Cassian meets K-2SO in Rogue One Prequel Comic

“StarWars.com is excited to announce Star Wars: Rogue One — Cassian & K-2SO Special #1, coming in August from Marvel. Written by Duane Swierczynski with art by Fernando Blanco, the 40-page one-shot will reveal how Cassian, one of the top intelligence officers of the Rebel Alliance, met K-2SO, a reprogrammed Imperial security droid. Check out the cover below by Julian Totino Tedesco, which finds the duo back-to-back, ready for battle.”

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Source: StarWars.com

Rogue One: the U-wing’s design was partly inspired by Count Dooku’s solar sailer and Zam Wesell’s ship

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“4. The 80/20 rule. With Rogue One butting right up against A New Hope, there was a need to make sure the two halves of the original saga blended together seamlessly. “We knew that 80% of the film would need to rely on the classic designs,” Chiang said, “but that gave us 20% to play with.”

According to Chiang, they wanted to start big and the challenge was to make that 80% of their designs feel as though George Lucas had created them and built them and simply didn’t use them. The other 20% would come from blending the prequel designs with a more handcrafted look.

To design the U-wing (which went through 781 different drawings!), Chiang took Gareth Edwards up to the Lucasfilm archives to show him some of the designs they’d come up with for previous films. Edwards gravitated toward the looks based on an F1 Hydroplane, which shared design elements with Count Dooku’s solar sailer and Zam Wesell’s ship, helping bridge the looks between the dark times.”

Read the whole article at StarWars.com.

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Doug Chiang: “We’re grounding everything in the universe and worlds that George Lucas built”

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“George Lucas may not have dreamt up the story for Rogue One, but the characters inhabiting the standalone Star Wars tale are ones that live in his ongoing universe.

“The playground is still George’s,” says Doug Chiang, who serves as vice president and executive creative director at Lucasfilm, the Disney-owned company that creates Star Wars movies.

Lucas, who sold his Star Wars empire to Disney in 2012 for more than $4 billion, doesn’t contribute directly to the new movies, but Chiang says his influence lives on.

“We’re grounding everything in the universe and worlds that George built,” he says in an interview to promote the release of Rogue One on Blu-ray. “But, we’re pushing the boundaries of how far we can go. In the previous years, when I worked with George, he was the guide. He could tell us. Now, we’re trying to figure that out ourselves. I love working on the edge like that.”

After working on the effects for Forrest Gump and Terminator 2, just to name a few, Chiang joined Lucasfilm in 1995 and helped lead the art department on some of the prequel films, beginning with 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

Now, he’s the driving force behind the visual design in the upcoming Skywalker Saga films (a.k.a. Episode VIII and IX) as well as the standalone anthology films, which include Rogue One and next year’s young Han Solo entry.

“Our path now, in the absence of George’s input, is knowing that he built this very elaborate universe over decades. So the questions we ask ourselves are: How do we protect that and how do we push the boundaries of (the new films) so that it fits in the Star Wars universe and adds something new? […]”

Read more at Toronto Sun.

Doug Chiang: Rogue One‘s design “fills the gaps” between Episodes III and IV

u-wing“[…] ComingSoon.net: Now this was interesting because I know in the prequels, you actually had a little bit of leeway, in the sense that you were so far before the original trilogy that you could kind of come up with some different looks. It was more of an art deco kind of throwback look. But on this one, it’s so close to “A New Hope”. How did you try to keep it contemporary, but also make sure to adhere to that design aesthetic?

Chiang: Yeah, that is a really good question because that’s the question we asked ourselves. We knew “Rogue One” was going to take place right before “Episode IV”. So a majority of our design had to fit seamlessly with “Episode IV”. Their approach was that what percent had to fit. And there’s fewer designs in the sense that you won’t just build the thing. So for instance, like the Yavin hangar. So we saw bits of it in “Episode IV”, but what if George had turned the camera around the other way?

 

And so, what it allowed us was to design something that kind of was heavily influenced by “Episode IV” and stayed true to it, but yet it gave us license to open up and expand the design vocabulary a little bit more, while still kind of fitting in. It was a really great approach for us, because one, we knew that the design had to feel as if we were designing a movie, as if we were designing an alternate version of “Episode IV”. But then, we also knew because the film before, there was going to be a small percentage, maybe 20 percent of new designs, and that was going to give us the excuse to bridge that “Episode III” to “IV”, to kind of have that sort of design history lineage, to make sense of all that.

And that’s one of the great things. When I started working on “Star Wars” George said, “You know, we’re going to try something new that we weren’t going to copy old designs.” And it seems like that was kind of the best thing because the process of designing for “Star Wars” was exactly the same. The only difference was the result. But I got to understand how George approached designs for “Star Wars”. And his approach was, really, he created the designs in our design history so that, you know, there are a lot of visual distinctions. Like, “IV”, “V” and “VI” can be easily anchored in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s designs, and “I”, “II” and “III” are like, in the 20’s and 30’s. And so, when you know that, you can then fill in the gaps, you know how to bridge the non-aesthetics.

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Designing an Empire: Doug Chiang on Imperial Architecture in Rogue One

“[…] To mark Rogue One‘s arrival on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD, StarWars.com asked the masterful Doug Chiang, co-production designer on Rogue One, to select some his favorite works of Imperial architecture concept art from the movie’s development (many of which would evolve as production continued) and tell us all about them. […]

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StarWars.com: I love this. This is [an early version of] the shield gate at Scarif. It’s so massive in scale — in this painting, you have Star Destroyers docking on it. Is there ever any worry, when you attempt something like this, that you might be lessening the impact that, say, a Star Destroyer might have? You still have to figure out a way to make this impressive and keep their fleet impressive at the same time. Are those things that you’re thinking of in the design phase?

Doug Chiang: Yeah. We’re very conscious of not breaking the rules of Star Wars architecture. In particular, the shield gate and some of the early ideas for it, we wanted to start grand. Because we knew that if we don’t start with a grand vision, set the aspirational bar really high, we may never create something that’s very striking. The original idea was, let’s just go for it. What can we create that will inspire us? One of the ideas was that we were going to ring Scarif with this giant ring, that was going to be part a construction ring for Star Destroyers, but it was also going to be a refueling, resurfacing facility for the Empire. The reason we thought a ring might be interesting is, in my mind, the Death Star is the ultimate in Imperial manufacturing. That’s the big statement. Since this was going to take place before that, we were thinking, what could be something structurally impressive but wouldn’t supersede the Death Star? We thought, okay, maybe an orbital ring of some kind. That’s where we came up with this. It seemed like it was in line with the technology the Empire had, but yet as a visual statement, it wasn’t going to supersede the Death Star.”

Read the whole interview at StarWars.com.

John Knoll talks about George Lucas’ lasting influence on ILM

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Syfy Wire : “Your team really gets to show off new technologies, and I know you’re constantly working on these new technologies; is that accelerated when you’re actually on a show and you run into a problem, or is it something you try to keep going all the time?”

John Knoll : “To some extent, that’s something we always try to do; it’s part of the culture at ILM to never accept that the status quo is as good as it can be. Part of the process is always, ‘Is there a better way?’ We try to think through if there’s something we can do better creatively or technically, or just is more efficient.

This dissatisfaction with the status quo and constantly playing with a better way, I think is something that George Lucas really was a major foster of. The way that Lucasfilm used ILM was George never restricted his thinking to things that he knew could be executed with the tools at the time. He would write what he thought would be cool and what he wanted from a storytelling standpoint with the assumption that, ‘Well, they’ll figure it out!’

That sort of throwing the gauntlet down of ‘All right, well, you guys are going to figure out how to do this,’ drove a lot of real innovation at the company. How we rose to those challenges, we developed technology that we were then able to offer to other clients and other projects. It was just generally good for the industry and good for us in particular. I felt that we should continue that legacy. As Lucasfilm is developing IP and we’re working on our projects, we should be using those films to advance the ball further down the field, and to make things better for the rest of the company and the rest of the industry.”
Read the whole interview at SyfyWire.

John Knoll is Chief Creative Officer and Senior Visual Effects Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic. He has been Visual Effects Supervisor of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One, among many other films.

Rogue One grossed more in North America than overseas, unlike Episodes I, II, III & VII

ro01“Today sees the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on DVD and Blu-Ray. Walt Disney’s first stand-alone/spin-off movie in their newfangled Star Wars franchise was an unquestionable hit. It earned a whopping $1.055 billion worldwide, becoming the 20th-biggest global grosser of all time and the year’s second-biggest earner behind Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War ($1.153b). It also earned $531.7 million in North America alone, becoming the seventh-biggest domestic earner of all time, or the 57th when adjusted for inflation. And here’s the interesting little nugget: It is the biggest-grossing movie of all time to earn more in North America than overseas.

Inflation and fluctuating exchange rates notwithstanding, the film earned 50.4% of its money in North America. Heck, if you just look at its overseas figures, it made less in foreign grosses than the likes of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ($578 million versus $523m), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn part II ($537m in 2D) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($542m). That’s not to claim that Star Wars is doomed or any such nonsense, but it does paint a picture of a franchise that depends on North American box office more than most modern-day blockbuster franchises.”

Read more at Forbes.

According to Box Office Mojo, A New Hope earned 59,5% of its money in North America. The Empire Strikes Back : 54%. Return of the Jedi : 65,1%. The Phantom Menace : 46,2%. Atttack of the Clones : 47,8%. Revenge of the Sith : 44,8%. The Force Awakens : 45,3%.