The Titlebar Archive: Ralph McQuarrie

Film As you may have read, Ralph McQuarrie, the film concept artist best known for inspiring the imagery of Star Wars universe died last week.  The art in the title bar obviously depicts Luke, Ben and the droids clap eyes on the Millenium Falcon, a moment arguably spoiled in the special editions because we've already seen it in the earlier additional (and irrelevant) Jabba the Hutt sequence.

McQuarrie's official website has an archive of interviews from across the years, the earliest from 1978, just after the film's release which gives some flavour of what it must have been like working at time when Lucas's script was in a very organic phase:
MS: What other kinds of exchanges went on between you and Lucas, and who came up with what?

McQ: Oh, we had a lot of conversations, and ideas always changed viewpoints to fit the latest script. Luke Skywalker was to be a girl, to satisfy Fox's desire for a romantic interest in the film. Han Solo was to be an Errol Flynn type hero, and things would go in a rather classic film framework. Then, somewhere along the way, George decided to make Luke a boy to bolster the student/teacher aspect with Ben Kenobi, but brought in a Princess to set up a romantic triangle.

From a design point of view, I would make my own changes, like the C-3PO robot. George was specifically after a Metropolis type figure, but I wanted it to be very elegant, and distinctly male. I remember doing a lot of sketches to get to the design we finally used, and then, the costume people had to make modifications to enlarge the joints. Even so, they managed to retain the nice lines that gave the robot a streamlined look.
"She's your sister."

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