Ralph McQuarrie is a name that Star Wars fans hold in great reverence. Originally commissioned by George Lucas in 1975 to bring a few scenes to life from the original script, McQuarrie brought a visual style to the project that Lucas himself has stated:
“Ralph’s contribution to the Star Wars world is incalculable.”
McQuarrie designed the looks of R2-D2, C-3PO, Chewbacca and, of course, the infamous Darth Vader. It was McQuarrie that suggested to Lucas that he wear the signature breathing mask because he would need something while traveling between ships. Lucas loved the design so much that he turned it into the most famous villain in cinema history.
Though McQuarrie added so much to the lore of #StarWars, it may come as a shock to learn that not all of his designs made it to the final product. Empire Strikes Back, which regularly makes it on greatest sequel lists and even some favorite-of-all-time lists, went through a few revisions before the final product was settled.
Instagram user Toysrgus posted these alternate logo designs for Empire.
While the designs are pretty rough and noticeably different to the ultimate logo, they're still quite brilliant.
Unfortunately, we lost McQuarrie in 2012, but his legacy lives on. In December, we will see #TheLastJedi, a film that still draws inspiration from the iconic concept artist. McQuarrie did other projects, of course, even winning an Academy Award for his work on E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, but to many fans he will always be the man that gave us the look of a galaxy far, far away.
What do you think of McQuarrie's designs? Sound off in the comments below!