There may be no more famous movie openings than those featured in the Star Wars franchise. Their yellow text crawls, set against the backdrop of twinkling intergalactic space, are one of the series’ most iconic elements. Yet what if George Lucas had instead opted for a more James Bond-ian introductory template?
While marrying two of cinema’s most memorable title-sequence styles sounds far, far from natural, one intrepid New York City designer has proven that, with the right flair, Vader and 007 are actually a quite fitting pair. For his senior thesis at Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts, Kurt Rauffer has created a wholly new beginning for 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back that’s crafted to resemble a 007 opener, replete with abstract imagery modeled after unforgettable moments from the first two films.
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The results are undeniably stunning, from a color-coded starship trip through Star Wars’ Death Star finale, to a speeder traversing the curve of Darth Vader’s helmet, to the sight of a lone lightsaber floating downward through the clouds. That Rauffer begins his three-minute clip with a live-action scene from Empire, as well as utilizes the well-known fonts and graphical flourishes of the series, further gives the clip a sense of authenticity. Meanwhile, its use of Radiohead’s “Spectre” — a track written for, and then unused by, last year’s Daniel Craig-headlined Bond adventure — is also an apt choice, given that its melancholic romanticism is attuned to the story’s sense of mounting doom.
No word yet on what grade Rauffer received for this tour-de-force, but as a work of loving fan art, it’s a standout — and available to watch above, via Vimeo.
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