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Star Wars Storyboards: The Prequel Trilogy and Star Wars Art: Concept Book Reviews

Star Wars Storyboards- The Prequel Trilogy Book Star Wars Art- Concept Book

“Star Wars Storyboards: The Prequel Trilogy” is a fascinating look into the storyboarding process.

“Star Wars Art: Concept” is a gorgeous art book that is littered with welcome surprises.

As if he wasn’t working on enough books these days, editor J.W. Rinzler editor (the mastermind behind the fantastic “The Making of Star Wars” books) has yet another treat for “Star Wars” fans in the form of “Star Wars Storyboards: The Prequel Trilogy.” In this particular book, readers and “Star Wars” fans get a glimpse into the filmmaking and storyboarding process, learn about George Lucas in a very revealing introduction by Iain McCaig, as well as discover how scenes evolve/change from the page to the screen.

Much of ‘Storyboards’ is dedicated to Episode 1 material because the storyboarding process was apparently different for Episodes 2 and 3. Episode 1 is almost told in full via storyboards that come with scene notes, artist notes, original character designs, as well as scenes that never made the screen. The cut scenes are undoubtedly the highlight for longtime fans here as you get to see a much more epic fight between Darth Maul and Qui-Gon on Tatooine, a cut Jedi and droid fight, a bigger in scope Darth Maul/Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan lightsaber duel, and a few other little treats as well.  

For Episode 2, most of the storyboards are devoted to the Arena sequence, the first Clone Wars battle, and, of course, the Yoda and Count Dooku lightsaber fight. As for Episode 3, there’s a lot of boards devoted to the General Grievous and Obi-Wan Kenobi chase/battle and the climactic Anakin and Obi-Wan duel. The most noteworthy inclusion here though as to be the liquid fuel deleted scene. It may not add much to the story, but it’s still fascinating to see the concept for this cutting room floor sequence.

Knowing these films backwards and forwards, “Storyboards’ proved to be a “most impressive” art book. Not only is it thrilling to see scenes that never got to see the light of day, but it’s also fun to compare and contrast the storyboards to the final cuts that us “Star Wars” fans know so well. Now, if you are wondering if the Original Trilogy has a Storyboards book, it’s currently scheduled to hit stores May 13, 2014.

If storyboards don’t appeal to you, “Star Wars Art: Concept” certainly should. This art book starts off with a bang with a heartfelt foreword by director Joe Johnston (one of my own film heroes along with George Lucas), a preface by Ryan Church and an intro by Doug Chiang (both concept artists who worked on various “Star Wars” films). After that, the book delves into what fans will likely pay to see- the artwork.

The first several images will be familiar to many fans as they come from the late great artist Ralph McQuarrie (who inspired much of what was seen in Episode 4). In these pages you will see beautiful color pages of stunning pieces of concept art that includes original character designs of Darth Vader, Millennium Falcon, and C3PO. After that, you will see some of Joe Johnston and Nilo Rodis-Jamero’s work for Episodes 5 and 6 including (but not limited to) Yoda, Slave-1 and a never before seen grass planet called Sicemon.  

After Episodes 4-6 are covered, Episodes 1-3 naturally follow. While Doug Chiang, Iain McCaig, and Ryan Church provide most of the concept art for these 3 films, there’s a whole host of artists that worked on these films like Erik Tiemens, Warren Fu, T.J. Frame, Glen McIntosh, Alex Jaeger, Stian Dahlslett, Sang Jun Lee, and Ed Natividad. While I won’t spoil every image, I will say that fans should be on the lookout for breathtaking Kashyyyk imagery, Padme clothing designs, a character design of Count Dooku as an alien, an original General Grievous design, and podracer pieces.

Much to my delight, movies aren’t the only “Star Wars” centric works to be covered here as TV series such as “Droids,” “Ewoks,” and the brilliant “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” all have pieces featured. Keep your eyes peeled for some great Nelvana staff member art of Boba Fett and Wicket and some memorable character designs for the fan favorite character Cad Bane.   

“Star Wars” video games also get the spotlight here as there is a plethora of artwork from the ultra popular “The Force Unleashed” as well as “Star Wars: Starfighter,” “Bounty Hunter,” and “The Clone Wars: Jedi Alliance.” The highlight here? Chris Voy’s eye poppingly detailed “The Force Unleashed” work.

If you think that’s all that would be covered in this book, think again! In a completely surprising move, ‘Concept’ actually contains artwork from not yet released and or never released TV and video game projects (namely “Star Wars: Detours,” “Star Wars: 1313,” and the “Call Of Duty” esque “Star Wars: First Assault”). Even though it’s sad that some (or all) of these shows and games may never see the light of day, it’s a blessing to see some of the hard work that went into these promising projects.

Last, but not least, the book concludes with artist bios and an interview with Erik Tiemens with J.W. Rinzler (yep, him again).

Having poured through many a book containing “Star Wars” artwork in the past, ‘Concept’ is one of the best to date. While few will dispute the fact that Ralph McQuarrie’s work seen in “The Art of Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope” is and always will be the benchmark for concept art, it’s still incredibly satisfying to see such a diverse collection of “Star Wars” art from a wide range of artists. I admire the fact that this book has a bit of everything as we are treated to a multitude of visual feasts for projects in several different mediums. No matter which film, video game, or TV show you like or don’t like, it’s safe to say that everyone can appreciate the artistry on display here.

February 8, 2014 - Posted by | Book review | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Very good info. Lucky me I recently found your site
    by chbance (stumbleupon). I’ve bookmarked it for later!

    Comment by Gregg | November 23, 2014 | Reply

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