This piece is one of my favorites I have seen so far. I also have to say that it is the one with the most ambiguity around it. It is a piece of the legendary artist Ryan Church. Church is probably responsible for some of the best art Star Wars has ever had. Look through his artwork if you’re unfamiliar with him.
The point of view is from the from the ground, looking up at a ship a few hundred feet up in the sky. The ship in the sky is the same one Rey chases on her wagon speeder. Only this is an early iteration of it before it became the quad engine ship we glimpsed in the teaser behind BB-8. I believe the function of this ship is to pick up large pieces of salvage.
A hero is crouching and we are looking over their shoulder. They have some ship parts on the ground in from of them. This person is looking up towards the ship. The ship has its canopy open and the pilot is raising his hand to wave to the person on the ground in acknowledgement. In the background, you can see the remains of a crashed Star Destroyer’s bridge. The landscape is like that of Jordan but there is metal debris all around the landscape.
There’s a lot of speculation in this one. Just the facts? A ship in the sky. Guy waves down to person on the ground. Person on the ground is crouching over something as if to say “I found it.” The ship has a cable hanging down from it that’s probably meant to pick up a ship.
The helmet of the person crouching is very interesting. It reminds me of a classic 1950’s football player’s helmet. The X-wing pilots in Star Wars: The Force Awakens also have helmets in a similar style. This one has a visor on it and the visor is flipped up which is why we can see it. The person on the ground could be Rey, however the sleeves of the clothing are orange which is indicative of an X-wing pilot, but the sleeves are also kind of short, showing a lot of the person’s arm. It could very well be Poe Dameron we are seeing from behind, but it still might be Rey. However, Rey never wears this costume in any concept art I have seen. The gender of this person is totally ambiguous. However, it is not unlike the costume we see Finn wearing in those leaked first shot action figure photos. Frustrating right?
Interestingly, this same ship design appears in the chase sequence we mentioned before. The chase has the big ship on fire with a lot of smoke trailing behind it while Rey chases it on the wagon speeder. I think they are trying to salvage pieces of Poe’s X-wing to fix it. They grab the parts and then meet trouble and are forced to flee back to to the AT-AT homebase to make the repairs? Or perhaps back to the “Mainstreet” set where the X-wing is glimpsed next to the Falcon in many pieces of artwork.
They could be recovering the lightsaber from a crash as I’ve heard suggested. But there is one piece of art that shows this same ship transporting the chassis of an X-wing fighter. So really, I’m relying on other pieces to inform this piece.
I heard a rumor that we see Rey on the AT-AT head by herself. In the sequence she contemplates if she’s going to leave with her new friends or not. Something tells me if that rumor pans out, Poe and Finn would be working on repairing the ship while she contemplates her future. But that is just something to ponder.
A part of me believes the concept art in question purposely left the players on the trio ambiguous as any of the three characters in the main trio could have done any of the actions in this sequence. The piece is not dated so we can’t tell how early this piece is. But it is early enough that the quad engine ship is not finalized yet.
We’re clearly still working through a lot of ambiguity on figuring out the sequence and motivations in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. One thing is for sure, it appears getting that ship repaired takes us to a chase sequence mostly likely and getting off the planet isn’t as easy as just getting to the space port. Or maybe this whole sequence was cut! I can’t wait to see what choices the production made and how it affects the film.