Knights of the Outdated Republic Idea Artist Interview

Star Wars: Knights of the Outdated Republic has turned 20 years previous, however its visible legacy stays as iconic as ever. Regardless of being relegated to “Legends” standing when Disney first bought Lucasfilm, key components of the sport proceed to affect the galaxy far, far-off. Identify drops and story bits have frequently popped up across all canonical media, and the look and designs of Star Wars’ historic previous have made the bounce as properly.

BioWare’s Idea Artwork Director John Gallagher, together with Artwork Director Derek Watts, had been chargeable for creating the enduring look of the characters and setting of the sport. For KotOR’s twentieth anniversary, io9 caught up with Gallagher (who was beneficiant sufficient to share some by no means earlier than seen idea artwork from his private storage) to debate his work on Knights of the Outdated Republic and its continued legacy.

Humorous sufficient, Gallagher himself has remained largely unaware of its bigger impression on the Star Wars fandom till the previous few years! That is largely as a result of shortly after KotOR launched, Gallagher stepped again from the gaming trade, selecting as a substitute to work in films and tv.

Jordan Maison, io9: You had no thought KotOR was this large?

John Gallagher: I actually, genuinely didn’t know! I wouldn’t be so presumptuous to imagine. I do know [now] there’s an unlimited quantity of enthusiasm and devoted fandom. Final yr, I went to a Comedian-Con in Grand Prairie, Alberta… I grew to become an honorary member of the 501st. They did a full induction ceremony for me; it was really fairly touching. I wasn’t anticipating to be that emotional, however it was actually beautiful.

io9: When did it hit you?

Gallagher: I began going to Comedian-Cons as a visitor artist in 2013. I [brought] a Darth Revan print and an HK-47 print, as a result of these are two characters I designed. Individuals had been arising and asking, “You labored on Knights of the Outdated Republic?” And I used to be like, “Yeah, I’ve gotten in a whole lot of fights too!” [Laughs]

Somebody had performed an exquisite cosplay of Darth Revan I used to be [so impressed by]. I simply had the weirdest feeling, and actually, it was a terrific one.

io9: You had been already a Star Wars fan earlier than engaged on KotOR although?

Gallagher: I noticed Star Wars once I was 10 … and it blew my mind aside. My mother mentioned I pointed on the display screen and mentioned, “I’m going to do this.” I [didn’t] know what “that” [was] … however I felt like I needs to be doing that.

io9: With that in thoughts, what was the response like while you discovered you’d be engaged on a Star Wars sport?

Gallagher: I can paint the image for you. [BioWare’s] Ray [Muzyka] and Greg [Zeschuk] introduced everyone into the principle assembly room; and at the moment, we might all nonetheless match one room. Ray and Greg had been like, “Okay, for our subsequent mission, now we have two choices … One is a factor with Sony: it’s gonna be a mascot sport. And the opposite one is Star Wars.”

And all of us went, “In fact we wish to do Star Wars, are you out of your minds?!” They even made us do a hand test. “How many individuals wish to do the Sony one?” Like three dudes put up their fingers for the Sony one. Then everyone else—like a frightening majority—mentioned in fact, Star Wars.

There’s nothing extra coveted than engaged on a Star Wars title. Particularly recent new content material in an period that no person had been to earlier than. In 50 years individuals will nonetheless be debating Star Wars and having the chance to be part of that, and … to write down a love letter to the factor that began it for me was fairly wonderful.

io9: Once you began creating artwork for the sport, how did you stability being a fan, whereas additionally doing one thing distinctive and recent?

Gallagher: We bought collectively—the design division and the artwork division—and began riffing on large concepts. Star Wars doesn’t exhaust you with its designs, and it’s very a lot an elegantly easy universe when it comes to its shapes, kind, language, and its palettes. It’s wealthy and deep and delightful too, in fact.

[But] it’s important to extract your sentiment [for] the very best consequence. In different phrases, it’s okay to be nostalgic for Star Wars, it’s okay to be sentimental… however it’s additionally important to serve what you’re making an attempt to do with the mission.

It’s important to honor and respect that it’s not about me when [I] create one thing. who taught me that? Ralph McQuarrie. I had the possibility to fulfill him [while working] on the sport. He’s the guru. His work is timeless; so what a privilege to have the ability to speak to him! Ralph was so accommodating to, successfully, a complete stranger.

io9: There’s no denying Darth Revan has turn into an iconic determine within the franchise. So what was the method in creating their distinctive look? How did Revan turn into… properly, Revan (visually talking)?

Gallagher: I’ve to be clear… I used to be a part of a really large staff. I’m not going for particular person glory on this one. When individuals say I created Darth Revan: completely not. [I] designed Revan. James [Ohlen] and his staff initially created them, after which the animators, voice actors, and programmers introduced that character alive. I simply occurred to be one man in a protracted chain.

I attempt to create characters with a memorable hook. James and I talked so much … and we’d have a unfastened checklist of issues we wanted to the touch on. [I was] given a three-line description, and I’d sort of ask him between the strains, “tall, brief, muscular, slim, elegant, mysterious. How do you see this character enjoying?”

io9: What had been a few of these tips for Revan?

Gallagher: “Mysterious.” Indeterminate whether or not you’re male or feminine, with an inscrutable masks. Let’s get the attention slots like a Mandalorian however somewhat extra tribal. So I began wanting [for] inspiration [among] mid-African tribes of the sixteenth, seventeenth, 18th century, and what a few of their ornamentation regarded like. I lined that up with some Star Wars inspo and bought Revan in about 20 minutes. I did one sketch. One marker sketch; and did an adjustment to the colour. Then I used to be like, oh, there we’re.

io9: How do you are feeling about your expertise/position in Knights of the Outdated Republic?

Gallagher: It’s superior! [Laughs] I haven’t bought something however good issues to say about it … Any creator, whether or not they’re a part of a staff, or doing it themselves, doesn’t wish to be forgotten. I used to be lucky sufficient to be on this unattainable state of affairs [with a] staff dedicated to creating excellence.

And we did it. I don’t know what number of different individuals felt that approach, however I’m completely sure, and it was an honor to be part of.

Whereas Gallagher himself can be reluctant to match his works in Star Wars to that of Ralph McQuarrie, there’s no denying the large impression his personal idea designs have had in shaping the galaxy. In that, the 2 share a standard issue. Maybe, with these newly revealed idea items he’s kindly shared, we’ll see much more of his efforts affect new tales going ahead. Scroll via to see extra!

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