New Product Line for 2012 Toys
Star Wars, as you may or may not know, will start coming out in 3-D early 2012. To accompany that will be a new look fitting for Episode One featuring the iconic Sith Lord Darth Maul. Bill Concannon, principal at packaging design firm PILOT, and Stacy Cheregotis, director of global product development at Lucas Licensing have answered some questions and we have decided to post them here on our website.
What has brought about the return of Darth Maul to product packaging?
Concannon: “The opportunity to revisit Episode I brought a ton of excitement to this year’s packaging design for the team at Pilot. Because Darth Maul carried the packaging line look for the original release of Episode I, there was the urge to have another character represent the line look. Many alternative concepts were put on the table for this reason. At the end of the day, the epic duel between Darth Maul, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi clearly marks the amazing climactic moment of the film. Although Darth Sidious is the clear mastermind behind the dark forces, it is Darth Maul who is the face.
“In addition, the interior design of the Theed power generator made for superior packaging architecture. The light beams that blast up from the reactor core are powerfully represented within the packaging style guide. When you combine the iconic features of Darth Maul and the interior designs of the ‘generator’ you have the ingredients for a bold packaging line look that properly reflect the visual DNA of Episode I.”
Were there any particular challenges working Maul into the design — especially that awkwardly large lightsaber?
Concannon: “When you plan for character illustration to anchor your packaging, you will find the greatest challenges. For instance, Darth Maul may seem to be the dream for any illustrator to work with. From his striking body markings, double-bladed lightsaber and vicious grin he’s amazing. Yet we wanted to capture Maul’s ninja-like fight style which personified him in the scene within the generator. His movements were iconic and his menacing cocksure attitude is very memorable. However, the most dynamic poses of a character may not be well suited for packaging. A full body pose, which would be desirable for Maul, becomes busy from a distance (bad for packaging). In addition, Maul carries the weight of having human facial characteristics. Unlike a clone trooper or the helmet of Darth Vader, you must nail the expression perfectly. The pose and expression chosen for this year’s line look captures Maul as he stalks his victims — you see his hatred for the Jedi and his confidence that he will succeed in vanquishing them both!”
Will there be a variation of this used for The Clone Wars packaging?
Cheregotis: “There will not be a variant for Clone Wars packaging. We always try to keep one brand look for all segments of the property, and in this case, the use of Maul is especially fitting given the introduction of Savage Opress in The Clone Wars and his quest to find Maul.”
Who’s the artist for Maul?
Concannon: “Chris Ford is the artist who created the Darth Maul painting for this year’s packaging. Chris is an amazing painter and co-founder of Pilot, who manages our potent illustration team. In order to properly design line looks for boys entertainment, you must direct and work closely with artists who ‘get it’ when it comes to creating striking images for this genre. In this instance, he worked intimately with Pilot’s own Greg Titus who completed dozens of pencil renderings. You may toss fifty pencils aside before you get the pose that hits the mark. In addition, whether it’s the first rendition of a character or the millionth, the impeccable standards in which the team at Lucasfilm will direct the work will always be a key factor.”