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Monday, 30 May 2016

BEHIND THE SCENES: THE TRACTOR BEAM TERMINAL

Danger at the Tractor Beam terminal, in this scene from the original STAR WARS.

Having finally found his way to one of the Tractor Beam power terminals within the Death Star, a sneaking in and out Obi-Wan Kenobi deactivates the power source that has previously ensnared the Millennium Falcon, in this posed image specially taken for publicity purposes. The two Stormtrooper guards seen in the film that block one side of the Tractor Beam bridge area would be transplanted to the higher level for reasons of dramatic license for the image capturing. This famous shot would appear in many publications of the day but by the nineties would also have an animated power beam added/airbrushed to it.

The Tractor Beam terminal lights are turned on. Note the misty special effect not seen in the film.
On an upper walkway, Kenobi discovers the Tractor Beam terminal, in this deleted moment.
Filming of the scene, as shown in The Making of Star Wars.
Graham Freeborn was Sir Alec Guinness's primary make-up artist on the film.
Great high-up angle showing the filming on the set, prior to post production matte overlay.
Just a few feet off the floor, Guinness prepares for filming as Clapper-boy Jamie Harcourt lines up the shot.
Rehearsing the moment when Kenobi distracts the Stormtrooper duo.

Filmed at Elstree Studios, the set was mostly a redress of the chasm area that Luke and Leia swung across. A prior scene of Obi-Wan Kenobi on the higher bridge walkway seeing the Tractor Beam level below was filmed but didn't make the final cut. According to Script Supervisor Ann Skinner's continuity script, having deactivated the beam and avoided the Trooper's gaze, Obi-Wan moved back into the corridor and walked briskly past a grey "dustbin droid".

Deleted scene in corridor footage: Ben Kenobi in Corridor - Sendvid

With thanks to Ann Skinner and the BFI

With thanks to Chris Baker

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