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Monday, 23 October 2017

'STAR WARS' AT 40: DARK PURSUER!


Previously, the Rebel X and Y-wing fighters speeding down the trench ahead of him had been easy kills, but Darth Vader is finding this last singular X-wing fighter a tricky one to get into the sights of his targeting computer, sensing an intriguing and potentially worryingly amount of Force ability in the pilot's moves. Great art of Vader in his prototype TIE fighter by Bryan Barger.

Dave Prowse in the TIE fighter cockpit at Elstree in Summer 1976.

Vader's TIE fighter cockpit scenes were shot alongside other TIE pilot footage around July 7th, 1976 at Elstree Studios (either Studios 2 or 4). At this point in the film, Dave Prowse was almost at the end of his time filming, looking forward to getting out of his costume after four very hot months. He'd recall to the FILM REVIEW magazine in 1997: "We thought we were just doing yet another science fiction movie. Nothing was ever ready, and the production personnel were always arguing and fighting. It was a funny situation. The only giveaway that we were doing something big were the sets, which were absolutely fantastic."

With the rush to get the cockpit footage in the can, watch the finished film and you can clearly see there are some scenes where the Vader helmet has not been attached properly, whilst some footage is flipped and reused in post production, presumably because very little had been prior shot.

A short time after the Elstree shoot, due to film negative footage of Vader and one of the wingmen going missing between the UK and US, ILM assistant cameraman Doug Smith would don the Vader costume for a replacement cockpit scene shot in the US, whilst model making veteran Paul Huston would don the TIE pilot gear.

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