Star Wars News from the Galaxy for March 6, 2012


This edition of quick news includes the death of concept artist Ralph McQuarrie, the success of Star Wars: The Republic according to EA and the Jake Lloyd has some whine with his fame...

Sad news this week for Star Wars fans. Ralph McQuarrie, who designed much of the look of the Star Wars original trilogy, has died at the age of 82. McQuarrie, originally a tech artist for Boeing and other space oriented projects, was the perfect concept artist for George Lucas, who was looking to flesh out what his characters and his world would actually look like. The two would meet about every few weeks and George would give him a rough description of what he wanted and McQuarrie would draw him up something and they would hash out the details in what the artist described as a very good relationship. Lucas got so comfortable with him, that whenever he couldn’t put his thoughts into words, he’d show McQuarrie’s artwork and tell them to do that. The concept designer was responsible for R2D2, C3PO, Darth Vader and numerous other characters. Oddly enough, the evil helmet of the Dark Lord was not just a design flourish to make him look more ominous, but because in one scene he had to jump between spaceships in space, so he would need some sort of air apparatus and thus the dark helmet was born. Anyway, McQuarrie would go on to do concept design work for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. He also won a shared Academy Award for his work on the movie Cocoon. He will be sorely missed.

UKIE has been working with publishers and developers to get an idea in the UK of the PC download market and have finally released their first list for January 2012. And Star Wars: The Old Republic is topping that list, which is no great surprise considering the bulk of its release time was in January. The chart is not representative of retailers though, but people who have downloaded the full game from the companies themselves (not those that grabbed it on some P2P network). EA, who’s been a bit on pins and needles with the growing pains experienced thus far, will find this to be good news in comparison to the others in their industry, but since they are providing the numbers, it’s not going to shock anyone there. SW: TOR did, however, beat out UbiSoft’s From Dust, Warner Brother’s Bastian and Battlefield 3, also from EA. Compilers say that the list still needs more work and more publishers to join in to get a better feel of the industry thus far, but 25 was enough to at least attempt a chart at this point.

And finally Jake Lloyd (young Anakin Skywalker) used yet another opportunity to whine about how Phantom Menace ruined his life, turning it into a living hell. He says that he will never act again and he blames George Lucas for making it that way for him. Now we’ve heard similar complaints from other Star Wars alumni (mostly in jest), but none have whined as much as this kid. Being 8 years old, it’s reasonable to assume that he didn’t know what he was getting himself into. Perhaps his mother, who is a talent agent herself, should have been more concerned about what impact it might have had on him before letting him take the gig. It’s obvious he wasn’t too thick skinned, which can be a bad thing for an actor, especially one that young. It’s not unusual for kids to be ridiculed in school for their roles, often out of jealousy. This happens even when they get older. Emma Watson quit one university after being tortured with “10 points for Gryffindor” and other Harry Potter references, but she didn’t quit acting (or going to school) despite having the money to never work again.

Now, it’s not that I can’t understand his feelings to an extent. I do. Not only was he picked on at that age, but he’s been the punching bag for everything fans find wrong with the film. But with every declaration of how awful his experience is, he usually makes these comments at some fan or comic book convention, where he makes money from the project he says he hates the most. To me that’s a bit hypocritical. It made his life a living hell, yet he keeps going back to it. I guess he’s just the latest in a long line of convention guests who are bitter about how they got there. Maybe if he had other work to compare to, people wouldn’t be so harsh. So why not take up acting again? His mother is an agent and there is always work to be had in B-Rated movies like those on the SyFy Channel opposite Debbie Gibson or Tiffany. After that, people will forget the Anakin thing completely.

And that’s all the news we have for this edition. Thanks for reading…
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