poe dameron comic

We’ve known that Marvel was planning to publish a comic book miniseries following Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron this week, but StarWars.com has shared images from the first issue alongside commentary from artist Phil Noto. Here’s a sample:

Poe’s black X-wing in all it’s glory. It was challenging to lay out this double-page splash because of the shape of the X-wing. I didn’t want the page break in the middle to cut the ship in half, but I also didn’t want to cram onto one side, thus defeating the purpose of a double splash. I actually really enjoy drawing the new fighter. It took a while to figure out the geometry and details of it, but between the Lucasfilm photo ref and the plastic toy, it’s just a matter of picking the right angles to make it look fast and exciting.

You can check out those preview pages in the gallery below and additional commentary at the link above.

If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like to inhabit the Star Wars universe from a first person, 360 perspective, StarWars.com has got you covered. The official site has debuted a series of interactive panoramic photos that let you inhabit the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, the cockpit of an X-Wing, and…the creature shop where all of the practical aliens and droids were constructed. Actually, that final one is somehow the most exciting of the bunch. Here’s a primer:

Ever wanted to step inside the Millennium Falcon‘s cockpit? Check out the seats? Look through the windows? See what needs some paint? Now you can. 

StarWars.com presents Star Wars 360: a new series of omni-directional, panoramic photos taken from actual sets during the production of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Kicking off our series, in celebration of the home video release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. In the photo below, you can enlarge to full-screen mode, click and drag to look in any direction, and zoom in or out. (Get as close as you want to the controls. We won’t tell Han.) 

The photo was taken in the cockpit set at Pinewood Studios in England; stay tuned to StarWars.com for more Star Wars 360 panoramas in the coming days. Here’s a hint: you may want to wear orange for the next one.

Click the link above to explore everything for yourself!

maz kanata visual effects

Speaking of the Star Wars creature shop, IGN recent sat down with practical effects wizard Neal Scanlon to talk about his role on the The Force Awakens. The whole thing is worth a read, but here are a few noteworthy excerpts, starting with the decision to make Maz Kanata a digital character after plans to make her a puppet fell through:

“They were very similar. Maz was a long design process, and I think that it was the first character we started on, way before we started on any others, because it was so important to J.J. But I think the reason we decided to go to CG was that — and it may not be completely evident from the film — but Maz’s development within J.J.’s mind and in the script, her role sort of grew. Certainly emotionally, it grew, and we felt there was a point where, in order for her to fully succeed and to liberate her from any constraints, to go to a CG version would mean that indeed. It also allowed us to continue to think and talk about Maz, even after we shot the scenes that Maz was in.”

And here is Scanlon on which droid or creature proved to be the biggest challenge:

“The most complex thing we made was probably BB-8, just by the nature of what BB-8 had to do, the places he had to go, the surfaces he had to run on and the different demands that J.J. wanted of him. You know, how do you bolt together this sphere? How do you make this round thing that can come apart so that you can get inside and do all the things. There’s a lot of architecture inside BB-8 that created him as an entity, which you’ll never see. But he was very complicated. Lots of character work and prototype work to make sure we got him right before we committed to the final build.”

starkiller base

Before we stray too far from the subject of smart, creative people doing cool stuff, take note of this Yahoo Movies interview with Lucasfilm VP and executive creative director Doug Chiang, who worked as a concept artist on the prequel trilogy under George Lucas before offering his talents to The Force Awakens. The whole chat is full of fun tidbits, but here’s him discussing the creation of Starkiller base:

“One of the discussions was, how can we surpass the Death Star? The simple answer was, let’s make it big. The Death Star was moon-sized, so I thought, how about a planet-sized weapon? And one of the first exercises I did was to stick the Death Star dish on a planet, just to see if it would work. At first, it seemed like a ridiculous image. But what I like is, when you push designs and take those risks, sometimes those are the right answers, even though it makes you very uncomfortable. And after the fact you go back and you start to figure out, how can we make this real?”

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