Star Wars fans are quite familiar with Ralph McQuarrie, a concept artist, illustrator, and designer whose work was crucial to the series, but he also worked on a few other properties, including a design of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise for an abandoned film. Star Trek fans with the deepest pockets now have a new treasure to shoot for, with McQuarrie’s model going up for auction today.
McQuarrie might best be known for his work on Star Wars, but he also contributed design concepts to Battlestar Galactica, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and the Ron Howard film Cocoon, which won him an Academy Award for Visual Effects. Shortly after the original Star Wars film wrapped, McQuarrie was brought to England to work under Ken Adam, a veteran production designer who had worked on several classic films by that point, including Dr. Strangelove, and the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. Adam and McQuarrie were to work on Star Trek: Planet of the Titans, a film which ended up canceled in the weeks prior to the release of the first Star Wars film.
As a relic from this shelved production, the USS Enterprise model is noted for its marked differences to Star Trek’s most well-known starships. Additionally, this particular model has undergone some repairs, which are detailed in the Nate D. Sanders Auctions lot description. Minimum bid starts at $40,000, and is set to open soon.
While Star Trek: Planet of the Titans never came to fruition, McQuarrie’s model was purportedly the inspiration for the USS Discovery starship featured in Star Trek: Discovery, the newest series airing on CBS All Access. Discovery was a hit with fans and was quickly renewed for a second season, making this one-of-a-kind collector’s item curiously relevant to a present-day Star Trek series.
Interestingly, McQuarrie’s model was eventually featured on-screen in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, during a battle between the Borg Collective and the United Federation of Planets as a member of the destroyed armada. Beyond that, the designer contributed concepts for various aspects of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
A decade has passed since a Star Trek auction at Christies brought in an enormous amount of money, including the sale of a model of the Enterprise D from ST:TNG for $576,000. While there’s no assurance that this less familiar starship will take top dollar, McQuarrie was a beloved and respected creative, and a pioneer in the visual aesthetics of contemporary science fiction. Those who want to own a small part of his contributions can observe the auction, which kicks off today.
Source: Nate D. Sanders Auctions