People make Star Wars fan films all the time, but Zurich-based artist and designer Martin Panchaud has created the most unique Star Wars adaptation yet. Panchaud remade the entirety of Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope in one single, scrollable infographic that equals about 157 pages, or 400-feet long. The entire top-viewed graphic is a lot to get through, but it simply and efficiently tells the first chapter of the Star Wars saga – which you’ve undoubtedly seen a million times – like you’ve never experienced it before.
Panchaud faithfully recreated the opening adventure of Luke Skywalker by depicting the Jedi and his friends and enemies as nothing more than dots. Sprinkled throughout are iconic dialogue exchanges and pop-art infused designs of ships like Leia’s Tantive IV, the X-Wing squadrons of the Rebel Alliance, and, of course, the Millennium Falcon.
Inverse spoke to Panchaud about his technique, his Star Wars fandom, and what’s next, now that his loving creation has set the Star Wars fan world buzzing.
Why did you want to represent A New Hope in a single infographic?
It started in 2015 where I had the idea of telling a whole story stylistically using just dots for characters and dialogue. I tested this style with another movie, and I tried to translate 2001: A Space Odyssey that way. It was a cool idea, but it didn’t work out like I hoped, and so I tried an epic space story next, and I chose Star Wars.
Are you a big Star Wars fan?
I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and I’ve loved it since childhood. I don’t go to conventions or do cosplay as any of the characters, but I primarily love the design of the universe.
What methods did you use to actually create the infographic?
I used the original script from 1974, and I took things from the beginning like a director would. I designed the graphic universe out from there with my own details.
The actual program I used was vector drawing on Adobe Illustrator, which is usually used for logos and different designs like that. But now it can be used for this.
How long did it take to plan out and design the entire film in the infographic?
It’s difficult to calculate because my wife and I have newborn twins, and I basically worked on it on the weekends and at night after caring for them and in between my other job. I think it took approximately 1,000 hours, but I didn’t really want to calculate it out all the way.
Did you start from the beginning and just make your way to the end, or did you design specific scenes and work from there?
In the beginning I wanted to just do the first few scenes. I also specifically wanted to do the Millennium Falcon entering hyperspace and Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie breaking out of the detention block because I had an exact idea in my mind about how I could represent that.
But I basically started from the beginning and worked page after page, scene after scene from the script. I completed a few opening scenes, and then I figured I’d continue on to the next one because it seemed interesting and so on. After a few more scenes it just became natural for me to do the whole thing. It became a kind of personal challenge.
What was the most difficult part, design-wise of the whole thing?
The final battle in the Death Star trench. I thought it would take a month, but that one scene took three months to complete. There was a lot of detail and a lot of action between the explosions and different kinds of ships to be able to depict that. It was definitely the most complicated part.
Do you have a personal favorite scene that you designed?
I like the scene in the beginning with Luke at the farm where he’s searching for R2-D2 in the desert of Tatooine. Creating the desert scenes were my favorite. I also loved just designing a graphic version of the Millennium Falcon too with all the little details of the ship.
Would you want someone to make an actual print of the infographic, or do you want it to exist entirely in a digital space?
I ask myself that question a lot. When I started out I calculated that it would measure about eight meters long. As I went along I thought it might end up being something like 60 meters. But in the end it’s 123 meters, which surprised me. If you printed that it would be huge.
It’s possible. I know someone who can make very big prints, but something like that would be cost prohibitive. It could be great printed out as one giant scroll in a box or something. But for now I want to keep it digital.
Do you plan on doing an infographic for the whole saga?
I’ve thought about it, and many people have asked me, but I’m not planning anything at this point. I’d like to do The Empire Strikes Back but I have to find a way to do it the right way. It’s difficult. There’s also some financial difficulty in completing them.
Have you heard from anyone at Lucasfilm about the infographic?
Yes, they contacted me about a week ago for something on StarWars.com, an interview. But I hope it could be a key to doing something more, and I hope it opened up discussions to do that. But for now nothing official is happening.
Do you think this could work for a non-Star Wars movie? If so, what movie would you like to make into an infographic like this?
People ask me to do it with other movies like Memento, but I’d go back to complete 2001: A Space Odyssey. That’s a more artistic project than Star Wars. There’s lots of abstract scenes and details of space, but it’s something I want to do. I have my own projects too, I’m creating a comic book now and for me that’s the next step.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.