Ron Howard and George Lucas’ Willow was one of my favorite fantasy films when I was growing up. That was just such a special film with a certain magic and charm to it that I’ve never seen in a movie since.
I recently came across some early concept art that was done for the film that I had never seen before, and this stuff is absolutely beautiful! Lucas commissioned French illustrator Jean “Moebius” Giraud to create the art, and I had to share this stuff with you!
It gives Willow a completely different look and feel as the illustrations we see here were heavily inspired by Japanese-style art. A friend pointed the art out to me in a post from a website called Tell Forward, and the author explains:
Moebius shows himself to be a master of understanding George Lucas’ influences for this film, which included Akira Kurosawa’s Noh influenced samurai films. His use of a Noh theater mask for the character of Sorsha is one of my favorite decisions. Another example of Moebius’ playfulness as a creative thinker is his making the Kael character a purple beast with a tattoo of a green dragon on his forehead. Essentially, a monster who has a tattoo of a monster on him!
It’s hard not to think about what Willow would have been like had this art been used as its inspiration. After seeing this art, I’d actually love to see a new version of Willow made that is true to this style.