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Colin Cantwell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Colin Cantwell
San Francisco[1]

Colin Cantwell is a concept artist and director known for his work on films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and WarGames, but primarily for developing a number of the iconic Star Wars vehicles.


While employed by NASA Cantwell was in the CBS News studio for the Apollo 11 moon landing assisting Walter Cronkite as he narrated the landing.[1]

In the early seventies Cantwell was employed by the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center to direct and produce effects for an early multimedia presentation titled Voyage to the Outer Planets that would show a spacecraft touring the outer planets of the solar system.[2][3]

After working on Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey with Douglas Trumbull, Cantwell was hired in 1974 to work on the original ‘’Star Wars’’ film.[4] Based on Lucas’ directions he created the original designs and concept models for a number of vehicles including the X-wing fighter, the Y-wing, the TIE fighter, the Star Destroyer, the Death Star, the Tantive IV (which was originally intended to be the Millennium Falcon), the landspeeder and the sandcrawler.[1][5] Cantwell’s original designs were further developed by concept artists like Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston. One of Cantwell’s concept models was used in the film, with Luke playing with it as he talks to C-3PO.[6] One of Cantwell’s original Star Destroyer designs was further developed for the 2018 Solo: A Star Wars Story but ultimately unused although Hot Toys did release a toy version.[7]

Cantwell consulted with Hewlett-Packard on the development of their Hewlett-Packard 9845C desktop computers which were designed for graphical tasks,[8] also creating a demo package to show off its capabilities.[9] He then used HP 9845C desktop computers to design and create the computer graphics for the large displays in the NORAD set on the 1983 WarGames film.[10]

In 2014 a number of items were auctioned from Cantwell’s collection for a total of $118,732.50.[1]

Personal life

His uncle Robert Cantwell was an American critic and author, and one of his great-great-grandfathers Michael Simmons was a 19th American pioneer.


Year Organisation Work Category/award Result Ref.
1984 37th British Academy Film Awards WarGames Best Special Visual Effects Nominated [11]


  1. ^ a b c d John Wenzel (8 December 2017). "He kept his Star Wars legacy a secret in Boulder for decades. At 85, the sci-fi pioneer is ready to step out". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2021-06-19.
  2. ^ Greg Bear (2017). "The Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater: the Early Years, and Before". Retrieved 2021-06-19.
  3. ^ "Colin Cantwell". BFI. Retrieved 2021-06-20.
  4. ^ J. W. Rinzler (2007). The Making of Star Wars. Del Rey Books.
  5. ^ Bouzereau, Laurent (1997). Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays. Ballantine Books. pp. 99, 311. ISBN 0345409817.
  6. ^ Stephen J. Sansweet (1992). Star Wars : From Concept to Screen to Collectible. Lucasfilm.
  7. ^ Phil Szostak (2018). Art Of Solo: A Star Wars Story.
  8. ^ Frost, John B.; Hale, William L. (December 1980). "Color Enhances Computer Graphics System". Hewlett Packard Journal. 21 (12).
  9. ^ A. Kückes (2010). "Screen Art: HP 9845C Demo". The HP 9845 Project. Retrieved 2021-06-19.
  10. ^ A. Kückes (2010). "Screen Art: WARGAMES". Retrieved 2021-06-19.
  11. ^ "Film - Special Visual Effects in 1984". Retrieved 2021-06-19.
This page was last edited on 6 August 2021, at 02:01
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