SWCA: Star Wars Costumes Panel Liveblog

Follow along as Lucasfilm executive editor J.W. Rinzler, Brandon Alinger, author of Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy, and Delia Greve, senior editor at Becker Mayer discuss the costumes of the three films that started it all!

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:13 pm

We’re here at the Behind the Scenes stage! J.W. Rinzler, Brandon Alinger, and Delia Greve have taken the stage.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:14 pm

Originally, publishers weren’t interested in the book, Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:16 pm

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.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:16 pm

Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFMUUCCb9h8

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:17 pm

The three costume designers of the original trilogy gave interviews and insight for the creation of the book.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:19 pm

“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.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:20 pm

They accessed original sketchbooks, breaking down characters and what they should look like. George Lucas suggest a Western movie feel for many.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:21 pm

There were almost no vintage interviews around the time of Empire regarding costumes. The sketchbooks helped fill in those blanks.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:22 pm

They also had access to the “costume bible” for Return of the Jedi, which broke down costumes in detail.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:24 pm

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.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:27 pm

Brian Muir sculpted the Darth Vader helmet, among many others.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:28 pm

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.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:29 pm

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.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:33 pm

All new stormtrooper armor was made for ROTJ. Jedi was the first time that most of the costumes were made by a US crew. 

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:34 pm

For the Ewoks, molds of all the actors’ hands and feet were taken to make sure the costumes fit properly.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:36 pm

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.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:37 pm

The Y-wing pilot helmet was designed with the idea that it could break apart in an emergency (!).

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:38 pm

Vader’s mask and dome were built anew for Jedi; the neck brace is the same as used in Empire.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:39 pm

The crew also built promotional Vader costumes used for movie openings, events, etc.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:40 pm

Fan questions! Is there a digital copy of the book? Not as of yet.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:41 pm

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.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:43 pm

Archiving and cataloging the costumes is an ongoing process. When filming wrapped, many costumes weren’t properly stored and cataloged.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:46 pm

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.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:46 pm

How big are the Archives? And why did Boba’s armor change color between movies?

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:47 pm

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.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:49 pm

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.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:50 pm

Did costume designers have input on weapon design? Generally, weapons were considered props, so they wouldn’t involve costume designers. 

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:50 pm

The stormtrooper blaster rifle, however, was designed for someone left-handed. This was a problem, as most of the extras playing troopers were righties.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:51 pm

Alinger is working on a Ralph McQuarrie book, and says they’ve found an original lightsaber prop while researching — complete with stunt blade. 

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:52 pm

The Archives are huge. Thousands of props and costume elements.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:52 pm

What surprised Alinger most in the Archives? In a box of stormtrooper belts, Alinger found the prototype white Boba Fett belt.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:56 pm

Why did Rebel pilot costumes seem mismatched? Everything was deliberately designed. On the whole, the consistency is very good.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:57 pm

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.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 20151:58 pm

And that’s it! Thanks for joining us!