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These aren’t the droids you’re looking for…. But a certain Mr. Foss might find that one over there familiar… … . March 2, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Uncategorized.
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Been re-watching the Star Wars trilogy – the original three that is (though parts of the last of the later ‘first’ three are okay… in part because show me a starship crashing from orbit on film and I’m a happy man). And it seems like good news that JJ. Abrams is going to direct the next three – not least because his Fringe and reboot of Star Trek were so good. Having reworked through Episodes IV and V they hold up remarkably well. And Episode VI? Well, I’ll get back to you after the weekend.

But looking at the original – released in 1977 (gulp, almost forty years ago) something caught my eye.

Though before we get to that let’s contextualise this a bit. Some of you will be familiar with UK artist Chris Foss who, in some respects, defined the look and feel of 1970s and after science fiction art. His approach distinctively broke away from space ships as slender silver needles – albeit 2001 also played a part in that. Instead his designs were of assymetric, colourful, grimy objects that looked as if they were at least slightly related to the industrial as distinct from the antiseptic creations that came previously (though oddly in the age of the ipod that latter approach made something of a return, look at the ships in Wall-E). Small wonder he was brought in for both the earliest abortive effort to make Dune and worked on Alien.

But in relation to Star Wars it is said that this cover below illustrated by him, which predates that film by some distance has been the cause of some angst, in that it has never been acknowledged as a possible influence.

moon-beast

Behold the upper portion of that spacecraft. Somewhat familiar it looks.

Okay, that could be simply a case of coincidence. But what of this? For viewing ST and the part where Luke and his uncle purchase R2D2 and C3PO (and while I’m at it what precisely is the status and rights of AI’s in that universe?) from the Jawa’s there’s a droid down the line that looks like this.

r1g4a

It appears to pop up again later in the film in Mos Eisley.

r1g4b

And consider this cover from Foss, which it appears was produced in or around 1973…

Panther+Asimov+The+Naked+Sun+%28Foss%29

Just sayin’ y’know…

Comments»

1. Garibaldy - March 2, 2013

Wheedon was the better choice than Abrams.

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WorldbyStorm - March 2, 2013

I’ve been thinking about that and I think you might be right. Perhaps more interesting and less obvious with very different outcomes. I haven’t seen Avengers yet, but it will be useful to compare and contrast. ..

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Séamas Ó Sionnaigh (An Sionnach Fionn) - March 2, 2013

Some video-interviews with the great man himself. I can’t remember how many books I bought in the old Forbidden Planet shop on Dawson Street based purely on Foss covers. Too many, probably! 😉 They were certainly better than all those American imports they used to sell (though they had their own novelty). Of course that was back when Forbidden stocked more books than toys 🙂

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WorldbyStorm - March 2, 2013

That’s spot on. Thanks for the links. He really was everywhere, and of course those who emulated the style as well.

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2. EWI - March 3, 2013

Lucas, as a good Entrepeneur, will of course sue into oblivion anyone who copies or borrows from *his* works (including an infamous episode in the UK):

http://m.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/jul/27/george-lucas-star-wars-replicas

A very similar seizure of others’ work and of culture which would be considered ‘commons’ has enriched Disney (Snow White, Pinocchio etc.)

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3. Starry Plough T-shirts, more on Star Wars and its – er – hommage to 2001 and Ayn Rand… | The Cedar Lounge Revolution - April 27, 2013

[…] mentioned a while back about how a certain Mr. Foss might be annoyed with Star Wars about this but what’s this? That looks strangely like one of the pods from 2001: A Space Odyssey in the […]

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