Friday, October 10, 2008

Strange Twist of Providence

I painted the above image a long, long time ago in a studio not so far away...

This is an OLD, OLD image. Actually, it's an image I painted about 15 years ago in 1993. This image was for a card set for Topps called Star Wars Galaxy 2. The idea behind the set was to let artists depict events from the Star Wars saga that didn't necessarily happen onscreen. This led to many imaginative ideas from many different artists.

My concept was to depict a younger, pre-Vader Anakin Skywalker brooding over the shoulder of his wife and the mother of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa. Presumably, only Leia had been hidden from Anakin and that is why this image is sans baby Leia. This was to be my first nationally published illustration and I waited on pins and needles for the card set to be released. It was like being 5 years old and waiting for Christmas to arrive. When the cards were released, I got a big, kick-in-the-teeth image was not part of the set. I called my editor at Topps immediately. He explained that George Lucas, himself, had pulled some images from the set because they depicted events from the, yet unknown, prequel trilogy. Happy day.

There are a couple things that I find interesting about the image. First, my depiction of Padme (I had no idea of her name at the time...this was 6 years before Episode 1) looks a bit like Natalie Portman. Second, Anakin's shadow on the wall is in the shape of Darth Vader. I've always wondered if this image might have influenced Lucas even just a little tiny bit in his casting of Natalie Portman or even the decision to have little Anakin's shadow be in the shape of Darth Vader in an early Episode 1 promo poster. Probably not, but I can dream. Can't I?

Fast forward to this morning. I got an e-mail from Topps this morning letting me know that they were dusting off this old image and including it in the new, soon to be released, set of Star Wars Galaxy cards (with beautiful box art from my buddy and artist extraordinaire, Russell Walks). Apparently, Lucasfilm approved it for inclusion and they are printing it after 15 or so years. I don't know the context of the use, however. I sure hope they include info letting folks know how old this image is. I don't necessarily want people to assume this is a new image from me. I hope my work has progressed and changed a bit since painting this (notice all the grainy colored pencil?). I would approach this image so differently today in terms of painting technique, lighting, camera angle, body positioning, and composition. I find this image to be pretty ugly, these days.

At any rate, this is fun news and it's kind of cool to see something come full-circle like this.

Point to ponder: Does the printing of this image make it the first official depiction of Padme?

image copyright Lucasfilm, Ltd. and Topps, Inc.


Bubbashelby said...

Cool image and history behind it!

Brian Ashmore said...

Thanks, Bubbashelby.

I can't stand the image these days but it's interesting that Topp's would consider putting some of these old images in. However, last I heard, they were not putting the old Lucas rejected cards in the set. So, I don't know what to think.

I'm fine, either way, tho.

Bubbashelby said...

Well they are missing out if they pass this one up - it's great and I especially love the Judeo-Christian religious overtones (intentional?)

Brian Ashmore said...

Ha, ha. I see what you mean. It looks like the mother and baby need halos. Funny.

Nope. Not intentional.

Itoshiki said...

Thank you for being part of all of this

Helge Kåre Fauskanger said...

They could have printed the image in the early nineties if there had been some kind of caveat to the effect that this is simply one artist's individual vision, NOT an official or canonical portrait of pre-Vader Anakin and his wife.