Shawna Trpcic Dies: ‘The Mandalorian’, ‘Ahsoka’ & ‘Firefly’ Costume Designer Was 56

Shawna Trpcic, an Emmy-nominated costume designer best known for her work on several Star Wars series on Disney+ and her collaborations with Joss Whedon, died October 4, her agency Gersh and Lucasfilm confirmed. She was 56. A cause of death was not provided but Trpcic’s passing was unexpected; as recently as three days ago she was chronicling a desert trip on Instagram.

Born in Artesia, CA, Trpcic was always into science fiction and comic books. She attended Otis College of Art and Design for fashion where, in her senior year, she worked on Bob Mackie’s team.

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Trpcic 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 has build an impressive body of work since, becoming one of Hollywood’s pre-eminent science fiction costume designers. Trpcic described costume design as “creating fine art for the body because you’re creating this dimensional character, and I was hooked immediately.”

She worked on such Joss Whedon series as Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. as well as his movie The Cabin In the Woods.

Firefly fan who worked at Skywalker Ranch asked her if she would like a tour, and there Trpcic met George Lucas.  Fifteen years later, she received a call to work on The Mandalorian, fulfilling a lifelong dream to design for Star Wars.

Trpcic set up shop at Lucasfilm in 2019, joining the second season of The Mandalorian. She has since continued her work on that series and also served as costume designer of The Book of Boba Fett, and Ahsoka. Trpcic was nominated for an Emmy for her work on The Mandalorian Season 2 and The Book of Boba Fett, and won a Costume Designer’s Guild Award for her work on the latter. She is currently nominated for an Emmy for her work on The Mandalorian Season 3.

To house her creations, Lucasfilm established a warehouse in Los Angeles that held thousands of her costumes from all the shows.

“[Trpcic] 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,” Lucafilm’s obituary reads.

On the Star Wars shows, Trpcic worked closely with showrunners/producers Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau who both remembered her Friday.

“Shawna had a deep love and appreciation for Star Wars,” Filoni said. “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 Favreau, “Her creativity brought this world to life. She will be deeply missed both as a friend and as a colleague.”

A beloved member of the Star Wars/Lucasfilm family, Trpcic enjoyed interacting with fans and would often judge the cosplay competitions at Star Wars Celebrations.

Trpcic’s film and TV credits include The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run, K-Ville, Torchwood, Another Period, Second Chance and Swedish Ducks.

A proud member of the Costume Designers Guild, she was a staunch advocate for pay equity for costume designers.

Trpcic is survived by her mother Rana and her two children, Joseph and Sarah Trpcic. A fund has been created on behalf of her children. A memorial will be announced at a later date.

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