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.
McQuarrie was 82. His official site is asking for memorials to be posted to his Facebook page or via email.
Michael Heilemann takes to the books to explore the origins of our favorite Wookiee.
The ‘lost’ Star Wars artwork of Ralph McQuarrie will be on display at Celebration. The pieces – discovered due to a furnace repair too late to make The Art of Ralph McQuarrie – include “design work on characters, creatures, spacecraft, weapons and worlds.”
The CG Society has named Ralph McQuarrie a Grand Master in the forthcoming artbook EXPOSÉ 7. (via)
It’s art! Or not. No. Just no. Clone Wars character design, I know McQuarrie, and you sir are no McQuarrie. On the other hand, Christian Waggoner’s stuff is kinda cool.
Let them eat slime. This Jabba cake is appropriately disgusting yet totally hand-made. Pretty impressive.
Don’t strain yourself.Is Star Wars science fiction or fantasy? It’s sci-fantasy. Duh.
Listicles. Princess Leia is one of Yahoo’s lethal ladies; The prequels bottom out io9’s list of science fiction prequels, beating out even You-Know-Who’s Dune books on their scale of crappiness. Ouch.
Road trip! If you missed it, The Vader Project is now in Pittsburgh.
The StarWars.com crew did some digging and unearthed several Holiday Special props and other detris – even an animatic reel of the cartoon. There’s also a handful of old articles – one on the art directors and concept art, kicking off with Ralph McQuarrie and an interview with Patty Maloney, who played Lumpawarrump, and Stan Winston on Wookiee makeup/costuming. And finally, learn to draw Chewie’s family.
Try not to be totally surprised that Star Wars is #2 on Cracked’s list of seven terrible early versions of great movies. After reading the early drafts, some of the prequels less-stellar quirks make a lot more sense.
You can read early drafts of Star Wars for yourself at The Jedi Bendu Script Site, and see the (considerably less painful) Ralph McQuarrie concept art in Michael Heilemann’s Flickr collection.
Last night/this morning brings us rare collectibles, George’s introduction and lots of new McQuarrie factoids, as well as more pictures from the official site.
Rebelscum has lots of new stuff as well, including a chat with Mark Hamill.
The official site updates (!!) with Ralph McQuarrie Exclusives at Celebration Japan: Two prints, a Lawrence Noble painting based on McQuarrie’s original poster concept, and a second go at Art of Ralph McQuarrie from Dreams & Visions Press.
In other Celebration Japan art news, Rebelscum has previews of Tsuneo Sanda’s prints.
Galactica.tv showcases concept paintings done by Ralph McQuarrie for the original pilot script of Battlestar Galactica. Apparently the cylons were originally going to be the creation of an insect race? (via)