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With Episode VII around the corner, and the production to the Original Trilogy (less so the Prequels) spun into filmmaking folklore, Star Wars has never been more potent in popular culture.

While the world waits on the official appointment of Messrs. Hamill, Fisher and Ford to complete the proverbial circle there are many others whose presence ensured the cinematic legacy. We take a look at some of those people who are an essential part of why we love that galaxy far, far away.

 

ralph mcquarrie
Ralph McQuarrie

George Lucas may have conjured up the world of Star Wars in his mind, but it was the late conceptual designer and illustrator Ralph McQuarrie who would take those ideas and thoughts and offer a visual representation of what filmmaker was reaching for, with a number of his images ultimately going on to as a blueprint for the film’s creative departments.

Impressed with McQuarrie’s work several years prior to the launch of his space opera, Lucas finally commissioned the artist to illustrate several scenes from his script in 1975. McQuarrie designed many of the film’s characters, including Darth Vader (complete with facial breathing device), R2-D2, C-3PO and an uncharacteristically scary-looking Chewie, as well as coming up with many concepts for the film’s sets. His work ultimately helped convince the understandably sceptical 20th Century Fox to pull on with their commitment to make the film, and McQuarrie cemented his place in pop culture.

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