Star Wars Paper Dolls: General Hux 1 & 2

I’ve been on a roller coaster with General Hux since The Force Awakens came out in 2015. I took an immediate dislike to the character: his costume, his crazy Starkiller Base speech performance. He’s a caricature. Later I realized I had actually seen Domhnall Gleeson in a number of movies in which he was quite good (Frank, About Time). I started to have a better appreciation for him as an actor. I think JJ Abrams did him no favors in this particular film, however.

Then I met a friend who was as passionate about defending this character as I am about defending Ben Solo. But I couldn’t quite understand why: Hux is just awful to the core. As played in the film, he hasn’t a scrap of redeeming value. Same is true of the book. He’s smart, but stone-hearted. Yet my friend insisted there was more to him. That his father Brendol (a known quantity in the Star Wars universe) was a brutal man. That Hux likely suffered under him–yadda yadda yadda.

I don’t know if my friend was just prescient, but the Aftermath series by Chuck Wendig reveal that worse than just being the child of a ruthless imperial, Armitage Hux is actually Brendol’s bastard, whom he loathes. At age four he’s taken from his mother and forced along with Brendol into fleeing the galaxy. Brendol psychologically and physically abuses the boy. Heart-breakingly, Hux is quick to learn that power and violence are necessary for his survival.

We don’t know yet what has happened to him over the next twenty-some-odd years of his life, but with a start like that, it’s not hard to see why he turned out the way he did.

The idea of imperiled children has emerged as a major theme of the new Star Wars: all of the principal characters are dealing with abandonment and abuse issues. I doubt there’s much hope for Hux, though. It’s clear he’s set aside as the worst-case-scenario under adverse circumstances. That, to me, is at least pitiable. I dislike him much less now.

I made these plates out of mad respect for my friend who called it long before it became canon. The second plate includes Hux’s greatcoat, which he wears in the movie, but the other pieces on that plate were requests: an Admiral’s uniform (like the one Krennic wears in Rogue One, just for fun), and Hux’s “fanon” pet cat Millicent, the subject of much meme-ing. The cat started out as a joke, but she’s so ubiquitous now she might as well be canon.

[click on each image to download a printable .pdf copy of each plate]

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Star Wars Paper Dolls: Kylo Ren No. 2

Here is the rest of Kylo Ren’s costume, as promised. Just what you always wanted: more black!

I wasn’t crazy about Kylo Ren’s design when I first saw an image of him before the movie came out. I referred to him as the Darth Vader wanna-be in the little black dress. But I have really come to appreciate this costume for a lot of reasons and now I’m disappointed with how they have altered it for the the next film!  Hopefully the changes will grow on me.

And even though I know this mask is now not long for the galaxy, and still think it looks like a puffin for some reason, I’d really grown to love it. All things pass.

But I still love this character! I know people have a problem with him because he’s “evil”, and killed his father and all that. But I think he might surprise us in this sequel trilogy. I’m counting on Lucasfilm to not allow our original heroes to go down with this messed up kid as their legacy. That can’t happen. It would be completely un-Star Warsy.

Not to mention the mere fact of poor Leia: she already lost her home planet, her place in the Senate, her husband. She shouldn’t have to lose her son! That’s just unacceptable as far as I’m concerned!

And so yes, I included his real name on his base because I don’t care what anyone says: Ben Solo is still in there!

I provided two options for the cowl and added Grandpa to fill out the plate.

I really like the way the helmet/cowl combo came out. I’m impressed I got it done since I’m not very good at drawing these sorts of things. The helmet (Ren’s, not Vader’s) was the last piece I had to draw and technically I drew it in 2017, so I could have changed the date on this plate. But the rest of it had been sitting around so long, I just left it.

And actually, the Darth Vader helmet was drawn 2015, if you can believe it. I drew it over the Christmas holiday after The Force Awakens opened.

Kylo Ren is the first villain character I’ve posted for my Star Wars paper dolls. It just occurred to me because everyone else has a blue Rebel Alliance or Resistance logo background. Ren has a red First Order logo. But Ren won’t be all alone for long.

Next week: the ginger general

[click on each image to download a printable .pdf copy of each plate]

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Star Wars Paper Dolls: Kylo Ren No. 1

After many months, I finally managed to send some fully-assembled, hand-colored Hux and Ren paper dolls to a friend in Germany who originally wanted a Hux, so I can finally post these here! Having done a proof of concept for these, I am proud to say they assemble very nicely  (wish I had taken pictures!).

And yes, these plates are dated 2016 because they’ve been done since long long ago.

Because I drew all the layers of Kylo Ren’s costume, he didn’t fit on a single page. To be fair, they show him in all these unique individual layers in the film, so I wasn’t just being extreme for the sake of it here.

An all-black paper doll is a rough proposition. You can’t use pure black because you’ll lose the detail, but a median between too dark and too light is a challenge. With Ren, I probably went too light, but I figured it would save ink if you were going to print. The charcoal-ish color suggests black well enough. For a character like this, it almost makes more sense to just print out the black and white one and do your own coloring. But here you have options, regardless.

One of the interesting things about Kylo Ren’s costume is how concealing it is. He doesn’t show a smidge of skin. And even after the helmet comes off, everything about him is covered. Part of that is to shroud him (literally) in menace and mystery, but it’s also strangely monkish. Adam Driver is a big man and yet the costume hides his physique. And all those layers just add to the notion that this incredibly powerful individual swaths himself up against his own insecurity.

I really struggled with this one a lot because it wasn’t easy to draw Adam Driver’s unusual face. At some point last summer I just settled for what I could manage. Before posting, I considered whether to make one last attempt, but he matches the other Star Wars characters. If I tried to draw him again now, I fear he’d stand out stylistically.

It’s hard to go back to a series once I’ve abandoned it for exactly this reason. You would think a style I have used my whole life wouldn’t change dramatically, but it does for some reason. Even now I look at the whole Star Wars series and think: man I wish I had done that differently. Ah well. It is what it is.

Some notes: the helmet wont go over the head (because of the hair). It’s best to leave the head options loose and interchangeable.  The second plate includes his surcoat and cowl, so if you prefer the helmet and cowl, that’s a different look you can give him.

Tomorrow, I’ll post that second plate.

[click on each image to download a printable .pdf copy of each plate]

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Geneviéve: In Outer Space

I cheated a little with this one. The theme “outer space” goes hand-in-hand with the fact that I’m a big fan of that galaxy far, far away. Immediately I thought it would be cool to make Geneviéve into a Twi’lek.

Or you can skip the extra head and she can be a cool smuggler or Resistance fighter using one of her previous heads. I also added an astromech in an attempt to make her a little more “outer spacey” since technically she’s not wearing a flight suit or a helmet or other gear you would associate with actually being, you know, in space.  The astromech at least implies that she’s a pilot. It’s an R7 unit. Feel free to name it yourself.

I hope you’ll forgive this indulgence.

Find more theme outfits to match this doll at the following fabulous blogs:

This collaborative doll will be posted at the end of each month all throughout 2017 with a new theme each month.  To find all related posts on this blog, just click the “Geneviéve” tag.

[Click on this link or the picture to download a printable .pdf plate!]

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Star Wars Paper Dolls: Rey No. 1

Rey is our first principal female hero in a Star Wars movie. I like her a lot and I wasn’t expecting to. Usually media overdoes it when it comes to female heroes. They’re too counter-culture, too dispassionate, too “badass” to be interesting. Just cardboard cutouts of their male counterparts. Men in skirts–which is not the ideal female hero to me.

But Rey isn’t any of those things. She’s sweet, she’s fiesty, yes, but also uncertain; a fighter whose heart is more important than whatever weapon she lays her hands on. And yes, even that weapon.

And she’s the perfect foil for Kylo Ren. They are yin/yan in this fantasy, which makes her not only interesting on a personal level, but a cosmic one as well.

I’m very excited to see where her journey takes her. And if you are even remotely wondering, no, I am not the least bit interested in who her parents are. She is perfectly interesting all by herself.

This first set of plates is the costume she appears in throughout most of the film. It includes her fighting staff with which she wards off trouble on Jakku. I have another plate for Rey that’s not finished yet, which has her Resistance outfit from the end of the movie. On that plate I will also include Anakin’s infamous light saber, which Rey uses to defeat Kylo Ren and presents to Luke on Ahch-To.

I really love most of the costume work in The Force Awakens. Rey’s long sash and her banded arms are especially appealing. I also love the way she fashioned goggles from an old stormtrooper visor.

These plates are dated from 2016. I made them a year ago last spring and never got around to posting them. I planned to do a whole set of Force Awakens dolls, but only got around to making Rey and Kylo Ren. In the fall I had a request for a General Hux, and then just after Christmas I added General Leia for too-sad reasons.

I thought I should at least finish posting the characters that I completed. I’d still like to make at least plates for Luke and Han since it would just be a matter of making costumes and heads for the available bodies. We’ll see what I get up to.

Next Friday I’ll post Kylo Ren.

[click on each image to download a printable .pdf copy of each plate]

 

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Rogue One: a Star Wars Story and Noble Sacrifice

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I hadn’t written a movie review in a while. Watched La La Land and hated it so much I felt like excoriating it, but then decided I’d rather talk about things I like, so here are my thoughts on Rogue One instead.

I want to preface this by stating a couple of things: first of all, you know I’m a big Star Wars nerd, but that I also don’t just love everything Star Wars across the board as a matter of course. I can be pretty critical, in fact, and continue to pretend that the prequel trilogy never happened.

So what do I think of Rogue One, the latest “non-saga” installment of this much-abused franchise? I think I might love it, even if it is deeply flawed.

This is a relatively spoiler-free rumination for those of you who didn’t hop out opening weekend for this one (I’m guessing that’s most of you). And yet here’s the thing: what could I possibly spoil? The movie is about the band of Rebels who set out to steal the plans for the Death Star–yes, those plans–the ones R2-D2 takes from Princess Leia to Tatooine, kicking off the original trilogy. So whatdaya think? Think they’re going to get the plans?  Think they’re gonna survive getting the plans?

Director Gareth Edwards does some wondrous things with the world of Star Wars. The took some chances. He should be lauded for that. He builds cities, he creates atmosphere, he films combat sequences that are beautiful and thrilling. Edwards also understands that a Star Wars film should not look glossy or clean and that the cgi effects need to be well-hidden (or at least try not to draw attention to themselves). He succeeds at many things.

But the script could use some shoring up. There just isn’t much of a plot here. Which shouldn’t be a fatal problem if our plucky heroes are engaging, bright, and you want to run alongside them. Unfortunately our heroes are a grim lot. Morally ambiguous in some areas, hopeful but resigned, lacking in the kind of inspiration that someone like Finn or Rey brought to The Force Awakens. This is a darker film aimed at an adult audience that in some ways lacks color (both literally and metaphorically).

The characters could be amazing but for all of its 2+ hours of runtime, we somehow don’t get enough time with them. Left dizzily wishing for more when this is a story whose sequel has already been told, I feel vaguely robbed. The original Star Wars was never planned as a trilogy and that first film pulled it all off (with a running time 8 minutes shorter). But this film wastes energy on fan service. A subplot with Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader–if it can even be called that–isn’t even necessary. And this coming from someone who loves Darth Vader! I would have gladly sacrificed that for a chance to really love someone else more: Cassian Andor or Bohdi Rook or even Jyn.

Missed opportunities with the plot, missed opportunities with the characters. Myriad cool new alien designs that are horrendously underutilized. People can complain that Rogue One is depressing or that its characters aren’t always very heroic. Or they will nitpick continuity questions and the general Star Warsyness of it all. But none of those things should impact a good story well told.

Rogue One has potentially awesome characters and incredible cinematography, but the story pretty much gets you exactly where you knew you were going in the first place. Too much of its coolness comes from brand recognition.  All that said, despite these things, it’s got humor and heart, and an ending that will have your heart pounding. Not bad at all for a film with what should really be fatal flaws.

So no, the movie isn’t remotely a failure, even if it could have been more successful in some ways. It does a lot of things very well. I actually got emotional a couple of times on my first viewing. And it does add to the world many people already love. It’s highly unlikely you will see any of these characters pop up as paper dolls on this blog, but I do appreciate the aesthetic Edwards was going for and there are plenty of cool costumes in the film. Design-wise Rogue One is definitely an achievement.

And I would rate this easily above any of those alleged prequels. Without reservation.

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Star Wars Paper Dolls: Leia Organa No. 6

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I drew this December 27th, the day Carrie Fisher died.  It was a place to put my grief that was more constructive than slapping on the Original Trilogy and zoning out for 6+ hours (okay I did that later). But I couldn’t post it then because I didn’t know what to say.

I still don’t know what to say. Star Wars was an immense part of my childhood, my formation. Princess Leia was an indomitable spirit who normalized the strong female hero. Because of her, I grew up never feeling the lack.

It’s a hard thing to be reconnected to that wonder and to now have lost it so irretrievably in some way. I’m almost certain General Leia will live on somehow (she must for the good of the Resistance), but I will miss her deeply and always wonder at how this new trilogy has been impacted by Fisher’s sudden tragic passing. I only hope that Lucasfilm will give her character the happy ending she deserves (she has suffered so much).

leia_01_tfa_bwI don’t have much to say about the doll. These two costumes and alternate heads from The Force Awakens fit the original doll for the series. Leia is a pragmatic woman with military responsibilities and not a fashion horse, though she does put on a dress at the end (as a celebration of their victory? In mourning for Han?). The dress feels almost out of character in some regards. She no longer has a senatorial role in the galaxy; she is a private citizen and the Resistance is not a sanctioned operation.

With her typical good humor, Fisher described the first one as looking like a gas station attendant. She said the second one had the hairstyle of a baboon’s ass.

I would have liked to have seen her in more flattering attire, but perhaps in her final installment (Episode VIII) she will get to look like both the General and the Princess that she is.

I was honestly so surprised and overjoyed to see her reprise her role last December. Now it’s hard to imagine Star Wars without her.

Requiescat en pace, you talented, wonderful, irreverent woman. Along with your beautiful mother.

[Click on each image to download a printable .pdf copy of each plate]

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Star Wars Clone Wars: Satine Kryze Paper Doll

satine_thumb_01I didn’t want Ahsoka to be lonely in the paper doll world, so I made Satine Kryze, Duchess of Mandalore.

Satine is an interesting character. She’s wise and powerful and has a doomed (though not unrequited) attraction to Obi-Wan Kenobi. She was so popular on the show that a sect of the fandom believes she may be the grandmother of Rey in The Force Awakens.

I like her wardrobe because it’s full of interesting colors and textures. I might make another plate of costumes for her. She had more wardrobe changes than many other characters on the show–still not to be outdone by Padme. A lot of people think Cate Blanchett should play her in real life. Originally I was going to draw her with Cate’s face, but decided to stick to the cartoon representation. I already chose that route with Ahsoka.

These dolls are super easy to make. Did this last Saturday afternoon while futzing about. So I still might make Obi-Wan and Anakin and Padme. We’ll see.

[Click this link or the image for a printable .pdf]

To see all Star Wars related posts and plates, click the tag or category at right. If I make more plates for Satine, click her tag (this is her first).  Same is true of the Clone Wars tag to see all in the series.

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Star Wars Clone Wars: Ahsoka Tano Paper Doll

ahsoka_thumb_01There are many things I’ve been working on, but of course I knocked this one out quickly just to distract myself (because isn’t that always the way of it?). I recently finished watching the cartoon series The Clone Wars and though I didn’t really like a lot of it, it did have good things in it. Including the character of Ahsoka Tano who turned out to be pretty cool.

For the doll I only made the few outfits I remembered well enough over the span of the six seasons. Cartoon characters don’t typically change their clothes much (though, as always, Padme is an exception in the series). I honestly don’t recollect Ahsoka wearing much outside her usual gear (a coat and a cloak, perhaps, but those didn’t seem very interesting to draw–for the moment).

She has a new costume from her appearance in Rebels, but for the moment I am sticking with her Clone Wars outfits.

Nahsoka_thumb_02o black and white versions, though. I gotta say: doing the two styles was really trying for me when I worked on the other Star Wars dolls.

I know people like to have the option of coloring their own, but it really doubled the work. I’m going to struggle with the Force Awakens characters. I’m seriously considering not making colored versions (especially since everybody wears so much dang black!).

I am tempted to do other characters from this series. Mostly because making this one was surprisingly easy. Cartoons are fun because they are typically pretty colorful. Did these almost completely in Copic markers. Not too awful for a rush job and I like some of the details that actually came out.

Though I didn’t love the show, the designs on it are definitely fun to draw. I very loosely drafted Anakin, Padme, Obi-Wan, and Satine, but again, I don’t know whether I will follow through on them. Maybe eventually. As yet another side project.

[Click on this link or either image to download a printable .pdf copy (2 plates)]

To see all Star Wars related posts and plates, click the tag or the category at right. If I make more plates for this character, click the Ahsoka Tano tag to see all the plates (this is her first).  Same is true of the Clone Wars tag, if I decide to make other dolls.

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Star Wars Paper Dolls: Leia Organa No. 5

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At long last, this is the final plate for the Star Wars Original Trilogy series. While I fell short of my original goal of including Darth Vader and the droids along with our OT heroes, I’m fairly pleased that I managed to at least finish all the base costumes.

Here Leia is wearing her final outfits from Return of the Jedi. I also included her hair-down style from when she’s in the ewok village. She has more costume changes in the final movie of the trilogy than anyone else. No one can beat Padme in the Prequel Trilogy, though. Carrie Fisher’s joke is that she got a new dress every time she walked through a doorway. In case you are at all wondering whether I will be doing those characters, emphatically no. Besides, as mentioned before, there is already a nice set of Amidala paper dolls out there already.

leia_05_bw_thumbI had wanted to challenge myself to do things differently with this series. Like including printable black and white versions for you to color. I focused on basic linework instead of the usual painting I have typically done for my paper dolls.

Really wanted these to be more stylized, but didn’t get there. I think I mentioned before that I intend to just resign myself to the fact that this is my style. And that’s okay.

Lastly, I meant to get silly with these (it all started out as a ridiculous idea of having a Skywalker-Solo Family Picnic), but I never quite got there because I started to take it all too seriously. I kind of regret that. Sometimes I think: well, I’ll go back and supplement stuff, but my track record with following through on that sort of thing is pretty poor all things considered.

So that wraps it up! I don’t know what’s next for me here. Maybe The Force Awakens, but I’d like to start doing some original stuff as well. I have a lot of things that got left in the wings that I’d like to pick up again if I can get organized. Even if it’s stuff I have personally lost interest in pursuing. I might at least share some bits of it since it seems a shame to just leave it to my cabinet.

[Click on each image to download a printable .pdf copy of each plate]

To see all Star Wars related posts and plates, click the tag or the category at right. Click the Leia Organa tag to see all of Leia’s plates (this is her last).

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