Filming on Star Wars: Episode VII is slated to pick back up later this month, but the big news this week concerned the appearance of a sketch online – one that may well have revealed the redesigned stormtrooper from J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars film, ahead of time. Today, we have additional photos that reportedly depict the helmet worn by stormtroopers in Episode VII; as with the drawing, the design very much harkens back to the conceptual artwork created by Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston for Episodes IV-VI.
Last month, Abrams officially unveiled the design of the X-Wing fighter in Episode VII. Many a fan has noted that the ship’s build has been tweaked so that it now more closely resembles McQuarrie’s original conceptual design for the spaceship on George Lucas’ original Star Wars movie trilogy. That is to say, it doesn’t require a stretch to assume that the new stormtrooper design may be legit, given the film’s established precedent of calling back to the original trilogy’s preproduction aesthetics.
Indie Revolver, which exclusively debuted the latest rumored image of Episode VII‘s stormtrooper, originally noted that the helmet appears to be non-symmetrical – with only a single breather/vent on the left side – but the article was later updated with a second image of the prop that indicates this will not be the case. Either way, the helmet is a clear departure from the regular trooper look in previous live-action Star Wars movies.
According to Indie Revolver, this stormtrooper design is also being referred to as the “Jungle Trooper”, suggesting that this helmet might be tied to a specific environment (a la snowtroopers in The Empire Strikes Back) – as opposed to, the new standard design for stormtroopers in Episode VII. Either way, it reflects a trend of going back to McQuarrie’s style with the next wave of Star Wars entertainment; that includes the upcoming Star Wars Rebels animated series and its decidedly “softer”, McQuarrie-esque visual template.
So, as the popular rumor is the Galactic Empire did not merely keel over and die after Emperor Palpatine’s demise in Episode VI, what have the Imperial Forces been up to over the last three decades? Well, besides continuing to fight the Rebels, the popular claim right now is that the Jedi Hunters – a class of non-Sith warriors that use the dark side of the Force (and will be introduced in Star Wars Rebels) – have been aiding the remnants of the Empire and battling Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).
Rumor has it Daisy Ridley’s Episode VII character - a protagonist in the new Star Wars film trilogy - undertakes a journey to find Master Skywalker, with assistance from the character played by John Boyega (Attack the Block). The latter, if all this speculative talk is to be believed, will be wearing the new stormtrooper armor at the beginning of Episode VII, before his spiritual (and literal) journey with Ridley gets underway. As with all Episode VII rumors, you should be sure and take these details well-salted.
Star Wars: Episode VII opens in U.S. theaters on December 18th, 2015.