Q&A: Star Wars baddie
Charlie Reddy, England
There are an infinite number of ways to portray a villain, but in the case of Star Wars, there are certain conventions that are upheld. For instance, Sith Lords usually wield red lightsabers, and generally wear red and black outfits. Clutching hands radiating Force lighting are a typical visual anchor. Prosthetic limbs are also common, as they reflect the relentless ambition of an unstoppable character who doesn’t even let the destruction of their physical body hold them back.
A cool colour palette dominates the look of Imperial troops’ uniforms and equipment. There are exceptions, but Imperial officers are known for their cold, mechanical obedience. It’s probably no coincidence that their uniforms are similar in colour to the ‘ feldgrau’ of the Nazis from World War II, and their hats have a similar shape to those of Imperial Japanese officers.
If you look at classic villains (especially Disney), many of them are characterised by sharp features, downward-tilting eyebrows, narrow eyes surrounded by dark circles, and smug expressions. Their smiles aren’t reflected in their eyes. It’s easy to portray the bad guy as a fang-toothed monster, but I’ve always thought humanoid villains are the scariest because they reflect mankind’s capacity for evil.
Sith Lords are consumed by a lust for power, and this should be reflected in their grim countenances. Painting dark circles around the eyes can help. I like my villains to have a cold, intelligent look to them. Sharp facial features, a hooked nose and thin lips are a great starting place.