I'm Colin Cantwell - Designer of the Death Star, X-Wing, TIE Fighter, & Star Destroyer; CBS's lead analyst for the Moon Landing; Collaborator on 2001 A Space Odyssey, War Games & Buck Rodgers; Author, Inventor, and 84 year old maxi-nerd AMA
Hello Reddit. I'm Colin Cantwell. Please be patient with me as I am 84 and this is my first time on Reddit. You may not have heard about me, as I like to keep out of the limelight, but I'm sure you've seen projects I've worked on. I'm looking forward to getting to know you and answering your questions!
A short list of my most favorite experiences are: * Being accepted to Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural school * Working with NASA to inform the public on the first unmanned space flights * Being Walter Cronkite's “Hal 9000” NASA connection during live broadcast of the first moon landing * Inventing the first real color monitor for Hewlett Packard * Writing my first book CoreFires - a labor of love 20 years in the making
I've worked on the following movies & shows: * Lead star ship designer for Star Wars - I drew the original designs for the X-Wing, A-Wing, Star Destroyer, TIE Fighter, & Rebel cruisers. I was also the one who designed and sculpted the Death Star and gave it it's trench * 2001, A Space Odyssey - I worked closely with Stanley Kubrick and persuaded him not to start the movie with a 20 minute conference table discussion * Buck Rogers in the 25th Century * Close Encounters of a Third Kind * War Games
I have a deep interest in science - especially quantum physics and space travel. I could not have picked a better time to have been born. So much has happened so quickly! Our dreams of space flight are maturing and I believe one day soon we’ll be exploring the next waiting wonders of our galaxy.
Two short anecdotes to get us started - When I was a boy, I was diagnosed with TB as well as partial retinal detachment. The cure was to confine me to a dark room with a heavy vest across my chest to prevent coughing fits. I spent nearly TWO YEARS of my childhood immobilized in this dark room. Suffice to say, nothing else could slow me down after that!
George Lucas gave me the project of designing a “Death Star”. 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. It would have taken a week of work just to fill and sand and re-fill this depression. So, to save me the labor, I went to George and suggested a trench. He liked the idea so much that it became one of the most iconic moments in the film!
My latest project is a book series called CoreFires. I've made it available for free in the hopes that readers will find in it a sense of wonder and excitement. It's space science fiction of course! You can read the description here
You can see my original Pre-Star Wars artwork here My book is available for free here This also enters you in a contest for a free signed print of my original Pre-Star Wars star ship designs. You can also get CoreFires for free on Amazon here for the next 3 days
I hope that's enough to get us started. AMA!