CINCINNATI — While the story might take place “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” the Star Wars franchise has some deep local connections.
A report by UC Magazine Tuesday described how several University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning alumni have been involved with the franchise in one capacity or another, some as early as when “Star Wars: A New Hope” was in production in the mid-1970s.
There’s Mark Boudreaux, DAAP ’78, has spent most of his nearly 40-year career designing Star Wars toys for Hasbro. He landed a university co-op at Kenner Products (later purchased by Hasbro) in 1977 and hasn’t looked back.
“I did the preliminary development on Kenner’s original Millennium Falcon toy,” he told UC Magazine.
Fast-forward four decades, seven films, and dozens of toy designs later, Boudreaux continues to get national recognition — including a feature by Bloomberg Business — most recently for his “Battle Action Millennium Falcon,” released to accompany Thursday’s premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Boudreaux’s designs have even featured his face: Hasbro’s the Rebel Trooper, the Rebel Blockade Runner Trooper and the AT-ST driver all bear the artist’s likeness.
Six years before Boudreaux joined Kenner, Jim Swearingen also graduated from DAAP and began working on the original Star Wars toy line. Swearingen would later become Boudreaux’s boss at Kenner.
Other DAAP alumni with whom the Force proved strong include Steve Bono (DAAP ’91), who designed what is best described as a “dancing R2-D2; Charles Bailey (DAAP ’71), a model maker who worked on “The Empire Strikes Back;” and George Hull (DAAP ’93), who worked with George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic production house.