About the Star Wars X-Wing Patent
Colin Cantwell is the unsung hero in the Star Wars franchise. If you do not know him, he is the person responsible for most Star Wars spaceship, including: Y-Wing fighter, X-wing Fighter, Star Destroyer, Tie Fighter, Death Star and Landspeeder, among others. He designed and built prototypes for these iconic spaceships common in any Star Wars films and games. It all began when Hal Barwood introduced Lucas to Colin. Colin invited Lucas to his apartment and showed him some of his spaceships. This convinced Lucas that Colin was the right person for the Star Wars project. Later Lucas gave Colin a copy of ‘Adventures of Starkiller: Star Wars’, which Colin used to design the iconic spaceships. To draw the Star Wars designs, Colin would sketch the drawings after conversations with Lucas. He later did color prints too, to lift Lucas spirits.
Colin was born in 1932 in San Francisco. Unlike Ralph McQuarrie – the celebrated Stars Wars conceptual artist – Colin has received little recognition besides producing influential designs. Most of his work was under contract, which meant that most of his designs were subjected to copyright rights by the Star Wars franchise.
Most of the Stars Wars patents have Toy Spacecraft as the patent title, with the assignee being Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. The Star Wars X-Wing spacecraft designs are attributed to Joseph Johnston and Colin Cantwell as the inventors. The S-foils were created to resemble cowboys drawing their guns. Initially, the spacecraft had wheels. Landing pads were later added. In the concept designs, the X-wing could hold two people, but this was changed to just one person, for a more cinematic effect in fight sequences.
The X-wing was actually Colin first design for Star Wars. He got his inspiration for the iconic design when watching dart throws in the pub. The lightning speed of the dragster was then fused with the design. When it first appeared in the film, it stood out and became a recognizable vehicle in any Star Wars film. When taxiing off and landing the wings folded and expanded. In the original designs by Colin, the wings are fully open, but during dogfights, they become partially closed. Colins designed the X-wing to be agile and able to fly through the death star trench.
Something you may not know is that Colin declined an offer from Lucas to head Industrial Light and Magic. In his defense, Colin argued that he did not want to be tied down repeating the same thing again and again. Also, Cantwell had loyalties with Universal Studios, and Lucas decided to go with 20th Century – a competitor of Universal – did not go down well with him.
Colin was responsible for giving us the Star Wars X-wing. If you are a big fan of Star Wars, then the Star Wars patent poster makes for an excellent addition to your wall hangings. You can get the original patent drawing here, on canvas and art posters.