Star Wars isn’t Star Wars without the work of Ralph McQuarrie. The artist and designer conceived much of the look of the original trilogy in the ‘70s and ‘80s. He passed away in 2012, but his art was still a big influence on The Force Awakens—and it seems like Rian Johnson is continuing the tradition on Episode VIII.
Minor spoilers follow.
For the past several weeks, construction has been ongoing in Dubrovnik, Croatia for scenes in Episode VIII. Many, many spy photos have been taken of the doors, hallways, keypads and more. But now, a new image has surfaced that looks very similar to a piece of McQuarrie concept art from Return of the Jedi.
— Blast Points Podcast (@blast_points) March 10, 2016
As you can see, in the McQuarrie art, there’s an entrance way with a curved, imprinted ceiling. And in Dubrovnik, the curved ceiling looks almost identical. The doorways are different, or at least look that way with the scaffolding, but there’s no doubt this is McQuarrie’s influence.
If Johnson used this seemingly obscure McQuarrie design here, you can be sure there will be more in the film. J.J. Abrams used a ton of his work all over The Force Awakens, and you can find McQuarrie’s unused work in Star Wars Rebels too. Here’s a great piece detailing some of that.
Star Wars Episode VIII will be released December 15th, 2017.