So… where were we? Oh right, I had put all my unfinished projects on hold to tinker with some cowboy covers. And it only took me 287 days. Wonderful, huh?!? I’m sure both of you regular visitors didn’t mind. But now back to business, shall we?
After all there has been a new Star Wars movie coming along. And although I doubted that the finale of the sequel trilogy would affect me as emotionally as the originals did at their time, I’m still quite a passionate fan when it comes to George Lucas’ space opera. Most of all I’m keen on lightsabers, gritty space ships and the rather unfamiliar corners of the galaxy – all of which Disney has delivered with its well-calculated sequels and spin-offs. That’s why I couldn’t wait to dive deep one final time(?) and then let it rest for good (or not… who knows?).
Before I begin I’d like to give a shout out to one of my main sources for all Star Wars related content on this site and that’s the wonderful Milners Blog aka geek_carl. I didn’t even realize until a couple weeks ago that a lot of customized textless posters were initially made by him. Like the two main custom covers above (#2, #3), which were based on a square edit of the US one sheet design. All I had to do was fix a few minor glitches, apply the known and proven design style from earlier episodes and then finally decide which version I’d like to use for the blog. Which I ultimately didn’t do this time.
No, instead I decided that some covers within this blog post should be offered in multiple versions. The gallery below is following that design approach and presents two or more variations based on a single source image and/or design template.
UK based illustrator Paul Shipper is like the leading poster artist behind the Disney sequel trilogy. He has more or less taken over the scepter from the legendary Drew Struzan and continues his legacy by creating beautiful hand-painted artworks for each individual film. A tradition that began with the 1997 Special Editions and thankfully continued with the prequels.
This time I couldn’t really decide which of his illustrations would work best with my – already established – retro design template and decided to just offer all three and leave the choice to you (#8 to #10). Following another one of my retro templates – which I present again in a light (#11) and a dark version (#12) – there is also the official teaser poster design, which you can find with a contemporary logo treatment (#13) as well as the universally popular and always working prequel trilogy style (#14).
Speaking of the prequel logo treatment with its bold and exorbitant and perhaps even a bit pretentious gold finishing, it’s nevertheless interesting to see that this logo design still seems to be the most popular one out there. During the run-up to this blogpost I published all of these covers on Instagram and it was clearly noticeable, how the most popular covers were all featuring the prequel trilogy logo treatment design. Such as a particularly colourful one based on yet another amazing Paul Shipper illustration (#16). One could almost assume that the Star Wars fan base is now largely formed by an age group that doesn’t appreciate the original trilogy that much anymore. And that the infamous prequels now symbolise what many people consider to be Star Wars nowadays.
Every time a new Star Wars score comes along, I get a lot of requests for custom covers in a certain style or design. And it’s usually not the designs that deviate from the norm, but the ones that follow it – again, the prequel logo design in particular. The majority of people obviously prefer things (in this case soundtrack artworks) that follow already established concepts, which might be a reason why The Last Jedi didn’t do so well with many.
Of course this means in the broader sense that I invest a lot of time and effort in covers, which in the end nobody needs or wants, because in most cases one or two specific covers often fulfill most of the needs. Everything beyond that is practically hard work. So there are covers that only exist for their own sake. And I often make them just to prove to myself that something works. To remove them from my mental to-do list. The following gallery consists of such covers…
Now that the sequel trilogy can finally be appreciated as a whole, I have to admit that I’m a little bit torn. On the one hand, I see The Force Awakens as JJ Abrams’ declaration of love to all our own childhoods. The movie’s greatest achievement is to remind us of the feeling we had as a kid. All of a sudden Star Wars knew how to fascinate again.
On the other hand, there was Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, the thinking man’s space adventure. A movie that both thrilled and shocked with its daring turns and theories, and consistently broke new ground – whether you call them good or bad.
The Rise of Skywalker now comes along like a quite intangible hybrid of fan service and saga conclusion and does indeed leave me with a bit of a mixed feeling. I can definitely see JJ Abrams’ ambition to meet all expectations and there are many things in the movie that I appreciate. But it does say a lot about a Star Wars movie when, in the days after going to the cinema, I get more and more ideas about how certain things could have been improved.
Maybe it’s better to perceive these new Star Wars movies as what they were and what future movies will definitely still be: The opportunity for aspiring filmmakers and creative dreamers to set foot in the still fantastic Star Wars universe – and with a lot of will, love and also a little luck to leave a lasting impression.