George Lucas’s Star Wars films have always borrowed their inspiration from old sci-fi movie serials. Inspired by the likes of Flash Gordon[i], [i]Star Wars‘s entire aesthetic–from swashbuckling with laser swords right down to the famous opening crawl–is deeply rooted in the 1940s.
These great images from illustrator Russell Walks take Star Wars‘s submerged 1940s sensibilities and bring them to the surface as World War II-style propaganda posters. Based in Montana, Walks has licensed his art to big clients such as Paramount, Marvel, and Warner Brothers. The posters seen here, though, were produced for Lucasfilm and Topps as part of a series of Star Wars trading cards.
They’re pretty great. A poster looking for X-Wing pilots seems like it was ripped right off of the walls of a Roman building under Mussolini’s regime. The “Don’t Be A Sarlacc!” poster, on the other hand, could easily have been issued by the U.S. war office during World War II as a caution against being too loose-lipped around potential spies.
Check out more of Russell Walks’ work here.