on its back, and that’s why it’s got a flat back. Luke worked and worked and worked on it to the point where J.J. [Abrams] was happy with it and signed off, and then it was scanned. We had to do multiple, multiple scans of it.” The multiple scans were required because, being so asymmetrical, it was essential to capture every possible angle as data. But it also opened up possibilities.

“At the time, it was a solid lump of clay,” Enright says. “It wasn’t hollow, obviously. Once we got the scan, we then put it into the computer, gave it thickness, worked back into it, and hollowed it out. That’s where you get the interior. Then we 3D printed it, and gave it back to the sculptor, and then the sculptor worked again on it. Then we re-scanned it again [Laughs], and then produced a final output.” That output was then hand-painted, finally ready for Kylo Ren’s private quarters on set. Thanks to Propshop’s methodology, however, Kylo Ren won’t be the only one to own Vader’s helmet.

Propshop, in collaboration with Lucasfilm, is now making official prop replicas of its work from The Force Awakens available to collectors in a new line called Star Wars Collectibles: Ultimate Studio Edition. Wave one is a treasure trove of memorable gear from the film: FN-2187 (i.e., Finn) Stormtrooper Helmet (with blood streaks!), Kylo Ren Helmet, Poe Dameron X-wing Helmet, Darth Vader Helmet (Melted), Rey Staff, Chewbacca Bowcaster, Kylo Ren Lightsaber Hilt, and Rey Lightsaber Hilt. Propshop is making them the same exact way it made the original props: 3D prints of the final output made for the film, all hand-painted by the original prop makers. There’s never been a program like it. “When you’re making the real movie props, you’re concerned about the design and the communication of that,” says Enright. “The link between a prop replica for me and the real item is detail. These prop replicas are the real thing. You could put the real thing next to it, and you could touch it and you could feel it and you would not know [which was the replica]. That’s because we, basically, have done it the same way.”

Take Kylo Ren’s lightsaber. It’s a blackened, patchwork weapon that exudes untamed power. It’s filled with details and personality. “I think Kylo Ren’s saber hilt was also an achievement,” Enright says, “because it’s very difficult when you get given a brief to make a lightsaber that’s got to be different but also match the character. And that’s really where that started from. It was character driven, that prop. So it feels incomplete, like the character, and that was what the starting position was, rather than trying to come up with something that was cool.” The replica is no different from the film-used version, and conveys that sense of character and history. “You’ll experience it, and you’ll be shocked,” Enright says of picking up the replica. “If you actually look through into where the engines are — through the ‘scar,’ we call it, where it’s burnt away and you can see inside it — you’ll see the detail in there, and also the way it’s painted. It’s grimy, there’s soot in there. It’s heavily textured. And it’s cold. It’s really, really cold, because it’s metal and there’s copper in there. It’s got a real sense of use. The weight of it, the coldness of it, the way it’s finished. You believe it. You believe it’s been somewhere.”

It takes Propshop about two weeks, start to finish, to make one prop replica. That includes 3D printing, hand-painting, and chip insertion (a sort of 21st century certificate of authenticity). It’s then placed next to what Enright calls “a golden sample” — a perfect version that the team knows inside and out — and inspected to make sure that it matches. The replica is then hand-boxed, which is also inspected, and then it’s off to the fan.

The melted Vader helmet replica, which seems like it would be particularly hard to reproduce, is also 100 percent accurate. “The file we’ve got now, the file we’re creating prop replicas from, is the file that the original was printed from,” Enright explains. “So there’s absolutely no difference to that. There’s one file. There’s no molding, there’s no loss of authenticity there. It’s the real thing.” Making it real means remaking the actual artifact — not what we saw on-film, which was lit to create a certain mood and effect. “We’ve gone for accuracy of what it’s really like,” Enright says, “because I think that’s what’s quite cool about it. We haven’t darkened it and painted it. It’s not a screen version of it. It’s a real version of it.”

For fans of movie history and movie memorabilia, Propshop’s replicas are a new frontier. They represent a new kind of authenticity, something especially important for the masks, helmets, and weapons of a galaxy far, far away. “What’s exciting about this is that it is from the studio,” Enright says. “Our workshop is literally next door to the stage that they’re shooting Star Wars. It’s been made in the same place and touched by the same hands that actually do it.” Propshop, through both replicas and original movie props, is leaving a mark on Star Wars history — and loving it.

A New Hope is a reference point, especially from a prop maker’s point of view and a model maker’s point of view, because that’s what we do,” Enright says. “It was always a reference point, because the props in that movie are classic. They are more than iconic, really. To be reproducing them and also forwarding that legacy, then, obviously, it’s become a big responsibility. But it’s a hell of a lot of fun, quite frankly.”

Marvel Unveils ‘The Force Awakens’ Comic Art

You’ve seen the movie, now read the comic book. Marvel has just revealed the initial cover and variants for its upcoming adaptation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The first installment in the five-issue series, written by Chuck Wendig (author of Star Wars: Aftermath) and illustrated by Luke Ross, will arrive in stores and digital services on June 22.

The comic art and variants put a new, graphical spin on the familiar movie images.

‘The Force Awakens’ No. 1 main cover by Esad Ribic (Marvel)

Sketch variant cover by Ribic (Marvel)

Variant cover by John Cassaday & Phil Noto (Marvel)

Variant cover by Joe Quesada (Marvel)

Movie poster variant cover (Marvel)

Marvel has done a cranking job on the various Star Wars titles (most of which I now own) since re-acquiring the license from Disney cohort Lucasfilm. In addition to The Force Awakens, the publisher will roll out the limited-edition Han Solo series next month.