Watch the “Star Wars” trilogy unfold in icons

Wayne Dorrington spent the last year transforming the original Star Wars trilogy into tiny icons. Now you can scroll through the entire series. 


Jennifer Abel


Published Feb 17, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 9:15 pm CDT

Internet fame can be expensive. Just ask Wayne Dorrington, the self-described “slightly overweight ginger-bearded four-eyed socially awkward London senior digital designer & illustrator” who had to pay for an extra 70 gigs of bandwidth in just four days after a certain blog post of his went “hyper-viral.”

Dorrington has spent the last year re-telling the original Star Wars trilogy entirely in icons and posting the results on his blog, I should really get out more. Except for an “SOS” sign, there’s no written language anywhere on the site, only pictures. (In the unlikely event you don’t know the original trilogy storyline, Dorrington’s might be difficult to follow. But it’s instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with the story.)

Dorrington posted his first installation, Star Wars Episode IV Retold In Iconoscope, last February and later added an undated epilogue explaining that the “hyper-viral” response required him to buy more bandwidth. He said it “ended my old site and blog. But hey, every cloud.”

Almost exactly a year later, on Valentine’s Day 2012, Dorrington completed the trilogy and posted the Iconoscope Return of the Jedi. Writer Mike at reported, “After a year’s worth of work, our friend Wayne Dorrington has finally completed his retelling of the Original Trilogy through the use of icons.”

Science and science-fiction blog io9 posted the original Episode IV infographic the next day, though commenters were quick to note that Dorrington got some details wrong: “Heeeey….. Chewie doesn’t get a medal at the end…”

Dorrington’s Iconoscope Return of the Jedi is five times longer than his Episode IV. He explained:

“The first Iconoscope was a single page of 32 line of icons – but then the story was actually quite simple, when you look at it. For Episode V [The Empire Strikes Back], It took much longer to design and lay out, running double the length of the original – but there were many more costume changes, and plots that spanned multiple lines.”

Episode VI was more complex still:

“I watched it again, took some notes and started to list out everything that I would need to create the Iconoscope – and it went on… and on… and on… Each character has multiple costume changes. The plot runs into 3 separate lines and constantly jumps between them. Vehicles, scenery, sub characters… It was a huge list.”

Since Dorrington’s Star Wars stories require no English ability to understand, they’ve proven especially popular among non-English speakers on Twitter. Searching for terms like “Star Wars infographic” or “Wayne Dorrington” brought many results in foreign languages: Portuguese, French, Spanish, even Icelandic.

The bulk of the tweets remain in English, though, and all are enthusiastic. @BRNicholson tweeted a link to one infographic with the note: “This is as freakin’ cool as bullseyeing Wamprats in my T-16 back home!”

We’ve posted the first installment below. Click through to view the rest of the story.

Photo by Andres Rueda

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*First Published: Feb 17, 2012, 12:38 pm CST