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USA TODAY Shines a Spotlight On Star Wars Mythos – Exclusive Edition

Thursday, September 20, 2012

USA TODAY’s Brian Truitt had a chat with our Creative Director, Tom Gilliland, about the inspired tales of Star Wars Mythos. [Read the story here]

Check out the full interview in our Exclusive Edition below:

USA TODAY: What led to creating the Mythos collection? Did you want to do something with it that no one else is doing with Star Wars pieces?

TOM GILLILAND: Yes we wanted to take a fresh approach. There was a significant inspiration behind our Mythos collection, that being the Star Wars galaxy itself, which is a limitless canvas for storytelling. George Lucas laid the groundwork with the core films, but the expanded universe has carried the torch through a variety of graphic novels, books, video games, and the The Clone Wars TV series. Our venture into the Star Wars Mythos line is meant to contribute something in a storytelling capacity to a property that has given us as designers and collectors so much over the years.

While the pantheon of characters in the Star Wars galaxy is seemingly limitless, it’s the “titans” of the Star Wars mythology whose histories imply very rich lives punctuated with epic victories and tragic defeats. We wanted to explore some of the inner lives of characters like Darth Vader and Obi-wan (Ben) Kenobi through moments that occurred outside of the films. The Mythos line offered us an incredible opportunity to showcase the familiar with the unexpected and the previously unseen.

UT: Do you envision more than five being in the Mythos collection in the end?

TG: As designers we love the opportunity to build collections. In this case we framed our Mythos collection around a five piece start, with the hope that we would connect with collectors’ imaginations. We appear to have struck the right chord, and are excited to confirm that we are venturing further with the concept. Look for us to explore other characters in the future.

UT: How did you come upon these five characters in particular for Mythos?

TG: We strove to find a nice mix of “who is the most notable” with “what would be most unexpected.” Darth Vader was an obvious choice. But, rather than providing a predictable demonstration of Vader’s physical martial mastery, I really wanted to capture a Shakespearean moment of retrospection.

Boba Fett has always stood out to us as a character who defies his basic definition. In the films his part is somewhat subdued when compared to the legend that has echoed into the future. We saw him bring down a lone smuggler with the aid of the Empire. But how would he handle a bigger prize with no backup?

The choice of Darth Maul was based almost entirely on his iconic and unique appearance. Also, I’m easily charmed by the Dark Side.

Ben Kenobi’s singular devotion to duty has always captivated, even inspired me, especially when one considers the “General’s” self-imposed exile in the deserts of Tatooine. I wanted to explore a piece that spoke of that choice with a solemn dignity, set during that point in ‘history’ where the different actors who portrayed him cross paths. This is what lead to the inclusion of portraits showing a slightly older Ewan McGregor and a younger Alec Guinness.

UT: The Gamorrean Guard was just released. Can you tell me what inspired him and how you came to that specific design? In the movies, they seemed sort of goofy and henchman-like, but this guy looks pretty serious.

TG: The Gamorrean executioner was really the rogue entry in the line up, but no less significant than the others with regard to the creative process. I wanted to see how elastic the Star Wars universe really is, and I also wanted a challenge. I narrowed in on the Gamorreans with the notion that many Star Wars characters are who they are because they buck convention, or are not typical of their race, or creed. I liked the idea that, while most Gamorreans are plodding dullards, there must be some that rise above, that either lead or stand out in some manner. In Lomrokk’s case I saw a story of an uncanny survivor, a warlord deposed and driven into an exile that eventually led to him to become one of Jabba’s gladiators and his principal executioner — until the day came when the Rancor came along and “stole his job.” You can read the complete story here.

UT: Are there certain themes that each of the statues represent in the Star Wars universe?

TG: There are themes to each piece without a doubt. Some were a bit more heady than others, but that’s what made the mix so interesting as a collection. The Vader piece is clearly about inner conflict and self will. Ben Kenobi’s theme is the nobility of self sacrifice. Darth Maul stands for straightforward discipline. The Gamorrean piece denotes survival and self-reliance. And Boba Fett clearly states that, when in doubt, bring more guns!

UT: Your website includes the stories behind the Darth Maul, Ben Kenobi, and Lomrokk (Gamorrean Guard) statues. Can you tease to the tales behind the remaining two?

TG: The Darth Vader story, “Dark Contemplations,” is about one’s life decisions, the inner conflicts that arise from such determinations, and the courage of one’s convictions. In this case I saw a moment where the fallen Anakin Skywalker confronted the essence of Darth Vader at Vader’s birth place on Mustafar. It’s a moment of hope, ultimately crushed by the iron will of Vader and the acceptance of who he has become. From this moment on, Anakin’s goodness remains subdued until his final moments wherein he sacrifices himself to save his son.  I also loved the nod to Hamlet in the 3D composition.

Boba Fett’s tale really needed to be a sort of “Man With No Name” story that could fit into anyone’s perception of the character. He’s a lone gunman, and when confronted with a challenging bounty, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Boba Fett would not pull out all the stops. His story was written as an inner monologue, that catalogs his mental process while staging a very large hit. He’s mentally preparing himself for the task of cutting through loads of henchmen to get at his target.

UT: Darth Maul is in here, but do you find that characters from the original trilogy sell better than the prequel ones?

TG: Overall, yes. Darth Vader trumps all. But the beauty of Star Wars for me is that it’s not definitive. When we approach lesser known characters with the same zeal, attention to detail, and imagination that made Vader the icon that he is today, we have been pleasantly surprised at how well they find their rightful place with Star Wars collectors.

UT: Any other Star Wars statues or figures coming up?

TG: Star Wars is a life-blood property for us, and a constant source of inspiration for the Sideshow creative team. We are exploring and developing new projects in almost every conceivable format. We have some very cool life-size figures of Darth Vader and Boba Fett that are well into development. Our ongoing Premium Format line will be punctuated by new versions of the classic Episode IV characters as well as some interesting departures into the expanded universe. And the continued development of our Sixth Scale articulated figures are about to get an additional boost with some very ambitious projects. Look for Sideshow to update some older offerings with all new interpretations while also releasing some really special – and BIG – characters and vehicles.


From USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co., Inc.

© 2012 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.  

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