7 Things You Might Not Know About the Making of the Star Wars Prequels

Learn how Revenge of the Sith's massive Wookiee army wasn't as big as it seemed and much more!

When you have strong feelings about a fictional universe and find yourself longing for more stories, go behind the scenes. Seeking out production interviews, featurettes, and other making-of material will scratch your itch and educate you about the countless details and decisions that go into making a “fake” world come alive. You can turn to dozens and dozens of sources that look at life on the other side of the camera for Star Wars films. These are just some of the facts you can learn about the making of the prequel trilogy.

The Phantom Menace - Theed Palace

1. Furniture Mileage

Interiors for the Theed Palace on Naboo were shot in Caserta, Italy. When it was time to return to the elegant locale in Attack of the Clones, they were able to redress the the set to match items seen in The Phantom Menace because the palace furniture was stored at Skywalker Ranch. The items were first shipped from California to Australia for inspection. Then, they went from Australia to Italy. That’s some incredibly well-traveled furniture. [Source: Mythmaking: Behind the Scenes of Attack of the Clones]

Revenge of the Sith - Mustafa

2. Threatening Lava

Nothing about Mustafar was welcoming. At all. Introduced in Revenge of the Sith, the volcanic and hostile planet came with a unique look and frightening sounds. David Acord, assistant sound editor on that film, said the sound the lava pops made were actually shotguns. [Source: The Sounds of Star Wars]

The Phantom Menace - Mos Espa Hangar

3. Podracing Details

Some shots of the Mos Espa Podrace Hangar in The Phantom Menace featured an intricately-built model. As always, no detail was neglected. They used real silk for the drapery in the model and constructed a functioning gantry (an overhead scaffold). And more unbelievably, they accurately scaled down sand by using digital calipers to get the width of a grain of sand on the full-size set and measuring down. To ensure the grains were just right, they created their own sand in a cement mixer. [Source: Sculpting a Galaxy]

Revenge of the Sith - Wookiees

4. Wookiee Tricks

An army of Wookiees appeared in Revenge of the Sith, but their numbers weren’t all they seemed to be. To differentiate the warriors, it was all about switching up the props. Costume-props modeler Ivo Coveney said the Wookiees were the first thing they tackled for Episode III even though they were in almost the last scenes to be filmed. Rather than dressing the entire battalion, they only had eight Wookiee suits. Interchangeable props such as weaponry and armor pieces gave the Wookiees distinct looks. [Source: Dressing a Galaxy: The Costumes of Star Wars]

Attack of the Clones - Picnic on Naboo

5. A Magical Mix

Paul Huston combined practical model-making with digital matte painting to achieve certain vistas in the prequels. In Attack of the Clones, he used the technique to create the sweeping background of Anakin and Padmé’s picnic on Naboo. The waterfall cliffs in the back were made from painted aluminum and photographed outside, while the ground was a furry brown carpet. Both were manipulated, enhanced, and combined with digital video footage of waterfalls. [Source: Sculpting a Galaxy]

Attack of the Clones - Geonosians at the Arena

6. One Alien to Another

The look of the Geonosians in Attack of the Clones were inspired by a design for Neimoidians for Episode I. George Lucas liked the unused Neimoidian head design so much he had it altered and changed to fit onto a bug-like body. Since, at the time, Lucas was dealing with a termite problem in his home, he brought in a jar of the critters to help inspire the illustrators. [Source: Mythmaking: Behind the Scenes of Attack of the Clones]

Revenge of the Sith - Boga

7. Vocal Varactyl

Boga helped Obi-Wan navigate the terrain of Utapau in Revenge of the Sith and struck me as a helpful creature. Its vocals were mixed from a variety of sources including some dog and coyote yelps pulled from Skywalker Sound’s library, and a Tasmanian devil that was originally recorded for Willow. [Source: The Sounds of Star Wars]

Amy Ratcliffe is a writer obsessed with Star Wars, Disney, and coffee. Follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek.