“[…] Now, [Solo: A Star Wars Story] concept artist Jake Lunt Davies takes us back even further — to the design stage, where the movie’s characters and various galactic beings were ideated. With Solo now available on Digital and Movies Anywhere and its arrival tomorrow on Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and On-Demand, StarWars.com spoke to Lunt Davies about defining (and adding some bling to) a giant worm-like entity, developing a Star Wars biker gang, and bringing Maul back to the big screen — with a first look at previously unreleased Maul concept art. (Note: All concept art by Jake Lunt Davies unless otherwise noted.) […]
“A handful of us were let in on Maul being in the film so we could start development on it. We all had to be extremely hush hush on it, as they really wanted it to be as much of a surprise as possible. It made it tricky to actually work on because we didn’t even want people to know there WAS as a secret. Anytime anyone came into our room, we were on guard, basically, and would quickly put another safe picture up to hide what we were working on. But yeah, it was brilliant working on Maul.
“It was a really cool thing to work on. The time difference between when you’d last seen him and now…and obviously we’re bringing back Ray Park! It gave us the opportunity to look at what we could do with the makeup and the styling of him, to see if we could add a little bit of an edge to him because he’s become who he is, because he’s older, and also because the techniques of makeup application have developed since they did it the first time around. So we did a lot of exploration of how far we could push it. Have his horns grown, have his horns been chopped off? Have his tattoos changed? Has he added tattoos, have they faded like old sailors’ tattoos have faded? There were all these different things we were playing with. Has he got more scars? Does he look really craggy or does he look full and fat and successful?
“With the legs, through the research we did, he’d been through two or three different pairs since losing his lower half. When he showed up in Clone Wars, he gets fixed up with a big pair of spider legs first, then after that he gets these sort of backwards-facing chicken legs, then normal straight legs. So we thought, ‘We’ve got the liberty to design his legs, because they’re not canon and set in stone at this time.’ Again, we did a lot of different leg designs, and maybe made him a bit taller or tried to bring character to his leg designs, I suppose. And then it was, how much of his leg design do you get to see in conjunction with his costume? Where does his costume end — at the waist or lower down? You don’t want to hide his legs too much, so costume had to get that right. It was an interesting process to find all these little things to get that right, really.
“But back to the makeup design. Previously in The Phantom Menace, it was just painted on and the horns were just stuck on. For Solo we actually had prosthetics applied to his whole head. All the visible scars were actually slightly ridged, like there’s been a scarification. Very subtle but they made the difference between the red and the black ping out with this sort of little dropped shadow. Colin Jackman did the sculpt, and Martin Rezard and Waldo Mason did the application. Prior to painting, I had done a series of colorways in Photoshop, painting over Colin’s sculpt, experimenting with different levels of the red and the black. We got to this very dirty, sort of desaturated red, and the black had become a bluey-black. The tone of it, which you don’t really get to see in the film, unfortunately, was much more desaturated, with the tattoos faded and patchy.
“At one point, I did a drawing which was based on one of Ian McCaig’s really amazing early concepts [for The Phantom Menace] of Darth Maul with hair, sort of lank and wet. His image didn’t have the horns — it looked like it was out of The Ring, or something like that. So I did a version based on that where his hair had grown [Laughs], he had all this long hair and all his horns had grown long like antlers, sort of spiky; he hadn’t cut them back and they’re just overgrown, so he has this huge crown of horns poking out of his hair and this glowering look.”