No Earth-shattering revelations here, unfortunately. Just a topic that I like talking about, so I wanted to kick things off to a bit of a simple start and see how the discussion carries on. One of the things that I find to be the most fascinating about viewing the two trilogies of Star Wars films together is the friction and seeming discrepancies that form in the art design of between the two bunches of films. You'd have to be blind to not see some of it. Just look at the above pictures. Jango with his sleek and stylish armor and a rather elegant looking blaster in his hand, and his “son” Boba, years later, with his much more cobbled together look: his dented and scratched armor, his rusty blaster, and the bits of cloth and other decorative pieces on his suit are all part of what make him so iconic and identifiable. Jango’s look seems almost rooted is the “flying saucer” era of imaginative and adventurous fifties science-fiction, while Boba is quite obviously a throwback to the western genre of film. On the internet supposed discrepancies like these are often analyzed in debates about continuity (people complaining that the prequels seem too technologically advanced in comparison to the originals, which are set 19 years later) or special effects (the classic CGI vs practical effects debate), but I want to look at the artistic discrepancies and alterations between the trilogies from a bit of a different perspective. The design of the Star Wars universe, be it on the minute level of a single movie or the grand scale of the entire six film saga, is not about realistic technological evolution or practicality. That type of stuff belongs in Star Trek or any other speculative science fiction story, not a space fantasy/western/jidaigeki movie series like Star Wars. In the world of Star Wars the “rule of cool” trumps functionality (what does that panel on Darth Vader’s chest do again?), though that in no way means that the designs in Star Wars are cobbled together without any thought or motivation. The prequel trilogy obviously has a very different look and feel to it than the original trilogy has. For the most part, the designs and art styles present in each trilogy are displayed in the above images of Jango and Boba Fett. The prequel films are much more slick and intricate, while the original films portray what George Lucas refers to as a “used future.” The designs are much more blocky and angular than those of the prequels. In the years since the release of the prequels, the more organic and smooth look of Episodes I, II, and III have become associated with the grand old Republic that had been in charge of maintaining peace and order in the galaxy for a millennia, while the worn-down style of Episodes IV, V, and VI is clearly a representation of the evil Empire and the restraining hold that it has over the galaxy. The prequel films predominantly feature Palpatine’s rise through the political ranks as he quickly escalates from mere Senator to Chancellor to self-dubbed Emperor over the course of three films. As Palpatine moves closer to his ultimate goal of universal domination, the Republic follows him and begins a transformation of its very own. Over the course of the three films the sleek and lavish details of the prequels begin to wane as the more angular and rigid look of the Empire takes over. Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith are all about the collapse of the Republic and the formation of the Empire, and the more idealized, artistic look of the old era is essentially washed away by Palpatine as the Republic’s impending doom draws ever closer. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the way the design of the prequel films gradually begins to shift over to the design of the originals is that is explicitly shows the audience in an easy-to-understand visual form the progression that the once-good Republic undergoes as it transforms into the evil Empire. During the Clone Wars the Jedi fought alongside the Clone Troopers that would go on to one day gun them down without question or remorse. The Jedi flew through space in starfighters that would go on to serve as the very basis for the Imperial TIE fighter. A lot of the designs of prequels have a bit of an over-the-top look and feel to them. The best example of this is, perhaps, General Grievous. Grievous comes into play during the stylized events that make up the Clone Wars, but he also serves another purpose as a sort of reminder of what will eventually happen at the end of Revenge of the Sith when Anakin Skywalker completes his transformation into Darth Vader. Grievous is sleek and agile like so many other designs and characters that inhabit the prequel films, but he is essentially a precursor to the robotic shell that will eventually imprison Anakin for the rest of his live. Even his robotic cough seems to be evocative of Vader’s iconic heavy breathing.