Last month, Disney dropped a series of character posters for Solo featuring a unique design, with art of each character embedded within their actual name. The Solo character posters featured Alden Ehrenreich’s Han Solo, Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian, Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra and Joonas Suotamo’s Chewbacca, each with a different color scheme, and now it has been revealed that this design was lifted from a series of 2015 album covers by French artist Hachim Bahous. Here’s what the artist had to say in a statement on his Facebook page, which featured an image with all of the posters side by side his album covers.
“On the left are the official posters of the next Star Wars (Disney), on the right the compiles for which I created in 2015 for Sony Music France / Legacy Recordings France following the brief of the project manager Romain ‘Rpiz’ Pizon. I am flattered that the quality of my work is recognized, but it is still pure and simple forgery. I have not been asked for my permission, I wish to be credited and paid for this work I have done for Sony! A thought for all the people who worked hard on this very beautiful project: DJ Reverend P (Patrice Larrar), Richard Lecocq, Aurélien Orel, David Hachour, Yazid Manou and therefore Romain ‘Rpiz’ Pizon. #LegacyOfStarWars.”
The posters were also noticed by another graphic designer, Adam Livermore, who pointed out these striking similarities in a series of tweets this weekend. The artist noted that it was entirely possible that Disney/LucasFilm reached out to Sony Music France for permission to use this design, and that they wouldn’t necessarily have needed to notify the artist about using his designs. Here’s what Adam Livermore had to say in a statement in a series of tweets.
“Um, Disney, I loved the posters for #StarWars #Solo, but you have some explaining to do to the artist who created these album covers in 2015. As a designer, this #StarWars #Solo poster business makes me wonder where we draw the lines between inspiration, homage, and outright theft. And do we have an ethical responsibility to distinguish between the legal and moral definitions of “theft”? Yes, it is possible that Disney reached with Sony to let them repurpose the design, and if that happened, neither studio would be under an obligation to notify the original artist. And I am not familiar enough with copyright law to say whether it is – or should be – a legal matter. But from a *design* standpoint, I find it highly problematic. It goes far beyond taking inspiration from source material. What bothers me most is that the original (a series of albums for a French audience) was so obscure, at least in terms of the target audience (American moviegoers). I can’t prove anything, but that doesn’t *feel* like homage to me. It feels like something someone felt they could get away with. It’s also a little depressing that my most engaged-with tweet ever is one shining a negative light on Disney and Star Wars, both of which I have such great fondness for. But it’s a light that needed shining.”
Disney and LucasFilm haven’t responded to this controversy thus far, and there is no indication if they plan on doing so or not, or if they’re planning on pulling these posters in response. With just over two months until Solo: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on May 25, there will likely be many more posters surfacing between now and then. Take a look at the statement (in French) that was posted on Hachim Bahous Facebook, along with the Twitter thread from Adam Livermore about these posters.
— Adam Levermore (@lexigeek) March 3, 2018