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Hello from an old man who created the Death Star

Discussion in 'Original Trilogy' started by Colin Cantwell, Mar 2, 2017.

  1. Colin Cantwell

    Colin Cantwell Clone Trooper

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    Hello everyone. My name is Colin Cantwell and I created the Death Star. I also came up with the designs for and modeled the X-wing, Star Destroyer, Y-wing, Imperial Shuttle, and many of the rebel ships for what became A New Hope.

    How did that happen? Well, George hired me back in 1975 after having a few chats and looking at some models and spaceship concept designs I had illustrated for him. As work continued, I was eventually put in charge of molding, casting, and detailing the 4 foot diameter Death Star.

    A funny story - The Death Star did not originally have a trench. But, when I put the two halves of the model together, they cooled around the middle and made a uniform indent. To save myself a week of work filling in, sanding down, and generally fixing up the indent, I went to George with a "brilliant" idea - What if the Death Star had a trench? He bought it hook, line, and sinker.

    I am often asked, as the creator of the Death Star, how could I have failed to see the flaw in the design that would lead a single attack fighter to destroy the largest ship ever conceived. The answer is simple - I sold armaments to both sides

    Work on Star Wars was an unforgettable time in my life. Only my work with Stanly Kubrick on 2001 A Space Odyssey could compare to the genius and innovation that George brought to special effects, science fiction, and movie making in general.

    You all have a wonderful community and I am looking forward to getting to know you better. I will be attending conventions and hope to see you there in person!

    Add me on Facebook
    More about me - www.imdb.com/name/nm0134764/
    starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Colin_Cantwell

    Original concept designs that got me hired (more on my website www.cantwell.space) -
    wing-cr.png SD1-2 -.jpg monoplane fighter S.jpg
     
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  2. Kyle

    Kyle Reader of Books and Comics
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    Welcome to the Cantina, Colin! Thank you for sharing and I look forward to hearing more. I love hearing about how the original film came together. Great to have you here!
     
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  3. StoneRiver

    StoneRiver Rebel General

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    I'm a little bit awestruck (x-wing)!!!!
     
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  4. Ty Mitchell

    Ty Mitchell Rebel Commander

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    Hey Colin, thanks for posting this!
     
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  5. Pomojema

    Pomojema Ayatollah Of Rock-&-Rolla
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    Were the two pieces connected vertically or horizontally? I presume that, since the Death Star's trench is canonically at the top of the space station, it's the former.
     
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  6. 77th

    77th Force Sensitive

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    @Colin Cantwell

    [​IMG]

    You're My Hero Man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The crazy creations and the original aliens of the original Star Wars Movies blew my mind when i was a little kid, leading me to a life of crazy creative flows and the ever search of innovation alongside the artistic conception, today i still create the buildings and the things i wan't to place in a Star Wars Movie. THANK YOU!!!
     
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  7. Trevor

    Trevor Protector of the Jedi
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    Welcome Colin, we're quite pleased that you've stepped into the room. It is because of guys like you, that at 10 years old, I sat in a theater in '77 and was forever ruined. Hell, I don't know whether to hug you or send you hate mail, because I'm suspicious that the whole "Star Wars thing" might've altered my destiny of becoming a doctor or lawyer....or something! :)

    ANYWAY...so are you "retired" at this point, or still have some input on the current productions?

    SO many questions from the 10 year old in my head..... :D
     
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  8. DarthSnow

    DarthSnow Lord Commander
    1030th Commander *** (Mod)

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    :D So cool. Love your work, Colin!! The Star Wars universe we have all come to know and love wouldn't be nearly the same without you. Thank you!! Can't wait to hear more, and welcome to the Cantina!
    (star destroyer)(x-wing)(tie)(death star)
     
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  9. DEKKA129

    DEKKA129 Professional Slinger of Balderdash
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    Hey there, Colin! Great to make your virtual acquaintance. I've been a fan of your work on the original Star Wars film since Dad first took my brother and I to see what this new "Star Wars" movie was all about back in 1977. I was the kid in my class who was forever drawing X-wings and TIE Fighters all over his homework, and I've got to say that after all these years and so many Star Wars films and TV programs, your original designs remain THE iconic Star Wars images.

    I was always particularly impressed by the little ways in which you added these cool little functional elements to your designs. The X-wing's wings don't split in "attack formation" just to look cool. They also split to draw the laser cannons apart and to create a broader base of fire during battle. The Y-wings have that brilliant "pipes and wires" look, presumably with the idea that the Rebels left the outer hull casing off for quicker repair and modification access. I love those kinds of functional details.

    Anyway, welcome to the Cantina, and THANK YOU for nearly 40 years of some of the best damned fun in the universe. :D

    See ya 'round the ol' funny farm here!
     
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  10. PrincessLeiaCB3

    PrincessLeiaCB3 The Princess that was Promised
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    Hello Colin! It is such an honour to make your virtual acquaintance. Welcome to the Cantina! :D
     
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  11. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi Commander

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    Wow, truly an honor to have you here, Colin!
    Thanks for the read, very interesting!
     
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  12. JayBiggS

    JayBiggS Rebel Official

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    Welcome aboard Mr Cantwell!
     
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  13. SegNerd

    SegNerd Rebel Commander

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    I am not worthy
     
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  14. Boushhdisguise

    Boushhdisguise Jedi General

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    Thank you for sharing!
     
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  15. Choose Light

    Choose Light Jedi General

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    Thank you for stopping in to post with us, Mr. Cantwell! It's so exciting to hear your story!
     
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  16. Moral Hazard

    Moral Hazard Rebel Official

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    Thanks for sharing the pics and anecdotes! Your work has brought a lot of enjoyment to a lot of people.
     
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  17. Colin Cantwell

    Colin Cantwell Clone Trooper

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    I haven't been involved in Star Wars since ANH. George offered me a job running Lucas Studios, but I had conflicting obligations and had to decline. I went to Rogue One on release day and was very pleased to see my designs still being put to good use.
    --- Double Post Merged, Mar 4, 2017, Original Post Date: Mar 4, 2017 ---
    Great analysis and thank you for the kind words. Additionally, the collapsing wings make for better aerodynamics during on-planet engagements. As you pointed out, a broader line of fire is preferred in space. Furthermore, enemy targeting systems may focus in on heat or energy sources, so having the weapons on the far edges of the craft make for a more difficult target.

    Ralph Mcquarrie always enjoyed the Y-wing the most and you can see it in a lot of his early concept sketches.
     
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  18. ATMachine

    ATMachine Clone Commander

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    It's a great honor to have you here, sir. Welcome!
     
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  19. Nathan_Marrek

    Nathan_Marrek Force Attuned

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    Awesome. Welcome to the cantina, sir!
     
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  20. DEKKA129

    DEKKA129 Professional Slinger of Balderdash
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    I'd never thought of the dispersed heat/energy signature. Nice touch!

    And of course, the TIE fighters immediately reminded me (even as a nine year-old aviation history buff) of the German Stuka dive-bombers, not only because of the vaguely bat-like shape, but also (and mainly) because of the fact that the engine sound effect that Ben Burtt came up with was reminiscent of the air sirens the Stukas had built into their landing gear.

    That was always one of my favorites too, especially during that first year or two after Star Wars came out, because there were no good photos of the Y-wing in the first waves of bubblegum cards or in the few fan magazines I managed to acquire. And since there was no home video back then, the only way I ever saw something like the Y-wing was when I'd go see the movie itself.

    I noticed later on as more "making of" materials came out that Ralph McQuarrie seemed to have focused heavily on the Y-wing as the "good guy" starfighter early on in the process. Was that one of the first starfighters that was designed as you guys began building out the aerial arsenal for the movie? It almost seems like that may have been "the" starfighter before you designed the X-wing. Or did they both get designed at about the same time, and Ralph just took a particular shine to the Y-wing?
     
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