Though his may not be a household name, Colin Cantwell’s creations certainly are. After all, he's the man behind the Millennium Falcon, Death Star, X-Wing and the rest of the iconic spaceships of “Star Wars.”
For two hours Saturday morning, area residents filed into Game Changer to meet the original creator of the iconic ships and view prints and photographs of his original concept artwork and models.
Cantwell, now in his 80s, was one of the first individuals invited to work on “Star Wars” by creator George Lucas who was familiar with Cantwell’s work on Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
According to his longtime partner Sierra Dall, who accompanied him and spoke on his behalf during the event, Cantwell is also considered the father of “kitbashing” the practice of creating a custom model from pieces taken from several different commercial kits. Cantwell’s “kitbashed” models helped convince Lucas to hire him.
Before working on creating models for the ships of “Star Wars,” Cantwell submitted several pieces of concept artwork to Lucas. Autographed prints of that artwork were available for purchase at the event as were prints of photos Cantwell had taken of his original model designs.
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During the event, Game Changer played several videos he provided that described his work on “Star Wars” and other projects, and Cantwell spent his time signing autographs or personalizing the prints that were available to purchase.
Adam Stone, owner of Game Changer, said he first met Cantwell in December 2017 in Denver. A few months ago, Dall contacted Stone to ask if he was affiliated with any comic book stores. Stone mentioned he owned his own and would be honored to host Cantwell.
The Chadron event kicked off Cantwell’s tour of the Midwest that will take him from northwest Nebraska to Rapid City and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, through Minnesota and Wisconsin before eventually ending in Iowa.
In addition to working on “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Star Wars,” Cantwell also worked with Steven Spielberg on “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” and 1983’s “War Games.” On July 20, 1969, Cantwell was seated behind Walter Cronkite in the CBS television studio during the Apollo 11 moon landing. Cantwell, who was in communication with NASA, relayed a description of the landing to Cronkite who then broadcast the information to the world.