|Died||May 21, 2022 (aged 90)|
|Alma mater||University of California, Los Angeles|
|Relatives||Robert Cantwell (uncle)|
Colin James Cantwell (April 3, 1932 – May 21, 2022) was an American concept artist and director known for his work on films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and WarGames, but primarily for doing initial concept designs and models for a number of Star Wars vehicles, most notably the X-wing fighter, the TIE fighter, and the Death Star, that were then further developed by people like Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston.
In the early seventies, Cantwell was employed by the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center to produce effects for, and direct, an early multimedia presentation titled Voyage to the Outer Planets (1973) that would show a spacecraft touring the outer planets of the Solar System.
While working on visual effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey with Douglas Trumbull, Cantwell persuaded Stanley Kubrick "'not to start the movie with a 20-minute conference table discussion.' It was Cantwell who created the dramatic space opening that followed the dawn of man and bone thrown into the air", and who suggested the use of Also sprach Zarathustra for the opening theme music. In 1974 Cantwell was hired to work on the original Star Wars film. Based on Lucas' directions he created the original designs and concept models for a number of vehicles including the X-wing fighter, the Y-wing, the TIE fighter, the Star Destroyer, the Death Star, the Tantive IV (which was originally intended to be the Millennium Falcon), the landspeeder and the sandcrawler. Cantwell's original designs were further developed by concept artists like Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston. One of Cantwell's concept models was used in the film, with Luke playing with it as he talks to C-3PO. One of Cantwell's original Star Destroyer designs was further developed for the 2018 Solo: A Star Wars Story but ultimately unused although Hot Wheels did release a toy version.
Cantwell consulted with Hewlett-Packard on the development of their Hewlett-Packard 9845C desktop computers which were designed for graphical tasks, also creating a demo package to show off its capabilities. He then used HP 9845C desktop computers to design and create the computer graphics for the large displays in the NORAD set on the 1983 WarGames film.
In 2014, a number of items were auctioned from Cantwell's collection for a total of $118,732.50.
Cantwell wrote a science fiction novel, CoreFires, and a sequel, CoreFires2; they were published in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
Cantwell died at his home in Colorado Springs, Colorado on May 21, 2022, aged 90. His partner, Sierra Dall, had reported that Cantwell had been afflicted with Alzheimer's disease in the final years of his life.
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- RIP Star Wars designer Colin Cantwell
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