Cloud City in Force Awakens

At D23 Expo 2015 over the weekend, JJ Abrams and his cast dropped an exclusive Star Wars: The Force Awakens poster created by legendary poster artist Drew Struzan. In the insane atmosphere of the convention, we really didn’t have time to take it all in. So now that the Disney fan convention is over, I wanted to point out some things I noticed about the poster. There isn’t any mind-blowing observations, only speculative questions. Hit the jump to take a closer look at the Drew Struzan Force Awakens poster and see what we can find.

Drew Struzan Star Wars: The Force Awakens poster from D23 Expo 2015

Is This The Official One Sheet?

Before we start, it should be noted that the Drew Struzan Star Wars: The Force Awakens poster is not the film’s official one-sheet. It was a promotional limited edition poster released only to the fans at D23 Expo 2015.

drew struzan star wars

Will Drew Struzan Make an Official Force Awakens One-Sheet?

We don’t know if Struzan is working on a more traditional one-sheet for the movie. (We hope so, as this doesn’t seem as polished as the classic Struzan Star Wars one sheets.) The retired poster artist hinted on Instagram that there could be another, saying he “can’t wait to show you what’s next.” But others who are in the know seem to suggest otherwise.

force awakens lightsaber

Finn Has Anakin’s Lightsaber

The most obvious takeaway from this poster is that John Boyega‘s character Finn has Anakin’s lightsaber. This is the same lightsaber we have seen in the trailer being passed around, surely a subject of mystery in the upcoming chapter. Does Finn wielding a lightsaber mean that he is a Jedi? The first Star Wars teaser trailer opens with a voice over from Andy Serkis‘ character Supreme Leader Snoke (whoever that is) saying “There has been an awakening, have you felt it?” with Finn popping into the desert landscape frame. Or does Finn wield the lightsaber in a fight sequence, not knowing how to use the ancient weapon? I’m guessing the latter, although I’m sure JJ Abrams and crew want you to believe the former.

poster

How Many Suns?

After the poster was released, some fans noted that the poster included not one but two suns, using this observation to claim that the film would return to Luke Skywalker’s home of Tatooine, the desert world seen in the original trilogy. But if you look at the painting above, you will notice there are more than two suns pictured, there are three. We do know that the film begins on the desert planet of Jakku, Rey’s home planet. Could that planet have three suns? Or is Struzan just using the sun for dramatic lighting?

The Moisture Vaporator

The moisture vaporators on the Skywalker moisture farm in A New Hope are iconic. I assume that Jakku has other sources of hydration, because, if you’re going to make a desert planet exactly like Tatooine, then why not just set it in Tatooine? But the Struzan poster features one of the iconic vaporators on the bottom left corner of the poster, right in front of a setting sun. I’m sure JJ Abrams gave Struzan a ton of resources with which to create this painting, so if he needed to fill the space on the corner of the frame, why did he choose the recognizable moisture vaporator unless its seen in the film?

Even the X-Wing fighters seen in silhouette on the left side of the poster are the Force Awakens-era design, which leads me to believe that Struzan wouldn’t just throw something not in the film onto the poster to help fill in the corner.  Could this mean the film could also be a home coming to Tatooine at some point, or is the vaporator just to reinforce the desert setting?

Cloud City in Force Awakens

Cloud City?

If you look at the bottom of the Drew Struzan Star Wars: The Force Awakens poster, you will notice a close-up of a set from the original Star Wars trilogy. Yes, those are the iconic stairs from Cloud City, the place where Luke Skywalker lost possession of Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber, which we now see in the hands of Finn. Could The Force Awakens revisit Cloud City? Or did Drew Struzan purposely include that iconic imagery not only to fill some empty space but also as a commentary on the lightsaber now in Finn’s possession?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Rey Stands in the Middle

Screenwriter Daniel Kunka pointed out to me the juxtaposition of Rey “squarely in between light and dark side halves of poster.” Could this be a metaphorical positioning? It’s very possible that Drew just wanted to put the film’s main character, Daisy Ridley’s character Rey, front and center.

There’s also the fact that these three characters all have similar weapons raised in parallel fashion. It’s a good design element, and also a tidy reinforcement of this film as the beginning of the third major Star Wars trilogy. And the part of Rey’s staff that is silhouetted by the sun at her back sure does look a lot like a lightsaber hilt, but is that reading too much into things?

revenge of the jedi poster

It should be noted that Drew Struzan has been known to put something in just because it looks cool, for instance the wrong colored lightsabers on the Jedi poster, which by the way, also re-uses the Cloud City stairs.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens on December 18, 2015.

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