49 Fantastic Behind-The-Scenes Photos From The Original Star Wars Trilogy

Published December 18, 2015
Updated November 23, 2017

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:

Empire Strikes Back Luke Darth Vader
Behind the scenes of the iconic "I am your father" scene from The Empire Strikes Back.

Alec Guinness Birthday
Cast members celebrate Alec Guinness' birthday on the Tunisian set of A New Hope.

R2d2 And 3cpo
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."

Stormtroopers
Rather than hire thousands of extras, Star Wars utilized matte paintings that create an illusion of a real environment.

Hydrating 3cpo
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."

Gamorrean
Carrie Fisher poses with a Gamorrean guard, one of Jabba the Hutt's lackeys, on the set of Return Of The Jedi.

Filming At Ats
Inspired by Paraceratherium, the largest land mammal in history, AT-ATs were filmed using stop-motion animation that produced their mechanical gait.

Hoth
Despite freezing temperatures during filming in Norway, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill enjoy a laugh.

Obi Wan Kenobi
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.

Dagobah
Although Dagobah appears to be an Amazonian landscape, these scenes were captured entirely in a London studio.

Chewbacca And R2d2
The actors behind Chewbacca and R2D2 take a break onset.

Darth Vader And Luke Skywalker
Luke Skywalker's epic fall was, in reality, broken by a pile of mattresses.

star wars behind the scenes photos
Carrie Fisher and her body double get some sun in between shots.

Warwick Davis
At 12 years old, Warwick Davis was the youngest cast member for Return Of The Jedi, where he played the Ewok Wicket.

Shooting Millennium Falcon
The Millennium Falcon, looking slightly less high-tech than usual.

Helping Up 3CPO
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.

Carrie Fisher And Stormtroopers
Princess Leia fails to take her captors seriously.

Carrie Fisher Napping
Carrie Fisher enjoys a nap during filming of The Empire Strikes Back.

Bantha
A rare shot of a Tusken Raider without his mask.

Lint Brushing Darth Vader
A costume designer puts the finishing touches on Darth Vader's outfit.

Extras
Extras from A New Hope's Mos Eisley Cantina scene pose for a photograph.

Behind The Scenes Of Star Wars
A behind the scenes look at one of Return Of The Jedi's climactic battles.

Luke Held Captive By Wampa
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.

Behind The Scenes Star Wars
A classic walk'n'talk shot, decades before The West Wing made it a cliche.

Boba Fett
Boba Fett, looking slightly less threatening without the helmet.

Boba Fett And Darth Vader
Director Irvin Kershner poses with some of the bad guys from The Empire Strikes Back.

Kissing Vader
An intimate moment between director and star.

Carrie Fisher
Princess Leia's gold bikini became a nerd fantasy staple following its appearance in Return Of The Jedi.

Cloud City
An unoccupied shot of the carbonite freezing machine.

Directing
George Lucas gives some direction to Anthony Daniels.

Empire Strikes Back
At least we have proof that Carrie Fisher shot first.

Empire Strikes Back Behind The Scenes
Billy Dee Williams enjoys a coffee between takes.

George Lucas Star Wars
George Lucas has a quick pow wow with his stars between takes on The Empire Strikes Back.

Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford, taking a break from trying to fix that pesky hyperdrive.

Having A Laugh
The cast goof off between takes.

The Making Of Star Wars 20
Behind the scenes of Luke's first meeting with the droids.

In The Shade
Anthony Daniels struggles to not be cooked in his suit by the unforgiving sun.

Making Of Star Wars
"Excuse me Mr. Lucas, that was my turkey club."

Kenny Baker R2d2
Kenny Baker enjoys a breath of fresh air.

Mark Hamill Carrie Fisher
Princess Leia, delighted to be rescued from the exploding sail barge.

Moon Of Endor
The cast and crew take a moment in the bushes.

Sandwich
Kenny Baker enjoys a sandwich while still in costume as R2D2.

Scared
We're pretty sure this scene didn't make the cut.

Star Wars
Another revealing shot of Luke and Vader's epic battle in The Empire Strikes Back.

Star Wars Lightsaber Battle
The disappointing real-life lightsabers.

Taking A Break
Carrie Fisher takes a break from all that running around.

Visit From The Muppets
Yoda and Mark Hamill get a visit from the Muppets while shooting The Empire Strikes Back.

Who Shot First
Years later, this scene in which Han most definitely shot first would be subject to the most controversial re-edit in movie history.

Wookie
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.

author
Alec
author
Alexander is a cofounder of All That's Interesting with an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in History and Economics and an MSc from the School of Oriental and African Studies in Economics. He specializes in American history, the Cold War, and true crime.
editor
John Kuroski
editor
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Baldwin, Alexander. "49 Fantastic Behind-The-Scenes Photos From The Original Star Wars Trilogy." AllThatsInteresting.com, December 18, 2015, https://allthatsinteresting.com/star-wars-behind-the-scenes-photos. Accessed May 21, 2024.