Return of the Jedi, Retold In Icons

Breaking down the last movie of the first Star Wars trilogy tells you a lot about what made it inferior to the first two.

If you can block the parts with the Ewoks, disregard the 20-minute Chucky Cheese-inspired animatronic jam session before Han Solo was rescued, and ignore the fact that the second Death Star plot was really just a rehash–and then on top of all that, if you can bury the voice in your head telling you rightly that Lucas had already started to slip in his own sacred original trilogy–then Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi is an amazing, amazing film.


But since I can’t bury it all, I just stop at The Empire Strikes Back.

Luckily, I can finish the story without watching the film. Designer/illustrator Wayne Dorrington has just finished Return of the Jedi in “Iconoscope,” which rounds out his project to retell the entire Star Wars trilogy with nothing more than a few charming sets of icons.

Click to zoom. Click here to view all 5 panels.

“The first Iconoscope was a single page of 32 line of icons,” Dorrington explains on his blog. “But then the story was actually quite simple, when you look at it. For Episode V, It took much longer to design and lay out, running double the length of the original–but there were many more costume changes, and plots that spanned multiple lines.”

“And then I started on Episode VI.”

Following nearly a year of work, Episode VI spanned five pages, which is 155 panels. That’s almost five times the iconography needed to tell the original Star Wars story. “Each character has multiple costume changes. The plot runs into 3 separate lines and constantly jumps between them. Vehicles, scenery, sub characters… It was a huge list,” says Dorrington.

Our favorite detail: the icon for Jabba the Hut.

His final product is not just amusing to read through–and it really is–it’s visual proof of what we all suspected. The original Star Wars was brilliant as a classic good vs. evil parable. The series strayed from that simplicity. And I’m guessing, were Dorrington to attempt to make Iconoscopes of the new trilogy, he’d break 200 frames–and just as many hearts.


Read the entire Iconoscope trilogy:
A New Hope
The Empire Strikes Back
Return of the Jedi


About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.