Ralph McQuarrie, Who Shaped the Visual Universe of Star Wars, Dies


Ralph McQuarrie, he man who visualized much of the Star Wars universe, died on March 3 in Berkeley, California:

StarwarsThrough 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]


  1. uffda says

    What a wonderful story…I had no idea. Yet ANOTHER! bright thing of information to come my way from this website. The kissing Marines and David Kuria were the big bright spots last week. Always a good way to start the day – with Andy’s choices. Thank you.

  2. says


    i was obsessed with Industrial Light & Magic as a kid, and got a book about the concept art of Ralph McQuarrie, including some of his paintings for Cocoon, which he won an Oscar for.

    there’s a great big huge book on Industrial Ligth & Magic and when you see the paintings McQuarrie drew up to show 20th Century Fox execs you realize how much of “the vision” wasn’t just Georege Lucas’ – the way we see film ,and sci-fi and “the future” is indeed this man’s brainchild.

    thanks for the visions, buddy!

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