Some things are just not meant to go together, like liver and bananas or reality television stars and the Oval Office. At first glance, combining Star Wars characters with Renaissance paintings might seem like one such unfortunate pairing. But for some reason, the realms of science fiction and 16th century art actually mesh together quite nicely. Between Han Solo's strength of emotion, Darth Maul's sheer intensity and Princess Leia's effortless elegance, it's like the Star Wars characters were made to be immortalized in oil paints by Renaissance artists. Or, you know, to be photographed with Elizabethan ruffs on in front of a brown screen. Same deal, though, right?
Here are 15 Star Wars characters reimagined as Renaissance paintings.
15 Han and Leia
If Star Wars was just a tale about a bunch of people a long time ago, without the "in a galaxy far, far away" bit, then maybe this is what Han Solo and Princess Leia would look like. Rather than Han being a rebellious pilot with a hearty disdain for the rules of the Galactic Empire, he'd be some Italian merchant trying to make his way in the Renaissance world outside of the established social hierarchies. And Princess Leia would be the fiercely independent daughter of some lord, seeking opportunities denied to women during that time (like how women apparently couldn't use lightsabers in the first three Star Wars movies). Then, as men and women did in the Renaissance, the two would fall in love and pose for a painting wearing ruffs. And holding guns, apparently.
Well, we have to say that the Renaissance style suits Chewy pretty darn well. Like, that ruff really accentuates his luscious brown locks and the curve of his neck, a feature that is pretty much lost when he parades around in nothing but his birthday fur. All that hair makes it kind of hard to see what Chewy actually looks like, kind of like how the bodies of fluffy dogs disappear beneath their fur. Then, when you give them a bath, you realize how much your adorable little Pomeranian actually looks like a rat beneath that ocean of fluff. We doubt Chewy could ever look like a rat, but he definitely has a different feel about him when he has clothes on. Even in just a ruff and a cape, he feels like a different Wookie.
Hmm. Well, Yoda's looking very astute in this ruff, but if he were to have actually posed like that back in the sixteenth century, we're guessing he would have freaked the heck out of a lot of painters. Like, back then, the Bible kind of trumped science fiction in the literature market. So, if Yoda were to have marched into a Renaissance painter's studio, we're guessing some serious screaming would have occurred right off the bat, given that tiny green aliens weren't exactly a thing people thought about back then. Then, if the artist had somehow managed to not pass out from shock, when Yoda turned on that lightsaber, he'd have been a goner. Heck, electricity wasn't even a thing back then, so imagine what it'd have been like to suddenly see someone whip out a freaking lightsaber.
12 Darth Vader
Although words can't describe how satisfying it is to see Darth Vader posing in a ruff, this is not what a Renaissance version of Darth would have looked like. If Anakin Skywalker were to have existed during the Renaissance, he would not have been some masked super villain who killed people by moving his fingers progressively closer together. No, he would have been some epic military leader, charging into war on horse back and tearing apart his enemies with a sword rather than the Force. Like, you've gotta adjust for the times, and the Star Wars version of Darth Vader just would not have cut it during the Renaissance. In a world without the Force or lightsabers, you've gotta master the sword and the game of thrones if you want to climb up in the world (the actual one, not the George R. R. Martin version).
11 Darth Maul
Well, Darth Maul is looking strangely peaceful and composed here. Like, that's pretty out of character for him. Honestly, this is probably the only way to get Darth Maul to not look like an evil mass murderer. You can make pretty much anyone look elegant if you stick them in a ruff and tell them to pose like a Renaissance lord on a brown background. But even beneath all that fine Renaissance clothing, you can kind of tell that he's just itching to slice the painter in half with his double-ended lightsaber. You can see it in those red eyes and those tensed shoulders of his. He's ready to pounce, and just because you're rendering his Renaissance likeness, that doesn't mean you're safe from the wrath of Darth Maul.
10 Bounty Hunter Leia
Remember when Robert Downey Jr played a blue-eyed Australian actor playing an African-American soldier who, at one point in the movie, pretended to be an Asian rice farmer? (If your answer is no, then go watch Tropic Thunder right freaking now—er, we mean after you finish reading this article.) Well, we never thought we'd find anything that quite matched that, but we have to say that this photo comes close. Not only is Princess Leia dressed up as a bounty hunter, but now, that bounty hunter she's pretending to be is done up in the style of a Renaissance painting. We wouldn't have thought an alien bounty hunter could've ever looked at home in a piece of art from the sixteenth century, but it appears that the addition of a ruff can make a Renaissance lord out of pretty much anyone.
Well, R2 is looking particularly elegant here. There's something about that ruff from the Renaissance that can make pretty much anyone (or any robot, apparently) look dashing. The addition of that blue cape makes him look even more lordly. And man, R2 would have made one heck of a Renaissance lord. Like, typically, those high-status dudes were pretty into the whole religion, art and climbing-your-way-up-in-society thing, but R2 here is not one to abide by social norms. Although all we really hear from him is bleeps and bloops, it's made abundantly clear throughout the series that he's a freaking bad@$$. By his second day in the lordship, he'd definitely be stirring the pot, gifting lordships unto peasants and pitting his fellow lords against one another. It's just in his genes... er, programming, we mean.
8 Princess Leia
Man, Leia would not have been very happy if she'd lived during the Renaissance. She is the very definition of a strong, independent woman. Although the Star Wars universe wasn't exactly picture perfect when it came to equal rights (like, if Luke can wield a lightsaber and use the Force, then why couldn't his twin sister?), the Renaissance makes the inequality in the first three Star Wars movie look like a freaking joke. Like, during the Renaissance, the only real option for women was being a wife. Well, and being a queen, if you happened to be Queen Elizabeth, but she was kind of a unique case. For pretty much every other woman, it was really just the wife thing. And anyone who knows Leia knows she would not have been satisfied with that kind of life. But, that said, she does look good in a ruff.
7 Painted Leia
Wow. If you were to just see this painting in passing at an art museum and hadn't watched the Star Wars movies 50 times like we have, then you probably wouldn't even notice anything out of the ordinary. With her elegance, her wacky hair and her noble stature, Princess Leia could totally have passed as some well-to-do lady from the Renaissance. Replace those classic white robes with a long, satin dress and you're already halfway there. But Leia sure as heck would not have been happy as the wife of some lord during the Renaissance. Heck, she's basically the one who instigated the toppling of the Galactic Empire, so being confined to wifely duties and entertaining guests would not have been her cup of tea.
6 General Grievous
Well, General Grievous looks considerably less terrifying when he's dressed in a silken gown and seated in a red throne like a noble family's grumpy matriarch who's deciding who to cut out of the will. Like, the whole four-arms-and-four-lightsabers thing is pretty darn intimidating. Even Obi-Freaking-Wan had trouble when he faced off with Grievous. But wrap those arms up in a Renaissance dress and stick a big, expensive ring on that forefinger, and he's not so much a raging robot fighter from a distant galaxy as an elderly Renaissance woman showing off her wealth by hiring the ritziest painter in town to capture her likeness. Less so General Grievous, and more so a general grievance to her family (or at least those who got the boot from her will).
Wow, C-3PO here looks like he's about ready to mount an Elizabethan stage in Renaissance London and start reciting lines from Shakespeare. Like, aside from his rather golden-tinged skin, his big, glowing eyes that look more like mandarin freaking oranges than pupils and the fact that he's... well, a robot, he'd fit right in at a seventeenth century showing of Hamlet in London. We could totally see him channeling the most neurotic of his many, many ramblings in Star Wars and owning the heck out of Hamlet's "To be, or not to be" soliloquy. If C-3PO was made for anything, it's delivering self-aware monologues that manage to give everyone in his proximity a minor existential crisis. So basically, it's like he was made for Shakespeare plays.
4 Why art thou 3PO?
Man, C-3PO is looking mighty dashing here. Maybe it's the feather hat, or maybe it's that wistful look on his face, but we've never seen him looking quite so elegant. Normally, he's too busy worrying about R2-D2 or the fate of the Rebel Alliance to communicate much more to the audience than neuroticism and anxiety. Like, that droid could make a profession out of pessimism (although, ever since Rogue One, he's had serious competition in the form of K-2SO). But he's looking pretty darn at peace in this painting. But, then again, that could be the work of the artist. They do usually manage to capture us at our best. And it's hard to look all that neurotic with a giant feather sprouting from the top of your head.
Man, these Star Wars characters just cannot give up their guns, can they? Even if they're getting painted by a freaking Renaissance master (well, hypothetically, at least), they still have to cling to their weaponry like a baby clings to its soother. While they're dressed to the nines in Renaissance ruffs, capes and pantaloons, they keep on clutching their guns as if they wouldn't know what to do with their hands if they weren't holding them. And honestly, they probably wouldn't, which is particularly ironic in the case of Stormtroopers. Like, they can't seem to live without their guns in their hands, yet when it comes to actually shooting anyone, they aren't able to land their shot within a ten meter radius of their target.
This actually could pass for a legitimate Renaissance scene, if you don't look too closely. Like, with the brown garb, the fancy chair and the lacy ruffs and collars, Obi-Wan here could probably pass for some middle class banker, if not a lord. Like, sure, the hood is a bit of an odd touch, but even back in the days of the Renaissance, there were still oddities amongst the elite. We personally don't know of anyone quite odd enough to pose to be painted with a giant pillow case of a hood pulled over their head, but hey, who knows? Stranger things have happened. And to us, that golden thing in his hands is very clearly a lightsaber, but to the non-nerd eye, it could easily pass for some fancy new gadget birthed by the Scientific Revolution.
1 Sand People
Well, this Tusken Raider looks a little bit fancier with those ruffs on board, but, between those goggles and that mummy-look he has going on around his head, he's still pretty darn freaky looking. Like, you do not want to mess with Tusken Raiders, no matter how fluffy the lace they have around their collars is. The Sand People are not a friendly species, and they don't take kindly to strangers. Plus, it doesn't help that they believe all water was promised to them (they evolved on a desert planet, after all). So, they like to make a pastime of attacking local moisture farms and terrorizing the local settlers. Not exactly the types of beings you want to be engaging with very much, let alone painting in a closed studio for days on end.