Thursday, December 10, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Leaked "The Force Awakens" Concept Art

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens opening in barely a week, I thought I'd celebrate #ThrowbackThursday with a look at some early concept art from the film, leaked online in mid-October 2014, before even the very first teaser of the film. Surprisingly, most of this art fits in perfectly with the plot and character details we now know. And the parts that don't? Well, they might just provide some insight into the film's biggest secrets. If it wasn't clear already, SPOILER ALERT!
The first hint about this art was provided all the way back in the second teaser of the film in April; it showed a shot of Darth Vader's decayed helmet, just like the one seen here. The official trailer in October provided some more context, with Kylo Ren wearing a mask and telling the helmet "I will finish what you started", similarly aboard the bridge of a Star Destroyer.

It's interesting to see an early (and vastly different) design of Kylo's mask, but there's one detail that stands out: his robotic hand, which originally led fans to believe that this picture depicted an evil Luke. Kylo's hands have exclusively appeared gloved, so does this mean that his robotic hand will be a big reveal in the movie? 
Not too hard to see what's going on here. There's the crashed Star Destroyer on Jakku, seen several times throughout the teasers and trailers. The standing figure with the cloak is almost definitely Rey, and from the databank, we know that the scavenger guy is Teedo, and his mount is a "semi-mechanical Luggabeast". 

The only thing to notice here is the X-Wing. We saw at least one of these fighters crashed near the Star Destroyer, so its appearance here is no big surprise. But another image on the databank shows that BB-8 is involved in Rey and Teedo's interaction, and the droid's entry identifies him as the loyal astromech of Poe Dameron, who we know gets captured by the First Order early in the film. Maybe this art tells us specifically that Poe crashes his X-Wing on Jakku, and BB-8 is found inside.
This is a pretty familiar sight, seen in the first teaser: Rey riding her speeder. Nothing more than that to notice, except for a slightly better look at the settlements around where she lives.  
Here's something we've pretty much never seen in any of the trailers: Rey's home in a downed AT-AT walker. That's right, she's literally living in a tank. (She must have hit gold on the Jakku real estate market.) The vehicle with the four round engines, visible inside the walker, must be another one of Rey's creations. 
There's no doubt what this art depicts: the aftermath of Finn's crash-landing on Jakku, after escaping a Star Destroyer. It's right around here where the film's very first piece of footage takes place, with Finn rising to his feet in a panic on Jakku's sandy surface. 
Don't blame yourself if this guy looks unfamiliar; he's not in any of the footage or images. Rumors suggest that this a depiction of Max von Sydow's yet-unknown character. According to Making Star Wars, his name is Lor San Tekka, and he's a "a man in possession of information vital to the quest of finding the elusive Luke Skywalker", and is "sought out by the heroic pilot Poe Dameron". 
Whoa. Kylo Ren is getting very cozy with a Leia lookalike. This is probably meant to be Rey (can you think of any other young woman in the film?), which raises all kinds of questions. First, this would confirm the theory that Rey is Han and Leia's daughter. And second, if popular rumors are correct and Kylo is Rey's twin, this is verging way too close on incest (or "twincest", if you will). Even if Kylo is instead Luke's son, that's still not the way cousins should be touching each other. Either this artist is a total creep, or Kylo has no relation to the Skywalker family whatsoever. 
This is a closer look at Maz Kanata's castle on jungle planet Takodana, with the Millennium Falcon parked outside. There's smoke billowing from its spires, which makes perfect sense since the recent TV spots have shown it getting bombarded by TIE fighters. 
This intriguing piece of art seems to take place inside the castle. The woman in the center appears to be Rey, and the little droid is an early design of BB-8, but what about those other two? The man on the left is probably Finn, holding Anakin Skywalker's blue lightsaber, and the short alien on the right is Kanata herself. It's been rumored that the lightsaber is secretly stored in BB-8 during the beginning of the movie, so maybe he waits until they've arrived at Kanata's castle to reveal it. 

Other rumors suggest that Maz, using her mysterious powers, explains to Rey that she's a Skywalker, and tries to give her the lightsaber. Rey is freaked out by this, and runs away into the jungle, while Finn is attracted to the lightsaber and takes it. 
Here we have perhaps the most mysterious artwork here. Kylo Ren hangs out in Star Destroyers, not abandoned temples, so who's this guy on the throne? Teaser 2 sported an infamous shot of a cloaked figure laying a robotic hand on R2-D2, leading many fans to believe that it was Luke. The other figure on the right looks like Rey, so this must be the scene where our heroes find the lost Jedi and try to bring him out of isolation. 
It looks like Rey's finally ready to face her destiny. Between the snowy forest in the background, an unmasked Kylo Ren, and a caucasian version of Finn on the ground, there's no doubt of where this scene takes place. We've known for months that Kylo and Finn will duel in a similar terrain, and EW revealed that Rey joins him in confronting the dark warrior. Assuming that this artwork is accurate, my theory is correct: after Kylo defeats Finn, Rey grabs the blue lightsaber and fights him herself. 

What do you think this concept art signifies? Tell me in the comments, and may the Force be with you all. 

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