Just as he did in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, director J.J. Abrams has gone back to the designs of original Star Wars artist Ralph McQuarrie again for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, with a major set piece in the upcoming film inspired by a previously-unused design by McQuarrie. In the trailer, fans got to see their first look at the throne room of Emperor Palpatine, and the imagery (featuring a giant stone throne amid a crown of rocky spikes behind it), as Lucasfilm's own Phil Szostak revealed on Twitter, is heavily inspired by McQuarrie sketches from the 1980s.
text. You can see the images below.
Ralph McQuarrie's art helped bring George Lucas's vision to life before he ever started shooting. His designs for planets, vehicles, characters, robots, and even weapons all made their way diretly and indirectly into the film series. Even his unused designs were so good they were kept in the Lucasfilm archives just in case they needed to be pulled from later. The initial McQuarrie design for Chewbacca, for instance, featured a character with more lizard-like features, and became the direct basis for Zeb in Star Wars Rebels, for instance. Likewise, older designs for C-3PO became newer droids in more recent Star Wars stories. Despite now being deceased for almost five years, the visionary's work is still affecting Star Wars every day.
His art has been collected several times, and is well worth looking into, to see how Star Wars went from the ideas of one man to the beloved and vibrant world of generations of fans.
Per the film's official synopsis, "Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams join forces once again to take viewers on an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the riveting conclusion of the seminal Skywalker saga, where new legends will be born and the final battle for freedom is yet to come."
The previous film in the franchise, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, offered many new wrinkles in the ongoing saga. And while that entry proved to be divisive among some fans, Abrams insisted that it didn't change the story he had planned for The Rise of Skywalker.
"The story that we're telling, the story that we started to conceive when we did The Force Awakens was allowed to continue. Episode VIII didn't really derail anything that we were thinking about," Abrams said to ET Canada. "But I will say that the fun of this movie is that these characters are all together on this adventure as a group. That's the thing that I was most excited about to see, the dynamic between these characters that these amazing actors play on this desperate, seat-of-your-pants adventure. That, to me, was the most fun, having the group together."
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premieres in theaters on December 20th.