Kristin Baver talks with Amy Beth Christenson, the art director on Star Wars Resistance, about kit bashing Ace’s Racers, how Flix relates to the Ewoks, and how BB-8 was reimagined.
In creating the new anime-inspired look of Star Wars Resistance, Art Director Amy Beth Christenson turned a forgotten Ewok ancestor into a bird-like business partner, resurrected an impossible droid, and kitbashed pieces of some of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy into something new and unique. “We have a tradition of going back and looking at what didn’t make it,” Christenson says, scouring through the old Ralph McQuarrie, Joe Johnston, and Nilo Rodis-Jamero concepts.
BB-8 was already a big-screen star when Christenson and her team were designing the look of Resistance. But to translate Poe Dameron’s beloved droid into animation, she consulted early concept art for the roly-poly astromech’s debut in The Force Awakens.
The idea was to reimagine BB-8 in the anime-inspired style, a slightly rounder, “stylized and squat version of himself.” The redesign was also a conscious effort to differentiate the animated version from his live-action counterpart but retain the spirit of the feisty little droid.
“There’s a level of simplifying that went with it, as well,” Christenson says. The animated BB-8 has just one antenna and “you don’t see the red light in the lens.” But she was meticulous about maintaining the details on the individual plates around the roundy’s body.
“I think the biggest thing was the eye size. The second I started going through the images of the concept art, that was pretty consistent,” Christenson adds. “BB-8 has a pretty small head in proportion to his body but he needs to be up there [on Resistance] acting with all these other animated characters.”
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