When John Scoleri, co-author of the recent Art of Ralph McQuarrie book, discovered that a stash of early Star Wars illustrations had been uncovered behind a broken furnace in the artist’s home, he was elated — and frustrated. He and co-author Stan Stice had just sent their Art of Ralph McQuarrie to print — too late to include the new material. Fortunately for us, along came Celebration Japan.
Scoleri and Stice felt the event would be a great opportunity to showcase some of this lost art, and have put together a fantastic convention exclusive that’s sure to have many Star Wars and Mcquarrie fans calling in favors to their Japanese friends.
See more lost McQuarrie artwork after the jump –
Unused crew t-shirt design for The Empire Strikes Back
Sharing some of the new-found artwork from “the furnace find” in a panel presentation today, Scoleri discussed some little-known facts about the lost artwork, as well as some stories about his more well-known pieces:
- The original C-3PO in the famous desert painting from A New Hope had a more human face and six-pack abs
- The well-known stormtrooper with lightsaber painting from A New Hope was never intended to be a story item — McQuarrie simply wanted to showcase the stormtrooper costume concept with a lightsaber
- A prolific book illustrator, McQuarrie actually read every book he illustrated for — a relatively uncommon practice
- In addition to the Vipers from the original Battlestar Galactica, the starfighters from the ’70s show Buck Rogers in the 25th Century were also inspired by a McQuarrie design
- The landing bays on the original ’70s Galactica spaceship were originally located at the back end of the ship — Ralph felt they should be moved away from the hull in case of a landing mishap, and so were born the signature “appendage” landing bays on the original Galactica
- McQuarrie illustrated the bible illustration seen near the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark
- While the Star Wars Holiday Special has a somewhat notorious reputation, McQuarrie thoroughly enjoyed designing the Wookiee homes, down to the stoves and hearths
- McQuarrie’s final Star Wars-related illustration was for an unproduced Rancor playset designed by Galoob in the ’90s
In addition to the handful of historical factoids guests of the panel left with, each received an exclusive bookmark depicting McQuarrie’s original artwork for the Star Wars Fan Club’s original Bantha Tracks letterhead.
For more information of the Celebration Japan exclusive Art of Ralph McQuarrie book (which reprints the original book’s Star Wars content plus many of the new-found pieces), as well as the McQuarrie homage poster done by Star Wars artist-extraordinaire Lawrence Noble, check out the original story on starwars.com. Also be sure to check out www.ralphmcquarrie.com.