It has been almost two months since Star Wars: The Last Jedi hit the theaters, but fans are nowhere near done picking it apart.
Many of them have turned to the supplementary books and other printed material released for the sequel including the official Star Wars: The Last Jedi art book, which features concept art pieces made for the film.
Some took notice of one artwork that shows Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) meditating inside a cave while a hooded figure in the background believed to be a dark sider looked on.
A lot of speculations and theories came out of it. There were those who said that it might have been Snoke or someone who influenced Luke’s thinking about the importance of balance in the Force.
There were even theories that it was a hint that Luke turned to the dark side at some point in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and that it was this Sith who he communed with inside the mysterious cave where Rey (Daisy Ridley) asked questions about her parents. Some went so far as to say it was a Sith ghost, a concept that has never been introduced in the Star Wars saga before.
However, Lucasfilm creative art manager Phil Szostak, who also happens to be the author of The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, reminded fans in a series of tweets that they should not put too much weight on the concept art especially regarding the film’s plot.
“Just because something appears in an Art of Star Wars book, doesn’t *necessarily* mean it was ‘almost’ in the film (I’m looking at you, “Sith ghost” article writers). Concept artists are given a lot more latitude to pitch their own ideas than most folks seem to realize.”
For example, in The Art of #TheLastJedi, sequences or scenes called out as being in early script drafts but not shot or shot but deleted were probably much closer to almost being in the movie than one random piece of concept art, no matter how interesting. 2/ pic.twitter.com/6yWHhlaLHG
— Phil Szostak (@PhilSzostak) January 21, 2018
He goes on to talk about what happens in the “most blue-sky period” of concept art creation, which is a time where artists are encouraged to pitch ideas. This part of the development takes place early on and in the case of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it was while the script was still being written.
“For every one of those ideas that makes it into the film, there are dozens that don’t.
“What makes the cut for an Art of Star Wars book (the initial pool is always chosen by me and then edited down as we go) is only the tip of a very large iceberg of concept art, an incredible archive of ideas/designs which I help Lucasfilm tap into as a part of my day job.”
Szostak added that this process usually depends on the style and desire of the filmmakers. For Star Wars, however, he said that “the writing and concept art feed each other.”
“But it’s not always a 1:1 thing. A piece of art can inspire a story idea not directly depicted in said art. Or sometime an idea is taken wholesale from the art. Visuals can add a lot to the writing process but not every writer needs them.”
That being said, the popular image from the Star Wars: The Last Jedi art book is not something to think about too much. It was not necessarily something meant to be in the film but was just scrapped, as many fans choose to look at it.
This means that it should not be something to heavily consider when scrutinizing the events in Star Wars: The Last Jedi or when thinking about the future of the franchise.