Attention to detail is a trait every member of the Star Wars creative team must have. From the lightsabers crafted in the original trilogy to spaceships designed in recent releases, there’s never been a product that wasn’t meticulously crafted.
Rogue One was no different. From top to bottom, every part of the film took tons of time and energy to craft, including its props. And while many Star Wars fans might have already known this, few know that the iconic U Wing spaceship featured in Rogue One went through over 700 redesigns before being finalized.
‘Star Wars’ spaceships always have iconic designs
Although pretty much every visual element of Star Wars is impressive, the spaceships always stand apart. Crafted with care and elaborate designs, the spaceships seen on screen are never easily forgotten. From the Millennium Falcon to the TIE Advanced 1, there are endless examples of the amazing craftsmanship involved.
However, the creative process behind building the spacecrafts is never easy. Lucasfilm co-production designer Doug Chiang explained on the Star Wars Youtube that designing the ships is one of the hardest jobs a creative can have.
“What’s fascinating for me about Star Wars ship design is that they’re very iconic and they’re very challenging as well,” Chiang said. “I love drawing spaceships, but I also find that they’re the most challenging to design. … One, you’re really trying to create something that’s very memorable, Two, you’re trying to create something that functionally can work cinematically and actually supports the story.”
The director had high expectations for the design
Rogue One director Gareth Edwards set the bar very high during the initial design stages for the U Wing. He desired to create a spaceship as memorable as the Millennium Falcon and the X Wing, which would not be an easy task.
“For me, in my view, those are perfect designs,” Chiang said. “There’s not a thing on them that I would change. And so when Gareth set the bar that high, it was quite a tall order to fill.”
Chiang and the team moved forward by drawing hundreds of sketches in a matter of minutes to get ideas. Once they got the core essence of the vehicle’s shape, the team settled on a few designs that resonated the most with them.
The team had to redesign the U Wing hundreds of times
Even though the design team had a mutual understanding of the ship’s aesthetics, they knew it still needed work. When placed alongside the X Wing, the team agreed the U Wing couldn’t exist in the same universe as the X Wing. They added “outstretched wings” to the ship, but didn’t stop there.
“In total, we did about 781 individual designs to finally lock the design. Toward the end of the design cycle, we actually decided that maybe we should put in more X Wing features.”
Making 781 designs sounds like a headache for anyone, no matter how talented they are. But thankfully, the hard work paid off, giving viewers the unforgettable U Wing.
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