The first trailer for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ features none of the original trilogy’s cast, or any involvement from the series’ creator George Lucas but somehow the 88-second teaser has awoken a definite feeling of nostalgia for the first three films.
It could be the sense of urgency instilled in the trailer, something that was sorely lacking in the prequels, or it could be the predominantly desert setting that invokes memories of Artoo and Threepio schlepping through sand dunes in ‘A New Hope’, or it could just be the presence of Stormtroopers.
However, we think this feeling of nostalgia is actually down to the production design of the film. Admittedly we’ve only seen the briefest of snippets, but it’s incredible how almost every frame feels influenced by the concept art of original trilogy production illustrator Ralph McQuarrie.
McQuarrie, who died in 2012, is cited by George Lucas as a key contributor to the look and style of the original trilogy (OT), and it looks as though the production designers on ‘The Force Awakens’ has been plundering his archives to help design the look of the new trilogy.
We know Disney’s animated ‘Star Wars” Rebels’ has drawn inspiration from McQuarrie’s original designs, and it looks like ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ will do too.
Here’s our proof…
The ball droid
Orange and white is a common colour combo in McQuarrie’s concept art (hence the final design for the X-Wing and Rebel pilots), so this as-yet-unnamed droid which looks like an R2 head sat atop of a 2010 World Cup Jabulani football, is instantly familiar.
A canny ‘Star Wars’ fan dug out an interview with McQuarrie from a 2012 issue of ‘Star Wars Insider’ magazine over the weekend, and shared this nugget of info which suggests this design was originally intended for R2-D2.
McQuarrie basically designed the look of the Stormtroopers that would provide the template for LucasFilm going forward. His original concept art shows a much sleeker-looking white-armoured soldier than we got in the OT, and the ‘Force Awakens’ troops seem more in line with his original design.
If you compare and contrast the leaked close-up of the new helmet design from earlier this year with McQuarrie’s original design, you can also see shared detailing on the side.
Daisy Ridley’s character
Rumoured to be named Kira, Daisy Ridley’s character can be seen scooting across the desert on a speeder bike into the distance in the trailer. Her goggles and costume are very reminiscent of McQuarrie’s designs for Han Solo and the then-female lead (Luke was a woman in early drafts of the script).
This is probably the most compelling piece of evidence. As Kira speeds away on her bike, you can see some structures in the distance. One in particular seems to have been lifted directly from a piece of McQuarrie concept art for Jabba’s palace.
The X-Wing design
Concept art for ‘Star Wars’ shows the X-Wings were originally meant to have a split-engine design which opened up when in “attack positions”.
This was dropped in favour of the four-engine design used in the final film, but a close inspection of the X-Wing style crafts in ‘The Force Awakens’ show McQuarrie’s split-engine design has been reinstated.
Controversial cross-blade design aside, the most striking thing about the Sith’s lightsaber is way its blade appears to be blasting out of the hilt like a flame or a beam of light.
In the original films it always looked like lightsabers had a solid glowing blade, but if you look back to McQuarries art, his design suggested a more torch-based design like we see in this first trailer.
What do you think? Let us know if you spotted any more McQuarrie-isms in the trailer.
Image credits: Disney/LucasFilm Archives