For this month's Star Wars At 40 entry, I thought I'd take a look at them...
|Perhaps the most iconic shot of a Stormtrooper from Star Wars, this is actually Harrison Ford in the sequence where Han and Chewie storm the control room on the Death Star. The ejected 'blank' cartridge can be seen below the muzzle flash.
|Ralph McQuarrie's original concept drawing of a Stormtrooper (note his lightsaber)
|still from the film, the hero helmet is on the left , the other two are the stunt versions
|Mark Hamill in the Death Star control room with his blaster
“And these blast points, to accurate for Sandpeople. Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise”
- Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars
|Sandtroopers at Docking Bay 94, doing their best to contradict Ben Kenobi
|One of my favourite of the original Topps UK run from 1977- scan of my card
Aside from some of her painting featuring as props in The World Of Suzie Wong (1960), her first film work was Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), for which she created the Star Child model and also assisted Stuart Freeborn in the creation of the ape-men masks. She was never officially credited for the film but Kubrick requested she work on building props for his next film, A Clockwork Orange (1971), for which she sculpted the nude female milk dispensers and tables at the Korova Milk Bar. She and Kubrick also worked together on his next film Barry Lyndon (1975).
John Barry, who had been Production Designer for A Clockwork Orange, drafted Liz in to work on his next project, "a space opera to be called Star Wars". She only worked on the film for a few months, but sculpted several concepts as well as the final approved suit for C3PO. She left the production in late January 1976 to join her boyfriend in Holland but Barry contacted her again, as the schedule called for Stormtroopers to be on location in Tunisia in March 1976 and the design wasn’t finalised. Working from a temporary workshop her boyfriend set up, she sculpted the helmet and returned to Elstree Studios where, after a few minor changes, George Lucas okayed the final design.
Liz Moore was tragically killed in a car accident on 13th August 1976 while working on Richard Attenborough’s A Bridge Too Far (1977). She was only 32 and never got to see her iconic Star Wars designs on screen.
Brian Muir was born on 15th April 1952 and began a four-year apprenticeship in woodwork and sculpture design at the Associated British Production Corporation at Elstree Studios in 1968. After completing his apprenticeship, he went to work for Bradfords of London where he designed a Coat of Arms for the Crown Court and a Plaque for the New London Stock Exchange, which was unveiled by the Queen of England.
In 1976 he was asked to go back to Elstree Studios and said, in interview, “Although I had a secure job and was told that it may only be six weeks work on Star Wars, I felt it was worth the risk as I would be back doing the work I loved. As it turned out I was on the production for five months and the gamble certainly paid off!” He sculpted the original Darth Vader mask, working from designs by Ralph McQuarrie, Norman Reynolds and John Mollo, as well as the Stormtrooper armour, the droid CZ3 and helped on the C3PO costume.
He has been much-in-demand in the film industry since, working with Lucasfilm again on Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981) (co-creating The Ark Of The Covenant) and Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984), he co-created the Space Jockey in Alien (1979) and worked on the Bond series from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) up to Skyfall (2012). He also worked on the latest Star Wars film Rogue One (2016).
|Another of my favourite images, this Sandtrooper on a Dewback features in the photo-section of Alan Dean Fosters novelisation - I waited for it to appear in the film but it's only seen very briefly from a distance.
|"These aren't the droids you're looking for..."
|"Dammit, I bet those were the bloody droids we were looking for..."
|On the Death Star
Propmasters - Liz Moore Sculptor
2001Italia - Tribute to Liz Moore
Laurie Goode (starwars.com)
2017 marks the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, which was released in the US on 25th May though it didn't hit the UK until 29th January 1978 (following a 27th December release in London). I was lucky enough to see it in early 1978 and it remains my favourite film to this day.
To mark the anniversary, I'll be running a year-long blog thread about the film with new entries posted on the first Monday of each month.
May The Force Be With You!
Find all the entries in the thread here
Find all the entries in the thread here