Star Wars Storyboards prove the prequel trilogy wasn’t all bad.
In fact they contained some great ideas, and no matter what your opinion might be regarding the Star Wars prequel trilogy, (i’ve recently re-watched The Phantom Menace and it’s even worse than I thought) this new book by J.W. Rinzler containing the complete storyboards is a fascinating look at the origins of these highly debated films. It’s made clear from the start that George Lucas really hates the process of storyboarding, reiterated by Iain McCaig in his introduction and further seen in their gradual demise as the three films progress – a direct result of Luscasfilm moving to computer generated animatics. Thankfully this book sticks to good-old illustration which continually impress in their power.
Early glimpses and the evolution of character designs for Jar Jar Binks and Darth Maul are interesting to see, both in what was abandoned and in what changed for the final film, such as Darth Maul’s original costume of tribal-like neck feathers becoming the devilish look we all saw on-screen. Stand-out illustration work comes from Rodolfo Damaggio, who’s skilful and cinematic drawings are singular works of art in their own right and brilliantly present action-packed set pieces. Equally impressive are a series of brand new drawings by Iain McCaig which fills in some missing scenes and completes a book that offers a lesson in dynamic storytelling, design and asks the question of whether these artists (and others among them including Ed Natividad, Benton Jew and Warren Drummond, who essentially conceived many of the film’s best ideas) received all the credit they deserve.