Ralph McQuarrie, 82, passed away Saturday.
McQuarrie was, most notably, an illustrator and a conceptional designer for the original Star Wars films. Even fans unfamiliar with his name are intimately familiar with his contributions to the Star Wars universe. McQuarrie wasn’t just a talented artist. He was a man with an incredible vision. He created the design of iconic characters like Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3P0. McQuarrie also created much of the breathtaking Star Wars imagery that would later be captured on film, including Tatooine and Cloud City. In fact, it was McQuarrie’s concept art that helped convince 20th Century Fox to fund the first Star Wars film.
Without McQuarrie’s involvement in the production of the original Star Wars trilogy, the franchise might have never existed – at least, not as it does today. Star Wars was the first film that McQuarrie worked on, and although he worked in film for the next two decades, none have impacted the lives of countless people like his work on Star Wars. Despite his exit from our world, McQuarrie’s work will assuredly live on in our imaginations, and that of our children. The world has lost a visionary, yes. But in return, we have gained a legend.
Rest in peace, Ralph McQuarrie. May the Force be with you. Always.