The word legend is overused in daily life but when you talk about Ralph McQuarrie, who has just died at the age of 82, then it’s a rather apt word.
For all of us nerds who love Star Wars, the conceptual artwork he created for The Star Wars has helped turn us into the people we are today.
Would we have loved George Lucas’ epic as much if he hadn’t came up with some of the coolest artwork and designs for the 1977 space opera? I very much doubt it.
Along with the sound effects created by Ben Burtt, score by John Williams and effects work by ILM, McQuarrie helped change cinema history.
Born in Gary, Indiana, he began his career as a technical illustrator for aeroplane manufacturer Boeing and designing film posters.When he was approached by Lucas to create the look of Star Wars in the mid-1970s, he helped design some of the most iconic characters and scenes ever.
Think Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO, Tatooine…. the list is endless.
Ofcourse he would go on to work on films such as ET, Cocoon, for which he won an Oscar, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
But it was his work for Star Wars that captured the imagination of George Lucas and subsequently millions of fans around the world. Without him the world would be a much lesser place. For that we salute you.
But a last word must go to a statement from his website which captures all our thoughts: “His influence on design will be felt forever. There’s no doubt in our hearts that centuries from now amazing spaceships will soar, future cities will rise and someone, somewhere will say… ‘that looks like something Ralph McQuarrie painted’.”
Ralph McQuarrie RIP
Michael Bashford (on behalf of everyone at Following the Nerd)