Production Designer Rick Carter on Star Wars: Episode VII’s Blend of Old and New

“I offered my services to Kathy Kennedy,” Carter says of Episode VII, “who I had known for a long time. I said, ‘If you’re going to get involved with ‘Star Wars’ in this new generation, I’d love to be a part of the dialogue and help.’ She invited me in last January and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. Then J.J. [Abrams] came in and we hit it off.”

The Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm production is taking an interesting approach to the film’s design, teaming Carter with a younger designer, Darren Gilford. Carter explains that, by working in tandem, the pair can mix classic and modern sensibilities.

“We’re kind of both production designing the movie as a team,” Carter continues, “to help give J.J. the best of what his generation and the new generation can offer with Darren Gilford and also myself as a guide that takes us back to not so long, long ago, but to the ’70s where I was around and making movies that old-fashioned way. Whenever we want to touch that level, it relates to something that’s not just being made up as though it’s new. It’s being rediscovered.”

As for Jurassic World, Carter’s work is already complete.

“I came into that one as a visual consultant,” he says. “I just worked for four months to get it going. To try and visualize where this could go next and make sure it had some the same — literally the same — DNA of the previous movies. Ed Verreaux is the production designer on that one. He did the third ‘Jurassic Park.’ We’ve worked together going all the way back to ‘Back to the Future.’ It’s a real hand-off between the two of us. He’s the production designer and the director’s a new director named Colin Trevorrow. He’s a big, big talent.”

Jurassic World hits theaters on June 12, 2015 with Star Wars: Episode VII arriving the following December 18.

(Photo Credit: Brian To /