We’re here at the Behind the Scenes stage! J.W. Rinzler, Brandon Alinger, and Delia Greve have taken the stage.
Originally, publishers weren’t interested in the book, Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy.
Alinger: “The reason a book like this is possible is because of George Lucas.” The team visited the Lucasfilm Archives to photograph and catalog costumes in new ways. Currently playing the book’s trailer.
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFMUUCCb9h8
The three costume designers of the original trilogy gave interviews and insight for the creation of the book.
“We were very fortunate to have their support…The other key person is Ralph McQuarrie. He was so influential in [creating] the look of many things in the Star Wars universe.” Alinger and the team went through McQuarrie’s paintings, comparing the evolution from concepts to film.
They accessed original sketchbooks, breaking down characters and what they should look like. George Lucas suggest a Western movie feel for many.
There were almost no vintage interviews around the time of Empire regarding costumes. The sketchbooks helped fill in those blanks.
They also had access to the “costume bible” for Return of the Jedi, which broke down costumes in detail.
A number of the costumes on the first film came from a costume rental facility — massive spaces with lots of options. For Imperials, Lucas wanted no buttons or zippers — too Earthly.
Brian Muir sculpted the Darth Vader helmet, among many others.
One of the first costumes they started for Empire was the supertrooper — which became Boba Fett. Lucas liked the helmet so much, he asked that that design become Boba.
One of the most challenging Empire costumes was the Bespin security guard. They spent a lot of time on the design. There are 8 different designs in the Lucasfilm Archives.
All new stormtrooper armor was made for ROTJ. Jedi was the first time that most of the costumes were made by a US crew.
For the Ewoks, molds of all the actors’ hands and feet were taken to make sure the costumes fit properly.
Lando’s helmet (when undercover at Jabba’s palace) was inspired by a baseball glove. One of the designers put a glove on his head, liked the way it looked, and went from there.
The Y-wing pilot helmet was designed with the idea that it could break apart in an emergency (!).
Vader’s mask and dome were built anew for Jedi; the neck brace is the same as used in Empire.
The crew also built promotional Vader costumes used for movie openings, events, etc.
Fan questions! Is there a digital copy of the book? Not as of yet.
Did Leia costume get lost between ANH and ESB? They’re different costumes — but Leia’s classic white dress from ANH is missing. The same is true for Luke and Vader’s original costumes.
Archiving and cataloging the costumes is an ongoing process. When filming wrapped, many costumes weren’t properly stored and cataloged.
On Han’s ESB jacket, is there stitching on the sleeve below the pocket? Yes! One of the original jackets is on display at Celebration.
How big are the Archives? And why did Boba’s armor change color between movies?
There are about 5 different Boba helmets — some for stunts, some for promo appearances, some for scenes. Alinger could not uncover an answer for color changes.
Why did Vader look shinier and bigger in the later films? His mask vent was bigger so that actor David Prowse could breathe easier and other actors could hear him more clearly. Also, the creators just wanted to improve the costumes. C-3PO had a new costume, a new Millennium Falcon model was built, etc.
Did costume designers have input on weapon design? Generally, weapons were considered props, so they wouldn’t involve costume designers.
The stormtrooper blaster rifle, however, was designed for someone left-handed. This was a problem, as most of the extras playing troopers were righties.
Alinger is working on a Ralph McQuarrie book, and says they’ve found an original lightsaber prop while researching — complete with stunt blade.
The Archives are huge. Thousands of props and costume elements.
What surprised Alinger most in the Archives? In a box of stormtrooper belts, Alinger found the prototype white Boba Fett belt.
Why did Rebel pilot costumes seem mismatched? Everything was deliberately designed. On the whole, the consistency is very good.
Putting the stormtroopers in white was an interesting choice, Rinzler points out. It’s a color usually associated with good. But the Imperials were supposed to appear clean, highly technological.
And that’s it! Thanks for joining us!
TAGS: Star Wars Celebration