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BTS Colin Cantwell OT Model Maker and SW Visionary

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by thejeditraitor, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. thejeditraitor

    thejeditraitor Chosen One star 6

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    Aug 19, 2003
  2. thejeditraitor

    thejeditraitor Chosen One star 6

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    Aug 19, 2003
  3. thejeditraitor

    thejeditraitor Chosen One star 6

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    Aug 19, 2003
    i ecourage you to watch all the vids from the ink at the top.





     
  4. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn

    Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Sep 23, 1999
    Could you maybe synopsize some things you appreciate about him, his design style, etc?
     
  5. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

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    Dec 8, 2015
    Wow, amazing pre-production work.

    One particular image made me wonder: Did he get proper credit for designing Vader's Executor Super Star Star Destroyer?

    Admittedly, his concept art appears to suggest the bow of a bigger ship, but to me it looks a lot like the stern of an SSD:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. thejeditraitor

    thejeditraitor Chosen One star 6

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    yes. it's an amazing alternate version of sw.
     
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  7. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

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    Dec 8, 2015
    And another thing: Cantwell illustrated the center of parabolic dishes projecting a beam that destroyed other spaceships.

    And that's exactly what we see the Death Star dish doing in ROJ, now with a center beam emanating from the dish (in contrast to the ANH Death Star). ;)
     
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  8. Sarge

    Sarge Chosen One star 6

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    Oct 4, 1998
    Rebels on Hoth had dish guns too; they fired at the walkers to no effect.
     
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  9. Hernalt

    Hernalt Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Jun 29, 2000
    I'm not near my Making of Star Wars 77. I know it has a tiny splat of information on the origination of the fighters.

    Does anyone have evidence that Lucas gave seed values to Colin Cantwell in the commission to design fighters? In 1974. Before McQuarrie.

    I'm quite certain that Lucas told Cantwell he needed something like a TBF Avenger. That is a seed value. Cantwell took that seed value and then generated a design around that seed value.

    I think, but cannot recall, Lucas told him he needed something like a dart. That would be a seed value. If it was a seed value *From Lucas, *Then Cantwell took that seed value and then generated a design around that seed value.

    I do not know that Lucas gave him any seed values for what became the Imperial fighter, the TIE. The fact that Lucas called it a TIE later is not a seed value. As far as I am aware, it is possible that Lucas gave him *Zero seed values, with the effect that what became the TIE was *Entirely Cantwell's invention.

    As usual, I am at excruciating pains to speak precisely, because circles are tiring. Of course there's more to be said but this is enough to shake loose any specific knowledge, or specific leads, that might exist.
     
  10. thejeditraitor

    thejeditraitor Chosen One star 6

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  11. Hernalt

    Hernalt Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Jun 29, 2000
    That's just as well. I did not see any / know of any Cantwell threads.
     
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  12. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Four Realms star 10 Staff Member Manager

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  13. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

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    Dec 8, 2015
    [​IMG]

    Any similarities to the A-wing fighter are purely coincidental, of course. ;)
     
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  14. Hernalt

    Hernalt Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Jun 29, 2000
    Yeah, there's no surprise that original concept art got recycled by the third movie. That's only good economic sense. The B-Wing and Millennium Falcon meet at the departure point from Cantwell's design for the Pirate Ship. That can be seen in the abortive derivation / mashup of Dash Rendar Outrider.

    ATMachine: Do you have any sense of the timing of the emergence of language in the original scripts around the stem "dart"? I see constant repetition that Cantwell was contracted prior to even the very first script. I'm not sure the time range or month is even in Rinzler Making Of SW77. So without being able to differentiate between 'a time before Cantwell', and a 'time after Cantwell', references in the early scripts to a "dart" word stem, or later, an "X"-shape word stem, have to share possible paternity with Cantwell.

    Are there any threads of thought in the earliest Lucas documentation that provides a paternity to the fighter types / shapes / terms, that has zero paternity at that time from Cantwell? I seem to remember one early script that had triangular / wedge Imperial fighter craft. Did Lucas think of that himself?
     
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  15. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

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    Feb 27, 2007
    Hernalt

    According to The Making of SW, Cantwell and McQuarrie were hired at around the same time, in November 1974. This was around the time Lucas began work on the second draft of SW, which he completed in January 1975.

    The 1974 rough draft is the only "pre-Cantwell" stage I know of (and also of course "pre-McQuarrie). Surprisingly, most of the designs suggested in it are ancestors of craft from Empire Strikes Back.

    Early on, six starfighters from Aquilae (ie, the good guys) take on the Death Star (not yet a superweapon; more of a Trade Federation-style central command post at this stage) and nearly destroy it. The Aquilaean fighters (of the "destroyer class") are two-man craft: the script notes that the pilot is in a separate cockpit from the navigator, who "sits in a small, isolated glass bubble to the rear of the craft." Some of the navigators and pilots get killed separately, like with the snowspeeders in ESB.

    The Imperials also use four two-man "stardestroyer" fighters to patrol the skies of the cloud city of Alderaan. In the Imperial version of this craft, "the pilot and gunnery officers sit side-by-side." Basically it's a prototype for the ESB Cloud Car.

    Later in the film, the heroes team up with the Wookees of Yavin and capture nine Imperial long-range "starraiders", which they use to destroy the Death Star. These craft have a pilot, a tail gunner, and two other crewmembers (side gunners?). The Wookees paint the captured four-man ships in "bizarre and colorful Wookee designs", which suggests something like the primary-color spaceships of Chris Foss' SF art. As far as I know, this has no offspring in any of the SW films yet seen in public.

    The 1974 script doesn't mention "wedges" or "triangles", but it does say the Aquilaean two-man ships "dart back and forth" (verb, not noun) during the fight with the Death Star.
     
  16. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

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    Feb 27, 2007
    Hernalt

    A bit more info: the Aquilaean "destroyers" are silver in color, like the old Flash Gordon serial spacecraft or the silver Naboo ships in TPM. Also each of them apparently has four "retro rockets", since there are six craft and the script mentions the "din of two dozen retrorockets". (A forerunner of the four X-Wing engines?)

    As for the ships in the 1973 story synopsis, there's even less detail: the Aquilaean ships are six "sleek fighter-type spacecraft," while the final assault on the Imperial stronghold features he heroes flying in captured Imperial "one-man devil fighters".
     
  17. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

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    Dec 8, 2015
    [​IMG]

    ATMachine wrote

    The Aquilaean fighters (of the "destroyer class") are two-man craft: the script notes that the pilot is in a separate cockpit from the navigator, who "sits in a small, isolated glass bubble to the rear of the craft." Some of the navigators and pilots get killed separately, like with the snowspeeders in ESB.

    [face_thinking]

    That seems to precede comparable visuals featured in Midway which premiered June 18, 1976.

    I'd say the Y-Wing was definitely designed as a two seater, at least. But already the live action scenes with the Y-Wing (IIRC April 1976) in the ANH hangar studio set just featured the Y-Wing as a single seater.

    Almost sounds as if George Lucas got wind of Midway, expected a lot of historical re-enactement featuring the two seater Devastator torpedo and Dauntless bombers and then buried the idea of a two-man Y-Wing because it could have looked somewhat derivative.
     
  18. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

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    Feb 27, 2007
    The Cantwell Y-Wing was a three or four-person fighter in the January 1975 second draft, remember. Luke was the pilot, Antilles was the tailgunner, and the droids together manned the bomb bay.

    [​IMG]

    The revised Joe Johnston two-person Y-Wing craft doesn't feature at least until the August 1975 third draft, by which point the X-Wing becomes Luke's vehicle.
     
  19. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

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    Feb 27, 2007
    So naturally enough, it seems the four-person Imperial "star raiders" from the final battle in the 1974 rough draft evolved into the four-person Y-Wing bombers used in the 1975 second draft. Interesting!
     
  20. Hernalt

    Hernalt Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Jun 29, 2000
    ATMachine Excellent synopsis. I am now multi highlighting my copy of the July 74 Revised First Draft. Do you know if there are material changes, as far as this precise question goes, between the May 74 First Draft and the July 74 Revised First Draft? I am choosing the later of the two because it is nearer to but still before the appearance of Cantwell. And I recall from some reference somewhere, by McQuarrie himself, that Cantwell was in Lucas' confidence prior to McQuarrie by some handful of weeks. Maybe two, maybe three, maybe four. So without checking Rinzler or other interviews, that places the arrival of Cantwell not earlier than August. (I can of course be wrong.) So the July 74 Revised should still be considered Lucas-only paternity.

    Lt. Hija , you probably already have this reference for your case on Midway.
    http://therealcharleslippincott.blogspot.com/

    Does anyone know of anything that answers to a type of book about SW77 that is analogous to Philip Peecher's Making of Jedi? Not just the Making of SW77 television event hosted by the droids. Period print, close as possible to the source, possesses information not diversion. (And not Starlog, Cinefex, etc.)
     
  21. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

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    Feb 27, 2007
    Hernalt

    I don't think the description of the spaceships or vehicles changed between the May 1974 rough draft and the July 1974 revision. What mainly changed (besides the character names) are the descriptions of the planetary environments: Aquilae now has a green sky, Yavin's sky is "a strange brown color", and the Fourth Moon of Utapau seen in the opening scene now features lakes of oddly-colored red and green water.

    McQuarrie remembered Cantwell as having joined the SW team before him, but probably only by a couple weeks, because Rinzler says they both began to draw pay only in November 1974.
     
  22. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

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    Dec 8, 2015
    Hernalt wrote

    Lt. Hija , you probably already have this reference for your case on Midway.
    http://therealcharleslippincott.blogspot.com/

    Thanks, this is truly interesting but not useful as a reference. First, the author of the article is quite mistaken, claiming that the DVD (!!!) cover for Midway was any inspiration for the 1977 Star Wars ad campaign, here is the original Midway poster:

    [​IMG]

    I think the real context is rather different. Unless I'm mistaken Midway was quite successful in the summer of 1976 (still glad that Lucas opted for Dolby Stereo and not this short lived "Sensurround" system, which just added LFE to an otherwise monaural soundtrack [face_relieved]) and 20th Century Fox had received positive reviews for Tora! Tora! Tora! back in 1970 (war movies had not yet gone out of fashion as Star Wars competed early summer of 1977 with A Bridge Too Far).

    I think one advertising angle for Star Wars might have been a "war movie set in space" to provide the war movie genre with a totally different location, hence the Midway reference. I think it's fair to say that the traditional war movie genre (depicting conflicts of WW II) was pretty much dead after Star Wars, it wasn't until 1998 that the genre got revived with Saving Private Ryan (or 1993 with Stalingrad).
     
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  23. thejeditraitor

    thejeditraitor Chosen One star 6

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    Aug 19, 2003
    no spoilers but they are using a design of cantwell's in the new material!
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
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  24. Lt. Hija

    Lt. Hija Jedi Master star 4

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    Dec 8, 2015
  25. GregMcP

    GregMcP Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Jul 7, 2015
    I just want to say that this is an angle of SW that I barely knew about.
    The Star Wars Pre History.

    And it's pretty wonderful. Thanks for showing it.
     
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