Shawna Trpcic, a renowned and highly skilled costume designer, made significant contributions to some of the most iconic science fiction productions, including “The Mandalorian,” “The Book of Boba Fett,” and “Ahsoka.” Her passion for the Star Wars universe and her dedication to her craft were evident in every project she undertook. Tragically, on October 6, 2023, at the age of 56, she unexpectedly passed away, leaving behind a legacy of creativity and inspiration cherished by generations of fans and colleagues. This tribute celebrates her remarkable life and career.
The Cause of Her Passing Remains Unconfirmed
Official information regarding Trpcic’s cause of death has not yet been disclosed by her family or representatives. However, her daughter, Sarah Trpcic, shared a heartfelt message on Instagram, revealing that her mother fell seriously ill and passed away suddenly while in Palm Desert. Sarah’s message expressed deep sorrow and admiration:
“My mom passed away yesterday morning. She was in Palm Desert with my dad when she got sick. We don’t know what it was yet. She was only 56. She was my best friend and my hero. She was the most amazing mom and wife and daughter and sister and friend. She was so talented and creative and funny and kind. She loved Star Wars and sci-fi and animals and nature and art and music and movies and books. She loved us so much. She made the world a better place. I miss her so much.”
Sarah also shared cherished photographs of her mother with family, friends, and colleagues, along with some of Trpcic’s stunning costume designs from Star Wars and other projects. She expressed gratitude for the support and condolences received and requested privacy during this challenging time.
A fundraising page has been set up to assist Trpcic’s two children, Joseph and Sarah Trpcic, in covering funeral expenses and related costs. The page beautifully describes Trpcic as “a loving mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, mentor, colleague, artist, adventurer, humanitarian, animal lover, Star Wars fanatic, sci-fi geek, and costume designer extraordinaire.”
A Career Spanning from “Bugsy” to “Ahsoka”
Shawna Trpcic was born in Artesia, California, in 1967. Her fascination with science fiction and comic books ignited at a young age, and by the age of 12, she aspired to become a costume designer. She pursued her dream by studying illustration at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where she crossed paths with her future husband, David Trpcic.
Her career began as an illustrator for films like “Bugsy” (1991) and “Toys” (1992), where she worked as an assistant to the costume designer, Albert Wolsky. Subsequently, she ventured into designing costumes for various sci-fi TV shows and movies, including “Firefly” (2002-2003), “Angel” (1999-2004), “Dollhouse” (2009-2010), “The Cabin in the Woods” (2012), “This Is the End” (2013), “Torchwood” (2006-2011), “Witches of East End” (2013-2014), “Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein” (2019), “Revival” (2020), “Carry Tiger To Mountain” (2021), “The Ballad of John St George” (2021), and many more.
Frequent collaborations with Joss Whedon earned her acclaim, with Whedon praising her work as “inventive, evocative, and playful.” She was also honored with a Costume Designers Guild Award for her contributions to “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” (2008), a web series created by Whedon.
However, her most noteworthy and recent work was within the Star Wars universe, where she made her mark after a fan of her work on “Firefly” invited her to tour Skywalker Ranch. This visit led to an encounter with George Lucas, who was captivated by her profound knowledge and passion for Star Wars. In subsequent years, she was chosen as the costume designer for “The Mandalorian” (2019-2021), “The Book of Boba Fett” (2021-2022), and “Ahsoka” (2022-2023).
Trpcic formed a close working relationship with Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, who entrusted her with creative freedom. She garnered three Emmy nominations for her work on “The Mandalorian” seasons two and three, as well as “The Book of Boba Fett.” Additionally, she earned another Costume Designers Guild Award for her exceptional work on “The Book of Boba Fett.”
Renowned for her extensive knowledge of Star Wars lore, she was regarded as a Star Wars historian among her peers. Her dedication led her to study the making of books related to the franchise, enabling her to grasp the techniques employed in various eras of Star Wars. She cherished interactions with fans and actively engaged with the Star Wars community, sharing behind-the-scenes photos and stories on her social media platforms and participating in conventions and events.
Her final project was “Ahsoka,” a spin-off series featuring Rosario Dawson as the beloved Jedi character. Trpcic contributed her creative genius to designing Ahsoka’s iconic white robes and headpieces, as well as crafting costumes for other characters and creatures. She incorporated subtle nods and references to other facets of the Star Wars universe, including “The Clone Wars” and “Rebels.”
Remembered and Honored by Peers and Fans Alike
Shawna Trpcic’s untimely passing left colleagues and fans deeply saddened. They expressed their condolences and paid tribute to her exceptional work and warm personality. Lucasfilm issued an official statement acknowledging her outstanding contributions:
“Shawna was one of Hollywood’s preeminent science fiction costume designers—a creative force, a trusted collaborator, and an all-around delightful person to her friends and colleagues. She was a beloved member of the Star Wars/Lucasfilm family and the Costume Designers Guild community.”
Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, with whom Trpcic closely collaborated, shared their heartfelt sentiments:
“Her creativity brought this world to life. She will be deeply missed both as a friend and as a colleague.”
“Shawna had a deep love and appreciation for Star Wars. 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.”
Numerous actors, creators, and contributors to the Star Wars universe also shared their memories and gratitude for Trpcic, including Rosario Dawson, Ming-Na Wen, Temuera Morrison, Katee Sackhoff, Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Deborah Chow, Rick Famuyiwa, Bryce Dallas Howard, Taika Waititi, Robert Rodriguez, Peyton Reed, Ludwig Göransson, and many others.
Fans from all corners of the world expressed their condolences and paid tribute to Trpcic on social media platforms, utilizing hashtags like #ThankYouShawna, #RIPShawnaTrpcic, #ShawnaTrpcicForever, and more. They lauded her work as “beautiful,” “amazing,” “incredible,” and “inspiring,” thanking her for bringing their beloved characters and stories to life.
Shawna Trpcic was an exceptionally talented costume designer whose influence on the Star Wars universe and the sci-fi genre is immeasurable. She was also a compassionate individual who held her family, friends, colleagues, fans, and animals close to her heart. Her unwavering love for Star Wars led her to fulfill her dream of contributing to the franchise she cherished. She was an American legend whose legacy will be cherished by those who knew her and admired her work. May her memory continue to inspire and may the Force be with her.