Concept Art Shows Star Wars: The Force Awakens Could Have Been a Much Darker Movie

Friday, 12 February 2016 - 1:00PM
Star Wars
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Friday, 12 February 2016 - 1:00PM
By now, we're all fairly familiar with the many characters, worlds, and vehicles of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and for the most part, we're all rather happy with the way it turned out. However, that doesn't mean we're not curious to see how things could have been. In the build up to the movie's release, there was a huge amount of concept art leaked on the web, but without the context of the plot, much of it was simply just nice to look at. Now though, we're able to see the train of thought the LucasFilm team was on when designing the production of the movie, as well as get an idea of what concepts were cut.

LucasFilm have since released a book dedicated to the concept art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and it's a must buy for any fan of the franchise. But until you add it to your collection, let's take a look at some of the big changes that were made to the early concepts.

Jakku/Junk Planet

Jakku served as The Force Awakens' Tatooine in more ways than one. Not only was it a dusty wasteland, but it also served as the proving grounds for the movie's hero. But while some fans have theorized that Jakku is purgatory, this concept art showed that it could have been a far more treacherous place.

Note that in some of these images, water is present, which in itself would have made Jakku feel markedly different to Tatooine.

The image of the junk AT-AT walkers is definitely the most-striking of the three. While we do see Rey making a home in the remnants of one felled AT-AT, seeing the behemoths decaying while still upright would have made for a far more striking sign of the planet's terrible past.

Rey and Finn

It wasn't just Jakku that was subject to considerable change from its concept art, some of the movie's key characters also ended up looking very different. At the concept stage, Rey and Finn were initially named Kira and Sam.

Now, ever since I first saw The Force Awakens, I've been saying that Finn will go on to fulfill the Han Solo, witty rogue role in the rest of this saga. And while I am probably just trying to prove my own hypothesis right, you have to admit that Sam's outfit here looks remarkably like that of a certain scoundrel's. 

While Finn's appearance was changed considerably, the above image of Rey is fairly true to Daisy Ridley's on-screen guise. But it wasn't always that way. As the images below show, Rey's character could have ended up being far more scrappy than the scavenger we saw in the movie.


Another character who could have ended up looking very different is the plucky little astromech, BB-8. BB-8's perfectly spherical appearance blew everyone away when he first appeared in the trailers, but before LucasFilm got to that design, they produced concepts that would've made him look a lot more clunky.

Kylo Ren

We were big fans of Kylo Ren's look in The Force Awakens, but had the early concept art won out, Ben could have ended up looking far more haunting.

Vader's Force Ghost

As dark and haunting as the Kylo Ren concepts were, they've got nothing on the concept for his idol. It's now well known that Anakin Skywalker was, at one point, going to have a cameo appearance in the movie, with Hayden Christensen set to return. Concepts for an Anakin force ghost were created by artist, Iain McCraig had to say about his creation below.

Opening quote
"When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow." That inspired me to propose, for the first time, that Anakin's ghost could come back … If we see Anakin Skywalker, because he does flow back and forth between Darth Vader and Anakin, let's see him as a character with a dark and light side. The reason Luke is this whole new entity is because he was the first to acknowledge his own dark side - that it was not separate from him."
Closing quote

The First Order

One element that didn't change much was that of the First Order's military line-up. When we first saw the assembly of the First Order's military might in the trailers, the comparisons to the Nazi regime of the Second World War were clear to see. Yanick Dusseault, the artist behind it all explains that such comparisons were 100% on the money.

Opening quote
"I just took Olympic Third Reich photos, put them on my computer screen, modeled them in 3D, and put in little TIE fighters instead of guys. And I switched the flag logo to the Empire logo.
Closing quote

JJ Abrams would go on to adhere closely to Dusseault's original concept.

The Art of The Force Awakens is available in stores now.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
Star Wars
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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