One of the greatest aspects of Star Wars fandom is the creativity. Cosplay. Fan films. Recipes. You can now add Mind-Blowing Infographics to that list.
Martin Panchaud of Zurich, Switzerland, has created an all-new kind of Star Wars adaptation: he has retold Star Wars: A New Hope as an infographic. It has every word of the script attached to well-designed dots that represent characters. It has cleanly rendered top-down illustrations of Star Destroyers (including a see-through version to show where the Tantive IV was docked after being caught in a tractor beam), the sandcrawler, X-wings, and more. In total, the single infographic contains 157 images, is over 400 feet long and, somehow, it all works. (The recreation of the Death Star attack briefing and the trench run are particularly clever.) StarWars.com e-mailed Panchaud a few questions to find out how he did it.
StarWars.com: Where did the idea for the infographic come from?
Martin Panchaud: I have a comic background and a few years ago, after my studies, I felt the need to break out of traditional comic [methods] and find a modern and very minimalistic style to tell my own stories. I started to get interested in the way infographics convey content in the most efficient way possible and I had to know whether or not it would be possible to not only represent facts and numbers but tell adventurous stories and evoke real emotions using this visual style. After some test pieces I understood that, if done correctly, the human mind is able to feel empathy for abstract forms if they previously have been put in a narrative context. A New Hope was the next step in the development of this work. My goal was to test peoples reaction to my style by adapting a story that challenges the imaginary and since Star Wars is an amazing childhood memory and has had a huge impact on pop culture, and also is a real timeless piece, I wanted to prove to everybody, but mainly to myself, that this was possible.
StarWars.com: What was the process in creating it?
Martin Panchaud: At first I never intended to do the whole story. It was clear to me that I wanted to use the original script from 1974 in its first version. As I had made the first scenes I wanted to continue and do just one more, because the next one seemed interesting, too. After three more scenes I knew I had to do the whole story. In all matters concerning documentation and detailed information, I turned to Internet and its users.
StarWars.com: What are the dimensions?
Martin Panchaud: My first guess of its final length was about 27 feet, but it ended up to be 1024 x 46,5152 px / 27 x 12,307 cm / 10.6 x 4,845.3 inches. We’re talking 10 X-wings or 3.5 Millennium Falcons…
StarWars.com: You still manage to incorporate lots of Star Wars imagery like ships and the Tatooine suns. How’d you decide what to include and what not to?
Martin Panchaud: My style is based on the principle to leave a lot of space for the imagination. I chose the images that would best nourish one’s imagination without [showing] too much of it.
StarWars.com: How did you figure out how to tell a story this way and keep it faithful to the movie?
Martin Panchaud: This was the real challenge of the project and the main condition that I gave myself in order to put the style to the test. It took a long breath and a lot of discipline.
StarWars.com: What was the hardest part? What was most fun?
Martin Panchaud: In my head, some scenes, like the prison break or the Millennium Falcon entering the hyperspace, were almost instantly there and I really enjoyed drawing them. Also, for the final scene, I was really optimistic and full of ideas, but when I finally got there it turned out to be really challenging with all the actions happening simultaneously, and a lot of detailed decors and characters to manage.
StarWars.com: The response to the infographic has been one of real delight among fans. How do you feel about its reception?
Martin Panchaud: The reaction exceeded my wildest imagination. Of course, I hoped since it is Star Wars, it would find a few people interested among the enormous fan base, but what happened two weeks after I first uploaded the page was unbelievable and I wasn’t really able to sleep well for a couple of nights. It is truly amazing that all these people liked my work and even wanted to see more of it. It is absolutely encouraging. I appreciate all the posts, messages, and likes, but when I saw that Scott McCloud, who is one of one of my biggest influences in comics, and then the one and only Mark Hamill commented on my work and that they liked it, I was totally blown away.
Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content writer, and spends his days writing stuff for and around StarWars.com. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.