There are a huge number of things that make Star Wars unique in terms of how movies are marketed–but one that doesn’t get discussed much is the fact that the series’ posters and one-sheets, rather than being photoshopped assemblages of actor headshots, have been hand-illustrated. That’s true of the iconic early images from painters Greg and Tim Hildebrandt, and of the ’90s-and-beyond designs painted by artist Drew Struzan. While the currently retired Struzan has been rumored to return to the series for the JJ Abrams-helmed sequel trilogy, another artist has made a strong case for a new vision for the job.
Comic book artist Phil Noto (who currently draws Black Widow for Marvel) shared a hastily illustrated image via his Tumblr after the trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens was released. “I got so excited after watching the trailer, I had to do some art. Felt like 6 y.o. me drawing Luke Skywalker after seeing Ep. 4,” Noto explained, before sharing a full-color version shortly thereafter. His image, while not overtly influenced by Struzan’s work, is nonetheless both iconic and modern. While Noto clearly isn’t lobbying for a job here, there’s an argument based on this work that he should be considered: this poster is still clearly Star Wars, in the tradition of Struzan’s work for the six films Lucas oversaw, but it’s also cleaner, simpler, and a touch more contemporary than what the Episode I-III posters ended up being. That seems to be what Abrams is going for with the film itself, which means that even if this is just the lark that Noto conceived it as, it perfectly captures what we hope Star Wars will be in its new incarnation.DS