Shawna Trpcic, the Emmy-nominated costume designer who brought the galaxy far, far away to life through her work on the acclaimed Star Wars series The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Ahsoka, has passed away suddenly at the age of 56.
Trpcic died of unknown causes in Palm Desert on Wednesday, according to her daughter Sarah, who spoke with The Hollywood Reporter. She had taken a small personal vacation and died suddenly of a previously undiagnosed illness.
“Shawna was one of Hollywood’s preeminent science fiction costume designers – a creative force, a trusted collaborator and all-around delightful person for her friends and colleagues,” said her rep Tim Kressman, an agent at Gersh. “She was a beloved member of the Star Wars/Lucasfilm family as well as the community of costume designers and the Costume Designers Guild.”
He added, “Shawna was a dear friend and a dream client to work with.”
Born on Oct. 18, 1966 in Artesia, California, Trpcic initially aspired to be a truck driver in high school before an inspirational art teacher set her on the path to becoming an artist. She attended Otis College of Art and Design for fashion and worked with Bob Mackie’s team during her senior year.
Trpcic received her first costume designer credit in 1990 and began regular work on Lucasfilm productions in 2019 with the second season of The Mandalorian. She also worked on The Book of Boba Fett and most recently Ahsoka.
Her credits spanned beloved sci-fi and fantasy projects like Firefly, Angel, Torchwood, and Dollhouse as well as films such as The Cabin in the Woods and This Is the End, Dr. Horrible. The first TV pilot and series she designed was the original Power Rangers series, the first 40 episodes ever shot in America.
“Shawna had a deep love and appreciation for Star Wars,” said Ahsoka creator Dave 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.”
Added The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau: “Her creativity brought this world to life. She will be deeply missed both as a friend and as a colleague.”
Trpcic earned Emmy nominations for her work on The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and most recently season three of The Mandalorian. She also won a Costume Designers Guild Award for The Book of Boba Fett.
In an August interview with Gold Derby, Trpcic spoke about why she loved creating designs for the sci-fi genre: “What I enjoy about Star Wars…is I have total freedom within that genre. I find the challenge of creating something from nothing incredible. I love creating worlds. I love it when we go to a new planet. I love establishing a caste system within the planet: the workers, the government, the bosses. I love creating a believable society on each planet.”
She was as hardcore a Star Wars fan as you would ever hope to meet, and had a great many friends in fandom, who expressed shock and sorrow when they heard the news.
She is survived by her son Joseph and daughter Sarah. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to assist with expenses.
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