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The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Step inside the Lucasfilm art departments for the creation of fantastical worlds, unforgettable characters, and unimaginable creatures. The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens will take you there, from the earliest gathering of artists and production designers at Lucasfilm headquarters in San Francisco to the fever pitch of production at Pinewood Studios to the conclusion Step inside the Lucasfilm art departments for the creation of fantastical worlds, unforgettable characters, and unimaginable creatures. The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens will take you there, from the earliest gathering of artists and production designers at Lucasfilm headquarters in San Francisco to the fever pitch of production at Pinewood Studios to the conclusion of post-production at Industrial Light & Magic—all with unprecedented access. Exclusive interviews with the entire creative team impart fascinating insights in bringing director J.J. Abrams’s vision to life; unused “blue sky” concept art offers glimpses into roads not traveled.   Bursting with hundreds of stunning works of art, including production paintings, concept sketches, storyboards, blueprints, and matte paintings, this visual feast will delight Star Wars fans and cineastes for decades to come. The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the definitive expression of how the latest chapter in the Star Wars saga was dreamed into being. ALSO AVAILABLE FROM ABRAMS IN FALL 2016: The Making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Mark Cotta Vaz. Forewords by J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy. ISBN: 978-1-4197-2022-2


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Step inside the Lucasfilm art departments for the creation of fantastical worlds, unforgettable characters, and unimaginable creatures. The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens will take you there, from the earliest gathering of artists and production designers at Lucasfilm headquarters in San Francisco to the fever pitch of production at Pinewood Studios to the conclusion Step inside the Lucasfilm art departments for the creation of fantastical worlds, unforgettable characters, and unimaginable creatures. The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens will take you there, from the earliest gathering of artists and production designers at Lucasfilm headquarters in San Francisco to the fever pitch of production at Pinewood Studios to the conclusion of post-production at Industrial Light & Magic—all with unprecedented access. Exclusive interviews with the entire creative team impart fascinating insights in bringing director J.J. Abrams’s vision to life; unused “blue sky” concept art offers glimpses into roads not traveled.   Bursting with hundreds of stunning works of art, including production paintings, concept sketches, storyboards, blueprints, and matte paintings, this visual feast will delight Star Wars fans and cineastes for decades to come. The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the definitive expression of how the latest chapter in the Star Wars saga was dreamed into being. ALSO AVAILABLE FROM ABRAMS IN FALL 2016: The Making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Mark Cotta Vaz. Forewords by J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy. ISBN: 978-1-4197-2022-2

30 review for The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    I don’t think I can quite express how awesome this book is. Just look at it. LOOK AT IT: This isn’t just an awesome book that displays fantastic artwork; it’s that and so, so, much more. It feels like a journey. The book begins with the very early stages of development: It depicts these wonderful early stages of concept art, and shows how these original ideas developed into an entire movie that rocked my world when I saw it in the cinema: I love this image just above. See how Han Solo has the ligh I don’t think I can quite express how awesome this book is. Just look at it. LOOK AT IT: This isn’t just an awesome book that displays fantastic artwork; it’s that and so, so, much more. It feels like a journey. The book begins with the very early stages of development: It depicts these wonderful early stages of concept art, and shows how these original ideas developed into an entire movie that rocked my world when I saw it in the cinema: I love this image just above. See how Han Solo has the light at his back; he comes from the light whereas Ren has come from the darkness. He has a chance to walk again with his farther, and with the light side of the force. He has but to accept Solo’s offer and forgiveness, and he will be a Jedi once more. The light is in his face, he knows what that decision will mean, and he knows how to react. I love the symbolism here. It’s wonderful to see how these ideas were refined and finalised. A lot of things were rejected too. An appearance of a metamorphosed force spirit of a twisted Vader/Anakin was planned to appear. But, this was rejected in the very early stages of development and, I can only presume, replaced with the use of Vader’s ruined helmet. This was quite cool to see these changes. There were a few instances like this, and part of me can’t help but wonder if they may use, or rework, some of these elements in the later movies. ^^^ So cool! I think I’m just in love with the whole new generation of Star Wars at the moment. I know we’ve only had one movie so far, but at the moment it was enough to get me really excited about the entire trilogy. I hope the rest delivers as much as the first film. It was just so damn good. I mean it had a few flaws, but these were far outweighed by its positive aspects. It had the necessary degrees of pathos, hope and despair. It just worked so well, and this book depicts the creative process behind it. It’s really quit impressive to look at. I’m really pleased with it: If you loved the new movie as much as I did, then this is really worth getting.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elevetha

    The art was fantastic, and it was fascinating to see how much the film changed from its concept to the finished product. So much so that I am baffled as to how they not only pulled a whole film out of their jumbled mess of ideas but that it was so good and coherent because WOW. Some of their ideas were perhaps interesting, but didn't really mesh with, well, anything. Of course, there were a few things I would have liked to see in the movie that they didn't include, alas. But overall, color me im The art was fantastic, and it was fascinating to see how much the film changed from its concept to the finished product. So much so that I am baffled as to how they not only pulled a whole film out of their jumbled mess of ideas but that it was so good and coherent because WOW. Some of their ideas were perhaps interesting, but didn't really mesh with, well, anything. Of course, there were a few things I would have liked to see in the movie that they didn't include, alas. But overall, color me impressed.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Lucasfilm have long known how to produce good art books and, thankfully, this is absolutely no different. Taking the story from the very start of the process in 2012, Szostak follows the team of Visualists working under Rick Carter - and, later, Darren Gilford, though it’s not made clear why it was necessary to bring him in - as they come up with concepts for sequences, even before the scriptwriter and director are on board. Seeing the story - and images - evolve organically is fascinating and t Lucasfilm have long known how to produce good art books and, thankfully, this is absolutely no different. Taking the story from the very start of the process in 2012, Szostak follows the team of Visualists working under Rick Carter - and, later, Darren Gilford, though it’s not made clear why it was necessary to bring him in - as they come up with concepts for sequences, even before the scriptwriter and director are on board. Seeing the story - and images - evolve organically is fascinating and the artwork is exemplary. Helping the book, for me, is a production diary that starts around the time of pre-production, a few paragraphs for every month, following the process up to post and giving out little details that help build a bigger picture. But the art is the real star here and the beautifully reproduced images - from a varied team including Doug Chiang, Ryan Church and Eric Tiemens (who all worked on the prequels), Christian Alzmann, Chris Bonura, Andree Wallin and more - are gorgeous. Of the hundreds of pieces on display, my favourites include “The Sunset”, Chiang’s wonderful riff on “Apocalypse Now”, Andree Wallin’s “AT-AT Idea”, Kevin Jenkins’ “Rally Site Troops View”, “Spotlight” by Kevin Jenkins (which presents the reasoning why concept art is so important as this immediately shows you the moment when Han and Ren confront one another which might not work so well with words) and “Rey Emerges” by Yanick Dusseault, which shows the scale superbly. I read a little while back that George Lucas was disappointed at how retro some of the film looked and whilst I enjoyed seeing little things in the film - the heads-up display in the Falcon, the Brutalist aspects of the Empire - I do understand what he means and the book confirms it. Ralph McQuarrie’s work, both used and unused, was re-examined by the Visualists and pieces were cherry-picked for the new film. Admittedly, when I read this, all I could think was “the lucky devils!” for gaining access to the fabled Lucasfilm archives. My one gripe would be the way that Szostak and (especially) Carter see themselves - the writer mentions Kathleen Kennedy (the producer) “reaching out” to him, rather than calling him and asking for a meeting. Carter goes further in the pretension stakes (I’d like to believe he’s being ironic about his own abilities but I really don’t think he is) and contrasts badly with the way Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston have talked about themselves over the years plus you wouldn’t need to argue very hard that their contribution to the Star Wars universe - and, by extension, pop culture - is far greater than Carter will ever manage. That niggle aside (easily done, just skip the Foreword), this is an excellent companion to a superb film and one I would highly recommend.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rusty

    More art books – how am I supposed to review something like this? Let’s see, does it contain art? Check. Do I like said art? Check. So, the only thing I can complain about is the length of the book, I guess. In this case, it’s nice and long. So that’s no issue. Basically, this is going to get a good review. If I had a complaint, it would be that I’m sure there is enough material to have put out several “Art of the Force Awakens” books. So I kind of wish there were a series of these. I mean, are t More art books – how am I supposed to review something like this? Let’s see, does it contain art? Check. Do I like said art? Check. So, the only thing I can complain about is the length of the book, I guess. In this case, it’s nice and long. So that’s no issue. Basically, this is going to get a good review. If I had a complaint, it would be that I’m sure there is enough material to have put out several “Art of the Force Awakens” books. So I kind of wish there were a series of these. I mean, are they holding on to some of this stuff for future movies? Won’t those have their own artwork? Whatever, I noticed that with some of the Marvel “Art of” books. I just realized that I don’t think I’ve reviewed all of those. Hmm… I might have to go back and do that. I guess, I don’t know. It would be mostly just a few paragraphs of me saying, ‘how do I rate an art book?’ again. Something that occurred to me as I was reading/looking at this book that struck me as odd – like any good art book, there is a hefty amount of words that accompany the pictures. You know, to give them context and stuff. So, in this case, once they announced that Lucasfilm had been purchased by Disney the powers that be hired some concept artists and told them to get to work on a new Star Wars film. So, that’s what they did. No script, no outline, no treatment, nothing. Just a single instruction to make it post Return of the Jedi. And if there is anything I learned reading this, it’s that artists might not be the best at stories that make sense, at least to me. For example, one caption explains an image of a dark Jedi powering up by eating force power from the sun, or something. One of the uneasy things I feel about any spec fiction thing is my suspension of disbelief. I can generally accept more in a novel than I can in a movie, probably because you can read something on the page that states that so-and-so is so badass that she beat up a room full of heavily armed murderous soldiers before they could even raise their weapons. That’s fine. But on screen, where they try to show that sort of stuff, in order for that to work (usually) the armed soldiers have to be incompetent for our heroine to win. I’ll watch and be like, ‘he could have shot her there, and he could have shot her there, and the guy in the corner could have stabbed her then… what’s wrong with these people? Quit standing around waiting to be punched!’ Stupid show. I quit. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, so an artist comes up with the idea of an evil Jedi that eats force power from the sun, or whatever, and paints and admittedly awesome image of that. But I’m thinking, that’s a pretty dumb idea. Really. Please don’t go with that. Of course, I can’t be sure, but it’s not too far from the Starkiller base from the new movie. You know, a planet that sucks the power of a star into some chamber and then shoots planet destroying thingys into space. A concept which really stretches my ability to mentally justify in some sort of Science-fictional manner. I mean, I really have to do some mental gymnastics to come up with some crazy scenario in which this might make sense. Be that as it may, the artists had a huge influence on the movie, and came up with many of the ideas that shaped the story into what it eventually became. I don’t know. That may be normal, but then again, it seems backwards to me. I’d think the story would have come first, then the art. Anyway, I’m glad it was done the way it was. The book is awesome, and I’m glad I picked it up.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Looking through the concept art and sketches for The Force Awakens is nearly as enjoyable as watching the film itself! The book is chronological, with early designs and mock-ups beginning in January 2013 - just a few months after the sale of LucasFilm to Disney, and Kathleen Kennedy's public announcement about the new films in late 2012. As you flip the pages - the large glossy folio pages! - you see the evolution of the scenes, the setting, the props, and the characters. Sketches of characters Looking through the concept art and sketches for The Force Awakens is nearly as enjoyable as watching the film itself! The book is chronological, with early designs and mock-ups beginning in January 2013 - just a few months after the sale of LucasFilm to Disney, and Kathleen Kennedy's public announcement about the new films in late 2012. As you flip the pages - the large glossy folio pages! - you see the evolution of the scenes, the setting, the props, and the characters. Sketches of characters that you recognize from the movie sometimes do not have names yet, or are in a different setting. Sketches of Rey were often entitled "Kira", and it isn't clear when the writers officially pronounced her as Rey. The same goes for races, and genders - FN-2187/Finn was originally sketched as a white male, while Snoke, the supreme villain was, for a short stint, was imagined as female. These little tidbits are plentiful - perhaps my favorite piece from the book is a photo of the Post-It Note that J.J. Abrams drew of BB-8, giving it to the professional artists to "run with". The art begins to gel, and as the story develops with the writers and the actors are cast, the setting, the details, and the characters' actual faces and bodies become vivid and very close to what you see in the final production. The only downside - minor - is that I would have liked a little more commentary from the artists about their process and how they arrived at a final.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jessamyn Leigh

    I will never be over Star Wars art/behind-the-scenes books. So beautiful and interesting and inspiring. This included a lot of notes about the timeline of making the movie and yikes I can't believe how quickly they made this movie. So many things seem to have been changed at the very last minute. I really wish they would've taken a little more time, there were a lot of ideas in this book that would've been better with a little more polish. You can also see where sadly a lot of good early ideas g I will never be over Star Wars art/behind-the-scenes books. So beautiful and interesting and inspiring. This included a lot of notes about the timeline of making the movie and yikes I can't believe how quickly they made this movie. So many things seem to have been changed at the very last minute. I really wish they would've taken a little more time, there were a lot of ideas in this book that would've been better with a little more polish. You can also see where sadly a lot of good early ideas got changed into things I didn't like in the movie. (I will cry forever that Han Solo didn't wear that glorious duster for example.) Also Rick, whoever you are, get over the making everything red geez. It's also interesting (and pretty frustrating, I want the BTS on EVERYTHING) that this and the Visual Dictionary are completely spoiler-free even though they came out simultaneously or after the movie.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Okay I will admit that this books pushes my buttons on so many levels. First of all you have an amazingly plush and generous window in to the concept work and art that went in to the new Star Wars trilogy. The book (as with all of these type of books) is printed on heavy quality paper which really does add to the experience of being invited in to the creative world that formed this film. Many art work books from films feel a little thin on material either intentionally hiding the more creative a Okay I will admit that this books pushes my buttons on so many levels. First of all you have an amazingly plush and generous window in to the concept work and art that went in to the new Star Wars trilogy. The book (as with all of these type of books) is printed on heavy quality paper which really does add to the experience of being invited in to the creative world that formed this film. Many art work books from films feel a little thin on material either intentionally hiding the more creative and outlandish works or the simple fact they just didnt have much material who know but some books do feel like they are short changing you- NOT this book I can imagine that there is more than enough material to fill two of these books. Then you have the fact of who they are - this is Lucas Arts and Industrial Light and Magic - (okay yes all Disney) who for decades have created some of the most eye catching and imagination inspiring images I can think of - and yes Star Wars was the first film I ever saw so I am biased to the n-th degree. And finally you have the fact that the art - be it customer concept work all the way to images used for set building - has been around for years. To me it feels the the "art of" has become yet another merchandising exercise for a film - you have not truly shown off what you can do if you have not released such a book. No not Star Wars they have been releasing these types of books from the early 80s as I can attest to - my brother showed me them, he borrowed the from a friend and i was only allowed to look at them under supervision - so for me this book is more an addition to a growing dynasty rather than another way of milking the loyal fan base. Brilliant book and worth reading time and again, once I have retrieved it from my brother.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    I love these art books so much, it's fascinating to see the evolution of characters and concepts from preproduction to the actual movie. As these things usually go there are a few discarded ideas that would have been interesting to see in the movie and other ideas that thankfully were scrapped. Some of the ideas really show that this is the first Lucas-less Star Wars movie, as the art team debated whether or not lightsabers actually give off light (something shown in all of the movies) and the i I love these art books so much, it's fascinating to see the evolution of characters and concepts from preproduction to the actual movie. As these things usually go there are a few discarded ideas that would have been interesting to see in the movie and other ideas that thankfully were scrapped. Some of the ideas really show that this is the first Lucas-less Star Wars movie, as the art team debated whether or not lightsabers actually give off light (something shown in all of the movies) and the idea that Vader's mask was form and function and that all Sith wore them (huh?). This is definitely worth checking out for anyone interested in the making of the movie.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Yolanda Sfetsos

    My daughter borrowed this from the library and I just had to check it out. OMG. This is such a gorgeous book! Seriously, the artwork is SO pretty. The pages are glossy and the double spreads even feel nice. I also enjoyed seeing how the characters and concepts for The Force Awakens were developed. I think every Star Wars fan should check this out! It's a lovely, fast read. :) My daughter borrowed this from the library and I just had to check it out. OMG. This is such a gorgeous book! Seriously, the artwork is SO pretty. The pages are glossy and the double spreads even feel nice. I also enjoyed seeing how the characters and concepts for The Force Awakens were developed. I think every Star Wars fan should check this out! It's a lovely, fast read. :)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Another beautifully illustrated book and a must-have for anyone who wants to know more about the making of The Force Awakens.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Pyles

    Pretty great overview of all the concept art and ideas that went into the first installment of the sequel trilogy. I know that TFA is far from a beloved film among the "harder" group of fans, but looking at the concept art, alongside various asides from art/design heads during pre-production, production, and post, they clearly channeled George Lucas as best they could. And as with any concept art, there are so many ideas that are left on the cutting floor and even more ingenious characters who a Pretty great overview of all the concept art and ideas that went into the first installment of the sequel trilogy. I know that TFA is far from a beloved film among the "harder" group of fans, but looking at the concept art, alongside various asides from art/design heads during pre-production, production, and post, they clearly channeled George Lucas as best they could. And as with any concept art, there are so many ideas that are left on the cutting floor and even more ingenious characters who are left behind, yet there are a lot of scenes that you see here that are actually brought to life in TLJ and ROTS. It's actually really cool how this initial dive into Star Wars gave the sequel trilogy it's life. I just want them to go back to some of these ideas and give us something truly unique for the screen.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This is the second of these art books I've read (the first being for Rogue One) and I really, really enjoy them. It''s so fun to get this window into the creative process, especially in this case because this was the first Star Wars film being created in 10 years and had a lot to live up to. The many, many artists and designers and fabricators on this film are immensely talented and it's a joy to see their work develop into the final product that now feels so familiar. I do wish they had spent m This is the second of these art books I've read (the first being for Rogue One) and I really, really enjoy them. It''s so fun to get this window into the creative process, especially in this case because this was the first Star Wars film being created in 10 years and had a lot to live up to. The many, many artists and designers and fabricators on this film are immensely talented and it's a joy to see their work develop into the final product that now feels so familiar. I do wish they had spent more time going over the character designs. I guess what I really want is more insight into how they pinned down the characters' roles and motivations, and that's not something the art department does anyway. I also have The Last Jedi's art book out from the library, and I'm looking forward to that.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Blake

    This is inspirational. So many artist coming together and producing some incredibly iconic artwork. Loved this so much. Must read for a Star Wars Fan.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Megara Ryan

    Underwater Palpatine's throne room Death Star remnants? Hmmmmm....... Underwater Palpatine's throne room Death Star remnants? Hmmmmm.......

  15. 4 out of 5

    Coeurnoble

    Honestly, I’ve bought that book for my collection and the beautiful cover with Kylo but the « art » of force awaken is so weak and bland, JJ Abrams is the worst. I felt like I was reading any blockbuster concept book and that ain’t my thing but I have Kylo still.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a beautiful 256 page hardcover from Abrams Books. Put together and written by Phil Szostak, with a foreword by The Force Awaken‘s co-production designer Rick Carter, the book does an outstanding job of not just showcasing some of the concept art for the film, but presenting the behind-the-scenes story of the film’s creation and the art department’s role in shaping that story. Unlike a lot of art of books, this one has quite a bit of written content whic The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a beautiful 256 page hardcover from Abrams Books. Put together and written by Phil Szostak, with a foreword by The Force Awaken‘s co-production designer Rick Carter, the book does an outstanding job of not just showcasing some of the concept art for the film, but presenting the behind-the-scenes story of the film’s creation and the art department’s role in shaping that story. Unlike a lot of art of books, this one has quite a bit of written content which gives fans an idea of how the movie evolved from various ideas to become the final product. Yet there is no shortage of artwork with 600 full-color illustrations, some of them spanning two pages to present the beauty of the artwork. If you’ve seen the movie, this is a great way to dive deeper into The Force Awakens, especially as we bide our time for The Making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens coming from Abrams Books later this year. First off, the book doesn’t take much time to explain who the author of the book is, which I think is rather important. It’s hidden on the inside of the dust jacket which is something I have a tendency to toss aside without a second thought. Phil Szostak was actually chosen to chronicle the process and experience of the art department for The Force Awakens from December 2012 to the film’s completion. As the film’s official archivist, he’s the perfect choice to put together the book, and his selection of artwork and details about the film and the artists creates a wonderful picture of what the process was like. At a little over 11×10 inches in size (11 5⁄16 x 10 3⁄8 to be exact), the book has plenty of room to showcase that artwork and still squeeze in tidbits about the story’s development, evolution, and the behind-the-scene’s anecdotes. To give you an idea of what kind of information they packed in, here are some highlights. They reveal the first working names for the characters who eventually became Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo Ren. We get snippets from Michael Arndt and glimpses of what his initial outline and draft included. There’s artwork for locations that were initially going to be put into the film, but were later worked out of the script. There’s concept art for Maz Kanata, Supreme Leader Snoke and lots of designs for Kylo Ren. Surprisingly enough, his design wasn’t locked in until March 2014, just two months prior to principal photography. Also in the book is the character Warwick Davis played, a backstory for the animatronic bird that many have complained about, an explanation for the look of Snoke, Dennis Muren’s contribution to the Starkiller weapon, and how mummified heads influenced the look of Vader’s ruined helmet. There are tons of cool facts in the book which make it a great read from cover-to-cover. As for the artwork, it speaks for itself. From fully detailed paintings, to rough visual concepts and intricate sketches, there’s lots to look at. There’s even a very small handful of photographs from the set/film, a couple blueprints, and some pictures J.J. Abrams drew on sticky notes for what BB-8 should look like. Wisely, they keep those types of pictures to a minimum so as not to hurt the focus of the book, but their inclusion does a great job of adding to the wealth of knowledge and reference material therein. If you’re looking for a behind-the-scenes book for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this one is a superb choice. Filled with great information and artwork, it earns a well deserved five out of five. You’ll definitely want to add The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens to your library.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    Early on, the book says "Producer Kathleen Kennedy, to whom George entrusted his galactic legacy in 2012, orchestrated all of this." Sadder words have never been written. This book reminds me of the Art of Solo in a number of ways, but was slightly better. The difference between the art books for movies made by Disney vs the OT are primarily: 1 The OT were all paintings/drawings while the Disney stuff is almost exclusively Photoshop/CAD. Both are beautiful, but I find the paintings far more impr Early on, the book says "Producer Kathleen Kennedy, to whom George entrusted his galactic legacy in 2012, orchestrated all of this." Sadder words have never been written. This book reminds me of the Art of Solo in a number of ways, but was slightly better. The difference between the art books for movies made by Disney vs the OT are primarily: 1 The OT were all paintings/drawings while the Disney stuff is almost exclusively Photoshop/CAD. Both are beautiful, but I find the paintings far more impressive. 2. The OT books are very original. Things they ripped off were done to pay homage (like in ANH in the background there is a ship that was in 2001 A Space Odyssey). Disney more or less just straight rips things off. I made a point of focusing on appreciating the artwork and the concept ideas instead of my absolute hatred for the Disney Star Wars movies other than Rogue One. You do get an idea of how things were never going to go well with this trilogy through the descriptions for some of the artwork. I give a few examples of this at the end. The art itself is pretty neat. I really enjoy the landscapes. The concepts were very hit and miss. If you really love the abomination that is the new trilogy, then you might get more out of some of the concept art. I found I was far less interested reading about early concept work for the new characters that I don't care about while I was enthralled in the past seeing the concept art for characters such as Darth Vader and Chewbacca. Here are some examples of the things that I found disappointing (it is mostly a lack of creativity): They wanted a new Yoda type character, and their concept art looks...just like Yoda. Like how I complained for the Art of Solo, they seem to confuse being inspired by something and copying something. If the director say, "Hey, I think it would be good to have a character to fill a role similar to Yoda", they say ok and go and draw Yoda. Finn was originally this bounty hunter with a trusty side-kick...who was a wookie. So he's Han Solo and they made him a bounty hunter instead of a smuggler. Just to make things original though, they gave him a droid. Too bad that it looked like large parts of the droid were exact copies of R2-D2 even down to the color. The early villain character looked exactly like Darth Vader. This is somewhat understandable for his character in the movie, but it is still very weak in terms of creativity. Just because a person looks up to someone doesn't mean they have to try and look exactly like them. Next are some of the examples that were just bad or made me sad: "...How fun if the villain were half-machine, half-flesh together?" You mean like Darth Vader? They even have a line about how he is more machine now than man. Another example of General Grievous. They make it sound like this kind of wild idea when villains from each of the other trilogies were already exactly that. There is a rally for the Imperial First Order. The artist explains the lengths he went to create something unique. "I just took Olympic Third Reich photos, put them on my computer screen, modeled them in 3-D, and put in little TIE fighters instead of guys. And I switched the flag logo to the Empire logo." Another example of ripping something off instead of being inspired by it or paying homage to it. When you watch the movie or look at this art, the only thing you can think of it that they copy and pasted this directly from a Nazi rally. It's just bad. I'm shocked they didn't give Hux a little Hitler mustache. "Rick said, 'What if the Emperor's chamber had crash-landed after the second Death Star explosion?' That doesn't make any sense, but that's when Rick knows he has something. He'll say, 'Exactly!'" That sums up everything Disney is about. Logic, character development, and obeying the established rules of the universe mean absolutely nothing to them. It's all about stupid jokes in parts of a war movie that don't fit, dazzling spectacles that have absolutely no substance or completely flaunt the rules of the universe, and bigger is always better. These may be the shallowest movies I've ever seen that aren't aware of it, and it's quotes like the one above that make me feel like these movies never had a chance of being anything but trash. "'Let's try to redress an elephant again, as they did for banthas in A New Hope. That was literally the framework: Let's have some new updated versions of old creatures.'" Same as before. They don't seem capable of coming up with their own ideas, so they just want to make some minor adjustment to what others created. "One of the primary entry points for J.J. was the question: 'Who is Luke Skywalker?' - as if being asked by somebody in the movie who doesn't know. And that gets right to the point of, what is Star Wars now? Who is Luke Skywalker? Is he still in the game? Is he still with the Force? What's his role? What's happened since then?" This was just so sad. These are all good questions. Unfortunately, Abrams didn't really bother answering any of them. I had my wife watch The Force Awakens and try to answer basic questions on what is happening in the universe. Unless you go and read some books that try to fill in the gaps, you have no idea what is going on. (view spoiler)[Extremely basic plot points like: Who is the First Order? How did they get so insanely powerful without anyone seeming to notice or care? Where did they get the resources to build a planet destroyer that dwarfs the Death Stars? What has the Republic done in the last 30 years? Why is Leia leading "the resistance"? They are the ones in power, shouldn't she has tons of resources at her disposal? The First Order destroys one system. Does the rest of the Republic seriously not care at all that what appears to be their capital was just destroyed? Sadly, that answer to all of this is that they wanted to copy ANH so they had to put the good guys in a desperate position even though it made no sense. (hide spoiler)] "The Starkiller 'sun-crushing' super-weapon concept was born." This one is a little nit-picky, but in the novels (that Disney cruelly decided are now Legends), they do create a ship that is literally called the Sun Crusher that can use the power of the sun to destroy the system that sun is in. I don't expect them to have read all the books, but them calling it "sun-crushing" seems like too much of a coincidence. "This is a moment of TIE fighters coming in - our riff on Apocalypse Now. Some of those moments are so powerful that all we have to do is put in something different like TIE fights and it totally works." This was iffy for me. I'm sort of okay with it because it was beautiful seeing the ties flying in with the sun in the background and it works. It is still another case though of them taking something iconic someone else did and swapping out the helicopters for TIE fighters. "I did this to mirror Luke's moment looking at the double sun. You understand who he is. It's such a magical moment." The art for this quote was the Rey character standing at sunset looking at twin moons. Again, swap in your character to an iconic scene someone else created and turn the suns into moons. A for the art. F for the idea. "An early Episode VII opening sequence consciously mirrored the start of A New Hope, with a rebel frigate pursued and swallowed up by a pirate ship, whose design echoes the classic Star Destroyer. 'Part of JJ's whole riff on this is that he wanted the opening of Episode VII to be very familiar-familiar to the point where it actually mimics the beginning of Episode IV. The setup is that they were parallel, but then you would quickly realize that these are new ships and new villains.'" This one is just another sad example that the plan all along was to rip off ANH. This isn't the artist's fault, but it does illustrate that the entire process was creatively bankrupt from step one. In spite of all that, I did enjoy looking at most of the pictures. A/B for the artwork. D/F for the concepts.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Todd Bauerle

    I am the biggest Star Wars geek I know. Since childhood, I love the behind the Suns glimpses into movie making magic--even special ordering and then nearly wearing out my VHS copy of From Star Wars to Jedi. I remember sitting on the floor of a book store and thumbing through the art books for the original trilogy before owning my copies. I own all the art books repeated to Star Wars, so of course I was looking forward to this one. I suppose that makes my disappointment that much greater. First, I I am the biggest Star Wars geek I know. Since childhood, I love the behind the Suns glimpses into movie making magic--even special ordering and then nearly wearing out my VHS copy of From Star Wars to Jedi. I remember sitting on the floor of a book store and thumbing through the art books for the original trilogy before owning my copies. I own all the art books repeated to Star Wars, so of course I was looking forward to this one. I suppose that makes my disappointment that much greater. First, I completely respect how the entire production took great care to protect the public from leading story elements from The Force Awakens until they sat down in the theatre for the very first time. But that anti spoiler vigilance has bled over into this art book. This is a behind the scenes exploration, diving into the the evolution of concepts. I'm not expecting to learn how the script evolved, but I can't help feeling the artwork and text are limited because they couldn't show spoiler content. I wanted to have some discussion of storylines here, and see some visualization a of spoilers. We don't get any. Next, these are books really shine when showcasing the evolution of characters, locations and ships. I found some of this present...but the book chooses a chronological display of artwork...where the character designs of Jedi Killer evolve over pages and pages and pages, rather than collected closer together. Further, I was hoping for multiple versions of similar character sketches...rather than just one, or a few. I know more exists. But some of the content you expect, is just missing. Where are the countless redesigns of stormtrooper a it took to arrive at the final design? Where are any images of the radar dish design for the Falcon? Where are the iterations of the new X-Wing? That content was skipped entirely, instead focusing on the wide angle landscapes without end! But what is gathered here is extremely fantastic artwork and images, and editorial insight into the creative process. What is fantastic about how Disney approached The Force Awakens is they treated the property with reverence, and brought together artists who matured with Star Wars and Ralph McQuarrie art, and infused the film withy the visual aesthetic of the original films. I cannot tell a fellow fan to NOT pick up this book. But I can for warn you of the disappointment you will experience. Further, I can tell LucasFilm, I expect a whole lot more from the upcoming Making of book to be released later in 2016. Please, let's get that one right.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Art of the Film

    "The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is a fantastic journey through the galaxy far, far away, along with its characters, creatures, vehicles, weapons, and planets. There are quite a few books about Star Wars: The Force Awakens being released - and this is the best of them if you are interested in the artistic side of Star Wars (or movies in general). I won’t spoil anything specific - I’ll just say that you’ll probably want to save this book until after you’ve seen the film, because the book "The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is a fantastic journey through the galaxy far, far away, along with its characters, creatures, vehicles, weapons, and planets. There are quite a few books about Star Wars: The Force Awakens being released - and this is the best of them if you are interested in the artistic side of Star Wars (or movies in general). I won’t spoil anything specific - I’ll just say that you’ll probably want to save this book until after you’ve seen the film, because the book includes designs (both conceptual and finished) for certain characters and locations that are better kept a mystery until you’ve experienced the movie. If you enjoyed the film, you will be pleased to know that this book offers the reader insight into the detailed art direction and production design that went into creating “The Force Awakens”. Star Wars has always used the image to convey thematic ideas; and the level of imagination and creativity that goes into them is arguably greater than any other film franchise. Among the imagery in the book are early and unused concept sketches, storyboards, paintings, and even blueprints. The images are printed in high resolution so you can inspect every detail. Although this is primarily a book of art, the author has done a nice job writing text that compliments the imagery and enhances the experience of the book. Included are quotes from key creatives that worked on the project. On the whole, the book has a nice layout; while most books group the artwork by character or the film chronology, this book does things a bit differently. The art is instead published essentially in the order it was created, beginning with the earliest concept ideas in late 2012 and ending with some post-production design changes in January 2015. So as the reader flips through the book they can see the evolution of the film's designs take place. This has instantly become one of my favorite movie art books. If you liked the movie and want to know more about the designs from concept to completion, you will enjoy the book. This would make a great gift for the Star Wars fan.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Neil R. Coulter

    I love big, beautiful "Art of the..." movie books. Growing up as a Star Wars fan, I always loved the original Ralph McQuarrie concept artwork. It's just fascinating to me to see all of the "might have been" elements of a movie, or how imagery developed from intriguing beginnings to familiar ends. The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a nice production. It presents a good sample of the many thousands of concept art pieces that the design team created during the whole film production process. I love big, beautiful "Art of the..." movie books. Growing up as a Star Wars fan, I always loved the original Ralph McQuarrie concept artwork. It's just fascinating to me to see all of the "might have been" elements of a movie, or how imagery developed from intriguing beginnings to familiar ends. The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a nice production. It presents a good sample of the many thousands of concept art pieces that the design team created during the whole film production process. (Costumes, props, and blueprints are mentioned but are not the focus of this book.) I liked seeing how the artists and designers went back to the original trilogy's concept art for inspiration. What puzzles me in reading this book is this: With all of these talented designers working on out-there ideas, why does it feel like the finished film is all rather predictable and mundane? I guess it's because in so many cases, the director and crew opted for the very safest choices rather than the riskiest or most distinctive. The result is a movie that looks not only inspired by the original films' designs, but sometimes too much like a close copy of those designs. Of course this is not the fault of the art design alone; it also has a lot to do with very safe story choices, where the film might instead have veered into more uncharted, interesting, challenging territory. So I suppose a relatively safe visual design goes well with an extremely safe story. My favorite window into the development of the look of The Force Awakens is the many iterations and ideas leading to Kylo Ren's final design. I believe Kylo is by far the best thing about the movie--partly evidenced by how inevitable and classic his outfit now seems. I am very glad that they didn't choose one of the outfits that is much more of a Vader look than the final choice.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    This book was so much more than I thought it would be going into it. (To be read in a hillbilly accent) All I wanted was purdy pictures of Star Wars! To be sure, "The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has wonderful artwork bursting at the seams. But it is also a wonderful 'making of' book. It shows and tells of the behind the scenes brainstorming sessions and how different characters and plot elements evolved from conception to the silver screen. After reading this, I'm even more impressed with This book was so much more than I thought it would be going into it. (To be read in a hillbilly accent) All I wanted was purdy pictures of Star Wars! To be sure, "The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has wonderful artwork bursting at the seams. But it is also a wonderful 'making of' book. It shows and tells of the behind the scenes brainstorming sessions and how different characters and plot elements evolved from conception to the silver screen. After reading this, I'm even more impressed with what J.J. Abrams and crew were able to put together. They had enough material for 10 Star Wars movies! I particularly like "The Jedi Killer" character and how that evolved into Kylo Ren and the many different looks of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo that they thought up. Also, just the sheer amount of cool vehicles that made the cutting room floor is something to behold. This book is a coffee table essential in any nerd of notes house.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Getting lost in the art of "Force Awakens" is blissful. Various concepts for characters, planets, vehicles, creatures, sets, etc, are presented in chronological order. The designs do not have to be in this order to appreciate the craft and imagination that went into creating them, however, it does help one to easily grasp how the film became what audiences saw and enjoyed in theaters. Personally, the highlights of the book are the notes indicating certain designs were influenced by previous movi Getting lost in the art of "Force Awakens" is blissful. Various concepts for characters, planets, vehicles, creatures, sets, etc, are presented in chronological order. The designs do not have to be in this order to appreciate the craft and imagination that went into creating them, however, it does help one to easily grasp how the film became what audiences saw and enjoyed in theaters. Personally, the highlights of the book are the notes indicating certain designs were influenced by previous movies or parts of the original trilogy. "A New Hope" was a product of love for cinema, the creators of this film share that love, and it is delightful to see the homages to past and recent cinema sprinkled throughout "Force Awakens."

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    Always two there are, an Art of and a Making of. Well, there used to be. I own every Art of and Making of for the past six Star Wars movies, and was eager to get my hands on this one. What I got was a beautiful coffee table book with big, glossy color paintings but not much in the way of context. With the script having struggled for so long, trying to make out just what the heck direction they were taking with each concept is difficult. And it's generally bereft of both character design and, my Always two there are, an Art of and a Making of. Well, there used to be. I own every Art of and Making of for the past six Star Wars movies, and was eager to get my hands on this one. What I got was a beautiful coffee table book with big, glossy color paintings but not much in the way of context. With the script having struggled for so long, trying to make out just what the heck direction they were taking with each concept is difficult. And it's generally bereft of both character design and, my favorite, costume design. So it's lots of lovely eye candy, but if they weren't going to give me any hint of context or development, it would have been nice to have a Making of book alongside this one.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I am surprised I am so disappointed in this. The quote along side most pieces was the same explanation of how it referenced or copied a design from an original trilogy movie. Especially in the early concepting phase there was hardly anything new or original which was the time to do it. Yes it needs to look like the Star Wars universe, but that can be done without relying so heavily on designs done for the OT. I'm still holding out hope we'll get something fresh for the next movie. This is not on I am surprised I am so disappointed in this. The quote along side most pieces was the same explanation of how it referenced or copied a design from an original trilogy movie. Especially in the early concepting phase there was hardly anything new or original which was the time to do it. Yes it needs to look like the Star Wars universe, but that can be done without relying so heavily on designs done for the OT. I'm still holding out hope we'll get something fresh for the next movie. This is not one star because the book itself is well put together and I like that it followed the timeline of the movie development month by month.

  25. 4 out of 5

    nikita

    A stunning and breathtaking collection of images and conceptual arts that inspired the movie. Most of them are hardly discernibly from real photos which is insane. All the artists that worked on this are extremely talented and imaginative. I wished that Disney had actually used these conceptual arts in the movie. It would be at least visually better. IMHO!

  26. 4 out of 5

    F.P.

    Awesome images to look at--a bunch that are actually from the movie, or, more correctly, the concept-art images that actually wound up being used for the movie. So looking at them is like seeing the movie again. I've seen it five times (so far lol), so, before I completely transfer my bank account to Disney's bank account, I can open this book and get my fix of The Force Awakens without spending anymore money. Gotta say, I really love the original concept sketch of BB-8, which was from J.J. Abra Awesome images to look at--a bunch that are actually from the movie, or, more correctly, the concept-art images that actually wound up being used for the movie. So looking at them is like seeing the movie again. I've seen it five times (so far lol), so, before I completely transfer my bank account to Disney's bank account, I can open this book and get my fix of The Force Awakens without spending anymore money. Gotta say, I really love the original concept sketch of BB-8, which was from J.J. Abrams himself--on a Post-It note!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Leaning more towards a 4.5 stars. This book was beautiful to look at, and the even though I skimmed the commentary, the parts I read were good and added to the artwork. I think why I liked this book so much is because this is the first Star Wars movie I watched and loved, so it was kind of special to me in a way. I loved seeing the concept art, especially of Kylo, and seeing the transformation of the artworks.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karl Kindt

    Beautiful production deserving of this material. Huge pages, sometimes two page full bleed spreads. Gorgeous reproduction. I like the concept art of Star Wars movies as much as I like the movies themselves. A bit more commentary would have made this a perfect book; as it is, the insights from the artists are too few in number.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Loved flipping through this book. Sometimes the artwork is the best thing about Star Wars. Seeing all of the concepts and then seeing their counterparts on the screen is just amazing. Just can't get enough of the Galaxy far far away. Loved flipping through this book. Sometimes the artwork is the best thing about Star Wars. Seeing all of the concepts and then seeing their counterparts on the screen is just amazing. Just can't get enough of the Galaxy far far away.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Paul Warner

    Fantastic book! I've read every "Art Of" Star Wars book since I was 10-yrs-old in 1979 and I read this new Force Awakens one side-by-side while looking through my original book. I love seeing the early visuals and concepts that went into the creation of such an imaginative world. Fantastic book! I've read every "Art Of" Star Wars book since I was 10-yrs-old in 1979 and I read this new Force Awakens one side-by-side while looking through my original book. I love seeing the early visuals and concepts that went into the creation of such an imaginative world.

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