With Star Wars: A New Hope so ingrained in our pop culture for almost 40 years, it would seem as if there are no new ways to retell it, right? Well, illustrator and graphic novelist Martin Panchaud has given new life to a classic story: He recently gifted the Internet with SWANH, a 403-foot infographic adapting A New Hope into a form that is both simpler and more complex than the movie version. The style was drawn from Chinese culture, as Panchaud explains on the website: “This long ribbon reminds the ancient Chinese script rolls that had to be rolled in and rolled out simultaneously in order to be read. I like this stretch between ages, cultures, and technologies. However, internet likes short stories and summaries, quickly understandable contents. With my work I aimed to create a contrast to that.”
But why choose Episode IV?
Star Wars series has had a heavy impact on pop culture and they continue to influence trough generations. It is a modern form of mythology and the IV episode is where it all began.
Other than this Star Wars is a childhood memory. Maybe some of you may recall your very own and personal sensations you had when you first saw the film. My visual style leaves more space for the individual imaginary universe.
Star Wars went far beyond cinema. On the official side there are all the merchandising products and on the other hand, there is an enormous amount of underground fan art, reenactments and costume conventions. All of them are made spontaneously with no other goal than to be a part of the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars continually inspires and touches its audience through generations. It has become alive and evolves with the zeitgeist.
It’s amazing how Panchaud’s interpretation is both personal and open-ended: Despite turning all of the characters into circles (or, in Darth Vader’s case, a very Imperial hexagon), you can still tell who’s who and follow all of the emotional and action beats. His sense of framing is excellent, from using lightsabers to set off Vader and Obi-Wan’s final battle to depicting both panicked sides of the trash compactor scene through Artoo’s explorations into the Death Star’s mainframe. Of the 150+ images, it was difficult to choose my favorites, but here are some key moments:
And now, here is SWANH in its entirety. Sit back, relax, and get ready to scroll.