There are already a couple of days often recognized as "Star Wars Day," including May 4th because of the pun, May the Fourth be with you (sounds like May the Force), and May 25, marking the date in 1977 that the first film in the series premiered. But before Star Wars could discover its new hope, Ralph McQuarrie used his incredible skills as an artist to develop the look of a galaxy far, far away.
That journey began on January 31, 1975, according to the Ralph McQuarrie Archive, who shared his first sketch done in the name of Star Wars on twitter. The sketch is pretty simple, mostly a couple of planets and a moon, and some very loose drawings of some ships flying away from one of these heavenly bodies. If you squint, one of those ships has the basic body of an X-wing, though; you can see how this drawing eventually became so much more.
On January 31st, 1975, Ralph McQuarrie first put pencil to paper in the name of Star Wars. With this sketch, history was made. Please share! pic.twitter.com/bZKAFggPGS— Ralph McQuarrie (@RMcQArchives) January 31, 2017
Ralph McQuarrie's art helped bring George Lucas's vision to life before he ever started shooting. His designs for planets, vehicles, characters, robots, and even weapons all made their way diretly and indirectly into the film series. Even his unused designs were so good they were kept in the Lucasfilm archives just in case they needed to be pulled from later. The initial McQuarrie design for Chewbacca, for instance, featured a character with more lizard-like features, and became the direct basis for Zeb in Star Wars Rebels, for instance. Likewise, older designs for C-3PO became newer droids in more recent Star Wars stories. Despite now being deceased for almost five years, the visionary's work is still affecting Star Wars every day.
His art has been collected several times, and is well worth looking into, to see how Star Wars went from the ideas of one man to the beloved and vibrant world of generations of fans.
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