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Predating Ralph Mquarrie, these 5 designs are the 1st Star Wars concept art of any kind. These autographed prints are ultra-high resolution scans of the original illustrations. All designs remain under Colin's exclusive copyright.
The first piece completed and Colin's personal favorite. Colin stared at a 20x30 sheet of black paper for 3 days straight. On the morning of the 4th day, this entire design flashed into his mind. From this point on it was only a matter of illustrating his completed vision. A new universe was being born.
Colin says he was inspired by an amalgamation of motifs. These included wild west Cowboys, dragster racing cars, nimble WWII aircraft, and the precision of dart players in an Irish pub.
A terrible force stalks the void. Bent on ruling, the cold efficiency of this invasion carrier means precious little time for its enemies. Inspired by WWII's great aircraft carriers, this design also features radar based weapons which Colin would go on to adapt to the Death Star.
Colin Cantwell would go on to help develop the opening scene, in which the crawl of the imperial carrier grows, "more and more absurd with each passing second."
A fan favorite at conventions. Colin's concept for the first scene of the movie as described in Lucas' first draft of the script (Colin had the 4th copy of that script). The Sith Carrier dives in to capture the princess as her decimated vessel disintegrates apart around her (blue ship).
Look closely at the stormtroopers jumping out to capture the princess and you'll notice red light swords in each hand. This is because in the original script, everyone got a saber! You can still see the sheath for where these would have gone on stormtrooper armor.
Forces clash in the darkness of space. An X-Wing comes in for a run at the Star Destroyer. Explosions in the background show the risk of this daring attack against a more powerful foe. The daring nature and pinpoint accuracy of the X-Wing is displayed here in all its glory.
Original attack fighter for the empire. Interesting in that it was not used in the movie - perhaps it was later adapted for other ships in the series. Often people reflect that it looks like an F-117 Nighthawk, although the Nighthawk would not be developed for another 7 years (and only be revealed to the public 14 years later). Colin's NASA and design background show through here in the practicality and precision of the ship.
Besides conceptualizing, illustrating, and modeling the Death Star, X-Wing, TIE, Y-Wing, Star Destroyer, and other Star Wars ships – Colin Cantwell has been a major influence on some of the most powerful movies in science fiction.
During his regular 3 a.m. meetings with Stanley Kubrick, Colin suggested “Also Sprake Zarathustra” as well as many of the other musical pieces that would make it into 2001: A Space Odyssey.
When faced with the challenge of designing the computer graphics for War Games, Colin would solve the problem by inventing the first true color computer monitor (he took computers from 4 colors to over 4000!).
Outside of film, Colin was also a vital part of the most dramatic event in modern history – the first moon landing. Colin stood only feet behind Walter Cronkite, feeding him real time data from NASA as CBS’s “Hal 9000 Computer”.
In a very real sense, the way we imagine outer space would not be the same without Colin Cantwell.
At 85, Colin is attending live events for the first time and loving it!