Drew Struzan says The Force Awakens is the best Star Wars movie yet

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Aug 20, 2015, 11:42 AM EDT

The poster artist long associated with the Star Wars franchise has some incredible things to say about Episode VII.

Drew Struzan has created posters for every Star Wars movie since the beginning, back in 1977, and he recently unveiled a new one for Star Wars: The Force Awakens that was commissioned as an exclusive for fans attending Disney's D23 Expo 2015 last week. Speaking with Movie Weekly (via Slashfilm) about the poster, Struzan made some extraordinary comments about J.J. Abrams' film:

"I’ve never worked with J.J before and so we started working on it and he showed me like half the movie and it was just...a wonderful film and I know it’s going to be grand. I got to read the script and subsequently I’ve seen half of it and I can tell you and the fans this, honest to god, it is far and away probably going to be THE BEST Star Wars you’ve ever seen...it’s beautifully made and it’s a wonderful story."

Wow. Now, keeping in mind that Struzan has read the script but has not seen the entire, finished film, that is still a powerful endorsement from an artist who has been involved with the Star Wars saga from the start. Better than The Empire Strikes Back? Superior to Attack of the Clones? (OK, just kidding on that one.)

It's not clear whether Struzan was hired for just the D23 poster or the film's official theatrical one-sheet as well, but with so many Star Wars veterans involved in The Force Awakens, it would be a crime to not see more new art from the man whose work is so closely associated with the franchise. In the meantime, let's hope that what he said about the movie comes true when it opens on Dec. 18.

Do you think Struzan is being a little hyperbolic, or could Star Wars: The Force Awakens really have a shot at being the saga's greatest achievement to date?