When it comes to movie poster artists, I consider Drew Struzan to be a god amongst men. As a bit of a fledgeling artist myself, his iconic work on some of the most beloved movies of all times was a huge influence. As I write this, I’m flanked by no less than three of his prints for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom and Return of the Jedi hanging on my wall. Clearly, I love the man’s work. Which I was a bit saddened when he announced his retirement a number of years back.
Luckily though, he has another major fan in director JJ Abrams who just so happened to be making Star Wars: The Force Awakens and with all the old guard from the original trilogy returning – original stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, composer John Williams, writer Lawrence Kasdan, etc – really only wanted one man for the job of creating its first poster. A poster that was launched at Disney’s D23 Expo last weekend, but has now finally been made available online in high-resolution.
Speaking to MovieWeekly (where the poster debuted) in an exclusive extensive interview, Struzan explained how Abrams got him out of retirement for this gig:
“Well, see it started about a year ago or more, a year and a half ago. I got a call from J.J. Abrams who I have never met, and he was in England shooting the film and he goes ‘Hi, I’ve always loved the work’ and Blah, Blah, Blah, sounding like you, you know, like a fanboy (laughs)…”
“…And we were talking along and he just goes ‘…Well, would you?’ and I said ‘…If I was asked.’ And that was the conversation (laughs). By the end of it, there were no other words. So about a year later, we get together and meet and he says we’re using all the original people – John Williams, Kasdan, Harrison Ford’s in it, everybody’s in it and everybody’s writing and making the music and we have to have your art to make it the real thing. So, of course, I’ve got to do it for George [Lucas] and I’ve got to do it for Star Wars.”
What’s more though, Struzan went on to reveal that he’s seen an early cut of The Force Awakens, and has some seriously high praise for it!
“I’ve never worked with J.J before and so we started working on it and he showed me like half the movie and it was just… a wonderful film and I know it’s going to be grand. I got to read the script and subsequently I’ve seen half of it and I can tell you and the fans this, Honest to god, it is far and away probably going to be THE BEST Star Wars you’ve ever seen.”
The best? EVER? Damn it, Struzan. My heart doesn’t need this right now. December 18 is still so far away!
If you’re even the tiniest bit of fan of Struzan’s work throughout his incredible career, then I highly recommend you check out the full interview where he also discusses why he refuses to work digitally, what he’s been doing since he retired, his approach to crafting such iconic, timeless posters and more. And also make sure to get your hands on the Drew: The Man Behind the Poster, the documentary celebrating his work that we featured a few years back.
Last Updated: August 21, 2015