Fans who attended the D23 Expo last weekend were among the first to see the brand new poster that Drew Struzan designed for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The legendary artist had been retired for some time, but there had long been rumors that he had been coaxed out of retirement to create a new Star Wars: The Force Awakens poster. Now that it has arrived for all to see, Drew Struzan opened up about how he was approached by director J.J. Abrams to work on this poster, while also claiming that he has seen half of the movie already, calling it the best Star Wars film to date.
"It started about a year ago or more, a year and a half ago. I got a call from J.J. Abrams who I have never met, and he was in England shooting the film and he goes 'Hi, I've always loved the work' and Blah, Blah, Blah, sounding like you, you know, like a fanboy (laughs) And we were talking along and he just goes '...Well, would you?' and I said '...If I was asked.' And that was the conversation (laughs). By the end of it, there were no other words. So about a year later, we get together and meet and he says we're using all the original people - John Williams, Lawrence Kasdan, Harrison Ford's in it, everybody's in it and everybody's writing and making the music and we have to have your art to make it the real thing. So, of course, I've got to do it for George (Lucas) and I've got to do it for Star Wars. I've never worked with J.J. before and so we started working on it and he showed me like half the movie and it was just... a wonderful film and I know it's going to be grand. I got to read the script and subsequently I've seen half of it and I can tell you and the fans this, Honest to god, it is far and away probably going to be THE BEST Star Wars you've ever seen. ... Well it's beautifully made and it's a wonderful story."
One of the most intriguing aspects of the movie poster is that John Boyega's Finn is seen holding a lightsaber. We know from the first trailer that Finn is a Stormtrooper, who eventually teams up with Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). While it has long been rumored that Finn goes on the path to becoming a Jedi knight, the poster was certainly an intriguing revelation. When asked if there was a lot of discussion about this poster design with the studio and J.J. Abrams, Drew Struzan revealed he worked on other designs, but they ultimately went with his first design.
"Ah, none what so ever (laughs). I worked for seven months on all different kinds of concepts with the studio and J.J. and if you really want to know the sacred truth, after I got started and I saw the film and read the script, I was going over it in my mind for weeks - How do I feel about it? How can I represent this film really well? And I did this, like many creatives do, I came up with the concept in my sleep. Just like John Lennon used to write his best music in his sleep, I designed my painting in my sleep. That was the first one I did and I went for seven months doing stuff and in the end, guess which one they picked? The very first thing I did (laughs). So trust your sleep because that's what I came up with and that's what they loved from the very beginning. To me it represents the film. The spirit of the film, the new characters, the battle again to find the truth, to grow up, to find the purpose in life. It's all those things that Star Wars had to be and is still. And I hope to represent that again to a new generation."
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is just the beginning, though, with the first spinoff Rogue One: A Star Wars Story debuting next year, Star Wars: Episode VIII arriving in May 2017, Star Wars Anthology: Han Solo Movie hitting theaters in May 2018 and Star Wars: Episode IX coming in 2019. The poster artist clarified during this interview that he "retired from the 100-hour weeks" but he will always still be painting. When asked if he would return to create a poster for any of the sequels and/or spinoffs, Drew Struzan had this to say.
"I have hope and desire if they should ask and want me back, I would consider it. If I'm able and capable... you'll find me here (laughs)."
Do you hope Drew Struzan comes back to make more posters after Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Are you even more excited to see the movie now, after his remarks? Let us know what you think, and stay tuned for more on Star Wars: The Force Awakens.