The story behind the creation of the iconic Star Wars poster by Greg and Tim Hildebrandt is being told in the form of a new documentary about Greg’s life and career currently in production by producer Erik Sharkey and Kevin Burke. io9 take a look at Hildebrandt’s story.
The history of the original Star Wars one-sheets is unique in that they changed multiple times, even while the film was in release. The first poster almost everyone knows. It’s a cleanly composed image of a young boy holding a lightsaber, with a young woman by his side, and a huge helmet behind them with ships flying all around. That poster was done by artist Tom Jung—but as Hildebrandt mentions in the clip above, it wasn’t what George Lucas wanted. He wanted something more “comic book-y,” and the Hildebrandts were brought in to do just that while keeping the general idea and composition of Jung’s poster.
“Tim and I were discussing, well, what the hell does more comic book-y mean?” Hildebrandt told io9 over the phone last week. “I figured more intense color, basically overall just a stronger, higher contrast of warm and cool colors and maybe that the [characters] should be sexier.”
The Hildebrandts took Polaroids of two people who just happened to be at their studio that day—Greg’s ex-wife, standing in for Princess Leia, and a mutual friend for Luke Skywalker—to use as lighting reference. They then tweaked the Jung poster slightly, adding more detail and updated versions of the characters, and completed an entirely new painting in 36 hours.
I was fortunate enough to chat with Greg last year, ahead of my interview with him in issue 189 of Star Wars Insider magazine, and you can listen to that here. Stay tuned as Making Tracks returns for 2020 very soon.