The Art Of Solo: A Star Wars Story by Phil Szostak (book review).

June 28, 2018 | By | Reply More

With the dust having settled on ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ and the franchise’s own fandom becoming entangled in a Sarlacc pit of self-loathing that has reportedly caused Disney and Lucasfilm to review the next planned movies, how refreshing it is to lose oneself in one another of Abrams’ excellent examinations of the movies’ production design. ‘The Art Of Solo: A Star Wars Story’ by Phil Szostak is another A-grade look at how some of Science Fiction’s best imaginations are still able to craft moments of wonder and delight.

The Art of Solo: A Star Wars ™ Story by Phil Szostak, and Lucasfilm Ltd. © Abrams Books, 2018
© 2018 Lucasfilm Ltd. And TM. All Rights Reserved. Used Under Authorization

Conceived by Lawrence Kasdan and his son, Jon, as a knockabout adventure caper movie ‘Solo’ tells the story of how Han Solo met a Wookie named Chewbacca and managed to acquire himself one of the fastest, if oldest, spaceships is existence, the Millennium Falcon. Here we are a little further away from the shiny recreations of ‘A New Hope’s sets like we saw in ‘Rogue One’. Rather, ‘Solo’ has a look and feel that is grimier and grittier. Perfect for a little criminal activity.

Caption: Han Vandor Jacket Version 1A
Credit: Glyn Dillon
The Art of Solo: A Star Wars ™ Story by Phil Szostak, and Lucasfilm Ltd. © Abrams Books, 2018
© 2018 Lucasfilm Ltd. And TM. All Rights Reserved. Used Under Authorization

Plans for the young Han Solo had begun in preproduction for ‘Revenge Of The Sith’ with George Lucas considering the possibility that the young Solo had been raised on Kashyyyk and therefore witness to the final Clone Wars battle there, culminating in the execution of Order 66. However, this plan was dropped but, luckily for us, a few images of concept art find their way into ‘The Art Of Solo’.

Caption: Worm 02
Credit: Ivan Manzella
The Art of Solo: A Star Wars ™ Story by Phil Szostak, and Lucasfilm Ltd. © Abrams Books, 2018
© 2018 Lucasfilm Ltd. And TM. All Rights Reserved. Used Under Authorization

What follows is the usual mix of intriguing concept art from some of the business’ top names, such as Ian McCaig and Jon McCoy. As ever, some of what you see is exactly or close to what is portrayed in the movie, in other instances, it can seem quite far removed, but what is fascinating is the thought process between how the movie might look and how it eventually appears.

Szostak does a great job of organising the production detail for the design, just as he did for ‘The Art Of The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Art Of The Last Jedi’. Many of the images are cross page or full page and are presented in Abrams’ inimitable coffee book style on beautiful glossy pages.

Caption: L3 in Falcon Version 1A
Credit: Adam Brockbank
The Art of Solo: A Star Wars ™ Story by Phil Szostak, and Lucasfilm Ltd. © Abrams Books, 2018
© 2018 Lucasfilm Ltd. And TM. All Rights Reserved. Used Under Authorization

Until Lucasfilm and Disney decide to release ‘Making Of-’ books to us and, given the production history of ‘Solo’, that’s going to be fascinating, then the ‘Art Of-’ titles are the best thing we fans have to getting close to the movie’s production process.

If there’s one image, though, that conveys the delight of this movie, it’s a double page spread of an image by Lucasfilm design supervisor James Clyne and concept artist Vincent Jenkins. Han and Chewie, sat in the cockpit of the Falcon, with Chewie’s hair fluffed into a fuzzball, like he’s just had it blow-dried. The beginning of a friendship and of a movie legend. ‘The Art Of Solo: A Star Wars Story’ shows you just how compelling those sorts of relationship on screen can be.

John Rivers

June 2018

(pub: Abrams Books. 256 page hardback. Price: £30.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-41972-745-0)

check out website: www.abramsbooks.com

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Category: Books, Illustration, Movie books, Star Wars

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