'Star Wars' artist Brian Rood unveils variant covers for Marvel's 'War of the Bounty Hunters' (exclusive)

"Star Wars" illustrator Brian Rood will bring to life "Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters" issue 1.
"Star Wars" illustrator Brian Rood will bring to life "Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters" issue 1. (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Keying off the growing enthusiasm for Disney's "The Mandalorian" and the new spinoff "The Book of Boba Fett," Marvel's "Star Wars: Wars of the Bounty Hunters" comic book series kicks off starting June 2 with a rousing tale of ruthless mercenaries in the galaxy far, far away.

To help celebrate this crossover miniseries written by Charles Soule ("The High Republic: Light of the Jedi") and charged with electrifying art courtesy of Luke Ross, Space.com is revealing two limited-edition variant covers conjured up by acclaimed Lucasfilm illustrator Brian Rood.

Related: Boba Fett takes on the galaxy in bold new Marvel Comics series

The main cover for "Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters #1" from Marvel Comics. (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

"Star Wars" illustrator Brian Rood. (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The main plotline here is a Boba Fett-centered crime epic that involves the notorious Mandalorian going up against some of the heaviest hitters in the universe occurring between the events of "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi."

Rood is an accomplished commercial artist based in Michigan who's worked with Lucasfilm on every "Star Wars" style guide since "The Force Awakens" and created some of the most popular promotional artwork ever seen at conventions and on merchandise packaging around the world.

Here he's captured the very essence of the jet-packed Boba Fett in two retailer-exclusive covers for the premiere issue of "Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters."

Both special variants are available exclusively at RuppsWorld.com, unsigned, signed, or remarqued and limited to 3,000 copies of Cover A and 1,000 copies of the full artwork Cover B.

The cover A variant for "Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters #1" from Marvel Comics. (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Space.com: How did you get involved in this variant project for "War of the Bounty Hunters?"

ROOD: Obviously with my association and all the other artwork I've done with other "Star Wars" endeavors, Rupp Comics' Chris Rupp hit me up. We've been close friends since day one and the very first Comic-Con I went to back in 1995 or 1996 was with Chris. I started in the comics industry and then segued into commercial entertainment art for film and television. But this was the perfect storm to get me back into doing comic book stuff. Plus it's Boba Fett and Marvel and "Star Wars!"

I've worked with Lucasfilm on almost a daily basis on everything from style guides and storybooks, so we didn't have to go through the full approval process, but Chris did have to give Marvel the quick sales pitch and it was an easy pass through the ranks at Lucasfilm.

Boba Fett takes center stage in this cover B variant for "Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters #1." (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Space.com: What did you hope to achieve in each of these dynamic "Star Wars" covers?

ROOD: Well, first off I love Boba Fett, because who else can have that kind of color combination of green and yellow and burgundy and red and make it look that cool. He's always been one of my all-time favorites. I've had a couple of very popular collector pieces based on the character from the Acme Archives fine art line and pieces I did for "Star Wars Celebration" in Germany a few years back with his helmet off.

For this comic book, we had to keep it kind of vague and not try to tell my own story not knowing what was depicted in the interior of the book. We know it's a chase and the Falcon is way back there in the background coming after their boy and all the bounty hunters are also, so I thought it would be more intriguing by keeping the opposing forces off-panel. You know some stuff is going down but you're not quite sure exactly where the firefight is coming from or who he's blasting the flamethrower at. It keeps a little mystery there without stretching the boundaries too far and going off on my own tangent. I wanted it to be fun and universally appealing.

On the second piece, I was at first going to do a white background, then I thought it would be cool to throw a couple of suns on there. Boba Fett has a pretty solid tie-in with Tatooine over the years so I thought why not pay a little homage to that and keep it warm and juicy and add a hint of that sky in there with the twin suns. This one is a little looser around the edges and more artsy. Turn the rocket packs on, man!

"Star Wars" illustrator Brian Rood's banner poster.   (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Space.com: Of all your artwork for Lucasfilm and "Star Wars" over the years, which project was the most satisfying?

ROOD: For me it was one of the art pieces I did that George Lucas purchased many years ago for a touring exhibit called Where Science Meets Imagination. It was comparing and contrasting real-world science to stuff George came up with in the '70s at his little place out in California. 

So I did a lithograph for the California Science Center that was sold at the exhibit for a few months. At the end of the day I got a phone call telling me that Mr. Lucas was interested in buying the original painting from me. That was a unique feather in my cap that I never saw happening as an artist from Toledo, Ohio. To think I'd ever sell a painting to George, let alone a couple of hundred paintings to him over the years and doing thousands of illustrations, that was probably the most rewarding thing.

I'm very fortunate and blessed in what I do. Right now I'm starting to do stuff for the new Boba Fett and Andor shows. It seems like something new is starting in the "Star Wars Universe" every week and everything is very exciting. And with Marvel, I'd be open to do future covers because who doesn't want to do some cool comic book covers, especially based on "Star Wars?"

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.