The Original Star Wars Concept Art

The Original Concept Art for Star Wars by artist Ralph McQuarrie. - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

The Original Concept Art for Star Wars by artist Ralph McQuarrie.

Star Wars (1977) - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

Star Wars (1977)

Ralph McQuarrie (1929-2012) was an American conceptual designer and illustrator. - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

Ralph McQuarrie (1929-2012) was an American conceptual designer and illustrator.

In 1975, George Lucas commissioned McQuarrie to illustrate scenes from the script for Star Wars. - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

In 1975, George Lucas commissioned McQuarrie to illustrate scenes from the script for Star Wars.

McQuarrie designed many of the film’s characters, including Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO. - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

McQuarrie designed many of the film’s characters, including Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO.

He also drew concepts for many of the film’s sets. - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

He also drew concepts for many of the film’s sets.

“I just did my best to depict how I thought the film should look, I really liked the idea.” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“I just did my best to depict how I thought the film should look, I really liked the idea.”

“I didn’t think the film would get made. My impression was it was too expensive.” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“I didn’t think the film would get made. My impression was it was too expensive.”

“I thought there wouldn’t be enough of an audience. It’s too complicated.” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“I thought there wouldn’t be enough of an audience. It’s too complicated.”

“But George knew a lot of things that I didn’t know.” – Ralph McQuarrie - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“But George knew a lot of things that I didn’t know.” – Ralph McQuarrie

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Some of McQuarrie’s concepts are quite different from the finished film. - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

Some of McQuarrie’s concepts are quite different from the finished film.

In his renderings, light sabers were a single color, and were carried by storm troopers and other non-Jedi/Sith characters, before Lucas fully developed the mythology and made them a Jedi weapon.
Other illustrations are very close to scenes that ended up in the finished film. - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

Other illustrations are very close to scenes that ended up in the finished film.

“Ralph was the first person I hired to help me envision Star Wars.” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“Ralph was the first person I hired to help me envision Star Wars.”

“His genial contribution, in the form of unequaled production paintings…” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“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.” – George Lucas - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“Propelled and inspired all of the cast and crew of the original Star Wars trilogy.” – George Lucas

The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

“It’s really a testament to how important he was…” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“It’s really a testament to how important he was…”

“That there’s such a connection between a lot of those iconic images and the movie scenes.” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“That there’s such a connection between a lot of those iconic images and the movie scenes.”

“The way that he illustrated them was an influence on those characters, how they acted.” – George Lucas - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“The way that he illustrated them was an influence on those characters, how they acted.” – George Lucas

The Original Star Wars Concept Art
The Original Star Wars Concept Art
The Original Star Wars Concept Art
“When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph’s illustrations and say…” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph’s illustrations and say…”

“‘Do it like this.’” – George Lucas - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“‘Do it like this.’” – George Lucas

The Original Star Wars Concept Art
The Original Star Wars Concept Art
“It was a special opportunity to start from the ground up.” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“It was a special opportunity to start from the ground up.”

“Being able to create new characters, vehicles and worlds…” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“Being able to create new characters, vehicles and worlds…”

“And since when I started it wasn’t clear that the film would be made…” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“And since when I started it wasn’t clear that the film would be made…”

“I didn’t have to limit myself.” – Ralph McQuarrie - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“I didn’t have to limit myself.” – Ralph McQuarrie

It was McQuarrie who suggested that Vader wear breathing apparatus. - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

It was McQuarrie who suggested that Vader wear breathing apparatus.

“George had described Darth Vader as having flowing black robes. In the script, Vader had to jump from one ship to another.”
“To survive the vacuum of space, I felt he needed some sort of breathing mask.” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“To survive the vacuum of space, I felt he needed some sort of breathing mask.”

“George said, ‘OK,’ suggested adding a samurai helmet, and Darth Vader was born.”
“Simple as that.” – Ralph McQuarrie - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“Simple as that.” – Ralph McQuarrie

Return of the Jedi (1983) - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

Return of the Jedi (1983)

“Ralph was a very special person for many more reasons than his undeniable brilliance with a brush.” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“Ralph was a very special person for many more reasons than his undeniable brilliance with a brush.”

“Beyond the movies, his artwork has inspired at least two generations of younger artists…” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“Beyond the movies, his artwork has inspired at least two generations of younger artists…”

“All of whom learned through Ralph that movies are designed.” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“All of whom learned through Ralph that movies are designed.”

“Like me, they were thrilled by his keen eye and creative imagination…” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“Like me, they were thrilled by his keen eye and creative imagination…”

“Which always brought concepts to their most ideal plateau.” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“Which always brought concepts to their most ideal plateau.”

“His influence on design will be felt forever.” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“His influence on design will be felt forever.”

“There’s no doubt that centuries from now amazing spaceships will soar…” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“There’s no doubt that centuries from now amazing spaceships will soar…”

“Future cities will rise…” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“Future cities will rise…”

“And someone, somewhere will say…” - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“And someone, somewhere will say…”

“That looks like something Ralph McQuarrie painted.” – George Lucas - The Original Star Wars Concept Art

“That looks like something Ralph McQuarrie painted.” – George Lucas