Conceptual designer and illustrator Ralph McQuarrie passed away yesterday at the age of 82. McQuarrie was instrumental in the original design of the Star Wars universe. George Lucas said in a statement:
“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.’”
McQuarrie also worked on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Battlestar Galactica. He won an Oscar in 1986 in the Best Visual Effects category for his work on Cocoon. His influence on the aesthetics of modern sci-fi/fantasy filmmaking resonates to this day, and he will be missed. Hit the jump for a look at some of his classic work.