In a galaxy far, far away, some behind-the-scenes photos were taken of one of the most popular franchises to date, Star Wars. Today, fans of the Skywalker saga have seen everything from puppets to a CGI Yoda on the big screen.
But these rare pictures show what happened during creation of the original trilogy before the cameras even started rolling. The photos depict things like the man inside the R2-D2 costume and models of the Millennium Falcon. Strap in and enjoy these behind-the-scenes images.
Chewie And His Makeup Artist
It’s amazing that the famous Chewbacca mask was put together by one man, Stuart Freeborn. His wife, Kay Freeborn, hand-knit the torso of the large costume. Underneath the furry mask and sharp teeth is the actor who played the lovable Wookiee in the original trilogy, Peter Mayhew.
After coming up with the idea for Chewie’s costume, Freeman had to go through multiple prototypes before he found the perfect combination of materials. The furry costume is comprised of a few different animal furs, including yak hair and mohair.
George Lucas And C-3PO In A Stare-Down
What says Star Wars more than a picture of universe creator George Lucas and the gold-plated C-3PO on Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine? It’s a depiction of the infamous humanoid and his creator, who, technically speaking, is Lucas and not Anakin!
This picture now holds a special place in entertainment history, as it went viral in 2016 after Jay Jones, author of George Lucas: Life, used the picture for the cover of his book.
Even Obi-Wan Kenobi Needs Birthday Cake
In between saving Luke and fighting Darth Vadar, Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Sir Alec Guinness, was able to celebrate his birthday. This picture shows Guinness enjoying a well-earned treat, alongside fellow Jedi Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, creator George Lucas, and producer Gary Kurtz.
It goes to show that even the fiercest fighters in the galaxy need time to stop and celebrate life. And there is no better way to do that than surrounded by friends and a nice cake!
R2-D2’s Stunt Double
R2-D2 is the sassy droid that always seems to be the one to get the main trio of Luke, Han, and Lei out of every sticky situation. Does anyone remember the garbage compactor scene? The Skywalker saga almost ended before it began!
In this picture, the remote-controlled R2 model is getting a much-needed rewiring by special effects expert John Stears. In the picture, it looks more like R2 and his stunt double are being shut down, and the droid to the far right is taking over his duties!
Even Droids Get Thirsty
This photo shows that even droids, such as C-3PO, get thirsty on the dusty planet of Tatooine. Actor Anthony Daniels is the mastermind underneath all of the gold-plating that makes up C-3PO’s costume.
Unfortunately for the actor, the costume wasn’t the easiest to get out of, so he needed help drinking water! Daniels played the role of the droid from the first Star Wars film in 1997, up until the end of filming for the 2019 movie The Rise of Skywalker.
The Gang In The Millennium Falcon
Star Wars fans probably can’t help but smile when they see this picture showing Han, Leia, Luke, and Chewie sitting in the iconic Millennium Falcon. They seem so carefree and not as if they’re about to go headfirst into the Rebellion against the Empire.
All four actors portrayed their characters until the end of the Skywalker saga, with unused Leia footage being used for the late Carrie Fisher’s character in the final films and Han and Luke’s ghosts reappearing. Another actor also took over for Chewie, as Mayhew was beginning to use a cane.
Darth Vader Takes Off His Mask
In this picture, fans get to see the man behind the infamous Darth Vader mask. Lo and behold, it is not the same person who voices the iconic character, James Earl Jones. Instead, the actor who portrays the villain is David Prowse.
The photo shows Prowse enjoying his time by breathing freely while not behind the mask, while British cinematography Gilbert Taylor looks like he wants to keep shooting the scene so they can wrap up for the day!
Kenny Baker Takes Some Time Outside Of His R2-D2 Costume
Nothing earns you some time to play a game of chess quite like spending a day inside an R2-D2 costume. That is the exact activity Kenny Baker is taking advantage of in this behind-the-scenes photo. R2 had two designs throughout filming.
One was a remote-controlled droid that wheeled around on three legs. The other was a two-legged droid that Baker got inside of and controlled via remote. After the actor passed away in 2016, George Lucas paid tribute, calling Baker “the heart and soul of R2-D2.”
The Yoda Puppet And His Voice
This picture is quite amazing because it is a rare occurrence when fans see the voice behind the famous green puppet, Yoda. The man to the right of the Jedi master is Frank Oz, the mastermind behind the voice with odd speech patterns and backward talking.
Oz was born into a family of puppeteers, so, inevitably, he got into the trade, too. He went on to participate in the entire Skywalker saga, even reprising his voice acting in the animated series Rebels.
Good Thing The Mattresses Can’t Be Seen In The Movie
This iconic scene is from Return of the Jedi. A few huge plot points happen here: Vader reveals he’s Luke’s father, he also tells Luke there is someone close to him who is strong with the force, and lastly, Luke’s hand is cut off.
Although there is a lot of information being thrown around, mostly on Vader’s end, there is one thing that isn’t mentioned: the sea of mattresses that are haphazardly thrown below Mark Hamill!
Yoda And His Maker
Here, we see Stuart Freeborn perfecting Yoda’s wrinkly face with clay. Freeborn is known as the “grandfather of modern makeup design,” and is also credited with the creation and assembly of Chewie’s Wookiee costume. So, one could argue that he was a very important person to have on set.
It’s said that Freeborn based Yoda’s face on his own, as well as on the famous mathematician Albert Einstein. The puppet was re-designed in the prequel movies using computer animation technology, which allowed for elaborate fight scenes, something that wasn’t previously possible.
Carrie Fisher Taking A Quick Break From The Rebellion
Fighting a rebellion can’t be easy, as this picture showing Princess Leia, played by the late Carrie Fisher, taking a break between shots illustrates. Leia gets wrapped into the Star Wars saga right away, as she smuggles the plans to the Death Star away from the Empire via R2-D2.
Carrie Fisher portrayed the princess of Alderaan throughout the original films and recent sequels. That includes the final film of the Skywalker saga, The Rise of Skywalker, where they used previously-shot footage of Fisher from The Force Awakens.
Walkers Aren’t All That Intimidating
For fans of the saga, its common knowledge that the Empire has some pretty epic weaponry (even if they have horrible aim). Take, for instance, the terrain walkers that try their best to destroy everything and are difficult to take down.
This picture shows the walkers in a different and not-so-intimidating light. Animator Phil Tippett is seen here adjusting one of the tiny walker’s positions. Honestly, it makes sense that the machines wouldn’t be life-size, but we couldn’t help but wish for it.
Mark Hamill Signing Autographs On A Closed Set
During his busy schedule, Mark Hamill still found time to say hi to the young fans who swarmed the fence surrounding one of the Return of the Jedi sets. Considering they’re in what looks like a desert, our guess is they were getting ready to shoot the scene where Han is supposed to jump out of a hovercraft because he can’t pay back Jaba the Hut.
Even though Han is in a pickle, the scene is best known for Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia slave outfit.
The Death Star Is Kind Of Small
This picture shows creator George Lucas standing next to the model of the infamous Death Star, the most dangerous weapon in the galaxy that is under the Galactic Empire’s control. Interestingly, the Death Star Lucas is standing next to is technically the second and not the original.
We see the second version of the weapon in Return of the Jedi while it is still being built. Along with fixing the flaws that destroyed the first Death Star, this version is also larger.
Putting Together A Speed-Racer Scene
Phil Tippett shows his visual expertise once again in this behind-the-scenes photo. Here, he seems to be using a jury-rigged fishing pole attached to a model of Luke on one of the speed racers.
Unfortunately for all the kids who thought speeders were life-size and stunt-doubles were having amazing races on them, we hate to crush your dreams. The speeders are nothing more than molds with a few special effects thrown into the mix.
Star Wars Or Hamlet?
In this behind-the-scenes picture of Mark Hamill, fans get to see his goofy side. During one of the Return of the Jedi scenes, Hamill seemed to have found a prop skeleton head. Of course, when one finds such a prop, the only thing to do is a reenactment of Hamlet.
It’s a good thing Hamill didn’t miss out on the opportunity because who knows when another would come up! Hopefully, he didn’t get yelled at for moving props around the set, though.
The Men Behind The Ewoks
The Ewok species was created for a very specific purpose: for a primitive tribe of creatures to take down the Empire, a technologically advanced power. Ironically, Lucas originally wanted it to be the Wookiee species who took down the Empire. Still, when the time came, they were too technologically advanced, so Lucas created an entirely new species.
He thought up the Ewoks, the complete opposite of the Wookiees! And behind the little bear-like creatures, are the men pictured here!
Boba Fett Getting Ready To Take Flight
Boba Fett, played by Jeremy Bulloch, is arguably one of the most well-liked bounty hunters in the Star Wars universe. He is a clone that is raised by Jengo, the greatest mercenary of his time and a gifted warrior. He later became the template for the clone army, of which Boba was made to be part of.
In this picture, it’s hard to imagine Boba being an evil bounty hunter hired by Darth Vader to capture Han Solo. It’s just Bulloch getting strapped into a harness so he can fly!
The Ewoks Were Directing
This behind-the-scenes picture looks like the Ewoks wanted to try their hand at directing a few scenes on their forest moon of Endor. Considering they are primitive creatures and live in treehouses, the directors probably humored them before taking the clapperboard back!
Alas, the world will never know what the end of the Return of the Jedi would be like if the studio allowed Ewoks to run the show for a few takes.
Anthony Daniels Taking Direction From George Lucas
Here, George Lucas is giving C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels some direction going into the next scene of A New Hope, while the human-cyborg relations droid costume gets a little tune-up.
Considering the landscape in the picture, it’s safe to assume they are filming scenes on Tatooine. At first, Tatooine was going to be shot in the Philippines, but Lucas thought the jungle would make him “itchy.” Tatooine was relocated to Tunisia near the Sahara desert as well as in Death Valley, California.
Alien Prosthetics At The Ready
Although this looks like the beginning of the zombie apocalypse or a weird monster mask version of The Purge, it’s just Rick Baker and his highly skilled team of visual effects specialists. The monster prosthetics are very important in the Star Wars universe, as each planet has its own species plus visiting species.
Baker has won the Academy Award for Best Makeup seven times, out of 11 nominations. He decided to retire in 2015, after “CG stuff took away the animatronics.”
An R2-D2 Convention
This photo shows Kenny Baker, the actor who plays R2, and Brian Johnson, one of the special effects experts who worked on A New Hope. Although this looks like a pep-talk for all of the R2-D2 droids, they’re more like stunt doubles and extras.
Baker only gets into the costumes that have two legs. Any of the R2 machines that had three legs were solely controlled by a remote without an actor inside.
George Lucas Directing Carrie Fisher During Her Imprisonment
It’s hard to tell who is directing who in this picture. Even though it’s George Lucas’ job, Carrie Fisher made it a point to mimic him while in her hand-cuff prop! It wouldn’t be surprising if Fisher were directing herself, though. On set, Lucas was known for not speaking to the actors.
Gary Kurtz, the producer of A New Hope, has said that Lucas’ directions to the actors would consist of things like “go faster” and “be more intense,” but that was it.
The Millennium Falcon Model
All of the spacecraft models were put together in old warehouses, and the Millennium Falcon was no different. According to one of the commissioned production designers, Roger Christian, the Falcon set was the hardest to construct.
Christian wanted the interior to look like a submarine, so he went out and purchased old airplane scrap metal that no one else wanted. He would then break down jet engines and rearrange everything until it was just right.
From left to right are Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Carrie Fisher, and Peter Mayhew. These four worked together throughout the entire Skywalker Saga, aside from Mayhew’s Chewie, who was not seen in The Rise of Skywalker.
From the looks of this picture, these four had quite the time working together. There is smiling for the camera, and there is smiling that reaches a person’s eyes because they are that happy. These four are definitely in the latter category.
Mark Hamill Sitting In What Looks Like A Carnival Ride
During the speeder scenes, fans probably had no idea that it looked more like a carnival ride than an actual chase. Mark Hamill is sitting in the middle of the desert in up-cycled scrap metal attached to wrought iron that will spin around. Pretty genius.
George Lucas didn’t want anything to look new, according to Roger Christian. “[Lucas] didn’t want anything to stand out; he wanted it all real and used.” The idea was a “used future” concept.
Stormtrooper Helmets Ready For The Extras
The stormtroopers are soldiers on the side of the Galactic Empire. They’re under the leadership of Emperor Palpatine and his commanders, Darth Vader and Tarkin. During the stormtroopers’ design process, Lucas intended for them to look terrifying and yet cool with a clean finish.
The helmets are styled after skulls with a modern twist. In early versions of their origin, troopers were going to wield lightsabers and carry hand-held shields. As fans of the saga know, that didn’t happen.
Putting Together The Skywalker Residence
This photo shows the construction of the outside of the Skywalker residence. What it doesn’t show is the underground portion. That’s because set designers didn’t build the inside of the home.
When the characters walk down the stairs of the stone house, they walk into an already-constructed hotel in Matmata, Tunisia, called Hotel Sidi Driss. It is a traditional Berber underground building. The hotel decided to keep some of the original set pieces in their walls as a memento!
The Original Trio
In terms of the original trilogy, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill are the three names that jump to the forefront. They were the glue that held the three prequel movies together. They had instant chemistry on screen; something critics praised the trio for because it wasn’t common.
It was nice for fans to be able to see the trio throughout the newer movies, too. The Star Wars universe and the end of the Skywalker saga wouldn’t have been the same without them.