The Amazing ‘Star Wars’ Concept Art of Designer Ralph McQuarrie
Star Wars illustrator and designer Ralph McQuarrie is responsible for some of the most iconic imagery in the pop culture and the history of movies. McQuarrie designed the look of many of the Star Wars characters including Darth Vader, C-3PO, R2-D2 and the Stormtroopers, as well as locations like the Death Star and Tattooine. In fact, it was McQuarrie's artwork that eventually sold 20th Century Fox on the idea of letting George Lucas actually make a Star Wars movie.
Saying they don't make ‘em like that anymore is something of a cliche, but they truly don't make them like Ralph McQuarrie anymore. When J.J. Abrams wanted to replicate McQuarrie's aesthetic for Star Wars: Episode 7, he simply went through the Lucasfilm archives and pulled out a treasure trove of unused art from the original trilogy, and put it to use on his film (including BB-8, the ball droid seen in the trailer, which is based on a McQuarrie sketch for the original film).
Sadly, McQuarried died from complications of Parkinson's Disease in 2012. Upon his death, George Lucas said in a statement, “His genial contribution, in the form of unequalled 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’.”
We celebrate his work here with 100 of his most beautiful paintings from Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and beyond.