Monday 28 January 2019


Second Unit filming of the Rebel Blockade Runner scenes for the original Star Wars.

The opening to the film that started it all comes under more in-depth examination than ever at STAR WARS AFICIONADO, part of an occasional series of all-new articles showcasing classic scenes from the saga in ways you may not have experienced or noted of them previously, captured via deleted moments, rare and possibly unseen on-set photography covering alternate angles and scenes you'll see in a new light, plus alternate footage where possible. Shot at the end of Elstree Studios filming in July 1976, the Blockade Runner action was rapidly completed by at least three film units - the main one by Lucas, the second by Producer Gary Kurtz (additional soldier/Stormtrooper shots and escape pod interior droid scene), and the third handled by Production Manager Robert Watts (primarily capturing a lot of shots involving the droids).

In an unused angle, the droids started from the opposite end of a corridor as opposed to what was seen in the film. The silver droid was possibly played by Anthony Daniels stand-in Harriet Colville.
Propped up, the person inside the silver droid costume tries to relax between takes.


Artoo and Threepio (Anthony Daniels) pose for a special publicity image on set different to the famous colour image. Note that the weighty Artoo shell has drooped over slightly and one of his operational mandibles has come loose.

The classic images of Threepio and Artoo in the ship's corridor were probably shot on the very last day of first unit filming - 16th July, 1976, as indicated on that day's call sheet.

The Rebel soldiers gather, expecting the worse.

Great angle of the ready soldiers.
Getting ready to shoot the gathered soldiers. Reference image by Ann Skinner/BFI.

George Lucas prepares to shoot awaiting troopers and reaction shots. The trooper seen here is played by British extra Les Conrad.

Les and Shirley Conrad ESB, ROTJ, TPM - YouTube

Stuntman/actor Edward Eddon (or Eden) as a Rebel guard- the first close-up human face to be seen in Star Wars.

An early studio floor practical fire take of the hatch door. Note all the rising smoke rising up the set.


Alternate break-in take with the Stormtroopers. Notice the heavy debris floor and the different positions of the dead Rebel guards.

Alternate footage, as seen in the Empire of Dreams documentary.

More from that alternate take sequence. Four stuntmen were primarily used in that sequence, the others were supporting background artists.

Stormtroopers slip and slide in the alternate unused take.

A terrific posed shot of the Stormtroopers from a take where the corridor was less debris strewn. This image is presented here in the the correct way- often having been printed in reverse in magazines over the last forty-plus years.

Stormtroopers spread out across the ships interior. Image: via Star Wars Archives website
The Stormtroopers pursue the fleeing Rebels fleeing down the corridor in unused footage.

More: https://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.com/2015/05/behind-scenes-blockade-runner-battlers.html

Caught in the commotion in this rare outtake image on 1978 TOPPS card.

And caught in the crossfire too! The subsequent explosion near them was shot as a separate take and combined in later editing.
The main airlock aftermath scene is filmed. Continuity image: Ann Skinner/BFI.

A dark force enters the captured Blockade Runner.

The newly arrived Darth Vader (Dave Prowse) inspects the battle dead then gives orders in an unused take.

Then proceeds onwards followed by his soldiers.
The rest of Vader's Stormtroopers follow behind.


The aftermath of the corridor laser battle wall explosion sees Threepio caught up in fused wiring- a scene instead used in the aftermath of the TIE fighter attack on the Millennium Falcon.

Shot on a different day's filming, Threepio (as seen in the movie) enters the inner depths of the Blockade Runner (originally known as a 'Rebel Starfighter/Starship' in the script/call sheets).
Princess Leia emerges from hiding in this rarely seen outtake image.

Artoo on his own prior to filming the scene. Originally, before Lucas realized he needed lime green wall extensions for a bigger and better start to the film, all of the Blockade Runner scenes were to have been shot on this one limited set-apparently a redress of the Millennium Falcon's main hold area.

Specially shot smoke free image of the vital scene of Leia with Artoo.

Filming the scene, captured at an angle shot on Polaroid by Ann Skinner/BFI.
The remote controlled version of Artoo has an accident in this blooper moment captured as part of filming by Robert Watts and his unit crew.


On the same set (now smokeless, with a slightly redressed background), and in a scene situated after Leia is captured, Artoo prepares to activate an escape pod as Threepio moves forward.

The scene filmed on 12/7/76.

The card caption says it all!
Alternate angle, where we see a little inside the open escape pod.

On his way to the command area, Vader watches a prisoner escort go past.
Then walks towards the inner core command area.

Likely an image shot before a rehearsal/take of actors Peter Geddis and David Prowse talking.

The beginning of a take, as Vader strangles Antilles for information.
The take as captured for continuity by Ann Skinner/BFI.

The sequence was filmed on a very busy 9/7/76.

Vader tightens his grip on Antilles.

Note Antilles (Peter Geddis) standing on a support of some kind.
Peter Geddis prepares to die in Vader's grasp.

Antilles goes into a dead limp.

Peter Diamond plays Antilles for the bulkhead throw scene.

The search for the 'passengers' begins. A terrific shot showing great storytelling detail. Note the slumped dead Rebel trooper on the far right, killed in battle, and the corralled Rebel soldiers in the outside corridor.


Unable to hide any more, Princess Leia Organa prepares to fight.

A killer aim!

A Stormtrooper is felled as another rushes ahead.

Princess Leia is incapacitated.

The trooper looks towards the fallen Leia in an unused angle from the film, which instead uses a shot of troopers near the stunned body of the Princess.
Unused take of the unconscious Leia. Continuity image by Ann Skinner/BFI.

Filming Leia's capture scene on 9/7/76. All of the main scenes with Vader and the Imperial officers were filmed that day.

Carrie Fisher as Leia and her escorts stand on their marks ready to start filming.

Continuity/Script Supervisor Ann Skinner and Lucas watch a rehearsal on the set, Ronnie Taylor handles the camera whilst an unknown Clapperboard handler readies. This may even have been a specially posed image for behind the scenes publicity.

Moving out from the ship's inner core.

An interrogation from Darth Vader and his commander Daine Jir (Al Lampert, replacing scheduled Ken Hutchison for the scene, a well-known UK actor who'd also been listed on that day's filming call sheet).
Princess Leia holds her nerve towards Vader, as seen in the film.

One of the great specially posed images for the scene, as released for theatrical lobby card promotion.


Terrific close-in shot of Vader's helmet. Note the red eye lenses and the scratches and small dents on the helmet from four months of studio shooting.

Discussing Princess Leia's fake demise with Daine Jir.

An unused angle of Vader and Daine Jir.

If anyone out there has any further info on the deleted scenes of this sequence, please get in touch.