Imagine a planet with trees a hundred feet into the air. The trunks of the tress go straight up into the air as straight as a tree can, some are slightly off kilter just a bit. From there it creates a flat level of shrubbery a hundred feet into the sky. Each tree’s top connects to the other tree’s top. It mean very little light gets to the surface. From the ground, the sky looks like its just darkened and what you can see is full of green planet life. This is the jungle planet from Star Wars: Episode VII. This is what we believe the Puzzlewood shoot was standing in for here on planet Earth over the summer. This is where the Stormtroopers where filmed at that location. Back then we only heard of two Stormtroopers on set as did another reputable site and now we may know why. So what happens there?
This planet is inhabited by large creatures with tentacles. They are not unlike the Expanded Universe’s Orgons of Gorsh pictured below. But I do not believe they are one and the same, its just a good comparison. The body is more peanut shaped and the tentacles are easily 90 feet long. The body of these creatures is about 2.5 times the length of a speeder bike. The creatures travel fast with their long arms by grabbing onto the tree cover and traveling like a fast kid on the monkey bars.
In one piece of concept art we see the trees high into the air. To the far right of the frame, two speeder bikes race for their lives! They’re being chased by two of the tentacled beasts. The bodies of the monsters are shaped like peanuts, we can only see the silhouette of these monsters under the tree cover. They have long tentacles, six in total, three on each side of its body and it use those tentacles to transverse the tree tops chasing down the speeder bikers. The bikers are racing side by side practically, but the beasts are also chasing them side by side and it doesn’t look very good for the biker closest to us in the frame. It seems he’ll likely be killed in a matter of moments.
Storyboards for a similar sequence depict misfortune for Imperial forces at the hands of these monsters. This storyboard has three panels.
In the first panel, Stormtrooper 1 looks to the right of the camera. He’s “filmed” from the waist up. He has backpack on and a gun. He’s likely an incendiary trooper. Behind him we see the base of two massive trees. Random vines hang down here and there and his buddy, Stormtrooper 2 with his back to us walks into the unknown jungle, backpack on, gun ready…
In the second panel, Stormtrooper 1 looks on to the right of camera. His stance hasn’t even had a chance to change. But a swoosh comes in from the left side of the frame picking up Stormtrooper 2 that was about to step into the unknown portion of the frame… Stormtrooper 2 has been turned completely around. Tentacles have placed him into the mouth of the beast and he’s about to be swallowed. These huge creatures travel fast. It appears their mouths are near the rear. 🙂
In the third and final panel, Stormtrooper 1 has turned his head to look at where his friend was once standing. He’s stunned and scared. The artists has drawn an ellipsis above Stormtrooper 1’s head to note an expression of stunned fear.
In these pieces, the biker scouts are small in the frame. So there’s no real detail to the pilots other than the idea they’re Imperials in white armor. The Storyboards use standard Original Trilogy Stormtrooper designs. In the film these are either going to be the sleeker new Stormtroopers or the incendiary troopers (also called jungle troopers by some).
I’ve seen the physical helmets of the incendiary troopers. The helmets are white. The top piece is like that of an AT-ST driver. They have a single black visor and a face shield that goes up to the visor. At the bottom there are two microphone type devices to either help the trooper speak or breath. The back of the helmet has a black line and two black triangles on the sides (on the AT-ST styled outer helmet portion of the helmet). However, these troopers might not be apart of this scenario because I’ve heard of the incendiary troopers in another fight.
Two pieces of art were described to me and I haven’t seen them with my own eyes. There are timber houses. No jungle. You can see the starry sky. The guy with the Darth Bane styled helmet commands a legion of incendiary troopers. They are burning the timber buildings with their flame throwers. In another piece you see the Stormtroopers getting shot by some resistance out of frame.
Up until this point, I had only heard of the flame throwers being used in the jungle. Did the planet change? Where the location amalgamated into one? I can’t say. All I know is the planet is cool looking, it doesn’t feel like Endor or Kashyyyk and the monsters are very cool. Those poor Stormtroopers don’t have a chance.