For the Prequel trilogy, a different lead concept designer was used (Doug Chang). However, with the advent of the Star Wars Rebels TV show, Lucasfilm took a look at the original designs McQuarrie did in the past that did not necessarily see the light of day on the silver screen.
This use of McQuarrie's work was continued into the development of The Force Awakens and some of those elements made it on to the screen. Here’s what we’ve noticed as being directly inspired by the works of McQuarrie.
Our favourite is the X-Wing design. Note the split engines!
When we first step inside Maz Kanata’s Castle we track a furry looking green tailed fellow:
He’s known as ‘X' and was once a suggestion for what the Greedo character in A New Hope could look like:
There's also some more minor examples of costume elements that may have made their way on to Rey's outfit and some Snow Stormtroopers (there were cut from the movie). You could even argue his designs influenced the Star Killer base look.
McQuarrie brought life to R2D2 and C3PO and it was his drawings of them that George Lucas used to help shop his Star Wars stories around the film studios as he attempted to get his space opera made.
That design work has also perhaps helped to inspire the design of BB-8.
Check out an original sketch idea and compare it to the final version of BB8 and decided on that one for yourself!
Extra for Experts 2:
JJ Abrams also use some McQuarrie inspiration for The Rise of Skywalker as well.
The Emperor's new ‘throne' was taken from an early sketch design that was never put into production for Return of the Jedi:
Paul Rose Jr has worked as TV News Producer, Forensic Analyst, and Train Conductor, among many other things. He’s the former TV Editor for InfuzeMag and owns more books, DVDs, and comics than most people have seen in their lifetimes. When he’s not writing or editing on Wealth of Geeks, he exercises his creative muscle writing screenplays and acting in film and television in Los Angeles, CA.