Jawa Encampment via Wookiepedia
But I feel he can also have a profound impact on people's thinking about cities on our planet as well as others. I was listening to NPR's Science Friday, which happened to have everyone's favorite Astrophysicist from the Bronx Neil deGrasse Tyson, and he was lamenting the loss of the manned space program and imagination that is gained from exploration. In thinking about Ralph's death this struck me as sad as well. There is no doubt in my mind that both George Lucas and Ralph McQuarrie among others were inspired by our moon shot. In fact McQuarrie was an artist for Boeing and his illustrations graced newscasts covering the Apollo program. Without their images and dreams, I probably would have never taken art. Not that my taking art changes the universe but it shows that people can be influenced to do things through a national imagination for something greater.
And I agree with Tyson that space exploration shouldn't be a partisan issue and Newt Gingrich's idea of a moon base is quite intriguing. If not for the foothold that it creates to explore other planets and worlds, it could start a new discussion about city design. To which Ralph would certainly be an influence. Just looking at a few of his images of cities, it starts me thinking, what would our cities on other worlds look like?
Would they be shining spires on an island like McQuarrie's vision of Aldera of Alderaan?
Aldera via Wookiepedia
Or more like the Crevasse city of that made its way onto the screen in Episode III as Utapau (Also one of Tim DeChant's Favorites apparently.)
Crevasse City via Wookiepedia
Perhaps the moon would be our first version of Coruscant
Ewok Tree City
We can always dream. Fortunately McQuarrie's drawings will help us along.