Concept artist who designed 'Star Wars' characters Darth Vader, Chewbacca dies

Ralph McQuarrie, the artist who helped design the look of such “Star Wars” characters as Darth Vader, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Chewbacca has died. He was 82 years old.

McQuarrie also worked on such films as “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T.,” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” as well as the the original “Battlestar Galactica” TV series. He won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 1986 for his work on the movie “Cocoon.”

A statement on McQuarrie’s website reads “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.’”

George Lucas, the creator of “Star Wars,” released this statement about McQuarrie’s passing: “Ralph McQuarrie was the first person I hired to help me envision Star Wars. 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. When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph’s fabulous illustrations and say, ‘Do it like this.’”

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