‘Star Wars’ conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie dies

Artist behind Darth Vader and Chewbacca passes away at age of 82

Ralph McQuarrie, the man who brought George Lucas’ vision of Star Wars to the big screen, has died at the age of 82.

McQuarrie designed some of the film franchise’s most iconic characters and is credited with creating the look of Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3P0.

A statement was posted on McQuarrie’s official website yesterday (Saturday, March 3], following his death.

It read:

It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the passing of Ralph McQuarrie. 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’


Leading the tributes was Star Wars director George Lucas, who said he was saddened by the passing of McQuarrie, calling him a “visionary artist and humble man”.

McQuarrie began his career as a technical illustrator for Boeing and provided animation for CBS News coverage of the Apollo space program.

He was then asked by Lucas to work on designs for Star Wars, before the movie had been given the title, and subsequently worked on The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi. He turned down an offer to work on the prequels.

Outside of the Star Wars franchise, he contributed designs for Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Raiders Of The Lost Ark and he won an Oscar for his work on Cocoon.