With the end of Ahsoka’s first season on Disney+ comes sad news from behind the scenes of the Star Wars series: costume designer Shawna Trpcic, a lifelong fan of sci-fi and comic books who also brought her talents to The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, has died at the age of 56.
The Costume Designers Guild (via Variety) shared the news on social media:
The Guild also linked to a GoFundMe for Trpcic’s children, which includes more information about her life and career:
“Born in Artesia, CA, Shawna wanted to be a truck driver in high school but had an art teacher who wanted her to be an artist. He inspired her to attend Otis College of Art and Design for fashion. In her senior year, she worked on Bob Mackie’s team. Shawna was someone who was always into science fiction and comic books. Costume design for her ‘was like creating fine art for the body because you’re creating this dimensional character, and I was hooked immediately.’
Shawna got her start illustrating for Albert Wolsky on the Oscar-winning film Bugsy and then became his assistant on Barry Levinson’s film Toys. She was soon designing her own films. Notable feature credits include The Cabin in the Woods, working with Joss Whedon, and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, along with many television shows. She worked for Jill Ohanneson as the assistant costume designer on the pilot of Firefly and eventually took over the show. A Firefly fan who worked at Skywalker Ranch asked her if she would like a tour, and there she met George Lucas. Fifteen years later, she received the call to design The Mandalorian, fulfilling a lifelong dream to design for Star Wars.
Of course, Shawna was most known for her enormous contributions to Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni’s shows in the Star Wars Universe. She designed multiple seasons of The Mandalorian, as well as The Book of Boba Fett and most recently Ahsoka, which earned her the best notices of her career. She loved collaborating with Jon and Dave, who were the dream team for her, along with working with the actors and with her huge costume design team. To house all of her creations, Lucasfilm established a warehouse that held thousands of her costumes from all the shows. For her work, Shawna received multiple Emmy nominations and is nominated for Oustanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes for The Mandalorian Season 3 at the upcoming Emmys, her third nomination. She won the Costume Designers Guild Award for Excellence in Sci-Fi/Fantasy Television for The Book of Boba Fett. A staple at every Star Wars Celebration, Shawna loved interacting with the fans and would often judge the cosplay competitions.”
Starwars.com also shared a tribute in Trpcic’s memory, which reads in part:
“She was considered something of a Star Wars historian by her peers, reading every making-of book she could find to better understand the techniques used in the films during various eras. In her studies, she specifically sought out material that included discussions between George Lucas and his designers and concept artists, which became the foundational ideas of her never-ending research into Star Wars costume design.
Trpcic worked closely with show runners/producers Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau as well as the entire cast and crew on The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Ahsoka, approaching her work with surgical precision.
‘Shawna had a deep love and appreciation for Star Wars,’ says Filoni. ‘You can see that in every piece of work she did with us. She loved everything about being a part of these stories, including connecting with fans and being a part of that community. I feel like she has always been a part of Star Wars. Her costumes tell a story, providing the suggestion of a life experience that happened before the cameras rolled. I loved collaborating with Shawna, and I will miss her presence.’
‘Her creativity brought this world to life,’ adds Favreau. “She will be deeply missed both as a friend and as a colleague.’”
io9’s thoughts go out to Trpcic’s family, friends, and colleagues at this difficult time.
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