Tuesday, 28 January 2014


Poster concept art by Tom Chantrell for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

Having conceived and executed the now iconic "Dirty Dozen" artwork for the second UK poster campaign of the original STAR WARS used in 1978 (which would also appear in US movie theatres and advertising soon after, becoming equally popular with fans there), experienced film illustrator and poster legend Tom Chantrell was quickly commissioned by Gary Kurtz (who was a big fan of the "Dirty Dozen" SW piece) and 20TH CENTURY FOX UK to provide poster material ideas for the subsequent sequel. Here's one of those poster concept pieces that has since gone on to be popular with fans of the dark-hearted sequel and appear in merchandising. Intriguingly, the artist this time out uses/adapts some of Ralph McQuarrie's classic conceptual art ideas into his intergalactic pot pourri- an intriguing fusion that works well. Note on the bottom right Luke atop his crashed X-wing on Dagobah, as well as the flipped Walker firing on the early version of the Tauntaun and rider at the bottom left corner (its likely that no material of the final walker designs at ILM were released outside the production offices at that stage). There's also an X-wing used from McQuarrie's famous down the trench illustration for the original STAR WARS. The photographic reference material used here comes from stills shot at Elstree Studios between April and early June, so the poster, which also has the Lucas requested GONE WITH THE WIND mantra for Han and Leia, must likely have been commissioned and worked on around late Summer 1979, perhaps before photo material of the Dagobah sets were available (the bog planet scenarios not being constructed until late July and into August).

McQuarrie's early Tauntaun and rider come under AT-AT attack!
McQuarrie's vision of Luke and Artoo arrived on Dagobah.

Interview with Shirley Chantrell: An interview with Shirley Chantrell Film on Paper

Obituary: Tom William Chantrell

Check out DREAMS AND VISIONS PRESS John Scoleri's lovely and informative tribute/annotated guide to Ralph McQuarrie's conceptual art for STAR WARS and his commercial released THE STAR WARS PORTFOLIO from 1977: An Annotated Guide to The Star Wars Portfolio by Ralph McQuarrie | Star Wars Blog

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