Archive for 2009

Happy Birthday to Ralph McQuarrie! Team | June 13, 2009

Today marks the 80th birthday of an artist who made filmmaker George Lucas’ vision of an action-packed galaxy full of Jedi, Sith, stormtroopers and droids a reality through his breathtaking pre-production artwork.

The execs at 20th Century Fox were so impressed with McQuarrie’s concept art that they gave Lucas the funding he needed to make Star Wars and change cinema and our vision of space forever.

Artist Ralph McQuarrie tells Star Wars Insider:

Star Wars included the sort of stylized design I was interested in when I was at Art Center College of Design, which I never had a chance to work on commercially prior to Star Wars. It sort of wound up being mine because I was given the privilege of designing the sets, the costumes and everything else in the paintings I did for George’s presentation to Fox.”

He continues, “George and I didn’t think the stuff that I did would necessarily be in the film, but he wanted me to show him what I thought would be an ideal solution for each scene. And it turned out he took those paintings along when he went to England to talk to the crew who designed the sets and costumes. And there they were, these paintings I’d done, up on the wall. I think they presented a pretty concise image of what the film could look like, so George could say, ‘This is what I want.’ They used quite a lot of what I had done in their designs.”

In addition to the Star Wars trilogy (as well as the Star Wars Holiday Special), McQuarrie also contributed greatly to Star Trek, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Battlestar Galactica, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, among other noted films.

Happy Birthday, Ralph! Thanks for making us all take out our sketchpads and attempt to draw worlds as beautiful as yours.

Read more McQuarrie’s work on Star Wars here:
Ralph McQuarrie on Designing Star Wars

To learn more about the life and work of Ralph McQuarrie, visit

Star Wars Collector’s Lofty Ambitions

| June 12, 2009


Flickr blogger eyeSPIVE recently posted a fantastic image series of his Star Wars collection, which is effectively displayed in a loft. We like this series because it shows what clever collectors can do with limited space (even the ceiling is covered!) and that several of the pieces appear to be from the UK (where we suspect this blogger lives).


Yub Jub Means “Devour the Weak”

Bonnie Burton | June 12, 2009

For all of you fans who think Ewok are cuddly, cute teddy bears you might want to remember that when the Ewoks first met Han Solo on Endor he was considered more like dinner course than a dinner guest.

Thank goodness naturalists have decided to take a closer look at the habits and habitats of Ewoks so you don’t have to risk becoming part of their diet. The naturalists take notes on Ewok Celebratory Rituals and Honorific Terminology, Societal Structure and Dispute Arbitration, Adolescent Transition Rites, and Breeding Practices and Mate Selection.

Here’s an excerpt that best features their bloodlust:

Our first exposure to unvarnished Ewok behavior occurred at the victory celebration following the Battle of Endor. We were surprised to discover that the gathering was not just simply a boisterous feast-activity fostering communal bonds and egalitarian resource distribution, but also a ritualistic devouring of 34 captured Imperial stormtroopers, who were spit-roasted alive in their armor for seli beli (“to seal in the flavor”) and tanga tiru (“divine tang of mortal fear”) — a delicacy to the Ewok palate.

Read the full article here:
Yub Jub Means “Devour the Weak”: An Authoritative Study of Ewoks, From the Field Notes of Davi Atten-Boru and Pladdo Cardigan, Exo-naturalists (via McSweeney’s)


R2-D2 Easter Egg Revealed in Star Trek

Bonnie Burton | June 11, 2009

Now that the Paramount contest to spot R2-D2 in the new Star Trek film is over, here’s where our beloved astromech can be found:

From the Star Trek Easter Egg Sweepstakes Facebook Page:

During the Drill Machine sequence as the Enterprise comes out of its barrel role amidst destruction of the other Federation ships above Vulcan, we cut to an interior Enterprise bridge over the shoulder of Kirk that is looking out through the front viewscreen. In space, R2-D2 is floating in the debris from about the top middle of the screen to the bottom right.

He’s very tiny, but alas there he is floating in space — poor fella.

Read more about other Easter Eggs in this interview with one of the Star Trek screenwriters:
Trek Writer Roberto Orci Talks Writing, Reboots and Star Wars

Remodel Darth Vader’s Kitchen

Bonnie Burton | June 10, 2009

Constructing a Death Star is no easy feat, but imagine how hard it is to remodel a kitchen after the Rebel Alliance trashed it! Now imagine what that work order request would look like. Darth Vader isn’t the easiest client to please, so he’s posted some requirements on for contractors who dare to take on the task.

And to those contractors who want something a little extra for their work, you’re in luck. Destruction of the Rebel planet of your choice for the manager who comes in under budget and ahead of schedule. Plus Ewoks for your kids!

Here’s a few of the tasks we liked best:

Force-proof dishwasher and blender. Hardware must be solidly secured in case of use of Force. If the Boss gets mad, staff would prefer nothing can be ripped off the walls by his temper tantrum.

Non-droid self cleaning sinks. Since they’re getting sarcastic as the war against the Rebels progresses.

Refrigerators that double as hibernation units. Freezer combos to be installed on farthest wall from entry way. Bonuses to be granted to any contractor who can find units that double as hibernation units.

Read the full work order here:
Darth Vader Kitchen Remodel (via

Tatooine 2009 Team | June 10, 2009


Frequent contributor Gus Lopez recently posted some captivating photos of a trip to the Star Wars filming sites in Tunisia, including the Skywalker homestead, Mos Eisley environs, and Obi-Wan’s house, among others. What makes these so compelling is how Gus has matched up the original screenshot from A New Hope with the new images — head on over and take a look! (Incidentally, The National recently shared another fan’s experience of several of the Star Wars locales in Tunisia as well).

While checking out Gus’ photostreams, you also may want to check out a couple very cool items he’s got showcased in another image series — a 1979 cast and crew goblet issued by the Finse hotel that housed the production for The Empire Strikes Back, and an actual Hoth Rebel headpiece prop (wow!).

Star Wars Guide to the Stanley Cup Finals

Bonnie Burton | June 9, 2009

Anyone who can draw a connection from Luke Skywalker to Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby is aces in our book.

Check out this fan’s guide to the Stanley Cup Finals where he compares the Galactic Empire to Detroit, the Rebel Alliance to Pittsburgh, Darth Vader to Detroit Red Wings Henrik Zetterberg, Han Solo to Pittsburgh Penguins Evgeni Malkin and C-3PO to sports commentator Pierre McGuire, among others.

Click to read the entire guide:
(some language not suitable for Jedi younglings)
Star Wars Guide to the Stanley Cup Finals


DIY Death Star Grill Team | June 9, 2009

Nothing celebrates summer more than having a BBQ with a few friends and plenty of good food cooked on the grill. Of course, if you were the Dark Lord of the Sith and wanted to grill while keeping your mind on work, you’d use this fan-made custom Death Star grill. Star Wars fan Bryan Tate made this impressive grill worthy of the dark side.

I started with two Weber grills and used the bottom portions because they were fairly spherical. I welded up the stand and fabricated the vent systems (there is a vent on the bottom also). The inside is painted in barbecue paint so it is safe to cook with. The outside is painted in engine enamel so it should be good to 500 degrees. I know it isn’t perfect but it was a fun project. The grill is now up on

Check out photos of the grill here:
Death Star Grill


Mouse Droid Taxidermy?

Bonnie Burton | June 8, 2009

I’m a big fan of unusual Star Wars crafts, but there something not quite right about this R2-D2 taxidermy we spotted on eBay. The mouse with a droid body is kinda cute, but the other way around, not so much.

But for you ultimate collectors (we’re looking at you, Steve Sansweet), this may be too rare a find to pass up.

Here’s what the fan had to say about this unusual mouse droid:

I am selling my homemade R2-D2 mouse mash-up taxidermy set. You probably need one, if you don’t have one already. Good icebreaker conservation piece between Star Wars aficionados and taxidermy buffs.

Note — it is not a professional taxidermy job — they do show some sewing seams and glue seams. Though they have held together quite well over the past year. No mice were harmed, as this guy was already-dead snake food purchased from Petco.

Get more info here:
R2-D2 Taxidermy Set (via eBay)

SOURCE: The World’s Best Ever

Favreau and Lucas: Mutual Admiration Society

Bonnie Burton | June 8, 2009

(Director Jon Favreau proudly wears his Skywalker Sound shirt on location for Iron Man.)

Iron Man director Jon Favreau will be not only presenting filmmaker George Lucas with the Gene Siskel Film Center Visionary Award for Innovation in Filmmaking next weekend at a gala event, he’ll have the opportunity to interview him about his filmmaking process and influences. Even though Favreau is swamped working on the next Iron Man film, he couldn’t resist the rare request.

“It is hard to drop everything when you’re on a film this big,” he said when we spoke by phone the other day. “But the Art Institute asked me to fly to Chicago for George. Nothing short of the death of a close relative would stop me from boarding that plane.”

Favreau would never agree he is Lucas’ equal, but asked what he admires of the filmmaker, Favreau pointed to a parallel: “What I always loved is he lived through a period when films were nihilistic. The ’70s could be subversive, and I love those films, but he brought a sincere storytelling to what may seem like throwaway popcorn movies, and that hit the bull’s-eye for me.”

Lucas had equally nice things to say about Favreau:

“Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound have had the good fortune of working with Jon [on the 'Iron Man' films],” Lucas said. “I know firsthand that he is the type of filmmaker that crews here love to work with, because he always gives them the opportunity to break new ground.”

Read the full interview here:
Jon Favreau, just a regular guy (via Chicago Tribune)