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In the original trilogy there are a large number of aliens throughout the film. Now days, the process of creating these creatures is shared by the writers, director as well as art, costume and other departments. In ‘making of documentaries’ you see people sitting down looking over different designs and tweaking them.

What was the process for the original 3 movies, given a sci-fi film of this type & scale with so many strange creatures had never been done before? Did George Lucas sketch out or describe all the aliens? Or was it down to other people to give us the likes of Jawas, Admiral Ackbar, the Twi'lek and the myriad of other alien species throughout the galaxy?

In order to try and make this less open ended, I am looking for an answer on the process rather than specifics about who designed individual races. Those may be future questions depending on this answer. I am also happy to split this into 3 questions if the answers are different for each of the original trilogies.

  • Yoda was famously bascially a self-portrait of the sculptor. Are you asking about the actual design or characters or just "here's a robot, this guy is a fish thing" etc...originally, Lucas' original idea for Han Solo was that he going to be green and have gills or something like that. I don't quite understand the expectation of the question. – NKCampbell Dec 13 '19 at 22:50
  • Since I'm pretty sure it was Ralph McQuarrie who did the designs for many of the characters and Lucas signed off on them when they were going into the drafts and costuming and makeup and filming... yes, he was directly involved? – SpaceWolf1701 Dec 13 '19 at 22:58
  • I am asking what was the process generally did George Lucas have a clear vision, or did he just wait until he was presented a series of creatures and ideas and then worked with them, or did he work collaborativly? – Richard C Dec 13 '19 at 22:59
  • John Mollo did the earliest (crude) sketches of the characters. McQuarrie didn't come in until the studio had confirmed funding. – Valorum Dec 13 '19 at 23:05
  • I don't remember the exact link but there is a pretty detailed explanation of the origins of star wars that should be easily googled that covers a lot of that. Confirming what NKCampbell said, originally the story was very different, characters were totally different, and the whole thing was in a state of chaos that makes one wonder how it ended up the way it was when released. Pretty interesting read but it doesn't answer your question. It does give you an idea of his involvement, which I didn't conclude was equal to the amount of credit he takes for the franchise – Kai Qing Dec 13 '19 at 23:45
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No, Lucas did not create all of the designs if that's what you mean. He obviously signed off on them being in his movie and might have contributed to some of their designs. Yoda for example was created by Stuart Freeborn. George obviously still plays a big role introducing and fleshing out the characters from a story perspective as he was the one that decided to purposely keep Yoda's backstory mysterious and refuses to answer what species he is.

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