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Star Wars spacecraft designer Colin Cantwell dead at 90

Star Wars designer dies

Colin Cantwell, the man who designed the 'Star Wars' spacecraft, has died.

The 90-year-old artist's longterm partner, Sierra Dall, told the Hollywood Reporter that he had passed away at his home in Colorado on Saturday.

Colin - who studied animation at the University of California and also attended Frank Lloyd Wright's School of Architecture - designed the prototypes for several vessels in the 'Star Wars' series, including the X-wing, TIE Fighter, the Landspeeder and the iconic Death Star. He also created the design of the Tantive IV, which was originally intended to be the Millennium Falcon.

After a stint working for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory on educational films, Colin got to combine his love of both space and architecture when he moved into the film world, striking up a friendship with the late Stanley Kubrick when he landed a job on the director's 1968 film '2001: A Space Odyssey'.

Colin created the dramatic space opening that followed the movie's "dawn of man" beginning.

He previously said: “I worked closely with Stanley Kubrick and persuaded him not to start the movie with a 20-minute conference table discussion."

When it came to his most famous work on 'Star Wars', Colin admitted “a dart being thrown at a target in a British pub gave him the idea for the X-wing, while he accidentally designed the Death Star's meridian trench, which was used by the Alliance and Luke Skywalker in an attack in 'A New Hope'.

He said in 2016: “I didn’t originally plan for the Death Star to have a trench, but when I was working with the mould, I noticed the two halves had shrunk at the point where they met across the middle.

“It would have taken a week of work just to fill and sand and re-fill this depression. So, to save me the labour, I went to George [Lucas, director] and suggested a trench. He liked the idea so much that it became one of the most iconic moments in the film!”

Colin also wrote two science fiction novels and worked on the movies 'WarGames' and 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'.



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