When A New Hope (then simply named Star Wars) first hit the big screens back in 1977, it changed the game entirely. Not only in terms of box office revenue, but in terms of design and aesthetic too. Never before had we seen production quality of that depth in science-fiction. It was so striking, so original, that a lot of the Star Wars design sensibilities have become ubiquitous. From Apple products to fashion, architecture to car design, the iconic design work was revolutionary. Now that generations of artists who grew up with an intimate relationship with Star Wars are designing things of their own, the influence is stronger than ever.
So what happens when these artists take on the original, classic designs that had such a strong influence on them? We’re here to show you just a snippet of the wide range of Star Wars fan designs out there. Naturally, it’s impossible to compile the breadth of fan designs available, but we’ve put in the time and combed through the internet to find some choice picks to whet your appetite. So feel, don’t think and, most importantly, use your instincts while you check out our selection of Star Wars fan designs!
15. SPIKY VADER
There’s no doubt that the visage of Darth Vader already inspires terror in lowly Rebel scum. But if he wanted something more maneuverable, something to emphasise the warrior instead of the commander, then he should take some design tips from Benny Kusnoto. Benny’s design is interesting because it flips the impression of the original Vader design on its head. Where the original emphasises the machine element of Darth Vader, this design highlights the twisted, organic side of our beloved murderous Sith.
With chitinous armor flowing into heavy robes and the almost ornamental spikes on the helmet, it’s safe to say that the Rebel’s would still be quaking in their dirty boots at the sight of it. The illuminated red line over the eye, mirroring the scar on the face underneath the helmet, is a particularly nice touch too.
14. LUKE IN JEDI ARMOR
Alternate reality fanfics are a huge part of Star Wars fandom. A lot of entries in this list indulge in it! So thank you, Philip Sanchez, for giving us another excuse to play “what if?” Philip’s Luke Skywalker redesign gives us a look at an armored-up Luke, ready for battle and, judging from the gold trim and strong shoulders, command.
This is a Luke who’s established as a Jedi in his own right, leading squadrons of Rebels on large scale missions. Clearly Luke’s taken some inspiration from his dad in the swooping cape, but you can’t really fault him for that. Family is family, after all. And it looks great, so we’ll forgive him. Moreover, Luke would cut a seriously bold and intimidating figure on the battlefield in this armor, acting as both a deterrent for the Rebel’s foes and a walking banner for his own troops.
13. REY, LADY OF THE SITH
The struggle between light and dark is a major theme in the new trilogy. Kylo’s fall into the dark and subsequent torment as he feels the pull of the Light is key to his characterization and, if the rumors have weight to them, Episode VIII will explore the line between dark and light further. With that in mind, check out cobaltplasma’s design for Rey, Lady of the Sith.
Her robes mirror Kylo and his Knights of Ren, implying an allegiance to the mysterious faction. Most interesting is Rey’s lightstaff, repurposing unused concept art for Kylo Ren. The inclusion of Luke’s old lightsaber and its crystal stands out. It’s an awesome idea that we hope can still make it to the screen. We’ve not got long to wait until we see how Rey’s training goes but until then we’re more than happy to indulge in fan theories like this.
12. WOOKIE JEDI
Let’s be honest here. We’ve all wanted to see a Wookie Jedi. It would be amazing. A big hairy juggernaut screaming wordlessly whilst wielding a laser sword? You can’t ask for more out of your space fantasy franchise. So kudos to Nico Fari and whomever commissioned them to create this fantastic design. The longer you look at it, the more thought you can see went in to it.
Standard Jedi robes have been swapped for a billowing overcoat, adorned with segments of Rebel Alliance armor to show the Wookie’s political affiliations. Under the coat we can see some more traditional Jedi garb, the trims and beads hinting at tribal Wookie culture. And finally, the double-bladed saber, hinting at both the combat prowess and Force proficiency of our Wookie. And, if all else fails and a duel looks to be lost, he can always just tear his opponents arms off…
11. PHARAOH FLAVORED VADER
The Japanese influence on the Star Wars universe is no secret. George Lucas has been more than open about the Jedi order being heavily informed by the samurai and Bushido Code. But sometimes it’s fun to imagine a Star Wars universe influenced by other things. Like Ancient Egyptians! Guy Borraine Jr. fulfils this perfectly with his vision of Darth Vader by way of the pharaohs. Sleek and otherworldly, this design emphasises Vader’s high standing in the Empire and the power he wields over people as a result.
It’s just as intimidating as the classic design but in a completely different way. Imagine coming face to face with those empty black eyes. Or Vader lazily swatting Rebels away with the ornate, golden hilted saber. It goes to show; the influences can change, but the core of Vader will still be terrifying.
Towering over everything else on the battlefield, this thing makes the AT-AT look like “Stormtrooper’s First Death Machine.” From the mind of Ruben Alba, the AT-DT, or All Terrain Destructor Transport, looks like a mini Death Star with legs. We imagine it’s most likely reserved for use in bigger battles than the pesky Rebel Alliance can front; you can imagine the massive AT-DT sowing some serious planetary destruction in the name of the Emperor. We’d like to see a Snowspeeder try and tackle this, you stupid Rebels!
We’re especially fond of the glowing red windows into the cockpit and turret rooms, which give a “The Empire Is Always Watching You” impression. Ruben Alba completed this design as part of the 2016 ILM Art Department challenge; check out the rest of the entries for more high quality, ILM approved work!
9. GENERAL GRIEVOUS SANS ARMOR
The prequels get a lot of hate, but one thing they got right was the villains, General Grievous among them. Joel Turner goes for a more organic, biological look in this General Grievous design. Stripping away most of the protective armor makes Grievous seem almost vulnerable, with the draping cape adding to the focus on his skills with his lightsabers. Keep in mind, we only saw Grievous in the midst of the Clone Wars, so being armored up to the nines makes sense.
But in one-on-one duels, keeping it light and agile would be a smart move for duels with Jedi. With his breather mask still secured on his face and a piercing glare, this is a Grievous with one purpose: build the collection. And when you think about it, he would have smelled truly foul if he never took the armor off.
8. GREEDO’S SHIP
Greedo doesn’t have the best reputation. Bounty hunters look down on him and he’s the source of a massive point of contention with fans. We reckon they’d look at Greedo more kindly if they had saw pilot a ship like this. Ruben Alba envisioned Greedo’s ship as part of the ILM Art Challenge back in 2016. Covered in rust and sand, it adheres to the “rough and ready” aesthetic we love in Star Wars.
Not only does it have a distinct design (instead of just being a riff on an existing ship), but it fits Greedo’s character perfectly. Once it might have been a bright ship that ran like a dream. Now it looks like Greedo’s struggling to keep the thing together. It might not beat a bantha in a drag race, but it’s all Greedo’s got. At least until he collects the big money from the Solo job. Wait…
7. SAMURAI INSPIRED EMPIRE
Roberto Robert shows their design chops here with more of a reimagining of the Star Wars concept than just character design. This quasi-historical take on the oft-interpreted “Samurai Star Wars” concept imagines a Star Wars universe with WW1 tech, where the Samurai aesthetic had survived and katanas have the same capabilities as lightsabers. The result is intriguing and thoroughly executed, leaving us itching for more.
What sort of tech would the Rebels have been able to scrounge up? How would vehicles like X-Wings and Tie Fighters look if they were merged with tanks. And just what the hell would a Death Star be in this universe? Roberto has us hooked but, unfortunately, there’s no more to be seen. However, there’s plenty more Star Wars redesigns on their artstation profile, so check them out!
6. JEDI LEIA
One of the Star Wars fandom’s favourite “what if’s” has to be the concept of Leia undergoing Jedi training instead of Luke. It makes sense, right? She’s the daughter of one of the most prolific Force users in history, the titular Chosen One. Now thanks to GaboMelo we can see what Leia would look like as a full blown, Force adept Jedi Knight. This design really helps envision Leia’s approach to Jedi knighthood.
She’s definitely more headstrong than Luke and more mature to boot, making her potentially a more active Jedi than Luke was. Also, we’re loving the twin sabers. Leia has always been fiery and self-assured, so it makes sense that she’d opt for the form with the most options, both defensive and offensive. It’s the nice character touches that make GaboMelo’s design. Now excuse us while we write some Jedi Leia fanfic.
5. AT-ST REDESIGN
The Star Wars aesthetic was always supposed to be “lived in”. They wanted to show a galaxy that had lived with the tech for ages, of droids and ships repaired so much that they barely had any original parts. Michal Kus follows this train of thought with his functional AT-ST design. It still resembles the classic AT-ST design we know and love but gives you a stronger sense of how it functions. And with less moving parts, the sand of Tatooine or the detritus of Endor’s forest floor would have a harder time finding its way in to moving parts.
To be fair to the Empire’s design team, they had a clear vision and they stuck to it. They should have taken some cues from Michal though. Maybe the machines would have lasted longer that way? And maybe, just maybe, they wouldn’t have been taken down by tribal teddy bears…
4. SITH YODA
It’s an understatement to say Yoda was a bit loopy after his seclusion on Dagobah. One moment he was a proud Jedi Master, commanding squadrons in the Clone Wars. Skip ahead a couple of decades and he’s killing time in a swamp like a Muppet obsessed with piggyback rides. We kid, of course, but it’s safe to say that Yoda’s time in seclusion took a toll on him. With just his thoughts and a stinking swamp for company, Yoda could have easily fallen to the Dark Side.
This atmospheric piece by Daryl Mandryk shows us just that. Yoda still looks proud but in all the wrong ways. Seething and ragged in black robes, his glowing red eyes are the real standout. The galaxy is lucky Yoda was strong enough to keep his faith because, if this is anything to go by, he’d be a Sith to be reckoned with.
3. ALVAR THE BOUNTY HUNTER
Readers, meet Alvar. This striking design by StTheo makes us want a Bounty Hunter Anthology movie so badly we can taste it. Part of StTheo’s series of designs focussing on, as they put it, the “scumbag characters”, each aspect of the design ties into the backstory StTheo has invented for Alvar. Originally an infamous Coruscant police officer known for his liberal approach to violence, the allure of sweet, sweet credits drew him to bounty hunter work.
Now Alvar gets to implement all the extreme methods he’s practiced over the years without rules and regulations breathing down his neck. And get paid too, of course. You can see even more designs on StTheo’s deviantart profile. Commission them to envision your beloved Star Wars RPG character. You won’t be disappointed.
2. AHSOKA TANO REDESIGN
Before Rey burst into the Star Wars universe as a confident, self-assured and fully realised female character, there was Ahsoka Tano. Probably the most enduring non-Saga character, Ahsoka Tano has survived even the Great Canon Recalibration that came with Disney. So it’s safe to say that fans feel really strongly about her. Fans like Claire Hummel. Claire’s the Art Director for Campo Santo, known for the game Firewatch, and she took on the task of redesigning Ahsoka in reaction to her look in the Clone Wars movie.
Taking cues from the “ceremonial” dress of the Togruta, Claire ties Ahsoka closer to her race while avoiding the “generic ‘new trilogy’ costuming”. You can’t argue with the results. Claire’s design feels fresh and appropriate while still maintaining the classic aspects of Ahsoka’s design. Who knows when we’ll see Ahsoka again, but when we do, we hope the designers take note.
1. BOBA FETT PRIME
Boba Fett’s reputation preceded him when we first met him under Empire employment. From his role in the prequels we know he’s been following in his father’s footsteps, taking up the quaint family trade of hunting and killing people for monetary gain. So when he is bested by a rookie Jedi and a sand monster, fans understandably felt robbed. Where was the Boba Fett than inherited all his father’s tricks? That was the fiercest bounty hunter in the galaxy?
This design from Liandry gives us the Boba Fett we deserve. We like to think this is a Boba who took all the jobs that people claimed were impossible, and won. Check out his duffel bag for proof. He’s got Yoda’s ears, C-3PO’s arm and a couple of lightsabers to boot. This Boba Fett is the best at what he does.
Which of these Star Wars redesigns is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
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