Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be introducing a host of new elements into the galaxy far, far away, not least of which will be those furry penguin-like porgs, which will reportedly factor heavily into Rian Johnson’s sequel (and which just received a cute animated video co-starring BB-8). When it came time to design the film’s ships and vehicles, however, the creative team took inspiration from a familiar place — the original trilogy — which is ably born out by our first peeks at the film’s updated Star Destroyer and AT-ATs.
In the latest episode of The Star Wars Show (viewable above), fans can check out the First Order behemoths set to debut in The Last Jedi: The All Terrain Megacaliber Six (a descendant of the AT-AT), and the First Order Dreadnought (a souped-up Star Destroyer). As design supervisor Kevin Jenkins later told Starwars.com, he and Johnson wanted, with these two creations, to harken back to the era of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, which functioned as stylistic beacons for their own work:
“Really, the final aesthetic came from something we were doing on Episode VII — this is why I made a physical model. If it feels like a model and I felt like it probably could have been in the original trilogy, then I’d be happy with it. I kind of did that bit for me. That was why Rian liked some of the physical models that I was making so much, because it made us realize that, ‘You know, if this could have been around 1983 and if it feels good, then we’re fine.’ That was pretty much the internal checkbox that I took forward with that.”
For the AT-M6, Jenkins confesses that he wanted to advance the First Order’s walkers so that they were less dog-like — and prone to being felled by cables — and more simian in nature: “literally in profile, I molded it over an actual photo of a gorilla to get the initial base pose.”
And as for the Dreadnought, the biggest thing Johnson demanded of them was that they have lots and lots of guns, with Jenkins stating:
“We had all sorts of design ideas and things, but when seeing an early cut with Rian, I just remember straight afterwards we talked to each other and went, ‘We need guns.’ We tried radars because, obviously, you look at Return of the Jedi and there were radar dishes. There’s one on the Death Star. So it was also part of that retro, Flash Gordon-esque sci-fi thing, and we went down that path for a while, but then the cut just went, ‘Nah. Big guns. It just needs big guns.’”
To read more about Johnson’s work on these two new First Order vehicles, head over to Starwars.com. And to see actual photos of them, check out the video above — or, you know, wait until Dec. 15, when Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in theaters.
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