Ralph McQuarrie, he man who visualized much of the Star Wars universe, died on March 3 in Berkeley, California:
Through two artist friends, Mr. McQuarrie was introduced to Lucas in the mid 1970s. At the time, Lucas’ tale of a interplanetary civil war between a loose band of rebels and a Naziesque empire, had been rejected by United Artists and Universal.
Lucas enlisted Mr. McQuarrie’s help to show movie executives his story. Using Lucas’ script for inspiration, Mr. McQuarrie drew scenes of a space battle between laser-shooting fighter planes and lightsaber-wielding warriors. Lucas, armed with the images, quickly won funding from 20th Century Fox and “Star Wars” was born, beginning with “Episode IV: A New Hope,” in 1977.
Artist Iain McCaig, who worked on the “Star Wars” prequels, Episodes I, II, and III, called Mr. McQuarrie a pioneer of film conceptual art. Before him, McCaig said, few directors called on artists to help visualize their projects.
Ralph McQuarrie, artist who drew Darth Vader, C-3PO, dies at 82 [washington post]