ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Jeremy Sniatecki is Rochester’s “hidden Mandalorian connection.”
Sniatecki has worked on a number of projects for Star Wars, each fulfilling his inner child, which was mesmerized by the universe after seeing the movies in the theatre.
In October, ahead of “The Mandalorian” Season 2 premiere, Sniatecki released the first one of his promotional posters, which combine scenes of the hit Disney+ show, through the lens of vintage travel posters… Plus hidden images.
We caught up again with Jeremy Sniatecki over email.
We touched on this in the last interview, but what exactly is each one of these posters portraying?
The first one is maybe set 15 minutes before the first episode begins (blue Horatio Sanz Mythrol guy walking into the pub, nervously eyeing the three ruffians also on their way in, Mando’s ship coming in for a landing,. bleak and shadowy landscape to capture the ambience as the series opens there).
Arvala-7 is the planet where Mando meets Kuiil, finds The Child, takes out IG-11, tussles with Jawas, and eventually meets him again later in Season One. So it’s kind of a montage in terms of the different highlights of events on that planet, rather than a literal specific scene. There’s also a mudhorn creature subtle in the farther back scenery.
Nevarro is the planet where “Mando” has his guild contacts, and eventually returns with the Child (Baby Yoda), gets his armor gussied up nice, and then decides to do the right thing and save the Child, barely making it out alive. Again with this one, it’s not a literal portrayal of the scene, but kind of a montage of highlights from that rescue sequence.
When designing these, how to balance making them look different, while having a lot of similar themes?
That’s a good question. The idea is that they are all part of a set or series, but each has their own personality. Certain format factors keep them looking like they belong together as a series. One main character close up front, other characters and scenery in middle and far distance, fun little “travel poster” notes in the corner, bottom border with short statement from the show flanked by two tracking fob icons, and the title typography being kept consistent).
So as I think about designs for Season Two locations, those will also have a primary figure up close in front, and those other common layout factors from the first three remaining consistent design-wise throughout new designs, too, but with different key colors per layout, different scenery of course, etc.
I’m a big fan of old travel posters, and of using a limited color palette as much as possible. Especially those that are semi-monochromatic to really drive home a mood of a location. It almost becomes a game of how few colors can be used but still achieve the richness and depth per layer of content. Something more visually/emotionally-striking about a limited amount of themed colors in a strong design, rather than just looking like full color in broad daylight, if that makes sense.
As a little kid I always gravitated toward the back of Spencer’s Gifts in the malls. In the 70s and early 80s, they had the backmost section of the store all dark in blacklight, with blacklight posters in funky limited colors, lava lamps and such, with loud music playing and the smells of incense and such. As a pre-schooler, I just loved being taken to another world back there, and man, I would boogie down… For as long as my parents were cool with patiently standing and waiting for me.
So it was way back then that the power of color schemes and locations really struck me, and stuck with me for all these years.
Is the head shape of “The Child” in each one of these?
Heck yes, it sure is. Small and hidden among the details in each one, taking on the color if its surroundings, but still definitely clearly The Child head shape icon once you find it. I couldn’t resist and Acme Archives was cool with it when I ran it by them.
I also made sure the Mandalorian himself is represented in each somehow. Outer Rim has him flying in for a landing. Arvala-7 has the Razor Crest ship coming in far in the distance on the left. And of course the guy himself on Nevarro, plus some Mandalorian enclave buddies in the sky back aways.
I love the theme of each one of these feeling like a travel poster… But the Mandalorian is also very much a space Western. How did you incorporate that sort of feeling into these?
A lot of it comes from body language and that thankfully can be found aplenty in the show itself. Body language and all its subtleties go such a long way. A shift of weight, a tilt of head, the way arms are held up or objects grasped. Whether a humanoid character or IG-11, so much storytelling happens with body language, facial expression and color choice.
Also the view angle. The viewer is looking slightly upward at IG-11 from about waist level, which makes him that much more menacing, like he’s towering above you.
Westerns did a lot of that back in the day. A whole lot can be said without dialogue, if it’s done right.
Reminds me of a 1984 GI Joe comic book issue #21, because it was a whole amazing story told without any dialogue at all! That absolutely fascinated me and has stayed with me ever since then. All about body language, color schemes, etc. It was brilliant and I knew it, even at ten years old in that little corner store in North Tonawanda.
So that book influences so much of what I do today. I also do educational illustration on the side in a very different style, and the images I create need to be understood by kids all over the world. Same thing of telling an instant visual story with body language, color, etc. Challenging but very powerful if done right.
Another great example for fans of brilliant visual storytelling is “The Arrival” by Shaun Tan. It’s a hardbound graphic novel with no real dialogue, about an immigrant fleeing a war-torn land to go over the sea and start a new life in a foreign place. It’s the most amazing use of visual storytelling (body language, facial expression, color choices, view angles, etc.). It’s so inspiring and possibly the most genius creative thing I’ve ever seen.
All three are out in the world now. How does it feel?
Relief that they’re out there now and I can show them to others. Lucasfilm licensing approved the actual artwork a while back, but there are various steps to finalizing and approving something for full production, of course. And I can only imagine they must have their hands full with all the Mandalorian merchandise at this point.
From here on, it’s about working with Acme/LFL to determine what designs will be fully developed next, and of course it’s also about letting fellow fans know about these first three posters and building enough support that will allow me to continue doing more new designs that much sooner.
I’m sure you love the new season, but what are your thoughts on it so far? (very light spoilers ahead)
Very fun, of course. Pacing and general mood of it all feel very different now. I noticed that all the scenes from the Season Two teaser trailer seemed to have been shown by the end of the fourth episode, meaning that the rest of the season is going to be things we have no idea are coming. The most recent, with Ahsoka, was extra fun because it felt like a live action Clone Wars episode in so many ways. Which makes sense because Clone Wars helmer Dave Filoni directed it.
I liked that it wasn’t just another forest or frozen tundra or desert locale, but a weird, industry-burned forest.Seems very much like the first four or five are essentially the Mandalorian making new allies on these smaller adventures, that will maybe all show up for the finale in some big showdown thing. I’ve had my own theory of what and where that could likely be, and so far my theory still seems very possible, but I don’t want to say it here and possibly spoil anything in case I’m actually right somehow. Especially with that Boba Fett cameo at the end of the first episode this season.
I have to say it’s been extra fun that they teased Boba Fett and his armor. In 1986 or so, my best friend Kevin Hurst and I realized that Star Wars, Empire and Jedi were three years apart, but that pattern seemed to have ended indefinitely, so no new Star Wars movies anymore. Like any industrious 13 year olds, we set about writing our own sequel. First order of business story-wise was to get Boba Fett back out of the Sarlacc Pit via rocket pack.
So it’s fun to see that plenty of others had that same idea, and the idea made it to The Mandalorian series, and that’s kind of awesome.