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Design failures (and successes) of the PT — Page 5

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DuracellEnergizer said:

They’re not real people 'cause they’re mostly CGI.

This is also true.

So really what I mean is the entire Robot vs Clone story is designed for one purpose: to allow massacres on a military scale to be sold to family audiences. It’s the last creative way possible to depict such a war. Some of it looks neat but that’s it. The same problem applies to most of the PT, since the concept artists are good at their jobs but can’t influence the real film making.

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Broom Kid said:

I doubt even PT fans could name any of Padme’s ships.

There’s the one that looks like a silver bar of soap

And the other one that looks like a silver bar of soap.

You forget, she had three ships. The big pointy one, the big airplane, and the little one.

ROTJ Storyboard Reconstruction Project

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timdiggerm said:

Broom Kid said:

I doubt even PT fans could name any of Padme’s ships.

There’s the one that looks like a silver bar of soap

And the other one that looks like a silver bar of soap.

You forget, she had three ships. The big pointy one, the big airplane, and the little one.

Naboo Royal Starship
Naboo royal cruiser
H-Type Nubian yacht

Han: Hey Lando! You kept your promise, right? Not a scratch?
Lando: Well, what’s left of her isn’t scratched. All the scratched parts got knocked off along the way.
Han (exasperated): Knocked off?!

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I both liked and disliekd Queen Amidala’s get ups in The Phantom Menace.
I liked them because they were very striking, and I liked the idea that she had this extremely formal wear and deepened voice to giver her a more intimidating appearance to the Senate because in reality she was just a short, petite, teenage girl.

However, when watching it, it looked very clearly to be Asian-inspired. So much so that it didn’t feel like I was in a galaxy far, far away, but instead a local Kabuki-themed production.

For the longest time I didn’t realize Darth Vader’s design was patterned after samurai armor. If anything, I thought of Doctor Doom. Even the initials are inverted.

So much of The Phantom Menace, design-wise felt wrong. I think Palpatine was wearing clothing that was reminiscent of some kind of Renaissance-era tunic. Naboo looked like a cross between Roman/Renaissance period/Florence and Dinotopia. It didn’t feel like Star Wars at all.

And Darth Maul’s design was always kind of weak to me. It’s like what a 6 year old would come up with. Black and red with spikes coming out of his head. And it was also weird that both teenage, human Amidala, and obviously-alien Darth Maul were both wearing what looked like kabuki makeup.
In hindsight though, Darth Maul ended up being the best villain in the whole trilogy. He even had a motorcycle which was cool. They really dropped the ball with killing him off so early. He could have been the new Darth Vader.

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Z6PO said:

timdiggerm said:

Broom Kid said:

I doubt even PT fans could name any of Padme’s ships.

There’s the one that looks like a silver bar of soap

And the other one that looks like a silver bar of soap.

You forget, she had three ships. The big pointy one, the big airplane, and the little one.

Naboo Royal Starship
Naboo royal cruiser
H-Type Nubian yacht

Exactly! Of the three, the big airplane one is obviously silly, because the AOTC design team had a real thing for airplanes (see: all the propeller planes used in the SFX), so it’s a good thing they blow it up right away. The third one is coolest, because it’s essentially Padme’s Galactic Sports Car, but the first one is appropriate for the entourage it contains. It might even be a little small for the job.

But after a little Wookieepediaing, I have discovered I missed a fourth ship! Unfortunately, it is worse than any of its predecessors, in which the coolness of the third ship has been ruined by attaching the wings of the second ship to its bow.

J-type star skiff

ROTJ Storyboard Reconstruction Project

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DominicCobb said:

I like the Jedi starfighter designs, but again, why did there have to be a new one in ROTS? It’s sort of indicative of the general problem of the PT designs. More does not equal better.

I liked the one from ROTS, it incorporated some TIE fighter designs (window and interior cockpit) which was cool to see.

The subtle progression towards OT-era tech was cool to see in ROTS.

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mfastx said:

DominicCobb said:

I like the Jedi starfighter designs, but again, why did there have to be a new one in ROTS? It’s sort of indicative of the general problem of the PT designs. More does not equal better.

I liked the one from ROTS, it incorporated some TIE fighter designs (window and interior cockpit) which was cool to see.

The subtle progression towards OT-era tech was cool to see in ROTS.

Right, the idea from a design perspective is clearly a felt-need to drive the look closer to the OT. But would their starfighter design change that dramatically in just a few short years? Does it make sense? Probably not - but the decision was made from the wrong reasons.

ROTJ Storyboard Reconstruction Project

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Look at the automobiles from the fifties, with all their curves, and then by the seventies they’re all boxy.

Han: Hey Lando! You kept your promise, right? Not a scratch?
Lando: Well, what’s left of her isn’t scratched. All the scratched parts got knocked off along the way.
Han (exasperated): Knocked off?!

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Z6PO said:

Look at the automobiles from the fifties, with all their curves, and then by the seventies they’re all boxy.

But it still doesn’t make sense.
1950s cars are all curvy, 70s they get more boxy.
But why is it that all the “1950s” ships in the PT look like they just got driven off the lot, while the “1970s” ships in the OT look like they’ve been around for more than 20 years? They’re all dirty, and worn-in.

It doesn’t seem like a natural progression in technology because if that’s the case, why does all the starships in the ST look so similar to the ones in the OT, worn in and everything? The real reason is that the production design team was inspired by the space ship designs of the pulp magazines. That’s a cool homage but it doesn’t feel like “Star Wars.”

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 (Edited)

Voss Caltrez said:

Z6PO said:

Look at the automobiles from the fifties, with all their curves, and then by the seventies they’re all boxy.

But it still doesn’t make sense.
1950s cars are all curvy, 70s they get more boxy.
But why is it that all the “1950s” ships in the PT look like they just got driven off the lot, while the “1970s” ships in the OT look like they’ve been around for more than 20 years? They’re all dirty, and worn-in.

The general idea is that since the rebels didn’t have a “military budget” they simply got whatever they could get their hands on, and aesthetics wasn’t exactly a priority either. The Y-Wings f.ex. are canonically old de-commissioned CW-era fighters that had been stripped down to their bare essential even before they stole them. Also the OT is after all 20-ish years post PT, so even if some of the more “modern” boxy designs are only 10 or so years old, that’s plenty of time for them to end up looking old and worn in by a rebellion that literally hides out in caves and has minimal equipment for maintenance. The degree of wear also varies from ship to ship. The Tantive IV and the Calamari cruisers are much more well maintained as they were in the service of their respective militaries before joining the rebellion, but on the other hand something like the Nebulon-B frigate is meant to be stolen imperial ships much much of their outer plating stripped off (similar to the Y-Wings.)

As far as retcons go I think they’ve mostly done a good job of it.

Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
Original Trilogy Documentaries/Making-Ofs (YouTube, Vimeo, etc. finds)
Beyond the OT Documentaries/Making-Ofs (YouTube, Vimeo, etc. finds)
Amazon link to my novel; Dawn of the Karabu.

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I can buy starfighter designs changing between AOTC and ROTS due to the needs of an ongoing war and battlefield testing resulting in improved technology.

However, it’s kind of ridiculous that the ship designs were so entirely made in CGI without any practical models that the cockpits wouldn’t actually fit real humans. So the actors in the cockpit rigs had to have their legs dangling out of the bottom just off-camera.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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 (Edited)

Z6PO said:

The general idea is that since the rebels didn’t have a “military budget” they simply got whatever they could get their hands on, and aesthetics wasn’t exactly a priority either. The Y-Wings f.ex. are canonically old de-commissioned CW-era fighters that had been stripped down to their bare essential even before they stole them. Also the OT is after all 20-ish years post PT, so even if some of the more “modern” boxy designs are only 10 or so years old, that’s plenty of time for them to end up looking old and worn in by a rebellion that literally hides out in caves and has minimal equipment for maintenance. The degree of wear also varies from ship to ship. The Tantive IV and the Calamari cruisers are much more well maintained as they were in the service of their respective militaries before joining the rebellion, but on the other hand something like the Nebulon-B frigate is meant to be stolen imperial ships much much of their outer plating stripped off (similar to the Y-Wings.)

As far as retcons go I think they’ve mostly done a good job of it.

To me, that kind of makes sense, but it falls a part in execution.
The original Star Wars had a very distinct look. Even as a teenager I didn’t realize it was inspired by Flash Gordon until I had it pointed out to me. It felt very much like it’s own thing, and I think that’s great art when you put all your inspirations in a blender and have it end up looking like this unique thing.

The designs of the ships in the PT look like something from a completely different franchise. If they were making a modern but retro looking Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers film, then I’d say they nailed it. If they were doing a film that was meant to evoke the feeling of the 1930/40s sci-fi, nailed it. If they were trying to make audiences feel like this is the same universe that the OT took place in, they failed.

I suppose the 1950s car analogy works, but that’s very specific. Cars from the 2000s don’t look drastically different from those in the 2020s. So if the 1950s are the point of comparison for Star Wars tech, does that mean that star ships had only been in production for 50 years prior to that? Because that’s where auto technology was at in 1950.

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 (Edited)

Honestly TCW was better when it came to fitting within the world of SW. You had the Y-Wings, the Star Destroyer bridges, officer uniforms, etc. Many of the designs that were new to that show fit a lot more within the OT aesthetic.

Even just generally the art style of the show had that tactile, dirty OT look to it.

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Lucas and/or his concept artists dropped the ball by not including spiffy new versions of OT ships in the PT. But then lots of balls were dropped in that joke of a trilogy.