How Ralph McQuarrie’s Art Inspired Star Wars Rebels

As Star Wars Rebels nears its end, the show returns to some of the key images of the first season: the wide-open plains and futuristic cities of Lothal, the planet that has always acted as the series’ center of gravity. Lothal has been key to the show from the beginning. The Ghost crew returns to Ezra Bridger’s homeworld time and again, even as the Empire strengthens its foothold on the once-peaceful planet.

In fact, the planet owes much of its look to Ralph McQuarrie’s concept art for the Star Wars Original Trilogy, which has carried through the entire saga as a visual language later artists such as Doug Chiang have continued to follow. Rebels references specific McQuarrie designs throughout its four-season run and follows that initial visual language when creating new characters.

Executive producer Dave Filoni referred to the show as “Tower Story” in early development because of the central image of Lothal’s communication towers. The cities of Lothal are one of the most clearly McQuarrie-inspired elements of the show, demonstrating the warmth of the light in McQuarrie’s landscapes, mechanical work, and the slight grainy texture of the paint.

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