Five Favorite Star Wars Visuals

Star Wars Insider always has some great questions that they ask authors, artists, graphic novelists, actors, etc. regarding Star Wars.  Sometimes it’ll be simple questions like “Favorite Star Wars movie?” but other times they have a section where they ask someone more in depth questions about their expertise.

In this latest issue, they asked Chris Trevas his five favorite visual moments from the Saga.  Trevas is an official Star Wars artist who has lent his hand to the Star Wars: Roleplaying Game, Star Wars Adventure Journal, and co-illustrated some Essential Guide’s, among much more.  For Trevas’ answers, you’ll have to pick up the latest Insider.

What are my five favorite visual moments?

I’m so glad you asked!

5. Cloud City

Ahhhh, the view of cloud city.  It sparked my imagination so much when I was younger.  Actually, it still does.  This image was just so sci-fi in my mind that I gravitated towards it.  Before seeing this, my images of cities in the clouds were always ones that somehow floated amongst the clouds, almost like a boat.  But this made so much more sense!  The view flying towards it represented a haven, a safe place, and a sanctuary (I know all those words basically mean the same thing; don’t judge).   A place where our heroes could find some respite from being chased by the diligent Empire.  Little did I know that it would be the opposite, but the visualization worked so well at calming my fears and making it seem like everything would work out.

cloud city

4.  Anakin and Obi-Wan Battling on Mustafar

There’s just something about this image/moment that is incredible and it’s the only image I picked from the Prequels.  Friend fighting friend with such ferocity against a backdrop of molten lava (Lucas’ version of hell).  The emotional image, coupled with the visual imagery stops you in your tracks.  The colors are well done by the CGI team with the vibrant hues of orange, red, and yellow.  I’ve been to Hawaii and have seen real lava, and let me tell you, they did a pretty good job with the colors.

Another aspect worth noting are how their lightsabers stand out and both lightsabers turn a purplish shade when mixed with the red/orange background.  It’s almost ambiguous, as if Obi-Wan is teetering towards the dark side and there could still be hope for Anakin; the boundaries don’t seem defined quite yet.

anakin obi wan fighting mustafar

3.  Imperial Troops Have Entered Space!

Dear George Lucas, Ralph McQuarrie, and ILM: you are awesome for creating an animal-like machine that I will never, ever forget.  The visual image here is so important because it portends a hopeless situation.  We are located on a desolate icy, snow-filled planet.  Snow rarely represents life and we know that the Rebels probably picked this location due to lack of habitability.  Against that bleak backdrop, we have these Imperial Walkers, huge and menacing.  They mean destruction.  What I love about this image is that you don’t even need to understand Star Wars to understand what is about to happen here.  The visual representation is such a punch to the gut that even if you’ve never seen the AT-AT’s before, you know it does not bode well.


2.  The Entrance of Darth Vader

This image is imprinted in my memory.  Watching it for the first time, with the pause before Vader comes out, only heightened the anticipation.  And when he enters the Tantive IV, all bets are off the table.  Standing ovation for George Lucas because this has to go down as one of the best entrances by a villain in movie history.  You’ve got everything in white, even his own soldiers, and then out of that doorway comes a figure in complete black with light shining behind him.  So complete that you cannot see one inch of skin and he has a menacing breathing apparatus as well.  He doesn’t even talk in this scene and he doesn’t need to.  The visual imagery is enough.  It’s so simple, yet so powerful.

darth vader entrance

1.  Wistful Longing

Is it right that this makes my top spot because of the external factors related to it?  I love this imagery because of John Williams’ swelling theme behind it, that Luke is frustrated by the fact that he thinks he’ll always be stuck on Tatooine, and by the symbolism of the sun(s) setting on one chapter of his life.  The next day will change his life forever.  But for now, he stares off into the sunset with a wistful longing for a grander, more epic life.

It’s relatable on some level to all of us: that yearning for something bigger or something greater.  That small home/issue/relationship we want to leave behind, a dry desert that holds nothing for us.

What’s interesting about this image is that when you just look at it visually, you actually can’t tell if it’s sunset or sunrise without the context.  It could be a hopeful image, one of a new day and changes.  That’s why I struggled with putting it in first place.  The image is stunning, but is it stunning in and of itself or because of the emotions I place with it?  (Then I realized I didn’t care, and it was my blog, and I like it in first place.)



What about you?  Do you have any Star Wars visuals that just speak to you?



9 thoughts on “Five Favorite Star Wars Visuals

  1. I agree with these being 5 awesome visuals, but I’m trying to decide if there are any I would make favorite instead. The twin sunset is a unique scene, too, because when I was 12 and first saw it, it was the sort of scene I would write off as “EH! BORING!” But instead I loved it, even though it took me years to understand what Luke was thinking as he stared at the sky with the last words of his latest argument still no doubt ringing in his ears: “Looks like I’m going nowhere. I have to get those droids cleaned up.”

    The Rifftrax (find them here) has just “ruined” that entrance of Vader for me because now I just hear the quip, “Okay, what am I doing? Cutting a ribbon on a mall? Nobody tells me anything!” 🙂 Man, I love Rifftrax. Sure, they’re making fun of Star Wars, but it’s the fun kind of making fun.

    I think I would add the scene in ROTJ when Luke and Vader cross sabers in front of the steps leading to the throne, with the Emperor in the background. The lightsaber duels are always powerful, and that one is such a tremendous culmination of everything that has come before.

    1. My sister and brother love Rifftrax. I have not been able to get into them, alas. I think it’s a certain kind of humor… They also love Terry Pratchett and I don’t see the appeal in him either.

      The ROTJ scene is a good one! It’s a classic good against evil, with the master manipulator in the background. You’re right, “tremendous culmination” is a great way to describe it.

  2. Oooh, I think the twin sunset on Tatooine is probably my favorite as well. The music is just perfect. In terms of visuals, I have always enjoyed the “transitions” between scenes–the fade outs, or side wipes, etc.

    ROTJ is my favorite of the trilogy, and I think the visuals are really a part of that. The contrast of the sand in the beginning, vs. the forest, vs. the monochromatic Death Star battle are really neat. When I was little, watching the Emperor walk down the shuttle ramp to meet Vader, with all the guards at attention, was pretty ominous to me.

  3. Oh that’s a good one! I do like that one too. I like the long shot of it with all the stormtroopers, officers, etc ( So amazing.
    I’m surprised I didn’t have any from ROTJ, but I just couldn’t think of any that made it to the top 5. I mean, only one Prequel shot made it, though I love the image of Theed Palace in TPM ( I adored Naboo and would live there in a second if it was real!

  4. The Darth Maul fight scene in Episode 1… The music playing in the background, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan fighting in tandem, the double sided saber… It blew me away.

      1. The music fits so well with the visuals though… the flashing reds. The giants leaps and falls, the open space dropping into the seemingly endless pit, and then the frantic nature of the final bit of the scene as everything goes from grand to close quarters…

Use Your Comlink...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s