Review: Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie

Besides George Lucas the person most important to the success of Star Wars is perhaps Ralph McQuarrie, whose designs were so important the visual style of the original trilogy. McQuarrie (1929-2012) was in his mid 40’s when George Lucas asked him to make designs for a space fantasy film. One of his designs (the one with the C-3PO that happens to be on the cover of this box) even helped convince Anthony Daniels to take the role of the protocol droid. Now, many years later, McQuarrie is relevant as several unused designs for the original trilogy have now been used for the Star Wars Rebels animated series and the new films.

Over the years, various books have been published covering the art of this grandmaster, but in the autumn of 2016 the ultimate McQuarrie book was published. Let’s start with the weight: when this book was delivered to me I apologized to the mailman for the almost 10 (!) kilo package. Then the execution: 2 books – responsible for 800 high-quality pages – with linen cover in a gorgeous box. It goes without saying that a suitable price tag is attached to this: the retail price is $ 250.

The content of this massive work is breathtaking; everything that McQuarrie has made for Star Wars can be found. In addition to the sketches, drawings and matte paintings made for the films, you can also admire everything he has created for the Holiday special, promotions, posters, covers and various books. For example, in the mid-90s McQuarrie provided a whole series of drawings of various Star Wars planets and locations for (the also great) The Illustrated Star Wars Universe and of Mos Eisley for The Mos Eisley Cantina Pop-Up book. In addition to the thousands of images, you can also read various anecdotes, notes and stories that give you an extremely good picture of how everything came about at the time.

For me this is without a doubt one of the best 10 Star Wars reference works ever. What McQuarrie has made is unparalleled and deserves the title Art. Every Star Wars fan must have this book.