Drew Struzan calls The Force Awakens the "best Star Wars you've ever seen"
The first glimpse of Drew Struzan's art for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS arrived last Saturday at the Disney D23 2015 Expo as an exclusive for Expo attendees. Struzan's journey began a year and a half ago when he got a call from J.J. Abrams who expressed to Struzan how much he loved his work and asked whether he would be interested in doing the poster art for the new film. Naturally Drew Struzan was game to return to the Star Wars franchise and the artist spoke with Movie Weekly recently to lay out just how the poster came to be; he also threw some extremely positive praise at J.J. Abrams film, saying that it is "probably going to be THE BEST Star Wars you’ve ever seen."
So about a year later, we get together and meet and he says we’re using all the original people - John Williams, Kasdan, Harrison Ford’s in it, everybody’s in it and everybody’s writing and making the music and we have to have your art to make it the real thing. So, of course, I’ve got to do it for George and I’ve got to do it for Star Wars. I’ve never worked with J.J before and so we started working on it and he showed me like half the movie and it was just… a wonderful film and I know it’s going to be grand. I got to read the script and subsequently I’ve seen half of it and I can tell you and the fans this, Honest to god, it is far and away probably going to be THE BEST Star Wars you’ve ever seen.
That's certainly some lofty praise, I guess we'll have to wait to find out if it's warranted or not. Struzan's D23 Expo poster was the first design he did for the film, but the artist continued working on further concepts for seven months. Upon presenting his ideas to the the STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS team, they picked that first one. That always seems to happen.
I worked for seven months on all different kinds of concepts with the studio and J.J and if you really want to know the sacred truth, after I got started and I saw the film and read the script, I was going over it in my mind for weeks - How do I feel about it? How can I represent this film really well? And I did this, like many creatives do, I came up with the concept in my sleep. Just like John Lennon used to write his best music in his sleep, I designed my painting in my sleep. That was the first one I did and I went for seven months doing stuff and in the end, guess which one they picked? The very first thing I did (laughs). So trust your sleep because that’s what I came up with and that’s what they loved from the very beginning. To me it represents the film. The spirit of the film, the new characters, the battle again to find the truth, to grow up, to find the purpose in life. It’s all those things that Star Wars had to be and is still. And I hope to represent that again to a new generation.
As there are plenty of new Star Wars film in the pipeline after THE FORCE AWAKENS, Struzan was asked whether he would be open to creating posters for those films as well and he replied "I have hope and desire if they should ask and want me back, I would consider it. If I’m able and capable…you’ll find me here (laughs)." It's very cool to have Struzan back and I'd love for him to continue on with the series as long as he felt able, but I'd hope that Disney and Lucasfilm would continue to embrace the hand-painted poster even without him. There are a lot of talented artists out there who'd absolutely love that opportunity.
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS opens on December 18, 2015.
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