This particular concept piece is really cool. Its a painting by the legendary Doug Chiang. Its barely relevant as the concept went through so many different phases. On location this is probably what the Skellig Michael shooting was for. This piece is not dated but I have reason to believe it is one of the oldest concepts I’ve seen. But because the piece isn’t dated and when Chiang came aboard the production isn’t known, its hard to say exactly how old this piece is. It was announced in June of 2013 that Chiang was back on Star Wars, but the artist was probably already hard at work well before that point.
There is a tiny island surrounded by blue water. On the tiny island is a white castle. There’s no Harold and Kumar there. The castle looks a lot like the architecture we saw from Alderaan in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. It consists of several very high, slender, white towers. To the right of the frame, a stone bridge connects the island to the land. The bridge is made of cobble and has three arches, the center one being twice as big as the two outside arches. Behind it, the white clouds have a tinge of darkness to them, conveying a sense of ominous dread. The painting reminds me of Thomas Kinkade getting into heavy metal album covers.
The castle is not tranquil. Plumes of black smoke are coming out from several towers. Another interesting thing about this painting is it reminds me the planet from the teaser trailer where the X-wings fly low near the water. I have always believed the castle, the rebel base (code named pirate’s cove), and X-wing flying The Damn Busters style. Several fake scoops have tried to link these things together and they very well may link up, but if they do its probably just a lucky guess. That said, these pieces of art involving the castle only depict the Falcon at the location approaching and leaving. There is never an X-wing at the location in the artwork we have seen so far. This particular design does not feature the Falcon at all (many later castle designs do and generally the castle is black.
My reasoning for covering such an old piece is that its awesome. But also it says something. It says the earliest versions of the film and the one shot at Pinewood had an 1) an island 2) a castle and 3) the castle ends up in flames. Something tells me George Lucas is probably an all over nothing guy. So when they didn’t use all of his ideas, he proclaimed they didn’t use any of his ideas. But if we see a castle on fire on an island when the film comes out, we know really old ideas pertaining to Star Wars: Episode VII which became Star Wars: The Force Awakens still pertain to the finished film.