Star Wars: The Force Awakens is arguably a well-crafted sequel to the first two Star Wars trilogies. But as movies go, several ideas had to go through the process of elimination in order to end up in the final Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
There had been a massive leak of The Force Awakens concept art before the film’s release. However, since nobody could relate at the time, most people probably saw the images as nothing more than amazing artwork. Now, months into the release of The Force Awakens, with several Easter eggs and references already revealed as well, we’re offered a clearer picture of what LucasFilm and Disney had planned at the beginning.
Below are several concept art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens from the book, The Art of The Force Awakens, released by LucasFilm (via Outer Places):
First, the characters.
Rey and Finn
The movie's key characters were far from what they look like in the movie. Initially named Kira and Sam, Rey and Finn ended up totally different from their concept stage counterparts. Kira might have some similarities to Rey, but it’s undeniable how Sam looks very similar to Han Solo.
However, Rey, or formerly Kira, didn’t look as “polished” as she does in the film. As seen in other earlier concepts, Rey could have been more disheveled.
BB-8 As seen below, the droid apparently wasn’t supposed to be as perfectly spherical as he is in the film. He looks rather bulky here. It’s a good thing BB-8 is as he appears now, it would have been awkward seeing him running/rolling in a heavy bulk.
Kylo Ren We have no qualms about Ben Solo’s transformation in The Force Awakens, but apparently, the film’s creators had planned a more disturbing look for him. Personally, I think either appearance looks cool onscreen.
Vader's Force Ghost
As for the ghost of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), who is known to have a cameo appearance at some point in the movie, artist Iain McCraig perfectly captured the Dark Side lurking inside him showing through his demeanor.
McCraig explained of his creation:
"When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow." That inspired me to propose, for the first time, that Anakin's ghost could come back … If we see Anakin Skywalker, because he does flow back and forth between Darth Vader and Anakin, let's see him as a character with a dark and light side. The reason Luke is this whole new entity is because he was the first to acknowledge his own dark side - that it was not separate from him.
Jakku/Junk Planet Now we move on to Tatooine’s The Force Awakens counterpart, the planet Jakku. More than our heroine’s desolate and lonely home planet, Jakku could have looked like a much more forsaken place with AT-AT junk walkers rotting while still upright.
The First Order Meanwhile, what hadn’t changed much was the First Order's military line-up, which is known to resemble the Nazi regime.
Artist Yanick Dusseault had this to say about his work:
I just took Olympic Third Reich photos, put them on my computer screen, modeled them in 3D, and put in little TIE fighters instead of guys. And I switched the flag logo to the Empire logo.
Honestly, I find a Star Wars: The Force Awakens with a darker feel more interesting, but that’s just me. I’m hoping that we have yet to see more sinister versions of the Star Wars saga in Star Wars: Episode VIII in December 15, 2017 and Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019.