Colin Cantwell, designer of ‘Star Wars’ iconic Death Star, dies at 90


Colin Cantwell, the designer behind iconic “Star Wars” concepts, including the Death Star and X-wing, died on Saturday at the age of 90.

Partner Sierra Dall told The Hollywood Reporter that the artist died at his home in Colorado. A cause of death has not been released.

Cantwell’s contributions to the “Star Wars” galaxy included coming up with the concept art for the Death Star space station, as well as the X-wing, Star Destroyer and TIE fighter ships.

“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,” Cantwell wrote in a 2014 “Ask Me Anything” discussion for Reddit.

An undated screenshot featuring X-wing aircraft designed by Colin Cantwell, from the 1977 Lucasfilm classic “Star Wars.” (Alamy via Reuters)

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

He also worked on visual effects for the 1968 classic “2001: A Space Odyssey,” 1979′s “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” and 1983′s “War Games.”

Cantwell described his efforts on “2001: A Space Odyssey” during that Reddit chat as well, writing that he “worked closely with (director) Stanley Kubrick and persuaded him not to start the movie with a 20-minute conference table discussion.”

Before he got into movie-making, Cantwell worked with NASA and at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He told Reddit that his role with NASA saw him “inform the public on the first unmanned space flights.”

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