Ron Cobb's Wing Commander Concept Art Found! (February 2, 2016)

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
LOAF recently uncovered several pieces of exotic concept art for the Wing Commander Movie! These treasures were drafted by Ron Cobb, who is famous for creating some of the iconic imagery for Star Wars, Alien, The Last Starfighter and more. Each is dated 1997 before Chris Roberts and producer Todd Moyer decided to go in a different visual direction, although some of the promotional material such as the 1998 SFX WC magazine still credits him with the "texture" of the film. It's neat to finally see what he envisioned, and some of these ships are pretty wild! The Rapier and Dreadnought are flashy designs while the Diligent actually isn't that different and has kind of an Avenger vibe. "Configuration 1" may have been a different take on the Broadsword. How do you like these compared to what ended up on screen?









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Original update published on February 2, 2016
 
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Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Very nice! Those actually look like Wing Commander ships! However, the big capships don't feel as big as they should (except the Diligent, which actually seems pretty enormous compared to what it ended up being in the film).

The Rapier is really great, because it looks different and unique, while at the same time very clearly being a Rapier - the artist evidently looked to the games for initial inspiration.
 

DefianceIndustries

Rear Admiral
I think the Rapier is aces, I would prefer that one to the final film version. The Concordia is interesting, looks like a cross between a B-29 and a submarine. It's hard to get a sense of scale from it, but I would guess its a far smaller ship than the battleship that it ended up being. It kind of reminds me of the art from an old Steve Jackson board game called "Star Fist", it has that retro 50's vibe to it.

Configuration 1 looks a bit like a Gunstar to me, but that's not a bad thing :).
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I believe 'Configuration 1' is another take on the Diligent (which is labeled Configuration 2.)
 

DefianceIndustries

Rear Admiral
Anyone know if the Dreadnaught design was intended as a Confed ship? It looks kind of proto-Kilrathi to me: sort of asymmetrical and resembles a dagger.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
It looks like it was probably intended to be Kilrathi, because it's quite different to the others. Also, since the Concordia is called the Concordia, and it's the only Confed dreadnought we know of, the label might be another indication that it was intended to be Kilrathi.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Very nice! Those actually look like Wing Commander ships! However, the big capships don't feel as big as they should (except the Diligent, which actually seems pretty enormous compared to what it ended up being in the film).

The Rapier is really great, because it looks different and unique, while at the same time very clearly being a Rapier - the artist evidently looked to the games for initial inspiration.

I like that the Rapier is definitely based on the game designs, but I can't help but see the S:AaB Hammerhead in it.

As for the movie diligent, it might not have been as big as in this particular concept, but it was in no way a small ship either. Appart from the flight control room we do see both Maniac and blair's cabin, Paladin's cabin, as well as the cargo area that the marine's use during the concom assault. We don't get a great sense of scale when we see the diligent in the film from the outside, though when you think about how big the umbilical looks in the concom raid and that suited up marines need to walk/float through it. I've attached a pic because seeing the diligent on the flight deck of the claw makes it feel really small when I don't think Ron's version is necessarily *that much* bigger. I'd peg the final Diligent form at around 2/3rds the size of Ron Cobb's 'configuration 2.'

diligent.png diligent2.png



I believe 'Configuration 1' is another take on the Diligent (which is labeled Configuration 2.)

I concur. It's a very different direction than the other diligent take...

Speaking of the diligent, Sandi posted a picture of a set of bluprints from the movie used for making sets. It wasn't immediately obvious from her pic what it was but I have taken a screenshot from the film so that everyone can compare. This is of particular interest because it is a blink-and-you-will-miss-it instance in the theatrical cut but would have played a larger role in a version with the traitor subplot intact. Blair was not supposed to board the concomm during the raid to get fuel cells. He was onboard the Diligent, not as a marine, but as her turret gunner...

Interestingly, Gerald's line moments earlier in the film support this too since he says he doesn't want his men "flown into combat by a rogue and a half-breed". Gerald acknowledges that Blair is on board as part of the flight crew, not part of the marine contingent.

diligent turret.jpg

diligent turret 2.png

diligent turret 7.png diligent turret 6.png

diligent turret 3.png diligent turret 4.png diligent turret 5.png
 
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ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
It looks like it was probably intended to be Kilrathi, because it's quite different to the others. Also, since the Concordia is called the Concordia, and it's the only Confed dreadnought we know of, the label might be another indication that it was intended to be Kilrathi.

I agree that it was probably intended to be Kilrathi, because there are no Confed dreadnoughts in the Movie. (The Concordia we see in the movie is classified as a "Supercruiser." :)) Of course they must've had the more familiar WC2 Concordia dreadnought in mind when they reused the name, but that ship was built around the Phase Transit Cannon technology which was derived from the Sivar technology after SM2. And lest anyone think the movie introduced the convoluted notion of multiple Concordias, you can thank WC4's Concordia class fleet carrier for that. :)
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Sandi's blueprints were: the Diligent's turret, the tube it uses to attach to the communications ship and the Tiger Claw bridge. I'll have to figure out how to scan them! (My favorite thing right now is how happy Sandi is to find Wing Commander stuff to show me.)

When looking at art like this, think about it in the context of the film's script at that time... so 'dreadnaught' is the Kilrathi dreadnaught needed for the end of the movie.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
So I got thinking of this a bit more and I found at least one older production photo that has always remained contextless. LOAF's mention of the various plans including blueprints for the docking umbilical got me thinking of the whole sequence... Anyway first up:

Marineangel2.jpg


In that photo Angel is standing in front of a ladder that is on the Diligent. This latter is - presumably - the one that accesses the turret. The access hatch in the foreground is the door at the back of the cockpit. In exterior shots, it kinda looks like there's probably an upper crawlspace or walkway to get further back and into the actual turret. In the test audience cut of the film you see Blair decsend this ladder, round a corner into a hallway when he's sneaking out of his post to leave the ship. In a scene shortly after we see in first person the hatch to the umbilical open and the camera moves through the walkway (suggesting we are seeing what Blair is seeing). The script has the interior of the umbilical being zero G but I never saw that actually depicted in any footage.

vlcsnap-2016-02-05-00h04m36s357.png vlcsnap-2016-02-05-00h05m20s628.png vlcsnap-2016-02-05-00h06m42s327.png vlcsnap-2016-02-05-00h06m51s555.png vlcsnap-2016-02-05-00h06m58s703.png
 
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