Flags in The Force Awakens

Flags make a couple of brief appearances in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


One is in this scene that draws upon the Nuremberg rally imagery from Lene Riefenstahl’s infamous Nazi propaganda film, 1935’s Triumph of the Will:

stromtroopers
Animation from Vince Matthews’ 8/10/2015 post on digitalmediaacademy.org

The flag in the background belongs to the First Order, featuring its emblem of 16 bars radially arranged within a circle, within a hexagon.

flag_of_the_first_order__star_wars_vii__by_redrich1917-d8wwq83
First Order flag rendition by RedRich1917 on Deviant Art.

Kristian Goddard has also been struck by the allusion to Nuremberg.  Hitler was fascinated by flags, and put them to effective use in designing the monsterous Third Reich.

9b4f0c43032180e47e6b73c616d021b7
Image Comparison Between Star Wars ‘The Force Awakens’ (2015) and Nazi Nuremberg Rally (1935), by Kristian Goddard on Pinterest

 


 

The other scene takes place at entrance to the castle of Maz Kanata, which is festooned with banners in various states of decay.  These created a flurry of excitement amongst Star Wars fans, particularly because two of them feature symbols associated with Boba Fett (last seen being devoured by the Sarlacc in Return of the Jedi).  Indeed, some saw this as evidence that Boba Fett would miraculously appear in The Force Awakens — e.g. see Chris Burns’ 10/20/2015 posting on Slash Gear, Is Boba Fett in Star Wars The Force Awakens — which, to their disappointment, he did not.

walk2
Animation from Burns’ post, highlighting the Fettinalia.
theforceawakens_bobafett_banner
Additional imagery, from a subsequent trailer.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), The Force Awakens in Fett-less.  Even worse, however, is what these flags turn out to reference: podracer emblems from that Jar Jar-laden disaster, The Phantom Menace.  Stop reading now if you would like to ignore this discovery, by user Calithlin of TheCantina.com.

flagslisted
Research by Calithlin of TheCantina.com

Here is Calithlin’s key to the image above:

• 1 Unknown
• 2 ABC Aldar Beedo
• 3 ABCD Ark Roose
• 4 AB Unknown
• 5 AB Anakin Skywalker (or Watto)
• 6 ABC Unknown (may be another Mandalorian symbol)
• 7 Ziro the Hutt (tattoo on his belly)
• 8 Sebulba
• 9 Unknown
• 10 Unknown (may be another Mandalorian symbol, looks like Sabine‘s helmet in Star Wars: Rebels)
• 11 Boba Fett Wheat
• 12 Mythosaur Skull (Boba Fett, Mandalorians)
• 13 Unknown (looks similar to Tatooine flag)
• 14 Ohnaka Gang
• 15 Sebulba
• 16 Teemto Pagalies

It is perhaps happier just to let these flags be, and to take them only as another way in which Lupita Nyong’o’s character is a highlight of this latest Star Wars film: Maz Kanata is, among other things, a flag geek!


 

Postscript:  Another flag in the Maz Kanata castle scene has been identified by Twitterer @SailorWookiee.

flag-of-501st-legion
Flag of the 501st Legion (Vader’s Fist).  Photo by Victoria @SailorWookiee

More Star Wars Fan Flags

Scott Kelly isn’t the only Star Wars fan who has been hard at work designing flags.  This month’s flag design contest in Reddit’s /r/vexillology community had this prompt:

It is a period of flag design. Aspiring vexillographers, illustrating from around the world, have won victories throughout the year. During this month, your task is to create the ultimate design for a STAR WARS FLAG, a flag for any faction or character within the Star Wars universe. Armed with keen ideas and crisp vector graphics, race home aboard your starship, with plans to create the best flag in the galaxy….

And here are the top 20 designs, as upvoted on Reddit:

Flags of the (Star Wars) Galaxy

Earlier in the year we wished May the Fourth Be With You, and now for some reason Star Wars flags are back on our minds…

London-based New Zealander Scott Kelly’s labor of love — to design a flag for the “around 300 planets named over all of the Star Wars universe, from movies to comic books to video games” — has been getting a fair amount of attention given the media’s boundless hunger for all things Star Wars related as western culture revels in The Force Awakens release-o-mania. Kelly is currently at 103 flags and counting, each flag with a page explaining its design at www.flagsofthegalaxy.com. These are all pretty good designs, as The Guardian reports:

He said his “loving interpretations” observed the basic rules and traditions of flag design, including the canton, chevron and 2:3 ratio, and drew on each planets’ individual attributes.

Kelly’s project is actually independent of the flag designs that have appeared in the movies, “extended universe”, etc.  This is interesting, given that he says Wookieepedia was his primary reference — but apparently not Wookiepedia’s collection of images of flags and banners.  Indeed, a number of the planets Kelly designed for already have flags, in this sense.

For example, here is the flag for Tatooine, as it appeared (without further explanation) in Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided.

TatooineFlag

And here is Scott Kelly’s version:

Tatooine_41-cropped

Kelly also provides a lengthy explanation for this design:

Tatooine was a desert world and the first planet in the binary Tatoo star system. It was part of the Arkanis sector in the Outer Rim Territories. It was inhabited by poor locals who mostly farmed moisture for a living. Other activities included used equipment retailing and scrap dealing. The planet was on the 5709-‐DC Shipping Lane, a spur of the Triellus Trade Route, which itself connected to the Sisar Run. The planet was not far from the Corellian Run. It had its own navigation system. The two acute circles represent Tatoo I and Tatoo II, the two suns which Tatooine orbits. As the suns have such a significant effect over the physical features of the planet and its economic place in the galaxy the two acutely angled circles have come to be the biggest signifiers of the planet. The red strip along the bottom of the flag, represents the rule that the Hutts Lords have over large swarths of Tatooine. The yellow is the primary identifying colour of Tatooine. This association is due to thousands of years of travellers mistaking Tatooine for a sun due to its desert appearance and the bright reflection from the two stars it orbits.

And in this case, and several others, he has manufactured his design, and then “aged” it to give it the classic Star Wars grungy look (that was so much missed in perfect CGI artifice of the cursed prequel trilogy):

kelly-tatooine-weathered
Screenshot from flagsofthegalaxy.com

Here are some other examples to compare the flags from existing Star Wars media (right column), and Scott Kelly’s interpretations (left column).  These flags are for Dantooine (top row), Endor (middle row), and Naboo (bottom row).

As flags, Kelly’s designs are fairly simple and legible.  But do they feel like they belong in the Star Wars universe?  In that regard, are they more or less successful than the designs on Wookiepedia?  Let us know what you think in the comments below.

As a postscript, it turns out Scott Kelly has been designing flags for Middle Earth as well: at least, for its cinematic stand-in, Kelly’s homeland of New Zealand.  These five designs were submitted to this year’s design contest for a new Kiwi flag.

 

May the Fourth Be With You

Happy Star Wars Day!

Imperial War Flag.  By Miguel Paolo Pernia (mpcp13) on photobucket.com.
Imperial War Flag. By Miguel Paolo Pernia (mpcp13) on photobucket.com.
Late Republic War Flag.   By Ilya Muromets on bbs.stardestroyer.net.
Late Republic War Flag. By Ilya Muromets on bbs.stardestroyer.net.
Early Republic War Flag.  By Ilya Muromets, bbs.stardestroyer.net.  We hope you are paying attention, there may be a quiz on this later.
Early Republic War Flag. By Ilya Muromets, bbs.stardestroyer.net. We hope you are paying attention, there may be a quiz on this later.
Imperial Rule - photograph submitted by G. Binkowski on IfStarWarsWasReal.com.
Imperial Rule – photograph submitted by G. Binkowski on IfStarWarsWasReal.com.

The caption for this reads:

This photograph from what is estimated to be 1944 supports the previous evidence we’ve presented of Imperial involvement in earth’s conflicts. These soldiers atop a conquored building are securing a flag bearing a modified Imperial symbol. Rumors exist of AT-ATs and AT-STs marching all over eastern Europe during World War II, although, concrete evidence has yet to be found. Perhaps this photograph was taken after the Imperial ground fleet did their worst…

Evidence #:ISWWR0000012

Iwo Jima is a popular motif:

Star Wars wallpaper: raise the imperial flag.  From Pikof.com.
Star Wars wallpaper: raise the imperial flag. From Pikof.com.
Star Wars Iwo Jima, by Otis Frampton on deviantart.com.
Star Wars Iwo Jima, by Otis Frampton on deviantart.com.
Troopers Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.  By David Eger on flickr.
Troopers Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima. By David Eger on flickr.

But there are many other references.

Galactic Empire - Flag Edition.  By LA-based visual artist Sket One on 1xrun.com.  He or she gets mucho points for actually making and selling an actual 3 by 5 foot flag.
Galactic Empire – Flag Edition. By LA-based visual artist Sket One on 1xrun.com. He or she gets mucho points for actually making and selling an actual 3 by 5 foot flag.
Jabba Don't Tread on Me, by belligerentmonkey on Etsy.  Good to see there's correct punctuation in the Star Wars universe.
Jabba Don’t Tread on Me, by belligerentmonkey on Etsy. Good to see there’s correct punctuation in the Star Wars universe.
Jedi Japan Flag, by Simon (Fenn-O-maniC) on SvaltGamized.
Jedi Japan Flag, by Simon (Fenn-O-maniC) on SvaltGamized. “May the force be with you, Japan!”
Darth Vader American Flag Head, t-shirt design sold by junescustomgraphics on eBay.
Darth Vader American Flag Head, t-shirt design sold by junescustomgraphics on eBay.