THE ART OF ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

PrintE-mail Written by Kieron Moore

Most STARBURST readers will have seen Rogue One by now, many no doubt more than once. There’s a lot to appreciate about the Star Wars spin-off – the lively gang of rebels, the plot that dovetails neatly into A New Hope, Forest Whitaker’s Shatner-level hamming – but one element really worthy of appreciation is just how gorgeous and cinematic Gareth Edwards’ movie is. It was a difficult film to design – it had to reflect the style of the original trilogy enough to segue seamlessly into it and yet had to break new ground of its own – but everyone involved did a perfect job. The Art of Rogue One, a hefty hardcover book, celebrates that achievement. 

Over about 250 pages, this book collects the concept art behind all the locations, characters, and ships that appear in the film, as well as storyboards showing how vital scenes were planned. Star Wars has a long history of beautiful concept art – in fact, a 1979 book of Ralph McQuarie’s iconic Star Wars concepts is what inspired Doug Chiang to go into this business – and the artists on this film don’t let the side down.

Chiang and Neil Lamont worked as co-production designers, alongside a team including Matt Allsopp, Ryan Church, and costume designer (and comics artist) Glyn Dillon, all of whose works feature here. As well as marveling at the beautifully painted versions of favourite scenes, it’s also fascinating to see what didn’t make it to the screen, such as the original line-up of the Rogue One squad, which included two mismatched aliens who were eventually replaced with Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus.

As the book progresses through the film’s story, Josh Kushins’ detailed commentary shines a light on the creative processes involved. There are similarly insightful forewords by Chiang, Lamont, and Gareth Edwards. You’ll be intrigued to learn about the many stages of design the squad’s ship went through, which classic movies influenced the designs, and the team’s unusual approach to storyboarding, with Edwards focusing on creating one iconic shot per scene. The overall impression is that Edwards is a very visually imaginative director who worked unconventionally closely with the design team throughout the entire process – a conclusion supported by the stunning visuals of the completed Rogue One.

Whether to learn more about the creative processes, to impress guests, or just to look at the pretty pictures, The Art of Rogue One is a real gem of a book, which will easily occupy many hours away of any Star Wars fan’s life.

THE ART OF ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY / AUTHOR: JOSH KUSHINS / PUBLISHER: ABRAMS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

 


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