Wallpapers of the Week: Ralph McQuarrie ‘Star Wars’ concept art

January 30, 2009

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FROM JASON’S DESKTOP — My father took me when I was four to see Return of the Jedi at the drive-in. It was the first film I ever saw on the big screen; from that moment on, I was a Star Wars acolyte.

No joke. I would line up my stuffed animals on my bed and they would help me pilot the Millenium Falcon through the Death Star’s infrastructure. In my mind, epic battles were waged against storm trooper legions. A long, cardboard giftwrap tupe became my lightsaber.

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Those imaginary campaigns stopped long ago, but my fascination with Star Wars backstory and its greater universe never faded. When I was about 11, I discovered a large picture book filled with artistic renderings that looked almost — but not quite — like Star Wars. There were hairy monsters that looked almost like Wookies, and a hulking figure in black that looked more like a robot ninja than Darth Vader.

These were the drawings of Ralph McQuarrie, commissioned to envision the worlds and characters and atmosphere from Geoge Lucas’ mind before they could be transported to film.

There’s something incredibly attractive about that process, watching idealized pulp imaginings change as prop, costume, and set designers wrestle to make them solid and practicable.

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So I was very excited the other day when I came on a cache of these McQuarrie pieces in a larger format. I quickly resized them, tinkered with the contrast and brightness ratios to offset some fading and dullness, and ran them through a quick crosshatch filter to make the lines a little bolder and modern.

The results make, I think, for some great desktop wallpapers for Star Wars geeks like me. Enjoy. Click any of the images for a 1024×768 version.

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Star Wars Episode IV: The Puppet Show

February 24, 2008

Vodpod videos no longer available.

FROM JASON’S SNEAKY LINKING — I think Andrew’s too shy to link to this himself, so I’m taking it on my shoulders. His girlfriend (God bless charitable girls) created it for a class at Georgia Tech and Andrew provided the voice-overs and special effects.

My favorite part is his enthusiastic “boom.”

Seriously, the boy can quote the whole movie without ever messing up a single word. I’ve seen A New Hope some 90 times, but even my child-of-the-80s prowess is no match for his wunderkind savantism.