Sequel TrilogyThe Force Awakens

Concepts: Star Wars: Episode VII Another look at a cyborg’s haunting embrace!

The Phantom of the Space Opera.

This particular piece has been the subject of a lot of controversy. It potentially plays into the biggest spoiler from Star Wars: Episode VII depending on who happens to be the man behind the mask. When some pieces leaked a few weeks ago, those who saw it thought they had the whole picture. Some questioned how I came to certain conclusions. The fact of the matter is this sequence is very important to the film. The art goes through many different stages and evolutions. This particular piece is probably going to be iconic from the film, in my opinion. It is some of the very best Star Wars concept art I have ever seen and I’m an enthusiast of it. It is only when you see all the paintings of this sequence that it starts to make sense and tiny bits of story are divulged by seeing the sequence evolve.

This scene takes place in a castle. I have very little doubt this is the same planet where the Skellig Michael  shoot took place for Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley. It’s a green mountainous area with lots of water surrounding it. The black castle has several different designs which we will talk about in the future. What is notable is the architecture. The six Gothic cathedral windows to the left of the frame light the room and give us a clear hint this is the castle from several different pieces of art. Another notable thing is that the castle designs seem to be based on a McQuarrie piece. However, they moved very far and away from McQuarrie’s depictions as the design process went on.

There are arches and columns in the background that show us we’re near the windows but this room is a lot bigger than we we’re seeing here. This place is clearly a domain of evil.

A young woman, twenty years old perhaps is embraced by a monster. He is grabbing her from behind. His creepy right arm is clutching her left shoulder. Her face in this depiction is totally blank. She’s colder and more calculated here than in an earlier depiction. Her dirty blond hair is tousled, disheveled and unkempt. Her blue scarf is around her neck and we can only see some of her brown clothing because the figure behind her is enveloping her.

The figure holding the woman is wearing a brown robe not unlike that of Obi-Wan Kenobi. It is very much a classic Jedi robe. He’s a white male. His hand holding the woman in place is white but the flesh has started to wear off, revealing his cybernetic hand. Imagine if Luke Skywalker, after getting his robotic hand in The Empire Strikes Back took sand paper to the flesh on his robotic hand rubbing it off in places. It’s very Terminator 2. You can see flesh and metallic silver bits coming through the flesh revealing his artificial appendage. The figure’s face is the same. The flesh from his face has been burned or scratched way in the same fashion. This figure could have a beard if need be but only his very human lips are  visible in the natural light, full of shadows. His nose is metallic, his right eye also has metal on the outside and some of his forehead has the fake skin,worn off in many places. His skin has deteriorated showing us some of his face has been repaired and reconstructed in the past and some of it is still very human. You cannot see his eyes. There are no red lights for eyes, just two black dark voids.

This cyborg is whispering something into the woman’s ear and she’s coldly taking in his words.

This sequence from “Phantom of the Opera” shares many similar qualities to this piece of art.

To the right of the frame there is a mirror. A tall mirror. It reflects the cyborg holding the woman in it. But only their dark shadowy images can be scene. The mirror is golden and ornate, very Victorian era. Behind the mirror is some kind of glass structure, like a golden glass room with a chair inside it. Might this cyborg figure sit in there to breath properly or for rejuvenation? It has pipes going into it to funnel air or something unknown. This glass chamber is ornate but it emanates a faint red light. The woman’s shoulder obscure much of it. Either way, it is a glass room with a fancy chair inside, for one person only.

Behind the woman and the cyborg, on the left of the frame, stand three figures.  Closest to the window is a male, black, with a blue lightsaber ignited, ready for combat. A small bipedal alien stands next to him holding a satchel. The alien is just a little taller than waist high on an average male. The last figure is the little droid with a basket ball sized spherical body. The three figures are clearly there to kick some ass and take names. They seem ready to get their friend back and do whatever it takes to make sure that happens.

Is “Kira” being seduced by evil in this painting? Is she hearing him out hoping her friends will kill him before he notices they have arrived to save her? She’s so cool in the painting, I’m not sure she actually needs saving.

It is my personal belief if the phantom cyborg figure is someone we know from the past, his face could be reconstructed as he does not appear to have any structural damage. Maybe this figure appears evil and actually isn’t? Maybe he’s whispering “I’ve been injured and I mean you no harm.” Until I see what follows, I find this very open to interpretation.


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Jason Ward (EIC)

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