From Concept to Reality: A Glimpse Into The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Phil Szostak

TheArtOfSWTFA_CoverOne cannot deny the important role that art, in its myriad different forms, has played in establishing the world of the Star Wars saga that we know and love.  Read on to take a little journey into the wonderful world of Star Wars, as envisioned through the eyes of the artists that created it.


In the past, such artists as Ralph McQuarrie, Joe Johnston, and Doug Chiang have infused the world of Star Wars with their ideas, their passion, and a little bit of magic.  In some cases, the genius of the art department, even prompted the films to go in new and different directions than originally intended, and the result became so much more than just one man’s vision.  It was this type of collaborative effort that gave Star Wars its own unique look and voice, and today, with the dawning of a new era in the franchise, the impact of such artists is just as paramount as it’s ever been.

05-13 Jedi Killer concept 3

The Art of Star Wars: the Force Awakens by Phil Szostak is a truly incredible book that gives Star Wars fans a glimpse into what it took to bring that galaxy far far away back to life in the modern era.  This article makes no attempt to encapsulate all of the amazing art within the covers of this book, and to do so would be impossible.  Instead, we will take a quick look at a few of the unused concepts in the book as we take you briefly (which the book does in detail) through the different design phases of The Force Awakens.


07-13 Falcon Escape


The Concept Phase


January 2013:

On January 9th, Rick Carter’s concept art team had their first meeting to discuss what the film should look like.  To establish this essential re-entry point for the franchise, the team met with the likes of Dave Filoni (Rebels), Kiri Hart (LFL Storygroup), some veteran ILM concept artists like Doug Chiang and Ian McCaig, along with many others, to collaborate on the effort in their own version of King Arthur’s  Knights of the Round Table. Work in January focused on who Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia have become in the last thirty years.  Two new characters, Kira and Sam (later renamed Rey and Finn), were also first realized.  And on January 25, J.J. Abrams was officially announced to direct Episode VII.


Han Solo

01-13 Han concept 1

February 2013:

Abrams and his Bad Robot Productions team visited Lucasfilm on February 13 for an art presentation led by Kathleen Kennedy and Rick Carter. Darth Vader’s castle (as illustrated by McQuarrie for The Empire Strikes Back) was mentioned.  The junk planet, Luke’s hovel, and the nature of the Force were all discussed and continued to be developed.


Kira (Rey) on Junk Planet

02-13 Kira Junk Planet

March 2013:

Michael Arndt’s outline for the film continued to take shape.  Designs for the new “Jedi Killer” villain (who at this point had no realized origin), Luke’s homestead, and Kira’s home planet were developed further. New story ideas, like a daylight attack on the outpost by the Jedi Killer and his band (initially a group of pirate-mercenaries, then stormtroopers, cementing the Jedi Killer’s alignment with the Neo-Imperial forces) were explored. A Neo-Imperial superweapon emanating from a planet was sketched out.  A climactic battle on an ice planet and a Yoda-like mentor for the young protagonists were also first realized. An enigmatic “John Doe”, later named Poe, rounded out the trio of leads.


Luke Skywalker Concept

03-13 Luke concept 1

April 2013:

The first act of the plot started to come into focus as character backgrounds, like Sam (Finn) being a stormtrooper, John Doe (Poe) being a Republic military man with a droid companion carrying vital information, and Kira (Rey) being a scavenger on the junk planet were all decided upon. The concept artists (or “Visualists” as they are called) continued to generate story ideas for the rest of the film, particularly, the Neo-Imperial forces and base.


Emperor’s Throne Room (Underwater)

04-13 Emperor's Throne Room Underwater

May 2013:

Following the end of his Star Trek: Into Darkness promotional world tour, Abrams turned his full attention to Episode VII.  Two new locations were proposed: a “Crime City” or “Exotic City”, where the young heroes would first encounter a down-and-out Han Solo, and a new rebel base. Dennis Muren of ILM posed the question, “What if they [the Neo-Empire] had the ability to take the energy of a star?”  Thus the Starkiller “sun-crushing” superweapon concept was born.


Sam (Finn) and John Doe (Poe)

05-13 Sam (Finn) and John Doe (Poe)

June 2013:

The interior of a decaying Star Destroyer, Kira’s collapsed AT-AT home, a Neo-Imperial Star Destroyer, and the new archetypal mentor character of “Maz Kanata” were first tackled in June.  Development continued on the depot town, Exotic City, Starkiller planet or “Doom Star”, and Leia’s rebel base.


Kira (Rey) and Sam (Finn)

01-13 Kira and Sam 2




July 2013:

Two action set pieces, the Neo-Empire’s attack on a Jakku village and the “graveyard” chase between the TIEs and the Falcon started coming into focus.  Design work for the Starkiller planet, the new TIE fighter, Maz and her gambling den, and John Doe’s droid pressed on.  Leia’s rebel headquarters were temporarily relocated from their previous cliff face to a dense jungle setting. Abrams approved concepts for a Star Destroyer hanger and new stormtrooper transport vehicles.


“Steam Pod”

07-13 Steam Pod

August 2013:

Michael Arndt turned in his outline for Episode VII, quickly followed by a work-in-progress script draft. Further development continued on the Star Destroyer’s torture room and the “cobra-head” bridge overlooking the hanger, as well as the form and function of the ice planet base.  The team continued to fine-tune the junk world of Jakku, specifically the starship graveyard and the sacred village, and Exotic City began to pick up a lot of Ralph McQuarrie influences.  The creature shop began to see its first approvals for alien characters in the outpost and Maz’s saloon.

An idea was proposed that involved Anakin Skywalker’s ghost flowing back and forth between Darth Vader and Anakin (concept image below).  Along with this idea, Luke was presented as a whole new entity, being the first to acknowledge his own dark side – that it was not separate from him.  This is a very interesting idea as it would show us something we have never seen before in the films.  Luke would, in essence, have balanced the force within himself as he communes with both personas of his late father.

This could also open up some neat possibilities where Kylo Ren is concerned, giving him a chance to speak with the dark side incarnation of his idolized grandfather.  Obviously, this idea was scrapped for The Force Awakens, but this concept could very well be picked up by Johnson in the next two installments of the saga, as we learn more about who Luke is now after 30 plus years.  Who knows? Maybe those rumors about Hayden Christensen in Episode VIII will turn out to be true after all.


Anakin / Vader Force Ghost

08-13 Anakin-Vader Ghost

September 2013:

The costume department’s stormtrooper, snowtrooper, and flametrooper armor and weapon designs got their initial director approvals.  Approved alien and droid concepts continued to pour out of the creature department.  Starkiller base and the crashed Star Destroyer continued to be refined.


Stormtrooper (final)

09-13 Stormtrooper Final Design

October 2013:

The Visualists began churning out drawings for a castle inspired by McQuarrie’s preliminary drawings for Darth Vader’s castle.  At first, it was to be Princess Leia’s castle where the heroes would seek her after leaving Exotic City.  Michael Arndt departs from the project and Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams resume screenwriting duties in his stead.  The art departments (US and UK) concentrated on the Jakku village attack, Kira’s fallen AT-AT home, vehicles, and the still unapproved Jedi Killer villain.


Jedi Killer Concept

10-13 Jedi Killer Concept 5

November 2013:

Design work on the Jedi Killer villain continued.  The costume department’s first drawings of Kira emerged.  On November 28, the neo-stormtrooper designed by Michael Kaplan was fully approved.  The creature department continued churning out aliens and droids.  Both art departments carried on generating Act III ideas, while developing film-wide set and vehicle designs, including the first approved blueprint for an updated X-Wing.


Jedi Killer Concept (mask later used for Guavian Death Gang)

11-13 Jedi Killer concept 2

December 2013:

By this point, tens of thousands of concept pieces had been created.  With principal photography set to begin in early summer 2014, the art departments took a breather for the holidays, only to push even harder at the start of the new year.  In mid-December J.J. called a meeting to pitch the most recent version of the Episode VII story.  Days later, he and Kasdan turned in the first draft of the still-untitled script.


Early Jedi Killer Concept

01-13 Jedi Killer Concept

January 2014:

The look of Han Solo’s cargo interior is refined, while the pirate gangs that would confront him continued to evolve.  Finishing touches were put on the X-Wing and a final design for Kira’s speeder came from an unexpected source – the creature department.  The creature department polished off designs for Poe’s (formerly John Doe’s) astromech droid, BB-8.  The as-yet-unnamed Jedi Killer and the gang he fell in with as a young man slowly evolved.


Jedi Killer vs. X-wings

01-14 Force Destruction

February 2014:

Ireland’s Skellig Islands and the larger island’s sixth-century monastery were chosen to stand in for Luke’s homestead, giving the concept artists their first chance to integrate location photos into their designs.  The design teams pushed to finish designs for the interior of Maz’s castle, as it was finally decided to blend the Exotic city and McQuarrie’s early castle concepts.  This freed up the Greenham Common RAF base which became Leia’s resistance base.  Initial construction on the Star Destroyer hanger began, along with the interrogation room, and the troop transports.  Approved designs for Kira and Unkar Plutt were locked in.


Early BB-8 Concept

08-13 BB-8 Concept 1

March 2014:

Glyn Dillon’s design for the Jedi Killer (soon to be Kylo Ren) was finally approved.  Han Solo got an approved costume update and further development on vehicles, the castle, and the two bases continued.  A location in Abu Dhabi was decided upon for the Jakku outpost.


Han Solo in Cantina

05-13 Han Cantina

April 2014:

J.J. Abrams moved from Paris to Pinewood to take the helm. Art director Kevin Jenkins and Imperial design expert & concept artist James Clyne met to discuss the influence of Brutalist architecture on Imperial design and how to incorporate that same feel into the Neo-Imperial design.  The creature and costume departments combined to fill out Maz’s castle with all manner of creatures.  The Pinewood crew began prep for the start of principal photography in Abu Dhabi.


Alternate Sam (Finn) Concept

05-13 Sam (Finn) Tribal




May 2014:

Principal photography began on Saturday, May 17 in Abu Dhabi.  The following week of desert shooting covered the First Order attack on the outpost, the TIE fighter crash landing, and Rey’s AT-AT home sequences.  Design work remained focused on Starkiller base sets and story points, placing final details on costumes, and filling out the resistance base and castle with creatures. The filming crew returned to Pinewood and resumed shooting on the Star Destroyer sets.


“Fire and Ice”

01-13 Fire and Ice

June 2014:

The filming crew transitioned from the Star Destroyer sets to the Millennium Falcon interior sets by day and the Jakku village backlot set by night.  On June 11, Harrison Ford was injured on the Falcon set only days after the start of filming.  The crew had to move schedules around to cope with Ford’s absence.  Concept artists focused on Starkiller base and Maz’s castle exterior at this time.  Design started at ILM on purely digital shots like the X-wings skimming the water and the Starkiller base starfighter battle.


Luke Skywalker

06-14 Luke Concept

July 2014:

The main unit continued to shoot what cargo hauler and Maz’s castle scenes that they could without Ford.  Designs for the digitally modeled Star Destroyer exterior and Luke’s costume were approved.  Digital characters Supreme Leader Snoke and the rathtar monster were addressed but not yet approved.


Luke Skywalker Costume

07-14 Old Luke

August 2014:

The entire The Force Awakens production took two weeks off to allow Ford time to recuperate.  After twenty months, the visual arts department at Lucasfilm turned in final pieces on August 27.  Several artists who had worked on the film began the transition to work on Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One.  Shooting resumed in Pinewood without Ford on August 26 with the Star Destroyer bridge and the climactic lightsaber battle on Q Stage, where the crew had constructed the snowy forest.


Alternate BB-8 Concept

08-13 BB-8 Concept 2

September 2014:

Principal photography continued on the Pinewood Studios lot with Ford rejoining the production on September 15.  ILM look-development, the visual effects equivalent of early concept development for CG models and shots, continued with the team working on the starship graveyard chase and Falcon crash sequences.  Starkiller base set and shot designs were the primary focus of the Pinewood art department at this time.  Creatures and costumes were being wrapped up for the doomed Republic City scenes, Maz’s castle, and the “Force-back” flashback sequence.


Alternate Kira (Rey)

Alternate Rey

October 2014:

The final designs for Snoke and Maz Kanata were confirmed.  Snoke’s appearance shifted in a more youthful direction at Abrams’ request in an effort to further distance the character’s design from that of Emperor Palpatine.  After many various iterations of the character, including Snoke even being proposed as a female at one point, they finally achieved the look they wanted for the Supreme Leader of the First Order.


Primitive Lightsabers Concept

Intro Primitive Saber Concepts




November 2014 – January 2015:

At ILM in San Francisco, the post-production shot turnover and delivery process officially began on November 7.  The ongoing digital shot creation process carried on deep into 2015, close to the December 18 release date for the film.

End Kira (Rey) and Leia


With 250+ pages of glorious artwork and production details, there is no way to convey all that this book has to offer in this article. But hopefully, through our summary of the production process detailed in the book and the amazing art above, you got a pretty good glimpse at what it took to bring this film to life and the importance of art and visualization throughout the entire production process.

Intro Kira (Rey) Jakku

I highly recommend that all Star Wars fans eventually find room on their bookshelves for this one.  It can be purchased wherever books are sold, and would also make a great gift.  So what are you waiting for?  Get out there and pick up your copy of this little gem, and enjoy its depictions of what could have been along with what is now forever a part of the saga that will hopefully keep enchanting us for years to come.

+ posts

Jordan Pate is Co-Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net, of which he is also a member of the book and comic review team. He loves all things Star Wars, but when he's not spending time in the galaxy far far away, he might be found in our own galaxy hanging out in Gotham City or at 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, NY.

Jordan Pate (Hard Case)

Jordan Pate is Co-Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net, of which he is also a member of the book and comic review team. He loves all things Star Wars, but when he's not spending time in the galaxy far far away, he might be found in our own galaxy hanging out in Gotham City or at 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, NY.

144 thoughts on “From Concept to Reality: A Glimpse Into The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Phil Szostak

  • January 12, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Sounds like the GL Arnt script consepts would have given us a better SW movie DAM you JJ and Kasdan who is stuck in 1980 for making a OT remake!

      • January 12, 2016 at 8:52 pm

        Thanks for sharing. It is positive proof that not every scene in AOTC was CGI.

        • January 12, 2016 at 8:57 pm

          Nah, just awful.

        • January 13, 2016 at 10:07 am

          That’s true! Although I assume Watto and Jar Jar would have played that love scene better (if only the dialogs were better).

      • January 12, 2016 at 10:23 pm

        THAT’s you reply? Really?

        “You guys complain about poorly done scenes because you’re fat ugly nerds!!”

        Real mature, troll. The fact that you even commenting here proves that you’re as much of a nerd as we are. You seriously need to learn respect.

        • January 12, 2016 at 10:28 pm

          Whoops! Sorry that I went there (actually, I’m not really sorry). Truth hurts, doesn’t it?

          • January 12, 2016 at 10:45 pm

            Does she give a good blowjob? Think that’s important to state in your comment.

          • January 13, 2016 at 4:02 am

            Yeah, sure. It’s obvious the type of person you are. A bully, plain and simple. I could go one, but I’d rather keep this at least a little bit respectful. I guess I’ll have to be the bigger man, since you obviously have to step on others to feel like it.

          • January 13, 2016 at 2:52 pm

            Well next time don’t continue to parrot the same tired talking points. You got anything new to talk about instead of the same things?

      • January 12, 2016 at 11:21 pm


        You need to work on your trolling skills. On a forum full of potentially angry nerds, you’ve hardly gotten any response at all. Not what I would call a skillful attempt, or the desired result. I wouldn’t even call it a “good try”.

        I’m honestly a little embarrassed for you.

        • January 12, 2016 at 11:34 pm

          lol you keep telling yourself that. Whatever you have to tell yourself to feel good about yourself I guess…

      • January 13, 2016 at 10:00 am

        Sad that you need to go THAT personal to defend Attack of the Clones. I’m a fat girl myself and I believe Attack of the Clones portrays Padme as a naif, stupid female, uncapable to have its own charisma as to need to hide in a different outfit each scene. This film shows more than anything else than beauty (both for Annie and Padme) is not enough to attract the audience: It’s ALL (I mean, ALL) about the character: that’s why a clear reboot of Episode IV is becoming a blockbuster phenomenon, because we care about the characters (and at least half of them are ugly).

      • January 15, 2016 at 4:15 pm

        If you lived in the Sahara or Tatooine you would’t like sand either ..

        • January 15, 2016 at 6:10 pm

          I don’t think the truthness of the sentence is the problem, at all.

    • January 12, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      This idea that some brilliant masterpiece of a trilogy was abandoned because it was too good is bogus. If it had real potential to be good it would’ve been made. Kathleen Kennedy is not stupid. Whatever Lucas came up with was obviously inadequate, and the prequels demonstrated his inadequacy in stark terms. But, of course, the “Lucas can do no wrong” crowd will say otherwise as they continue to defend Lucas’ last indefensible trilogy.

      • January 12, 2016 at 8:27 pm

        I don’t think whether the film would have been “better” or “worse” can really be argued as (like you point out) we cannot accurately access the potential of Arndt’s world based on Lucas’ vision. All we have to go on are some ideas that were thrown out there. That being said, it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have been a masterpiece either. I think it just comes down to the direction they wanted to go. They wanted more nostalgia and familiarity with this one, so they had Abrams and Kasdan doctor the story. I think that was ultimately a wise decision (at least for ep 7). But I also think it’s fun to see what could have been.

        • January 12, 2016 at 8:35 pm

          Well said. Lucas’ version focused on a very young cast reminiscent of the prequels, so no matter how good or bad it was I think Disney would have shied away since they couldn’t afford for the FIRST new star wars movie to be “hit/miss”. A nostalgic direction was much safer to get everyone excited. Now that this one was a huge success both critically and financially, they can take more risks and make the sequels more out-there. I hope someday the Lucas treatment leaks online so we can see his ideas for the story, but as for now I’m just happy with what we have.

          • January 12, 2016 at 8:54 pm

            Um, Rey and Finn are about Anakin’s age in Ep. II and III. So unless you’re referring to TPM, this is still a very young cast of main characters. Also not everyone was excited with what you’ve called “nostalgic direction”. I know lots of people who were disappointed to see how much TFA borrowed from the OT, ANH especially.

            I do agree that I wish to see a different, much more innovative and original Ep. VIII and IX, though. I’d also love to learn what Lucas had in mind for the ST, definitely. Not so happy with “what we have” now that I’ve seen these pics, because they just come to show that a lot of meat was left on the bone with TFA, for fear of failure. Not so sure SW would be what it is today if Lucas hadn’t gone out on a limb and made what was considered a “really weird” space film for kids back in the day.

      • January 12, 2016 at 11:50 pm

        Lucas gave us Starwars. All of it, remember that.

      • January 13, 2016 at 7:40 pm

        And you continue to defend the glaring story telling issues and plot holes that TFA gave us. Who is the bigger fan boy?

        • January 14, 2016 at 7:49 am

          Because the criticisms of TFA are so trite, short-sighted and stupid, they can be taken apart with ease.

          The problems with the prequels are critical failings, they are astronomic in comparison to whatever gripes people have about TFA. They are flat-out indefensible.

    • January 12, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      Yeah, some of those concepts look awesome, like Rey’s planet being a tropical jungle with a huge sea, the remains of Death Star II lying at the bottom. Would’ve been so cool to see her scuba diving through the underwater ruins of the Emperor’s Throne room on the screen. To think this was ditched in favor of yet another underdeveloped, desert world is beyond comprehension.

      • January 12, 2016 at 8:05 pm

        I wouldn’t complain if the planet was Tatooine, but being a carbon-copy of it with another name is still beyond me.

        • January 12, 2016 at 8:09 pm

          Well, it would’ve been pretty lame, unoriginal and unimaginative if Tatooine was the homeworld of the ST’s protagonist as well, IMO. But I agree. If I had to go with a desert world, Tatooine would’ve been my choice too.

      • January 12, 2016 at 8:22 pm

        Going with the underwater Death Star II idea, it was proposed that the MacGuffin actually be found in the Emperor’s throne room. I thought that was kind of cool.

        • January 12, 2016 at 8:41 pm

          Maybe this idea could be used later on. Perhaps Endor is a water world and Rey will have to go diving to find some McGuffin that helps to unveil the mystery of Snoke or a way to defeat him in the Emperor’s Throne Room. Either way, that does sound pretty cool, yep.

    • January 12, 2016 at 8:03 pm

      Certain things are pretty out there but some concepts look WAY better IMO. I wish they had gone with a tropical planet for Rey, that would have been sweet! I’m glad, however, they settled where they did for Kylo though. Some of the “Jedi Killer” art looks a bit too cyberpunk for star wars.

      • January 12, 2016 at 8:21 pm

        The one concept for him reminds me of Hellboy. 🙂

  • January 12, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    Brilliant book. I’ve already read it. 🙂

  • January 12, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    The book is amazing and beautiful. Highly recommended to any fan of Star Wars. Many great and some “out there” concepts that will keep you enthralled with each page.

  • January 12, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    I’m a big fan of the Making Of books from the OT and this one is far from being as detailed. However, this is a unique book as The Force Awakens is the first film that doesn’t come with a pre-stablished idea of what the film will be, which obviously with the six previous films was kinda narrowed by George (at least plotwise). Here the artists were free to create whatever they wanted as not even the story was clear. It’s very interesting, and some of the craziest concepts for a Star Wars film are in this book, some of them completely opposite to what JJ approached finally (in one design, we see planet Felucia which I’m sure Abrams would have never visited again).

  • January 12, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    I really hope that some of the unused concepts from this movie make it into episodes 8 or 9. I need to see that ghost of Anakin talk to kylo.

    • January 12, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      Yes, “Anakin’s ghost” is too good a concept to drop completely.

      Otherwise I was particularly impressed by the early version of “Kira” and “Sam” (the one where he holds the green lightsaber). Of course “Sam”/Finn would eventually become black rather than Caucasian, but look at the facial features of “Kira”! She is so similar to the still-uncast Daisy Ridley that it is simply uncanny!

      I guess Daisy was destined to play this part …

  • January 12, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    Wow some of that is awesome. Well all of if it is really… just not what I’d want exactly for every concept. The evolution of the series look like it got a lot of it right. That said… Rey being on a tropical world may have shut up some of the naysayers lol. Probably not… Fire and Ice is awesome… a dual blade with both colors? Hells ya.

  • January 12, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    Its crazy to see how crazy some of this stuff started out as. I think there are a few things here and there that would have been cool to see but most of this looks way too EU. We got a simple, straightforward, and stream-lines Star Wars movie that I think perfectly fits within the universe.

    • January 12, 2016 at 10:53 pm

      Interesting opinion. I think the opposite TBH. The film felt like it went backwards, where as this art (initially) suggested a boldness, creativity pushing SW into the future, instead of imitating the past.

      • January 13, 2016 at 12:05 am

        I completely get where you are coming from but I think they did a good job of aging the universe without going too far.

  • January 12, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    I didn’t mention it in the article, but for you Legacy comic fans out there – they even did concept art for the Twi’lek Sith Lady Darth Talon in the early stages of development. She looked pretty awesome.

  • January 12, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    “An idea was proposed that involved Anakin Skywalker’s ghost flowing back and forth between Darth Vader and Anakin (concept image below). Along with this idea, Luke was presented as a whole new entity, being the first to acknowledge his own dark side – that it was not separate from him. This is a very interesting idea as it would show us something we have never seen before in the films. Luke would, in essence, have balanced the force within himself as he communes with both personas of his late father.”
    THAT, all DAY!

    • January 12, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      Agree w/the Luke part. Not too crazy about Anakin’s ghost going back and forth, though. IMO, he was able to appear as a Force ghost at the end of RotJ because he totally forsake the dark side in the end. I can only see this working as a dream sequence or a vision induced by Snoke to manipulate Kylo, for instance.

  • January 12, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    I like how the ‘old Han’ concepts just look like ‘old Rick Deckard’ from Bladerunner.

    • January 12, 2016 at 8:45 pm

      I like how it looks like he shot first in that cantina concept art lol

      • January 12, 2016 at 8:45 pm

        Good point

  • January 12, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Really glad a lot of this concept art never made the final cut. The Jedi Killer looks pretty horrific in my opinion, the Kylo Ren we saw on screen was perfect. Scuba? Please no. Out of all the concept are shown I really like the new stormtrooper design with the black webbing and chest rig. Have no idea what a stormtrooper would keep in such a setup but it looks pretty cool.

    The one thing I would like to see in a future SW saga movie is a cityscape. Much like what Ridley Scott did successfully with Blade Runner.

    • January 12, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      . . . . Coruscant?

      • January 12, 2016 at 8:45 pm

        But done right.

        • January 12, 2016 at 8:51 pm

          How about create a planet that looks identical to Coruscant but give it a different name? That’s been done about three times in TFA.

          • January 12, 2016 at 8:56 pm

            Your point?

          • January 12, 2016 at 10:11 pm

            I love how constructive your endless hate is.

          • January 13, 2016 at 4:59 am

            endless hate: not good.

            Thing is though, if you have a planet which is essentially tattooine, don’t make it Jakku then masquerade it around as a new planet, and a token of your “originality”. Make it tattooine, or come up with something new. Like colour-correct the sky to a red tinge, or something. Or come up with some factor that makes it unique. There’s nothing unique about Jakku.

  • January 12, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    I got this for Christmas, and it’s just killer! The images Hard Case shared only begin to scratch the surface. The design team obviously had a lot of fun with this one.

    One thing that I found interesting was that the design team was encouraged to indulge their imaginations, without necessarily worrying about designing for the actual story. That’s why we’ve got things like underwater Death Star scenes. I seriously doubt there was ever any actual plan to show large intact portions of the Death Star all covered in seaweed at the bottom of the Endor briny, but that degree of design freedom certainly tends to lead to kernels of ideas that can be evolved into actual film designs.

    And it leaves us with some fantastic Star Wars art to pore over!

    It looks like the actual Making Of TFA book isn’t due out until later this year. That will be a fun read too, I expect. But for now, if you’ve got the cash and the interest, I say grab a copy. I seriously doubt you’ll be disappointed.

    • January 12, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      Well, if there wasn’t an actual plan to show large, intact portions of the DS covered in seaweed at the bottom of Endor, they should’ve made it an actual starting point for Rey’s homeworld.

      The idea is effin’ brilliant, and what is the point of the designers indulging their imaginations if using their concepts was never part of the actual plan?

      • January 12, 2016 at 11:29 pm

        It’s another part of the creative process. Sometimes you need to draw the crazy, fanciful thing to get the idea for the thing that’s eventually going to be used.

        Even under Lucas, it wasn’t always just a matter of “Okay, here’s scene number 79. Draw me up some designs for it.” There were times when his production artists would indulge their imaginations just as an exercise too.

        • January 13, 2016 at 12:33 am

          I know. I’m no fillmmaker but I’ve been doing creative work for over 25 years. And one thing I’ve learned is that, if you find a good idea during the creative process, the least you can do is explore the possibility of changing that very thing you were planning to use eventually for this new, seemingly better idea.

          Now, if the customer wants to play it safe (out of fear that the new idea might not be well received by the target consumer) then yes, you go back to the thing that was eventually going to be used. If I had a penny for every time I’ve seen this happen in design studios and ad agencies, I’d probably be as rich as Lucas now, lol.

          This doesn’t change the fact that an original idea is better than a recycled concept 99 out of a 100 times. Luckily, most of these new ideas are kept in the fridge and used later (as Lucas did with many of the concepts originally developed by McQuarrie for the OT). So maybe we will see this and other brilliant concepts shown in this book at some point in the next SW films. Either way, I still think that this idea was much better than what we got with Jakku.

      • January 12, 2016 at 11:54 pm

        Water world is a bit tricky… and we all know how that movie turned out.
        I would have preferred a more post-apocalyptic, reclaimed nature wasteland setting. A place that actually looked like it held some sort of importance (city, industry), that had become abandoned due to the war. Think something like Fallout or The Walking Dead, but in Star Wars.

        • January 13, 2016 at 12:43 am

          Lol @ Waterworld. Terrible film indeed. Obviously TFA wouldn’t have taken place in a water world for the whole duration of the film. The only tricky underwater scene would’ve been Rey diving to look for junk to salvage out of the Death Star’s ruins lying in the bottom of the sea, as opposed to a Star Destroyer half-buried in the sand. Everything else would’ve happened on firm land exactly as it did.

          Not against your idea of a post-apocalyptic setting either. That would’ve been pretty cool too. I have no problem with TFA borrowing so many elements from ANH. But I truly believe that another backwater desert world and Starkiller were a little too much.

          • January 13, 2016 at 1:15 am

            I’m not going to lie, I think the idea of the second Death Star’s ruins, with the map to Luke Skywalker hidden in the Emperor’s throne is pretty ridiculous. I’m glad they didn’t do that.

            I can understand why they went with the desert though… it’s incredibly symbolic, both in the context of Star Wars and reality. A water world, or a place overrun with trees and foliage wouldn’t work quite the same.

          • January 13, 2016 at 3:04 am

            I wasn’t even thinking about the location of the map, to be perfectly honest. Just the setting for Rey’s scavenging efforts. She might not even suspect that the fate of the galaxy had been decided in that very room, but the audience would obviously know. I think that would’ve been kinda cool.

            A desert is symbolic, yes, but it’s already been established and reestablished as the Skywalkers’ point of origin. And since Jakku isn’t even Tatooine, any setting could’ve worked for Rey’s home world, IMO.

      • January 13, 2016 at 2:45 am

        I’m surprised that you’re a commercial artist for 25 years if this is a shock to you. The vast majority of creative output in just about any endeavor is never used, but it helps to sculpt the narrative. By contrast, the amount of churn that this film saw is nothing compared to the direction changes in the average Pixar film. From your commment below, it sounds like you work on extremely tight deadlines without the luxury of exploring concepts to their conclusions. Nothing wrong with that, just a different mindset.

        • January 13, 2016 at 3:15 am

          Never said this was a shock to me. I just said that fully developed concepts sometimes are so good that they’re capable of changing a project’s initial direction in its entirety. Never said that every single idea ever pitched is put to use either. I said that good ideas are kept in the fridge for future use (even if it’s only as reference).

          I worked on tight deadlines/schedules for a long time, but not anymore. Now I have more than enough time to explore and visit different ideas and concepts. Based on what I hear, seems like it was Abrams and Kasdan who worked under a very tight deadline, though. It’s a fact that Abrams wanted more time to work on the film, but Disney wanted it out ASAP. And they both have admitted that they didn’t have enough time to develop the characters’ names. Maybe that’s why some parts of the film feel unpolished or even lazy.

          • January 13, 2016 at 7:30 pm

            Yes! Finally some intelligent thought from someone who knows what they are talking about.

            Maybe the deadlines Disney imposed had more to do with the shoddy work of TFA than JJ did. My guess, as a long time business man, is the higher ups in Disney only agreed upon the $4 million dollar purchase price of Lucas Films if they could begin recouping part of that cost within a certain time frame.

            A shame really to let money decide the direction of such a storied franchise. But money destroys everything, so who is surprised.

  • January 12, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    First Star Wars film where the concept art was better and more memorable than what we actually got onsceen. Such a shame!

    • January 12, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      That’s true of every movie in the series.

    • January 12, 2016 at 10:09 pm


    • January 12, 2016 at 11:30 pm

      have you seen the one on AOTC? it’s amazing, really really wonderful, much better than the movie (which I like on the other hand)

      • January 13, 2016 at 12:04 am

        I have it and it does but not like this which seems to imply we were getting a darker film than what we wound up getting.

        • January 13, 2016 at 2:19 am

          It’s concept art, not a trailer. Calm your tits.

          • January 13, 2016 at 8:11 pm

            I’ve seen white knights for celebs but never for films. Bob Iger should pay you for your comments.

  • January 12, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    I was waiting an article of the book to share my thoughts.
    I finished it two days ago.
    I am a big fan of Art of SW books (even the prequels)but for me this one was a little disappointing. Too much digital. Thank God the movie was great.
    I like some digital art but more with a personal touch, like Dusseault did in my opinion, without a doubt the best one.
    I didn’t like the Majority of artists from this book (even Iain and Dough) although probably they had to work fast for this commitment, and lot of the staff we see in the book its from the early beggining of the project.
    But in some ways i didn’t find lots of personal visions, and probably i saw unoriginal illustrations and bad ideas and strange decisions (like to include a microscopical Tardigrade beside a Star Destroyer!?!)
    Probably i would have liked more artistic paintings, more sets, ships and prop photos (like other books) and the mcquarrie concepts that finally appeared in the movie.
    In the other way, had some fun watching some cool ships and landscapes.
    And i really enjoyed Dusseault, Allsopp and Wallin works, sometimes McCaig and a few ones from others.
    Without a doubt, for me, the best is Dusseault, with great environments, atmospheres, and colours, with a great palette and a great artistic eye.
    Just my opinion. ;p

  • January 12, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Cooler than anything in the movie, sadly.

    • January 12, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      That’s true for the other six as well.

      • January 12, 2016 at 11:28 pm

        yes and no. I always thought the OT actually improved on Ralph’s very imaginative yet too fairly taleu-esque concepts. the PT, gotta admit, all the concepts far surpassed the end product. in my opinion the same can be said bout TFA. don’t get me started, the water junk planet would work so much better than Tatooine rehash

        • January 13, 2016 at 2:18 am

          Ralph made a stormtrooper with a lightsaber

          New Hope made a blind stormtrooper that can’t shoot and hits his head on a door.


        • January 13, 2016 at 11:18 am

          Can you link those PT concepts? The ones I saw were very very bad.

        • January 13, 2016 at 7:25 pm

          Yeah actually after re-watching the PTs recently I found the Water Planet to be pretty awesome. Much better than the Tatooine rehash in TFA. Certainly more imaginative. The desert sets in TFA really looked small and inconsequential.

    • January 13, 2016 at 1:36 am

      But not as iconic. If some of these costume designs were approved it was look as fantasy generic as The World of Warcraft movie.

  • January 12, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    I really dig Han Solo with a beard, makes him more rugged.

  • January 12, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Whist I know and understand some fans loved the movie, it has always felt off to me, and now I know why.

    The article suggests to me that set pieces and art were developed first, and a script written around them, which JJ later re-organised into “the force awakens a new hope” retread story.

    Whilst creators are free to work however they wish, and I wouldn’t try to tell filmmakers of this caliber that they are wrong, USC and my uni lecturers always maintained that storytelling should happen first, organically, and then visuals and art should be realised from the scripts. It appears that this film did the opposite, with a script developed and realised from a series of set pieces and art concepts.

    • January 12, 2016 at 11:23 pm

      While this is true for a lot of the third act story beats, the skeleton of the story was already on paper before the art process began. I would agree though that the art did have a lot more influence on the final story in this film than the previous ones. Lucas had his vision and the art department followed suit…Abrams and Kasdan had their direction and their vision was brought into sharper clarity by the art department.

    • January 12, 2016 at 11:23 pm

      Art/design has often preceded script in the production of Star Wars movies before. This isn’t something that just happened this time around.

      • January 12, 2016 at 11:28 pm

        Absolutely, but by all appearances, this is the first time that the art department has actually had free reign to come up with set pieces by themselves first, rather than suggest designs that were later incorporated/discarded from GL set pieces.

        • January 13, 2016 at 2:41 am

          As I mentioned in my previous post. This is by no means the first Star Wars film to give a lot of agency to the art team in coming up with story beats. I would argue that TFA balanced art and writing contributions far better than Revenge of the Sith.

          • January 13, 2016 at 4:24 am

            I think the difference is that in ROTS the story still came first. Hell, Lucas refocused so much of the plot during rewrites and pickups to better focus the story on anakin (for better or worse), dropping a set piece and the “Jedi are taking over the Republic” b-plot, as well as stuff about Sifo-dyas.

            I felt like things like the raptor scene felt like it should have been dropped, and this film could have benefited so much from having another 6 months (which is disneys call/fault) to do more pickups then they did.

          • January 13, 2016 at 4:47 am

            That raptor scene or whatever they’re called reminded me of the factory scene in attack of the clones. Just kind of out the blue with no point.

          • January 13, 2016 at 4:50 am

            Agreed. And the thing is, that scene in AOTC wasn’t scripted. GL thought something was missing and filmed it on the fly in front of A green screen. Not his finest moment. And the raptor scene isn’t JJs either, it literally feels like it exists to show us that Han Solo is a smuggler again, give us some funny lines, etc. it’s purpose on the plot is inconsequential and squandered potential.

          • January 13, 2016 at 3:31 pm


          • January 13, 2016 at 7:23 pm

            Would have preferred they used the raptor scene time at the beginning of the movie to let Max’s character tell more back story to Poe, or for interaction between Hux and his other generals to backstory the First Order.

    • January 13, 2016 at 12:31 am

      “Storytelling” happened from the very first meeting, where Production designer, Rick Carter, gave Lucasfilm Story group head, Kiri Hart, a number of Akira Kurosawa film stills and told her to come up with the story. Concept art was used more for brainstorming story ideas, which is why the earlier sections of the book have a lot of unused art. A lot of the early stuff was actually figuring out who the characters were, which is just as important as the story.

      Abrams and Kasdan (everyone seems to forget that Kasdan co-wrote) didn’t repurpose set pieces into the finale story. Michael Arndt had already completed a story outline, and had an incomplete draft, before they took over the writing. There were already cast, sets, locations and costumes finalised. There wasn’t a whole lot they could really change.

      The main problem is that Disney wanted a movie released 6 months earlier, which would have given them only 2 1/2 years for writing, designing, filming, and post-production. George Lucas spent about 5 years developing ANH, and another 5 developing TPM. I don’t care how many people you have in your creative team, 16 months is not long enough time to plan and develop the first instalment of a sequel trilogy.

      • January 13, 2016 at 1:36 am

        Even though we are on opposing sides of the debate, it’s good to see we agree on the time issue. 16 months: not long enough. GL had 5 years to plan/create the first instalment of each trilogy.

        The difference is, there seems to be a lot of fans that are willing to give everyone involved a pass because of the circumstances. Whilst I sympathise to a degree, a property like Star Wars, and any property really, should be compared and judged on a fair blank slate. The fact is, whilst they got the broad strokes correct in setting up the future, IMO they failed on the smaller details. We can talk about who to blame or how to sympathise, but it doesn’t change that fact.

        • January 13, 2016 at 1:48 am

          I give most of the people involved a pass because I feel that what they did given the circumstances was exceptional. I have minimal issues with the movie, especially after seeing it a few times. I’m not going to blame people for a job well done.

          • January 13, 2016 at 4:20 am

            And that’s what it comes down to: perception of the movie. Of course you’re not gonna blame them if you liked the movie. And you’re entitled to. It’s not a bad movie, and in the future I’m sure I will find in much easier to sit through then I and II. I just have a lot more issues than you with the film and feel like it squandered a lot of its potential.

      • January 13, 2016 at 4:42 am

        So wait, this Kiri Hart guy contributed to the story? Did he have a writers room help? It was all by commitee in a way then? If that’s the case, it’s no wonder it’s a bit of a messy story.

        • January 13, 2016 at 7:02 am

          Kiri Hart is a woman. She is the head of the Lucasfilm Story Group. She’s had that position since the group was formed in 2012. Apparently she’s been working in film for more than 20 years as a writer, story analyst and development executive, though I haven’t found any notable works credited to her. Other notable people who contributed were Simon Kinberg, Dave Filoni.

          I was actually just reading an article about the beginning of the writing process on Hollywood reporter. It started out around November 2012 with Michael Arndt, Lawrence Kasdan, Simon Kinberg, Kiri Hart and fellow Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo, with the occasional additional story group executives, working from breakfast to 5:00pm at Skywalker Ranch, where they began creating the “framework” for the sequel trilogy and other spinoffs.
          These group sessions continued for a while, at locations throughout the Bay Area, sometimes less frequent, while at other times, for long 5-day stretches. When J.J. Abrams joined in January, these sessions moved to Bad Robot or Kennedy/Marshall Co. offices, and J.J (who was still involved with Star Trek Into Darkness) started working one-on-one with Arndt, while Kasdan and Kinberg would join on a few occasions.
          Eventually, things were taking too long. In August 2013, and after about 9 months working on the film, Michael Arndt turned in a completed outline for the film (which appears to be fairly close to the finale movie, based on the concept art in the book). Still without a draft, Arndt left the project 2 months later, with filming scheduled to begin in 6 months. The studio turned over writing duties to Abrams and Kasdan, who completed the first draft over the next 2 months.

          From what I can gather, the story consisted of the following before Abrams and Kasdan took over writing:
          – Luke had vanished and was living on his own.
          – Han had gone back to smuggling with Chewbacca
          – Leia was in charge of a Rebel faction.
          – Rey was a scavenger from a junk world who lives in a wrecked AT-AT.
          – Finn was a stormtrooper who would desert.
          – Poe was a Republic pilot with a droid who would be carrying vital information.
          – An old Yoda-like fortune teller (went through quite a few changes to become Maz)
          – A master and apprentice villain
          – The story began with Kylo Ren attacking a village, where Finn would witness a squadmate die, leaving bloody hand print on his helmet. Finn helps Poe escape from the “Neo-Empire.” They steal a TIE Fighter and crash on the “junk planet” and become separated/Poe dies. Finn runs into Rey and Poe’s droid. They steal the Falcon and are chased through a ship graveyard. Eventually they run into Han Solo, who takes them to see Maz, in order to help get the droid to Leia and the Rebels. The bad guys have a super weapon on a snow planet. The heroes go to the snow planet, where they crash the Falcon. Rey ends up facing off against the apprentice villain.

          • January 13, 2016 at 3:28 pm

            So we can’t just slap JJ for the film, we need a firing line of slaps.
            World class commenting btw. Thank you for all that detail!

          • January 13, 2016 at 7:17 pm

            Look I dont get paid to be a writer and these people do. However, thats not to say I couldnt write, I just have never really tried. I could come up with a story 20x more interesting that that story you posted at the end of your post in about 2 hours. Your telling me a whole group of experienced writers got together and this is the best they could come up with? My God.

          • January 14, 2016 at 4:31 am

            Off you go then. I’d like to see some other alternative fan fiction, because right now I still think TFA is much better than both the New Jedi Order AND Supershadows Episode VII.

            Really though, I wouldn’t say this was the “best” they could come up… more that they were intentionally trying to be a bit too safe and taking the “soft reboot” idea a little too far.

    • January 13, 2016 at 2:38 am

      While I don’t disagree, this is exactly the same as most of the prequels evolved, with the biggest offender being Revenge of the Sith…just read its Art book for a sense of deja vu.

      Part of the problem was a locked-in release date before a script was even written. The original writer asked for 18 months, they got 6 so he bowed out and they brought in Kasdan. If you’ve ever been in the unenviable position of working on a project that was doing pre-production and production at the same time, this is often the result.

      • January 13, 2016 at 7:05 pm

        In other words, they made it up as they went and continued to make it up after they started filming! Which is why there are Death Star sized holes in the story, weak character (or no character) development, and every single unbelievable coincidence was made available to push the story forward. It’s too bad you people have your heads so far up your own asses that you can’t see how pitiful this film is. The reason for the unprecedented secrecy is now known… The film was bad and they needed to hide that fact until AFTER Disney got your cash. What passes for “fandom” today is pathetic. Disney could put the Star Wars logo on a used tampon, and you people would worship it.

      • January 14, 2016 at 12:35 am

        and that’s the thing- for the most part TFA has better acting, effects, and cinematography than the prequels but if you strip all that away….. if feels almost exactly like the prequels.

    • January 13, 2016 at 4:35 am

      I think the Arndt outline informed much of the concept art though, and then JJ scrambled it all to fit his thing, I guess that’s similar to what you’re saying too

      • January 13, 2016 at 4:54 am

        Yup I guess that’s my biggest issue with the film actually. It feels like JJ organised a bunch of set pieces that move our character along, with little thought to the bigger picture. It felt like a video game, where the characters just kept on facing bigger bosses, until they got to the big bad.

        • January 13, 2016 at 3:30 pm

          I totally agree.

    • January 13, 2016 at 7:10 am

      To me it suggested that they actually had some interesting different ideas, then whent for what was not much more than a repaint – probably because it was safer.

      • January 13, 2016 at 7:12 pm

        Absolutely because it was safer.

    • January 13, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      The Arse Awakens sucks. This book proves they made the entire story up by the seat of their pants while replaying A New Hope over and over again. I don’t know what the script was for this other film, but, looking at the art, it was a hell of a lot more original than the POS that fanboy losers can’t seem to spend enough of their fast food job money on. In a few years, many of the people on here will be pretending they thought The Arse Awakens sucked from day one. Til then, we have to listen to their immature gushings about this turd of a film. Sad pathetic fanboys. Discernment does not appear to be a trait possessed by the Millennial crowd.

    • January 13, 2016 at 7:11 pm

      Absolutely brilliant and dead on post. Instead of sitting down and creating a new story, developing a backstory and a whole new set of ideas for taking SW forward, they said “hey lets create a person who is a teacher figure like Yoda.” Then they drew up the art and developed a story around that idea. Terrible way to create a story. Especially one that is going to span 3 movies. TFA definitely reflects this type of piece meal story creation. They took existing and already used concepts and characters and repainted them and then found a way to introduce them all into one story.

      The only thing SW still has going for it is Rian. If he is actually sitting down and writing VIII and IX all at once, he can actually create a story first and let the rest create itself after (costume design, set design etc). Lets hope he is brilliant enough as a writer to overcome the fact that Kennedy and JJ have pigeon holed him with 2.2 hours of a unoriginal story and characters already.

      • January 14, 2016 at 12:34 am

        absolutely. Rian needs to just tell a story. Trevorrow will be manipulated by disney as he was by whoever manipulated him while making JW. If Rian can create something that is new, fresh, awesome- maybe Trevorrow will only have to tie up lose ends and be semi competent. I don’t have faith.

    • January 13, 2016 at 11:44 pm

      Look, I’ve mentioned this before and am curious to see what some of you guys think.

      From my point of view, the film would be quite a lot more interesting if there was no resistance. Leia is a republic council member, and Han a general in the army. They haven’t seen each other in a 5 years after their son was presumed dead.

      The film is an invasion film. A neo nazi faction attacks a pro-Republic outer rim world in the films first act, obliterating everything with their suped-up star destroyers. Their “super weapon” per se is a massive communication blocker, preventing anyone they attack from warning the Republic. They are led by General Hux/Kylo Ren. We hear references of a “master/supreme leader” but never see him.

      During the first act, Finn still deserts, and encounters rey. We see them attempt to warn the public as pro-first order forces track them. They eventually get to general Han Solo, who attempts to organise the military to attack the first order. In the films final act, a massive land/space battle happens above corascant, resulting in the Republic having their forces almost destroyed, and corascant is lost into anarchy (but this loss is EARNT, unlike that “hosnian prime” bullshit.)

      During this battle, solo encounters Ren, who reveals himself as his longlost-“dead” son. Solo’s death plays out similar to the force awakens. Ren goes to confront rey/Finn, kicks the shit out of both of em (what’s the point of a villain who loses badly in Ep 1???) but rey manages to hold him off enough to escape. My difference here is that up until ren attempts to recruit her here, she sucks with the force. Hard. Then, when engaged in combat with ren, she has her “force vision” and remembers who she is. Rey skywalker.

      This isn’t perfect, and I haven’t even figured out where Luke fits in or anything.

      My point is, the flaw with TFA is how the framework is a complete remake/borrow off ANH. If they had come up with a different structure, like my “invasion” idea, they could have made it all work.

      • January 14, 2016 at 12:31 am

        its not just a reworking of ANH – its a reworking of every film that ripped off ANH that followed. There isn’t much meat to TFA and it was afraid to take chances. Maz’s cantina scene was missing any sense of wonder, there were creatures but they didn’t do anything, they were merely scenery.

        I get from a business point of view why they left Luke out but from a storytelling standpoint…. it is a disaster- Leaving Luke out makes it Hans movie and they can market it that way. Since they knew Harrison was one and done they knew they would be able to save Luke for 8. Genius really as far as manipulating the audience- crappy from a fan perspective.

        Kylo with Vadar’s helmet ended up being very hollow. It didn’t amount to anything more than we saw in the trailer- there was no action or idea behind it. How does he have it, why, when- to what end? We got no meat. Classic JJ. Tease the meat, promise the meat. Deliver a salad and call it meat. Most people say “yay, meat” while they gobble up that salad.

      • January 14, 2016 at 11:22 am

        Love the idea of “no Resistance” – the more I think about it, the more I like it!

  • January 12, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    How the truck do they come up with such cool ideas, only to scrap it for the rehash they made? Vader/Ghost, Luke balanced within the force itself. Awesome!

    • January 13, 2016 at 12:47 am

      Exactly. I love the balanced Luke idea because it would be the perfect way for Anakin to have fulfilled his destiny as the Chosen One: he destroyed the Sith and the balance of the Force would be preserved by his son.

      • January 14, 2016 at 11:16 am

        I suspect Kylo Ren would have admired Luke more if that were the case (maybe that’s where they’re heading for the next two films?), rather than trying to destroy Luke.

        • January 14, 2016 at 4:53 pm

          I think Kylo did admire his dad and uncle both, till Snoke filled his head with BS. But since the ST’s focusing on the next generation, I think it’s Rey who might find the key to preserving the balance of the Force.

    • January 13, 2016 at 7:04 pm

      Agreed! They came up with some cool stuff! But when you read this article you can see how they basically started just swapping out OT concepts and characters for copies in TFA (Yoda/ Maz prime idea).

      Also I find it distressing that the worst part of the movie, really the one thing that stops TFA from being a really good movie, the Starkiller Base, was thought up by some nobody named Dennis Muren at ILM. Is the guy Kennedys love child or something? This idiot comes up with some off the wall rediculous idea of creating yet another super weapon, yet this one drains the sun of the very system the planet resides in? And everyone goes “hey great idea!” “nice job” “hey why didnt I think of that!”.

      Everyone should have laughed at the guy and looked at him like he must still be drunk from his Wednesday night Dungeons and Dragons card game night. Instead they actually use the idea and put it in the movie!

      Oh well. TFA is an average to good movie, which is 10x better than any of the PT’s and I have a lot of faith in Rian for VIII.

  • January 13, 2016 at 12:05 am

    In the saga tradition, I hope we see some of these reused in future films considering they seem to fit the darker narrative that VIII wants to aim for.

    • January 13, 2016 at 12:45 am

      Agreed. Some of these concepts are just too good to pass up. It would be a shame not to use them wisely in the next films.

      • January 13, 2016 at 8:04 pm

        In a way, It’s good because it shows that Abrams design team wasn’t lazy so much as he has bad taste in visuals which is nothing new.

        • January 13, 2016 at 8:31 pm

          I hope some of these designers work for Lucasfilm and not Bad Robot, though. Since Rian Johnson seems to be making a “weird & dark” Ep. VIII, I sure hope he’s taking full advantage of this talented team’s creative input.

          • January 13, 2016 at 8:53 pm

            I know Doug Chiang and a few other PT ones do/have that also had some great unused designs that we never saw onscreen. I like that Johnson has never really done a blockbuster before so he will probably not take the formulaic route as Abrams did. Also that the script seems to be mainky his responsibility.

  • January 13, 2016 at 12:20 am

    Nice read. Hope to see some of these concepts (especially the anakin/vader ghost) used in the future films.

  • January 13, 2016 at 12:28 am

    Look, FACTS. Please pin this post everywhere on your forums so people can read it before posting. Oh wait this isn’t the Jedi Council forums. And people don’t like reading anything the Internet.

  • January 13, 2016 at 2:08 am

    Great article!
    I hope to see come of those concepts and designs used on the next episodes or anthologies.

    • January 13, 2016 at 7:13 am

      Agree. Hope VIII does have some more original ideas as hinted at here. Look forward to getting the book.

  • January 13, 2016 at 2:43 am

    I enjoy the bb8 concept art design much more than the version in the film even though I love that design

    • January 13, 2016 at 8:05 pm

      It has more of a Star Wars feel to it, Especially a post OT one.

  • January 13, 2016 at 3:19 am

    I can’t wait to own this book. Though now I’m sad — WHY did they remove Han Solo’s beard? He would’ve looked so cool! Ah well, I guess there’s a “one beard per movie” law somewhere… :/
    Though this book also disproves all that “Finn is just proof that SW is PC-pandering by making a character a black guy”, I think this establishes Finn was always his own character and that the race doesn’t actually effect the story, at all. In fact, Finn works better played by John Boyega, in the sketches he looked like a lame Han Solo-knockoff. Good last-minute call.

    • January 13, 2016 at 3:58 am

      Yeah, I also find it funny that they actually had POE as black in a couple concept art pictures.

    • January 13, 2016 at 7:00 am

      I would have thought that Finn being white in the concepts and then being changed supports the PC policy not disproves it. That’s how PC/Feminist policy works; we have too many of ‘these’ so we need to kick out these and need to replace them with ‘those’.
      The part that disproves Finn as a PC placement to me are the reported comments by Abrams to Boyega that he thought he was so good that he was going to get him into something. Not a surprise he shows up in TFA then. There is also continuity, we’ve had at least one black character before.
      I found Finn the most likeable character in TFA, probably with the most presence also.
      The PC policy does create problems when its forced, wheather its with race/gender or whatever catagory. In this movies case its created continuity problems. Not because more races or women is a problem, but because of the sudden jump in representation without in-universe justifications, when compared to what has occured before.
      The result in this movie is we now have a super-Jedi in Rey. That is a problem because we’ve had him already. Rey knows how to mind-trick 5 minutes after becoming a Jedi. That does not fit with Star Wars lore, so shouldn’t be. She is able to defeat someone trainded with a lightsaber, having not used one before, when Finn, trained through saber trooper training, is beaten. Not to forget she knows how to do everything better than anyone – straight out of the box. She is supirior to every male equivalent before her.

      • January 14, 2016 at 4:43 am

        Maybe there’s lore we’ve yet to fully be shown, I mean c’mon give them a chance, this is ridiculous. It’s called The Force Awakens, and SHE is the awakening, which hints that she is pretty powerful. That’s what the film is about. Also just look at Anakin Skywalker in Episode 1 and apply your logic… look at all the stuff he does, half of it by accident, and saves the day, at least twice. No training, an 8 year old kid… C’mon. You’re reaching and ignoring stuff like that which doesn’t fit.

        How about we get the best people for these roles. How about we also let go of white privilege – white studio directors, white writers, white directors giving white men the main roles. The world is NOT predominantly made up of white men, all this supposedly “PC” nonsense is at worst simply a redressing of the balance to actually reflect the reality. What people who moan about this stuff conveniently forget is the complete and utter domination of white culture in the broader media landscape, for generations. All that’s happening now is the balance is being evened out. THAT IS ALL.

        People need to get a grip and actually grow up and stop whining. It’s racial supremacy ultimately, if you’re gonna get mad that the hero isn’t your race or gender. So how have black people felt never being the hero, or women…. not fair much is it.

        • January 14, 2016 at 7:20 am

          There will be lore yet to be shown, but parts of TFA so far have contradicted what happened before. That makes it bad storytelling.
          The idea that she is awakening is true enough. I woke up this morning, that must mean I’m pretty powerfull then. There’s no logical connection there.

          My logic proves my point not disproves. An eight year old kid, in this universe, can do stupidly super-human things, when he is the chosen one. Then you have a new character who appears to have even more power or competence and is not the chosen one. No continuity with the past.

          Oposing PC/Feminisn is about gettting the best person for a job. Including people based gender or race isn’t.
          I do find it odd that you seem to think I’m arguing for more white males when I defended John Boyega as not being a PC placement. Don’t have a problem with him or others, but the sudden large change creates continuity problems (like Rey) with the other movies – without an in-universe explaination. Thus it’s evidence of PC bias. I have similar continuity problems with the prequels; as in animated CloneTroopers not visually fitting in with past real Stormtroopers.

          White privelage? Big surprise, in an overwhelmingly white society, that most of the people holding positions are white. If most of a ‘thing’ you have to chose from are like ‘A’ then there’s going to be alot of ‘A’s around. Most people at the top, middle and bottom are going to be white. Most suicides are male and white as an example. Unlike supporters of PC Feminism I don’t have a problem with the race of a person in a position. Many races fits in the SW universe as with many aliens. PCers have a bias against white males. Which results in there being one group you can discrinate against.
          I do not support special privelages being given to white males. As should be no surprise, don’t support it for other groups either.

          There is such a thing as female privelage. In psychology terms its called, I think, in-group-preference. Females favour females, males favour females.

          “People need to get a grip and actually grow up and stop whining. It’s
          racial supremacy ultimately, if you’re gonna get mad that the hero isn’t
          your race or gender.” That implies women and other races are racist or sexist then, because of their complaints.
          “So how have black people felt never being the hero, or women.” Inaccurate statement. Since it seems everybody deserves a turn. Why wasn’t Snoke female, or Ren? Women don’t seem to get their turn at being the cause of all the problems in the saga.

          • January 14, 2016 at 11:12 am

            An interesting discussion between the two of you, with good points on both sides. I left my first viewing of TFA a bit underwhelmed and disappointed, and one reason was that I felt that the “girl-power” element with Rey was forced. I agree with David in that there are still two more movies to come which may well explain this (like the Darth Revan twist in Knights of the Old Republic – initially, I thought that the main character’s powers were strange, until the twist).

            However, I’m not sure you can say “Anakin did all these things, so its ok for Rey to do them as well/better”. For one thing, Anakin was supposedly the chosen one – a midichlorian count higher than even Yoda. But in TPM, Anakin was podracing (great reflexes) and flying a spaceship with some (a lot of) luck. He was not performing jedi mind tricks, or winning lightsaber fights.

            As for all the PC-stuff, I saw the video earlier today with the pre-ROTJ promos, and there was talk there firstly of whether Leia was a good role model for girls in A New Hope, and secondly why Lando was played by an African American actor. PC-stuff is nothing new.

            I really hope they nail Episodes 8 and 9.

  • January 13, 2016 at 5:23 am

    I just ordered this off of Amazon yesterday. Can’t wait to check this out!

  • January 13, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Got the book on Christmas 10/10 grab it when you’re into concept art or just as a sw fan. You won’t be disspointed. There’s a lot of interesting stuff left out, changed etc etc

  • January 13, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    well shit, now I think I need this book too. Just from the art posted in this article, it’s got me hopeful that some of these awesome but unused concepts will find new life again as live-action on-screen things in Episodes VIII and IX.

  • January 14, 2016 at 12:17 am

    every bit of that artwork is more exciting and thought provoking than the movie that ended up being created.

    • January 14, 2016 at 1:01 am

      As is true for every Star Wars movie.

  • January 14, 2016 at 5:10 am

    Great book. I usually don’t invest into SW books outside of novels but this is def. worth it! The notes are an interesting into a story that could have been. There’re also a lot of anime/steam-punk sensibilities in early Rey concepts. I’m happy with the way TFA turned out. Can’t wait for Ep. VIII

  • February 9, 2016 at 11:34 am

    I like Kira way better as a name than Rey. I’m not sure why they changed that. Rey doesn’t sound like a girl name at all to me. It seems like people think think they can always just replace vowels all the time, so everything can be unisex.

  • February 9, 2016 at 11:39 am

    I’m worried that they don’t have enough time to make these movies, and that’s also part of the reason they kept everything so similar from the last trilogy, rather than just for nostalgia’s sake. Although I still loved the movie, when I fire heard the news of more Star Wars movies coming out, I was expecting something way, way more original. The main reason I loved this one was the great new characters/actors/cast, but I sure hope they use more interesting planets, spaceships, alien species, etc in future movies. I also don’t really think they need to make any more species/planets up for future movies since there’s already so much out there. But I guess not all of those are canon anymore. I just hope they revisit some planets and species from the prequels since there was a lot of cool ones in those.

Comments are closed.