Star Wars Behind the Scenes

Remember the magic of seeing Star Wars: A New Hope for the first time? (Maybe you even saw it before people called it A New Hope). These Star Wars behind the scenes images take us back to some elegant moviemaking from a more civilized age.

Ready? May the force… well, you know.

Stay Cool, Threepio

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Keeping Anthony Daniels as comfortable as possible in a stifling costume during filming in Death Valley, California — which stood in for Luke’s planet of Tatooine — was a very real concern. 

Star Wars also shot many Tatooine scenes in Tunisia.

Clothes Makes the Wookie

Credit: 20th Century Fox

OK, maybe these aren’t exactly “clothes,” but… you know what we mean. These fur pieces and the bandolier strap helped transform Peter Mayhew into everyone’s favorite co-pilot.

One of the artisans who brought Chewbacca to life was makeup artist Stuart Freeborn, whose other contributions to cinema included designing the apes in the 2001 “Dawn of Man” sequence and designing Yoda in the first Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back.

The Skywalker Twins

Star Wars behind the scenes Luke and Leia
Credit: 20th Century Fox

The chemistry and warmth between Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as Luke and Leia helped us quickly fall in love with Star Wars, even though it wasn’t clear at the start if their love was romantic — that quick kiss? — or more brother-sister.

The confusion continued at the start of The Empire Strikes Back, until Leia and Han Solo finally connected — and Return of the Jedi finally explained why Luke and Leia they felt such a connection.

The Medal Scene

Credit: 20th Century Fox

The award scene that triumphantly ends Star Wars: A New Hope was an even grander affair than we realized, as these behind the scenes images reveal.

The dress code? Denim on denim.

Ham Solo

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Above, an outtake from one of the most iconic images of Star Wars: A New Hope, in which Harrison Ford, right, as Han Solo, kiiiind of oversells it.

Ford, who appeared in Lucas’ film American Graffiti and his friend Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, famously scored the part of Han Solo while helping audition other actors for the film.

Hands Off, Pal

Credit: 20th Century Fox

George Lucas, center, was a car-mad gearhead from Modesto, California who went on to create perhaps the greatest film franchise of all time, which evolved from a complicated story of “Luke Starkiller” to a soaring epic about a boy, a girl, and a mysterious Force that bounds the whole universe together.

He’s seen above with Peter Cushing as Moff Tarkin and Carrie Fisher as his young adversary, Princess Leia Organa.

Stormtroopers Unmasked

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

It’s fascinating to consider that when young actors Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford donned these white suits, they had no idea if they were making something cool, or a total dud.

Neither could have guessed that it would be one of the most acclaimed, successful and beloved pictures of all time.

The People’s Princess

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Carrie Fisher was 19 when she made Star Wars. The child of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, she was Hollywood royalty — which didn’t mean her childhood was easy. Her father famously left her mother and married her best friend, Elizabeth Taylor, when Carrie Fisher was just two years old.

But as Princess Leia, Fisher never left a moment of doubt that she was intergalactic royalty. And good with a blaster, too.

The Princess Diaries, Fisher’s memoir of working on Star Wars — including her perspective on her secret relationship with Harrison Ford — is essential reading for Star Wars fans.

Ready for His Close-Up

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Chewbacca — okay, Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca — takes a well-deserved break from filming Star Wars.

Hey, you saw all that fur. It’s heavy.

The Body (But Not the Face or the Voice) of Darth Vader

Credit: 20th Century Fox

It took several men to create one man as intimidating as Darth Vader: Actor and bodybuilder David Prowse (above) formidably inhabited Vader’s mechanically augmented costume, while James Earl Jones provided his voice.

When we finally saw Darth Vader’s pale, badly scarred visage in Return of the Jedi, his face was that of yet another performer: Sebastian Lewis Shaw. And the young Vader would of course be played in the prequels by Hayden Christensen.

Darth Vader vs. Ben Kenobi: The Rehearsal

Credit: 20th Century Fox

The image above, of Prowse and Alec Guinness, who played Ben Kenobi, is a reminder that for all the awe and majesty it inspires, Star Wars was the result of hard work and commitment by real people with no Jedi powers.

Guiness was the only member of the cast who was a bona fide screen icon before the release of Star Wars, given that he’d already won an Oscar for Best Actor in 1957’s The Bridge on the River Kwai and was one of the biggest stars of the 1950s and 1960s.

He received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role in Star Wars, and the film was nominated for 12 Oscars in all, including for Best Picture and Best Director for creator George Lucas. It won eight.

Just Another Day at the Star Wars Office

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Just a run-of-the-mill drive for Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.

As they made a space epic that would fire imaginations around the world, Ford stayed grounded by reading about Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter or OPEC or who knows what.

Liked These Star Wars: A New Hope Behind the Scenes Images?

Credit: 20th Century Fox

There are even more here. You may also enjoy our list of every Star Wars movie, ranked.

Main image: Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher in a Star Wars behind the scenes image. 20th Century Fox.