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May the Force (of Art) Be With You

Ralph McQuarrie concept art for Star Wars

To celebrate that most holy of holy days in geekdom, May the 4th, aka Star Wars Day, the streaming service Disney+ is presenting some of the concept art behind the legendary sci-fi series on its platform. “It all started with two droids rolling through an alien desert, a concept art painting by Ralph McQuarrie that brought George Lucas’s vision for Star Wars into sharp focus.” The late great illustrator went on to create paintings that would set the visual tone for the original Star Wars trilogy and have since been published in a portfolio book and included in exhibitions, such as the Smithsonian-organised travelling show Star Wars: The Magic of Myth in 1999. His work also influenced the movies and television series that came later, from the animated Clone Wars to the hugely popular live action show The Mandalorian. The concept art for that latter show was displayed during the credits and some of it even became a viral sensation, appearing on everything from t-shirts to phone cases, as the character known as Baby Yoda stole the hearts of Star Wars fans everywhere. Which just goes to show that the paintbrush can be mightier than the lightsaber.

Concept art for The Mandalorian by Christian Alzmann