For all the heavy lifting he did designing much of the look and feel of the Star Wars universe, there really isn't a whole lot of Ralph McQuarrie-inspired merchandise out there. Yes, obviously there were plenty of other massively, massively talented artists working on what would become The Trilogy, but McQuarrie's conceptualization of this galaxy far, far away established not just the tone of this world, but inspired more than a proportionate share of imitators. Still, beyond prints and art books, McQuarrie's original work is fairly non-existent. Which is surprising given that Star Wars merchandise is the reason for all merchandise, and it's been around since 1977.

Thankfully, Sideshow Collectibles recently picked up the gauntlet of bringing the artist's work to the physical realm with a series of statues. Already the line features that iconic soldier, the Stortrooper, and the human hype machine, Boba Fett, who I guess is technically a bounty hunter that just sucks at getting bounties. Now the most fearsome of the Empire's agents gets the royal treatment, as McQuarrie's Darth Vader lives once more.

Darth Vader as he existed in concept art wasn't that different from the final version we saw on screen. You can immediately tell just how much of the foundation laid by McQuarrie in the early ideas made it to the final iteration. This Vader has a bit more of the shogun influence present and looks like he could mix it up with anyone, anywhere. The final version in the films was more of a massive cloaked menace, who was more about an imposing silhouette than he was practical combat clothing.

The largest difference though comes in the helm Vader wears in McQuarrie's original paintings. Vader actually had a bit of a snout on him, with the lower portion of his mask stretching far beyond his face. A more traditional portrait is included in the Sideshow Exclusive version, but if you're getting a McQuarrie statue, you gotta stick with the original design. In both versions of the head sculpt though, you can still see much more of the Fritz Lang inspiration so rooted in Star Wars' design foundation than you can in the on-screen helm. It's just little bit sleeker and less practical. It looks like something from the future, versus a futuristic interpretation of medieval armor.

The Star Wars Ralph McQuarrie Darth Vader statue is available for pre-order now for $474.99, and it's expected to arrive in Q2 2017.


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