Director J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has been praised for its stunning visual effects by both fans and critics alike, leading to an Academy Award nomination, which it sadly did not win. However, the work speaks for itself. The best aspect of the special effects in the film was that Abrams utilised a lot of practical sets and props for the film and shot it on celluloid rather than digitally to give the film a timeless look that harkens back to the original “Star Wars” trilogy, and that really is the best format to capture moving images. Now, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) has released many concept artworks of the seventh film.
Ilm.com has released 45 pieces of concept art for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The artworks reveal some early designs for some of the characters and some deleted scenes in addition to locations not seen in Episode VII.
The conceptual art stage on any production is needed to flesh out the ideas that the filmmakers have in mind or have described in writing in the script. Through concept art, visual artists design various aspects of the look of a film and create the world of the story that is to be told on the big screen.
ILM was founded in 1975 by George Lucas, who created the “Star Wars” franchise. The effects company was established to help produce the visual effects of the “Star Wars” movies. It has since become a pioneer effects company, creating paradigmatic shifts in the field of visual effects through such iconic films like “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” and “Jurassic Park.”
The most interesting image is that of Han Solo sporting a beard. Many have noticed how Han Solo becomes sort of the Obi-Wan Kenobi for Episode VII, guiding the new characters and acting as a bridge to the older world. Well, the beard certainly makes him resemble Alec Guinness a bit. However, it seems a clean shaven Han Solo was the right decision taken by the filmmakers.
We are also treated to various ideas about Kylo Ren’s appearance, especially his mask. It’s interesting that most of the earlier designs were based on Darth Vader’s mask. In the film, Kylo Ren or Ben Solo does want to become the new Darth Vader. However, having a Vader-like mask would’ve robbed the character of its distinctness.
There were lots of concept artwork which showed the X-Wings attacking the First Order troops and the Millennium Falcon being chased through Jakku by TIE fighters which were framed and composed almost verbatim in the film. There is also a slightly creepier earlier design for BB-8 and a deleted scene where Finn hitches a ride out of the Jakku desert.
There are quite a lot of art that remains unused which may be utilised for Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII which is filming in Croatia. More behind the scenes information is expected to be released once the Blu-ray and DVD are released on April 5 this year.