force awakens early concepts

Did you know that the early chase in Star Wars: The Force Awakens was originally designed to be a speeder bike these through the wreckage on Jakku? Here are some fun facts and trivia learned during The Art Of Star Wars: The Force Awakens panel at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016. Hit the jump to learn about some of the Force Awakens early concepts.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Early Concepts

The panel line-up included: Executive Creative Director Doug Chiang, Lucasfilm Story Group’s Rayne Roberts, The Art of The Force Awakens author Phil Szostak, ILM London supervising art director Ken Jenkins, and Force Awakens concept artists Andree Wallin, Glyn Dillon, Andree Wallin and Matt Allsop. Here are a bunch of cool trivia and fun details about the early development that was revealed during the presentation:

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A Death Star Crashed On Tatooine Inspired Jakku

Work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens began months before filmmaker J.J. Abrams signed on to direct (and co-write) the project. Doug Chiang started working on The Force Awakens in January 2013, with the first three months being a “blue sky” exploration of what might be possible with the Lucasfilm Story Group. It was during this phase that Chiang created an image of the Death Star crashed on Tatooine, which inspired Jakku.

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An Alternate Opening Shot

Before Abrams came on board, concept artist Doug Chiang developed an opening for the film which was a fun play on the opening for A New Hope. After the crawl, a Star Destroyer would have entered from above. But its not chasing a ship. We realize its broken, just a piece of a star destroyer. It’s actually being tugged by a scavenger, which would have been an introduction to our hero.

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The Jakku Chase Was Originally Envisioned As A Speeder Bike Action Sequence

The chase scene through imperial wreckage on Jakku was originally designed to be with Rey on her speeder. But at that early stage in development, they had yet to design Rey’s double popsicle stick-looking speeder bike. Instead Doug Chiang was using a Endor 74-Z speeder bike as a placeholder. Abrams saw these early concept pieces and suggested that they chase through the wreckage with the Millennium Falcon instead.

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Other Tidbits

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey lives inside horizontal AT-AT Walker. The original concept that inspired that was a painting by Doug Chiang of a home inside an AT-AT, that was hanging inside a Star Destroyer.

The Resistance base was originally going to take place on a forest planet, a mix between Dagobah and Yavin IV. The base started massive and kept shrinking as they presented more iterations.

Early in development, Kylo Ren didn’t have a name so the concept artists all referred to him as “Jedi Killer.” The mask design for the Guavian Death Gang was an early Jedi Killer concept. They didn’t know much about the character at first but they knew he would need to be part of a gang or group, so Glyn Dillon based some of the early designs on biker gangs. The idea evolved quite a bit and developed into the idea of the Knights of Ren. They spent weeks trying to figure out the look of Kylo Ren’s lightsaber and it wasn’t until JJ Abrams told Doug Chiang to think about “sizzling bacon, amplified by a hundred” that they began to figure it out.

For more cool concept art, don’t forget you can still pick up The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, available on Amazon.

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