Artist Ralph McQuarrie played a huge role in helping George Lucas bring the Star Wars universe to life through his concept art. Without this artists contribution to Star Wars, we would have seen a much different film. We've seen a lot of Star Wars concept art throughout the years, and it looks like there are still a few pieces out there that we haven't seen yet.
We thought that we had seen all of Ralph's Star Wars work here at Lucasfilm—literally hundreds of production paintings, matte paintings and sketches, all carefully photographed, inventoried and preserved," said Steve Sansweet, the Lucasfilm director of content management and head of fan relations. "But because his home furnace needed to be repaired a few years ago, and a forgotten bookshelf unit had to be moved to let the repairman get at it, Ralph discovered an old box on a shelf that was filled with the treasures.
One of those "treasures" was the Darth Vader sketch you see above, created by McQuarrie while conceptualizing The Empire Strikes Back.
This was a rediscovered piece that we had not seen before," Sansweet said. "This Ralph McQuarrie sketch from The Empire Strikes Back was done to prepare for a production painting of the lightsaber battle on Cloud City between the Dark Lord and his son, Luke Skywalker.
Of course if you want to see more of this long-lost Star Wars art you'll have to head to the convention Celebration V in Orlando, Fla., this coming August. There will be a McQuarrie masterworks exhibit that will include reproductions of 100 pieces, including sketches from what's known as Day One... the drawings the artist made the day he received the Star Wars script from Lucas.
I wish I could go! If you're going make sure to snap some photos!