Bobby Sussman’s Star Wars With Toys

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Star Wars With Toys by @bobbysussman on instagram
Star Wars With Toys by @bobbysussman on instagram

Fans of Star Wars love to remix and recreate their favourite movie using a multitude of mediums. Over the years we’ve seen countless Lego animations and “Sweded” versions, which reached their pinnacle with the excellent Star Wars Uncut and its sequel. Editors love to chop up and recut the films to their own liking, taking out a bit here, adding a bit there. Even George Lucas has been known to do a bit of that.

Artists and illustrators love to recreate their favourite scenes or re-imagine the posters in every conceivable style – pop art, faux vintage, minimalist icons – you name it and google will provide it. The photographers of the world haven’t been left out either. The excellent Star Wars Remix project features photos of scenes, models and characters recreated with anything and everything from floppy disks to chocolate salted caramels (this one by me! ;0). Avanaut on flickr has produced an amazing collection of pictures of Lego and others featuring expertly shot toys.

Star Wars With Toys by Bobby Sussman
Star Wars With Toys by Bobby Sussman

I could go on forever – in fact I wonder if there is a list somewhere featuring all of the cool stuff on the internet? Maybe that’s for another post, because this one is about Bobby Sussman and his ongoing mission to recreate the classic trilogy in photographs using only his toy collection, some handmade props and an iPhone – and no Photoshop. He has just finished a year-long recreation of the Empire Strikes Back, posting one photo per day to his instagram feed. You can catch up with pretty much the whole thing in the correct order on his Facebook page. Bobby arranges his toys, snaps the photo using an iPhone 4s with an Olloclip macro adaptor and does any compositing needed using an iPhone app called Dipticicon.

I first heard about the project when it was around halfway through and was hooked from the first picture I saw. Bobby must have a huge collection of original figures and toys as all the characters are there and in the correct outfits for the scene. The droids are there and all of the ships too – in various sizes depending on what’s being shot. It was great to watch Bobby’s skills increase dramatically over the course of project as he became more used to the challenges and got better and better at setting out and taking his shots. In some early photos you can see his desk or hallway in the background or a stand here and there, but by the end he was getting more adventurous – making his own model sets and fabricating matte paintings from cardboard and smoke from cotton wool.

EXTERIOR: CAVE ENTRANCE -- GIANT ASTEROID:  by @bobbysussman
EXTERIOR: CAVE ENTRANCE — GIANT ASTEROID: by @bobbysussman

Each picture was accompanied by dialogue and stage instructions, which made them feel almost like the storyboards or pages from the shooting script, and his clever use of the Diptic app to produce the picture-in-picture effects gave a really nice flow and sense of time to each photo. I looked forward to each new instalment popping up in my Instagram feed every morning. Bobby obviously has a great sense of humour too, as can be seen in one of my favourite shots from the series – the Falcon escaping from the asteroid-dwelling space slug, here cunningly played by Animal from The Muppets!

The humour continued after the recreation was finished with a series of shots from the crew’s ‘Wrap Party‘ and the curtain was lifted slightly with some behind the scenes shots too, as Bobby kept the momentum going ready for his next project – recreating A New Hope in the same way, which is due to start any day now. He has set up an Amazon Wishlist for any fans wishing to donate any of the few toys he’s missing or to help out with materials for props and you can also buy prints and posters of many of his photos via Instacanvas.

So make sure you’re ready for the opening fanfare and follow @bobbysussman on instagram now.
May the force be with him!

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