The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn’t just a casual coffee table book filled with concept art that inspired the film’s designs — it also offers a wealth of interesting information and artwork regarding several of the major characters, their origins, alternate designs, and several elements that either evolved or were excised completely during production. For instance, Supreme Leader Snoke was almost a woman, and Poe Dameron was nearly a Jedi or a bounty hunter instead of a pilot.

The new art book is currently available to purchase, and Slashfilm took the time to pore through it for some very cool details on big changes that occurred during the film’s production — like the idea to include Anakin Skywalker’s Force Ghost, which we learned a bit about last week. Ultimately, Anakin was removed from the script, as were a few other things, such as a double-bladed, two-colored lightsaber and an appearance from the second original Death Star.

But the biggest and most interesting elements that changed from the original story concepts to the final screenplay involve Snoke, Rey, Kylo Ren and Poe Dameron.

According to The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey was originally named Kira and was desperate to leave Jakku, unlike Daisy Ridley’s character, who is hesitant to abandon the only home she knows. As for Poe Dameron, he was envisioned as a Jedi or a bounty hunter, with drawings showing a black actor in his 30s or 40s with a possible wookiee sidekick of his own.

Kylo Ren wasn’t always connected to the Skywalker bloodline, as he was initially drawn as “Jedi Killer” — a concept that was adapted for the Star Wars Rebels animated series. The villain of The Force Awakens was going to be a Darth Vader wannabe who used a similar costume to intimidate his opponents.

But perhaps the most interesting bit from the book involves Snoke, the new trilogy’s ultimate — and very divisive — big bad, portrayed via mo-cap by Andy Serkis. Fans have been speculating about the true identity of Snoke, with many believing he’s actually Darth Plagueis, the Sith Lord whose story was relayed to Anakin by Emperor Palpatine. Here’s where that theory really falls apart, as J.J. Abrams and creature creative supervisor Neal Scanlan considered making Snoke a woman instead of a man. The pair designed a full-size maquette for the character, who was never supposed to be old or frail…until they cast Serkis.

It’s not clear what exactly changed along the way to transform Snoke into a (very, very, very) elderly and infirm character, though it’s safe to say that he’s definitely not Plagueis. Another fan theory successfully foiled!

Check Out a Gallery of Ralph McQuarrie’s Original Star Wars Concept Art


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