A long, long time ago (even before the Dawn of CAD software), on a drafting table not so far away, future “Star Wars” visionary Ralph McQuarrie got his start drawing teeth and dentist’s tool for a dental business and later drew the technical manuals for 1960s Boeing aircraft.
McQuarrie, who died over the weekend at age 82 from Parkinson’s Disease, was credited with creating the overall look of Star Wars droids, spaceships and overall architecture. Director George Lucas credits these drawings for getting 20th Century Fox to take him seriously as the future blockbuster series was outright rejected by many major Hollywood studios when it was pitched with the script alone.
Here’s what Lucas had to say about the creator of C3PO (original concept above), Darth Vader, R2D2 and the legendary Tie-Fighters and X-Wing Fighters:
“Ralph McQuarrie was the first person I hired to help me envision Star Wars. His genial contribution, in the form of unequaled production paintings, propelled and inspired all of the cast and crew of the original Star Wars trilogy. When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph’s fabulous illustrations and say, ‘Do it like this.’”
According to The Washington Post, it was the designer’s idea to include a mechanical breathing mask on Darth Vader’s costume — which added to the villain’s mystique and intimidating presence. Read More