David Bowie in Labyrinth
David Bowie in Labyrinth

Last year’s blockbuster Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker pays tribute to David Bowie with “Star Man pilot” art. There was no shortage of surprises in the final installment of the Skywalker saga, with enough action and a story that moved fast enough to keep Star Wars fans engaged. Of course, not everyone came away from the now complete sequel trilogy with words of praise. The Rise of Skywalker has been heavily criticized by some Star Wars fans, leaving the final Skywalker film arguably as divisive as Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

But, even as Star Wars fans navigate the divide between negativity and optimism toward the film, the reactions to The Rise of Skywalker fit into a familiar pattern that has existed from the very beginning of the iconic franchise. Many different cuts of the nine Skywalker films and so many characters, weapons, and regions have been left on the cutting room floor after all these years. Even if these omissions were put back into the films, there would only be more arguing and disagreement over what should or shouldn’t have been included. The world of Star Wars is as divisive as it is complex, and that is perhaps one of its most engaging qualities.

Indeed, some of the most intriguing aspects from the Star Wars franchise are the things that didn’t quite make the final cut. What fans see onscreen is so seamless and perfected that it’s very easy to forget how many creative elements were left behind in the process. Star Wars has a particularly dense history and now, thanks to a sneak peek from Gizmodo of the new book, The Art of The Rise of Skywalker, fans learned about a character that had been designed as a tribute to the late great David Bowie. The character, a Resistance pilot known as Star Man Pilot, was clearly designed to resemble Bowie’s 70s era alter ego, Ziggy Stardust. Check out the image below:

As one of the most influential and celebrated rock n’ roll musicians of all time, Bowie introduced concepts and aesthetics to mainstream audiences that had never been seen before. In addition to his extensive musical ability, Bowie created numerous alias’ throughout what was a spectacular career. Ziggy Stardust is only one of these characters but is likely one of the most instantly recognizable. Intended to be an extra-terrestrial messenger to earth and its inhabitants, Stardust was perhaps the perfect choice to have been represented in a Star Wars film. Bowie passed away back in 2016, but his fanbase and music both continue to thrive. And while there’s no specific information as to why this Star Man Pilot was left out of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it’s great to know the concept was even considered.

For those who aren’t David Bowie fans, the idea of a Ziggy Stardust-themed character likely doesn’t seem to make much sense. The concept is a little strange, but given The Rise of Skywalker concluded the Skywalker saga that kicked off in 1977, Stardust shared a specific place in time with the franchise. In fact, one could even argue the concept of Stardust could have influenced George Lucas at a time when stories set in space were particularly attractive. It’s difficult to say for certain, but Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker could have definitely used a little Stardust.

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