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In this edition of Star Wars Bits:

  • David Prowse is retiring from the international convention circuit.
  • The designer behind many of Star Wars‘ iconic ships shares some trivia.
  • Star Wars Uprising is shutting down after a little over a year.
  • An interview with the authors of that new Ralph McQuarrie art book…
  • …and a look at some art from that book.
  • Tons of interviews with the writers and producers on Star Wars Rebels season 3.
  • And more!

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Only a year after its September 2015 launch, the Star Wars Uprising mobile game is shutting down. You can read the official statement via the image above (courtesy of Making Star Wars), but Kabam, the developer of the game, went into additional detail about the reasons why the game is coming an end (and when it will officially be unavailable) on their forums:

1. Why is Star Wars: Uprising shutting down?
While Star Wars: Uprising was enjoyed by a great community of players since its launch, the game is no longer achieving the level of success needed to maintain the game and the decision was made to discontinue support.

2. When is the last day I can play Star Wars: Uprising?
You’ll be able to play Star Wars: Uprising until the servers are disconnected at 9AM Pacific Time on November 17th, 2016.

3. Why can’t Kabam just leave the game up as it is?
There are a number of things that go into maintaining a game beyond keeping the power running. Addressing issues, developing content and providing support are important components as well, and we feel those resources can be better served building and supporting Kabam’s existing and new titles.

4. Is there any way to save my player data or bases?
There won’t be a way to access your data from the game’s servers after they go offline. We suggest you take screenshots of your accomplishments before November 17, 2016.

5. Where can I play other games like Star Wars: Uprising?
We’re glad you enjoyed Star Wars: Uprising, and would like to invite you to check out one of Kabam’s other great mobile games.

David Prowse, the English actor and bodybuilder best known for actually being the guy inside the Darth Vader suit in the original trilogy, has announced his retirement from the international convention scene. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as Prowse is 81 years old and traveling all over the world to sell autographs and signed photos is very much a young person’s racket. Still, the news is sad nonetheless for any fans who were hoping to brush shoulders with the man behind one of the most famous movie villains of all time.

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Former Lucasfilm and ILM designer Colin Cantwell recently participated in a Reddit AMA where he discussed, among other things, what it was like to be the chief designer behind many of the more iconic vehicles and starships in the original Star Wars trilogy. Like many great relationships, his partnership with George Lucas had humble beginnings:

I built miniatures of my own space ship designs and built terrains. I had friends that worked on American Graffiti who introduced me to George Lucas. George saw some of my miniatures and liked them well enough that he invited me to discuss a project… which eventually became Star Wars.

Elsewhere in the AMA, he explained his inspiration for the X-Wing’s overall design:

A dart being thrown at a target in a British pub gave me the original concept and then it went forward from there.

And then there’s this delightful piece of trivia, where Cantwell reveals that the Death Star trench was the result of a mistake in his sculpting:

I didn’t originally plan for the Death Star to have a trench, but when I was working with the mold, 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 labor, I went to George and suggested a trench. He liked the idea so much that it became one of the most iconic moments in the film!

In other words, one of the most iconic sequences in movie history resulted from an error in building a model. There’s probably a lesson to be learned there.

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And while we’re talking about legendary Star Wars designers, I’d like to point you toward this StarWars.com interview with Brandon Alinger, Wade Lageose, and David Mandel, the authors of the newly released coffee table book Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrieThis massive two-volume set collects over 2,000 of McQuarrie’s illustrations and it’s the kind of luxury item that, quite frankly, makes me wish I had an extra $250 to throw into the void. Anyway, the interview is good one, especially when the authors talk about trying to organize and catalog McQuarrie’s work:

Brandon Alinger: It’s tricky! Working out the order was one of the major challenges of the book. McQuarrie’s work touched on so many areas of trilogy’s production, and related areas — concept sketches, costume sketches, production paintings, matte paintings, publishing work, the list goes on — making organization a real challenge. Along with Jonathan Rinzler and Eric Klopfer at Abrams, we decided it was most interesting to see the artwork as Ralph McQuarrie would have seen it — in the order he produced it. The easiest route would have been to lay it out in story-order, but chronologically is a more scholarly and informative approach.

David Mandel: Seeing Ralph’s work laid out chronologically also allows you to appreciate just how many concepts and designs Ralph was working at any one moment, and how integral Ralph was to every aspect of the movie from costumes to designs to matte painting to early poster designs.

Brandon Alinger: The challenge came from the lack of perfect information. Very little of the work is dated. We had access to some of McQuarrie’s daily calendars from the time which provided date information, and dug deep for overall production information in other sources that informed the order.

You can read the whole interview at the link above.

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Meanwhile, io9 has shared a look at some of the art featured in Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie and it is nothing short of stunning. You can check out some examples above and below and many more at that link.

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