In 1977, the world was introduced to the Skywalkers, Darth Vader, Yoda and the rest of the Star Wars universe. Star Wars soon became iconic in popular culture. Its cinematography was light years ahead of its time. The original 1977 movie started with the rebel force acquiring the plans to the Death Star. 39 years after, the force was still strong with its fans who patiently waited to finally discover how the plans of the Death Star was stolen in a standalone movie, Rouge One. Now, this year, Star Wars fans celebrate the 40th anniversary of the world that George Lucas built. Or perhaps, it should be referred to as an empire or a legacy. Here are some behind the scenes facts about the creation of this legacy.
- One of George Lucas’s inspirations for Star Wars was old Western movies. Han Solo is actually representative of the cowboy figure in western movies and the cowboy inspiration can be seen in his costume.
- The sound designer, Ben Burtt collected an extensive library of sounds for the movie. Chewbacca’s growls were actually compiled mostly from the sounds of bears but also from other animals like walruses and lions. Burtt recorded Darth Vader’s breathing sound by breathing inside a scuba divers mask. The combined sounds of an extended elephant call and a car screeching on a wet pavement became the sound of TIE fighter engines.
- Props were often created out of existing objects. The now iconic light saber was created out a flash gun from an old Graflex film camera. Roger Christian utilized a lot of airplane scraps to create a significant amount of the props and set design for Star Wars.
- Darth Vader’s mask was assembled out of a Japanese Samurai helmet. It was painted black, and then fitted with the rest of the ensemble which included a part of a world war mask.
- Anthony Daniels who played C-3PO would sometimes be left in his suit when filming wasn’t happening. At the start, he had a lot of cuts for the suit and he purposefully damaged one of C-3PO’s arms to make sure that he got an improvised suit.
- A lot of effort went into filming the different parts of the movie. During the blast scenes, the parts of the props were cut in certain ways called break patterns so that they would break apart in a certain way during the explosion.
- When they were filming in California Redwoods, Chewbacca was told not to go wandering around in costume for the fear of him being mistaken as Bigfoot by hunters.
- The Bantha’s in New Hope were actually elephants in costumes
- There were no clone trooper costumes as they was created with CGI.
- Makeup artist and designer, Stuart Freeborn modeled Yoda’s face based on his own face shape.
Images from http://www.starwars.com/