George Lucas may have been the brains that came up with the Star Wars universe, but it was concept artist Ralph McQuarrie that visualized it, and gave it that awesome look and feel that we all love. Without McQuarrie's vision and imagination, who knows what Star Wars could have ended up looking like. McQuarrie deserves a ridiculous amount of credit for the success of Star Wars. His influence on the original films are still inspiring the franchise! Just look at Star Wars Rebels and the teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
StarWars.com has released a wonderful 40-minute documentary that Star Wars fans have got to watch called, Ralph McQuarrie, Star Wars Concept Artist: Tribute to a Master. It's loaded with a lot of interesting stuff that I think you'll want to know. ILM's visual effects supervisor, Scott Farrar, had this to say about McQuarrie's involvement in the films:
The concepts they came up with were brilliant. Just brilliant. It helped every one up and down. Whether you were a model maker, a photographer, or a costumer, they broke new ground in ways nobody else had. You look back at the work, even at this point, and it holds up. There's lots of movies and lots of pieces of art that don't hold up past five years. We're talking shots and designs and things 25 or 30 years or more and they hold up as beautifully now as they did then. Now that's genius.
Here's a brief synopsis for the doc:
Ralph McQuarrie, concept artist of the original Star Wars trilogy, was essential in bringing the characters, ships, and locales of a galaxy far, far away to life. In this special retrospective, Star Wars creator George Lucas, Industrial Light & Magic effects legend Dennis Muren, and many others discuss the impact of McQuarrie, his artistic gifts, and his legacy.
Now watch it for yourself!