As the world gears up for the release of the much anticipated Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it’s important to remember where the series came from. From a modern lens, the original trilogy may not seem too impressive, but the films utilized groundbreaking technology and filming techniques that would influence movies for generations.
We pay homage to the original Star Wars trilogy by looking at behind the scenes photos that capture just how groundbreaking the films really were:
Behind the scenes of the iconic "I am your father" scene from The Empire Strikes Back.
Cast members celebrate Alec Guinness' birthday on the Tunisian set of A New Hope.
The actors inside the R2D2 and C-3PO costumes—Kenny Baker and Anthony Daniels—actually ended up as enemies in real life. Baker said of Daniels in 2009, "He looked down his nose at me like I was a piece of shit."
Rather than hire thousands of extras, Star Wars utilized matte paintings that create an illusion of a real environment.
Actor Anthony Daniels came to resent his role as C-3PO, telling People magazine in 1983 that he "would have liked to smash the costume up with a sledgehammer."
Carrie Fisher poses with a Gamorrean guard, one of Jabba the Hutt's lackeys, on the set of Return Of The Jedi.
Inspired by Paraceratherium, the largest land mammal in history, AT-ATs were filmed using stop-motion animation that produced their mechanical gait.
Despite freezing temperatures during filming in Norway, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill enjoy a laugh.
Prior to joining the cast of Star Wars, Alec Guinness was a renowned theater actor. Though he referred to the script as "fairy tale rubbish," he would go on to call A New Hope a "staggering spectacle" after his first viewing of the film.
Although Dagobah appears to be an Amazonian landscape, these scenes were captured entirely in a London studio.
The actors behind Chewbacca and R2D2 take a break onset.
Luke Skywalker's epic fall was, in reality, broken by a pile of mattresses.
Carrie Fisher and her body double get some sun in between shots.
At 12 years old, Warwick Davis was the youngest cast member for Return Of The Jedi, where he played the Ewok Wicket.
The Millennium Falcon, looking slightly less high-tech than usual.
The suit used for C-3PO was notoriously clunky, which made movement and communication incredibly difficult for actor Anthony Daniels. Here, Harrison Ford helps up his immobile colleague.
Princess Leia fails to take her captors seriously.
Carrie Fisher enjoys a nap during filming of The Empire Strikes Back.
A rare shot of a Tusken Raider without his mask.
A costume designer puts the finishing touches on Darth Vader's outfit.
Extras from A New Hope's Mos Eisley Cantina scene pose for a photograph.
A behind the scenes look at one of Return Of The Jedi's climactic battles.
Mark Hamill endures a less than comfortable position while filming the scene in which he is held captive by a Wampa, during the opening scenes of The Empire Strikes Back.
A classic walk'n'talk shot, decades before The West Wing made it a cliche.
Boba Fett, looking slightly less threatening without the helmet.
Director Irvin Kershner poses with some of the bad guys from The Empire Strikes Back.
An intimate moment between director and star.
Princess Leia's gold bikini became a nerd fantasy staple following its appearance in Return Of The Jedi.
An unoccupied shot of the carbonite freezing machine.
George Lucas gives some direction to Anthony Daniels.
At least we have proof that Carrie Fisher shot first.
Billy Dee Williams enjoys a coffee between takes.
George Lucas has a quick pow wow with his stars between takes on The Empire Strikes Back.
Harrison Ford, taking a break from trying to fix that pesky hyperdrive.
The cast goof off between takes.
Behind the scenes of Luke's first meeting with the droids.
Anthony Daniels struggles to not be cooked in his suit by the unforgiving sun.
"Excuse me Mr. Lucas, that was my turkey club."
Kenny Baker enjoys a breath of fresh air.
Princess Leia, delighted to be rescued from the exploding sail barge.
The cast and crew take a moment in the bushes.
Kenny Baker enjoys a sandwich while still in costume as R2D2.
We're pretty sure this scene didn't make the cut.
Another revealing shot of Luke and Vader's epic battle in The Empire Strikes Back.
The disappointing real-life lightsabers.
Carrie Fisher takes a break from all that running around.
Yoda and Mark Hamill get a visit from the Muppets while shooting The Empire Strikes Back.
Years later, this scene in which Han most definitely shot first would be subject to the most controversial re-edit in movie history.
A young Warwick Davis bewitches Carrie Fisher on the set of Return Of The Jedi.
Thanks to Dorkly, StarWars.com, and The Week.
Enjoy these epic photos from the making of the original Star Wars? Then check out our other galleries on rare Star Wars photographs and PBH2's collection of Star Wars propaganda posters.