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Colin Cantwell, the designer of iconic Star Wars spacecraft such as the X-wing Starfighter, the TIE fighter and the Death Star, died at the age of 90 last Saturday at his Colorado home, his partner Sierra Dall, confirmed this information to The Hollywood Reporter.
Cantwell worked on multiple movies where spaceships were required he was going to be there, is credited for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), and was a graphics design consultant for War Games ( 1983). But his best known works came when he worked alongside George Lucas on Star Wars, designing and building the prototypes for the X-wing, the TIE fighter, the Star Destroyer and the Death Star, his greatest creations. .
In a 2016 Reddit AMA, Cantwell recalled the creation of the Death Star: “I didn’t originally plan for the Death Star to have a trench, but when I was working with the mold, I noticed that the two halves had shrunk in the point where they met in the middle. It would have taken a week of work just to fill, sand and refill that part. So to save myself the work I went to George and suggested a trench. He liked the idea so much that he got out! became one of the most iconic moments in the movie!”
Cantwell was born in Colorado in 1932, earned a bachelor’s degree in animation and studied architecture, before working in movies, he worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and at NASA, during the space race of the 1960s.
Because of this, he was able to work alongside television journalist Walter Cronkite on the 1969 moon landing broadcast, providing a link between him and the astronauts.
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