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The New Characters of Rogue One

With Star Wars Celebration now over, it’s nice to look back at the behind-the-scenes Celebration Reel for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which was made in the exact same powerful nostalgic way as the Star Wars: The Force Awakens behind-the-scenes video that was released at Comic-Con last year. This new video is really quite stunning and as a lifelong Star Wars fan you get quite a buzz of excitement as it features some awesome new footage of the film’s sets and the ambitious cinematic scale of director Gareth Edward‘s production.

…I truly got goosebumps of excitement and just melted into bliss as I watched this Celebration Reel.

One of the more interesting thing to come out of Star Wars Celebration and Rogue One’s Celebration Reel was the new character details, a first look at Mads Mikkelsen’s Galen Erso, the new droid K-2S0 and some glimpses of the extra’s in the movie, as well as John Knoll, Chief Creative Officer/Senior Visual Effects Supervisor at ILM showing us some early Rogue One Concept Art of the main characters for the Rogue One film, which he originally came up with the idea for.

GALEN ERSO

Lucasfilm offered us a first look at Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso in the film.

Galen is the father of Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso. The actor didn’t reveal too much more about his character, but there have been rumors in the past he will have direct ties to the Empire, and may even have had a hand in building the Death Star.

Mads Mikkelsen (Galen appears to be his name in the film) is kind of the key to the film in a way. He is a scientist that took over the Geonosian Death Star project. He solved several of the flaws the Empire could not and is sort of a revered person in the Empire for his contributions. However, Mikkelsen’s character is a Robert Oppenheimer-type character. Oppenheimer helped design the atomic bomb only to say, “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” The guilt “Galen” feels for his contributions to the Empire became too much and he defects, attempting to make things right. In order to do this, he enlists the help of his only young daughter ‘Jyn Erso’ who we get a brief glimpse off in the Production Video.

K-2S0

One of the characters I’ve been most interested in learning about in Rogue One: The Star Wars Story is the droid character being played by Alan Tudyk. The seven feet tall droid called K-2SO, and thanks to Star Wars Celebration, we have some new revealing details about the character. Actor Diego Luna says that the droid is a friend of his rebel fighter character in the movie, Cassian Andor. We’ve seen a brief bit of footage of K-2S0 already in the first trailer that was released. When describing the character, Luna says:

“One of the most important members of this team is a droid, an Imperial droid that is programmed by the rebellion. His name is K-2SO. He’s probably the best friend Cassian has in the Rebellion, or the only one.”

We also got see a  brief scene in which Jyn hands K-2SO her bag, and he doesn’t like the idea of carrying it because he’s not that kind of droid. This droid really has an attitude. Tudyk went on to talk about his character, explaining:

“That’s K-2 for you. Look, she gives him her pack and he doesn’t really grab it. That’s K-2: ‘Go get the bags, droid.’ ‘No, I’d rather not. That’s not my thing.’ Cassian reprogrammed him, and did like a data wipe. When he reprogrammed him, he’s not quite all there. He speaks his mind and says things, I don’t know, that can be unsettling. He’s very honest. If you know any old people, he’s like that; he just says whatever he thinks. It was great. It was really great to play him.”

What a fun character! I love that he has an attitude. Although he will be a full CGI character, Tudyk was on set wearing a motion capture suit. The actor went on to talk about a funny exchange of conversation he had with Anthony Daniels, who plays C-3PO.

“I met him at that party, at the opening night [for The Force Awakens]. I said, ‘I’m K-2SO. I’m going to be the next droid in the series of droids.’ He said, ‘Do you wear a suit or are you CGI?’ I said, ‘Oh, I’m CGI.’ And he said, ‘You shit.’ Lovely man. We’re pen pals. Pen pals to this day.”

3B6-RA-7

Great also to see 3B6-RA-7, nicknamed “Threebee,” who was originally seen in A New Hope aboard the Sandscrawler when R2-D2 and C-3PO got captured by the Jawa’s. According the Star Wars history, he was part of the Imperial Security Bureau, 3B6-RA-7 was programmed to work as a protocol and spy droid, It’ll be exciting to see if he follows those spy roots on Rogue One.

The Space Monkey

One of the new characters which fans really went bananas for was Rogue One’s Space Monkey, a cackling gunner aboard a helicopter-like vessel, this Space Monkey has certainly made a big impression on social media and even appeared live on stage.

UPDATE: His real name: Bistan. He’s the gunner on a new starship known as the U-Wing, a sort of gunship and troop transport. “It’s not necessarily a character that we get to know, but I think he has a very memorable, iconic look,” said Edwards. “[He’s] one of my favorites. I can’t give away what happens to him.”

The New Characters of Rogue One

Kathleen Kennedy said “We have this amazing opportunity to be able to tell stories inside this incredible universe, In the past, all the Star Wars movies have been made as prequels or sequels, and now we can have these standalone movies to explore different places, different characters and different experiences all around.”

You certainly can see they have certainly done that with all these great new characters below.

“Bigmouth,” whose real name is Pao, a soldier who serves as a kind of platoon leader, coordinating the charge into battle. “There was this great design of this creature that’s mouth would open really wide, and he looked like he was really good at giving orders and shouting at people during a battle,” Edwards said. “I was like, ‘We’ve got to give him that moment in the film,’ and so [Pao] was born out of that.”

The’d better give this Mon Calamari denizen an actual name, posthaste, or else “chubby, blue Admiral Ackbar” is going to stick.

This willowy creature calls to mind a friendly Wampa, although there may be no such thing. The fine white fur flounces as it runs, and a breathing device makes it a curious combination of beast and machine. It’s clearly sentient, carrying either a pack of weaponry or a communications array on its back.

The helmet of this character calls to mind a yellow version of the red, pellet-masked Guavian Death Gang thugs from The Force Awakens.

Edrio Two Tubes

Edrio Two Tubes is a mercenary pilot who flies alongside his eggmate, Benthic. The two share the nickname derived from the breathing apparatus that allows their Tognath physiology to process oxygen atmospheres. Edrio’s home world Yar Togna was conquered and occupied by the Empire, forcing him to flee as a refugee. Desiring to strike back at the Empire, Edrio and Benthic have allied with Saw Gerrera

The images are from Lucasfilm’s Pavilion at San Diego Comic-Con

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The Drake Strikes Back

…Or does he!?

If I’m honest!…Craig Drake‘s: Solo Show 2 doesn’t live up to the sequel standards I was expecting, maybe I was hoping it would be his Empire Strikes Back to Star Wars, …why!? you may ask for such a talented guy who uses his minimal ‘Nagel’ style of detail to bring this geek culture-inspired art to life, and one I’ve championed for many years. Maybe we’ve been spoilt with his recent work for the Star Wars Celebration.

For my taste though, there seemed to be a bit of repetition with the Kill Bill, Akira and Tron elevational treatments, which don’t offer anything more to his already classic dynamism of his early versions of those subjects.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it was all negative, as he showed some true flashes of his brilliance with the huge Empire Strikes Back prints he did of Darth Vader from the “No, I am your father.” scene and the ‘almost’ full size Han Solo in Carbonite, which looks amazing on the foil print.

And then there’s the true pièce de résistance of the show, the Back to the Future DeLorean which is a ‘Hidden’ print that he’s only revealed on his Facebook page at the moment, but he does describe it as Part 1 of 2 set, which could mean the DeLorean for Back to the Future Part 2 with the Mr Fusion on the back…I do hope so, as the one above looks to have some sumptuous detailing on the engine and the those ’88 miles per hour’ sparks at the front look

What was also good to see, and something we should have seen more of was the venture in other Geekologie genres, with the new additions of Sherlock and the impressive ‘Live Long and Prosper’ Spock.

Even his first ‘live’ showing of Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a welcome addition…lets have more of these.

Also the sexy ‘Nagel’ style was rekindled with his Mononoke and Mia prints.

A recent addition after the show his Batman: The Dark Knight.

“…Jessicaaaaaaa” – Killgrave | Jessica Jones Mondo Art

His Solo II show is on at the Hero Complex Gallery, the art will be on display at the gallery through the month of July, and it’s located at 2020 South Robertson Blvd. Studio D, Los Angeles, CA. If you want to purchase any of these prints, click here. You also a great impression of the scale of his work from this photo below from the gallery.

One final thing, he did a great promo giveaway for the VIP opening event with these branded boxes of chocolates

All work is Copyright Craig Drake 2015

UPDATE: 
On reflection, now I’ve seen the newly released DeLorean print, his Solo Show II is on equal par to his first show and I take back what I’ve said in the opening two paragraphs.

Craig Drake’s Art of Star Wars

Star Wars Celebration is just a few short months and the official Star Wars website has just revealed some key art from the event. The posters are a pure Mondo art form unto themselves, and for an artist to capture the essence of Star Wars on a poster — the feel and look of the films, the drama of the stories isn’t easy…but Star Wars Celebration is in safe hands with my favourite Mondo artist, the incredibly gifted Craig Drake, who’s produced some stunning new  artwork for April’s mega-event.

These standalone Mondo portraits of Boba Fett and a ‘Original Trilogy’ Stormtrooper he posted on his Facebook page will make a timeless poster on any Star Wars fans wall.

He even posted some new Leia artwork on his Tumblr site, a standalone variant of Leia from the Star Wars Celebration poster, and ‘Empire Leia’ in her Hoth outfit, which is quite reminiscent of his first Leia artwork.

What I found out most recently about him, was his love of fellow Star Wars Poster artist Drew Struzan and the legendary concept artist Ralph McQuarrie, and also having been a senior designer at Star Wars.com, you know he has an inherent love of the SW Universe, which really shows in his work.

Craig Drake’s Interview with Star Wars.com

Drake loves and knows Star Wars, having worked at Lucasfilm for seven years as the senior designer of StarWars.com, and he has that rare ability to convey what we love about a galaxy far, far away in an immediate, almost subconscious way. In his poster, there are classic Star Wars elements: the overwhelming power of Darth Vader, dark and light colors in a sort of harmonious conflict, and a sense of Star Wars-branded danger and excitement. The style, however, is all Drake’s: the lines are sharp, the details simple, the colors bold. Ultimately, the image successfully adapts his style into the language of a movie poster. So how did he do it?

“I essentially took the basic line art that I usually do, that’s very recognizable, and painted over it,” Drake tells StarWars.com. “Before I even did that, I took a look at the [legendary movie- and Star Wars-poster artist] Drew Struzan’s of the world and how those color palettes feel. So, the basis for what I usually do is there, it’s just underneath a lot of color enhancement and free-hand painting, just to dial it up a bit, and I think it added a nice touch that made it feel more filmic.” It’s a method that allows Drake to employ his own style while still making something that’s familiar. Yet, upon closer inspection, it’s not THAT familiar — Han, the stormtrooper, Leia, and Vader all look and feel the part, but their poses can’t quite be placed in a specific movie scene. The expressions match the characters, but they’re kind of new, too. That unfamiliar familiarity, it turns out, is intentional.

“I like to go into the films and take screen caps for reference, versus the style-guide art,” Drake says. “Style guides are asset kits [given to artists and third parties]. It’s a wealth of images. You see those poses used quite a bit in posters and packaging, so I wanted to dig a little deeper into the films themselves.” His process involves scanning scenes with an eye toward the unusual, or something rarely seen. When it came to Vader, Drake had a clear goal. “I was trying to get this very perfect side view, a really great profile. You don’t see Vader from the side very often, and I think it’s a neat shape. I grabbed a shot from Episode V that worked really, really well.” The result is striking. Vader is cast as a grand, ominous figure, almost engulfing all others; the side view seems new, and the arched angle, with Vader looking upward, hints at the tragedy and internal struggle of the fallen Jedi.

..You don’t see Vader from the side very often, and I think it’s a neat shape

And if the star-filled Vader rings a visual bell, that’s because it’s meant to — the effect is taken directly from the original Empire Strikes Back theatrical poster. “That’s exactly what I lifted,” Drake says. “I’ll admit it. The very first soundtrack LP I got was The Empire Strikes Back, and that was the cover. So, that’s burned in my mind, and I kind of wanted to emulate it a bit. I like the stars sort of bleeding through. It’s a very cool effect.”

When Drake can’t find a shot that matches what he sees in his head, he gets even more creative, mashing up different character appearances to create a new image. “Specifically, the one that [technique] worked for was the Leia profile shot,” he says. “I got that reference from the medal ceremony at the end of Episode IV. She had a different hairdo, so I got her face from that, and then did her hair from memory.” Leia wasn’t always a sure thing for the final poster, however. Originally, Drake explored different character options and color choices — with a much greater focus on the dark side (for lack of better term) of Star Wars — revealed below for the first time anywhere.

“I initially was given quite a bit of freedom to tackle a theme,” Drake says of the early process, “and that’s how I came up with the first version, featuring Boba [Fett], Vader, and the stormtrooper.” His inspiration came not from a specific love of the bad guys, though. It was borne more out of the spirit of Star Wars Celebration. “I really thought of it from the fan perspective,” he says. “You know, at those events, people dress up. Especially the 501st Legion, with everyone crafting their costumes. It seems to be the stormtroopers, Boba Fetts, and Vaders are the heavy focus in terms of costumes. Those are just iconic, wonderful shapes to actually illustrate. And I think through that process, we quickly decided, these are neat looking, but we actually wanted to include human faces and build it out like a traditional movie poster with a variety of characters.” This led to the second attempt, also seen above, which saw a new layout and added a certain sharp-shooting princess; finally, the third time was the charm, as the Han-focused illustration struck the right balance of heroes, villains, and energy. By looking at earlier versions of the poster in comparison with the final art, however, certain elements emerge that harken back to core Star Wars designs.

star-wars-celebration-2015-official-leia-poster-artwork-by-craig-drake
star-wars-celebration-2015-official-leia-poster-artwork-by-craig-drake

One motif visible in each stage of the poster’s evolution is a diamond or wedge shape — sometimes explicit, sometimes in the form of rays of light, sometimes swallowing the image up from Darth Vader’s cape or helmet. That, also, is intentional. “There’s a behind-the-scenes clip where George [Lucas] was talking about the wedge shape, the triangular shape,” Drake says, “and how it’s a repeated shape in ships in Star Wars. That’s something that always stayed in my mind. The Star Destroyer, some of the Jedi starfighters [have that shape]. That’s something that Ralph McQuarrie was able to just harness perfectly. Take the most basic shapes and make them even more iconic in spaceship form. So that is something that is always very present in my mind, and it worked into the framing element of the poster.”

In addition to shapes and characters, color plays a huge role in each version of the poster. From the deep red of his original concept to the green-blue of the final work, Drake’s use of color is a tool for conjuring the tone of specific films. “I have color associations with the first few films,” Drake explains. “For example, Empire Strikes Back, to me, is straight up orange and blue. Jedi is totally green. In that sense, I didn’t want to necessarily lean this toward Episode IV and V. I definitely did with the character selection, but I think my color association, with the use of the green there [in the final poster], is where I balanced it.” When StarWars.com points out that green instantly recalls Return of the Jedi for one reason — Luke’s lightsaber — Drake agrees. “When I was a kid,” he says, “and I saw that he all of a sudden had a green lightsaber, my friends and I freaked out. It was like, ‘Yes, this is awesome!’ That simple use of color. It was so powerful.”

Fans have reacted strongly to Drake’s poster, and for those who love his work, there’s even better news: Drake’s also creating the art for all Celebration badges. Revealed below, the badges will be in visual continuity with the poster (note the use of color and slanted lines) and similarly draw from a classic (and very cool) influence. “The actual format feels a lot like trading cards,” he says. “I’m eternally enamored with that format, the old Topps trading cards. In the end, I think we have 22 different characters, and that means 22 different badges. It’s been a really fun project to draw all of them. Super fun.”

Drake’s work doesn’t end with the badges, however. He’s also created a Star Wars Rebels variant poster — which was revealed exclusively on StarWars.com.

Swapping Han, Leia, and Vader for Ezra, Sabine, and the Inquisitor, respectively, as well as adding the Ghost starship and the Lothal cityscape, it’s a similarly great piece and successful on different fronts:

..The poster was like fresh new territory. I’m looking forward to exploring even more.

The stormtrooper remains, creating a thematic connection between this and the original; the animated heroes and villains of Star Wars Rebels fit seamlessly with Drake’s take on the movie characters; and Star Wars‘ themes of darkness and light, and its sense of wonder, are present and strong. With Star Wars Rebels still new, Drake had less imagery to pull from — a challenge he enjoyed. “It was particularly fun for that reason,” he says. “The poster was like fresh new territory. I’m looking forward to exploring even more.” With more badges and art to go, he’ll have his chance.

Taken together, Drake’s Celebration art spans and, fittingly, celebrates the saga. But for someone who started out as a fan, and is now giving a visual identity to the world’s biggest Star Wars fan event, the experience is even more special. “It means a lot to me on a couple of levels,” he says. “First, as an illustrator, it’s an honor to be given the keys to the Star Wars universe. Secondly, as a fan who grew up seeking all the Star Wars art inspiration I could find, this is an incredible project for me.”

Interview by Dan Brooks, Lucasfilm’s senior content writer. Copyright Lucasfilm 2015

Where’s Waldo? Star Wars Style

Star Wars Celebration VI Poster by Jeff Carlisle
Click to Enlarge
The thing is, Waldo ‘is’ Actually on there, and in true ‘Geek Style’ he’s a Robot…but the best person to be included is the late and great Ralph McQuarrie.Waldo the Robot Star Wars Celebration VI Poster    Ralph McQuarrie Star Wars Celebration VI Poster
This epic poster is by the brilliant Concept Artist and Illustrator Jeff Carlisle which will be on sale at Star Wars Celebration VI in August. Find out more about the people he’s included in the poster on his Facebook Page.