Initial design – Star Wars characters

A man by the name of Ralph McQuarrie was the designer of much of the “look & feel” for the original Star Wars trilogy – including characters, and paintings for many scenes and landscapes.

The vivid imagination of conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie brought to life the characters and worlds envisioned by George Lucas.

McQuarrie’s paintings and drawings were instrumental in the push to bring Lucas’s saga to the big screen, giving shape and form to a multitude of fantastic individuals, creatures, planets and technology encompassed in this epic tale.

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He also was a designer for E.T., Cocoon and Back To The Future.

Ralph McQuarrie Concept Paintings for Star Wars

One of the most interesting (to a Grumpy Wookie) is the original face & body for CHEWBACCA.

Chewbacca began as an unnamed furry alien in the story synopsis, and became a “Wookee” prince in the rough draft.

When the second draft was written, there was no room for the forest battle and the Wookee tribe, so Lucas turned the primitive Chewbacca into the “Wookiee” co-pilot.

These three sketches by Ralph McQuarrie show the development of Chewbacca from draft two (yellow-eyed, with a flak jacket and cloth shorts) to the official screenplay (blue-eyed, wearing only his chrome bandoliers).

Note how the frightening features were softened in the process, as the Wookiee evolved into a more sympathetic character.

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Well – it seems like pictures aren’t enough these days – as there is now the Star Wars Ralph McQuarrie Signature Series of figurines.

Developed in collaboration with McQuarrie himself, this remarkable Ralph McQuarrie action figure series pays tribute to the man whose art defined some of the most memorable characters in film history.


Inspired by his Alaskan malamute, George Lucas created one of the most enduring and well-loved non-human characters of his saga.

Constructed from knitted mohair and yak fur, Chewbacca was given life by the actor Peter Mayhew and voice by a wide array of animals from walruses to black bears.

And – there’s lots more too :

R2-D2 & C-3PO

Boba Fett

Stormtrooper (with a light saber !)

Luke Skywalker 


Starkiller Hero (Skywalker character could have been a GIRL !)

Obi-Wan Kenobi & Yoda

Han Solo

Click here to see lots, LOTS more close-up pictures.

Thanks to for the images.


2 thoughts on “Initial design – Star Wars characters

  1. Darth Spice December 26, 2008 / 1:05 am

    Thanks for stealing our photos without permission.

  2. Chris December 28, 2008 / 4:32 pm

    Sorry Darth Spice – but I did actually say THANKS for the images… (was always in the original post)

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