Tag Archives: Art of Star Wars

The Art of Rogue One

A lot of Star Wars news has been coming out of San Diego Comic Con, and when the Star Wars publishing panel took to stage we got some cool new info and reveals. One of the big reveals of the panel was cover artwork for the upcoming book The Art Of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The ‘ART OF‘ series is one of my personal favorite aspects of Star Wars Publishing, always showing the ridiculous amounts of concept art the talented people at Lucasfilm produce for each film. I’ve been collecting these gorgeous big printed tomes ever since Star Wars: A New Hope, with The Art of The Empire Strikes Back still holding a favorite place in heart.

The Art of Rogue One Cover Artwork MilnersBlog HD Hi-Res
The Art of Rogue One Cover Artwork MilnersBlog HD Hi-Res

The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is definitely one I’m going to pick up when it arrives to get a glimpse into the conceptual stages of Rogue One and the artwork that inspired the film. The cover art features artwork of K-2S0

The book is written by Josh Kushins with forwards by Doug Chiang, Niel Lamont and Gareth Edwards. It is slated for release on December 16th, the same day Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters

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The Force Awakens

It’s finally here…”YEAHHH!” he screams, my first look at the new Star Wars. The teaser trailer runs 88-seconds long and here’s all you need to know: it looks frackin awesomesause. The trailer gives us a first glimpse at a lot of the new and returning stars, but it also shows just how great a job director J.J. Abrams’ appears to have done in putting back together the Star Wars universe. A great score from John Williams elevates that even further. This isn’t much for now, but it ought to get fans like me’ hopes way up…and it does.

“There’s been an awakening. Have you felt it?”

…Trailer Analysis

What a dark sinister opening voiceover for the new Teaser Trailer for Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens, as we see our first real scene lingering on the desert, which I’m presuming is Tatooine. But who was it doing the voice over…Benedict Cumberbatch or Max von Sydow? for me it sounded like Benedict…which is so bodacious on a geeky level.

Then we see John Boyega, clad in a Stormtrooper outfit, looking very panicked, especially with the ominous sound of some imperial probe in the background. But who is Boyega’s unnamed character, springing from out of shot at the beginning of this 88-second teaser, and why is he wearing stormtrooper armor? Is he an Imperial deserter? Or has he pulled a Han Solo and borrowed a set of the iconic white coverings to pass as a member of the military? Script leaks have suggested the former, but that raises the question of his birth. Republic troops in Star Wars Episodes II and III were clones. But in Episode IV it suggested that had changed, and new troopers are recruited from the populace, and is Boyega’s character is one of these recruits, how did he end up on this desert planet that’s probably Tatooine? Are the new stormtroopers in the shuttle shown in the other shot chasing him? …so many questions

And checkout the cute new little rolling astromech Ball Droid, or Football Droid as it’s been named on the NET. All I can say is…that’s something every kid will want next Christmas, and definitely something LucasFilm Merchandising will be glad of its addition…A Star Wars Football maybe?…keerching…££$€¥

Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens MilnersBlog New Star Wars Football Droid
New Star Wars Football Droid

Then we see that chunky speederbike, driven by The Force Awakens new star Daisy Ridley, which looks closer in appearance to a flipped landspeeder, but it has quite an industrial Tug/Loader look to it. And what about Ridley, who looks to be playing a Skywalker-esque figure called Kira, trapped on a desert planet and yearning for excitement and adventure, which it looks like she’s just found with the way she looks and her hastened departure towards the Ralph McQuarrie designed desert town.

Stormtroopers!!?

How do stormtroopers still exist? The end of Return of the Jedi a montage of the ‘New’ celebratory shots signaling the apparent end of the Empire. After the emperor’s death at the hands of angry daddy Darth Vader, are stormtroopers still Imperial stormtroopers? Have they been co-opted into a new government’s military structure? If so, why did they not change their super-evil hats? You’d think those would be the first things to go with a regime change. Perhaps some remnant of the Empire clings on, and that the Rebel Alliance’s victory in the Endor system was not as absolute as they would have had us believe… Yet again, so many questions.

Lets hope these troopers are better shot than the previous ones 😉

X-Wings

Oscar Isaac at the helm of an X-Wing, callsign unknown, but I bet its a Red Squadron.

Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens MilnersBlog X Wings Attack
X Wings Attack
Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens MilnersBlog X Wings Attack
X Wings Attack

My next question is compounded by the Rebel logo still plastered on the X-Wing pilots’ helmets. This shows that the Rebel Alliance is still a going concern some 30 years after the destruction of the second Death Star, with battles to fight that require the deployment of starfighters — starfighters, it should be noted, that are three decades old. Why is the organization that unseated the Empire flying around in aging tin cans? And why can’t its pilots afford new helmets?

Here we get our first glimpse at what appears to be the Sith Lord villain of the piece. Considering the height of the man carrying it — the long limbs and notable stoop could show that this is actor Adam Driver, that’s what the Smart money is suggesting, as he angrily stumbles through that snowy forest. But who is he looking for? Or what? And now let’s talk about the new ‘Star Wars’ lightsaber

“An elegant weapon for a more civilized age”

That’s presumably a Sith wielding a distinctive (and already much-mocked) lightsaber. The black robes and red saber color give the game away, but note also the length of the hilt. It’s long enough for the wielder to grip with two hands, giving them the powerful swinging style used by Darth Vader. As that new lightsaber ignites it’s big, sort of flickers in a flame sort of way, and it has a crossbar.

Some on Twitter have taken to calling it a laser claymore.

Immediately, speculation began on twitter and the net about the possible wisdom or stupidity of this design. On one side, there are saying this is terrible design, and will cut your hand off, To which the other side responded: It solves a big lightsaber design problem, which is blades sliding down and cutting your hand off, like Anakin did to Count Dooku in Revenge of the Sith… You can’t win

The best explanation I’ve heard points out that the crossbar beams look unfocused and that maybe this guy is an old Sith “reawakened,” and that he has an early model lightsaber, which points to whether is could be Max von Sydow….More flaming questions!!

TIE fighters & The Falcon

Remember the dish that was knocked off the Millennium Falcon in Return of the Jedi? It’s still missing here, replaced by a rectangular box, which some leaked ‘GIF’ footage showed, although it wasn’t the scene we thought it would be in the trailer, which makes me think it was fake.

Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens MilnersBlog Tie Fighters attacks the Falcon
Tie Fighters attacks the Falcon

I’ve got to say, the Millennium Falcon really does bust some stomach-churning moves to escape from TIE fighters over the surface of a desert planet that’s probably Tatooine.

I especially like it when the Falcon goes vertical… you can almost hear Han Solo shouting ‘Well, we can still outmaneuver them’

While this is only a short glimpse at The Force Awakens, this is the first look that we’ve all gotten, Disney has been incredibly secretive about the production of Episode VII, but it’s also for a much simpler reason: the movie still isn’t done. Filming wrapped on Thursday the, 6th of November 2014, but the movie is still a long way from completion. That’ll be especially true for its special-effects shots, which are likely far from complete at this point, and hopefully been done at the new Industrial Light & Magic Studio in London .

I think this teaser is more about getting us fans excited and putting Star Wars back on everyone’s geek radar, which it certainly does. There’s a lot more to see, the Main Trailer, International Trailer — and we certainly will in time — but there’s still a long long ways to go before the film comes out next year on December 18th… Anyone got a DeLorean? 🙂

The McQuarrie Influence

It seems even after his death; Ralph McQuarrie’s visionary concept art from the original Star Wars saga is influencing a whole new generation of Star Wars film makers, especially the latest movie J.J.Abrams is working on (Star Wars VII The Force Awakens) with unused X-Wing designs and architectural visions from the LucasFilm Archives.

The early X-Wing design had a split single on each wing, until it was changed to the two-cylinder engine option on each side, but recent leaked onset imagery and J.J.Abrams special video message from the set of Star Wars: Episode VII, he announced the creation of Star Wars: Force for Change, a brand new Star Wars initiative from Disney and Lucasfilm, in collaboration with Bad Robot, dedicated to finding creative solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. The first Star Wars: Force for Change campaign got fans to pledge funds to campaign and awareness for UNICEF’s Innovation Labs and its innovative projects benefitting children in need. By doing this one lucky Star Wars fan from Colorado  who contributed got to visit the set. What the video does confirm is the reusing of Ralph’s single wing engine design.

The other exciting resurrection of his work is the Silver Lightsabre wielding StormTrooper, which again has been seen in ‘more’ leaked on-set images, I wonder if the much talked about DarkTropper will make an appearance.

It also seems his early architectural concept art has made it into the film, as you can see from his concept and on-set photos show.

I wonder what other unused Ralph McQuarrie concept art will be used, the forest Jedi temple? the emperors cave temple? I guess we’ll have to wait a year to find out, but until then we can gracious in the fact the old masters work lives on.

Star Wars also released a five part video ‘Ralph McQuarrie, Star Wars Concept Artist: Tribute to a Master (Part 1)’

Star Wars GIF’s

Star Wars At-At Walker

Awesome Star Wars AT-AT ‘All Terrain Armored Transport’ animated GIF from DKNGDan Kuhlken and Nathan Goldman’ who commissioned the incredible Down the Street Designs to animate their original work.

I also is the Star Wars GIF he first footage from Episode VII The Force Awaken?Star Wars Episode VII Millennium Falcon Teaser

The GIF was originally spotted and uploaded at Making Star Wars. There are no details on where it came from, or how they got it. All they are implying is that this could be a cut from the much whispered-about Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer that has been rumored to premiere sometime before the end of the year. In fact Slashfilm is now reporting from “good sources” (Mr J.J. Abrams) that the teaser trailer will be shown in a limited number of theaters during the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, although it will only be shown in America… WHAAAAAAT!

But until then, we must speculate. The appearance of this GIF on-line coincides with the rumour (from Badass Digest) that the first Star Wars: Episode 7 teaser trailer would end with the Millennium Falcon “firing blasters, coming right at the camera.” And that is exactly what this GIF is. Then again, a GIF like this would be very easy to fake. The lens flare feels almost too obvious and the CG looks a little “meh,” so I’m leaning towards no, but it would be cool if it was the real deal. Then again, again, as Making Star Wars points out, the creators of this mysterious footage did get the radar replacement dish right, so these people know their stuff.

The Apprentice Awakens

Craig Drake is a name synonymous with MilnersBlog, as I’m such a massive fan of his Patrick Nagel ‘Pop Culture’ style of visualisation, although now its about time we lay down any reference to his work being any homage to the late Nagel, and instead embrace him for the talented awakening artist he has now become in forging his own palette of Geekologie inspired art, which firmly embraces visual film culture, instead of the pop culture style which Patrick Nagel presented.

He recently presented a well deserved Solo Art Show at the Hero Complex Gallery in Los Angeles, and I’ll admit the show looked like it was on another level…as you can see in the pictures below, Drake showcased a huge body of work of iconic film culture heroes! He even saved four special works of art until the end of the show, the best space ship in film culture in my opinion, the “Millennium Falcon” plus a few new additions to his film culture palette with Lucas/Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and also The Hobbit with a the beautiful dragon Smaug and the graceful Gandalf the White which was screen printed on a brushed aluminium.

carrie fisher princess leia by craig drake
carrie fisher princess leia by craig drake

In an interview with the Hero Complex Gallery he gave a rare insight into his creative process.

Craig Drake’s Creative Process

Craig Drake has hit the ground running with Hero Complex Gallery! For our first show, Weapon of Choice, he created 3 stunning pieces: MacReady from The Thing, and two versions of Hanzo’d, featuring a sexy close-up of art inspired by the character O-Ren Ishii from Kill Bill. His work has a style that is reminiscent of the celebrated 80’s artist, Patrick Nagel.

Craig hails from the chilly suburbs north of 8 Mile Road in the Detroit, Michigan area. Determined to be an artist, he studied at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, and graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. In 1998, Craig moved to San Francisco and worked for several years doing freelance design and animation for companies such as Adobe and EA (Electronic Arts). In 2006, he transitioned to Lucasfilm where he created his first Nagel homage of Princess Leia. This piece was then printed as a signed, limited edition poster.

In Craig’s own words, “Like a lot of Star Wars fans, having grown up in the ’80s, I was exposed to some amazing signature pop culture visuals. Truthfully, [Nagel’s] style really annoyed me as a kid, but as time went on I began rediscovering his work — his brilliantly minimalist yet bold vision of beautiful, strong women is what inspired me to illustrate Princess Leia.” From the original Leia poster, a line of five other Nagel-inspired Star Wars character pieces were spawned.

Since then, Craig’s popularity as a world-class artist has exploded! Last year alone, Craig produced numerous pieces showcasing his brilliant style featuring beloved characters from movies such as Blade Runner, The Bride of FrankensteinMetropolis, Black Swan and Escape From New York, just to name a few. With his clean lines and stylized take on portraits of pop culture icons, it’s no wonder why fans are clamouring to get a Drake on their walls!

When I asked Craig to breakdown his creative process, he had this to say, “First I start with rough pencil sketches to block in shapes. At this stage, not much reference is used to keep the original composition vision pure.

From there I might make a tightened pencil. Then hi-res images are gathered to soak in the subject’s details. Second stage is the drawing the final vector itself. Using Adobe Illustrator [and] using my trusty Wacom set up, this process takes anywhere from 1 to 2 days. Best part is this Illustrator master is print ready after a few technical mods to make separations for silkscreen posters. Third stage is painting. Which can take up to 5 days for larger pieces like R.J. MacReady.

Since the master drawing is complete digitally, I then use it as an exact guide and draw the image to scale on illustration board. After that I use gouache paint to bring it to life. I love engineering in small variances between the digital composition and the one of a kind painting. Even collectors have picked up and geeked out on these details, which makes me very happy.”

Since the show he’s forged ahead producing countless more stunning pieces of Mondo Art, his latest was for the organisers of Star Wars Celebration VII, the travelling confab that celebrates all things connected to George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away, which returns to Craig’s home state of California at the Anaheim Convention Centre from the 16th-19th of April 2015. 

I wonder if he’ll be producing a calendar like he did for Star Wars Celebration VI with some new artwork for J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” before the 2015 release date… Fingers crossed

A brief selection of his work he’s done since the Solo Art Show… he’s a busy man 🙂

Finally a rare find, some Mondo Art he did for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus which was sadly never used.