Check more of Colin Morella’s work here.
Arguably no other major franchise has inspired so many great artists over the years than Star Wars. From the saga’s original conceptual genius Ralph McQuarrie to art students, there are literally thousands upon thousands of artworks to filter through when compiling a list of the best Star Wars poster art ever. Inspired by Abrams Books’ publication Star Wars Art: A Poster Collection, which features twenty frame-worthy works you can pull out and stick on your wall, ComingSoon.Net done a great job along with the officially-licensed artists who have produced truly breathtaking, funny and above all COOL works of pop art. So, here are according to ComingSoon, the 25 greatest Star Wars posters of all-time.
There it is, the whole sprawling Skywalker family saga summed up in one exquisite image by longtime Lucasfilm artist Sanda. It’s enough art nouveau beauty to make Alphonse Mucha jealous.
Moss is a master of composition, utilizing elements of key scenery to create the facial features of Vader, Boba and C-3PO. This triptych of minimalist portraits has been oft imitated since their release.
These ARE the droids you’re looking for. Everything from the federation foot soldiers (“Roger Roger”) to EV-9D9, the hardest hardass in Jabba’s palace, all in one adorable print!
The traveling Star Wars Identities exhibit kicked off in the spring of 2012 in Montreal and offers a fascinating look at all (well, the first) six films in George Lucas’ saga, in which the attendee answers a range of questions at different kiosks pertaining to the trilogy to see how those decisions shape a personality, much like Anakin and Luke’s journeys. Okay, so the educational value is limited, but the mix of production art and props from the movies is the best tour through SW history of its kind. This poster, made up of hundreds of little ships, perfectly encapsulates the aim of the exhibit.
This is a veritable “Where’s Waldo” of Star Wars fandom, drawn in micro detail. Look with a magnifying glass for all sorts of cameos, including George Lucas, Phil Tippett, Joe Johnston, Steve Sansweet, Ralph McQuarrie, Gary Kurtz, Seth Green, Dave Filoni, John Carter of Mars and Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud’s Arzach. Also, a very out of place Kirk, Spock and McCoy. The in-jokes are endless. Make sure you click the image to see a bigger version, and check out Carlisle’s Facebook page for some information on who’s included in the print.
Struzan is the undisputed king of Star Wars poster artists, having done one-sheets for all six movies including the Special Editions (and hopefully The Force Awakens as well). While The Phantom Menace may not be the king of Star Wars movies, this piece is an absolute masterpiece, and represented one of the final gasps of the hand-painted era. “My poster artwork was used for the film unchanged in every country in every language all around the world at the same time,” Struzan said. “So the whole world was seeing my artwork all at once. That is the first time that had ever happened and it’s likely becoming the most-seen piece of art ever.”
One of the first major Hollywood movies to get an IMAX release, the large-format version of Attack of the Clones shown in November of 2002 was not only an immersive experience (that occasionally showed off some digital seams) but also may be the optimum version of the film, since its shortened runtime dispensed with the bulk of the sappy Anakin/Padme romance that you chapter skip on the DVD. Now even films like Focus get a token IMAX release, but this poster is a great throwback that harkens to the era of showmanship the IMAX screenings were emulating before it became commonplace.
Another gorgeous work by the masterful Tsuneo Sanda, this promo piece for the Dark Horse Comics adaptation of Episode II might have outdone Drew Struzan, which is a tall order to be sure. It may even be more vibrant and dynamic than the movie itself!
By the time Episode III came to pass, George Lucas was no longer as hands-on with the marketing, and Struzan’s theatrical poster got botched in Photoshop at the last minute. Thus, we look to the fan community to represent the film, and although there isn’t nearly as much great fan art for the PT as there is for the OT, this minimalist design by Drew Roberts is a powerful depiction of the final battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin on Mustafar.
This piece, known affectionately as “One-Sheet Style D” or simply “Circus-Style,” has the distinction of being George Lucas’s favorite, and is actually hung in his house. The summer 1978 re-release art was a collaboration between Struzan and White (who was the inspiration for Roman Coppola’s A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III), the layered design coming about when they realized there wasn’t any room for the credits.
There are potentially more posters – both official and unofficial – for the original Star Wars than any of the other movies, partly due to all the alternates, foreign and re-release art that was generated. How any of them can top the sheer bravura nature of this piece is a mystery, since Berkey captured everything about the intensity of a space battle in his vertical composition that a horizontal screen never could.
Leave it to the Japanese to invent Karate-style C-3PO. This is the lighter side of Star Wars at its malleable best. The lettering roughly translates: “Of course I am fluent in over six million forms of communication. But that implies physical communication as well, master Luke.”
The fan art community has truly embraced the galaxy far far away, sometimes creating popular limited-run screen prints or, in the case of Yan, simply whipping something up for fun to celebrate May the 4th this past year and inadvertently creating one of the most memorable posters A New Hope has ever earned.
Brazilian artist Parreira created this popular wallpaper piece for a contest, perfectly emulating the aesthetics of Edo-era Japanese prints (Hokusai, etc.) The Kanjis appropriately read (right to left): “Finally we have met. The circle is now complete. When I left you I was but the learner. Now I am the master!” “Only a master of evil, Darth.”
Another rising star in the pop art illustration world is McQuade, whose work has appeared in Variety, MAD Magazine and other important news outlets. Here he gives us a detailed look at the stop-motion holomonsters that inhabit the tabletop game of Dejarik, as played by spoiled sport Chewbacca and R2-D2 aboard the Millennium Falcon.
Done in 2007 for Celebration IV, Brooks’ officially-licensed lithograph perfectly captures the sepia-toned look of the original ’77 cast if they had happened upon an old timey photo booth at a fair (complete with coffee stain).
This is perhaps the closest we’ll ever get to a photo-realistic version of the first appearance of Boba Fett, as seen in 1978’s infamous “Holiday Special.” Nelvana’s animated segment, known as “The Faithful Wookie,” featured the entire original cast voicing the heroes as they encounter the bounty hunter on a gooey galactic raindrop known as Panna. This awesome recreation was made exclusively for this April’s Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim.
This gorgeous Japanese B1 poster for the fifth chapter in the saga is not as well known as the Gone With the Wind-inspired US theatrical, but deserves to be. Original 8×10-inch high-resolution transparencies of Ohrai’s artwork were discovered in 2010 within the Lucasfilm archives, and a rich re-mastered edition was issued in a limited run of 500.
Iconic fantasy artist Boris has earned his place alongside Frank Frazetta, Julie Bell and the Hildebrandt Brothers as one of the premiere fantasy painters of our time. In 1980 he was commissioned by Coca-Cola/Burger King to create four posters in his own bold style, the best of which shows Luke and Han having some Taunton adventures on Hoth, probably right before the start of the film.
This image was chosen for the cover of “Star Wars Art: A Poster Collection,” and it’s an inspiring image executed by the design visionary behind the look for Episode IV and V, Ralph McQuarrie, AKA Star Wars artist numero uno. The piece itself was done for the Empire Strikes Back radio play on NPR, and showcases some of the Dagobah beasties that were a little too fantastical to afford for the film itself.
Staggs has amassed a most impressive portfolio of official Lucasfilm illustrated work for comics, trading cards and, yes, prints. This one for Celebration V is part of the new wave of retro WWII style propaganda posters that a lot of artists have been creating, but for our money this one is definitely the best.
A truly unforgettable image, used for the A sheet in the US, but we prefer the British quad version since all that bothersome text is pushed to the side so we can see Reamer’s rendering with perfect clarity.
Of all the bonkers foreign posters for the OT that are out there, this one is super cool because the artist had definitely seen the movie (or at least a few publicity photos), yet still felt compelled to add in that weird green dragon creature holding a (the first?) double-sided lightsaber. If J.J. Abrams, Gareth Edwards or Rian Johnson are reading this, please find a way to include this monster in some capacity for future movies.
Here we go, simple, elegant, and oddly serene. This is a poster made by a fan for fans, the kind of thing that couldn’t really exist as a selling tool for a new movie but perfect for a classic. We know precisely the connection between that shield generator and Death Star 2, and its critical function in the battle between the Empire and Rebellion.
Finally, we end on a fan piece that is not in any way simple, but manages to deliver all the key elements of Episode VI’s story in a fresh, sophisticated way. Miraculously, Aseo’s design avoids being too busy/maximalist for its own good despite so many disparate elements. This is how a master artist using modern tools could create truly eye-catching one-sheets for modern audiences if Hollywood would only take a cue and bring artistry back to the poster world.
During the live-action film panel at Disney’s D23 expo, Lucasfilm showcased a behind-the-scenes sizzle reel for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. While the studio attempts to get the young Han Solo spinoff film back on track with Ron Howard taking over for Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII has been sailing smoothly from the beginning. Fans are excited to see what the Looper director has in store for the galaxy far, far away, especially with the promise that the movie sets new rules for the franchise and is different from its predecessors. Promotion for the film has been characteristically tight-lipped, but fans have seen enough to be teased in tantalizing ways.
With Lucasfilm opting to forgo a Hall H presentation at San Diego Comic-Con this year, D23 marked the last chance for the studio to advertise Star Wars 8 on a large platform this summer before things kick into high gear in the fall. While there is still no second trailer, viewers can get another taste of Johnson’s film via a behind-the-scenes featurette, similar to the ones for The Force Awakens and Rogue One that premiered at similar times in their respective years of release. You can watch the video below.
The main focus of the video is Johnson’s vision for the story and the exciting new directions he took the property in. Daisy Ridley called the narrative “unexpected, but right,” and John Boyega mentioned that the sequel shifts things in an “opposite direction” from what the audience may have thought following the events of Episode VII. Newcomer Kelly Marie Tran was also complimentary of Johnson’s handling of the material, stating that the characters are “complex,” which is ultimately makes the film as special as it is. From the beginning, word was The Last Jedi was going to be a different kind of beast when compared the the previous episodes, and it seems like there’s some truth to that. Boyega claimed Johnson made Star Wars “fresh and new,” which is just what the fans want to hear after The Force Awakens drew a little too much inspiration from A New Hope.
Viewers also got a look at some of the new creatures that will make their big screen debut in Episode VIII. Chief among them are the porgs, which are indigenous to Ahch-To. The bird-like animals have been previously seen in fan sketches and a leaked image of a pinball tabletop game. Impressively enough, the ones in the video are practical effects – most likely animatronics. There is also something that resembles a white wolf, and another alien in a stable of some kind. It’s possible the latter of those is a prized racing animal found on Canto Bight, rumored to be part of an action sequence. The video also shows off some of the locations – including Ahch-To, the high-rolling casino city Canto Bight, and Crait (where Rey and Finn look to have a reunion).
There’s plenty to unpack in these three minutes – arguably more than another trailer. Fans will be analyzing every frame for possible clues about the secretive story. The footage seems to confirm some bits of speculation that have made their way online (see: Finn and Rose dressed as First Order officers undercover) and sets the stage for one of the most emotional Star Wars films yet. As the late, great Carrie Fisher says at the end, “It’s about family. And that’s what’s so powerful about it.” If the D23 reel is any indication, audiences will be in for one special treat this holiday season.
Following the live-action films panel at D23, the first wave of Star Wars: The Last Jedi character posters have made their way online. The galaxy far, far away had a key presence at this year’s expo, as Lucasfilm unveiled a new behind-the-scenes sizzle reel that teased more of Episode VIII, giving fans a great look at some of the new creatures and locations. It was fittingly epic and emotional, setting the stage for a sequel that creates new rules for the franchise and pushes the story in exciting new ways. Everyone from Mark Hamill to newcomer Kelly Marie Tran is impressed by what writer/director Rian Johnson did with the material, and fans only have to wait five more months until they get to see the full picture for themselves.
As it turns out, some new footage and details weren’t the only thing Lucasfilm had in store. Looking to ramp up advertising efforts, they’ve begun a rollout of character posters covering the main members of the cast – including Finn, Rey, and General Leia Organa.
Taking to social media, the official Star Wars Twitter account, John Boyega, and Daisy Ridley shared the one-sheets, which are all simple, yet elegant, in their design.
Each one follows the same format, cutting off the top half of the subject’s face and depicting them in an all-red outfit. The ominous aesthetic is probably connected to Episode VIII‘s tone, which is said to be darker than The Force Awakens. Oscar Isaac has mentioned in the past how all the characters are tested throughout Last Jedi, so everyone from a young scavenger to a hardened Resistance leader will be dealing with their personal demons as they take the next steps of their respective journeys. Back at Celebration Orlando in the spring, Boyega mentioned Finn has to decide what side he’s on, suggesting there are some difficult choices that await him in this chapter. In the Luke Skywalker poster Mark Hamill revealed, the exiled Jedi is clutching a lightsaber, hinting at his possible arc to pick up the sword and rejoin the fight.
The arrival of character posters might have some fans wondering if a new theatrical trailer is on the way (one was said to be classified a few weeks back), but it seems as if moviegoers will have to wait a little longer for that. The one-sheets are a reminder that The Last Jedi is coming soon, generating even more hype for what is arguably the most anticipated film of the year.
See more of Nicolas Alejandro Barbera work here.
Disney brought audiences back to the galaxy far, far away in 2015 to a mountain of success. The Force Awakens was merely the beginning of their plan to bring Star Wars back to the forefront of pop culture and dominate the box office for years to come. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story capitalized on the success of Episode VII to the tune of $1 billion worldwide, and Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi should be able to do the same.
However, there is much more to the Star Wars universe that will be explored in the years to come, yet it is also important to look back and remember how it all began. 2017 marks the 40th anniversary to the start of the franchise, and Lucasfilm will celebrate this milestone this April at Star Wars Celebration – with some secrets being revealed and a brand new poster.
Lucasfilm made the official announcement today that they will kick off Star Wars Celebration in Orlando this April with special 40th anniversary panel. The panel will be moderated by Warwick Davis and feature an appearance from Kathleen Kennedy and more. The panel will “highlight the impact of the galaxy far, far away and the fandom that has propelled it for the last four decades” and feature a variety of surprises to celebrate. In addition to the panel announcement, they have also unveiled a special 40th anniversary poster that brings together the franchise’s most important and beloved characters.
Details on the availability of the poster have not been made known, but it is sure to be one of the most sought after items for purchase at Celebration. Everyone from Darth Vader, Luke, Rey, to Obi-Wan are featured in the poster, with even General Hux and Captain Phasma getting appearances. With the rest of the panel’s participants unannounced at this time, those who will be in attendance can surely expect a number of these familiar faces to appear on stage as well.