As a Star Wars fan it is great to see this kind of history come to light. It is neat to see early concept art work on films, to see how closely they resemble what is on screen or how much has changed from that initial concept stage. It certainly seems like the picture drawn for Empire Strikes Back did not under go too much change to how it appeared in the finished movie.
In the months after the lavish, 400-page retrospective “The Art of Ralph McQuarrie” was published in 2007, the illustrator was dealing with a far more mundane life event as a repair team came to his house to deal with a failing furnace. Steve Sansweet, the Lucasfilm director of content management and head of fan relations, said the homeowner nuisance delivered a moment of archival serendipity.
“We thought that we had seen all of Ralph’s ‘Star Wars’ work here at Lucasfilm — literally hundreds of production paintings, matte paintings and sketches, all carefully photographed, inventoried and preserved,” Sansweet said. “But because his home furnace needed to be repaired a few years ago, and a forgotten bookshelf unit had to be moved to let the repairman get at it, Ralph discovered an old box on a shelf that was filled with the treasures.”