Since getting my copy of Ralph McQuarrie’s new book I’ve been geeking out hard on Star Wars. So skip this post unless you are prepared to trip down that nerd path with me.
A few nights back, I spent a few hours online trying to track down a few images I had seen years ago. After almost giving up the hunt, I stumbled upon a fantastic online catalogue of pulp magazine covers that contained the first thing I was looking for; a black and white sketch illustration and colour cover from July 1975 issue of ANALOG Magazine:
Both were drawn by John Schoenherr to illustrate a short science fiction story called And Seven Times Never Kill Man written by George R.R. Martin. These crossbow wielding furry alien warriors certainly remind me of one the characters from a blockbuster-hit science fantasy film that came out two years after this issue hit the news stands.
As a kid, Chewbacca was one of my favourite characters and was a rare case of my preferring what appeared in the film over any of Ralph McQuarrie’s early designs, which looked more like a big, bug-eyed lemur. You other Chewie fans out there might enjoy this theory that, when viewed as a whole, the Star Wars films reveal that R2D2 and Chewie are really in control (It’s a long read but interesting and fun).
Another fan has come up with a funny theory that Leia and Luke got busy after the Death Star was destroyed in the first Star Wars movie. Yes! Worth a read, eh? (short, funny read)
Speaking of Luke, fanboys and haters still debate Mark Hamill’s career and argue over his acting chops. Despite what many people say, I think that Mark Hamill is far from being a bad actor. In fact, compared to the relentlessly stiff acting by Samuel Jackson, Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor and many of the other respected actors in the prequels, Hamill’s portrayal of Luke’s growth from whiny farm boy to Jedi Badass is actually one of the better performances in the Star Wars movies… (Bracing for a backlash in my comments section :)
Look at this history of the screenplay drafts of the original movie, starting with the rough outline written in 1973. Most of these drafts are barely recognisable as the final film, and pretty terrible into the bargain… which I found inspiring in a way; Don’t give up on your idea if it seems shonky at first. Just keep plugging away at it until it works.
The next thing I found during my exhaustive “research” online is a great picture of the Prototype Darth Vader which more closely resembles the original Ralph McQuarrie design. I had never seen this picture or anything like it before. Isn’t the internet wonderful?
And, finally, here is the second image that I went online to search for in the first place; a painting by Syd Mead done way back in 1968 for the book “CONCEPTS” as a promotion for for US STEEL. Does this gizmo remind you of anything? A wicked cool walking vehicle from a 1980 smash-hit science-fantasy film perhaps? It’s even walking around in the snow!
I think it’s time; I need to watch the original three movies again…