There's simply no way to overstate the importance of the concept art process as it pertains to creating ambitious genre fare like Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It's an indispensible tool to allow the maximum expansion of expression from page to screen and assist with all angles of the preproduction machine, exploring an infinite variety of costume, set, landscape and technology choices from which to utilize.
Many of these unsung artists have enviable skills to conjure otherworldly vistas, magnificent machines and inventive gadgets that will eventually populate the director's finished frame. Most of the following paintings are compiled in the coffee-table book The Art of The Force Awakens, but this was the first time they were shared on ILM's site. You may shed a slight tear with the sad thought that some of the more extreme ideas would have been spectacular to witness in the vaulted glories of IMAX. All images courtesy of Lucasfilm and ILM.
Here's message from the ILM San Francisco site from the film's co-production designer, Rick Carter:
“Each artist began to explore his individual response, and collectively, we began to answer, with our words and art. Out of our brainstorming sessions emerged visual imagery of where we might want to go and what it would look like when we got there. We were not merely illustrating scenes that already existed: we were initiating storytelling concepts through the visual images themselves.”
Behold this prodigious portfolio of Star Wars: The Force Awakens concept art from the wizards at Industrial Light & Magic and tell us which abandoned designs or epic set piece you'd wrestle a rabid Gundark to see someday.