03.04.2012 – We would like to give a moment of silence and tribute to the man who conceptualized the look of the original Star Wars Trilogy. Ralph McQuarrie past away today (March 3, 2012 US Timezone) at the age of 82 is known for his work with one of the greatest science fiction series ever known in Star Wars.
McQuarrie’s work is unnoticed and most acclaimed for designing many of the characters, including Darth Vader and Chewbacca. His works will forever be remembered that made a leap from artwork to merchandise such as action figures released by Hasbro.
His other works includes the original Battlestar Galactica (TV), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Cocoon, for which he won an Academy Award.
McQuarrie went on to work as the conceptual designer on the film's two sequels The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. He also designed the alien ships in Steven Spielberg's films Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), while his work as the conceptual artist on the 1985 film Cocoon earned him the Academy Award for Visual Effects.
He was offered by Rick McCallum a role as designer for the Star Wars prequel trilogy but he declined nothing “he had run out of steam” and Industrial Light & Magic animator Doug Chiang was given the the job instead.
Though he retired his Star Wars concept paintings have subsequently been displayed in art exhibitions, including the 1999 Star Wars: The Magic of Myth. McQuarrie will always be remembered and if you haven’t watched the original trilogy he played the uncredited role of General McQuarrie in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. A Star Wars action figure in his likeness as "General McQuarrie" was produced by Hasbro as well as the original conceptual characters he designed.