Written by | Artists, Behind The Shot

Often the most intriguing part of Toy Photography is the process of taking a conceptual idea and then playing it and executing it and then looking back and breaking down that process to assess what has been learnt and what can be applied to future endeavours. We’re really excited to share this Behind the Scenes from photographer Tancredi Bua showing an alternate take on the opening scene of The Force Awakens…


When The Force Awakens first hit theaters, I was totally thrilled. First Star Wars movie in ten years, but most of all first official Star Wars movie set after the Battle of Endor. I watched it with my brother and a couple of friends. When it was over, I was kind of puzzled, but my brother, well… he was disgusted. Over and over, he kept saying that every sequence in the movie was borrowed or literally stolen from A New Hope. I didn’t agree with him, but with this set of pictures I tried to imagine what could have happened if my brother was right. I tried to imagine what A New Hope would look like if it was reworked, frame-by-frame, into The Force Awakens.

Basically, I imagined Darth Vader to be the Original Trilogy’s Kylo Ren, and Obi-Wan Kenobi the Original Trilogy’s Lor San Tekka. Try to visualize the sequence: Darth Vader reaches Kenobi’s hut in the middle of Tatooine’s Dune Sea with a Stormtroopers garrison. The dark Lord of the Sith has finally found where his old master lives. «Look how old you’ve become», he says. «Something far worse has happened t’you», Kenobi replies. «The map… to Skywalker», Vader rules (and this is funny: Vader, like Kylo Ren, would still be looking for a Skywalker, but this time he’d look for the one he thinks to be his son, in any case the last Jedi). When Kenobi hints at the dark Lord’s roots, Vader kills him with a single fast lightsaber move. Well, this is the sequence I imagined.

And here’s how I realized it. I used my Nikon D-5300: ISO 2.500, f 5.6, exposure time between 1/40 and 1/80, focal length 90 and 210 mm. I watched the Tuanul’s The Force Awakens sequence a couple of times to transpose it with my figures. I looked for the right background on the Internet, but nothing really satisfied me, so I downloaded a night fire image and I added a couple of moisture vaporators via photo editing. As you can see from the pictures, I used all the available sources of light: my «trademark» desk lamp (yellow light, emphasized thanks to a transparent yellow binder), an iPad with a red background to define and mark the borders, in particular those on Vader’s mask, while a flashlight served to illuminate the Orange Pauldron Sandtrooper and part of Vader’s armor. The lightsaber and the control computer at the center of the dark Lord’s chest were modified with a couple of photo editing simple tricks.


I am very happy with the result: it really looks like the opening sequence from an altered version of A New Hope mirroring The Force Awakens. I used the most detailed figures to obtain this outcome: Star Wars the Black Series’ Sandtrooper and Obi-Wan Kenobi, while Darth Vader is the one from Mafex/Medicom Toys, the most «cinematographic» of all. Maybe, using a diorama with Ben Kenobi’s hut in the background would have been cooler and it would have allowed to work a lot more on the details, but these pictures are just the first step… into a larger world. – Tancredi Bua


A huge hand to Tancredi for creating an incredible exclusive shoot with a really intriguing undertone and thought process throughout and for sharing the stages and work that went into creating the final series. Be sure to head over to @tanktoys to see more of Tancredi’s diverse portfolio of shots and be sure to leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts .

Last modified: February 11, 2017

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