The geek world is still recovering from the loss of a legend over the weekend. Artist Ralph McQuarrie passed away at the age of 82, and since then folks who grew up with his art and were inspired by it have taken to the interwebs to pay tribute to the man who helped shape the Star Wars universe, as well as several other iconic movies. We already know that McQuarrie was responsible for so much memorable Star Wars concept art for each of the original installments (check out our gallery below), but did you know that he's also a character in the Star Wars universe too?
It began with a very cool blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in Empire Strikes Back, where McQuarrie can be seen walking across the screen prior to the evacuation of Eco Base. McQuarrie's cameo is made even cooler by the fact that in this shot (see above) he's walking directly in front of his own matte painting.
"Yes, they got the artist's [sic] together to do a scene that was played out over a Matte painting that I had done of Rebel ships parked in the Ice cave," McQuarrie said about his brief part. "We were going to be Rebel soldiers. I was a general who walked by from screen right to screen left. You can see me if you know what to look for. Joe Johnston, Harrison Ellinshaw [sic] and Mike Pangrazio, stood in the foreground and had a few lines, they didn't trust me with lines, they knew I would flub up (laughs)." [via Wookiepedia]
Look: The Best of Ralph McQuarrie's 'Star Wars' Concept Art
Naturally, as with many cameos in Star Wars, the McQuarrie story didn't end there. He has since been given his own character, backstory and more, which was first introduced in the Star Wars Customizable Card Game. Here's some additional information on the character Pharl McQuarrie, courtesy of Wookieepedia:
Pharl McQuarrie was a captain of the Galactic Republic Navy during the Clone Wars and later a general of the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. A native of the Core Worlds planet Ralltiir, McQuarrie's Clone Wars military service saw him participate in the Republic defense of the vital agricultural planet Ukio in command of a Consular-class cruiser. Although the Republic repelled the enemy Confederate incursion from Ukio, Separatist interests captured financial control of the planet nonetheless.
In the decades that followed, McQuarrie served as a respected military advisor for many years on his homeworld, until the Imperial subjugation of Ralltiir just weeks before the Battle of Yavin in 0 BBY. After fleeing his home planet to seek assistance from the Rebel Alliance, McQuarrie returned to take command of the Ralltiiri Rebel resistance movement, helping to deliver information concerning the existence of a secret Imperial superweapon, the first Death Star battlestation, to Princess Leia Organa. McQuarrie's efforts would directly lead to the subsequent Rebel capture of the Death Star plans and the destruction of the Death Star shortly thereafter.
[via Furious Fanboys]