It’s a sad day in fandom: The man who gave Star Wars its first images passed away yesterday. Originally commissioned by George Lucas to illustrate scenes from the Star Wars script in 1975, Ralph McQuarrie was the first – and certainly the most well-known – concept artist for the saga. On StarWars.com, Lucas said: “When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph’s fabulous illustrations and say, ‘Do it like this.’”
In addition to the original trilogy, McQuarrie also worked on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Cocoon, for which he won an Academy Award.