The Art of Rogue One

Mis­sion imp os­si­ble Ex­plore the many con­cepts and be­hind-thescenes in­sights that helped craft the first stand­alone Star Wars film

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Ex­plore the char­ac­ter, ve­hi­cle and en­vi­ron­ment con­cepts be­hind Gareth Ed­wards’ stand­alone Star Wars film.

The book’s main draw is the acres of space given over to the evoca­tive art

The weight of ex­pec­ta­tion that ac­com­pa­nies a new art book on a galaxy far, far away is im­mense, given how in­flu­en­tial the clas­sic tril­ogy’s art of… books have been on to­day’s con­cept artists. Thank­fully, The Art of Rogue One picks up the lightsaber­shaped ba­ton and runs with it.

Fol­low­ing fore­words by art di­rec­tor Doug Chi­ang, the film’s co-pro­duc­tion de­signer Neil La­mont and di­rec­tor Gareth Ed­wards, the first text in this book lists all the artists fea­tured, along with their job ti­tles. You soon re­alise that Rogue One was a film where con­cept art mat­tered. “Of all the films I’ve worked on, this one prob­a­bly has had the most art, and that’s all be­cause of Gareth,” it quotes Doug as say­ing. You then dis­cover how the di­rec­tor worked closely with con­cept artists in both the US and the UK as both the nar­ra­tive and the film’s de­signs evolved si­mul­ta­ne­ously through­out its pro­duc­tion.

The book fol­lows the film’s timeline. Chap­ters chart the dif­fer­ent plan­ets of Rogue One and the de­signs that first ap­peared on­screen in each lo­cale, along with storyboards and imag­ined scenes. This self-con­tained ap­proach means you can eas­ily chart a con­cept’s de­vel­op­ment, rather than have to flick back and forth through the book to see its next it­er­a­tion, à la The Art of The Force Awak­ens.

Anec­dotes a-plenty spice up the text. For ex­am­ple, the think­ing be­hind the Im­pe­rial droid K-2SO was to make him a laid-back char­ac­ter, and so the de­signer gave him a stoop as a visual short­cut to his per­son­al­ity. Else­where, it turns out that com­ing up with a Rebel ship to ri­val the iconic X-wing was tricky; the team was only partly jok­ing when they re­veal they drew “a mil­lion ships” be­fore lock­ing in the look of the U-wing troop car­rier.

While the text is com­pre­hen­sive, the main draw is the acres of space given over to the evoca­tive art. Each art­work is cap­tioned; mostly just with ti­tle and artist credit (though some are more de­tailed). And it’s all re­pro­duced beau­ti­fully, en­abling you to ap­pre­ci­ate the finer de­tails and be drawn back into the worlds of Rogue One all over again.

Glyn Dil­lon, co-cos­tume de­signer on the film, worked on the look of lead char­ac­ter Jyn Erso.

This early il­lus­tra­tion by cos­tume con­cept artist Adam Brock­bank cap­tures the essence of mili­tia leader Saw Ger­rera.

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