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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

STAR WARS AT 35: THAT PONCHO...


In the then coldish March/April 1976 climes of the Star Wars Canyon in Tunisia, West Africa, actor Mark Hamill wears a brown lined poncho over his distinctive costume whilst in preparations to film a scene alongside Anthony Daniels as See-Threepio and Kenny Baker inside the squat Artoo Detoo shell. Hamill wears the distinctive apparel several other times in posed stills taken during the location filming, though he doesn't wear it in the actual filmed scenes of the completed movie. It's interesting to note that the poncho does not officially appear in the first STAR WARS movie until later in the film, where it looks like Luke has purchased it within the Mos Eisley spaceport (perhaps as part of an attempt to not stand out in the crowds-from a further missing scene or line of dialogue?) whilst selling the Landspeeder to Wioslea the speeder dealer. From then on, he wears it whilst heading to Docking Bay 94 and on his arrival at Yavin with Princess Leia. After that, it's never seen again in the film series (and I'm not even sure if it exists within the hallowed halls of the Lucasfilm Archives).

Hamill wearing the poncho for a mid-1977 posed photo shoot taken by famous cameraman Bob Seidemann.

Whether or not the Poncho was always originally planned as a costume design for Luke is not known for sure. I personally reckon it was an item that was acquired whilst the location filming was happening in Tunisia or about to happen (possibly from the London-based Bermans and Nathans, the film's primary costumer?), either by Hamill himself (if he originally purchased it, he may, perhaps, have kept it after filming?) or by costume designer John Mollo and then later found its way into being part of the film when the shoot transferred back to London. If anyone could provide any further information or confirmation on this bit of STAR WARS costume history, please get in touch...

6 comments:

Stinson Lenz said...

I believe that I have seen at least one Mollo costume sketch which included the poncho. Maybe in Rinzler's Making Of? I also feel like I've read that they had intended to use it more, along with that ridiculous boonie hat, but then ultimately cut it out (and I'm not sorry they did).

aficionadofan said...

Stinson, cheers for that info!

Lynn said...

On page 148 of Rinzler's book it says "Luke's poncho was just a straight blanket with some edging to it" (quote from Mollo). It also mentions the hats and that the hat idea was "abandoned".

aficionadofan said...

Thanks, Lynn!

kristine said...

Do you happen to know where I can get this poncho (lifesized, not the action figure kind)?

aficionadofan said...

I'm not sure. I think an official, specially made and sold poncho replica was available a few years back, so I'd keep checking online sites like ebay. Other than that, can anyone else out there help?