The art of Star Wars Identities

The art of Star Wars Identities

Immerse yourself in Star Wars Identities, an interactive exhibition held at the ArtScience Museum. The exhibition offers a rare look at the creative process, and the labour of artists such as illustrators and sculptors whose painstaking labour helped bring the movies to life. The exhibits include concept drawings, models, puppetry and costume designs which offer a look at the artistry of the popular space-fantasy movie series. Star Wars Identities also includes artefacts such as the iconic Millennium Falcon, and the original Stormtrooper costume from the earliest Star Wars movies.

Below are five not-to-miss highlights at the exhibition, which is on until 13 Jun.

Production painting of R2-D2 and C-3PO star wars identitities art science museum

Production painting of R2-D2 and C-3PO

Dated January 1975, this was the first painting of the droids that artist Ralph McQuarrie did to help film director and screenwriter George Lucas visualise early ideas for his Star Wars script. Lucas brought this colourful and highly-detailed artwork of early versions of R2-D2 and C-3PO to film studio 20th Century Fox to get funding for the first film of the Star Wars franchise, A New Hope (1977). Fans will have fun spotting the differences between the drawings and the characters that were shown onscreen.

Original concept art of Sith Lord Darth Vader star wars identitities art science museum

Original concept art of Sith Lord Darth Vader

Lucas was a fan of Japanese cinema and culture and he borrowed inspiration for the villain Darth Vader’s attire from Japanese samurai. In particular, Darth Vader’s iconic helmet was inspired by the kabuto, a type of helmet first used by ancient Japanese warriors, and the design of Darth Vader’s attire borrows from armour used by Japanese warlords. These Japanese-inspired design elements are evident in the sketches of Darth Vader by artists John Mollo and Ralph McQuarrie.

Models of Jar Jar Binks star wars identitities art science museum

Models of Jar Jar Binks

Conceptual models of the goofy, lanky alien Jar Jar Binks were critical for finalising its physical appearance in The Phantom Menace (1999). Sculptor Tony McVey created different models of the character, including one where Jar Jar Binks looks like a neckless toad-like character, and another of him as a regal-looking seahorse with a three-pointed head. Consistent across the different models of the character are its protruding bug-like eyes. 

Puppet of Jabba the Hutt’s eyes star wars identitities art science museum

Puppet of Jabba the Hutt’s eyes

Although the eyeballs and eyelids of the puppet playing the character Jabba the Hutt were mechanised and operated via remote control, they had a full range of actions which allowed the character to express emotions such as anger and boredom. This is one of few parts of the massive animatronic puppet built for Return of the Jedi (1983) that remains preserved and intact.

Model of the Millennium Falcon star wars identitities art science museum

Model of the Millennium Falcon

Lucas took great pains to ensure that the model of this spacecraft, which first appeared in A New Hope (1997), looked as realistic as possible – grease marks and bullet holes were deliberately included in the model. Lucas’s inspiration for the spacecraft’s shape came from a hamburger.

Get tickets to Star Wars Identities here.

(Video and photos: Claudio Chock for The A List)

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