Thank You, Ralph McQuarrie (1929 – 2012)

March 5th, 2012 // 20 Comments

Ralph McQuarrie, the legendary science-fiction concept artist who gave George Lucas‘ original Star Wars trilogy its iconic, timeless look, died Saturday at 82. And for those of you who haven’t spent 98% of your life obsessed with Star Wars like I still am (Did you know they made McQuarrie concept figures?! I need to quit drinking.), here’s a little background info via Wikipedia:

Impressed with his work, director George Lucas met with him to discuss his plans for a space-fantasy film. Several years later, in 1975, Lucas commissioned McQuarrie to illustrate several scenes from the script of the film, Star Wars. McQuarrie designed many of the film’s characters, including Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO and drew many concepts for the film’s sets. It was McQuarrie who suggested that Vader wear breathing apparatus. McQuarrie’s concept paintings, including such scenes as R2-D2 and C-3PO arriving on Tatooine, helped convince 20th Century Fox to fund Star Wars, which became a huge success upon release in 1977. Neil Kendricks of The San Diego Union-Tribune stated McQuarrie “holds a unique position when it comes to defining much of the look of the “Star Wars” universe.” McQuarrie noted “I thought I had the best job that an artist ever had on a film, and I had never worked on a feature film before. [...] I still get fan mail — people wondering if I worked on Episode I or just wanting to have my autograph.

Oh, good. So he spent the last years of his life being mistakenly held responsible for the prequels. What an incredible way to honor the man who brought you goddamn Boba Fett. Which is why I’d like to say thanks, Ralph McQuarrie, for having the creative vision that gave this dick-joke blogger a childhood filled with incredible characters that Hollywood lacks the soul and/or iota of creative capacity to ever even come close to matching again which probably explains why walking pee monsters are our children’s new heroes now.

Rest in Peace.

Photos: Ralph McQuarrie


  1. May the force be with you. RIP

  2. EricLr

    Stormtroopers with lightsabers, can you imagine? As bad a shot as those guys were with blasters, I can only imagine what damage they could have done carrying around long swords that can slice through limbs like butter. “Hey trooper, how did you lose the arm?” “We were fighting rebels and us Stormtroopers just started swinging wildly, of course.”

  3. ktulu

    Oh no I have something in common with the Fish. Nice tribute and image selection amazing art

  4. Ralph McQuarrie Star Wars Concept Art
    Cock Dr
    Commented on this photo:

    This gallery reminds me that there were a few things in my childhood that did not suck.
    RIP Ralph.

  5. forrest

    these are the people who make things happen.
    …………sort of.


  6. Ganja Din

    I think I’ve still got a 70s vintage set of McQuarrie Star Wars prints stashed away somewhere. RIP art dude.

  7. So how many of you geeks just threw your head back and let out a Chewbacca scream?

  8. Deacon Jones

    Very cool, I didnt know this guy was responsible for so much, I figured it was a team of these guys or Lucas himself that designed the scenes.

    Knowing Lucas, he probably paid this guy $100 and never looked back.

  9. Fish… back when he was only 14, my best friend chuck had damn near every book & magazine there was about the making of star wars, and the centerpieces of his collection were several books that were all about phil tippett, and ralph mcquarrie… i was already a huge nerd, but, i had never heard of these guys and did’nt know anyone else who knew so much about them, and chuck was REALLY into them (i spent A LOT of time hanging out in his room flipping through mcquarrie’s books, listening to chuck gush & pontificate about them)… back then, chuck’s goal in life was to become a SFX guy working in movies, he even went to a high school where he could major in art, and he specifically applied to and got accepted at RISD, where he changed his priorities a little and ended up getting his degree in film-making, and eventually went on to create/direct/co-produce the budweiser commercials… but, it was his early exposure to, and obsession with, tippett & mcquarrie that sparked his desire and fueled his motivation to become a director… so, thank you, ralph… without you, i never would’a made the money i made, been the places i’ve been, met the people i’ve met, or banged half the strippers i’ve banged. -RIP, homie

  10. Ralph McQuarrie Star Wars Concept Art
    Cock Dr
    Commented on this photo:

    Fuck yeah.

  11. Pat C.

    Was he responsible for the look of “slave Leia” ?

  12. CranAppleSnapple

    I love the artwork! Thanks Fish, you helped me find an excellent gift for my good friend the Star Wars fan! It turns out they make awesome McQuarrie concept art dollies. He’s gonna love them.

  13. Ralph McQuarrie Star Wars Concept Art
    Commented on this photo:

    I like the art work conceptions it’s a great job from a visionary artist.

  14. Ralph McQuarrie Star Wars Concept Art
    Commented on this photo:

    This part from ‘EPISODE V the empire strikes back’ is my favorite… where Luke Skywalker vs Darth Vader ,between father and son is still an all time classic battle.

  15. AR

    so much fucking respect for posting.

Leave A Comment