The big-budget Star Wars films being made today by Lucasfilm and Disney are essentially just sanctioned fan-films. Meaning, at this point, the true spirit of Star Wars is carried by what those fans enjoy, whether they’re Rian Johnson, or a collection of animation students putting together an impressive final project.

On Thursday, several outlets reported on the fan-made trailer for “The Star Wars.” Using the concept art of Ralph McQuarrie as a guide, students at the Dave School for Animation, made a trailer that turns all of those still paintings from the mid-‘70s into moving, dynamic scenes. For those who are huge fans of the pre-production paintings McQuarrie made for George Lucas, many of these images will be familiar. “Luke Skywalker” is a female character, Chewbacca looks more like a monster, C-3PO is more feminine, with lines echoing the Fritz Lang 1927 sci-fi masterpiece, Metropolis, the Millennium Falcon looks like a totally different ship, and pretty much everybody, including the Stormtroopers, gets a lightsaber.

Concept Vader from the Dave school trailer.

The person who looks the most like themselves from the final film, is of course, Darth Vader. In almost every single way, the look of Darth Vader came from Ralph McQuarrie’s art, not from George Lucas’s pen.

Darth Vader versus "Starkiller" in Ralph McQuarrie's concept art

Back when McQuarrie was helping Lucas to pre-visualize Star Wars, the characters were pretty different from what we know today. The name Skywalker was in the mix, but the main heroes, including Luke, went by the name of “Starkiller.” Of course, it took awhile, but eventually that name surfaced again when the First Order busted out Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens.

In 2013-2014, Dark Horse Comics published a project similar to what the Dave School has accomplished here. Called simply The Star Wars, this mini-series attempted to tell the “story” of Lucas’s original concept for the first film. But, as any true fan will tell you, Star Wars always looks best when the artistic images from the page are brought to life on the screen. Which is what makes the Dave School’s fan-made concept trailer so special. It actually feels like it’s traveled from an alternate dimension, to remind us of what might of been in a galaxy, far, far away…


The Last Jedi is out on Friday, December 15. Check out more from The Dave School here, and check out their OTHER concept-trailer below. It’s for an Imperial Missions game we wish was real.