I've been thinking a lot about the design from the originals all the way through the prequels, The Force Awakens, and Rogue One. There's enough swirling around in my head that I'm gathering images for a full separate topic, but here are my thoughts specifically with respect to Rogue One:
- The vast majority of design in this movie - costumes, sets, small props - is a near direct translation from the originals and incredibly successful in that regard. It all feels like it comes from the exact same time and place. Thumbs up.
- Of the new designs really on display, I feel like some fit perfectly while others are pretty obviously modern designers and artists trying to look retro.Everyone's costumes, Imperial cargo shuttles, computer UI design
- Totally worked. Blend seamlessly with the originalsK2SO
- Fits right in, too, though the gangly proportions and slouchy posture are things you see all the time in modern humanoid character designs. U-wing
- More or less fits in but just a little boring. I also can't figure out the function of the "wings" (S-foils for you fellow nerds) being swept forward or out to the side. X-wings or B-wings have two positions, flight and attack, but the U-wing seemed very inconsistent between flight, hyperspace, dog fighting, etc.Shore Troopers
- One of the few times I really like the exaggerated look of an original Ralph McQuarrie design translated to the screen. Part of what sets the look from the original trilogy apart is that it took his gorgeous, but heavily stylized, art and filtered it through what was physically possible at the time. Without that limitation, what makes for a killer painting doesn't always make for a great physical costume or vehicle. This was a huge flaw of some of the prequel designs based on his art. Here, it worked.Krennic's Ship, Death Trooper helmets, Vader's castle, Scarif Base
- Here is where I feel the misinterpretation of what is now the "retro" look of the original films. The new designs are all far too angular, relying solely on stacking planar surfaces and hard angles on top of each other. While those are features
of the original designs, they are not the only elements of their looks.
Like I said, I want to put together a whole post for this, but in the meantime check out this great article from a few years ago on the effectiveness of design on display in the original trilogy http://essenmitsosse.de/the-designs-of-star-wars/