Colin Cantwell, the man who designed many of the spacecrafts that featured in the Star Wars films, has passed away at the age of 90.
Cantwell’s creations include iconic spaceships such as the Death Star, X-Wing, TIE fighter, Imperial Star Destroyer and the Millennium Falcon. Star Wars creator George Lucas asked Cantwell to come up with prototypes for these ships after his first movie credit for Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
On top of his work for those films, Cantwell was hired to help with the technical dialogue for Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He was also a computer graphics design consultant for WarGames in 1983, and authored two sci-fi novels.
We were saddened to learn about the passing of Colin Cantwell. Colin was a trailblazing artist and designer, and a close collaborator of George Lucas. Colin’s contributions to the @StarWars legacy are felt to this day. Our thoughts are with his family, and his partner, Sierra. pic.twitter.com/3bDrumv90P
— Industrial Light & Magic (@ILMVFX) May 23, 2022
Cantwell was born in Colorado in 1932 and studied animation before going on to get another degree in architecture. He worked at NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory during the US and Russia’s space race in the 1960s. He worked alongside Walter Cronkite during the historic Moon landing broadcast in 1969, with Cantwell providing a link between Cronkite and the astronauts.
His knowledge of animation, architecture and space saw him succeed in Hollywood.
His partner of 24 years, Sierra Dall, confirmed that he died at home in Colorado on Friday.