Category Archives: Star Wars

R.I.P. Ralph McQuarrie

R.I.P Ralph McQuarrie 2012 Main Image
Ralph McQuarrie passed away this weekend away on Saturday March 3rd at the age of 82, this is very sad news for me because his conceptual art inspired me in so many ways; even while I was at Art College a limited edition print adorned the wall at my desk. It think the beauty of Ralph’s early work was the fact it was from an era when conceptual paintings and sketches were so fundamental in the pre-visualising of movies, his work moulded the early development of Star Wars in so many ways, unlike today when hundreds of soulless digital paintings and 3D animatics help shape a films early development.
R.I.P Ralph McQuarrie 2012 | No1
It was McQuarrie genius that partly made Star Wars what it looks like. Born in 1923, he began working as an illustrator for Boeing and for my other love…@NASA. Later George Lucas asked him to work on his fledgling Star Wars project. McQuarrie then singled handily designed Chewbacca and Vader, and drew countless pictures that would finally create the visual universe of Star Wars, from the costumes, spaceships, worlds and characters… One thing is for sure, without this brilliant and inspirational illustrator Star Wars would have not been what it is today. And more importantly, maybe Star Wars would have not existed at all, because this is mainly thanks to his concepts and drawings that Lucas succeeded into involving Fox into the project… Ralph McQuarrie continued his conceptual work on Empire and later Jedi, but his work on Jedi was more of a ‘after the fact’ kind of roll, painting the already completed scenes for use in marketing. He also worked on several other classic films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T.
R.I.P Ralph McQuarrie 2012
We may have lost an incredibly talented and imaginative artist, but hopefully his memory will never die, but live on forever in the amazing films that he’s helped create throughout the years, some of which are my most treasured and favourite movies off all.

So long Ralph, and May The Force Be With You.

The Funeral Service for Ralph McQuarrie will be held on Sunday, March 25 2012 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, California. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to Odyssey Hospice, 6140 Stoneridge Mall Rd, Pleasanton, CA 94588, or to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Sunset View Mortuary 510-525-5111
R.I.P Ralph McQuarrie 2012

UPDATE

One of Ralph’s early painting for Return of the Jedi is the Entrance to Jabba’s Palace, which now seems to have been revived for the ‘New’ Star Wars Episode VII film which J. J. Abrams is directing. Leaked on-line photo’s show the resemblance to McQuarrie’s early painting to what appears to be a desert location scene … possibly on Tatooine.

Ralph McQuarrie Jabbas Palace Gate Star Wars Episode VII
Ralph McQuarrie Jabbas Palace Gate Star Wars Episode VII ©Lucasfilm / Disney
Leaked Star Wars Episode VII onset photos Jabbas Palace Gate
Leaked Star Wars Episode VII onset photos Jabbas Palace Gate ? ©TMZ.com /Splash News

 

A small collection of his stunning work (all ©Lucasfilm / Disney)

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A tribute can also be found on www.ralphmcquarrie.com

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VW & Star Wars | The Love Story

Seem everyone is now jumping on Star Wars in-play ads at the moment, personally they appear to have reached saturation point in my opinion, and that’s from a Star Wars Geek like me. The original VW ad with Vader-the-Kid was an absolute gem, which is no surprise that it won worldwide acclaim including a boot full of awards, notably the 34 “Lions” at Creative Advertising Awards in Cannes.

The Force

The Force: Volkswagen Commercial

Next came the canine Imperial March Chorus, which is quite funny, it appealed to my dog loving tendencies…pity it didn’t have a Jack Russell in it though.

The Bark Side

The Bark Side: 2012 Volkswagen Game Day Commercial Teaser

Finally came the Super Bowl XLVI 2012 Game Day commercial for the New York Giants and New England Patriots match on the 5th of February. Although it’s a quaint start, the overkill Mos Eisley Cantina scene at the end ruins it’s for me… what’s the old adage “Less is More”

The Dog Strikes Back

The Dog Strikes Back: 2012 Volkswagen Game Day Commercial

The Veterans of Yavin

Seems everyone is starting to celebrate 35 Years of Star Wars, Mark Daniels (aka Sublevel Studios) designed this stunning Star Wars, Battle of Yavin Veterans Association Poster.

Star Wars 35 Years Veterans Association

Unfortunately there’s a downside, he was going to sell the posters on his website, but was forbidden by Lucasfilm to do so. Read Lucasfilm’s response below on how they (rightfully) protect their intellectual property rights.

Gentlemen:

Lucasfilm Ltd. and its affiliated and related entities (collectively « Lucasfilm ») are the exclusive owners of all rights in and to the STAR WARS major motion pictures and any other STAR WARS film or property. Those properties and the characters and unique elements which appear therein (the « STAR WARS Copyrights and Trademarks ») are protected by the copyright and trademark laws of the United States and other nations.

We note that STAR WARS Copyrights and Trademarks are being posted and distributed on the above website without Lucasfilm’s authorization (« Unauthorized Item »). This unauthorized use of STAR WARS Copyrights and Trademarks constitutes copyright infringement, trademark infringement and unfair competition. By this letter, we request that you immediately suspend and/or disable the account of the above website and/or that you immediately remove the Unauthorized Items from the above website.

We further request written assurance that you will comply with this demand. Lucasfilm is the exclusive owner of all relevant rights in and to the Star Wars Films. We have a good faith belief that any items falling into the categories identified above infringe Lucasfilm’s copyrights and other intellectual property rights, and are not authorized by Lucasfilm or its agents. Pursuant to the DMCA, we have a good faith belief that any items falling into the categories identified above infringe Lucasfilm’s copyrights and other intellectual property rights, and are not authorized by Lucasfilm or its agents. I am authorized to act on Lucasfilm’s behalf regarding these matters. The information provided in this communication is accurate to the best of my knowledge and is provided under penalty of perjury.

Thank you for your cooperation. Nothing in this letter shall be construed as a waiver or relinquishment of any right or remedy possessed by Lucasfilm or any other affected party, all of which are expressly reserved.

Sincerely,
Lucasfilm Ltd., (Antipiracy)
Business Affairs

Star Wars & Me 1978

A Long Time Ago in a Cinema Not to Far Away

It’s hard to believe 2012 heralds the 35th year of Star Wars …’how time flies’.

For me, there’s so much I could say about my ‘favourite’ film, but instead I thought I’d reminisce about the day I went to see Star Wars for the very first time. I first heard about the film when a young 10-year-old Neil Stringer told me about this amazing picture he’d seen on our way home from School, but this wasn’t May 1977 (25th) when it was first released in the United States, but more like early 78, as the UK premier wasn’t actually until Boxing Day 1977, a full 7 months later in two West End cinemas, the Leicester Square Theatre and the Dominion, Tottenham Court Road, where it took a record-breaking £117,690 in its first week.

Star Wars continued to play exclusively at these two cinemas for over the next four weeks, were it instantly became the hottest ticket in town, ticket-touts where reportedly selling £2.20 tickets for £30 quid. But on the 29th January it finally opened in Leeds. For me I can’t remember the precise date I went to see it, although it was a Saturday in February at the Odeon Cinema on The Headrow in Leeds. It wasn’t a family outing, but instead a trip out with my good friend Mark Adams and his Granddad.
The Odeon on The Headrow Leeds
So we set off on the No:5 bus to a sunny Leeds City Centre to eagerly wait in turn queuing down the side of the Headrow (This seems to be a long forgotten experience within Leeds to queue around buildings to see a new movie) but once we finally got into the foyer and purchased out tickets, there was a plethora of memorabilia available to buy behind the confectionary counter. For me it had to be the Official Movie Souvenir Programme and the giant fold-out poster to take home and adorn my bedroom wall, both of which I still have today. (below)
Star Wars Souvenir Programme and Film Poster 1978
The Odeon was a three screen cinema in those early days, before it was later split into a 5 screens, this meant the main screen 1 auditorium was ‘HUGE’…well, it felt huge to a small 11-year-old lad like me. So I sat down proudly holding my first swag of Star Wars keepsakes while watching Pearl & Dean as I awaited the film to start. It was at this point the curtains would close while you could hear the tiny motors widening the screen size from its 1/3rd size to full 70mm capacity.

The Headrow Odeon Leeds Interiors
Image used courtesy of Ian Grundy ©Stagedoor 2012

One of the amazing qualities of this amphitheatre of film was the sound and its sheer volume (something the Health & Safety sphincter police must have curtailed in later years) It was this sound that had a physical impact on me, because you could feel the noise of the opening Star Destroyer approaching, vibrating through your body before it appeared on-screen, and when it did appear…HOLY WOW!! It just went on and on and on, that thing was HUGE. Even at the very end of the film your spacial senses were tested as well, when Luke’s X-Wing swooped into the Death Star trench you wobbled from left to right in the same you do at an IMAX screening today. From the moment the credit finally rolled up  I was hooked…FOR LIFE…and subsequently went to see it more time than I can remember (25 Geekish times I think) even to this day I love to watch it and still don’t get bored. The new Blu-Ray gave me another excuse to have a family Star Wars viewing night, one which we have each year.

I’m quite sure you’ll hear more about ‘Me & Star Wars’ over the coming years on this blog, but for now it just leaves me to say…

Happy 35th Birthday Star Wars

Star Wars Planetary Tourism Posters

These posters by Justin Van Genderen really caught my eye, (thanks to my ‘Arty’ daughter).. firstly because their ‘Star Wars’ but mainly for the minimalist approach in which they’ve been graphically executed, they have an almost Vintage Travel and British Railway theme to them. Simple, yet effective.

Star Wars Planetary Tourism Poster | TatoonineStar Wars Planetary Tourism Poster | CoruscantStar Wars Planetary Tourism Posters | EndorStar Wars Planetary Tourism Posters | Various