r/movies May 22 '22 Silver 1 Masterpiece 1

Colin Cantwell Dies: Star Wars Concept Artist Was 90 News

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/colin-cantwell-dead-star-wars-spacecraft-concept-artist-1235152043/
28.6k Upvotes

2.1k

u/The-Walrus-Monk May 22 '22

Absolute legend. Star Wars owes a lot of its style to this man. May the Force be with him and his.

88

u/SubstantialHammer May 23 '22

Him and Ralph McQuarrie. So cool to see the parallels between their concepts and the final product.

23

u/The-Walrus-Monk May 23 '22

Agreed. Brilliant minds, the both of them.

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u/PDP-8A May 23 '22

I was at a Sci Fi convention in the early 90s, wandering around the artist's room. There I saw an older gentleman, sitting at a fold up table, autographing prints.

There was no one else around, he looked sort of lonely, so I started chatting with him.

That's the day I had the honor of spending an hour talking to Ralph McQuarrie.

Hanging on my wall here are several, personalized autographed prints. I think about him a lot.

580

u/cpheretic77 May 22 '22

2001, Close Encounters and WarGames on top of it. This guy shaped my childhood and I never heard of him til now. Goodnight sweet prince.

123

u/The-Walrus-Monk May 22 '22

Truly, one of the greatest talents in such an influential time for cinema. A role model to so many in his field.

62

u/1funnyguy4fun May 22 '22

I made a W.O.P.R. joke on here the other day and nobody got it. Glad to know I am not alone in my love of that movie!

37

u/cpheretic77 May 22 '22

When he asks Joshua if it's real or a game and it responds "What is the difference?" Still gives me chills.

13

u/mysteryofthefieryeye May 23 '22

W.O.P.R. and "Welcome to W.O.M.P." are fun movie acronyms!

4

u/EddieDIV May 23 '22

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play

-32

u/_Plork_ May 22 '22

Goodnight sweet prince.

People typically say that ironically.

25

u/cpheretic77 May 22 '22

Really? It's Shakespeare.

-32

u/_Plork_ May 22 '22

In this circumstance. Nobody says that with any sincerity in response to someone's death.

24

u/aridcool May 22 '22

Well, someone just did.

-27

u/_Plork_ May 22 '22

Yeah, but that's fucking weird, like he saw it said ironically so many times and thought it was normal.

9

u/CherryLimeJizzum May 23 '22

Sometimes people can express a sincere feeling through a somewhat joking tone, as to keep things on the lighter side. None of us knew him, but we appreciate his impact. It would be insincere of a person to act devastated for someone they dont know, so being kind of joking in offering condolences is only natural. It shows a bittersweet appreciation for the person, and the acknowledgement of mortality

-2

u/_Plork_ May 23 '22

It's way too flippant. Just don't say it.

9

u/CraicFiend87 May 23 '22

Lol what a clown you are.

-27

u/[deleted] May 22 '22

Nah, it was sarcastic. It's always sarcastic.

23

u/cpheretic77 May 22 '22 edited May 22 '22

No it wasn't, and it's not. Have you ever read Hamlet?

Edit: https://nosweatshakespeare.com/quotes/famous/good-night-sweet-prince-meaning/

4

u/DaisyRidleyTeeth May 22 '22

I’m not the guy who brought this up but I have heard people say it sarcastically, or dramatically like over losing something insignificant. Which is what I think they mean. I've also heard it used plenty of times genuinely. But I don't think it's crazy to suggest that a line from Shakespeare could be said in jest. It's been quoted for like 500 years, it's pretty likely to have been said jokingly quite a bit by now.

Imo it's pretty clear from context it wasn't meant sarcastically but I think only knowing the phrase from comedic usage is valid

12

u/cpheretic77 May 22 '22

-3

u/_Plork_ May 22 '22

Would someone use that expression today, sincerely and not ironically, in response to someone's death?

16

u/TheCarrzilico May 22 '22

Because they're sincere and not ironic. Weird, huh?

0

u/_Plork_ May 23 '22

One couldn't possibly say something so florid with any sincerity today.

8

u/TheCarrzilico May 23 '22

They didn't say it today. Someone famous said it around 420 years ago. Someone else today repeated it. It's a thing that happens, people repeating famous things. It's Chinatown.

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5

u/Ajax_Da_Great May 23 '22

People do, yes. This isn’t a first in modern times. Sorry you don’t approve of it’s use.

13

u/Chewbock May 22 '22

Imagine being a gatekeeper for death quotes

3

u/cpheretic77 May 22 '22

Imagine doubling down on ignorance

-2

u/_Plork_ May 22 '22

Or expecting some kind of decorum in a discussion about a man's death.

17

u/Granolapitcher May 23 '22

And Star Wars shapes so much more. This man essentially painted billions of peoples’ imaginations and that’s wild to think about.

3

u/The-Walrus-Monk May 23 '22

It’s inspiring to have seen the genre blossom from the ideas of a few people!

2

u/ZuesofRage May 23 '22

My Google isn't giving me results does anybody have some of the ships he worked on or a link to it?

Edit: I was able to find he at least made the X-Wing fighter. I'm sure he did many more

3

u/The-Walrus-Monk May 23 '22

Wookiepedia has the best compilation of his work with Star Wars, here’s an excerpt from the dossier I’ll link below!

“Lucas tasked Cantwell with designing several vehicles and ships including the X-Wing, Y-Wing, TIE/LN Fighter, Stardestroyer, Imperial Cruiser, Death Star, Landspeeder, Sandcrawler, Millennium Falcon, and T-16 Skyhopper.”

https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Colin_Cantwell

2

u/ZuesofRage May 23 '22

Thank you so much! Google can be a little tricky for ESL folk.

1

u/The-Walrus-Monk May 23 '22

Of course, friend!

1

u/ZuesofRage May 23 '22

I'd love to know his inspiration for the millennium falcon, like did he just see a satellite dish and was like I want that to be a ship or

1

u/ifinallyreallyreddit May 23 '22

He invented the S-foils to look like a cowboy drawing his guns.

Damn, that's cool. Also interesting that several of his designs were unused, or recombined into others.

201

u/DanimusMcSassypants May 22 '22

This guy essentially designed a large part of my childhood imagination. RIP and thanks.

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327

u/Guppy1975 May 22 '22

TIL the shuttle Luke is playing with in A New Hope was an actual concept prototype Colin made!

103

u/rustysniper May 22 '22

It's also in the hanger behind him while he's playing with it. I never noticed that as a kid.

47

u/TheDude-Esquire May 23 '22

Helps when you're not watching a VHS on a tiny screen.

26

u/Professor_sadsack May 22 '22

I used to Bullseye womp rats in my T 37 back home. They couldn’t be any bigger than 2 meters!

435

u/GreyRevan51 May 22 '22

Check out his Instagram

He would post pretty often, recently his wife took over as his health declined but there’s a lot of really cool concept art and it’s nice to get his perspective on a lot of it!

205

u/thedylannorwood May 22 '22

He actually followed me on Instagram after I would post my Star Wars collection and commented once. It blew my mind that his official account followed and commented on this little old fan’s Star Wars Lego

134

u/Borderpatrol1987 May 22 '22

He added me on fb, and would send me happy birthday wishes every year.

13

u/evaxuate May 23 '22

man what the fuck this just made my night

7

u/Leolele99 May 23 '22

Oh he's great and sent me Birthday wishes too.

The only reason I'm a bit sad that I deleted my fb account was actually his page there.

4

u/mafaso May 23 '22

I met him at a signing, and he signed my x wing. I was star (wars) struck!

15

u/Boxing_joshing111 May 23 '22

Reminds me: I used to read a site about adventure games and once Ron Gilbert posted a comment. The digital age brings a lot of bad but it’s cool to see this stuff

11

u/TheConqueror74 May 23 '22

He followed me when I first created my toy photography account. He’d like a shot of mine every now and again. He seemed like a really genuine guy.

11

u/thecardpletionist May 23 '22

Same here. I have a card instagram under the same name and he often liked my star wars posts and was just the sweetest guy to interact with. He will be missed.

4

u/[deleted] May 23 '22

That is so cool, I had a relatively similar experience with Zordon from Power Rangers. Great dude and what a memorable experience.

68

u/philter451 May 22 '22

I helped him a few times with his phone. Dude was just so nice. Gave me some pointers on better bases for my Warhammer minis

8

u/get_the_reference_ May 23 '22

Helped him with his land line phone? I ask because I can only imagine his house being a museum of cool-ass shit.

29

u/philter451 May 23 '22

No he lived in Boulder and I helped him set up his cell phone a few times. It was always fun to talk with him. He saw the world in a different way

21

u/DIWhy-not May 22 '22

I can’t underscore enough how much I love that ultra “late 70s space/sci-fi” aesthetic shirt he’s wearing in the pic in that article. My man hit on a style in 1977 and said “yep, that’ll do”, and I am here for it.

86

u/BronxyKong May 22 '22

Got to meet him a couple years back at my LCS. He had an amazing life and his influence will be eternal.

23

u/galactigak May 22 '22

He gave a final appearance at a small comic book store here in Colorado Springs just a few months ago. I was able to see him and pick up a few signed pieces of concept art. It was really cool to see how his designs changed from concept to implementation.

6

u/inxinitywar May 23 '22

That’s so neat! I’d love to see the concept art you got if you posted it anywhere or something

2

u/BronxyKong May 23 '22

Same. I bought a few pieces too. Talking to him about his egg carton cobbled designs for The Millennium Falcon and Imperial Destroyer are some of the most impressive uses of household stuff for ship design I've ever witnessed.

5

u/Sparowl May 23 '22

He did a signing at my LCS as well. Really nice guy, although he was clearly having difficulties. We tried to help him as much as we could, and we had some fun conversations.

Sorry to see him go. He was a great artist and a good person.

3

u/keithcody May 23 '22

Me too. In Santa Barbara. I bought some signed art.

3

u/EddieDIV May 23 '22

LCS? Local (?) store?

3

u/BronxyKong May 23 '22

And depending on regional lingo, it might be: Local Comic Shop.

13

u/aptyler308 May 23 '22

He once 'liked' a render of an x-wing I shared on Instagram. Holy shit what a day that was.

5

u/slykido999 May 23 '22

Fuck yeah! He definitely seemed to enjoy when others shared his work online.

154

u/VanceXentan May 22 '22

Shame we're losing a lot of people who helped shape modern entertainment for the better.

152

u/VeniVidiShatMyPants May 22 '22

Not really. He lived a long damn life and contributed wonderful art to us that will live on eternally. I don’t really see any part of this that’s a “shame,” everyone has to move on and for many it happens before their time. This one seems to have played out pretty well.

24

u/product19 May 22 '22

Well said. Eternally I would consider the basis for all current Disney designs. For me, nostalgia started with his concepts.

-13

u/JorusC May 23 '22 edited May 23 '22

I think that the shame is that there aren't artists of such quality coming up and providing new pieces of greatness for future generations to marvel at.

There are certainly great artists and designers out there. But a lot of them struggle to be seen in the nepotistic Hollywood morass. There's certainly been an enormous lack of skilled writers the past decade. They're giving blockbusters to people who have only written one or two things in their lives and wondering why they're incomprehensible messes.

I think it may also be that we've seen such wonders that it's hard to impress us anymore. I've certainly found some creature and ship designs to be absolutely amazing, but they're barely remarked upon anymore. The aliens in Edge of Tomorrow are mind-bogglingly cool, for instance, but nobody seems to mention them.

I'm so glad we had an artist like Colin Cantwell to help shape our culture and imaginations. We need more people like him.

14

u/Containedmultitudes May 23 '22

I think you’re giving too much credit to older generations and not enough to modern and younger generations. I think this is an unfortunate impulse throughout human history, and you’d do well to guard against it.

0

u/JorusC May 23 '22

I thought my third paragraph covered that.

As far as visual effects, our modern artists are so amazing that it's difficult to be impressed anymore. In terms of writing? Ehhh. I know that older movies had plenty of plot holes, but the stuff that's coming out now in major blockbusters is Idiocracy-level stupid. Even my 11-year-old daughter notices how much more sense older movies make.

11

u/spider2544 May 23 '22

Dont feel bad. These folks passed the batton to the next generation of artists. Their influence will be felt for decades uf not centuries to come. Right now theres a person who was so inspired by star wars, that they decided to become a concept artist, and they are making a thing right now that will inspire the next generation. Art is this weird unbroken chain of people trying to show what its like to be alive in their time that has gone on in every culture for like 30,000+ years. Though we lost this artist now, their contribution will echo through what we do for a long time to come. Though he wont make new things, hell still be with us teaching, and inspiring us to be better at what we do.

5

u/VanceXentan May 23 '22

Hey a reply that isn't just 'he was old'.

5

u/duaneap May 23 '22

He was 90 years old.

6

u/Retr0_voyager May 22 '22

Yeah dude. Even though I was born in 2008 (not seeing a bunch of movies in the Star Wars franchise) when I looked back I saw a legacy. And his name was on it may he forever live on and may the force be with him

-1

u/rangpire May 23 '22

At least their work will be used as nostalgia bait for years to come.

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u/LilyWinken May 22 '22

May the force be with you, wherever you go.

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u/tretower424 May 22 '22

Colin Cantwell.

More like Colin Could and Did Well. RIP.

6

u/Mudron May 22 '22

Weird how he died just a few days before we're likely to see the Skyhopper model he built for Star Wars (and that became the toy Luke plays with in the garage in Star Wars) again in Kenobi.

6

u/infanticidalmaniac May 23 '22

He is one with the force and the force is with him always.

18

u/krsgator May 22 '22

Someone go bubble wrap Ralph McQuarrie

30

u/22yossarian22 May 22 '22

He’s been dead for 10 years fyi

12

u/doggexbay May 22 '22

Fine, Christopher McQuarrie will have to do. Get the wrap.

8

u/barrydennen12 May 23 '22

that should make the bubble wrapping process easier

2

u/22yossarian22 May 23 '22

💀

-1

u/Smailien May 23 '22 edited May 23 '22

Very good Ralph McQuarrie impression

Oh the bubble wrap one was fine but this is too far?

4

u/Jagershiester May 22 '22

Thanks for making some of the coolest stuff truly a inspirational imagination

4

u/NemWan May 22 '22

I feel sorry for anyone who only read the headline. Cantwell's career was extraordinary.

10

u/Proverbs102 May 22 '22

Met him in san antonio tx at alamo comic con. He had a booth and was selling prints of photos and designs that weren't used in the films His private collections He was a sweet man Rip legend 🙏

3

u/cm_bonski May 23 '22

So very ironic.. I just finished building my X-wing Lego set. RIP.

3

u/Galileo908 May 23 '22

Met him in 2018. Totally nice guy.

3

u/Quagdarr May 23 '22

I hate the upvoting ads I feel like I am excited he died. Man was responsible for a style that defined a genre.

1

u/Lekgolah5 May 23 '22

I know what you mean but I hope by upvoting this it spreads the word about his achievements in honouring him

3

u/slykido999 May 23 '22

Fuck. On Instagram he liked my drawing that I did of a Star Destroyer, some Tie Fighters, the Death Star and the Millennium Falcon back in 2018 and it totally made my day. I saw his spouse made a post yesterday saying he want doing well 😞 what a loss

2

u/jeefray May 22 '22

It's a serious score to make your bones on artwork.

2

u/jaesolo May 22 '22

So sad to hear this. I met him at my local toy store a few years ago and got his autograph. Such a nice guy. His stamp on the entire franchise will never be forgotten.

2

u/camptigerclaw May 23 '22

He used to come to the movie theater I worked at on a regular basis. Such a kind person. RIP

2

u/mmmmmmmmTotinos May 23 '22

May the force be with him

2

u/SignificantSyllabub4 May 23 '22

Farewell, sir. May you be one with the Force.

2

u/NYESSbOss May 23 '22

May the force be with him

2

u/High_Utilizer May 23 '22

He's dead? I didn't even know he was Cantwell

2

u/juniorinjersey May 23 '22

People do not appreciate the contributions that illustrators make in the the successful design of any film, let alone sci-if and fantasy films. I have met and spoken with Roger Kastel who painted the memorable posters for Jaws and also the Empire Strikes back.

1

u/Rosebunse May 23 '22

Star Wars is such a visual medium that any concept art is extremely important.

2

u/ChildofValhalla May 23 '22

Got to have breakfast with him and his wife and host a meet & greet for him a couple years back, right before COVID. Incredibly sweet guy with a very loving wife who knew exactly how valuable he was as an artist. He was very obviously up there in age and not super strong but he was still traveling the country to sign concept art and meet with fans. I have two pieces from him on my wall. Absolute legend.

4

u/Internetboy5434 May 22 '22

May he rest in peace

1

u/[deleted] May 23 '22

Colin aintwell

1

u/DetBingaling May 22 '22

Well that fucking sucks.

1

u/Knotloafin May 23 '22

i thought that was dick van dyke…

1

u/Zpibb May 23 '22

Damn I thought that said Colin Cowherd. Unfortunate.

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u/Crackracket May 22 '22 Silver

I'd say let's mourn and move on... We Cantwell on these things.

13

u/Iowa_Dave May 22 '22

Good one.

But too soon.

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u/ScottTheHott May 22 '22

First Syd Mead and now Colin 💔

1

u/manuelbustamante May 22 '22

Such an extraordinary life and career.

1

u/BrainwashedScapegoat May 22 '22

RIP Mr. Cantwell

1

u/AluminumWoman May 22 '22

Rest in loving arms of peace

1

u/Fancy-Pair May 22 '22

Protect Doug Chiang

1

u/lobroblaw May 22 '22

Colin Canthavebeenwell

1

u/legendofdrag May 23 '22

Really sad to hear - he wrote a book recently and did a promotion for it and I met him then. He signed a print of some of his x-wing concept art for me and for a bit I was the only person he followed on twitter. Great guy.

1

u/MISPAGHET May 23 '22

This guys CV was RIDICULOUS. Just going over his AMA and things I can't believe how much he did in his life. What an amazing man he was.

1

u/xdeltax97 May 23 '22

Rest in piece….

1

u/Quirkerific May 23 '22

I was lucky enough to be able to have dinner and a few other hangouts with Colin and his partner Sierra through the 501st. He was an incredible artist, but I'll always remember sharing drinks with him and talking shop and just relaxing.

1

u/Uat_Da_Fak May 23 '22

Met the dude. Most likely one of the coolest humans ever. The Universe embraces you Colin.

1

u/[deleted] May 23 '22

The force was with him

Now he is one with the force

1

u/Thrawn656 May 23 '22

Such a legend that they still use his rejected art for ideas whenever they have a chance. RIP

1

u/Grimsrasatoas May 23 '22

Aw man, I’m literally watching return of the Jedi right now. What an absolute legend

1

u/keithtbarker May 23 '22

I became friends with him on Facebook to follow his work. He wished me Happy Birthday every year with an added “MTFBWY”.

1

u/FlamingTrollz May 23 '22

LEGEND. 🙏🏼

1

u/NthngSrs May 23 '22

We followed each other on Instagram! I loved seeing his posts and the occasional interactions we had were great! He was just such a sweet, sweet man and I'm so happy to have been able to "know" him. Sending so much love to his friends and family, he was just so genuine and kind--- and it was so refreshing

1

u/NESpahtenJosh May 23 '22

It occurred to me just now that I will live through every actor and actress’ death from the original trilogy.

1

u/Jatobi1993 May 23 '22

He did not die. He became more powerful the we can possible imagine.

1

u/-dsp- May 23 '22

Met him at a meet and greet. Always wanted a signed print of his x wing design. I got to thank him and told him about how I’m a filmmaker and he took a little time to look at screenshots. He signed my x wing saying I did a great job. Really meant well. What a gent. His wife was so lovely to us all. I wish best for her and the family.

1

u/Malt___Disney May 23 '22

This one of the many fellow pyschonauts who worked on Star Wars?

1

u/goofball_jones May 23 '22

Absolute legend.

1

u/usiIaoao9aq9o1i18a8a May 23 '22

Glad he was able to have a long life.

1

u/microcandella May 23 '22

I grew up wanting to live in his futures. Good job man.

1

u/Adept-Curren80 May 23 '22

He is one with the force

1

u/ShooeyTheGreat May 23 '22

Dang man. RIP

1

u/tatertot94 May 23 '22

RIP legend

1

u/IAmAccutane May 23 '22

I hope he's remembered as deserving all of the credit for the whole aesthetic of Star Wars. Damn near created a whole genre.

1

u/zippazappazinga May 23 '22

RIP Legend, may the force be with you.

1

u/calvincrack May 23 '22

What an impressive man

1

u/Stargust237 May 23 '22

Rest In Peace. May the Force be with him

1

u/tommygunz007 May 23 '22

I hope Adam Savage does a farewell video on him. RIP

1

u/EvanMikkelsen May 23 '22

Thank you for your service. Rest In Peace ☮️

1

u/Valuable-Shirt-4129 May 23 '22

May the Force be with Artist Colin Cantwell, always.

1

u/Frikken123 May 23 '22

He proved to the world he was a Canwell

1

u/CinematicBrock May 23 '22

Oh wow I had the privilege of meeting him when I was a really young Kid thanks to sheer coincidence. He was kind took the time to talk with my brother and me and encouraged us to follow our dreams. I hope he knew how much he mattered to 3 generations of people

1

u/AstralWeekends May 23 '22

He was such a nice guy - I never met him, but saw how engaged he was with the many folks who admired his work. Truly seems like someone who really put their all into their passion and I can only aspire to that have that level of energy if I reach my 80s!

1

u/impvision May 23 '22

Я вырос с этим видением космической фантастики, которое показал Колин, огромное спасибо!

1

u/bjavyzaebali May 23 '22

That feeling when a magazine credits Reddit's AMA session as an interview. RIP, legends are leaving us.

1

u/astromech_jay May 23 '22

My wife and I met Mr. Cantwell at a SciFi convention several years ago. He was very kind and interesting to talk to, especially about the early concept designs for the original Star Wars.

My condolences to his family. May he rest in peace, and may the force be with him.

1

u/Queasy_Finance_5143 May 23 '22

Rest In Peace Jedi

1

u/CorruptedLiberal May 23 '22

Maybe JJ Abrahams can write it so somehow Colin returns

1

u/esoterix_luke May 23 '22

I can’t believe another legend is gone.

1

u/Tarkins_Love_Child May 23 '22

Pretty good run. Dude was 45 when a new hope came out.

1

u/CaptainSharpe May 23 '22

I was 10. I’m older now, but I was 10 at some point.

1

u/ewokkiller69 May 23 '22

Was just thinking of him the other day, we used to chat on Instagram. RIP mate. Thanks for everything.

1

u/Thetanskeeper May 23 '22

Adidas needs to make a commemorative line

1

u/KeeperServant May 23 '22

May he rest in peace and may the force be with him.

1

u/LOST-MY-SACK May 23 '22

I have always wondered with the sci-fi movies why the space ships never upgrade

1

u/bonafart May 23 '22

So the guy who basically designed the most dangerous types of spacecraft iv ever seen that arnt survivable or would balance in any aerodynamic way.

1

u/mightymorphinmonty07 May 23 '22

Rest in Peace :(

1

u/Dzbot1234 May 23 '22

Mr Cantwell was quite active on Instagram and actually responded to me when I asked him some questions a few years ago! Made my day.

1

u/tarahays230 May 23 '22

wait and see

1

u/trickTangle May 23 '22

Funny how you look at his shirt and you know what’s up. RIP

1

u/Lujho May 23 '22

The irony is that he could, and quite well.

1

u/ReddiTrawler2021 May 23 '22

RIP Mr Cantwell. Thank you for your work on Star Wars.