As alarms sound and Stormtroopers and officers race to their positions, the Death Star's fully manned rotating laser turret areas are blasting away at the descending X-wing fighters now beginning strafing runs across the surface of their space station, in a classic moment from the original STAR WARS.
Filmed at the near end of Summer 1976 production at Elstree, the large set would make use of existing wall sections created previously for other Death Star interiors, including the tractor beam power terminal. At least three gun turret props were created for the sequence, though the third background one may have been a cardboard blow-up (to save on the construction budget).
|One of the turrets explodes in a moment barely in the finished movie.|
|A massive detonation, only seen in photo form with this original 1977 TOPPS card.|
Several images of Stormtroopers and gunners at work or readying their equipment on the set were taken during filming by the stills set photographers, as well as pyrotechnic work where stuntmen (presumably Colin Skeaping, Peter Diamond or Reg Harding) would land on nearby mattresses hidden out of camera sight (but seen in the above B/W still). Script Supervisor Ann Skinner also took two so far unpublished B/W Polaroids of the costumed extras in and around the various sets and equipment.
|Stormtroopers at the ready. Note what looks like a cut-out cannon at the far end.|
With thanks to Ann Skinner and the BFI.