Some of the designs in the first three Star Wars films are honestly amazing work. The man we have to thank for this is Ralph McQuarrie, the concept artist who really set the tone for the film, much more so than any other individual. And I’m including George Lucas in that.
Sadly, Ralph McQuarrie passed away today at the age of 82.
To celebrate McQuarrie’s contributions to one of the most loved film series of all time, here are some of his development illustrations for Star Wars. Look at how these images embody everything there is to love about the films… and even go beyond this. I’m not being disingenuous when I say that I love these paintings far more than the films they fuelled.
McQuarrie did much more work outside of Star Wars (explore the online gallery of Battlestar Galactica paintings for some more examples), but it was with Lucas’ space saga that he made the most massive of impacts. Phenomenal, really.
Goodbye, Mr. McQuarrie, and thanks.
You can pay your respects on the Ralph McQuarrie Facebook page.