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The legend is gone - Ralph McQuarrie 3/3/12

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Why did I think he'd already died?  Weird, must be getting people mixed up. :/

Anyway, huge and tragic loss, his marvelous artwork lives on and will always be inspirations!

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RIP McQuarrie, a truly fantastic conceptual designer and illustrator. :(

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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Sad news. :(

“Grow up. These are my Disney's movies, not yours.”

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This is a pity :(

The blue elephant in the room.

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The genius of this man cannot be understated. Along with guys like Ben Burtt, John Williams and Norman Reynolds, this man was a fundamental part of Star Wars. Legend states that it was his illustrations that sold the film to the Fox board of directors, who had a hard time visualizing it all--despite a pretty cool script from Lucas, he is the real reason the film didn't die at the first stage of development. Rest in peace my friend.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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The very first piece of SW merchandise I can ever remember having was the Star Wars portfolio. I liked McQuarrie's designs better sometimes than what appeared in the finished film.

Star Wars might not have ever gotten the greenlight from Fox, if not for his work.

I hope his art will continue to inspire people well into the future.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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That's a damn shame.  I agree with zombie, I think Ralph's contributions to SW are immense, and vastly underrated by many.  His illustrations are phenomenal.  I mean, he is pretty much responsible for the look of SW!

 

These two images in particular... I dunno, when I look at them, they take me somewhere special, a place even more fantastic and unimaginable than the movies themselves do...  I can't put into words how they make me feel...

 

 

Anyone remember different camera angles from ROTJ?

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His art has really inspired me, both just within SW and in design, painting, and illustration generally. McQuarrie's paintings are often even better at hinting at a world, allowing the viewer to wonder, than finished films or graphic novels. Art like his presents snatches of realities, leaving the rest to be populated by the audience's imagination.

         

I'd like to point out that in the last image, he's working on a matte for Empire in which he painted in a differently lit roof to the Falcon; the on-set lighting didn't please him, so he fixed it.  The cool part is... did you ever notice that?

 

EDIT: Ha, looks like Spilka and I had the same idea!

"Star Wars films are basically silent movies. And they're designed as silent movies, therefore the music carries a -- has a very large role in carrying the story, more than it would in a normal movie."  -GL

"NOO! NOOOOOO!!" - Darth Vader

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I don't think I've ever seen the twin Death Stars one before!

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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I think the Vader vs. Deak painting is the first piece of his work I ever saw. Awesome, awesome work. And the one with the pyramids is downright epic.

Rest in piece, sir.

STRANGE

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(I'll just cut-and-paste my post from TFN which, in turn, was mostly just cut-and-pasted from a comment I left at McQuarrie's Facebook page.)

 

Here's the post I left at his Facebook page:

I always get the great science fiction "sense of wonder" from Ralph McQuarrie's beautiful paintings. This is especially true with Star Wars, but I see now that he did so much else beside that. Most notably, it was clearly McQuarrie who was chiefly responsible for Darth Vader's appearance. I think he was a wonderful creator and I hope he's in Heaven! I'll never forget the feelings of awe I had reading making of Star Wars books in high school when I saw his paintings.


I dormed at a high school, and I remember having to sit in this study hall for two hours every night while this creepy dean of discipline hovered over us. In that time, I remember just staring at McQuarrie's beautiful paintings in these two books:

http://www.amazon.com/From-Star-Wars-Indiana-Jones/dp/0811809978/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1330838922&sr=8-3
http://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Concept-Screen-Collectible/dp/0811800962/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_5

Just getting lost in them. As detailed in, 'The Secret History of Star Wars', Ralph McQuarrie is almost entirely to credit with the design of Darth Vader.


SecretHistoryOfStarWars posted:
From the above quote it sounds as if McQuarrie's masked drawing inspired Lucas' descriptions, and not the other way around—given that Lucas liked to work this way on the sequels and prequels, this is unsurprising. In tact, McQuarrie began sketching in November 1974210—when Lucas was still writing. He elaborates:

"George came along in about a week with a little bundle ot suit! he'd gotten out ot old science-Fiction magazines ot the 1930s and material like that. George also supplied some books on Japanese medieval stuff... George had mentioned him having to wear a helmet like a Japanese medieval warrior, one ot those big flared-out helmets, and I made it somewhere between that and a German World War II helmet. In probably one day, I made all the drawings that pretty much defined Darth Vader. I was moving veiy tast and didn't have all week to tool around with Darth Vader—I had lots ot other things to work on... [George] was veiy happy it you came up with some ideas that was completely different. George didn't envision Darth Vader with a mask—he said he might have his face covered with black silk. But I got worried for Vader's health, because he has to transfer to another spacecraft through outer space with stormtroopers who had armored space suits...George said, 'Well, all right, give him some kind ot breath mask,"—which he wore through all three films."

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"I am deeply saddened by the passing of such a visionary artist and such a humble man. Ralph McQuarrie was the first person I hired to help me envision Star Wars. His genial contribution, in the form of unequaled 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.'

"Beyond the movies, his artwork has inspired at least two generations of younger artists—all of whom learned through Ralph that movies are designed. Like me, they were thrilled by his keen eye and creative imagination, which always brought concepts to their most ideal plateau. In many ways, he was a generous father to a conceptual art revolution that was born of his artwork, and which seized the imaginations of thousands and propelled them into the film industry. In that way, we will all be benefiting from his oeuvre for generations to come. Beyond that, I will always remember him as a kind and patient, and wonderfully talented, friend and collaborator."

—George Lucas

 

Help back OMNO!

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A true artist, beautiful work. RIP. :(

And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.

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I am truly saddened to hear the death of this great man, it is his concept art that I always pause at when I encounter it.....it draws me in.

J

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Sad news. I agree with so many of the sentiments already expressed. His art had more imagination than all of modern Hollywood combined. I know he's best known for Star Wars & other film concept art, but he did SO much more. I really love his aviation art.

But I must confess that my absolute favorite pieces he did are Star Wars related. While I love all of it, I can never get enough of the works he did just showing glimpses of everyday life on a foreign world. They REALLY get my imagination going. I really need to get that book of his that was put out s few years ago...

 

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condolences to Ralph McQuarrie 's family. 

An absolutely brilliant and creative mind whoss contributions to star wars cannot be overstated.  Most posters on this thread have already provided great examples and anecdotes that even I wasn't aware of until now. 

RIP

click here if lack of OOT got you down

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walking_carpet wrote: condolences to Ralph McQuarrie 's family.

oddly.  http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/03/ralph-mcquarrie/

Nervously, I called him. He answered the phone, I introduced myself and asked about his ancestry. He told me he wished he could help me out, but the fact was he didn’t know anything about the McQuarrie family; his father had abandoned his family when he was an infant, and he’s never met a single relative from that side of his family.

*EDIT* one obit mentions a wife.