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Thursday, 23 February 2017

'STAR WARS' AT 40: HEADING TO THE CELL BAY


The disguised Han and Luke with their unique "prisoner" in Chewbacca stop at a lift shaft junction en route to the cell bay, watching a hive of people and the odd droid coming and going on a set at Elstree that was literally built next door to the chasm area and filmed in the first week of May, shortly after Luke and Leia's swing across. At least twenty extras in various specially made or adapted Bermans and Nathans rented-in costumes appeared in the scene, whilst the black/green droid was likely played by Anthony Daniels stand-in, Harriet Colville.

Our heroes arrive at the lift shaft area.
Reference image featuring Imperial extras, later used as reference at ILM.
Ralph McQuarrie's lovely production painting for the scene.
Ralph McQuarrie plans out the matte painting dimensions at ILM.
The side area matte painting as credited to Peter Ellenshaw. Note that the middle empty black strip actually made it into the finished film!

The set was extended and the chasm area concealed in post production by a matte painting from ILM that added further size and depth, planned out by Ralph McQuarrie but ultimately credited in final execution to DISNEY matte artist Peter Ellenshaw (as named in 'THE ART OF 'STAR WARS' book), aka Harrison Ellenshaw, who came in to help with the matte painting work load by 1977.

With thanks to Chris Baker for selected images.

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