How Ralph McQuarrie’s Original ‘Star Wars’ drawings informed ‘Star Wars: Rebels’

'Star Wars: Rebels,' which centres on the early days of the Rebel Alliance and is set just five years before the beginning of 'Star Wars: A New Hope.'

One of the biggest influences on the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy was the fantastic art work of Ralph McQuarrie, who sadly passed away in 2012, but thankfully his legacy and inspiration is set to live on in the new ‘Star Wars’ animated series ‘Star Wars: Rebels,’ which centres on the early days of the Rebel Alliance and is set just five years before the beginning of ‘Star Wars: A New Hope.’

In a recent interview with SFX to promote the new series, which starts in the Autumn on Disney XD Simon Kinberg revealed that ‘Rebels’ takes much visually from the early concept drawing of Ralph McQuarrie for the original movie series.

McQuarrie001“The idea was to make it feel fresh and unique, yet loyal to the original movies, mining some stuff that was the inspiration for the original films, but didn’t end up in the original films. There was a sense almost of going back to the source source material that was just a unique idea.

“Ralph McQuarrie’s art has a very tactile, warm, none-computer generated look,” Kinberg continues, “and the feeling was that when you get away from that it’s starting to get away from the original movies.”

Other the the location and references to McQuarrie’s spaceship designs there are a number of other subtle references to his art. The new android Chopper looks a bit like McQuarrie’s original design for R2D2 while Zeb is inspired by the original drawings for Chewbacca, and there is also a protocol droid that has similar Metropolis stylings that McQuarrie had in mind for C3PO.

According to Kinberg the series is crammed with little Easter Eggs that will have fans of the original film series looking things up on Google or even re watching the original movie series.

As a fan of the original ‘Star Wars’ movies and not so much one of the prequel trilogy. I’m looking forward to seeing how Rebels turns out and look forward to the new series of sequel movies.

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Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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