Star Wars visionary Ralph McQuarrie has passed away

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.

Today in Celebration V: Ralph revealed, Last Tour detailed

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 fandom minute: Morning crank edition

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.