Dave Seeley Talks: Mindor‘s Got Back

Pablo Hidalgo | June 16, 2008

Oh sure, you’ve seen the front cover to Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor. Everyone has. Dave Seeley’s great artwork showcasing Luke Skywalker. (The book, by the way, has swapped places on the publication calendar with Jim Luceno’s Millennium Falcon. So expect Mindor in hardcover in December ’08, while Falcon is due out in October from Del Rey Books).

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But have you seen the back? Artist Dave Seeley explains how it came about after the jump.
Dave Seeley: There is a very fun, though somewhat involved story behind the eventual front/back jacket illos. The image used for the front was my piece for the Star Wars Celebration IV event last spring in LA, where Star Wars artists are solicited for images in exchange for a license to make prints for the event. Except for the cover to Rebel Stand, featuring an older Han and Leia, my jackets have all featured secondary characters, so I jumped at the chance to do Luke for the 30th Anniversary event. My favorite aspect of Luke was as the hotshot fighter pilot, but that isn’t really covered in the films, it just sort of “is.” The idea of him on the battlefield, with a ground up vista of Rogue Squadron behind him, was the seed for the ‘Rogue Leader’ CIV image. Before I took off for CIV, I sent the image to Dave Stevenson, my Star Wars art director at Del Rey, and he replied that he just might have a book coming up that he could use it for. I related that story to an enthusiastic fan at Celebration, totally forgetting that fans know the projects in the pipeline years ahead… and that fan said …”that must be Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor!” That was the first time I had heard the title. 
 The image was up for serious consideration for Mindor in January, when I got a call from Dave asking did I leak that they were using ‘Rogue Leader’ for Mindor? ….Which I had NOT….and in fact didn’t even know that they had decided to use it. After a web search, I found the source of the speculation, which was a thread on TheForce.net recalling that CIV fan conversation, and speculating that they would use it for the cover. I read over the many-page thread, and most were stoked that it might be used, but many were disappointed that they wouldn’t get to see Lord Shadowspawn and his shiny black troopers…and I thought… man, I’d like to do THAT! Soooooo my brain got-a-whirring, and I pitched the idea of spinning 180 degrees (front cover to back) and showing the view from Luke’s knees back at what/who he was charging…. Shadowspawn, shadow troopers, and AT-AT walkers!

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The only reference I had for Shadowspawn was the Tommy Lee Edwards pic for The Essential Chronology… and it was thankfully very abstracted, so I got to fill in lots of detail. I got a kind of Napoleon-Revolutionary War Admiral-Pirate-Samurai kind of vibe from it, and went with it for character design. I loved that he had an over-scaled sword hilt on his lightsaber that looked Middle Ages in a Japanese-techno vein…. so I gave him a shortsword-tanto to go with it….all very east-meets-west.

My plan is to bring the two big 30″ x 44″ paintings to Comic-Con International in July! So come by booth 4600, and check em out!

 

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