Star Wars Art: Because we haven’t heard enough about Star Wars Lately!


So, in case you hadn’t heard, there’s a new Star Wars movie about to be released. I figured now would be a good time to talk about some Star Wars art.

I’ve written before about Star Wars pre-production art, specifically about Ralph McQuarrie’s very important contributions to the look of the original Star Wars films. But since then there has been a lot… a LOT… of art that is Star Wars based and/or inspired both professional and fan art. So let’s look at some.

Actually, I want to start with probably the first bit of Star Wars art most fans would have been exposed to and that would have been the iconic movie poster painted by Greg and Tim Hildebrandt. This is the classic poster featuring Luke Skywalker holding a lightsabre above his head with Princess Leia, wearing an uncharacteristic slit-dress version of her white robes while the droids look on in the background. Looming over it all is the villainous mask of Darth Vader.


The thing that I love about this poster is that Greg and Tim painted it before they had any idea of what Star Wars was going to be. They had made a splash with their J.R.R. Tolkien paintings and were handed this assignment almost out of the blue. They weren’t even really familiar with what the actors looked like. Their Luke and Leia look nothing like Mark Hamill or Carrie Fischer! (although John Berkey’s less well-know Star Wars poster had somewhat the same problem!)


star-wars-1-1977-coverThen again, if it wasn’t the Hildebrandt poster, the first images most people saw of Star Wars was from the original Marvel Comic adaptation which was released in advance of the film’s release. Howard Chaykin was the artist and Roy Thomas the writer. Thomas stuck to the script’s basic plot but was pretty free in re-interpreting the dialogue. Chaykin as well was obviously given access to the designs of the film but was, perhaps, not as familiar with the actors. They were unknows at the time, of course, but were about to become huge stars and household names.

Well, naturally, Star Wars hit pretty big and after that there was a slough of art that was either based upon or “inspired by” (sometimes “ripped-off from” might have been a more appropriate description) Star Wars.

It was everywhere, gracing Star Wars merchandise and other products. One of the earliest “official” non-official products was an interesting paperback entitled Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. It was kind of a rush-job novel by Allan Dean Foster and it was the first original full-length Star Wars novel to be published after the release of the 1977 Star Wars film, retroactively making it one of the earliest Expanded Universe works. But the cover art gave it a stamp of legitimacy as it was by none other than Ralph McQuarrie.


Paperback books, video games, trading cards, all of these media boast Star Wars inspired art either officially or unofficially. Adam Hughes, Frank Cho, Michael Whelan, The Brothers Hildebrandt, Darren Tan, Stanley Lau and Ingrid Hardy are just a few of the artists whose work has depicted Star Wars and the expanded Star Wars Universe images.

You don’t have to go very far on the internet to come across Star Wars art. Fans are so passionate and some are incredibly talented artists. Scroll through any website where artists showcase their works: Deviantart, Pinterest, Tumblr, you name it. You will find Star Wars art.

Which is good because, you know, there’s just not enough people talking about Star Wars these days.


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  1. Great post, MD. I enjoyed it a lot.
    Incidentally, Alan Dean Foster has said the reason we only see the back of Luke’s and Leia’s heads on the Splinter of the MInd’s Eye cover is that the actors hadn’t yet signed a deal to allow their likenesses to be used.

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